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 July, 2014

No welfare payments if you don't contribute to UK: Tories push for new migrant crackdown after limiting the dole to three months

Migrants will be banned from receiving any benefits until they have contributed to Britain, under government plans to limit access to handouts.

David Cameron today announced the period for which European migrants can claim benefits is to be halved and recruitment agencies are to be banned from advertising jobs exclusively overseas.

But Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith revealed plans to go even further to secure EU agreement to stop benefits being paid to people who have not contributed to to the state, raising the prospect of handouts being linked to tax payments.

Prime Minister David Cameron announced migrants would only be allowed to claim benefits for three months, but Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith revealed plans to go further and ban claims for people who have not contributed to the welfare state

The Conservatives are forcing through further measures to deter so-called ‘benefit tourists’.

In January, the Government introduced rules that meant European migrants had to wait three months before they could claim out-of-work benefits – and then could only claim for a maximum of six months.

Today Mr Cameron said the claim period will be cut from six months to three months from November and applied to jobseekers’ allowance, child tax credit and child benefit.

The Government will also stop recruitment firms from advertising British jobs elsewhere in the EU without also doing so in the UK – in English.

Agencies have been accused of recruiting only foreign workers for specific shifts, for jobs such as fruit picking and hotel work, without even offering a chance to UK citizens.

But Mr Duncan Smith said this was the limit of what the government could within European law, but ministers are pushing to go further.

The eventual plan is that people should have contributed to the system when they come in before being able to claim anything
Iain Duncan Smith

He said there was 'growing consensus' with countries like Germany, Holland and Spain to limit access to migrants who have not contributed to the state.

Mr Duncan Smith told BBC Radio 4's World at One: 'What we’re working on with others in Europe [is] that there should not be a right to just enter a country and claim benefits unless you’ve contributed.

Mr Duncan Smith told BBC Radio 4's World at One: 'What we’re working on with others in Europe [is] that there should not be a right to just enter a country and claim benefits unless you’ve contributed. He said there was 'growing consensus' with countries like Germany, Holland and Spain to limit access to migrants who have not

'So the eventual plan – and this is where we want to be and I think there is a lot of general agreement about this – is that people should have contributed to the system when they come in before being able to claim anything.'

Key measures announced today include:

Benefits to be cut off after three months - rather than the current six - unless the migrants have ‘very clear job prospects’

Tougher rules imposed on universities and colleges which sponsor international students to study in the UK

From November, the threshold for stripping educational institutions of their “highly-trusted sponsor” status will be cut, so that they lose it if 10 per cent or more of the individuals they offer places are refused visas, rather than the present 20 per cent

A ban on overseas-only advertising of jobs, by legally requiring employment agencies to seek applicants for posts in Britain

Number of JobCentre Plus vacancies automatically advertised on an EU-wide employment portal will be restricted

He said that under the last Labour government it was possible to claim housing benefit 'so their immigration policies did leave a very, very big open door. We’re shutting that door, but we’ve yet more to do'.

On a visit to an immigration raid in Slough, Mr Cameron claimed the changes announced today will save the British taxpayer half a billion pounds over the next five years.

During this morning's raid, immigration officers found four Albanian men aged between 27 and 31, along with one minor, who all entered the country illegally.

In the same house, they detained a Kenyan woman, aged 35, who had overstayed her visa, while at a separate address was a 35-year-old Indian visa overstayer who was in possession of a false Portuguese passport.

A Home Office spokesman said all of them have been taken to immigration detention pending removal from the country, apart from the minor, who is in the care of social services.

The Prime Minister said the crackdown was the latest attempt to reverse a ‘soft touch’ approach adopted by Labour, who he accused of ‘practically sending out search parties’ for people to come to Britain.

He claimed so-called ‘highly skilled’ migrants allowed in under the last government had ended up ‘stacking shelves’.

Mr Cameron said: 'Let's be clear - some people are coming here to work, some people are coming here to claim, some people are coming here pretending to be students. I have a very clear approach to this, which is, if you don't have a right to be here, you will be sent home, you shouldn't be here.

'People want to know that, yes, we have a fair legal migration system but, in terms of illegal migration, we will find you and we will send you home.'

He added: 'We want an immigration system that puts Britain first and so what we're doing today is a whole series of changes that says to people if you come here illegally we will make it harder for you to have a home, to get a car, to have a job, to get a bank account, and when we find you - and we will find you - we'll make sure you're sent back to the country that you came from.'

Mr Cameron will also warn that some universities and colleges could lose their licences to recruit overseas students in a tightening of visa rules.

Ministers say a current 20 per cent tolerance threshold of student visa refusals that education institutions are allowed before losing their ‘highly trusted’ status is too generous. It is expected to be lowered to 10 per cent.

Other measures coming into force include attempts to rein in abuse of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights – the right to family life – by migrants to avoid deportation. In future, judges will have to consider the British public interest too, Mr Cameron said.

The Government is also introducing a new system of ‘deport now, appeal later’, designed to help the authorities remove foreign criminals – who will have to launch any appeal from their own country rather than delaying their departure with endless legal action.

‘Under Labour, 2.5million more people came to this country than left. As Peter Mandelson has admitted, they were practically sending out 'search parties' for people to come here,’ the Prime Minister said.

‘It used to be that European jobseekers could claim JSA (jobseekers’ allowance) or child benefit for a maximum of six months before their benefits would be cut off, unless they had very clear job prospects.

'We will be reducing that cut-off point to three months, saying very clearly: you cannot expect to come to Britain and get something for nothing.’

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said the Government was failing on immigration despite Mr Cameron's promise to get it down to the tens of thousands.

'We need less talk from the Prime Minister on immigration and more action,' she said.

'It's almost a year and a half since Labour called for benefit restrictions on new migrants. In that time we've had reannouncement after reannouncement from the Tories but little in the way of firm action.

'Behind the rhetoric, the true picture of this Government on immigration is one of failure, with net migration going up, despite David Cameron's promise to get it down to the tens of thousands.

'The Government should get a grip and finally implement Labour's proposals to stop the undercutting of wages and jobs for local workers by the exploitation of low-skilled migrant labour, including banning recruitment agencies that only hire foreign workers and pressing for stronger controls in Europe.'


Federal Court: Virginia Marriage Is for All

An appeals courts' decision to strike down Virginia's same-sex marriage ban adds to the growing list of decrees on a hot-button issue that will likely end up being decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, is the second federal appellate court to overturn gay marriage bans, after the Denver circuit, and is the first to affect the South, a region where the rising tide of rulings favoring marriage equality is testing concepts of states' rights and traditional, conservative moral values that have long held sway.

"I am proud that the Commonwealth of Virginia is leading on one of the most important civil rights issues of our day," said Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, who had refused to defend the state ban when he took office in January. "We are fighting for the right of loving, committed couples to enter the bonds of marriage."

Virginians voted 57 percent to 43 percent in 2006 to amend their constitution to ban gay marriage and state law prohibits recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states, which the court said infringes on its citizens' fundamental right to marry.

The court itself also highlighted the debate that pits moral values and the idea of equality against states' rights, recognizing that same-sex marriage "makes some people deeply uncomfortable," but argued in its ruling Monday that those concerns are "not legitimate bases for denying same-sex couples due process and equal protection of the laws."

"Civil marriage is one of the cornerstones of our way of life. It allows individuals to celebrate and publicly declare their intentions to form lifelong partnerships, which provide unparalleled intimacy, companionship, emotional support, and security," Judge Henry F. Floyd wrote. "Denying same-sex couples this choice prohibits them from participating fully in our society, which is precisely the type of segregation that the Fourteenth Amendment cannot countenance."

The 2-1 ruling applies throughout the circuit that also includes West Virginia, Maryland, and the Carolinas, where the attorneys general split Monday on what they'll do next.

North Carolina's top lawman, Roy Cooper, quickly announced that he will stop defending his state's ban, but a spokesman said South Carolina's attorney general, Alan Wilson, sees no need to change course.

Maryland already allows same-sex marriages. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, for his part, said he's reviewing the decision and won't comment until it's final.

The ruling came as Colorado's attorney general, John Suthers, asked his state Supreme Court on Monday to stop county clerks from issuing licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

Colorado's gay marriage ban, passed by voters in 2006, is still the law although recent rulings in federal and state court have found it to be unconstitutional. Those rulings have been put on hold during appeals. Suthers argues the state needs to have a consistent practice on gay marriage licenses until the issue is ultimately settled.

Defenders of gay marriage bans are likely to ask for a stay pending their next appeal; otherwise, licenses could be issued to Virginia's same-sex couples in 21 days. And once it becomes final, the decision will apply to the entire circuit, American Civil Liberties Union lawyer James Esseks said.

Gay marriage proponents have won more than 20 legal decisions around the country since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act last year. Most are still under appeal. More than 70 cases have been filed in all 31 states that prohibit same-sex marriage. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia allow such marriages.

The U.S. Supreme Court could have at least five appellate decisions to consider if it takes up gay marriage again in its next term, beginning in October.

The 6th Circuit in Cincinnati will hear arguments Aug. 6 for Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee. The 7th Circuit in Chicago is set for arguments on Aug. 26, and the 9th Circuit in San Francisco for Sept. 8. The 10th Circuit in Denver overturned Utah's ban in June.

The Virginia lawsuit was filed by Timothy Bostic and Tony London of Norfolk, who were denied a marriage license, and Carol Schall and Mary Townley of Chesterfield County. The women were married in California and wanted their marriage recognized in the state where they are raising a 16-year-old daughter.

"Marriage is one of the most fundamental rights — if not the most fundamental right — of all Americans," said plaintiffs' attorney David Boies. "This court has affirmed that our plaintiffs — and all gay and lesbian Virginians — no longer have to live as second-class citizens who are harmed and demeaned every day."

Herring said the decision evoked the notion from a 2003 landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in which Justice Anthony Kennedy noted the framers of the U.S. Constitution "knew times can blind us to certain truths and later generations can see that laws once thought necessary and proper in fact serve only to oppress."

The decision by U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen that Virginia's ban violates the U.S. Constitution's equal protection and due-process guarantees was challenged by two circuit court clerks whose duties include issuing marriage licenses. They were supported by the right-wing legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, based in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The group said it may ask for a full circuit rehearing, or appeal directly to the Supreme Court.

"Every child deserves a mom and a dad, and the people of Virginia confirmed that at the ballot box when they approved a constitutional amendment that affirmed marriage as a man-woman union," ADF Senior Counsel Byron Babione said.

The decision falls in line with the changing climate in the 4th Circuit, which had a reputation as one of the nation's most conservative courts. That has changed in the past five years.

Most of the 14 active judges are Democratic appointees, including five named by President Barack Obama. Floyd was initially appointed as a federal judge in South Carolina by George W. Bush, and then nominated for the appellate court by Obama. Roger Gregory, who joined Floyd in the majority, was a recess appointment of Bill Clinton, re-nominated by Bush in 2001. Paul V. Niemayer, who wrote the dissent, was appointed by George H. W. Bush.


Sen. Marco Rubio: Tolerance 'Is a Two-Way Street'

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said Wednesday that supporters of same-sex marriage must “respect those of us who support traditional marriage” because “tolerance is a two-way street.”

“States have always regulated marriage in America, and state legislatures have a right, a constitutional right to change those regulations. But that right to define and regulate marriage is a two-way street,” Rubio said at a Catholic University of America (CUA) symposium on “Strong Values for a Strong America.”

“Just as states have a right to redefine marriage to include same-sex marriage, they also have a right to continue to define it as between one man and one woman,” he said.

Rubio criticized unelected judges who have been redefining marriage even in states where the people have decided that it should exclusively remain a union of one man and one woman.

“All across this country, we have judges overturning state laws and defining marriage and redefining marriage from the bench,” Rubio said.

Last week, a local judge in Rubio’s home state of Florida ruled that same-sex couples in the Florida Keys could get married, contrary to a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.

“Those who support same-sex marriage have a right to lobby their state legislatures to change their state laws. But Americans, like myself, who support keeping the traditional definition of marriage also have a right to work to keep the traditional definition of marriage in our laws without seeing them overturned by a judge.”

“Our nation has in the past demonstrated a tremendous capacity to work through issues like this. And I believe it will do it again. But doing so will require those of us who support traditional marriage to respect those who support same- sex marriage. But it will also require those who support same-sex marriage to respect those of us who support traditional marriage, because tolerance is also a two-way street.”

"However, today there is a growing intolerance on this issue. Intolerance towards those who continue to support traditional marriage," Rubio said.

The senator acknowledged that America’s history “is marred by discrimination against gays and lesbians.”

“Many cities carried out law enforcement efforts targeting gay Americans,” he said. “Fortunately, we have come a long way since then. But . . .supporters of same-sex marriage argue that laws banning same-sex marriage are discrimination.”

“I respect their arguments,” Rubio said. “And I would concede that they pose a legitimate question for lawmakers and for society.”

But "thousands of years of human history have shown that the ideal setting for children to grow up is with a mother and a father committed to one another, living together, and sharing the responsibility of raising their children,” the senator said.

“That is the definition of marriage that I personally support - not because I seek to discriminate against people who love someone of the same sex, but because I believe that the union of one man and one woman is a special relationship that has proven to be of great benefit to our society, our nation, and our people, and therefore deserves to be elevated in our laws.”

Rubio mentioned the push earlier this year for Mozilla co-founder Brandon Eich to resign as CEO because of a $1,000 donation he made in 2008 in support of California’s Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment to outlaw same-sex marriages, as an example of growing intolerance towards supporters of traditional marriage.

Last week, a Colorado cake artist appealed a May 30 order from the Colorado Civil Rights Commission that forces him to make cakes for same-sex weddings.

Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cake Shop, was sued by a same-sex couple after refusing to make them a wedding cake in 2012. Citing his religious beliefs, he offered to make them another type of cake instead. The commission’s order also compels Phillips and his staff to undergo anti-discrimination training and file quarterly “compliance” reports for the next two years.

“I promise you that even before this speech is over, I will be attacked as a hater, a bigot, or someone who is anti-gay,” Rubio said. “This intolerance in the name of tolerance is hypocrisy. . .supporting the definition of marriage as one man and one woman is not anti-gay, it is pro-traditional marriage.”

Support among Americans for legalized same-sex marriage has increased to 55 percent, according to a Gallup poll released in May.


Blacking up on the Road to Auschwitz

By Sean Gabb

On Friday, the 25th July, I was called by a female researcher at BBC Radio Ulster for a comment on a story in Northern Ireland. Several members of the Rugby Team there has been photographed at a fancy dress party, with their faces blacked up and wearing chains round their necks. All hell had broken loose on publications of the photographs, and grovelling apologies from all concerned hadn’t been enough to settle things. The local anti-racism bureaucracies were calling for resignations from the Team. Would I, as Director of the Libertarian Alliance, care to make a comment on this?

I could have come out with the boilerplate libertarian reply – that it’s not our business if someone paints his face black or green at a party, or puts on an SS uniform, or hangs himself, or consumes recreational drugs. I could also have said what I do believe about this incident, or what I know about it: that, if the politically correct hegemony makes it almost irresistible not to make jokes, it is uncharitable to laugh at black people in this way. However, I was in a bad mood that day, and so began the following conversation with the researcher:

SIG Can you explain to me why anyone should take offence if a white man chooses to paint his face black?

BBC Because t shows contempt for black people.

SIG I see. Yet there is a black comedian called Lenny Henry who often whites up and mocks white people – and on the BBC. Talking of comedians, the female duo Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders used to have a sketch where they dressed as fat, working class white men and mocked them. I’m not aware in either case of any outrage and calls for them to be taken off air. Why is it so terrible, then, if a couple of white men paint their faces black? Before I can make a comment on your show, I do need to have it explained what the problem is.

BBC [Long pause] Because they were wearing chains as well. They were mocking slavery.

SIG I think we can both agree that slavery is a terrible thing – and we can celebrate the role of the United Kingdom in putting down both slavery and the slave trade. But is there any reason to suppose that the sportsmen were somehow calling for black people to be made slaves and forced to work on sugar or cotton plantations?

BBC [Another long pause] Making fun of white men is an act of defiance. It’s an attack on patriarchy by the oppressed.

SIG Really? So a couple of women whose comedy has made millionaires of them are oppressed? As for men as a dominant group, is it your ambition to follow French and Saunders into comedy? Men are at a structural disadvantage in divorce and custody proceedings. Men are more often sent to prison than women for the same offences. Men accused of rape are generally treated as guilty until proven innocent. Women who make malicious accusations of rape are seldom punished, and hardly ever harshly. Men die earlier than women. NHS resources committed to male illnesses, such as prostate cancer, are trifling set against the obsession with breast and cervical cancer. Men commit suicide in disproportionate numbers. School teaching and examinations are biased to improving the grades of girls rather than boys. The BBC itself discriminates against men in its hiring and promotion policies. Speaking as a man, I don’t see much evidence of a discourse of patriarchy that consigns women to second place in this country. [Facts here]

BBC [Now impatient] So you think there’s nothing wrong if ethnic minorities are insulted?

SIG I haven’t said that. However, I will elaborate on my earlier comments. We live in a soft totalitarian police state, and the BBC is one of its instruments. Hardly anyone gets locked away for disagreeing with the justifying ideology of multi-culturalism. But dissidents go get stuck in the pillory. They are especially pilloried if there are white men popular with the working classes, and if their disagreement is expressed as mockery. Whatever can be seen as dissident humour – and I really have no idea why those sportsmen blacked up – is portrayed as the start of a continuum than ends in Auschwitz. This has to be done, because nothing is more subversive of a police state than mockery. Also going after these sportsmen in as integral part of manufacturing the appearance of consent. When people can be destroyed for upsetting the inquisitors, the rest of us become vary careful about what we say or do. For most of us, the surest way to be careful is to say or do nothing that is likely to upset. The resulting absence of dissent keeps the unstable equilibrium from falling over….

The debate on air that resulted from this was more Punch and Judy than cultural analysis. To do it justice, the BBC is sometimes a good place for the latter. But a five minute slot, with a nervous presenter to shut me up every few seconds, wasn’t the right place. I sneered at the complainants, pointing out that they were all somewhere on the State’s payroll. At one point, I had to tell the enraged anti-racism campaigner I was up against to shut up and let me have my turn. Before the microphone was turned off on me, I managed to say that this was a story only given prominence because the BBC was a culturally Marxist institution, and that it said more about the obsessions of our ruling class than the wickedness of a few rugby players.

Given another minute without interruptions, I’d have added that apologies never work in these cases. Step on someone’s foot in a railway carriage, or get his name mixed up, and an apology usually works – and may even start an interesting friendship. But do not suppose you can buy off the anti-racist inquisition with an apology. It helps not to get these people sniffing round in the first place. Those sportsmen must have been stupid to think they could get away with what they did – especially in a world where everyone has a mobile telephone packed with recording hardware. After the event, though, the only response should be a shrug and a curt “No comment.” Once you start apologising, these people smell blood and start circling in earnest. Stonewalling works more often than you might suppose. Even when it doesn’t you’ll go down with more dignity on your feet than one your knees.

I sometimes wonder why the BBC lets me so often on air. I’m on the radio once a week on average, and sometimes get an audience of several million. Could it be that the British state broadcaster has a genuine commitment to diversity of opinion, and that, when I make the effort, I can be crisp and entertaining? I doubt this. More likely, the BBC has a legal obligation to go through the motions of allowing a diversity of views, and I have a reputation for not actually swearing at the fools and villains I’m put against.



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 July, 2014

British PM announces immigration benefits crackdown

David Cameron is to announce tough action on immigration that will halve the amount of time foreigners can claim benefits in the UK.

The Coalition will introduce laws to ensure that European Union migrants can only claim out-of-work benefits for three months, Mr Cameron says in an article for The Telegraph.

The Prime Minister also pledges to stop more than 500,000 British jobs being advertised across the EU and announces tough new curbs on colleges offering visas to “bogus” students.

The Government will make changes to the immigration system that put “Britain first” and ensure that the UK is “a country that is not a soft touch”, Mr Cameron says. “We changed the rules so that no one can come to this country and expect to get out-of-work benefits immediately; they must wait at least three months,” Mr Cameron adds.

“And we are announcing today that we are cutting the time people can claim these benefits for. It used to be that European jobseekers could claim Job Seeker’s Allowance or child benefit for a maximum of six months before their benefits would be cut off, unless they had very clear job prospects.

“I can tell Telegraph readers today that we will be reducing that cut-off point to three months, saying very clearly: you cannot expect to come to Britain and get something for nothing.”

Mr Cameron’s latest intervention on immigration will be seen as an attempt to woo back Conservative voters who have defected to Ukip in recent months.

Under measures announced last year, European immigrants have to wait three months before they can claim out-of-work benefits. They can then claim the benefits for a maximum of six months.

Mr Cameron’s announcement came as the International Monetary Fund warned that “restrictive immigration policies” in the UK “could have a negative impact on productivity growth”. In a report on Britain’s finances the IMF, which last week upgraded its forecast for UK growth to 3.2 per cent this year and 2.7 per cent in 2015, said: “Relaxing immigration requirements in areas with labour shortages, such as manufacturing, could provide a boost to productivity and facilitate the rebalancing of the UK economy.”

There was anger last year after it emerged that under an EU scheme partly funded by British taxpayers, all positions advertised in UK job centres also have to be offered to workers in European member states. UK firms are given as much as £1,000 as a bonus for taking on the foreign workers.

The EURES scheme offers foreigners hundreds of pounds of funding to pay for interviews in the UK, relocation costs and even English lessons.

Of the 2.4?million jobs posted on the EURES site, 1,138,847 are posts in the UK. Jobs at UK firms including Tesco and Sainsbury’s are advertised on the site.

Downing Street said that in future, jobs will only be uploaded to the website if an employer specifically requests that the position is offered across the EU. “Some recruitment agencies have even been recruiting directly from elsewhere in the EU without British workers ever getting a chance to apply for jobs,” Mr Cameron writes. “So we are banning overseas-only recruitment — legally requiring these agencies to advertise in English in the UK. And today we are announcing a further measure. In the past, all vacancies advertised in Jobcentre Plus were automatically advertised on an EU-wide job portal.

“This meant advertising over a million job vacancies across the EU. So we are going to massively restrict this, aiming to cut back the vacancies on this portal by over 500,000 jobs.”

There have also been growing concerns that colleges are abusing immigration rules offering visas for money so that people can come to the UK to work by pretending that they are here to study.

“Some of the most egregious examples were those claiming to be students, enrolling at bogus colleges,” Mr Cameron says. “We have taken radical action – shutting down more than 750 of these colleges. Today we are announcing a further step to make sure colleges do proper checks on students: if 10 per cent of the students they recruit are refused visas, they will lose their licence.”

In his article, the Prime Minister also highlights a series of measures that have come into force in recent days, including new restrictions on abuses of European human rights laws, which immigrants have used to avoid deportation.


Female brains really ARE different to male minds with women possessing better recall and men excelling at maths

Funily enough

Men’s and women’s brains really are different.

Researchers say that if both sexes had access to the same levels of education, they’d expect women to do best on tests of memory – and men to excel at maths.

The prediction comes after an analysis of how the sexes’ abilities varied across Europe across time.

More than 31,000 men and women aged 50-plus from 13 countries were put through three tests of brainpower.

The test of numeracy involved being given five questions, such as working out how much a cut-price car would have cost when new, while the memory test involved trying to remember a list of ten words.

The third test was of ‘verbal fluency’ – and involved naming as many different animals as possible in a minute.

In northern Europe, women in their 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s consistently outperformed the men in the memory test.

However, in southern Europe, where economic conditions were poorer for longer, the earliest born women did worse than the men. However, as education and living conditions improved, so did their performance and those born from around 1940 onwards beat their male counterparts.

However, the gap narrowed as conditions improved, the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports.

The researchers, from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria, said that women may benefit more than men from improvements in lifestyle because they were at a greater disadvantage to begin with.

They said the patterns mean that if men and women had equal access to education, females should do better than men.

Men should still do slightly better in maths – and the sexes should do equally well in quick fire tests of vocabulary.

It is thought the differing strengths can be explained by differences in the biology of the brain as well as in the way the sexes are treated by society.


Hallelujah! The tribunal gravy train's derailed: As workers are made to pay £1,200 fee, discrimination cases plunge by 75%

The multi-billion pound industry built on vexatious discrimination claims against employers has virtually collapsed, it emerged yesterday.

Employment tribunal cases have dropped by three-quarters over the past year, with sex discrimination claims down by 80 per cent and race claims by 60 per cent.

The spectacular decline follows a simple reform introduced by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling last summer – the charging of fees to workers who want to make a claim against their employer.

The charge, which is £1,200 for discrimination claims, is reimbursed to employees who win. But the threat of losing this money appears to have deterred the majority of those who would once have been tempted to claim.

In the first six months of the new fees system, the number of claims to employment tribunals dropped from 109,425 to 20,678.

This fall of nearly 90,000 is a major boost for businesses, which were previously spending around £1.6billion a year in defence costs. There were 191,000 employment claims in the financial year to March 2013.

Around one in five businesses were thought to have been threatened, with the average defence costing £8,500 and compensation to employees who won averaging £10,000 each.

The scale of the collapse was highlighted by the TUC in a report on the impact of the new fees. Trade union leaders argued the reform has meant ‘a huge victory for Britain’s worst bosses’.

TUC chief Frances O’Grady said: ‘By charging up-front fees for harassment and abuse claims the Government has made it easier for bad employers to get away with the most appalling behaviour.’

But there was satisfaction among ministers and business leaders, who believe the system was regularly abused by vexatious claimants, including serial litigants trying to win thousands of pounds for spurious complaints.

The consequences of vexatious claims are most serious for small businesses, which can rarely afford to launch a robust defence. Prior to the new system, claims had more than doubled since the year 2000, when there were around 80,000 a year.

The fees, introduced at the end of July last year, range from £390 for a straightforward claim over unfair dismissal or a failure to pay wages, to £1,200 for sex or race discrimination. But poor claimants can have the fees reduced, or even waived.

If the claimant wins, the tribunal normally orders the employer to reimburse the fees.

The TUC report, based on Ministry of Justice figures, said sex discrimination claims went from 6,017 in the three months to March 2013 to just 1,222 in the same three months this year.

The figures also showed there were 584 claims of race discrimination in July 2013. By January this year the number had fallen to 157.

Equal pay claims also saw a large decline, from 3,654 in March 2013 to 574 in March this year.

John Allan of the Federation of Small Businesses welcomed the changes, saying: ‘Employment tribunals should always be the last resort in an employment dispute as they can be stressful, time consuming and expensive for all parties.’

Justice Minister Shailesh Vara said: ‘It is reasonable to expect people to pay towards the £74million bill taxpayers face for providing the service.’


Malaysian politicians claim it was offensive and disrespectful to Muslims to use Scottie dogs in Commonwealth Games opening ceremony

And I think it is offensive and disrespectful for Muslims to bad-mouth dogs, who are usually much loved by their owners

The Scottie dogs which stole the show at the spectacular Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow did not get quite as warm a reception with some Malaysian politicians.

The animals which led each team in the parade of athletes at the event in Celtic Park proved a hit on Twitter - but have earned the ire of officials in the Islamic country as dogs are considered unclean by some Muslim scholars.

During the parade of athletes, each team was led by a Scots man or woman in tweeds walking a Scottish terrier wearing a jacket bearing the name of the country.

Judy Murray tweeted after the ceremony: 'Scottie dogs in tartan coats at CG opening ceremony. Barkingly brilliant.'

Jackie Baillie MSP tweeted: 'Just love the Scottie dogs! Can I have one please?" while Heather Patterson wrote: "These Scottie dogs are the best thing about this ceremony... pure class.'

However, Mohamad Sabu, the deputy president of the opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party said: 'Malaysia and all Islamic countries deserve an apology from the organiser.

'This is just so disrespectful to Malaysia and Muslims – especially as it happened during Ramadan,' he added, according to the Daily Telegraph.

'Muslims are not allowed to touch dogs, so the organiser should have been more aware and sensitive on this issue. It is hoped this incident can teach other Western countries to be more respectful in the future.'

Dato Ibrahim Bin Ali, a far-Right politician, former MP and founder and president of Malay supremacist group Perkasa called the use of the dogs 'shameful' and 'offensive'.

A Glasgow 2014 spokesman said there have been no complaints about the dogs from any of the nations taking part.



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 July, 2014

Is the Left anti-Semitic? Sadly, it is heading that way

By Brendan O'Neill

There has been a lot of talk over the past two weeks about whether it is anti-Semitic to oppose Israel’s attack on Gaza. Radical Leftists and liberal commentators have insisted (perhaps a bit too much?) that there is nothing remotely anti-Semitic about their anger with Israel or their fury on behalf of battered, bruised and bombed Palestinians. And of course they are right that it is entirely possible to oppose Israel’s militarism without harbouring so much as a smidgen of dislike for the Jewish people. Some will oppose the war in Gaza simply because they are against wars in general, especially ones that impact on civilians.

However, it seems pretty clear to me that much of the left in Europe and America is becoming more anti-Semitic, or at least risks falling into the trap of anti-Semitism, sometimes quite thoughtlessly. In the language it uses, in the ideas it promotes, in the way in which it talks about the modern world, including Israel, much of the Left has adopted a style of politics that has anti-Semitic undertones, and sometimes overtones. The key problem has been the Left’s embrace of conspiratorial thinking, its growing conviction that the world is governed by what it views as uncaring “cabals”, “networks”, self-serving lobbyists and gangs of bankers, all of which has tempted it to sometimes turn its attentions towards those people who historically were so often the object and the target of conspiratorial thinking – the Jews.

Yes, one can hate Israel’s attack on Gaza without hating the Jews. But there’s no denying that the hatred being expressed for Israel’s attack on Gaza is different to the opposition to all other acts of militarism in recent times. Just compare the huge 2003 Hyde Park demo against the Iraq War with the recent London demos against Israel’s attack on Gaza. The former had an air of resignation; it expressed a mild, middle-class sense of disappointment with Tony Blair, through safe, soft slogans like “Not In My Name”. The latter, by contrast, have been fiery and furious, with screeching about murder and mayhem and demands that the Israeli ambassador to the UK be booted out. Some attendees have held up placards claiming that Zionists control the British media while others have accused both London and Washington of “grovelling” before an apparently awesomely powerful Israeli Lobby.

This is a recurring theme in anti-Israel sentiment today: the idea that a powerful, sinister lobby of Israel lovers has warped our otherwise respectable leaders here in the West, basically winning control of Western foreign policy. You see it in cartoons depicting Israeli leaders as the puppet masters of politicians like William Hague and Tony Blair. You can hear it in Alexi Sayle’s much-tweeted claim that the “Western powers” kowtow to Israel because they are “frightened of it… frightened of the power that it wields”. You can see it in the arguments of John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt in their popular book The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, which holds an apparently super-powerful pro-Israel lobby in the heart of Washington responsible for the Iraq War and all other kinds of disasters. The claim is often made that Israel has corrupted Western officials, commanding them to carry out its dirty work.

Sound familiar? Yes, this has terrible echoes of the old racist idea that Jewish groups controlled Western politics and frequently propelled the world into chaos – an idea that was especially popular in the early to mid-20th-century Europe. Very often, anti-Israel protesters treat Israel not just as a nation at war – like Britain, America or France, which also frequently launch wars that kill huge numbers of civilians – but also as the warper of policy and morality in the West, as a source of poison in global affairs, as the architect of instability across the globe. Indeed, a few years ago a poll of Europeans found that a majority of them view Israel as “the biggest threat to world peace”. So Israel is undoubtedly singled out by Leftists and others, and even more significantly it is singled out in a way that the Jews used to be singled out – that is, as a sinister, self-serving corrupter of nations and causer of chaos.

Much of today’s anti-Israel protesting has a conspiracy-theory feel to it, with its talk about powerful lobby groups designing wars behind closed doors in order to isolate Israel’s enemies and boost Israel’s fortunes. And this is in keeping with Left-wing politics generally, today. The Left has increasingly embraced a conspiracy-theory view of the world. It is now very common to hear Leftists talk about the “cabals of neocons” who control world affairs, or the “cult of bankers” who wreak havoc on our economies, or the Murdoch Empire that “orchestrates public life from the shadows” (to quote Labour MP Tom Watson). All seriously analytical and nuanced readings of international trends and political dynamics have been elbowed aside by contemporary Leftists, who prefer instead to argue that dark, hidden, mysterious forces are ruining politics, plotting wars, and enriching themselves at the expense of the poor. And, as history shows us, there is a thin line between railing against wicked cabals and cults and wondering out loud whether the Jews are secretly running world affairs, or at least wielding a disproportionate influence.

Indeed, some of the most influential trends in Left-wing politics over the past five years – including the Occupy movement and the Wikileaks movement – were both given to conspiracy-theorising and both also had a bit of a problem with anti-Semitism. So Occupy was kickstarted by Adbusters, a magazine convinced that powerful corporations control the masses’ fickle minds. In 2004, Adbusters published a disgustingly anti-Semitic article titled “Why Won’t Anyone Say They Are Jewish?”, which listed the neocons in the Bush administration and put a black mark next to the names of those who are Jewish. Not surprisingly, Occupy itself, which was obsessed with the baleful influence of small cliques of bankers and other faceless, evil people, often crossed the line into anti-Semitism, as the Washington Post reported. And Wikileaks, too, which is also a borderline conspiracy-theory outfit, what with its obsession with the “conspiratorial interactions among the political elite”, has had issues with anti-Semitism: one of its key researchers, Israel Shamir, was exposed by the Guardian as being “notorious for [his] Holocaust denial and publishing a string of anti-Semitic articles”.

It is not an accident that the three key planks of the Left-wing outlook today – the anti-Israel anti-war sentiment, the shallow anti-capitalism of Occupy, and the worship of those who leak info from within the citadels of power – should all have had issues with anti-Semitism. It is because the left, feeling isolated from the public and bereft of any serious means for understanding modern political and economic affairs, has bought into a super-simplistic, black-and-white, borderline David Icke view of the world as a place overrun and ruled by cabals and cults and sinister lobby groups. And who has always, without fail, been the final cabal, the last cult, to find themselves shouldering the ultimate blame for the warped, hidden workings of politics, the economy and foreign turmoil? You got it – the Jews.


'Compensation culture gone mad': Dog owner sues for £5,000 over pet's slipped disc - when it gets its legs caught in the grass on council land as it chases a cat

A dog owner plans to sue a council for thousands of pounds after her pet slipped a disc in grass while chasing a cat. Scooby, a three-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, was injured after getting his leg caught in long grass on council-owned land in Brighton, East Sussex.

His disabled owner Rebecca Richardson, 48, claims that she now faces a £5,000 veterinary bill which she cannot afford to pay as she lives on benefits.

Campaigners criticised Mrs Richardson and her husband Steven, 49, for their claim and said it was yet another example of the ‘compensation culture gone mad’.

But Mrs Richardson said Brighton and Hove City Council, which owns her house and the land outside it, was negligent and ‘completely responsible’ for what happened to her pet.

She claimed that she and other neighbours had been asking for the long grass outside their homes to be cut for a month before the accident.

The mother-of-one also said that the council, which says it yet to receive a complaint from her about the grass, was ‘lying’.

‘I was walking my dog and when we got close to my home, he noticed a cat and chased after it,’ she said.

‘He chased the cat up a bank and caught his leg in the grass and now he has a slipped disc. Surgery will cost around £5,000.

‘The grass was too long, it was much taller than Scooby - he was buried in the grass. We’ve been complaining to the council for four weeks about the length of the grass outside our home.

‘All the tenants on the road have been trying to get the grass cut because it is so long. I reported it to the council straight away but they claimed nothing was ever reported to them, which is a complete lie.

‘I would like to pursue it and sue them because they are completely responsible and liable for what happened to my poor dog.’

Mrs Richardson said the accident has left her husband and their son Rhys, 17, feeling ‘devastated’ because the family may have to give up Scooby if they cannot raise the money for his operation.

The couple claim Disability Living Allowance because they are unable to work due to back and hip problems.

Mrs Richardson last worked 18 years ago as a cleaner in a hotel but had to leave the job due to mental health issues.

Meanwhile, her husband was a binman in Dorking, Surrey, but was forced to retire 10 years ago because of his back problems.

Mrs Richardson said: ‘I want to take further action with the council - I would like to sue them.

‘It is so unfair we have a dog who needs an operation, but we do not have the money to pay for it - we may be forced to give him up.

‘We will have to send him to a vet surgery for an operation and then they will find him a new home. But I can’t do that, he is part of our family.’

The couple have another dog, a nine-year-old Corgi and Pomeranian cross called Babe.

‘I want to take Scooby out for a walk with Babe, but he obviously cannot come,' said Mrs Richardson.

'He is depressed, being unable to go on long walks is clearly getting him down. He loved chasing balls and loved going out for walks - it is so sad seeing him like this.

‘We are all absolutely devastated, my son broke down when we told him we may have to give Scooby up. This is affecting us every day.'

She added: 'He could be paralysed, he needs surgery as soon as possible - but we just do not have the money.

‘Being in our situation, it is difficult - we are on benefits. I want to sue the council but we do not have any money to sue them, but it is unfair because the council are definitely liable for what happened.

‘They should pay for the surgery, it is their fault and I am pointing the finger at the council.’

Andy Silvester, from the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: ‘This is a perfect storm of council neglect and compensation culture gone mad.

‘The council has got to do a better job of looking after the local area, but it’s ridiculous that taxpayers will be left with a potentially huge bill.’

A spokesman for Brighton and Hove City Council said it will investigate any complaint Mrs Richardson makes.


'Don't drink bleach': New business minister reveals bizarre sign his family's firm needed to pass health and safety inspections

Health and safety inspectors refused to sign-off the family firm of a government minister until they put up a sign telling people not to drink bleach.

Business minister Matt Hancock revealed the bizarre experience as he railed against ‘heavy-handed’ jobsworths threatening small firms with unnecessary rules and regulations.

Promoted to attend Cabinet in this month’s reshuffle, he will tomorrow unveil plans to allow companies to collect evidence of over-officious red-tape getting in the way of doing business.

The government claims there are too many bodies inspecting businesses, often duplicating work and imposing unnecessary and costly burdens on those struggling to stay afloat.

Mr Hancock says he understands the struggles people face with the ‘stress and worry of meeting monthly bills’ and they should not be added to with pointless inspections.

He grew up watching his parents build an IT software firm, and the impact of daft regulations when it was visited by health and safety inspectors.

Without a sign expressly warning people about the perils of drinking bleach, they would have been failed, he says.

'The only thing they could find that was wrong was that there was a bottle of bleach in the kitchen that wasn't labelled correctly,’ he told The Sunday Times.

‘I remember writing the poster that says, 'There is bleach in the cupboard, please do not drink it.' When we put that up they passed us.’

He later added: ‘When I was growing up my parents started and grew a small software firm in Chester, so I’ve seen first-hand the stress and worry of meeting monthly bills and the constant search for new finance.

‘It’s these personal insights that power this government's determination to make Britain the best place in the world to start up and grow a business.’

Tomorrow he will announce plans to allow business groups to collect and present evidence of excessive burdens to ministers and regulators.

It means industry bodies themselves will review enforcement of regulation in their sectors. It will cover fresh produce and livestock industries first, before being rolled out to other sectors.

Mr Hancock added: ‘The worst cases are where there are two different regulators. One says: "You've got to do this" and the other says: "If you do that, I'll fine you." There are 11 different regulators of farms. The aim is to have one group of people who take into account all the different regulations and check they are being applied in a reasonable way.’

The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill, which will return to Parliament in the autumn, aims to reduce red-tape on growing firms.

It includes better access to finance, and making it easier for a small business to get a loan from a lender other than their bank.

New ‘cheque imaging’ technology – where recipients use a smartphone to take a picture of a cheque – will speed up clearing times from six days to two days.

Mr Hancock said: ‘Every village, town and city throughout the country is host to a range of small businesses from shops, garages and cafés, to manufacturing firms and tech start-ups. We are backing business every step of the way with the first small business bill, to help create the prosperity and secure the jobs we need.

‘Small businesses are the driving force of our economy and this bill is part of the government’s commitment to back enterprise and help firms to start-up and scale-up.’


Don’t want to drug your child? You may be a criminal

During his years in Congress, Campaign for Liberty Chairman Ron Paul often spoke out against the over-use of “psychotropic” drugs like Ritalin. Despite psychotropic drugs’ documented dangers, they are still prescribed to children without parental consent. Some parents have even lost custody of their children for defying government officials and medical “experts” and refusing to give their children psychotropic drugs.

For example, Michigan Mom Maryanne Godboldo took her child off the drug Risperdal because of concerns over how the drug was making her daughter “horribly ill… aggressive and violent.” When Mrs. Godboldo refused to comply with an order from Child Protective Services (CPS) to place her daughter back on the drug, CPS obtain a court order taking custody of her daughter away from Mrs. Godboldo. CPS decided the best way to protect the child was to call in a SWAT team–complete with a tank– to attempt to remove the child from her home.

The result was an hours-long stand-off, ending with Mrs. Godbolo being charged with a felony for firing a shot into her ceiling. Fortunately, Mrs. Godbolo was able to regain custody of her daughter and has so far successfully fought the legal charges against her.



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 July, 2014

Some women really do prefer mean guys, research suggests

What your pals told you may be true, guys: at least early in a relationship, being too nice to a woman doesn't help, and may even backfire. So suggest the results of new research.

But while that was found to be the overall trend, results may vary depending on the woman.

The three-part study found that whereas men prefer more "responsive" women, women may or may not prefer more "responsive" men. Women's reaction to such men was, on average, marginally negative. Researchers defined "responsiveness" as being supportive of another person's needs and goals.

It's not clear why women react this way; "it may not necessarily have to do with `being nice'," said said Gurit Birnbaum of the the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya in Israel, lead researcher in the work, published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

She added that women may perceive a responsive stranger as inappropriately nice, possibly as someone trying to win sexual favors, "or eager to please, perhaps even as desperate." Or, she added, "women may perceive a responsive man as vulnerable and less dominant. Regardless of the reasons, perhaps men should slow down if their goal is to instill sexual desire."

On the other hand, she said, some women "may perceive a responsive stranger as warm and caring and therefore as a desirable longterm partner."

The studies sought to find out to what extent "responsiveness" might help in landing a second date with someone.

"Sexual desire thrives on rising intimacy and being responsive is one of the best ways to instill this elusive sensation over time," said Birnbaum. But "our findings show that this does not necessarily hold true in an initial encounter, because a responsive potential partner may convey opposite meanings to different people."

In a first experiment, the researchers examined whether responsiveness is perceived as feminine or masculine, and whether men or women perceived a responsive person of the opposite sex as sexually desirable. Men who perceived female partners as more responsive also rated them as more feminine, and more attractive. Women on average showed marginally less attraction to men they perceived as responsive, though they didn't rate such men as less masculine.

Participants in a second experiment were asked to interact with a responsive or nonresponsive person of the opposite sex, and view that person's photo (the same photo was given to each participant). They were then asked to interact online with this person, and discuss a current problem in their life. The responsiveness of the virtual individual was manipulated, for example, "You must have gone through a very difficult time" as a responsive reply, versus "Doesn't sound so bad to me" as a nonresponsive reply.

Men who interacted with a responsive female rated her as more feminine and as more sexually attractive.

Women are more cautious than men when interpreting a stranger's expressions of responsiveness, Birnbaum said. And their perceptions, seemingly unaffected by perceived responsiveness, may reflect conflicting trends among different women.

A third and last study tested whether responsiveness might activate "motivational mechanisms" for men that fuel pursuit of either shortterm or longterm sexual relationships. A female partner's actual responsiveness led men to perceive her as more feminine, and consequently to feel more sexually aroused. That, in turn, was linked to both increased perception of partner attractiveness and greater desire for a longterm relationship with her.


All women should adopt the Fifties lifestyle to save their marriages

Woman, 49, who lives like it's 1950, claims cooking, cleaning and sewing makes her a better wife

A wife who went back in time to live like it’s still the 1950s claims that the retro lifestyle has saved her marriage.

Mandy Jones, 49, spends her free time cooking, cleaning and darning her husband Gary’s socks. She also dresses in vintage frocks, drives a 1949 Chevrolet and listens to rockabilly records on her jukebox, just like teens from sixty years ago.

Mandy, from Tamworth, Staffordshire, claims going back in time has saved her marriage which was 'stuck in a rut'.

Controversially, the part-time caterer, said that all women should adopt the lifestyle if they want to keep their man happy. She said: 'It may seem strange and we get the odd nasty comment, but this way of life works for us and has saved our marriage.

'We love everything about the 1950s, from the clothes to the way of life. Since we started living like this I’ve been a better wife and Gary and I are closer than ever. 'We should all take advice from our grandparents and start living the Fifties way.'

After deciding something needed to be done to keep her marriage to Gary, 48, alive, she travelled back in time to the 1950s. Now every night when Gary comes home from work, his dutiful wife has dinner on the table - and they tuck into wholesome 1950s food in their American diner-style kitchen.

When they first met 30 years ago they bonded over their love of rockabilly and Fifties fashion. But five years ago their passion for the decade reached new heights when they decided to go back in time and live like it is the 1950s.

Bored of their everyday life, Mandy said she was willing to go to extreme lengths to save their marriage, saying: 'Gary and I were sick of the same routine and we were bickering on a daily basis.
'We spent our weekends drinking at the pub until the early hours and it just got so boring.'

The couple decided to take the plunge and dedicate every aspect of their lives to the decade, decorating their entire house - and even building a 1950s-style diner.

Mandy perfected vintage hairstyles and started making her own retro-style clothes in a bid to impress her husband.

Now, instead of booze-filled weekends, the pair go dancing together and take trips in their Chevrolet to vintage fairs.
She said: 'We’re a lot happier living in the 1950s way, it has improved our marriage and enriched our lives.

'Before, we didn’t have much to excite us apart from drinking but now we do all sorts together and it keeps our relationship fresh.

'After a bad day there is nothing better than putting our jukebox on and doing a quick Lindy Hop.'

Mandy is now encouraging others to follow in her and Gary’s footsteps, claiming they too could save their marriage. She said: '1950s marriages definitely work better than marriages these days.
'The divorce rate is so high at the moment and it never used to be in the past. We should all take advice from our grandparents and start living the Fifties way.'

The divorce rate in 1950 was 26 per cent and 42 per cent in 2013.


Liberals Hate Civil Rights - Especially When Conservatives Exercise Them

Liberals never met a civil right they didn't dislike. As with everything about liberal ideology, liberals’ great concern for civil rights is a scam, a lie, a fraud designed to sucker in the weak-minded and disguise their goosesteppy inclinations.

They care about civil rights like Michael Bay cares about Oscar night.

Sure, liberals pose as advocates of civil liberties, but only when they don’t have the power to squash them. In my new book, Conservative Insurgency, a speculative future history of the struggle to restore our system and culture, the left’s coordinated attack on our Constitutional rights is one of the biggest motivations for the pushback that results in conservatism’s final victory.

Yeah, the story has a happy ending.

But don't listen to me. Listen to the liberals. Let's take a look at our Bill of Rights and see which amendments liberals like. Here’s a hint: There aren’t many.

There's the First Amendment, which lists rights such as free speech and freedom of religion. Liberals are against them.

Don't think so? Ask a liberal whether he supports Harry Reid’s plan to repeal part of the First Amendment. He does.

Liberals hate the way the Citizens United decision recognizes that people still have the right to speak freely when they speak together. The feds, defending the law Citizens United overturned, told the Supreme Court that the law could allow the government to ban a book critical of a politician.

Yeah. Liberals think the First Amendment is bad because it protects people from being jailed for writing books. Unbelievable? Don’t believe me. Believe right-wing stalwart Jeffrey Toobin of the ultra-conservative New Yorker.

How about the whole religious freedom thing? Well, 20 years ago even Ted Kennedy thought it was okay to protect people's right of religious conscience when he led the enactment of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that underlay the Hobby Lobby decision. Today, for liberals, the right to religious liberty pales against their “right” to boss you around.

So much for the First Amendment. How about the Second. Seriously? The idea of free Americans armed to protect themselves, their communities and their Constitution terrifies liberals. That freedom-loving Americans are able to defend themselves from the left’s most secret fascist fantasies fills them with fussiness.

On the Bill of Rights, so far liberals are zero for two.

What about the Third Amendment, the one about quartering soldiers in private homes? This is a toss-up. Liberals want to harass soldiers, who they see as hillbilly knuckledraggers useful only as photo op backdrops, but they also can’t resist intruding on private property. Call it a wash.

There’s the Fourth Amendment, but since the Obama administration probably read this column the minute I emailed it off, you can safely put this one down in the “Against” column.

Liberals are loving the Fifth Amendment more and more these days, as every Obama administration flunky seems to be taking it. We’ll call that one “For,” at least until it stops being useful to them.

Sixth Amendment due process rights? This whole “fair trial” thing is a huge hassle. They want the bureaucrats to handle that, not courts. For example, now the EPA apparently wants to garnish people’s wages without due process for bothering elk.

Liberals love the Seventh Amendment! It guarantees a Democrat-donor trial lawyer the right to have his crappy product liability lawsuit involving a plaintiff who is suing because his hammer was defective because it hurt when he hit himself in the head with it is heard by a jury composed of people who were unable to figure out how to get out of jury duty.

The Eighth Amendment against excessive fines and cruel and unusual punishment? The liberals loved the idea of fining into oblivion companies that didn’t want to pay for abortifacients. As for cruel and unusual punishment, they’ll be for that once the trials for political heresy get underway.

The Ninth Amendment? Liberalism is literally built on denying and disparaging rights retained by the people.

How about the Tenth Amendment, the one that reserves unenumerated rights to the states or to the people? Unenumerated rights? Liberals don’t even like the enumerated ones.

In sum, of ten amendments, liberals are against seven, in favor of one because it makes Democrat ambulance chasers rich, in favor of another as long as it keeps them out of jail, and torn about one because it’s too hard to choose between shafting our warriors or shafting property owners.

So, what do the liberals really think of civil rights? Not much. To liberals, the Constitution doesn’t have a Bill of Rights. It has a List of Suggestions.


What We Women Want

Just the other day when I was home in Dunn, a woman standing in the checkout line told me that she felt as though she had less money in her pocket. And, unfortunately, she’s right. Did you know that the average clothing cost for children has risen $310 during the president’s term and that food costs have risen an average of $210? Or that an average family of four is missing as much as $1,120 from their monthly budget? I bet women do.

No one understands the true implications of these missing dollars better than women. Women are the ones balancing the household checkbook, worrying about health care and education decisions for their families, and are the ones sitting at the kitchen table at the end of the month crunching numbers to figure out how to cut costs so the dollars don’t run out before the month does. I understand this because I have done this – and still do. Having worked at the local Burger King during high school, and then paying my way through community college and nursing school, I can relate to the pressures that women feel.

Women talk to me every day about the situations they face at work and home, and how they want a government that works to find solutions. My colleagues and I want to work together for solutions too. Our goal is to empower and engage every woman in this country, regardless of political-leaning or socioeconomic status. We are aware of the facts. The sad fact is that for every job the White House boasts about creating, two new people were added to the food stamp program. Additionally, if we were to factor in the number of people who have given up looking for work, real unemployment would be an astounding 10.2 percent. This is inexcusable. Our job is fighting to create good-paying jobs, grow a healthy economy and help hardworking Americans keep more of their paycheck.

So what are we doing in the House to resolve this? House Republicans are passing legislation with our Democrat colleagues to create jobs and get Americans back to work. There are currently 321 bills that have passed in the House of Representatives, yet still await action in the Senate. Just this past week, the House took up several bills to improve educational access and affordability for young Americans—providing higher-ed opportunities to support families and spur economic growth. To further tackle the issue of unemployment, the House passed legislation called the SKILLS Act which helps workers to acquire the education and skills-training they need for in-demand jobs. This legislation gives women new opportunities by providing them with the hands-on training necessary to transition into a new field of work or move up the ladder. Our party is one of solutions, and we are working for the American people to ensure that we are making their lives easier.

Unfortunately, due to the current Obama economy, I understand the need to stretch every dollar. However, surging gas prices, increasingly-high food and childcare costs do not have to be the norm. Fortunately, women have the opportunity to change the status-quo. We represent nearly 52 percent of the voting electorate, and we are the ones who are going to determine which direction our country heads. The woman who juggles a hectic schedule at work, packs school lunches for her children, finds the time to balance her household checkbook, and makes critical healthcare decisions for her family will be the same woman who will determine elections and policies that will influence our country.

Imagine a time in the future, when all women can turn on the nightly news and hear how something actually got done in Washington. Instead of learning about increasing costs or the new bills she will have to pay, she will hear how decisions made in Washington that day made her life a little easier and a little less chaotic.

This is what my colleagues and I are fighting for every day— a bright future for women and all Americans.



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 July, 2014

Hitler lives -- in America

A Israel defends itself against rocket fire and genocidal attack, the demonization of Israel and the scourge of raw anti-Semitism reappear

As Israel continues its dangerous incursion into Gaza to suppress Hamas terrorism and unceasing rocket attacks on Israeli citizens, predictably, the UN, the world media, and intellectual elites have initiated their collective denunciation of the Jewish state. More alarming have been the pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Boston, Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, and other U.S. and European cities which quickly devolved into anti-Semitic riots, with protestors yelling such epithets at pro-Israel counter demonstrators including such vile comments as, “Jews back to Birkenau” and “Drop dead, you Zionazi whores.”

In Boston, student supporters of Israel were surrounded by angry demonstrators, physically assaulted, and called “Jesus killers,” asked how many babies they had each murdered, and told they would “burn” for supporting Israel.

During Operation Cast Lead, the 2008-09 incursion by Israel into Gaza, campus radicals rose up in a similar manner, demonizing Israel for defending itself, accusing Jewish students and other supporters of Israel of being racist oppressors and supporting the “genocide” of Palestinian Arabs, and sponsoring campus events in which Israel, Zionism, and Jews were libeled, assaulted, and attacked for simply trying to live in peace.

Facing a fall semester of radicalism and hatred

We know from history that this fall campuses will again be in turmoil as pro-Palestinian activists, radical professors, and Muslim student groups agitate for resolutions, sanctions, and aggressive censure of Israel, and will use the recent events in Gaza as a platform for their continuing campaign to demonize Israel and intimidate Jewish and non-Jewish supporters of the Jewish state.

SPME addressed this same anti-Israel activism last semester as well in events such as these:

* At San Francisco State University the General Union of Palestinian Students organized an event at which students sold a t-shirt lauding Palestinian terrorist Leila Khaled, and the GUPS president, Mohammad Hammad, expressed the wish for all Israelis to be killed. Students were encouraged to use a stencil bearing the image of a notorious terrorist and another that stated, "MY HEROES HAVE ALWAYS KILLED COLONIZERS"

* At University of Michigan, pro-Palestinian radicals promoting a BDS resolution on campus yelled “dirty Jew” and “get off campus, kikes” at pro-Israel students

* At Vassar College, members of Students for Justice in Palestine physically blocked faculty and students, passed out fliers, and verbally assaulted them as they attempted to enter a classroom where an International Studies course was being held because the course involved a trip to Israel and the West Bank. After a school-wide meeting was called by the diversity office to discuss the “ethics” of the trip, campus radicals continued to demonize Israel, harass the two Jewish professors leading the trip, and argue for the necessity for boycotts against Israel

* The American Studies Association, the Modern Language Association, and other academic associations continue to propose resolutions to boycott Israeli academic institutions, making the claim that Israeli academic institutions-and only Israeli ones-should be targeted for a boycott that marginalizes Jewish scholars because of the policies of their government. Radical faculty within these associations hold secret meetings and enlist the support of well-known Israel-haters who seek the destruction of the Jewish state.

Email from SPME

Female coder live-tweets overheard sexist remarks 'made by lunching IBM execs' who refuse to hire young women because they 'get pregnant again and again and again'

What the men were saying was perfectly reasonable given the many laws in existence which give women costly and disruptive special treatment -- maternity leave etc. Pro-women laws are so extreme in Sweeden that very few businesses will hire any. Most women can find jobs with the Swedish government only. British and Canadian laws are however moving in the Swedish direction. With the shortsightedness that is typical of the Left, feminists will never be able to see such problems however.

A group of IBM execs underestimated the all-pervading power of the Internet when they obliviously made loudmouth sexist remarks during a business lunch - which were overheard and subsequently live-tweeted by a furious female coder at the next table.

Lyndsay Kirkham, an editor and freelance web developer in Toronto, had her birthday lunch ruined on Monday as she listened to the 'Big Blue' suits explain that they don't hire young women because 'they are just going to get themselves pregnant again and again and again'.

Ms Kirkham, a mother to five-year-old Aodhan, wrote: 'These executives are so comfortable in the sexism that they are openly sharing. Wow. My disbelief is tempering my anger. #IBM.'

Ms Kirkham had just sat down to lunch at the Richtree restaurant in Toronto with her son and her son's father, when she heard two men at the table next to her being 'obnoxiously loudly and belligerent' about their hiring strategies.

The 36-year-old told MailOnline today: 'It caught my attention because they were talking on what I am passionate about, women working in technology.'

Ms Kirkham is head editor of Demeter Press and has an MA in English and Computer Science from the University of Toronto.

She works part-time in web development and does volunteer projects for women's organizations.

She said the men were in the 50-plus age range and very well-dressed.

She said that their loud remarks, with little heed of who was nearby, made her question if they had been drinking but she saw no evidence of alcohol.

Ms Kirkham told MailOnline on Wednesday that her anger grew as she listened to the men explain that they would hire 'mature' women who were not likely to have more children.

She said: 'They said that women needed to take more breaks and longer holidays due to ''work-family stress''.'

The execs also named specific women in their department who they were 'anticipating to take time off to have children' in the next few years, Ms Kirkham said.

The two men were then joined by a woman, believed to be a colleague, who nodded along in agreement at their misogynistic diatribe. 'Women can be just as responsible for sexism as men,' Ms Kirkham added.

The coder considered taking photos of the offending IBM execs but said she felt strongly about protecting their personal right to privacy.

The editor told MailOnline: 'This is a such a serious issue. They seemed to be willing to cut off, or not even consider, young women for career advancement and saw them only as baby machines.'

The working mother said that her run-in with the tech execs speaks to a more systemic problem for women in technology - whether in gaming, web design or at a corporate Goliath.

She said: 'It is rampant across the board. Anytime a woman goes to a tech conference, she has to worry about being harassed.

'Any time I write an article about technology, I have a man telling me that I don't know what I'm doing with a computer.'

Virginia Marie Rometty is the current chairman and CEO of IBM, the first woman to have ever headed the company.

When her role was announced in 2012, retiring CEO Samuel Palmisano told The New York Times: 'Ginni got it because she deserved it. It’s got zero to do with progressive social policies.'

According to the company's global employment standards: 'IBM will not discriminate in hiring, promotion, compensation of employees and employment practices on grounds of race, color, religion, age, nationality, social or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, marital status, pregnancy, political affiliation, disability or veteran status.'


California puts limits on full-contact youth football

California lawmakers have a new plan to make football safer for young players: Put a time limit on tackling.

Under a law signed Monday by Governor Jerry Brown, youth football teams are allowed just three hours of full-contact play per week during the season. In the off-season, full-contact play is not allowed at all. The law will also delay an injured player's return to the field. Players who are suspected of having head injuries cannot play for the rest of that day and must obtain approval from a medical professional before going back into a game.

The issue of football head injuries grabbed headlines nationally in the fall of 2013 as the NFL reached a $US765 million deal with 4500 former players who suffered such injuries. The issue also reached the high school level last year after a Mississippi parent filed the first federal lawsuit involving a high school athletic association over the treatment of concussions.

California Assemblyman Ken Cooley, a Democrat who drafted the legislation, said it will reduce the risk of lasting brain damage among players in middle school and high school.

Many states, including Alabama, Maryland and Texas, have added restrictions on full-contact play in the past year. At a conference this year, top health and college sports officials discussed a national mandate to limit the amount of full-contact practices.

Laws regulating youth football began sweeping the country in 2006, when a 13-year-old player suffered multiple blows to the head and fell into a coma for three months. Zackery Lystedt still walks with a cane and has limited speaking abilities - but continues to push for stronger regulation.

Every state now has safeguards against youth concussions. In January, Mississippi became the final state to pass a youth concussion law. A few months later, Indiana became the first state to require concussion education for coaches. The program is funded by a $US45 million national grant awarded to the Indianapolis-based youth organisation USA Football.

About 140,000 high school athletes sustained concussions in 2012, according to data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System.

The National Football League has also pushed for concussion safety bills on the federal level. A pair of bills requiring concussion prevention training were floated in Congress last year, though neither made it to a full vote.


Muslims Purge Christians From Mosul

Many people may be surprised to learn that Christians and Jews have lived peacefully in Muslim lands since Islam began. Christians and Jews predate Islam. Muhammad considered himself the last in the line of the prophets beginning with those of the Old Testament and continuing through to Jesus. Though not a paragon of virtue by any stretch, Muhammad respected the Bible enough to call Christians and Jews the “People of the Book,” and he granted them the right to live in Islamic lands and practice their religions. He considered others non-believers.

Islam divides the world in two: the House of Islam and the House of War. Muhammad told his followers to fight until non-believers submit to Islamic rule. From Islam’s beginning, Muhammad waged jihad against non-believers, using all the tactics of the ancient world: torture, rape, pillage, slavery and division of the spoils.

Then in the 20th century Islam’s tolerance of Jews and Christians began to disappear. Now terrorists widely practice heinous religious bigotry throughout the Middle East, and the great imams say nothing if not praise for such barbarism.

For months, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which now calls itself just the Islamic State, has waged jihad in Syria and Iraq, racing from sector to sector, crushing resistance. This borderless nation of Islamists is what we have long dubbed Jihadistan.

Last month, ISIL invaded Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city – a place where far too much American blood was spilled in what is now a lost cause. ISIL demanded that Christians pay a tax for non-Muslims, convert to Islam, leave or die. Reportedly, all Christian residents chose to leave. As they left, soldiers forced them to surrender all of their possessions except the clothes they wore. The flight of Christians from Mosul ends two millennia of Christian habitation in this historic city.

Since the U.S. invasion, more than one million Christians have been exiled from Iraq while an estimated 300,000 still remain.

And Iraq and Syria are not alone. Jihadis in Egypt and parts of Africa are driving thousands of Coptic Christians from their ancestral homes. As usual, Islamic imams and Western leaders are ignoring this descent into a new Dark Age.

So far the golfer-in-chief has remained silent on the issue of international Christian persecution. While the White House waged a pathetic hashtag campaign for the Nigerian girls abducted by jihadis, virtually nothing has been said or done to help Christians in Iraq. Also, Meriam Ibrahim, a pregnant Christian woman in Sudan, was sentenced to death for recanting her Islamic faith. She’s been jailed, released, jailed again and released again. Although she’s now at the American Embassy, Sudanese officials are playing cat and mouse with her and refuse to let her leave the country, claiming her passport is forged. Silence from the administration.

But fear not, Barack Obama and his sidekick Joe Biden have launched their own war on prejudice – international LGBT prejudice. Speaking to a group of U.S. and international homosexual rights advocates, Biden said that Obama has ordered U.S. foreign relations agencies to make LGBT rights a priority in dealings with nations throughout the world. “I don’t care what your culture is,” Biden sermonized. “Inhumanity is inhumanity is inhumanity. Prejudice is prejudice is prejudice.”

Taking a stern tone, Biden also warned, “[T]here is a price to pay for being inhumane…” He called homosexual rights “the civil rights issue of our day.” The administration has lectured countries like Uganda and Senegal for anti-homosexuality laws that are, in part, meant to curb the HIV and AIDS crisis in Africa.

But what about Christian and Jewish rights? Where’s the outrage from the leader of the free world when it comes to the hateful persecution and violence against these people? The arrogance and hypocrisy of this administration would choke the devil himself.

It is frightening to ponder the religious bigotry growing in the world today. Anti-Semitism is rising again in Europe and here in the U.S. – a disease we thought had been stamped out over 60 years ago. Muslim jihadis grow in number everyday. Where we go from here is anyone’s guess.



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

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

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


25 July, 2014

France's Jews Flee As Rioters Burn Paris Shops, Attack Synagogue

France's politicians and community leaders have criticised the "intolerable" violence against Paris' Jewish community, after a pro-Palestinian rally led to the vandalizing and looting of Jewish businesses and the burning of cars.

It is the third time in a week where pro-Palestinian activists have clashed with the city's Jewish residents. On Sunday, locals reported chats of "Gas the Jews" and "Kill the Jews", as rioters attacked businesses in the Sarcelles district, known as "little Jerusalem".

Manuel Valls, France's prime minister said: “What happened in Sarcelles is intolerable. An attack on a synagogue and on a kosher shop is simply anti-Semitism. Nothing in France can justify this violence.”

Francois Pupponi, the mayor of Sarcelles, told BFMTV that the violent attacks were carried out by a "horde of savages."

"When you head for the synagogue, when you burn a corner shop because it is Jewish-owned, you are committing an anti-Semitic act," interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve told reporters at a press conference at the local synagogue.

Eighteen people were arrested for attacks on shops, including a kosher supermarket, a Jewish-owned chemist and a funeral home. Rioters, who carried batons and threw petrol bombs according to eyewitnesses, were yards from the synagogue when they were driven back by riot police who used tear gas.

“They were shouting: ‘Death to Jews,’ and ‘Slit Jews’ throats’,” David, a Jewish sound engineer told The Times. “It took us back to 1938.”

“We called our town 'Little Jerusalem' because we felt at home here,” Laetitia, a longtime Sarcelles resident, told France 24. “We were safe, there were never any problems. And I just wasn't expecting anything like this. We are very shocked, really very shocked."

Roger Cuikerman, head of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France told Radio France International: "They are not screaming, 'Death to the Israelis' on the streets of Paris. They are screaming, "Death to the Jews." The community was not just scared, but "anguished."

The government had banned a demonstration planned in Paris for Saturday, but posters were seen around the area which said “Come equipped with hammers, fire extinguishers and batons" and promised a "raid on the Jewish district”.

France has around half a million Jews, the biggest population in Europe, and around five million Muslims.

The Society for the Protection of the Jewish Community's figures suggest that anti-Jewish violence is seven times higher than in the 1990s, and 40% of racist violence is against Jews, despite them making up just 1% of the population.

In March 2012, a shooting spree by Mohammed Merah in the south of France left three French soldiers, three Jewish schoolchildren and a rabbi dead. The gunman claimed a connection to al Qaeda.

More than a thousand Jews have made aliyah (the term used when Jews immigrate to Israel) in the past 10 days, according to the Israeli government.

"I came because of anti-Semitism,” said teary-eyed Veronique Rivka Buzaglo, one of 430 immigrants who arrived from France the day before. "You see it in the eyes of people. I see it in everything," she told HuffPost.

Buzaglo says nothing would have stopped her from becoming an Israeli citizen this week - not even the rocket sirens frequently blaring in the south of the country, where she plans to live.


Public backs British bakery in 'gay cake' row, says poll: Six in ten believe proposed court action over owners' refusal to bake cake is wrong

A majority of the country thinks the persecution of a bakery for refusing to make a cake advertising gay marriage is wrong, a poll found yesterday.

Six out of 10 think that it is ‘disproportionately heavy-handed’ to drag a bakery company to court because its Christian owners declined an order for the cake with a message.

Those who deplore the state-backed legal action against the bakers outnumber supporters by more than four to one, it said.

Most people also believe David Cameron was wrong to assure Parliament that his gay marriage laws would not ‘cause discrimination’ against dissidents who do not believe two people of the same sex should be able to marry.

The warning to the Prime Minister that equality laws are beginning to offend large numbers of people follows the outbreak earlier this month of the gay marriage cake scandal.

The Belfast-based Ashers Baking Company refused an order placed by a gay rights group for a decorated cake bearing the slogan ‘support gay marriage’.

The cake was also to have had pictures of two characters from Sesame Street, the name of the group, Queerspace, and the year it was founded, 1998.

The order from an activist, Gareth Lee, was accepted by shop staff.

However, the owners of the family-run company, Colin and Karen McArthur, and their son Daniel, who is manager, decided the message on the cake was contrary to their beliefs.

Mrs McArthur phoned Mr Lee to tell him the firm would not bake the cake, and to offer a refund.

Shortly afterwards the Northern Ireland branch of the state equality watchdog, the Equality Commission, wrote to the owners saying they had broken the law by discriminating on grounds of sexual orientation and that legal proceedings were to start within a week.

The threat provoked widespread anger because the bakery company did not refuse to serve a gay customer, the behaviour which the sexual orientation regulations, passed by Tony Blair’s government in 2006, were supposedly designed to stop.

Instead the company is being dragged to court because it declined to bake a cake intended to advertise a political message which ran against the religious beliefs of the owners.

Mr Cameron has signalled his support for the legal action, telling MPs that he has a commitment to equality and that ‘tolerance of and equality for people with different sexualities is a very important part of being British.’

However, the Prime Minister appears to be far out of line with majority opinion, according to the poll conducted by ComRes.

It said that 60 per cent believe the equality quango’s legal threat is disproportionate and heavy-handed, while just 14 per cent disagree. Just over a quarter, 26 per cent, didn’t know.

More than half those polled, 56 per cent, said businesses that decline to supply goods and services designed to promote gay marriage should not be at risk of legal action, together with high costs and compensation bills. Just 21 per cent thought that failing to fulfil an order for same sex marriage propaganda should be punished in the courts.

Another majority, 54 per cent, said the Prime Minister was wrong to assure Parliament that gay marriage ‘would not cause discrimination against those who believe it wrong.’ Fewer than one in five, 19 per cent, backed Mr Cameron.

The strong response suggests that the gay marriage cake affair has left the Prime Minister exposed to the charge that his same sex marriage laws have left opponents exposed to persecution.

The poll found 45 per cent think Christian businesses are being singled out for legal attack by gay activists, while 25 per cent disagreed. Some 55 per cent think the law should protect people from the compulsion to produced goods or services that violate their conscience, with 22 per cent against.

Only 30 per cent think enforcement of equality laws should always take priority over individual conscience, and 41 per cent say there should be legal room for conscience.

One senior judge, Supreme Court Deputy President Lady Hale, has said she believes there should be a ‘conscience clause’ in the law for Christians.

A think tank, the Christian Institute, is trying to raise the £30,000 required to mount a legal defence of Ashers.

Lawyers estimate the company faces a fine of £5,000, as well as legal costs if it loses in court.

Christian Institute director Colin Hart said: ‘These poll findings demonstrate huge public support for the Ashers bakery and they also demonstrate that David Cameron and the Equality Commission are completely out of touch with public opinion.

‘Gay marriage was introduced on the grounds of promoting equality. But this and other cases demonstrate that all it is doing is promoting divisions between people and fanning intolerance.

‘The Prime Minister assured the public that his gay marriage laws would not punish people who believe in the traditional definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman. As we warned, these assurances are proving worthless. Innocent people are being bullied for attempting to live by their Christian conscience.’

Mr Hart added: ‘Mr Cameron should follow the advice of Baroness Hale and introduce a conscience clause to the law to ensure that families like the McArthurs can safely conduct their lives and business unmolested by meddlesome equality police.’

The ComRes poll was taken among 2,007 people on 16 and 17 July.
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Duck Dynasty’s Missy: We Were Virgins Until Marriage – No Baggage, No Diseases, and God Recommended It

Duck Dynasty’s Missy Robertson said she “definitely recommends” chastity before marriage and added that she and her husband, Jase Robertson, maintained their virginity until their wedding night and, in this way, they “have no baggage, we have no diseases,” and “God recommended” such self-discipline for couples “many, many moons ago.”

Missy Robertson also said the highly popular Duck Dynasty television program was an opportunity that God provided to the Robertson family to spread a pro-family, pro-Christian message – “a way for us to get that message out” – stressing that the family hopes “to appeal to people, so they can want to learn more about this Jesus, who is this character, and why our family works, why are we not broken apart?”

At a Capitol Hill event to raise awareness about children born with cleft palates and lips – a condition the Robertson’s daughter, Mia, was born with – CNSNews.com, in an exclusive interview, asked Missy Robertson, “In your husband’s book, Good Call, he talks about your courtship and how the both of you maintained your virginity before you were married. And I wanted to know if you would recommend that for all young couples and, if so, what specific advice or counsel could you give to young folks today who are considering getting married and are trying to stay chaste before marriage?”

Missy Robertson said, “Well, I would definitely recommend it, although it’s not easy. It was very difficult. We dated for almost three years. But, you know, God had this plan before we were ever born. So, if you trust God with all your heart, soul, and mind, He’s not going to do you wrong. And so, we tried. We’re not perfect, and we tried very hard to do that, and that’s one thing we did accomplish and we waited until our wedding night. “

“We have no memories of anyone else, in our past; we have no baggage; we have no diseases that we have to take care of,” she said. “So, yes, I would definitely recommend it. God recommended it many, many, many moons ago. It just works out that way.”

Missy Robertson continued, “Jase said, his buddies would make fun of him, when we were dating, they’d say, ‘How are you going to know what to do?’ He says now, ‘Look, I’ve got three kids, I figured it out.’ So, it’s not rocket science.”

“Would I recommend it, yes,” she said. “I recommend it to my own children, and, so far, they have also. It’s a big goal but it’s very attainable.”

Asked whether maintaining virginity during her courtship strengthened their marriage, Missy Robertson said, “Oh, no doubt about it, no doubt, definitely. We built it on a spiritual foundation and we’ve both been married for 23, almost 24 years. So, I wouldn’t regret any of it.”

Jase Robertson is the second oldest son of Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson and the author of Good Call: Reflections on Faith, Family, and Fowl. He and his wife, Missy, have three children: Reed, Cole and Mia. The 10-year-old Mia has undergone several corrective surgeries for her cleft palate and lip, and her parents launched the Mia Moo Fund this year to raise awareness and funds to help advance medical research for the condition.

Duck Dynasty is in its sixth season and reportedly is viewed by an average 10.5 million viewers per episode. At the end of each show, the family gathers at the dinner table and says a prayer of thanksgiving to God.


The MYTH of the glass ceiling: Think women get a raw deal at work? In this ferocious blast, a pioneering woman boss - who eats sexist pigs for breakfast - says it's time we stopped whining

The distinguished author below, Dame Stephanie Shirley, is a hard-driving Jewish lady who fails to take account of the fact that very few women would have her drive. Her point however remains valid: Even in the old days it was a lack of ambition to succeed in a male world that held women back. So the present practice of handing jobs on a platter to women who may or may not be good at those jobs is a stupid and destructive form of bigotry

Early one afternoon on a quiet stretch of road in Oswestry in Shropshire, a 16-year-old schoolgirl walks briskly along, making the journey from a day’s lessons at the local girls’ school to the boys’ grammar a quarter of a mile away.

She’s dreading the moment she’ll take her seat to the jeers and caterwauls of her 30 male classmates.

Maths may be her best subject, but her school thinks it unfeminine, so she has won special dispensation to study it at a boys’ school — and will withstand no end of daily abuse for the privilege.

However far removed this scene may seem from the modern world, it is one that happened within living memory — my own.

That determined girl was me, less than 65 years ago. And recalling those uncomplaining first steps on my long slog to the top of the career ladder makes me despair at the grumbles of modern women.

We’ve all heard the bleatings: sexist working environments, long hours and the tough ride to the top they say they have to endure.

The complaints seem to grow louder every year. I read last week about a furious former City personal assistant who has written her memoirs, determined to settle scores with the sexist bosses she claims wronged her — criticising her work and keeping her in the office until 6.45pm, no less.

Quite frankly, these women have nothing to complain about. They really have never had it so easy. If only she and other aggrieved women like her knew what I had to put up with just a generation before, they might moan less and, instead, focus on the giddy heights now firmly within their grasp.

As an 80-year-old business leader, I have spent the past 50 years fighting sexist, out-dated attitudes towards women in male-dominated industries.

Those first maths lessons taught me much more than just arithmetic. They were an invaluable schooling in the inherent sexism I was to meet head-on throughout my working life — which I refused to be cowed by.

After studying advanced mathematics at London’s Sir John Cass College and computer logic at Birkbeck College, I embarked on a career in computer programming and became inured to working in male-only environments. I’ve hit the glass ceiling so many times that I joke my head is now flat.

But it was the glass ceiling that broke — not me. And, believe me, women today would baulk at some of the blatant, institutionalised sexism that not only existed, but was actively encouraged back then.

Rather than allow myself to be patronised or overlooked, in 1962 I launched my own IT services company, Xansa, which, when it peaked in the Eighties, meant I was worth £150?million. I achieved this with a £6 bank loan and a very thick skin.

My aim was to employ women, letting them work from home and manage their own workloads. To empower them, long before such corporate buzzwords were ever voiced.

This was at a time when fewer than nine million women worked (today that number is well over 13??million), and those who did manage to win themselves a role other than wife, mother or cleaner were paid far less than men, prevented from holding positions of power and even from opening a bank account without their husband’s written permission.

When I think of what I could have achieved today, it makes me long to be young again, and all the more frustrated at modern women counting their grievances, rather than their blessings.

What holds back any other woman from trying to emulate — or outdo — me?

The law is clear: The 1970 Equal Pay Act and 2010 Equality Act enshrined our rights to any job we set our minds to — from bus driver to stock broker and now even bishop — safe in the knowledge that maternity leave and childcare benefits will help us along.

Girls are outperforming boys from primary school to medical school, powering into top law positions and FTSE 100 companies.

Even in industries such as IT, where there is some distance to go, we are moving in the right direction. Indeed, we seem to have swung so far the other way that the European Commission is now threatening to force boards and businesses to comply with quotas for female employment or face penalties.

Quotas have already been imposed in Belgium, Iceland, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain — and, quite frankly, it’s a tragedy. There should be no place for such positive discrimination in professional life.

As a firm believer in equality, and no matter how tough the climb, I want to be promoted on my performance — and that alone — and evaluated in the same way as everyone else.

It’s because of all this nonsense that reverse sexism is creeping into certain corners of industry and business where women are being hired simply because they are female.

There’s pressure to get women on the payroll and recruiters want to tick boxes.

Take the recent Cabinet reshuffle, where David Cameron appeared to be going out of his way to push up female numbers.

From three female Cabinet members, we now have six. Fine, so long as it is for the right reasons.

It’s all very well to enjoy chivalry, but if you really want to be accepted as an equal in the workplace, you need to work hard and not expect special treatment. No one became a CEO in my day for working a three-day week and leaving at 5pm.

I confess I employed reverse sexism myself when I set up Xansa. I hired only women for 13 years. It was a decision borne of desperation and frustration — it was the only way to show what working women could achieve in a culture when they were viewed as plankton.

Now the world recognises both our right and our ability to succeed, women should never be there to just make up the numbers — whether that’s in the recently reshuffled Tory Cabinet or any other corner of industry.

There’s no doubt the only thing holding many women back is themselves. I remember interviewing a shortlist of candidates for a new finance director position at Xansa on a hot summer’s day, years ago.

Several women were in the running, and as each of them arrived, one after another, I almost choked: each was in a little dress revealing their legs or décolletage. How could I have them representing me looking like that?

How you dress sends out a strong message. People judge on appearance and dressing seriously means being taken seriously. Thigh flashing is an obvious no-no.

Nor, now maternity leave and the right to ask for flexible working hours are a given, should work be a place to bring family problems (rather than being unheard of, as they were when I gave birth to my only son, Giles, in 1963).

My upbringing undoubtedly played an enormous part in shaping my beliefs. I arrived in Britain as a five-year-old Jewish refugee on one of the last Kindertransport trains from Germany at the start of World War II, after waving goodbye to my parents.

Placed with foster parents in the West Midlands who answered a local newspaper advert asking if anyone would put up ‘two sisters, brought up in a nice family’, I quickly learned that to survive I had to deal with change.

Picked up from one family and one language and parachuted into another, there was little choice. I was determined to make mine a life worth saving, which gave me all the drive I needed to fight my way to the top.

I learned right from my first job to adapt to one rule for men and another for women.

In 1951, I started working for the scientific civil service, where we were paid by age and gender. I got £4 a week, while a man of the same age doing the same job would get £5 — 25 per cent more.

Of course, I was livid. Often I had to carry heavy computer equipment along a corridor and men would offer to help. I would bat tetchily back, ‘I believe in equal pay and I will carry my own equipment,’ before struggling off.

Throughout my 20s I got used to the idea that the more I became recognised as a serious young woman who was aiming high, the more violently I was resented and more implacably I was kept in my place by men in senior positions.

Probably the sagest advice from one colleague early on was ‘never forget you are an honorary male’ — by which he meant don’t rest on your laurels because you’ll never truly be ‘one of us’.

That never rang truer than in 1963, the year after I started up Xansa. I was sending out business development letters but getting no response. It was demoralising and I knew they were just being thrown into the wastepaper bin.

My husband, Derek suggested it might be because of my very feminine name: Stephanie Shirley. On his suggestion I began signing my name Steve, a family nickname, to see what happened. It worked.

The replies and invitations to meet began to arrive. There was always the frisson of excitement when I arrived into a crowded meeting room full of suits and the men realised I was not one of them. But by then, I was through the door.

Considering myself one of the boys didn’t stop men in senior positions putting their arms around me and pinching my bottom. But I developed a thick skin and sharp tongue and learned to deal with it. I certainly didn’t run crying to the loos or the nearest solicitor, threatening to sue.

Young women now in the City complain they find some male environments oppressive and difficult. They are quick to fight loudly against it or throw in the towel. Sometimes, all that’s required is the backbone to cut men down to size. We are more than capable of speaking up for ourselves — I’ve spent a lifetime doing it.

Conditions have never been more in our favour, yet where men dive in head first, women are hesitant.

Official data shows female membership of FTSE 100 boards is on course to hit the Government target of 25 per cent by next year.

Frankly, with the education and employment prospects of today, it’s a disgrace that women don’t achieve 51 per cent — our share of the population. We’ve never had it so good. It’s time we stopped whinging and got on with 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 July, 2014

It's like 1938, says Israeli ambassador to Germany: Outbreaks of anti-Semitism on the rise across Europe

Jewish people are being attacked and abused on the streets of Germany as though the country were back in the Nazi era, political and religious leaders warned yesterday.

Escalating violence between Israel and Hamas in Gaza has prompted a disturbing rise in anti-Semitism in Europe in the last few days.

Murderous slogans dating back to the days of Hitler have been chanted at pro-Palestinian rallies in Germany. Jewish-owned shops were attacked and burned in riots in France at the weekend.

The Israeli ambassador to Germany, Yakov Hadas-Handelsman, said: ‘They pursue the Jews in the streets of Berlin… as if we were in 1938.’

Jewish groups expressed disgust over the tide of hate crimes and warned of ‘a new level of hatred and violence in all of Europe’.

Foreign ministers from Germany, France and Italy yesterday issued a joint statement condemning the rise in anti-Semitic protests and violence and vowed to combat hostility against Jewish people.

In Germany, there have been reports of protesters chanting ‘Jews to the gas chambers’. Police in Berlin have banned race-hate slogans that reappeared after being originally used in the days of the Nazis.

Officers had to protect an Israeli tourist at the weekend after protesters spotted his yarmulke (a small, round cap) and reportedly charged towards him shouting ‘Jew! We’ll get you.’

Fourteen people were arrested in the western city of Essen on suspicion of planning an attack on a synagogue. The imam of a Berlin mosque is under investigation after allegedly calling on Muslims to murder ‘Zionist Jews’.

Dieter Graumann, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said the rise in attacks was a terrifying reminder of an era that was thought to be in the distant past.

He said: ‘We are currently experiencing in this country an explosion of evil and violent hatred of Jews, which shocks and dismays all of us.

‘We would never in our lives have thought it possible any more that anti-Semitic views of the nastiest and most primitive kind can be chanted on German streets.’

The Jewish population of Germany has increased in the past two decades to around 250,000, most of them migrants from the former Soviet Union who came after German reunification.


Court: ‘No Obligation’ Under European Convention to Allow Same-Sex Marriage

The European Convention on Human Rights “enshrines the traditional concept of marriage as between a man and a woman,” and there is ”no obligation on Contracting States to grant same-sex couples access to marriage,” the European Court of Human Rights ruled last Wednesday.

Article 12 of the European Convention, which governs the Council of Europe, states that “men and women of marriageable age have the right to marry and to found a family, according to the national laws governing the exercise of this right.”

The Council of Europe is a regional human rights body composed of 47 nations, 28 of which are also members of the European Union. Currently, only 11 European nations recognize same-sex marriage, while 39 others do not.

“While it is true that some Contracting States have extended marriage to same-sex partners, Article 12 cannot be construed as imposing an obligation on the Contracting States to grant access to marriage to same-sex couples,” noted the majority opinion in Hämäläinen v. Finland.

The case came before the Human Rights Court in Strasbourg, France in 2009 after Finland - which does not recognize same-sex marriage - refused to recognize Heli Hämäläinen’s sex change without a divorce or a civil partnership.

Hämäläinen, who married a woman in 1996 and had a child with her, underwent a male-to-female operation in 2009 but wanted to stay married instead of getting a divorce. A same-sex marriage “was an unintended and accidental outcome of legal gender recognition,” Hämäläinen argued.

According to court documents, since Hämäläinen’s “wife had not given her consent to the transformation of their marriage into a registered partnership,” as required under Finnish law, “the applicant’s new gender could not be recorded in the population register.”

The Court ruled that since a registered partnership “was a genuine option which provided legal protection for same-sex couples that was almost identical to that of marriage,” Hämäläinen’s rights had not been violated.

In an open letter to the court, Hämäläinen said that the couple would stay married, adding that "the easiest option this time could be detransition and adoption of the former male forenames."

However, transgender rights advocates like Amnesty International decried the ruling, calling it “disappointing and unjust.”

Jezerca Tigani, deputy director of Amnesty’s Europe and Central Asia Program, noted in a press release that “with this deeply disappointing and unjust ruling, the European Court of Human Rights is condoning Finland’s repressive laws affecting transgender people and reinforcing harmful gender stereotypes.”

“These laws are disproportionate and discriminatory,” Tigani added. “They are forcing Heli to choose between legal recognition of her gender identity and staying married with her partner. Having to choose one over the other is a violation of her rights….The discriminatory laws preventing same-sex couples from marrying should not be used to deny Heli the enjoyment of her right to private and family life."

But social conservatives, including Ireland’s Iona Institute, supported the court’s decision.

“While the ruling still leaves it up to signatory countries to decide what form marriage should take in their legal systems, it makes it harder for campaigners to argue that same-sex marriage is a ‘fundamental right’ let alone ‘the civil rights issue of this generation',” the Institute said in a Friday newsletter.


Do Blacks Need Favors?

By Walter E. Williams

Earlier this month, the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act was celebrated. During the act's legislative debate, then-Sen. Hubert Humphrey, responding to predictions, promised, "I'll eat my hat if this leads to racial quotas."

I don't know whether Humphrey got around to keeping his promise, but here's my question: Is it within the capacity of black Americans to make it in this society without the special favors variously called racial preferences, quotas, affirmative action and race-sensitive policies? What might a "yes" answer to that question assume and imply about blacks? Likewise, what would a "no" answer assume and imply? Let's look at it.

There are some areas of black life in which excellence can be found without the slightest hint of racial preferences. Young blacks dominate basketball, football and some track-and-field events despite the fact that there has been a history of gross racial discrimination in those activities. Blacks are also prominent in several areas of the entertainment industry. Those observations mean that racial discrimination alone is not an insurmountable barrier to success. By the way, I can't think of any two fields with more ruthless competition.

You say, "OK, Williams, everyone knows about the success of blacks in sports and entertainment, but what about the intellectual arena?" A few inner-city junior high and high schools have produced black champion chess players, schools such as Philadelphia's Roberts Vaux High School and New York's Edward R. Murrow High School. Last year, two black teens — from Intermediate School 318 Eugenio Maria de Hostos in Brooklyn, New York — won the national high-school chess championship. All of this is in addition to quite a few black international masters and grandmasters in chess. Moreover, there's a long list of former and current black inventors and scientists. So there's no question that black people have the capacity to compete intellectually.

Civil rights organizations and their progressive allies, who all but suggest that blacks cannot achieve unless they are given special privileges, grossly insult and demean black people.

But worse than that, when civil rights organizations and their progressive allies pursue special privileges for blacks in college admissions and when they attack academic performance standards as racially discriminatory, they are aiding and abetting an education establishment that delivers fraudulent education. They let educators off the hook, thereby enabling them to continue to produce educational fraud.

You say, "What do you mean by educational fraud, Williams?" There are many inputs to education that are beyond the control of educators, such as poor home environment, derelict parental oversight and students with minds alien and hostile to the education process. But there's one thing entirely within the control of the education establishment. That is the conferral of a high-school diploma.

When a school confers a diploma upon a student, it attests that the student has mastered the 12th-grade levels of reading, writing and arithmetic. If, in fact, the student cannot perform at the seventh- or eighth-grade levels, the school has committed gross fraud. Even worse is the fact that black people, including those holding fraudulent diplomas, are completely unaware. It has absolutely nothing to do with racial discrimination. In fact, black education is the worst in cities where blacks have been the mayor, chief of police and superintendent of schools and where most of the teachers and principals are black.

Racial preferences in college admissions give elementary schools, middle schools and high schools a free hand to continue their destructive educational policy. If colleges did not have special admissions practices for black students, there would be far fewer blacks in colleges, and the fraud would be more apparent to parents. They might begin to ask why so many blacks with high-school diplomas could not get into college.

If the civil rights establishment and the progressives have their way, blacks will have to rely on special privileges in perpetuity.


Moral Equivalence Is Usually Moral Negligence

By David Limbaugh

Efforts to proclaim moral equivalence are not always misguided; sometimes each side is equally at fault or close enough. But these efforts are often misguided and unhelpful — and sometimes harmful.

Throughout my life, there has been an increasing trend to attach moral equivalence to all kinds of disputes and conflicts, such as Israel vs. Hamas, which is the subject of a future column. I assume this is mostly an outgrowth of our culture's descent into moral relativism, but it's also a product of our intellectual laziness.

We see it everywhere. It is a common practice in describing marriages gone wrong. "It takes two." "Who's to say who is more at fault?" Well, that sounds good and is often true, but how about in the case of the spousal or child abuser?

But where I find it most troubling is in partisan politics. There the trend toward moral equivalence is the wrongdoer's best friend. If we dismiss every despicable and corrupt act with the mindless cliché "everyone does it," then we excuse the wrongdoer for his misconduct and encourage further misbehavior.

Sure, both sides are often at fault, but that isn't always the case, and it doesn't make you a better person to say otherwise if it isn't true.

For example, I don't know a single conservative who supports muzzling leftist thought or speech, no matter how repugnant he may find it. Yet leftists are strongly supportive of various measures to suppress, even outlaw, conservative speech, from campus speech codes to the Fairness Doctrine. There is no way to describe this disparity in terms of moral equivalence.

I sincerely believe there is a reason liberals engage in this behavior far more than conservatives. It is because many of them believe that their ends, which they believe are vastly superior, justify their means. I've seen it so much that I suspect it is inherent in leftist ideology.

See the irony? Liberals, who are usually the first to throw up moral equivalency arguments when caught red-handed, are skilled practitioners at judging us — their political opponents — all the while claiming they just want everyone to get along. Through such moral shaming about moral judgments, the left intimidates conservatives from making and articulating their own moral assessments.

Modern manifestations of this practice are the left's virtual weaponization of political correctness, its obsession with so-called "diversity" and multiculturalism, and its rejection of the idea of American exceptionalism.

Multiculturalism is, for many of its most ardent leftist proponents, an Orwellian tool to disparage Western civilization and Western culture. The multiculturalist professes that all cultures are equal and in the next breath condemns Western culture because, in his view, it is unfairly exclusive, intolerant and bigoted.

He sees no conflict in making this negative judgment, because to him, it's not intolerant to refuse to tolerate cultures and worldviews he believes to be intolerant.
It's the exact type of warped and muddled thinking that leads him to justify muzzling conservative speech; in other words, conservative ideas are so despicable that they don't deserve protection. But his argument is self-defeating because while he says it's intolerant to judge other cultures, he is judging ours.

But there's a big difference between treating everyone — all people and cultures — with respect and treating their ideas as equally valid and profitable. Though I agree that we can borrow and have borrowed great things from other civilizations and peoples, I believe that the American idea is exceptional and that it has led to the freest, most prosperous and most beneficent nation in world history.

That's hardly a racist or nativist idea, for Americans truly are — at least up until recent times — a melting pot of all races and ethnicities. It is the American idea that is superior, not the American people. America is about freedom, made possible by limited government, established by a Constitution anchored in Judeo-Christian values.

Our nation, based on a superior system of government, has been the beacon to the world. This system was crafted by 18th-century giants who knew that certain ideas are superior to others and that the political history of the world provides the clues. They designed our system to allow what is great about human beings to flourish and to keep in check our evil propensities.

But when we abandon our God-given gift to make intellectual distinctions, when we surrender our duty to make discriminating moral judgments, we forfeit our own intellectual integrity and moral authority. When we can't hold up certain standards as preferable, we descend into irrelevance and meaninglessness.

The United States, despite its faults and missteps, has, among nations, been the greatest force for good in history and can continue to be if we return to our roots and our founding ideals.

President Barack Obama and his leftist ilk outright reject these ideas. They don't believe in American exceptionalism and the superiority of the American idea, which explains why they have no problem managing the decline of our military power and refusing to zealously protect our borders.

Conservatives, for their part, need to overcome their timidity and quit trying to appease and emulate the left and mollify the gods of political correctness. It's time that we start championing our ideas — based on the American idea — as if we believe they are superior.

We must remember what has made us unique and great and rededicate ourselves to re-establishing those founding principles. There is no room for moral equivalence here and nothing moral about pretending there is. We forsake the American idea at our peril.



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 July, 2014

Some multicultural shopping in Britain

David Sadiku

A gang of armed robbers who repeatedly fired a stun gun at a pawn shop manager in a £43,000 raid have been jailed for a total of 94 years.

David Sadiku, 41, and Kelly Day, 36, posed as a couple selling a Rolex watch to con their way into a pawnbroker’s in Ilford, Essex.

Once inside Maxcroft Securities Ltd, Sadiku pulled out a gun and dragged manager Naom Margolin out of his office while Day let fellow gang members - Paulius Strasunskas, 27, Francis Carbon, 32, Amjit Bharj, 47, and Aamir Kayani, 31 - into the shop.

Mr Margolin was shocked up to ten times with the stun gun and pistol-whipped in the face but managed to press the panic button, while a woman employee was stunned in the face.

The gang escaped with £43,000 worth of cash and jewellery, but were today behind bars after they were foiled during another robbery at a convenience store.

Sadiku and Day pleaded guilty to taking part in the Maxcroft robbery and the others were convicted following a nine-week trial at Old Bailey.

Another man, Michael Carbon, 26, who was involved in the mini-supermarket raid confessed to armed robbery, and was found guilty of a gun charge.

During the raid on July 5, last year Carbon told at staff at Maxcroft ‘I will f****** kill you’ as he demanded they empty their desks, while Strasunskas demanded: ‘Where’s the f****** money’.

He then put a stun gun to the face of one of the female members of staff and fired it at point blank range, the court was told.

‘She heard a cracking noise and felt a lot of pain. What had happened is he had used the stun gun on her face,’ said prosecutor Kerry Broome during the nine week trial. ‘Her face was swollen and painful.

‘There was no need at all for anyone to administer a Taser, led alone to the face. ‘He also administered the same gun to Mr Margolin’s head and neck area.’

Two customers were also forced to hand over wedding jewellery they were attempting to retrieve from the pawnbroker’s.

On June 25, just a few days before the attack at the pawnbroker's, the gang had tried to raid a Muslim wedding celebration after it had been announced in the local paper.

One wedding guest was Tasered in the face by the gang, but still managed to stop them from entering the home.

Then on August 8, officers from the Flying Squad - who had been following the gang since the Maxcroft robbery - swooped on gang members during a raid on Milap mini-supermarket in Chadwell Heath, east London.

Sadiku, Strasunskas, Carbon, Kayani, Day, and Bharj, were linked to the Maxcroft raid, while Michael Carbon was identified as part of the gang in the third robbery.

Michael Carbon and Strasunkas threatened staff with a handgun, stealing cash and other valuables before were stopped by armed police as they tried to escape.

Francis Carbon and Kayani, who were acting as a getaway driver and a lookout, were arrested nearby.

Sadiku, of Walthamstow, east London, admitted to aggravated burglary, burglary, two counts of robbery, two counts of carrying a firearm with criminal intent, two counts of possession of a prohibited weapon and one count of possessing a firearm with intent to commit an offence. He was jailed for a total of 13 years.

Day, of Ilford, admitted robbery and carrying a firearm with criminal intent and was jailed for six years.

Strasunksas, of Clayhall, Francis Carbon, Barking, and Kayani, 31, of Romford, were convicted of aggravated burglary, two counts of robbery, burglary, two counts of carrying a firearm with criminal intent, two counts of possession of a prohibited weapon, and one of possessing a firearm.

Strasunksas was jailed for 15 years, Francis Carbon was sentenced to 18 years in prison, and Kayani was jailed for 17 years.

Bharj, 47, from Upminster, Essex, was found guilty of two counts of robbery, one of burglary, carrying a firearm with criminal intent, possession of a prohibited weapon, and possession of a firearm. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Michael Carbon, 26, of Plaistow, east London, was convicted of burglary, robbery, and possession of a firearm. He was jailed for ten years.

Sentencing, Judge Nigel Seed QC told the gang: ‘The stun gun was used in the face of a female employee as well as several times on the manager.

‘The female employees were terrified, and one heard a shout of “I’ll f****** kill you”. ‘The employees were subjected to violence and forced at gunpoint to hand over the contents of their desk drawers.

‘An innocent couple of customers there redeeming family jewellery and gold had that taken as well.

‘This had been carefully planned.’


British government minister to cut 'penal' death tax on pensions

George Osborne, the Chancellor, will cut the 'penal' 55 per cent death tax on pension funds in his Autumn Statement

Hundreds of thousands of pensioners will be able to leave more of their money to their children under government plans to cut “penal” death taxes.

George Osborne will announce in his Autumn Statement that the 55 per cent rate on drawdown pension funds due when the holder dies will be reduced.

It is expected to fall in line with the 40 per cent inheritance tax rate in an attempt to encourage more people to take advantage of the Government’s pension reforms.

Under the reforms, Mr Osborne has scrapped rules that force most Britons to use their pension savings to buy an annuity.

The freedoms will make it easier and cheaper for people to withdraw money directly from their pension pots. Mr Osborne said on Monday that people will be given free, independent advice on how to invest their pensions. He added that it was time to end the “patronising” view that the “state knows best how people should spend their money”.

The Chancellor said that the reforms would “give people who have saved hard all their lives greater access to their pensions”.

More than 400,000 people have drawdown pensions, which remain invested in the stock market when people retire. They can then draw an annual income.

Drawdown pensions are seen as a more attractive option than annuities, which lock people into a fixed annual income for the rest of their lives. The Treasury believes that more people will take advantage of drawdown pensions under the government’s reforms.

At present if people die without exhausting their pension funds, their inheritance to their children or grandchildren is taxed at 55 per cent.

In a consultation document published on Monday, the Treasury acknowledged that the rate may be “too high” and “needs to be changed”.

The document states: “This is an important issue which could have implications for many people under the new system.

“The government will therefore continue to consider the options for altering the rate and will confirm its intention at the Autumn Statement 2014.”

Mr Osborne said: “We are talking about trusting people here. It’s not my money, it’s your money, this is the money of people who have worked hard and saved hard.

“We have reached a major milestone today in these reforms, which are going to come in and give people who have saved hard all their lives greater access to their pensions.”

Ros Altmann, a pensions experts and the Government’s “older people’s tsar”, said: “The 55 per cent rate is penal and we are trying to make pensions more popular.

“If someone is unlucky to pass away before they use their pension fund that shouldn’t mean that you penalise their estate. If they had their money in an Isa they would just face inheritance tax.”

The Government is also preparing the way for a new generation of more flexible “super annuities”, which could allow pensioners to withdraw lump sums.

Ministers also disclosed that they will be increasing the earliest age at which people can start withdrawing their pensions from 55 to 57 by 2028.

It comes after the Office for Budget Responsibility warned that people will have to work longer to help pay off Britain’s debts. The OBR suggested that the state pension age is likely to rise to 70 within 50 years.


UK: Civil servants more productive after spending cuts

Workers in the public sector have become more productive since the Government began wielding the axe on the sector, according to the head of its independent fiscal watchdog.

Robert Chote, chairman of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), said the financial crisis and subsequent spending cuts had made the civil service more efficient and forced people to “respond” to these changes by working harder.

“In terms of, has it made a difference to the way people perform their jobs, I’m sure it does,” he told The Telegraph.

According to official data, productivity in the public sector showed zero growth between 1997 and 2010, meaning the only way the Government has been able to increase productivity is by hiring more staff.

While Mr Chote stressed that it was not up to the OBR to make a judgment about whether civil servants were providing more “value for money” than they were before the crisis, he said he was “sure” workers had changed their behaviour.

Mr Chote also said the OBR had been “surprised” that public sector spending cuts had not “acted as the drag on economic growth” that it had anticipated.

He said post-crisis output in the public sector had held up relatively well despite the reduction in input costs such as labour and capital spending, suggesting that public bodies have been able to squeeze the same amount of growth out of fewer resources.

Mr Chote also warned that Britons faced a permanent reduction in living standards if productivity growth remained weak across the whole economy.

He said that was the “biggest risk” to the UK economy getting back towards stable growth.

“In the medium term, [the question is] are we going to get back to a position where productivity growth grows reasonably healthily, and wages pick up as well? Because in terms of having a sustainable outlook for household consumption, you need to see that return to real income growth.

“It’s fundamentally productivity growth that determines living standards.


About Those Dirty Little Sisters of the Poor

Boy, our political debate is getting crasser by the moment.

And so it is that the National Organization for Women has put the Little Sisters of the Poor, an international congregation of Roman Catholic nuns who have devoted their lives to caring for the elderly poor, on its "Dirty 100" list.

NOW is upset that the Little Sisters sued the federal government, arguing that new ObamaCare mandates are inhibiting their constitutional right to freely practice their faith - that their vow to advance the dignity of life for every person, no matter how weak or unwanted, means they can never provide insurance policies that fund contraception, abortive drugs and sterilization, which ObamaCare was forcing them to do.

So NOW is calling the Little Sisters dirty - though the group should have done its research before attempting to tarnish some of the most remarkable women who have ever graced this Earth.

Little Sisters of the Poor was founded in France by Jeanne Jugan in 1839, when Jugan's association offered care and dignity to her first house guest.

Her mission, after all, was to dedicate her life to providing hospitality, dignity and care to the aged poor who could no longer care for themselves.

Born to modest circumstances, she trusted that God would provide the housing and resources she would need to care for her residents and she was correct.

To provide for the needs of the aged poor, she began a tradition still practiced today by which the Little Sisters visit merchants and others seeking alms of every kind - food, clothing, donations.

By 1849, she founded six more homes for the elderly. By 1850, she had 500 associates and houses as far away as England. By 1879, the year she died, she had 2,400 associates providing care.

Today, Little Sisters of the Poor operates 200 homes in more than 30 countries providing care to more than 13,000 elderly residents - including a wonderfully cheerful operation on Pittsburgh's North side.

For Jugan's efforts, she was canonized a saint in 2009.

Her "dynamism is continued today across the world in the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Poor, which she founded and which testifies, after her example, to the mercy of God and the compassionate love of the Heart of Jesus for the lowliest," said Pope Benedict XVI at her canonization ceremony.

What is most striking about Jugan's legacy is how her worldview was so different from that of NOW and so many others in our culture today.

Jugan's interpretation of the term "rights" was that every individual is a child of God and has a right to experience dignity and love in his or her final days. She never demanded her government establish mandates to care for the elderly poor or even provide funding. She simply did everything she could as a private individual to provide dignity and love.

In the United States, her organization has always been free to operate according to its principles. It has provided health insurance policies for its employees for years that did not fund contraception, abortive drugs or sterilization (though employees were, and still are, free to purchase such items on their own).

This was never a pressing problem until our ever-encroaching federal government demanded these things be included in insurance policies with the passage of ObamaCare.

So NOW, which considers government-mandated birth control a greater right than that of religious groups to run their organizations according to their religious principles, is calling some of the most humble and accomplished women on the planet dirty.

And that's why, as our government expands into our personal and religious lives, our political debate is getting crasser by the moment.



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 July, 2014

Multicultural accountancy in Britain

An accountant at a chain of academies championed by Michael Gove is at the centre of a fraud investigation after £4million of school funds ended up in his personal accounts.

Nigerian-born Samuel Kayode is said to have spent much of the cash on an extravagant lifestyle and buying a string of properties.

The 57-year-old part-time pastor was told by the High Court to pay £4.1million back to the Haberdashers’ Aske’s chain of academies more than a year ago.

He has failed to do so, and it is feared most of the cash has been transferred to Nigeria.

The case, kept secret for almost two years, is believed to be Britain’s biggest ever education fraud.

Although Kayode was arrested in October 2012, police have yet to charge him with any crime.

Critics of academies – state schools which have control of their own finances – say the massive loss of cash calls that entire system into question.

Questions were also asked about whether Mr Gove – who lost his job as Education Secretary last week – took close enough interest in the case.

The vast sum of money is missing from the Haberdashers’ Aske’s Federation Trust in South London.

It is named after 17th century silk merchant Robert Aske who left much of his wealth to create an educational charity fund run by the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers.

The Haberdashers’ Aske’s public schools for boys and girls in Hertfordshire were founded with his money.

Three Haberdashers’ Aske’s state secondaries in South-East London – Hatcham College, Knight’s Academy and Crayford Academy – are run by the trust as a separate charitable wing funded by Mr Aske’s endowment. They were often referred to by Mr Gove in speeches.

Kayode went to work at Hatcham in 1997 and rose to become accounts manager for the whole chain.

He was paid £57,000 a year, and told colleagues of his work as a pastor in the Christ Apostolic Church, South London, peppering his conversations with ‘praise the Lord’.

In October 2012 it emerged that a large sum of money was missing from the academies’ funds.

Kayode’s assets and those of his wife Grace, who died aged 53 last year, were then frozen.

It appeared that huge sums of school money had been paid into a bank account in Nigeria and a company called Samak, which is said to be run in Nigeria by Kayode’s second wife Yoni, although he denies any wedding has taken place.

The trust launched a High Court case to reclaim the missing cash but the accountant denied wrongdoing and claimed ‘all transactions had been authorised by the finance director’.

However, the judge found in the trust’s favour last July and ordered Kayode and the estate of his late wife to pay back more than £4million plus interest.

He remains at large and is not facing any charges, although he is due to speak to detectives again this week.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman would say only that a man from Lambeth was on police bail.

Adrian Percival, chief executive of Haberdashers’ Aske’s Federation Trust, said: ‘The civil case found in favour of the federation and we are trying to recover the money that has been taken from us. We are obviously shocked and saddened.’

But furious parents say Haberdashers’ Aske’s has tried to hush the scandal up.

Jill Rutter, who has several children at the Hatcham academy, said in an online blog: ‘The fraud strikes at the heart of the educational establishment and shows that the current system and the freedom afforded to academies is not working. Ultimately it is our children that suffer.’

Kayode’s boss at Haberdashers’ Aske’s, former chief finance officer Paul Durgan, is now working for a new academies chain.

He said: ‘Sam Kayode completely had me taken, like everybody else. Nobody from the police or school has spoken to me.’


Racial Politics May Determine Who Controls Senate in 2014

It is no accident that rhetoric about race has been ramping up at a time when racial politics can be the key determinant for control of the Senate this year.

At least three states – North Carolina, Louisiana, and Arkansas – are red states with vulnerable Democrat Senators up for re-election that have large black populations.

Can racism really be as rampant in America as all the current rhetoric implies?

A Google search for “racism” will produce a long list of articles from the most recent week’s news claiming racism on issue after issue of national concern.

We need to dig deeper and give more careful thought about whether racism is as pervasive as all the rhetoric seems to imply or whether other factors are driving the problems that continue to plague non-white communities. And if so, perhaps all the rhetoric about race we’re hearing reflects more Democratic political operations than realities of America.

In important ways, American attitudes on race have changed dramatically.

According to Gallup, in 1958 only 4 percent of Americans believed marriage between individuals of different races was acceptable. Today 87 percent say interracial marriage is okay.

A society, in which almost ninety percent of people believe it is just fine for individuals of different races to marry and have children together, can hardly be called a racist society.

And, of course, a black man today sits in the White House serving his second term as president.

Granted, in 2012 the Republican candidate, Romney won 61 percent of the white vote. But 39 percent of whites voted for the black, Democrat candidate.

It turns out, as the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza wrote last year, that in every presidential election since 1972, the average percentage white vote for the Democrat candidate was just about the same as what Obama got in in 2012 – around 39 percent.

So a real headline about election of our first black president was that race had hardly had any impact at all on voting patterns. The percentage of whites voting Republican was around the norm as was the percentage of whites voting for the Democrat. A black Democrat did not drive away white Democrats.

The Post’s Cillizza shows that the driving political reality of recent presidential elections has been the growing non-white percentage of the electorate and that most of these non-white Americans support Democrats.

In 1980 88 percent of the electorate was white compared to 72 percent in 2012.

In 1980, 23 percent of Democrat voters were non-white compared to 44 percent in 2012. In 1980 4 percent of Republican voters were non-white compared to 11 percent in 2012.

The growing percentage of our voters is not white and they largely vote for Democrats.

If the key difference between the two parties is about big government versus limited government, much of what America’s future will look like will ride on whether Republicans can make any headway with non-white voters with a limited government message.

I believe there is much potential for doing so if Republicans would get down to the work that needs to be done.

Since the Civil Rights Act in 1964, black economic progress on average compared to the white population has been dismal. The gap in black household income compared to white household income has grown, average black household wealth as a percentage of average white household wealth has shrunk, and the percentage of black poverty has remained almost constant at three times greater than white poverty.

These realities reflect destructive big government policies that grip these communities. But Democrats who want to continue to sell these policies will continue on the racism message and claim that this is what limited government ideas are about.

Republicans need to get truth to black populations in these key vulnerable states. They need to hear about limited government reforms that will help them. This can determine who controls the Senate next year


The Coming Christian Revolt

From behind a smoking sniper rifle high atop his ivory tower peers the secular-”progressive.” He surveys his many victims, strewn across the American landscape below and mockingly sneers, “War on Christianity? What war on Christianity?”

He then resumes shooting, all the while insisting that those uncooperative Christians who scatter for cover behind the word of God and the U.S. Constitution somehow suffer from a “persecution complex” (the baker, the photographer, the florist, the innkeeper, the Christian school administrator, etc.).

Though there are many, it is plain for all to see that abortion and “sexual liberation” remain the two principal theaters in the ongoing culture war battlefront.

To fully advance the causes of radical feminism, abortion-on-demand, unfettered sexual license, “gay marriage” and the like, the pagan left must do away with religious free exercise altogether. Under the guise of “anti-discrimination,” Christians today face discrimination at unprecedented levels.

Let’s see if we can make this abundantly clear. Christians, true Christians – regenerate, Bible-believing Christians who strive their level best to maintain fidelity to the word of God and honor His commands – will not, indeed cannot, participate in, approve of, facilitate or encourage certain behaviors deemed by the Holy Scriptures to be immoral or sinful.

This is both our constitutionally affirmed human right and our Christian duty.

It is not done from hate. It is not done from bigotry. It is done neither from a position of superiority nor a desire to “impose our beliefs” upon others.

It is done from both obedience to Christ and compassion for our fellow fallen who yet wallow in folly.

Central to Christianity, and clearly delineated throughout both the Old and New Testaments, is the unambiguous and timeless proposition that any sexual practice outside the bonds of true man-woman marriage constitutes sexual immorality and results in separation from God. This, of course, includes sexual acting out between members of the same sex, whether or not such acting out is tied to the novel notion of so-called “same-sex marriage.”

Likewise central to Christianity is the relatively easy-to-understand concept that a Christ follower must neither take the life of a pre-born child nor aid and abet, in any way, the taking of such life.

It is not so much that Christians wish, willy-nilly, to call abortion, homosexual behavior, fornication, adultery, bestiality, incest or any other disordered sexual proclivity “sinful.” It is, rather, that we must. For the true Christian, God’s objective truths will always trump man’s subjective desires.

Newton’s Third Law states: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

For every law, regulation, activist court ruling or presidential edict that demands Christians violate their sincerely held religious beliefs and adopt a postmodern, moral relativist way of life, there increases, in exact proportion, the likelihood of widespread civil disobedience – disobedience of the sort we haven’t seen since the civil rights struggles of the 1950s and ’60s.

Indeed, if, in the spirit of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., we, his fellow Christian travelers, must again face the water hoses, then face them we shall.

As the recent Hobby Lobby decision reaffirmed, the government cannot legislate away religious free exercise. Where your desire, intense though it may be, for me to employ you despite your antagonistic values system, pay for your abortion, or host, photograph or otherwise bake a rainbow cake for your faux “wedding,” comes into conflict with my absolute right to religious liberty, the result is a forgone conclusion.

I win, you lose.

We have seen and will continue to see an exponential increase in Christian business owners refusing to violate God’s commands by complying with unconstitutional, immoral and unjust government dictates.

For 2,000 years, whenever such conflicts have arisen, Christians have placed the laws of God above the laws of man.

What makes you think we’re about to change now?

As many in the early church refused to bow a knee to Caesar in worship, so, too, will many modern Christians refuse, under any circumstances, to obey any law that presumes to make sin obligatory.

If the ancient church, through the power of the Holy Spirit, was able to face the lions in hopeful anticipation of joining Jesus, then we, too, under the same Spirit, will face anything today’s pagan left can threaten.

In the ongoing culture war, it seems there are no rules of engagement. The secular left will accept nothing short of unconditional surrender. That is to say, the pagans demand that we Christians abandon the biblical worldview altogether, and adopt their own.

This will never happen.

Martin Luther King Jr. famously declared, “One has not only a legal, but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

In 2012, after the Obama administration unilaterally issued its now gutted HHS contraception/abortion mandate, Catholic priests from across the nation, to their great credit, read from the pulpit a letter that contained the following declaration: “We cannot – we will not – comply with this unjust law.”

As our secularist government increasingly imposes similar laws, so, too, increases the certitude of civil disobedience.

While there are those who will give way out of fear, weakness or a desire to conform to the world, there are many others who will not. Christians must peacefully come together, lock arms and redouble our resistance to evil.

Even when that evil is adorned with the presidential seal and signature.


A Question for Israel’s Critics

In light of the murderous actions and intentions of Hamas, what would you like Israel to do?

I wholeheartedly concur that the death of even one unarmed civilian is tragic, let alone the death of scores or of hundreds. And I affirm without hesitation that Arab blood is as precious as Jewish blood.

That being said, since Hamas is sworn to Israel’s destruction, since Hamas initiated the recent hostilities, since Hamas rejected cease fire offers, since Hamas is using civilians, including women and children, as human shields, and since Hamas is actively attempting to infiltrate Israel and murder, kidnap, and maim its people, what do you suggest that Israel does?

Would you prefer that Israel simply turned the other cheek and let its people be slaughtered?

Would you rather that Israel’s Iron Dome defense system was not as successful, so that an occasional missile landed in a heavily populated area and wiped out some Israelis?

Did you like things better in the days of the Second Intifada, when 1,100 Israelis were killed, the vast majority of them non-combatant civilians?

Is the whole problem that there are not enough dead Jews? (Click here for my November, 2012 article by that title; click here for a recent, similarly-titled article by Melanie Phillips.)

Reading a recent article in the New York Times, which provides a daily scorecard of Palestinian and Israeli casualties and bombings since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge, one gets the distinct impression that Israel is not playing fairly. Indeed, “After 11 days of fighting, 336 Palestinians and 5 Israelis had died.” How is that fair?

The photographs in the article generate sympathy almost exclusively for the Palestinians, with tragic images of a Palestinian man carrying the dead body of a little boy and of Palestinian women grieving, while the written text is hardly unbiased, with statements like, “Egypt’s proposal for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas collapsed a few hours after the Israelis had accepted it. Palestinian militants launched rockets on Israel, some of which are shown above, and Israel resumed its airstrikes on Gaza.”

It would have been more accurate to say, “Israel accepted Egypt’s cease-fire proposal but Hamas rejected it, responding to the proposal with more attacks on Israel.” To say that the proposal simply “collapsed,” expressed passively without blaming the guilty party, is to mislead.

Even fellow-Muslims have been critical of Hamas’s actions, with an Egyptian TV host (who was solidly pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel) saying, “We are sick and tired of you.”

In the past, Israel’s critics denied or downplayed the Jewish nation’s attempts to protect Palestinian civilians, as if the IDF was making up reports that it dropped thousands of leaflets warning civilians to flee or called houses that were about to be bombed, urging those inside to get out.

Today, however, the IDF’s humanitarian actions are undeniable, as both Hamas and Fatah have urged civilians to ignore those warnings or, if they have evacuated, to return to their homes. Watch for yourself here as Hamas leaders say, “We call on our Palestinian people, particularly the residents of northwest Gaza, not to obey what is written in the pamphlets distributed by the Israeli occupation army. We call on them to remain in their homes and disregard the demands to leave, however serious the threat may be.”

So, Israel warns civilians to flee, not wanting to hurt them, while Hamas launches rockets from heavily populated neighborhoods, including schoolyards and hospital parking lots, urging civilians to return to these places of danger, yet Israel is somehow the guilty party, drawing violent, even blatantly anti-Semitic protests in cities like London and Paris.

One Palestinian woman commented on my AskDrBrown Facebook page that Hamas was not using its people as human shields. Instead, the people were willingly standing with their leaders, closing her post with, “Long live Palestine!” After all, the Israelis did not put Hamas in power, the people of Gaza did.

Sadly, if the citizens of Gaza wanted to live in peace with Israel and empowered a government that would act in their best interests, their standard of living would improve dramatically. As it is, in the midst of the warfare, Israel still sends humanitarian aid into Gaza on a daily basis and continues to provide medical care to wounded and sick Palestinians.

And, the truth be told, given Israel’s firepower, if Israel wanted to inflict casualties on civilians in Gaza, the death toll would be in the hundreds of thousands, as opposed to the hundreds. (Again, I do not for a moment minimize the current civilian casualties.)

Conversely, to put this in perspective, what would happen if the tables were turned and Hamas had Israel’s military capabilities? How many dead Israelis would there be?

Murderous sentiments like this, expressed in 2012 on Hamas-run Al-Aqsa TV after one of their bombs wounded 22 Israelis in Tel Aviv, provide a vivid and gory answer to the question.

As the TV report showed footage of the bloody scene, the announcer said: “These are scenes of the casualties. God willing, we will soon see black body bags. I pray to God the exalted we will see body bags in a short while. . . . Right now in these moments, the mosques in the Gaza Strip, their minarets are loudly sounding cries of ‘Allahu Akbar’ and cries of joy, and the residents of the Gaza Strip are bowing down to Allah for this offering [or, gift]. The morale of the Gaza residents is in the sky right now, and is rising just as the rockets of the resistance.”

As expressed more recently by a Muslim cleric in Lebanon (addressing Prime Minister Netanyahu), “We will give the skulls of your midgets as gifts for our children’s feet to play with.”

So, to rephrase my question, since 70% of the people of Israel have had to take refuge in bomb shelters and respond to sirens, and given the fact that Hamas is sworn to Israel’s destruction, what you would like Israel to do?



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

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

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


21 July, 2014

British Justice Secretary vows to 'slay health and safety culture'

Employees who do “something dumb” and hurt themselves at work will no longer be awarded damages if their bosses have taken sensible steps to keep staff safe, under new laws designed to “slay the health and safety culture”.

Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, warned that society has become “too inclined to blame someone else” when something goes wrong, leading to a compensation culture that needs to be broken.

His new Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill, to be debated by MPs for the first time on Monday, will make it harder for ambulance-chasing lawyers to win cases in the courts, the Cabinet minister told the Telegraph.

The Bill will protect people from being sued if something goes wrong when they try help in an emergency. It is also intended to give teachers confidence that they will not face legal action if they have taken reasonable safety steps when organising a school trip.

In a blunt message to the trade union officials who bring thousands of negligence cases against employers every year, Mr Grayling warns that their readiness to pursue “every opportunity” to take legal action is putting companies off hiring staff.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Mr Grayling said: “This is a Bill that’s out to try and slay the health and safety culture.

“It is about trying to restore common sense to the kind of situations which happen all too often and very seldom get to court - where somebody has an accident at work, it’s entirely their own fault, they have got a perfectly responsible employer who has the normal health and safety procedures in place but that person does something dumb, hurts themselves and sues the employer anyway.

“For responsible small businesses it is a real headache and most of the time they just pay up because it is less hassle to do so. This is meant to be a big message to them because if you do the right thing, we are making sure that the balance of the law is in your favour.”

Under the measures contained in the Bill, a court deciding a negligence case will have to consider whether the defendant was acting for the benefit of society, had demonstrated a generally responsible approach to safety, or was trying to help in an emergency situation.

Mr Grayling argued that small businesses are frequently put off hiring new staff for fear of taking on the added legal liabilities.

He criticised legal firms and agencies for trying to persuade more members of the public to sue over minor accidents, through advertising on daytime television and offering free iPads and other gifts to encourage clients to sign up with lawyers.

“There is an industry out there that’s trying to get you to claim,” he said.

“I think generally speaking we have become a society where people are more willing to have a go, where there’s marketing to encourage them, and I think perhaps too little inclination to say ‘it was me that messed that up’. We are a bit of a society that is a bit too inclined to blame someone else.”

The Bill, which was announced in the Queen’s Speech last month, has had a mixed reaction.

It was welcomed by voluntary groups who have warned that fear of litigation stops many people from offering their services but opposed by trade unions, who raised concerns about its potential impact on employees injured at work.

Mr Grayling said unions had “too much of an inclination to chase every opportunity” to win pay-outs for their members.

“My message to the trade unions would be we are fortunate in our society that we have some of the safest workplaces in the world - that’s clearly a good thing and we shouldn’t compromise on health and safety standards.

“We should certainly go after the people who are the health and safety rogues,” he added.

“But if we overdo the regulation and make people liable for things where common sense says they have got no responsibility then you just have fewer people in jobs and that can’t be right.”

The changes follow attempts by ministers to reduce high insurance premiums which have been blamed for making it too expensive to run a car or organise an event.

The new law changes could have a further impact on insurance premiums by reducing the amounts insurance companies expect to make in pay-outs, encouraging the industry to pass on savings to customers, as they have previously promised to do.


Obama Administration Suppresses Talk of Muslim Persecution of Christians

Along with an especially egregious list of atrocities committed against Christian minorities throughout the Islamic world, March also saw some callous indifference or worse from the U.S. government.

President Barack Hussein Obama was criticized by human rights activists for not addressing the plight of Christians and other minorities during his talks with leaders in Saudi Arabia, where Christianity is banned.

According to the Washington-based International Christian Concern (ICC) advocacy group, Obama did not "publicly broach the subject of religious freedom" during talks on March 28 with Saudi King Abdullah, despite a letter from some 70 members of Congress urging him to "address specific human rights reforms" both in public and in direct meetings with Abdullah and other officials.

"This visit was an excellent opportunity for the president to speak up on an issue that affects millions of Saudi citizens and millions more foreign workers living in Saudi Arabia," said Todd Daniels, ICC's Middle East regional manager, adding that it was "remarkable that the president could stay completely silent about religious freedom" despite pressure from Congress "to publicly address the issue, as well as other human rights concerns, with King Abdullah..."

U.S. officials reportedly responded by saying that "Obama had not had time to raise concerns about the kingdom's human rights record."

Separately, after the United States Institute for Peace (USIP) brought together the governors of Nigeria's mostly Muslim northern states for a conference in the U.S., the State Department blocked the visa of the region's only Christian governor, Jonah David Jang, an ordained minister, citing "administrative" problems. The USIP confirmed that all 19 northern governors were invited, but the organization did not respond to requests for comments on why they would hold talks without the region's only Christian governor.

According to Emmanuel Ogebe, a Nigerian human rights lawyer based in Washington, the Christian governor's "visa problems" are due to anti-Christian bias in the U.S. government: "The U.S. insists that Muslims are the primary victims of Boko Haram. It also claims that Christians discriminate against Muslims in Plateau, which is one of the few Christian majority states in the north. After [Jang, the Christian governor] told them [U.S. authorities] that they were ignoring the 12 Shariah states who institutionalized persecution ... he suddenly developed visa problems... The question remains-why is the U.S. downplaying or denying the attacks against Christians?"


The “Jewish” Question

A prophecy that has come true: "O pray for the peace of Jerusalem: They shall prosper that love thee" Psalm 122:6.


These ongoing pogroms, anti-Semitic attacks, the noisy and often violent demonstrations, and the individual attacks on Jews in Europe and elsewhere, apparently occur in cycles. But they especially explode when Jews fight back and take steps to trounce their tormentors. As Israel is doing now against Hamas in Gaza. How dare they?

Now, as an atheist, I have no special regard for any religion. The one I hate - and I hate it because I fear it, and fear that it is making inroads in my Western culture, because it is a malignant, death-worshipping, nihilist evil - is Islam. All the others, including Judaism, don't worry me, because not a one of them is telling me to defer to it, walk on the other side of the street, or threatens me with death. All those others exist on the periphery of my consciousness and of my concerns. I try to imagine an Amish farmer in a suicide vest. It doesn't compute. The idea is laughable. Although I suspect that if Muslims try to collect jizya from the Amish, I think Amish pacifism will come to an end, and Islam will have a problem. I especially look forward to the Quakers' reaction to submission.

But, I am otherwise indifferent to religion. I was raised in a Catholic household without having become a Catholic. The contradictions, arbitrary restrictions, hypocrisies, scandals, and corruption prevalent in that creed alienated me permanently from any species of mysticism.

Jews? I don't even regard them, collectively, as a "race." In my mind, Judaism is a religion, first and foremost. Anyone can become or be a Jew: Caucasians, Latinos, Blacks, Asians. I wouldn't know a Jew on a street unless he wore his religion on his sleeve, as Hassidic Jews do.

But it is also true of Islam, that it isn't reserved to a specific race. Except the difference is that Judaism isn't seeking rabbinical hegemony over the globe. Jews are not telling me that I'd better convert and wear a kippah, or lose my head, or see my daughter raped, or my son's hands chopped off.

Jews just want to be left alone, and, incidentally, to benefit the rest of the world with their work and humanity.

But no one wants to leave them alone. Jews are the one-size-fits-all historical scapegoats for whatever miseries or catastrophes have beset mankind or brought about on himself. History abounds with instances of how Jews have benefited man, yet were banished or subjected to riotous murder. They have loaned money to bankrupt princes and spendthrift governments, yet were snubbed, insulted, or worse. They have excelled in medical and scientific research and technology, and in business and finance. They are generous to a perilous fault, such as the foolhardy supplying of their enemies in Gaza - and that includes all the hapless shnorers, Hamas's human shields - with medical supplies, food, and other necessities.

Jews can also be foolish, such as the American ones who oppose Israel, and the ones in Israel itself who subscribe to the fantasy that Hamas and Gazans and Muslims of whatever suasion can be pacified and made tolerant of Jewish and Israeli existence. I don't know where their heads are, and I'm so fastidious in some respects that I don't even want to explore their self-evident delusions.

They don't seem to realize that if Israel were ever destroyed, they, the helping-hand Jews, would be among the first to be exterminated. Islam does not tolerate "but-you-said" complaints. The same goes for the leftards in this country who have "allied" themselves with Islamic supremacists simply because Israel contradicts . They'll be among the first to be sent to the wall or over the cliff, come an American caliphate. Except for the ones who have mastered the art of groveling.

The world owes Jews and Israel an incalculable debt for everything they've done for it, yet our response is to stab them in the back, betray them, and tell them to parley for peace with killers who do not want peace, who are certifiable psychotics who want to kill for the sake of killing, and act and exist for no other reason.

The world owes Jews and Israel that incalculable debt, and, rather than create a pitifully partial list of their achievements here - achievements which improve and advance man's existence - I offer here links to various sites that itemize everything they've done. Readers may peruse the lists at their leisure:



Nobel Laureates (191, in all categories):


A collection of achievements:


Israeli medical achievements:


The Israeli high-tech industry:


The Methodist Friends of Israel:


What have been Muslim contributions to man's condition, to increase his happiness and well-being, other than the inculcating a neurosis of terror, and developing weapons with which to kill Jews, attack Israel, and slaughter infidels? For 1,400 years, not much, except, perhaps, to filch algebra from the Indians and also what are called "Arabic" numbers. The tally of Muslim Nobel Laureates comes to an underwhelming eleven: Seven Peace Prizes, two in literature, one in physics, and one in chemistry.

What can explain this virtual absence of Muslim achievements? Aside from the mind-numbing nature of Islamic ideology, which I've discussed in past columns, one Muslim offers this credible and honest explanation for it:

"...Today's common Muslim mind, including the intellectual Muslim mind, is quite insular, and is focused on protecting an "Islamic" (and quite closed) mental sphere from influences from the outside world. The result is a defensive culture that refuses to engage with the ideas of "the unbelievers," and therefore only repeats what it has learned from its own forebears. If we Muslims want more Nobel Prizes - and all the knowledge, sophistication and success that they imply - we must begin with challenging this closed-mindedness, and strive to have more open minds."

I don't think this fellow is a true, practicing Muslim. If he were, he wouldn't have been able to write those words.

Hamas's solution to the "Jewish Question" is the same as was Hitler's: Kill all the Jews. We envy the Jews, can never hope to match their achievements and determination to live, and not merely "survive," we are but mere manqués pretending to live. We have no purpose in our existence but to kill, kill, kill. We have no values but the sight of Jews in pain and writhing in death.

The vicious ideology of Islam gives Hamas a specious rationale for their chosen psychosis. Israelis have proven in virtually every realm of human endeavor that they are pro-life men of reason. Reason, too, is what Hamas, ruled by an anti-life philosophy, wishes to extinguish.


There’s something very ugly in this rage against Israel

The line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism gets thinner every day.

hy are Western liberals always more offended by Israeli militarism than by any other kind of militarism? It’s extraordinary. France can invade Mali and there won’t be loud, rowdy protests by peaceniks in Paris. David Cameron, backed by a whopping 557 members of parliament, can order airstrikes on Libya and British leftists won’t give over their Twitterfeeds to publishing gruesome pics of the Libyan civilians killed as a consequence. President Obama can resume his drone attacks in Pakistan, killing 13 people in one strike last month, and Washington won’t be besieged by angry anti-war folk demanding ‘Hands off Pakistan’. But the minute Israel fires a rocket into Gaza, the second Israeli politicians say they’re at war again with Hamas, radicals in all these Western nations will take to the streets, wave hyperbolic placards, fulminate on Twitter, publish pictures of dead Palestinian children, publish the names and ages of everyone ‘MURDERED BY ISRAEL’, and generally scream about Israeli ‘bloodletting’. (When the West bombs another country, it’s ‘war’; when Israel does it, it’s ‘bloodletting’.)

Anyone possessed of a critical faculty must at some point have wondered why there’s such a double standard in relation to Israeli militarism, why missiles fired by the Jewish State are apparently more worthy of condemnation than missiles fired by Washington, London, Paris, the Turks, Assad, or just about anyone else on Earth. Parisians who have generally given a Gallic shrug as French troops have basically retaken Francophone Africa, stamping their boots everywhere from the Central African Republic to Mali to Cote d’Ivoire over the past two years, turned out in their thousands at the weekend to condemn Israeli imperialism and barbarism.

Americans who didn’t create much fuss last month when the Obama administration announced the resumption of its drone attacks in Pakistan gathered at the Israeli Embassy in Washington to yell about Israeli murder. (Incredibly, they did this just a day after a US drone attack, the 375th such attack in 10 years, killed at least six people in Pakistan. But hey, Obama-led militarism isn’t as bad as Israeli militarism, and dead Pakistanis, unlike dead Palestinians, don’t deserve to have their photos, names and ages published by the concerned liberals of Twitter.) Meanwhile, hundreds of very angry Brits gathered at the Israeli Embassy in London, bringing traffic to a standstill, clambering on to buses, yelling about murder and savagery, in furious, colourful scenes that were notable by their absence three years ago when Britain sent planes to pummel Libya.

Such are the double standards over Israel, so casually entrenched is the idea that Israeli militarism is more bloody and insane than any other kind of militarism, that many Western liberals now call on their own rulers to condemn or even impose sanctions against Israel. That is, they want the invaders and destroyers of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and elsewhere to rap Israel’s knuckles for bombing Gaza. It’s like asking a great white shark to tell off a seal for eating a fish. America must ‘rein in Israel’, we are told. ‘The international community should intervene to restrain Israel’s army’, says a columnist for the Guardian, and by ‘international community’ he means ‘a meeting of the UN Security Council’ – the Security Council whose permanent members are the US, UK and France, who have done so much to destabilise and devastate vast swathes of the Middle East and North Africa over the past decade; Russia, whose recent military interventions in Georgia and Chechnya suggest it is hardly a devotee of world peace; and China, which might not invade other countries but is pretty adept at brutally suppressing internal dissent. On what planet could nations whose warmongering makes the current assault on Gaza look like a tea party in comparison seriously be asked to ‘rein in’ Israel? On a planet on which Israel is seen as different, as worse than all others, as more criminal and rogue-like than any other state.

The double standards were perfectly summed up last week in the response to an Israeli writer who said in the UK Independent that Israel’s attack on Gaza and its ‘genocidal rhetoric’ made her want to burn her Israeli passport. She got a virtual pat on the back from virtually every British activist and commentator who thinks of him or herself as decent. She was hailed as brave. Her article was shared online thousands of times. This was ‘common sense from one Jew’, people tweeted.

No one stopped to wonder if maybe they should have burned their British passports after Yugoslavia in 1999, or Afghanistan in 2001, or Iraq in 2003, where often more civilians were killed in one day than have been killed by Israel over the past week. Why should Israel’s bombing of Gaza induce such shame in Israeli citizens (or Jews, as some prefer) that burning their passports is seen as a perfectly sensible and even laudable course of action whereas it’s perfectly okay to continue bounding about the world on a British passport despite the mayhem unleashed by our military forces over the past decade? Because Israel is different; it’s worse; it’s more criminal.

Of course, Western double standards on Israel have been around for a while now. They can be seen not only in the fact that Israeli militarism makes people get out of bed and get angry in a way that no other form of militarism does, but also in the ugly boycotting of everything Israeli, whether it’s academics or apples, in a way that the people or products of other militaristic or authoritarian regimes are never treated. But during this latest Israeli assault on Gaza, we haven’t only seen these double standards come back into play – we have also witnessed anti-Israel sentiment becoming more visceral, more emotional, more unhinged and even more prejudiced than it has ever been, to such an extent that, sadly, it is now becoming very difficult to tell where anti-Zionism ends and anti-Semitism begins.

So in the latest rage against Israel, it isn’t only the Israeli state or military that have come in for some loud flak from so-called radicals – so have the Israeli people, and even the Jews. In Paris on Sunday, what started as a protest against Israel ended with violent assaults on two synagogues. In one, worshippers had to barricade themselves inside as anti-Israel activists tried to break their way in using bats and planks of wood, some of them chanting ‘Death to Jews!’. Some have tried to depict such racist behaviour as a one-off, a case of immigrants in France losing control. But on that big demo at the Israeli Embassy in London last week some attendees held placards saying ‘Zionist Media Cover Up Palestinian Holocaust’, a clear reference to the familiar anti-Semitic trope about Jews controlling the media. On an anti-Israel protest in the Netherlands some Muslim participants waved the black ISIS flag and chanted: ‘Jews, the army of Muhammad is returning.’

In the virtual world, too, the line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism has become blurrier during this latest Gaza conflict. When a Danish journalist published a photo of what he claimed to be a group of Israelis in Sderot eating popcorn while watching Israeli missiles rain on Gaza, it became a focal point of fury with Israelis – every newspaper published the pic and Amnesty tweeted about it – and it generated the expression of some foul views. Israelis (not Israel in this case) are ‘disgraceful’, ‘murderous, racist’, ‘inhuman scum’, ‘pigs’, etc, said angry tweeters.

It wasn’t long before actual bona fide anti-Semites were getting in on this rage against Israeli people, with one racist magazine publishing the Sderot picture under the headline ‘Rat-Faced Israeli Jews Cheer and Applaud Airstrikes on Gaza Strip’. The speed with which what purported to be an anti-war sentiment aimed at Israel became a warped fury with Israeli people, and the ease with which demonstrations against Israeli militarism became slurs against or physical attacks on Jews, suggests there is something extremely unwieldy about fashionable anti-Israel sentiment, something that allows it to slip, sometimes quite thoughtlessly, from being a seemingly typical anti-war cry to being something much uglier, prejudiced and ancient in nature.

Such is the visceral nature of current anti-Israel sentiment that not only is the line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism becoming harder to see – so is the line between fact and fiction. As the BBC has reported, the wildly popular hashtag #GazaUnderAttack, which has been used nearly 500,000 times over the past eight days to share shocking photographs of the impact of Israel’s assault on Gaza, is extremely unreliable. Some of the photos being tweeted (and then retweeted by thousands of other people) are actually from Gaza in 2009. Others show dead bodies from conflicts in Iraq and Syria. Yet all are posted with comments such as, ‘Look at Israel’s inhumanity’.

It seems the aim here is not to get to the truth of what is happening in Gaza but simply to rage, to yell, to scream, to weep about what Israel is doing (or not doing, as the case may be), and the more publicly you weep, the better, for it allows people to see how sensitive you are to Israeli barbarism. It’s about unleashing some visceral emotion, which means such petty things as accuracy and facts count for little: the expression of the emotion is all that matters, and any old photo of a dead child from somewhere in the Middle East – Iraq, Syria, Lebanon – will suffice as a prop for one’s public emotionalism.

How has this happened? How has opposing Israeli militarism gone from being one facet of a broader anti-imperialist position, as it was in the 1980s, to being the main, and sometimes only, focus of those who claim to be anti-war? Why does being opposed to Israel so often and so casually tip over into expressions of disgust with the Israeli people and with the Jews more broadly? It’s because, today, rage with Israel is not actually a considered political position. It is not a thought-through take on a conflict zone in the Middle East and how that conflict zone might relate to realpolitik or global shifts in power. Rather, it has become an outlet for the expression of a general feeling of fury and exhaustion with everything - with Western society, modernity, nationalism, militarism, humanity.

Israel has been turned into a conduit for the expression of Western self-loathing, Western colonial guilt, Western self-doubt. It has been elevated into the most explicit expression of what are now considered to be the outdated Western values of militaristic self-preservation and progressive nationhood, and it is railed against and beaten down for embodying those values. It is held responsible, not simply for repressing the Palestinian desire for statehood, but for continuing to pursue virtues that we sensible folk in the rest of the West have apparently outgrown and for consequently being the source of war and terrorism not only in the Middle East but pretty much everywhere. A poll of Europeans discovered that most now consider Israel to be the key source of global instability.

This is where we can see what the new anti-Zionism shares in common with the old anti-Semitism: both are about finding one thing in the world, whether it’s a wicked state or a warped people, against which the rest of us might rage and pin the blame for every political problem on Earth.



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 July, 2014

Great news: The world's most politically incorrect politician has just been exonerated

One of Silvio's friends, Ruby the Heart Stealer

An Italian court has thrown out Silvio Berlusconi’s conviction for paying for sex with an underage prostitute at his notorious “bunga bunga” parties and for abusing his office by having her released from police custody.

The former prime minister was last year sentenced to seven years in jail being found guilty on both charges by a lower court, but the conviction was overturned by the appeals court in Milan.

The 77-year-old billionaire had been accused of paying for sex with a teenage, Moroccan-born nightclub dancer nicknamed Ruby the Heart Stealer.

He was also accused of putting pressure on officers in a police station in Milan to let her go when she was later arrested on a theft charge.

He told them she was the grand-daughter of Hosni Mubarak, the then Egyptian leader, and that her detention could cause an international incident.

Many legal experts, and most of the Italian media, had expected that the court would uphold the original conviction, although perhaps with a lesser jail sentence.

But instead the panel of judges in Milan rejected the convictions entirely, saying there was no evidence to substantiate the charges.

“Berlusconi acquitted! Finally, the truth,” was the reaction on Twitter of one of his staunchest supporters, Daniela Santanche, an MP on the centre-Right.

“I’m very satisfied, it is a full acquittal and goes beyond my most optimistic expectations,” Franco Coppi, one of the former premier’s lawyers, said.

Mr Berlusconi was not in court for the verdict. He spent the morning performing social services at a home outside Milan for elderly people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

He goes to the centre at least once a week as part of a community service sentence for a tax fraud conviction linked to his business empire, Mediaset.

Shortly after the acquittal was announced in court, he left the residence by car, but said nothing to journalists.

The court in Milan now has 90 days in which to release the reasoning behind its decision.


The false rape claims come thick and fast in Britain

A mother has been jailed for four years after falsely claiming her boyfriend had raped her 14 times in a bid for revenge after their baby was taken into care.

Former Tesco worker Heather Gibson, 29, of Grimsby, Lincolnshire, was told by a judge that her actions had made it more difficult for real victims of rape to be believed in court.

Her former partner Gavin Plaistowe, 30, was held in police custody for 35 hours after she accused him of 12 rapes. Mr Plaistowe waited a month for police to investigate and find he was innocent.

While on bail, Gibson claimed Morrisons worker Mr Plaistowe then raped her twice - while she awaited trial for perverting the course of justice.

But CCTV of Gibson at work in the supermarket undermined her accounts. She alleged two gang rapes on two occasions - the last time with six men, Hull Crown Court was told yesterday.

Mr Plaistowe could have been jailed for 20 years if the allegations had been true.

But Gibson later confessed to a friend she blamed Mr Plaistowe for losing her child into care because she had made a complaint about him dropping the baby. Social Services took the baby into care for lack of parenting skills.

Gibson, a former grammar school pupil, sought revenge with the false claims to the police. But when she was charged with perverting the course of justice, she forged a string of letters.

They purported to be from officials including a crown court judge, a police officer, a justice minister and even Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

They were sent to Bath and North Somerset Social Services, where her daughter was in temporary residence. They claimed she had been the subject of wrongful allegations and expressed outrage she had been charged. They were all found to be produced by Gibson.

She even took police to the spot of one of the alleged rapes, saying she had dragged by the hair and her bottom lip had been bitten. Gibson gave detailed accounts of each rape in video interview, but admitted she had showered after the attacks and lost all forensic evidence.

She claimed to have details of contacts of witnesses in a cupcake-shaped notebook. However, the police recovered CCTV of her buying the notebook from a supermarket the day after she told them of its existence.

The first rape she claimed happened when she was eight months pregnant by Mr Plaistowe. She said she was raped again after giving birth and on two occasions in April 2012 - first by Mr Plaistowe and four friends then by Mr Plaistowe and five others.

He was arrested on April 4, 2012 and held in Grimsby Police Station from 12.20am until 6.26pm the following evening - a period of 18 hours. Such were the number of allegations he was re-arrested on April 26 2012 at 6.30am and released at 11.30pm after 17 hours.

He did not know how seriously the police were treating the claims until May 4, 2012 - exactly one month later. Gibson pleaded guilty to four counts of doing an act tending to pervert the course of justice as specimens of her conduct.

Simon Kealey, prosecuting, said two Humberside Police officers had spent eight weeks investigating the case. There had been two police interviews of Mr Plaistowe, three interviews of Gibson and a large amount of case preparation for a trial.

Mr Kealey said it had diverted police attention and all this was in addition to the terror Mr Plaistow had suffered. He said Gibson would not get back her daughter.

In her pre-sentence report, Gibson showed no remorse. She said all her allegations were true, despite her guilty pleas - and that she had only pleaded guilty to get everything sorted quickly.

Joanne Golding, defending, said Gibson had no mental health problems which could allow the judge to find a different sentencing option - although there were clearly issues.

‘It seems to me the catalyst of this was the taking of the baby into care,’ said Mrs Golding. ‘The consequences of this were catastrophic. What she alleged against Mr Plaistowe was actually impossible. However, I have to concede there was a degree of persistence and subterfuge.’

She admitted Gibson had since found a new boyfriend, was engaged - and he was visiting her in New Hall Prison in Flockton, West Yorkshire, cycling 174 miles in a round trip to see her, taking four days.

She claimed she fell pregnant by him in January, before she was remanded in custody, although prison officials say a series of pregnancy tests are negative.

Sentencing, Judge Graham Robinson told Gibson: ‘Allegations of rape and other sexual matters have to be treated seriously by the police. They have no option. To do otherwise would open them up to complaints. In this case it took two CID officers six to eight weeks to get to the bottom of the allegations.

'There were other uniform officers doing interviews. There were two medical examinations, but it goes beyond all that. When a woman cries rape it dishonours the genuine victims of rape. You have no right to deserve the sympathy given to those women. You have no place among their number.

‘The Lord Chief Justice said once the public realise there are women, such as you, who are prepared to make false allegations of rape, it causes juries, in cases of genuine rape, to think twice.

‘It can no longer be said that women will not lie about such things. You make cases where women genuinely have been raped harder. This was a serious case - Mr Plaistowe must have been terrified.’


An Iranian in Exile Takes On a British MP.

Ever since the Iranian monarchy fell to a radical Islamic revolution, I have chafed over the nonsense that has passed for history. It has become accepted that Shah Mohammad Pahlavi was evil and that the west had sustained him for too long. I also flinch when Iranians insist that their travails were caused by either the British, the Americans, or the Israelis. This is a failure to take responsibility for the nation's own folly in allowing Islamists to take control.

One such exile living in the UK, Reza Pardisan, has sent an open letter to Jack Straw, a British member of parliament, who recently returned from a visit to Iran where he compared Tehran to Athens or Madrid. He was promoting the notion that Iran is just like Greece or Spain, a view that is not only a fantasy, but dangerously wrong-headed.

Pardisan challenges this comparison, asking about the following facts on the ground:

o Tehran's deadly air pollution, which has killed at least 80,000 people so far, a number provided by the Tehran government itself. Even Athens does not have such a deadly situation; they have passed laws to ameliorate it.

o Suicide rates, in Iran averaging 25 per week among 18-28 years old. Are the Greek or Spanish young killing themselves in such numbers? Does Jack Straw ask why?

o Exile. Since the Ayatollah Khomeini took over (1979), more than 7 million fled. The exiled include the best and brightest, a real loss to a third-world country.

o Drug addiction is burgeoning in Iran. Is it in Athens or Madrid? Opium and opiates are back with a vengeance. Under the Pahlavis, this was not so.

o Mass hangings from building cranes, 2,000 in 1988 alone, and a constant stream since then.

o How about comparing the lack of political and basic freedoms in Iran with Spain and Greece? How about rates of inflation, poverty, and homelessness among children living in the streets?

o Human rights comparisons: do the Greeks or Spanish imprison or execute rape victims or homosexuals? Iran does. They also murder journalists who offend the government.

Like many in the West, England and the United States have bought into the nonsense that they were solely responsible for the fall of the Mossadegh government in 1953, ignoring the fact that Mossadegh was incompetent and was dangerously flirting with a Soviet takeover. Iranians themselves took down Mossadegh and the returning shah did not execute him, but remanded him to his vast estates to live out his final years. What Islamist leader would have done the same? Iranian clerics are nothing if not vindictive.

Like most educated Iranians, Pardisan has a very long memory. He urges Jack Straw to apologize for England's real offenses when Iran was weak, from 1700-1926. There were many interventions in Iran's affairs during that time because the modern Europeans had the power to do so and empire was the mode of the times. Both the British and the Russians played at this. Russia has resurrected this practice now, as we can see in the Ukraine and coming soon, Central Asia.

It is futile to apologize for issues that took place at another time and during another sort of world. However, we could begin to correct errors with unforeseen consequences by revisiting historic policies.

Our main mistake is to believe that "democracy" is what every country craves and should have. Authoritarian governments, including the late Shah's, did more to further national development and thriving middle classes than any democracy at the time could have done. The late Shah, like the military dictatorships in Taiwan and South Korea, believed that he must fix the economy first----and then have democracy. Those who opted for "freedom first" got only anarchy---or, like the unfortunate Iran, a very nasty religious dictatorship.

In the Middle East, freedom means freedom for men to do what they please. It never includes women or children. Responsibility and duty have nothing to do with it. It is the fault of their cultures and they need to quit blaming us for their own follies.


Britain 'one of the most traditional countries in the world', research suggests

Britain is one of the most traditional countries in the world, beaten only by Russia and China, research suggests. The findings emerged in a survey, described as the largest of its kind, of more than 16,000 participants in 20 countries, including the UK.

Asked whether traditions are an important part of society, China (90 per cent), Russia (82 per cent) and Britain (80 per cent) rated it most important in the survey by Ipsos Global.

Most agree that it is up to everybody to work out their own set of principles to guide their decisions (79 per cent) – although this falls to 61 per cent in Japan, the inaugural Ipsos Mori Global Trends Report said.

Across 20 countries polled, around half of those interviewed (47per cent) say religion/faith is very important to them, while 45 per cent disagree. Religion now divides the world – into countries where faith dominates, like Brazil, South Africa and Turkey, and those that are more secular, like Japan and Sweden.

In terms of family values, the poll found other divisions emerging across the world: almost six in ten globally agree that there is little difference between being married and living together without being married (56 per cent, although 38 per cent disagree).

Variation between countries is considerable: agreement rises to 74 per cent among the Belgians, but drops to 25 per cent in South Korea.

However, when it comes to children, there is a marginal swing towards a more traditional view: 59 per cent agree it is better for parents of children to be married than unmarried (32 per cent disagree).

The notion of tradition itself remains universally attractive with globally eight in 10 (78 per cent) seeing traditions as an important part of society with 17 per cent disagreeing, with relatively little country variation.

Over two thirds (68 per cent) of those believing tradition is important agree that "people led happier lives in the old days when they had few problems to cope with".

This rises to 90 per cent among supporters of tradition in Turkey and falls to 50 per cent in Japan.

The inaugural Ipsos Mori Global Trends Report covered attitudes to technology, privacy, tradition, health, simplicity, globalisation, inequality, trust and brands.

Ipsos MORI chief Executive, Ben Page concluded: “Against a pessimistic backdrop, this report shows the global public’s tendency towards nostalgia, allied to a strong sense that traditions are important, and a desire for a slower pace of life and simplification. How do brands and governments offer this?

“Nostalgia should not be over-stated though; in both developed (42 per cent) and emerging (47 per cent) economies, many do not want their country to be the way it used to be. But 77 per cent think the world is changing too fast and 48 per cent that they often feel overwhelmed with life choices. Nostalgia possibly comes from the faux certainty of the past; we think that most people do not want to go back, but they do want more clarity about what the future holds. And they want help in navigating the choices available.”

In terms of the economy, despite Britain’s own economy reaching new levels of output, real wages remain lagging behind and only 19 per cent predict they personally will benefit from growth in 2014.

It also found most people admit they are "constantly" looking at a screen and crave a simpler, slower lifestyle

With technology, the country that agrees most with the statement “I am constantly looking at screens these days” is China (78 per cent).

Many consumers in emerging markets have skipped desktop and laptop computers and use smart devices as their primary route to the internet. As such, their activities on these devices are slightly different to those in more established economies.

For example when asked about their uses of mobile phones, an average of 19 per cent across Brazil, Russia, India and China say that they watch live or demand TV of full TV shows on their phones. This compares to just 11 per cent in Britain. And because of the increased size of the screen, this ‘BRIC’ group (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are even more likely to watch TV on their tablets (60 per cent compared to 47 per cent in Britain.)



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

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

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


18 July, 2014

The latest false rape claim from Britain

Internet dater who cried rape when a man crept out of a hotel room after they had sex because she didn’t match her online profile is jailed for 18 months

I'd walk out on her too

An internet dater who cried rape when a man crept out of a hotel room after they had sex because she didn’t match her online profile has been jailed.

Emily Pike, 23, met Tom Mills online before they arranged to meet in person at a Premier Inn at Cribbs Causeway in Bristol to spend the night together.

However, after deciding Pike didn’t match the description on her dating profile, Mr Mills fled the hotel and later sent her a text to say he was helping a friend in an emergency.

Pike then contacted the police and claimed the 24-year-old had raped her in the hotel and car park .

However, CCTV images proved she was lying and she was jailed for 18 months at Bristol Crown Court for perverting the course of justice.

In sentencing yesterday, Judge Julian Lambert told her: ‘You know it is wrong to lie and it is wrong to lie and get somebody into trouble. Lie about rape and you are getting somebody into big trouble.

‘Whether you couldn’t learn, or you didn’t learn, your web of falsehoods led to a young man being arrested for rape. ‘He was at risk of many years of prison and he spent 12 hours in custody.’

The court heard how the pair had initially arranged to meet in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, for a sexual tryst in October 2011.

But when they couldn’t find a room they checked into the Premier Inn at Cribbs Causeway, Bristol, to have sex.

However, Pike awoke after the encounter to find Mr Mills had vanished.

Anna Midgley, prosecuting, said: ‘After he left Miss Pike alone she tried to call him. He sent her texts, saying he had to help a friend in accident and emergency.

‘After, she called the police. She made an allegation he raped her. ‘She said she had consensual phone sex and when she arrived at the Premier Inn he forced himself on her.

‘She said they left together and he raped her a second time in the passenger seat of his car.’

Mr Mills was arrested and subjected to medical samples, swabs and hours of questioning, the court heard.

But when police looked at the hotel CCTV, they saw the pair did not leave together and telephone messages did not back up Pike’s claims.

The court heard Pike, from Caerphilly, south Wales, has 15 previous convictions which include an earlier false rape claim which she had apologised for.

James Tucker, defending Pike, said she had a history for telling ‘fantastic lies’ and also claimed to have married a man in Iraq.

‘She understands what she is doing is intended to pervert the course of justice. Why she is doing it is seemingly lost upon her,’ he said, adding she had a personality disorder issues.

‘She is an incredibly vulnerable person.

‘She is acutely vulnerable at her own hands. Prison will punish her and open her eyes as to understanding why she is offending in the way she is.’

After the court hearing, Detective Constable Richard Worrin said: ‘We take all reports of sexual assault and rape very seriously and this case should not deter people with genuine complaints coming forward to us.

‘In this case, the allegations of rape were proved untrue through CCTV evidence and not by Emily Pike’s own admission.

‘I would like to stress that prosecutions such as this are extremely rare but false allegations of rape undermine the experiences of actual victims and can have a devastating impact on those who are wrongly accused.’




At the original source there are a heap of photos showing what is alleged

As Hamas Rockets continued to rain down on Israeli population centers, a large anti-Israel rally took place in Seattle’s Westlake Center this Saturday, July 12. Protesters screamed anti-Israel slogans calling for the destruction of the Jewish state while waving signs and marching through the downtown sidewalks. But this was more than a rally in opposition to Israel or her defensive operations. The signs being waved and the chants hollered constituted a shocking public display of shameless Jew hatred right in the heart of Seattle.

Signs comparing Jews to Nazis were commonplace

This sign (below) compares Jews defending themselves to the Nazi slaughter of Jews. “It would be my greatest sadness to see Zionist Jews do to Palestinian Arabs much of what the Nazis did to Jews“.

Comparing Israel's defense against a rain of rockets to the systematic gassing and murder of European Jewry.

The truth was in short supply. Many posters asserted that Israel had halted food and medicine to Gaza during the current Hamas provoked conflagration.

While supplying one’s enemy in a time of war seems to The Mike Report to border on insanity, according to Ynet “Israel has allowed some 200 trucks to cross into the strip, including some 200,000 liters of fuel daily, in an attempt to prevent a humanitarian crisis in Gaza”. Israel continues to provide medical services to Gaza residents. “Over 20 Palestinians, including eight Gazan children were treated at Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center, as part of Israel’s longstanding cooperation with the Palestinian Authority”.

Classic anti-Semitic themes of Jewish greed were on display.

While you may have thought that blood libel accusations are a relic of the past, in fact the slander was alive and well in downtown Seattle this past Saturday. The below poster depicts a Jew eating a gentile child along with a cup of blood to wash it all down.

Another common theme at Seattle’s pro-Hamas rally was the accusation that Jewish organizations support murder. (below).

This sign (below) accuses Israel of Genocide “Genocide is not justice” and then promotes genocide “From the River to the Sea Palestine will be free“. The river is the Jordan, the sea is the Mediterranean and the goal is a Jew free Middle East.

This sign accuses Israel of genocide and then advocates for the extermination of the Jewish state.

This Hamas sympathizer hauling a sign advocating non violence at an anti-Semitic hatefest wins the 2014 irony award.


The maddest reshuffle in living memory

David Cameron, Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, has just changed whom he will have in charge of various governmental matters. And in the new Cabinet, biology seems to count for more than conviction: A triumph for feminism

Given the big-name repute of the various political carcasses UK prime minister David Cameron has been either unceremoniously chucking out of the Cabinet or casting down the ministerial food chain, many observers have been quick to christen it Cameron’s ‘night of the long knives’. (A reference not to the murderous Nazi purge of 1934, but to Tory prime minister Harold Macmillan’s sudden decision in 1962 to replace a third of his cabinet, including chancellor Selwyn Lloyd, his friend and one-time confidant.)

So out have gone perma-leadership candidate Kenneth Clarke; Damian Green, the policing minister; Dominic Grieve, the attorney general; and David Willetts, the universities and science minister. And, more striking still, down have gone William Hague, demoted from foreign secretary to leader of the Commons, and Michael Gove, shunted from education secretary to chief whip. In the place of these ‘old lags’, as Tory sources described them to one broadsheet, stand Cameron’s new(ish) guard – a mixture of men whose main appeal is that no one really knows them yet, and, far more PR-worthy in government eyes, some women whose main appeal, apart from the fact that no one really knows them yet (sometime TV presenter Esther McVey excepted), is that they are, well, women.

But this was not another night of the long knives. The historical analogies do not do Cameron’s Cabinet reshuffle the justice it deserves. For this kicking out of might-as-well-be-dead white men in favour of slightly younger men, and a few women whose main selling point thus far seems to be what’s between their legs, is historically unprecedented. It’s unprecedented in its fatuousness; it’s unprecedented in its superficiality; and it’s unprecedented in its cowardly kowtowing to the prevailing wind of commentariat sentiment.

Previous Cabinet reshuffles, as baffling as they might have appeared to those outside the Palace of Westminster, were at least motivated by a degree of political principle. Macmillan rid himself of his old lags because he felt they lacked ‘fire in their bellies’. Tory prime minister Margaret Thatcher was in perpetual conflict with the ‘wets’ in her cabinet, who felt, in the words of the sacked Ian Gilmour, that Thatcher’s ‘economic liberalism’, ‘because of its starkness and its failure to create a sense of community’, was likely to ‘repel’ people. Even the mind-numbing ministerial churn of the New Labour years was by and large driven by the imperatives of office politics – of who was in favour, and who was out.

But Cameron’s decision, less than a year before the next General Election, is almost entirely devoid of any party-political principle, indeed of any principle at all. Instead, this new, flashier, leggier cabinet was motivated by little more than a desire to appease liberal media opinion. Cameron and his cronies have, effectively, caved in. So to the countless commentators who have lined up to lambast the Conservatives for creating a government composed of privately educated men – or ‘Etonian toffs’, as today’s class-war-lite perception has it, Cameron has bowed down. Out went some old-ish poshos, and in came some younger men and women, a couple of whom, we are told a little too keenly, even went to state school.

And, in a move as spectacularly shallow as any this most skin-deep of politicians has made, Cameron has even taken on board the hyped-up loathing of education secretary Michael Gove and got rid. It didn’t matter that Gove had been in the post for four, committed years; it didn’t matter that the supposed animosity towards Gove emanated from what Gove himself called the blob – a coagulation of unions, teacher trainers and bien pensant commentators – and not from the public at large. It didn’t matter that Cameron no doubt thought, somewhere in the recesses of his mind untouched by the imperatives of PR, that what Gove was doing was probably right. The bad vibes coming Gove’s way were too much. So, just like that, Cameron got rid of him. Today’s papers are even suggesting that Gove was shunted into the parliamentary shadows on the basis of advice from Lynton Crosby, the Tories’ election campaign director, who apparently has been doing some polling. Which is more than many thought he was doing.

What’s interesting about the demotion of Gove is that Gove himself is that rare thing among contemporary politicians. He actually believes in something beyond the needs of the party-political machine. For Gove, it really did look as if the end of party politics is not to be elected (or re-elected); that is merely the means to change something. Politics here was, incredibly, more of a vocation than a career. He had a vision of how things ought to be, and in his role as education secretary, he sought to realise that vision. He wanted to put a bit of subject-based knowledge back into education; he wanted to restore to exams a little bit of credibility; he wanted, in short, to improve the lives of the nation’s young. Whether you agree with him or not, there is no doubting the depth of his commitment.

And yet, in a near comic inversion of the way things ought to be, Gove’s commitment to his brief, his willingness to put his political beliefs above the parapet, is precisely what has cost him his job. Cameron couldn’t stand the moderate heat of the media kitchen, so he whipped Gove out and plonked someone called Nicky Morgan in his place. It’s a profoundly telling switch. Gove was demoted because he represented ‘ideas’; Morgan has been promoted because she represents something non-ideological. That is, she represents her gender. She is not being heralded as a great believer in the importance of teaching chronological history or of getting to grips with difficult literature; she is being heralded because of something she had no control over – her biology.

In this, one can glimpse the debasement of the concept of political representation, of what it means, in a democracy, for elected politicians to represent something. It used to mean that a politician represented people’s aspirations and interests. In the words of that old Tory Edmund Burke, it used to mean that ‘[the people’s] wishes ought to have great weight with [the politician]; their opinion, high respect; their business, unremitted attention. It is his duty to sacrifice his repose, his pleasures, his satisfactions, to theirs; and above all, ever, and in all cases, to prefer their interest to his own.’ It used to mean that a politician represented the ideas of conscious social constituency. But, as this most bizarre of Cabinet reshuffles reveals, political representation no longer refers to the intentional representation of ideas in the work of government; no, it now means the representation of the mere facts of one’s life, from one’s gender to one’s ethnicity. In the dread words of Cameron, ‘Parliament needs to be more representative of our country – so we need more women in parliament’.

Cameron’s Cabinet reshuffle is nothing short of the triumph of identity politics over a politics of ideas.


British supermarket apologises after Muslim checkout worker refused to sell customer ham and wine because it was Ramadan

Tesco has issued an apology after a Muslim worker refused to sell a customer ham and wine because of Ramadan.

Mother-of-three Julie Cottle went into her local store to stock up, but was left stunned when a checkout employee insisted he couldn't serve her.

Muslims worldwide are currently fasting for Ramadan - the holy ninth month of the Islamic calendar where devotees abstain from eating and drinking during daylight hours.

Ms Cottle was forced to use the self-service checkout in the Tesco Express in Neasden, north-west London, after the worker reportedly 'walked off'.

She told the Brent and Kilburn Times: 'He pointed at the ham and wine in my basket and said "I can't serve you that because I'm fasting".

'When I told him he should be serving customers not turning them away he still refused telling me to go to the self-service. I was furious.'

In a statement, a spokesman for Tesco said: 'We don't have a specific policy and take a pragmatic approach if a colleague raises concerns about a job they have been asked to do.

'We apologise to our customer for any inconvenience on this occasion.'

The supermarket giant confirmed 'the colleague would be spoken to' but refused to say if any further action would be taken.



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 July, 2014

Less than 3 per cent of US population identifies as gay, lesbian or bisexual, survey finds

Less than 3 per cent of the US population identify themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention reported in the first large-scale government survey measuring Americans’ sexual orientation.

The National Health Interview Survey, which is the government’s premier tool for annually assessing Americans’ health and behaviours, found that 1.6 per cent of adults self-identify as gay or lesbian, and 0.7 per cent consider themselves bisexual.

The overwhelming majority of adults, 96.6 per cent, labelled themselves as straight in the 2013 survey. An additional 1.1 per cent declined to answer, responded “I don’t know the answer” or said they were “something else”.

The figures offered a slightly smaller assessment of the size of the gay, lesbian and bisexual population than other surveys, which have pegged the overall proportion at closer to 3.5 or 4 per cent. In particular, the estimate for bisexuals was lower than in some other surveys.

The inclusion of the sexual-orientation question in an influential survey used to guide government funding and research decisions was viewed as a major victory for the gay community, which has struggled with a dearth of data about its special health needs.

“This is a major step forward in trying to remedy some of these gaps in our understanding of the role sexual orientation and gender identity play in people’s health and in their lives,” said Gary Gates, a demographer at the Williams Institute, a research centre at the University of California at Los Angeles that studies the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) population.

Begun in 1957, the US health interview survey comprises a wide range of questions, on topics including medical care, vaccinations and tobacco use. The data is collected for the CDC by the Census Bureau, which conducts interviews with thousands of Americans across the country. It is highly regarded because of its large sample size — it comprised 33,557 adults between the ages of 18 and 64 for the most recent survey — and because of its methods, which include face-to-face interviews and some follow-up telephone queries.

A few other federal surveys ask about sexual orientation but are not large enough to provide data that can be generalised to the country as a whole, government health officials have said.

The information released by the CDC offers an initial analysis through the lens of sexual orientation on measures critical to public health, such as smoking, drinking and health insurance status.

It did not find a broad pattern suggesting that one group was less healthy overall than any other group, said Brian Ward, the researcher for the report. Echoing other studies, it found that, compared with straight people, gays were more likely to smoke and to have consumed five or more drinks in one day at least once in the past year. Straight women were more likely to consider themselves in excellent or very good health than women who identified as lesbian.

But gays were more likely to have received a flu shot than straight people, and gay men were less likely to be overweight than straight men.

In some cases, the more notable disparities were experienced by bisexuals. People who identify as being attracted to both sexes are more likely to have experienced psychological distress in the past 30 days than straight people, the survey showed.

“We just don’t know much about bisexuality right now, and we’re finally starting to do some research in that area,” said Judy Bradford, director of the Centre for Population Research in LGBT Health at the Fenway Institute in Boston. The study may prompt more scrutiny of this understudied population, she said.

In their report, CDC researchers acknowledge that their estimate of the size of the bisexual population differs from those in other studies. A national estimate from the 2008 General Social Survey — which is funded by the National Science Foundation, a federal agency dedicated to the advancement of nonmedical science — estimated that 1.1 per cent of the population identified as bisexual. Other surveys suggest the number of bisexuals roughly matches the number of gays.

“There’s a variety of factors that could come into play, and we don’t have an answer right now,” Ward said. “It’s something we are looking at.”

The survey did not ask about gender identity, which is a more complicated topic than sexual orientation. Previously, officials had discussed including the question in future surveys. But Ward said Monday that there were no immediate plans to add such a question.

The difficulty stems partially from the large sample size needed, experts said. One challenge is that there are more than 200 terms used by people who identify as a different sex than the biological one they were born as, Bradford said.

Some people who have completed gender reassignment surgery may no longer consider themselves transgender but rather a member of their new sex, she said. Others may be offended by terms such as “transsexual,” which was once routinely used but in some circles is now considered pejorative.

The broader 2013 National Health Interview Survey data set was released publicly on June 30. It contains more information for researchers interested in studying other measures of health by sexual orientation, such as cancer rates or disabilities.


BBC plan to promote ethnic minorities is racist, says MP

The BBC’s plan to promote ethnic minority staff is racist, a Tory MP has claimed as he challenged executives to give their own jobs to black candidates if they are so passionate about diversity.

Philip Davies said the BBC’s “politically correct targets” discriminated against the white working class, who are also under-represented at the corporation but are not the subject of diversity quotas.

He confronted Lord Hall, the director-general, and a panel of other BBC executives – all of whom are white – appearing before the House of Commons culture select committee.

After Lord Hall said the BBC must employ “as many people as possible from as many different backgrounds as possible”, Mr Davies rounded on the panel.

“I’m looking at you four – which of you four are prepared to fall on your swords and let a black person have that job?” he asked.

“Show a bit of leadership and vacate your own jobs if you’re so passionate about it. Or does it just apply to everyone else’s jobs apart from yours?”

Lord Hall and his colleagues – director of strategy James Purnell, BBC television controller Danny Cohen and non-executive director Dame Fiona Reynolds – declined to take up the offer.

Mr Davies, MP for Shipley in West Yorkshire, joked that today was “a good day to talk about diversity” – a reference to the Cabinet reshuffle in which a succession of middle-aged white men were shown the door.

Under new quotas announced last month, one in seven BBC presenters and actors will be black or minority ethnic by 2017, along with one in 10 managers.

Mr Davies said: “You are going down what I personally consider to be a racist approach.

“To me, the true racists are people who see everything in terms of race when what we should surely be is colour blind. Just as it is racist to prevent someone from having a job when they are black, it is equally racist to give someone a job just because they are black.

“It is a racist policy to get a certain amount of people from an ethnic minority into jobs.

“If I have a white, working class constituent who wants that opportunity … why should they be deprived because you’ve set these politically correct targets?”

Lord Hall responded: “Look at the data and see what’s happening at the BBC, and there is a kind of ceiling – BAME [black, Asian and ethnic minority] people tend to get to a certain point and don’t rise.

“The theme here is not racism, it is equality of opportunity.”


Young Boy Takes On City Council…and Wins

Call it a victory for common sense. City officials in Leawood, Kan., have reversed course after ordering a 9-year-old boy to tear down the little free library he built in his front yard for Mother’s Day.

Late last Monday night, after Spencer Collins had appeared before the Leawood City Council to advocate for permission to share his love of reading books with his neighbors, the Council unanimously approved a temporary measure that would allow the free little library to stand in his yard.

The Council has proposed a more permanent solution to allow little free libraries in Leawood. It will be taken up in October after a public-comment period.

As we reported earlier, this issue began when the city’s codes enforcement office sent a letter to Spencer and his family warning they would face an official citation if the little library was not removed from their front yard.

The story attracted national attention, and more than 31,000 people expressed support for Spencer on his Facebook page. With media pressure mounting, the city council was forced to address the publicity nightmare it created.

Spencer addressed the city council to explain his position. “I think free little libraries are good for Leawood, and I hope you will change the code,” he said.

Fellow residents joined in. “Reading is a solitary endeavor, but this makes it about the community. It is about neighbors reaching out to neighbors,” said Wyatt Townley, a city resident.

Ultimately, the Council agreed with Spencer and unanimously approved a moratorium that exempts little libraries.

Not everyone was happy, though. “Why do we pay taxes for libraries and have those boxes on the street?” asked one attendee. Another member claimed the little libraries were eyesores and argued, “You will destroy Leawood if you destroy our codes and bylaws.”

Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed, and the city is on course to amend the ordinance to permanently allow small libraries in the front yards of Leawood residents. The moratorium approved last Monday is only a temporary solution, but it is a step in the right direction.

Ray Bradbury famously stated, “There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.” For those interested in encouraging literacy and spreading the joy of reading, this was a victory.


Australia: Black irresponsibility again

Par for the course when Aborigines are given money

Directors of a defunct Western Australian indigenous corporation have not been charged with any offences despite an investigation uncovering 40 suspect transactions involving hundreds of thousands of dollars and 64 missing cars.

A Fairfax Media investigation has found the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations amassed evidence suggesting criminal and civil offences during a two-year probe into former directors and executives of the organisation.

But it chose not to refer material to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions for review after it deemed the evidence might not be sufficient to secure convictions.

Several of those directors who were under investigation now lead the board of the Western Australia's Western Desert Lands Aboriginal Corporation and control the proceeds of its multimillion-dollar mining deals, which include a contentious agreement brokered by a company part-owned by Prime Minister Tony Abbott's top indigenous adviser, Warren Mundine.

Fairfax Media revealed on Saturday how a company part-owned by Mr Mundine was used by listed miner Reward Minerals to change the Western Desert corporation's stance on not allowing mining on a Pilbara sacred site called Lake Disappointment.

A senior Western Desert corporation executive held a secret stake in the negotiating company part-owned by Mr Mundine and lawyers for the corporation described the Reward deal as having "no validy" and mired by potential conflicts of interest.

Federal opposition indigenous affairs spokesman Shane Neumann said Mr Mundine had questions to answer about his business relationships and corporate activities. "There are issues of good governance here to be explored. Mr Mundine is a very public figure and has enormous access to government," Mr Neumann said.

Greens indigenous affairs spokeswoman Rachel Siewert said the revelations were "extremely concerning". "If this is as bad as it looks, it's an example of how Aboriginal organisations are being manipulated and profits ripped off when it's fundamental for their economic development."

Fairfax Media as obtained an email written in 2011 by a senior ORIC investigator showing 40 suspect transactions involving hundreds of thousands of dollars withdrawn by former directors and executives of the defunct Western Desert Puntukurnuparna Aboriginal Corporation had been identified.

The investigator wrote that the transactions would "likely be included in a brief of evidence … so that criminal/civil prosecutions can be considered and commenced accordingly". A separate investigation could only find five of the 69 cars registered to the organisation.

But ORIC eventually decided not to press for charges and instead the organisation was liquidated last year by the tax office. The decision staggered the organisation's former chief executive, Bruce Hill, who asked ORIC to investigate in 2010.

"Bottom line is innocent members have been asset stripped and the guilty not held to account," Mr Hill said.

Those probed by ORIC include the chairman of the Western Desert land corporation’s board, Brian Samson, deputy chair Teddy Biljabu and director Bruce Booth.

Evidence obtained by ORIC during its probe included cheque butts and bank statements showing directors and executives at the defunct body withdrew huge sums without approval and purchased cars without approval.

In his February report, Pitcher Partners liquidator Bryan Hughes stated that the defunct organisation's records were either missing or incomplete. Its former directors have refused to send Mr Hughes their records.

"I consider that poor financial control and poor strategic management were also likely factors, which contributed to the corporation's failure," he wrote.

Mr Hughes also identified a $409,640 transaction "which I consider may constitute a transaction voidable by a liquidator". It is possible the transaction involved "unreasonable director related transactions".

Directors of the defunct organisation used their influence at the Western Desert corporation to convince the Martu people to transfer $730,000 to help fund a bail out.

In a statement, ORIC said its investigation into the defunct organisation was the most extensive it had conducted. But a review of the evidence deemed it insufficient to refer to Commonwealth prosecutors.

"The decision was not a judgment that certain events had not occurred," ORIC's statement said.

Mr Mundine, who has declined to answer questions from Fairfax Media, recently criticised ORIC for its "kid glove" approach to regulating indigenous corporations, saying people had gotten away with "blue murder".



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 July, 2014

Multicultural lawyer jailed in Britain for stealing

One of Britain’s top black lawyers was today jailed for stealing £75,000 from his clients to prop up his diamond business.

Michael Webster, 49, took tens of thousands of pounds from the client account of his firm Webster Dixon LLP, which made history as first company founded by black lawyers in the City of London.

He then funnelled the cash into the account of a business associate who hoped to make money on diamonds in Ghana.

When the deal failed to go through, he tried to take out a loan to cover the loss, but was arrested after his bookkeeper spotted discrepancies in his accounts.

Today Webster, a former chairman of the Black Solicitors Network, has been jailed for eight months after pleading guilty to one count of fraud by abuse of position at London's Old Bailey.

The court heard that the lawyer had made four withdrawals totalling £75,605.57 from the client account at Webster Dixon LLP between December 3, 2012, and February 1, 2013.

Leee Ingham, prosecuting, said the law firm had been in financial difficulty at the time.

He told the court: ‘What Webster was really doing was speculating with someone else’s money. The firm was suffering financially and that is the primary motivation.’

He added that the diamond deal had, in fact, turned out to be an advance fee fraud operated by criminals in Ghana.

Webster, a former lawyer at Lehman Brothers International, set up his own firm in 1998 after four years as a partner at Conway & Co. Solicitors.

He was named in the Lawyer Magazine ‘Hot 100’ in 2004 and described as ‘one of an influential new generation’ of lawyers.

In July that year, he was elected as a Council Member of the Law Society and the following year, he joined the board of the City of London Law Society.

In November 2007, Webster was elected chairman of the Black Solicitors Network, the largest organisation for minority lawyers in Europe.

He also spent four years as secretary for the Society of Black Lawyers.

Tyrone Smith, defending, told the court that Webster's good character and references from dozens of fellow lawyers, including a former President of the Law Society, meant he should be spared jail.

He said: ‘This man has been broken by his conduct. He will never be able to practise in the job he loves, his standing amongst his friends is indelibly stained by his actions.

He has brought the good name of his family into disrepute. There is not a day that goes by that he doesn’t consider it.’

He added that the lawyer had always intended for the money to be returned to the client account once the diamond deal had been successful.

‘The firm stood to receive significant fees for the success of the deal,’ he said. ‘This is not a case where there is a simple taking of clients’ money to enrich the defendant.’

He told me: 'You abused a position of trust not just as a solicitor but as a compliance officer for finance and administration in the firm.

‘I accept the motivation for the fraud was financial pressure. This is a personal tragedy for you and your family.

‘You have let yourself down, you have let your family down. You have let your professional partners and your clients down. You have thrown away what you have worked so very hard to achieve.’

Webster, from Streatham Hill, south London, was originally accused of plundering a total £104,000, but the prosecution later admitted the true figure was £75,605.57.

He has already paid back £27,000 and has promised to repay the rest of the money.

He also faces being struck off by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.


Church of England General Synod votes for women bishops

Women will be bishops in the Church of England after a historic vote in the General Synod, ending 40 years of wrangling.

An overwhelming 81 per cent of Synod members backed the change, during the sitting in York, and 75 per cent of the laity supported the move.

However, despite the overwhelming support, the move will not be formally passed until two further votes this afternoon have been completed.

It clears the way for the first female clerics to be ordained as bishops by the end of this year, if the legislation is quickly ratified by Parliament.

The vote also means that the next Archbishop of Canterbury or York could be a woman.

Campaigners celebrated the breakthrough, just 20 months after the previous attempt to admit women to the episcopate failed despite overwhelming support in congregations, casting the church into its biggest crisis of authority in recent memory.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, pledged to ensure traditionalists with theological objections to women’s ministry would enjoy special provision in the church.

Despite signs over the weekend of a shift in views among opponents, the mood was tense right up until the final vote.

Overall 351 members of the 433 Synod voted in favour of the measure.

Under the Church’s voting rules major pieces of legislation such as this require a two thirds majority in all three “houses” of the General Synod – bishops, clergy and laity.

Among the laity 152 out of 202 voted in favour, meaning that three quarters voted in favour, easily clearing the two thirds mark.

This means that around 30 lay members of the Synod changed their votes.

Despite the tense atmosphere on the floor of the Synod there was a festive atmosphere in the public gallery.

Female clerics and supporters of the change -­ many of them dressed in pink ribbons and bow ties – had earlier queued for a seat in the public gallery to witness the sitting on the university campus.

As the debate neared its end Archbishop Welby stood up to issue a personal pledge that the culture of the church would change to ensure that traditionalists still felt welcome in the Church of England after women bishops are introduced.

“It will be hard work, progress will be all but impossible to achieve without a fresh embrace of one another in love,” he said.

“Today this legislation allows us to move forward together, all of us as faithful Anglicans, all of us committed to each other’s flourishing and the life of the Church not just in what we say but in how we now live and work together in the months and years ahead.

“That is as true for those who find this difficult to accept as it is for those who rejoice in it and vice versa.”

He said the legislation included a legally binding commitment to ensuring that those who object to women bishops continue to “flourish” in the Church.

“If I did not think that was likely I could not support this legislation.

“You don’t chuck out family or even make it difficult for them to be at home, you love them and seek their well-being even when you disagree.”

One of the most striking interventions was from Mr Vincent, a traditionalist Anglo-Catholics, who voted against in 2012.

He said: “I shall be voting in favour today - by doing so, I am betraying what I believe, I am betraying those who trusted in me.

“I hope that the promised commitment to ‘mutual flourishing’ is not a commitment that will run out of steam in a few years.”

Christina Rees, one of the leading campaigners for women bishops, broke down in tears as she spoke, singling out Mr Vincent’s intervention.

“Adrian Vincent has made a sacrificial decision today for the sake of the Church, he has shown his loyalty as an Anglican and as a member of the Church of England.

“I was not prepared for what he said, it absolutely stunned me.”

But Jane Bisson, a lay member for Winchester, held up a black leather clad Bible, urging members to vote against, and predicting a split in the church.

“Are we saying that the Bible doesn’t matter any more and it’s the world we follow?

“For good reasons Jesus did not have any male apostles – he did have women prophets, women praying but not women apostles.”

She predicted a split in the church if women bishops are approved and warned supporters they must be “as magnanimous as you said you would be”.


No, Mr. Holder, This Has Nothing to Do With Race

Attorney General Eric Holder once again played the race card -- this time on national television, in an interview on ABC's "This Week," claiming that he and President Obama have been targets of "a racial animus" by some of the administration's political opponents.

"There's a certain level of vehemence, it seems to me, that's directed at me (and) directed at the president," said Holder. "You know, people talk about taking their country back. ... There's a certain racial component to this for some people. I don't think this is the thing that is a main driver, but for some, there's a racial animus." Reminded of his comments during Obama's first year as president that the U.S. is a "nation of cowards" on race, he refused to back down.

At this point, I don't know whether we're seeing the outworking of the gigantic racial chips on Holder's and Obama's shoulders or we're seeing just another despicable example of the two engaging in community organizing by branding their political opponents as racists.

These two have continually engaged in the politics of division, alienating Americans against one another on the basis of race, gender, age, religion, geography, income and every other conceivably exploitable category. By portraying themselves as victims and conservatives as bigots, they seek to intimidate conservatives from pursuing their agenda, divert attention from their own policy failures and keep the pot stirred on imaginary problems as cover to advance the remainder of their unpopular statist agenda.

Sorry, Mr. Holder, but it seems that we talk about race all the time and that you and President Obama just won't let it go. If there is cowardice on this issue, it's from those who refuse to let their actions speak for themselves and insist on injecting false allegations of racism into the mix to vilify opponents and avoid a discussion on serious issues.

These accusations are irresponsible and destructive to the national fabric. It is a great disservice to minorities, non-minorities and the national interest if we can't discuss the damaging effects of President Obama's policy agenda without fear of being accused of one of the most reputation-shattering offenses that exist.

When we talk about taking America back, we mean that quite literally. Though I can't formally speak for others, I can tell you that millions of people correctly believe (based on Obama's promises to fundamentally transform America, his partial fulfillment of that promise and his obsession with completing its fulfillment) that America is in a rapid, dangerous decline -- a decline that must be reversed, lest America be forever changed into something the Founding Fathers never envisioned.

President Obama openly derides the notion of American exceptionalism. He has constantly apologized for America's alleged transgressions. He "writes us up" before the United Nations, complaining to Third World anti-American, civil-rights-abusing nations that we are the ones who have an egregious record on civil rights.

Under his administration, we are witnessing the deliberate decline of our military and defense capabilities at the precise time that his policies are empowering global terrorism and Middle Eastern unrest and making a stronger, not weaker, military more imperative.

He is undermining Israel, our main ally in the region, impairing Israel's essential effort to rally international support for its right to defend itself against unprovoked Islamic violence and aggression.

He is orchestrating the false narrative of a Republican war on women, which is based on a series of lies and distortions so preposterous that it would be dismissed outright if someone in his position were not fueling it. The only war being waged on this issue is by his administration, and it's a war against the religious freedom and conscience of Christians.

He is also waging war against the American dream, discouraging self-reliance and promoting government dependency and the metastatic expansion of the welfare state, which is deeply harming the people it purports to assist. No nation, even America, can remain great if people are encouraged to see themselves as victims, to shun industriousness and to blame others for their plight.

Under his rule, more people are out of work than ever before in our history, and his economic policies -- because they are anti-business, anti-capitalism and punitive of success -- are making matters worse.

His administration has unleashed administrative agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, to further harass and harm businesses in the name of environmentalism, and he is destroying the greatest health care system in history.

The president lies to our faces with liberal media protection and impunity, on vitally important issues such as Obamacare, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, immigration, voter identification, Iraq, the Department of Veterans Affairs, guns, life, "contraception," the economy, the border invasion, the Internal Revenue Service scandal, and -- yes -- race.

Obama is presiding over the least transparent administration ever, grossly usurping legislative authority and driving this nation into guaranteed bankruptcy; it's only a matter of time.

Yes, we must take the country back before it's irretrievably lost. But what worries me more than Obama, Holder and the rest of this administration is that Americans re-elected him and far too few fully realize the danger his policies pose to our prosperity and our liberty.

No, Mr. Holder, we conservatives do not talk in code. This isn't about race; it's about restoring the American dream. We genuinely pray that we can take our country back and begin the long road to healing and reigniting America's most exceptional greatness.


More from War on Women: Eric Holder Doesn't Like Sarah Palin

The worst is judging the not-so-good: That’s what Attorney General Eric Holder would have you believe.

Yes, the worst attorney general in our history contends that Sarah Palin wasn’t a very good vice presidential nominee. Mark one up again for the liberals war on women.

“She wasn't a particularly good vice presidential candidate,” the AG told George Stephanapolous on ABCNews. “She's an even worse judge of who ought to be impeached and why.”

We’ve known for a while that Holder knows little about the law, now we know that he knows little about politics too.

He’s wrong on the law and he’s wrong the politics as well.

How does he hold his job again?

That Holder’s an impeachment target too, and perhaps a more likely one than Obama, doesn’t help his case.

Ask yourself: How did Al Gore make his money? What did Geraldine Ferraro do after Mondale lost his campaign? When was the last failed vice presidential candidate to have a bestseller? Or a movie made about them?

Sarah Palin was an excellent choice as a running mate.

Liberals and establishment Republicans often ask me: "What was John McCain thinking when he selected Sarah Palin?" To which I reply: "What was anyone thinking when they voted for Obama?"

That an unprepared black man is better than a more qualified woman? Who exactly is waging the war on women?

For a person who has been so vilified by the press, Palin's judgment has proven more often right than wrong.

If John McCain could borrow an ounce of common sense from Palin, he’d be president today. About the only thing that brought conservatives out for McCain was the Palin selection.

And in that I judgment I’m sustained by the massive success Palin has had on the American stage. In my lifetime, no American politician has quite captured the attention that Sarah Palin has. Liberals hate her, but can’t stop talking about her; Conservatives love her and won’t stop talking about her; and she makes the establishment nervous, and don't want to talk about her at all. She has, despite having no political skills or smarts-- as liberals would have you believe-- run circles around the political elite in both Washington, DC and Alaska.

She's the pink elephant in the room.

If you look at what she accomplished in Alaska, there was a reason she was so popular. She ran roughshod on the frozen tundra over the political elite from both parties, and reformed politics there.

Like Ronald Reagan did, she knows how to appeal over the heads of the elite and the media, straight to the American people.

In my opinion, that’s one reason she would have made-- still could make-- an excellent president of the United States.

Far better than Eric Holder, Barack Obama, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush and a host of names which liberals would treat with more seriousness right up until they got the nomination.

Palin also has the advantage of knowing who she is.

That’s an advantage when confronting progressives, who, whatever else you might say, are certainly more committed ideologically than the establishment GOP is.

That Palin is willing to talk about impeachment—Obama or Holder doesn’t matter-- is a strength, not a weakness. In the short run it might be seen as pandering to the base, but ultimately, when the history of the Obama administration is written, it will be apparent that Palin, once again, got it right.

And after all, we pay a president to get decisions right. That’s the key to being an effective executive over the long haul. It’s a quality that has been noticeably lacking in the White House for a while.

Biographer David McCollough said that Truman was often the only one who knew what he was talking about on the national stage, yet Truman was reviled by the elite establishment who put him down as insignificant, just as they do Palin.

But Palin possesses such knowledge as Harry Truman.

It’s called common sense.

Eric Holder does not.

He’s a horse’s ass and a sophisticate.

If it weren’t for sophistry guys like Holder would have to make their way in the world on reality.

I’m thinking Palin has too much common sense to run for president of the United States, but if she does, I think Palin-Paul 2016 seems about right.


Just ask anyone in the media or at the RNC. Their derision will tell you I'm right.



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

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

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


15 July, 2014

UK: Commercial TV 'set to bring in quotas for more black and Asian actors' after channel's drama director brands all-white casts 'frankly dull'

ITV is set to increase the number of black, Asian and ethnic minority actors on its drama shows by introducing quotas, it was claimed today.

The US-style diversity system would give guaranteed roles to an agreed number of minority actors, and will reportedly be announced later this month by ITV television director Peter Fincham.

It comes after ITV drama director Steve November branded the all-white casts on some of the channel’s most-watched shows including Mr Selfridge and Doc Martin as ‘frankly dull’.

A campaign supported by British ethnic minority stars including David Harewood, Meera Syal and Lenny Henry has called on more to be done to get non-white actors into the TV industry.

And an ITV source told the Sunday Mirror: ‘There is going to be a real push here to get more black and Asian people on some of the biggest shows on the channel.’

BBC Director-General Tony Hall said last month that the Corporation would set up a new £2.1million 'diversity creative talent fund' to help 'fast-track' shows by ethnic minority talent onto the screen.

He also announced that the BBC would create a series of development programmes aimed at encouraging future commissioners and executives from ethnic minority backgrounds.

However, earlier this month British actor Ricky Whittle - a former star of Hollyoaks and contestant on Strictly Come Dancing - said he believes UK television is ahead of the US in terms of diversity.

The 32-year-old Manchester-born star is in the cast of hit new US drama The 100 but said he feels ‘typecast’ by the roles he is being offered across the Atlantic since moving to Los Angeles.

His comments come in the wake of claims that the reverse is true, with some British black actors saying they were finding more opportunities in the US than at home.

Harewood has said in the past how he has struggled to find roles at home despite drawing acclaim and an enhanced public profile for his appearances in US drama Homeland.

Today, he told the Sunday Mirror: ‘Quota is not an ugly word. We have to look at the concept, look at the American model, see how it worked and encourage - maybe even by law - the employment of a specific number of Bame (black and minority ethnic) actors to start pushing those people through.’

Last month Henry told MPs that Britain had been ‘haemorrhaging’ talent to the US because of the mistaken belief over in the UK that ethnic minority actors do not have enough star power.

The acting chairman of the BBC Trust - the corporation's governing body - has also recently said that it should do more to 'provide an authentic portrayal' of modern Britain

Diane Coyle, who is in the running to replace Lord Patten as head of the trust, admitted its flagship soap EastEnders is 'almost twice' as white as the real East London.

The ITV press office did not immediately return a request for comment from MailOnline today.


DOJ Set to Fight for Gay-Marriage in Supreme Court

The Justice Department is set to urge the Supreme Court to uphold a lower-court ruling and block states from banning same-sex marriage, Attorney General Eric Holder said.

The nation's top law enforcement official's remarks come just days after Utah officials announced they will ask the Supreme Court to overrule a lower court that concluded gay couples can legally marry in the state.

Last month, a federal appeals court ruled that a state ban on gay marriage, approved by Utah voters in 2004, was unconstitutional, finding that states cannot keep two people from marrying simply because they are of the same sex.

Now the state of Utah is asking the Supreme Court to weigh in, as several other federal appeals courts across the nation consider similar cases that could make their way to the Supreme Court.

If the Supreme Court agrees to hear any of those cases, the Justice Department will file a brief with the court that "will be in support of same-sex marriage," Holder said in a rare interview, sitting down with ABC News' Pierre Thomas.

Holder said the brief would be "consistent with the actions that we have taken over the past couple of years." The Justice Department has refused to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman, and its legal efforts to extend federal benefits to same-sex couples have been successful.

Those efforts, Holder said, were "vindicated by the Supreme Court," which ruled last year that same-sex couples must receive the same federal benefits as other married people. That ruling in the so-called "Windsor decision," however, did not specifically address whether gay marriage is a constitutional right.

The Supreme Court could rule on that question if it takes up Utah's appeal or any of the similar cases.

Holder said he believes banning same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, and he's confident the nation's highest court will agree.

"I think a lot of these measures that ultimately will come before the court will not survive a heightened scrutiny examination," he said.

Holder recently called the struggle for gay rights "a defining civil rights challenge of our time," adding that the gay and lesbian community is waiting for an "unequivocal declaration that separate is inherently unequal."


Are Poor People Happier?

by Jayant Bhandari

Some people believe that those living in utter poverty, in the wretched parts of the world, know best how to smile and enjoy life. “Poor people,” they say, “live simple, contented lives, with fewer worries and distractions.” Some of the best-known spiritual teachers — Stephen Covey, Wayne Dyer, etc. — have talked about greater happiness, deeper connections with the earth, and higher levels of spirituality among the poor societies they have visited. Many celebrities (John Lennon, Richard Gere, etc.) and business leaders (the late Steve Jobs, for example) spent extended time in India to seek spiritual enlightenment.

To a casual observer, all this may look very reasonable. But the reality is completely different. And we’re not talking about a minor, insignificant error: such beliefs seriously affect what we mean by progress (Is poverty better than prosperity?) as well as the public and financial-aid policies we adopt in relation to poorer societies, often with horrible consequences. Even within this strand of erroneous views there are two schools of thought. On one hand there are people who want to restrict all developments in “primitive” areas “to preserve their languages and cultures,” whether those societies want development or not; on the other there are people who want to impose democracy on these societies and flood their poor people with cash, because “they deserve a better material life, their fair share.”

So what is it about poor societies?

Some people living in big cities cherish a romantic notion about rural places within their own area. Romantic, and mistaken: it is often a huge error to presume that rural people believe in simple living, have a higher sense of community, are closer to nature, are friendlier and more compassionate, and are physically more active and healthier.

I have been to scores of the world’s poorest countries, and I have spent extended periods there. I have done several spiritual retreats in India. I have found poor people very hospitable and generous toward me. But one must live there long enough to understand what is behind the facade. One must ask whether poor people are, indeed, happy.

A wretched life is survivable only on the foundation of numbness. Early in life, very poor people learn to switch off feelings, to avoid sensing the nonstop pain of poverty and tyranny. Those in hunger lack an interest in philosophy, a sense of right and wrong, or an aspiration for higher meaning in life. Their lives are driven by expediency, not morality or reason. They relieve the stress of living under tyranny by passing it on to those more vulnerable. They have, quite rightly, one overpowering obsession: survival. Poor people process the world through dogmatic beliefs and faith.

To poor people, a visitor is a novelty, a reason for catharsis, a much needed escape from their mostly wretched existence. The visitor provides them with a sense of comfort, a tacit knowledge that they are not in competition with him for resources. But visitors (and readers of visitors’ reports), beware: it is hazardous to jump to any conclusions about the character of a poor society and its state of being, simply because of a short, smiley encounter. Anyone who calls poverty spiritual is misled, shallow-thinking, or condescending.

* * *

I must expect some readers to respond that I am “over-generalizing.” They fail to comprehend that we always generalize. Was Saddam Hussein a bad guy? Indeed he was. But that is a generalization. In parts of his life, he was a good guy. He was a hero for people from his community. We might say that politicians are corrupt or that bureaucrats are lazy. That does not mean that good politicians cannot exist or that you’ll never find an efficient bureaucrat. Similarly when I talk about poor people, I am referring to the average.

* * *

But aren’t people in poor counties free from the “depression” felt by people in the richer, developed world? Yes, but for a very wrong reason. Poor people just don’t have the time (or the future) in which to feel depressed. On the surface of their existence they create all possible noise, chaos, and smell to keep themselves distracted, to avoid examining their inner selves. If they did find a reason for self-examination, they would emerge extremely frustrated. History shows that a lot of social revolutions happen, ironically, as people emerge from hand-to-mouth existence — the inertia of pre-rational thinking does not necessarily change even after they have started becoming prosperous.

Creating policies based on erroneous assumptions, either to aid poor countries or to change their regimes forcefully, has had disastrous consequences. If we really want to be an impetus for change, we must accept facts as they are, objectively, even if they counter the instinctive sympathy we feel for the weak.

Are the meek inheriting the earth?

In today’s age of technology, poverty does not come easy. Most poor people are poor because that is what they deserve. It is a result of their spiritual poverty, of their failure to imagine abundance and a win-win society, of a sinful state of thinking and worldview in which envy, tribalism, irrationality, and fatalism dominate. It is with their mental paradigms that they elect their leaders. Those in positions of power indeed are tyrants, but see what happens when the underclass is suddenly elevated to higher positions. You should normally expect worse.

Why else did Iraqi institutions built at the cost of trillions of dollars (including the money spent removing a tyrant) collapse like a house of cards within months of being left to themselves? It is just very hard to change the human mind, and without changing that, there is no hope. The removal of Saddam Hussein was at best a result of extraordinarily naive thinking. There is no escape from drudgery until people individually wake up.

Poor people are very materialistic, if you understand that “materialism.” Material acquisition is their obsession, a result of their minds being tuned only to survival. Moreover, when they start earning a surplus — and when they become nouveau riche — their worldviews don’t change easily and may not for several generations. A volcano of crudeness and rudeness erupts. And why venture to exotic countries to understand this? Look into your own backyard. Have you ever wondered why some in the poorest communities in your area have the most expensive cars? Look for information about those who won hundreds of millions in lottery tickets. Most of them end up worse than where they started, with unpaid bank loans, drug addiction, and wrong company.

* * *

A lot of confusion is created by using terms improperly. Some people tend to use “capitalism” in place of “materialism.” While they are not parallel terms and hence not strictly comparable, in essence they are often antonymous. “Materialism” has its roots in addiction to material acquisition and “capitalism” in individual liberty. In my experience those who seek personal freedom often lack any obsession for material acquisition. And one can live in utter opulence and still not be materialistic, if material acquisition is not the driving force in one’s life.

* * *

In the South African capital of Johannesburg, one is awed by Lamborghinis, Jaguars, and other very expensive cars, mostly driven by those who were very poor not long before, but got easy access to cash because of redistribution policies. Those who thought that this money would have gone toward better purposes have been proven wrong.

In my backwater city in India, where cars and houses were traditionally modest, signs of prosperity are now the same as signs of bankruptcy: people buy Audis and BMWs on loans they cannot afford to pay. Alcoholism among women, slum-dwellers, and rural people is on the rise, rather rapidly. A culture of self-denial (owing to the socialistic past) has rapidly mutated into one of pleasure-centeredness. Ironically, the switch was easy; it merely required a change of rules — there was no time-consuming, painful critical evaluation, for such a concept does not exist in the culture.

* * *

One might ask where Indian spiritual teachers emerge from. The reality is that spirituality is a rare concept in Indian society. Religions teach fatalism, dogmas, and superstitions. Magical stories of kings and queens and the myths that go with them grip the mind very early in life and combine to cripple people from thinking rationally. There is too much of materialistic expectation in the concept of the afterlife developed from dogmatic religion, making indoctrinated individuals very resistant to change. The corrupt leaders and sociopaths who benefit have entrenched themselves extremely well, over hundreds of years; and this entrenchment is not going to go away easily, for the sufferer and the tyrant are often two sides of the same coin. In such an ecosystem, those with an interest in spirituality are outcast — J. Krishnamurti, for example — and hence tend to gravitate to certain pockets of protection or interest, mostly catering to American and other Western followers.

* * *

But aren’t Chinese and Indians thrifty? Don’t they have huge savings? Haven’t the Chinese provided trillions in credit to the developed world? Consumption of Louis Vuitton and other exotic luxury goods — brands that I cannot pronounce or remember — is exploding in China, Thailand, Malaysia, and so on. The Confucian culture of China, a culture that encourages saving, is mostly a myth that prevails among China bulls (and I am one, but for a different reason), a retrospective rationalization for China’s successes of the last three decades. Not too long back, the Chinese were seen as spendthrift, lazy, and unhygienic.

* * *

Macau today is a much bigger gambling and sin city than Las Vegas, and growing. An upcoming hotel will soon have the biggest fleet of Rolls-Royces anywhere in the world. The cost of a suite for one night will be $135,000. Each suite will have a private access, perhaps to provide the ultimate in hedonism. I don’t decide what people should do, but I do wish they used their newly minted money for better purposes. However, I have invested some of my money in these pleasure centers. I will leave the reader to worry if I am a hypocrite.

* * *

What does this mean for the future?

What will human society look like in the future, as it continues on the path of economic growth and technological revolution? If poor societies are not really spiritual and deep-thinking, the trajectory they will take and the influence they will have on the larger society as they become richer and more globalized will be very different from what it would have been if their poverty were a result of nothing but their political institutions.

For a long time, I thought — very erroneously — that poor societies would use their initial excess cash to invest and provide for personal development. I had made the same error that I now blame others for.

In reality, poverty would almost instantly disappear were the poor capable of strategizing their lives, of looking at life rationally with the long term in mind. A visit to malls in Asia convinces me that the growth of luxury goods and high-end services will continue to trend upward. As soon as people have enough to eat, they start to consume rotten junk food, and their brand consciousness kicks in, making them spend a disproportionate amount of money on status goods. They must own a Louis Vuitton bag or drive an expensive car, even if it means sharing a room with several other people.

I have devoured with great pleasure the books of Jared Diamond, in which he attributes the success of the West to “guns, germs, and steel” and those of Niall Ferguson, in which he argues that beginning in the 15th century, the West developed six powerful new concepts or “killer applications” — competition, science, the rule of law, modern medicine, consumerism, and the work ethic — allowing it to surge past all competitors in the East. But have all these concepts not been available to the rest of the world for at least the past two centuries?

Did Cambodia (where a large population was killed in the civil war), Mao’s China, and vast parts of Africa not use guns for self-defeating purposes? Despite the fact that these poor people had suffered from huge tyrannies, the first thing they did when given the power was set-up worse a tyranny. The truth is that the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and the scientific revolution never really happened outside the West, and without those historical revolutions the “killer applications” may be copied but are not understood and do not stick. The guns and the steel have horrendous consequences. Societies outside the West, without an intellectual infrastructure of rationality and ethics, lack the eyes to understand what made the West great; and it isn’t clear that the West still remembers its own moral underpinnings.

You cannot help poor people by artificially giving them power or by merely bringing a regime change to democracy. You can have a hope only if you can inculcate the concept of critical and self-critical reason.

There is nothing glamorous about poverty. Poverty is mostly a reflection of inner emptiness, irrationality, and the paradigms of pre-rational days. Poor people not only have no clue what spirituality means, but lack the awareness, or even the time or patience, to understand it. Those who are keen on getting rid of poverty must do the emotionally hard work of understanding what lies at its roots.


How the US is Using Money Laundering Laws to Imprison Political Dissidents

Political prisoners, in common parlance, are people imprisoned as a result of their political activity. Places such as Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, and North Korea come to mind when we think about the practice. But more and more, the US is imprisoning people, as well as silencing speech, and telling companies who they can and can’t do business with for political purposes.

Probably the best recent example of US political imprisonment is also the most tragic. When internet activist Aaron Swartz committed suicide, he faced up to 25 years in prison for what appears to be a politically motivated crime. When Swartz downloaded files from online database JSTOR, there’s no indication the multi-millionaire intended to sell the files. In fact, JSTOR had little interest in pressing charges against him. But they ultimately complied with the prosecutor’s wish to make an example out of Swartz for his disregard for copyright legislation. It’s an open question whether the fact that Swartz led a successful crusade against additional, sweeping copyright legislation played any role in the prosecutor seeking unprecedentedly harsh sentence for the man not yet in his 30’s.

Besides imprisoning political dissidents who actually break laws, the Department of Justice has also begun punishing people its bureaucrats just don’t like. Take, for example, guns and pornography — two legal entities which are part of a DOJ list of “bad” businesses. Instead of outlawing these activities clearly and transparently, the DOJ is threatening banks with money laundering investigations in order to coerce them into cutting off services to disfavored customers. It’s called Operation Choke Point and the results have been exactly what you’d expect. Thousands of gun businesses and porn stars have lost their bank accounts, caught in the crosshairs of a political war.

When they’re not cutting off services, the government is suppressing disfavored speech by seizing web sites. Most recently, the FBI seized sex-worker support site My Redbook. The FBI regularly takes over websites, essentially taking property from citizens, before convicting them of any crimes. And like many instances, the charges include money laundering. Why, it isn’t clear, since the site mainly operated as a place for sex workers to share health and safety information and to find clients in a safe environment.

Money laundering itself is the victimless crime of sending or receiving money without telling government bureaucrats much about it. Laws against it were sold initially as add-on charges for prosecutions of mob bosses and crime ring participants. However, they’ve increasingly been used as primary charges for, essentially, earning or spending money in ways government doesn’t like.

Examples of this include alleged Silk Road head honcho Ross Ulrich and bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem. Both are in custody awaiting trial, Ulrich in jail and Shrem under house arrest, for no other crimes except money laundering. It appears the murder-for-hire charges were invented to conceal the political motivation behind Ulrich’s arrest, as they’ve since been dropped.

Again, both men appear to have been engaging in legal, but unfavored activity, at the time of their arrests. And both men are outspoken libertarians. Ulrich is accused now of narcotics trafficking, computer hacking, money laundering, and engaging in a criminal enterprise for his alleged involvement in Silk Road.

Silk Road is a website which removed the violence from the drug trade. It replaced broken kneecaps for bad user reviews, and in doing so helped reveal the futility of the drug war. But its shutdown revealed something even worse. In order to continue the rights-violating drug war which has created the world’s largest prison population, alienated communities from police, and created urban zones so violent they produce people with worse PTSD than is seen in people who serve in Afghanistan, the DEA shut down the safest way for people to buy and sell drugs.

The charges against Ulrich don’t even pass the common-sense test. He’s accused of running Silk Road, on which crimes might have been committed by other people. Running a website where narcotics are sold, computers are hacked, money is laundered isn’t selling narcotics, hacking computers or laundering money. So far the government has produced zero evidence Ulrich actually engaged in any of these activities.

There is nothing illegal about operating an online marketplace, nor should these marketplaces have to take on responsibility for the legality of each of the millions of transactions which occur on their sites.

Charlie Shrem is in custody for trading bitcoin for US dollars without the proper paperwork. Though he’s accused of laundering one million dollars, he’s unable to move freely. By contrast, megabank HSBC was convicted of laundering millions of dollars for known violent criminal gangs and terrorist organizations. They received a small fine.

Money laundering laws are not and never have been necessary, and are built on the troubling premise that we owe the government information about our money. Until recently, they were always used to help prosecute people for breaking other laws, mostly non-violent and victimless crimes such as illegal gambling and buying and selling drugs. That they’re now being used to punish dissidents for legal but unliked activity is evidence that they are not worth their cost in terms of enforcement or the erosion of our right to dissent.

The FBI, DEA, and DOJ must be reined in before we create more political prisoners and deprive more citizens of their right to free speech.



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

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

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


14 July, 2014

Multicultural taxi usage in Britain

Award-winning EastEnders actor Khali Best punched a taxi driver in the face after refusing to pay a £61 fare on his way home from a red carpet ceremony, it is claimed.

Best, who plays mechanic Dexter Harman in the BBC One soap, allegedly left 63-year-old Peter Callow with a bleeding black eye and £600-worth of damage.

Cautioned by police for criminal damage and common assault, the 26-year-old star was also suspended from his role in EastEnders for three months following the attack in March.

Best was leaving the Television and Radio Industries Club Awards at London's Grosvenor Hotel when he hailed Mr Callow's cab and asked for a lift to Enfield in north London.

But he soon realised he had no money for the trip - which lasted 45 minutes and cost £61 - and began to phone friends, according to the Sun on Sunday's Dan Sales.

Mr Callow told the paper: 'I told him if he had a card he could put it into the machine I had in the cab but he wasn't having any of it. 'He then said "No, no, no" and with that he started kicking the car door. 'I got round to stop him doing it and he managed to open the door and thumped me.'

Left with an alleged £600-worth of damage, Mr Callow contacted police, who attended Best's flat.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: 'Officers from Enfield CID investigated an allegation of assault on 11th March in Tysoe Avenue in Enfield.

'A 23-year-old man from the EN3 area attended a north London police station on 9th April and received a conditional caution for common assault and criminal damage.'

In May, it emerged the star had been suspended from his role in the soap for three months. A BBC spokesperson said: 'Khali Best has been suspended from EastEnders for three months. We will not comment any further on this matter.'

Earlier that month, Khali was involved in a road collision when he crashed his £18,000 Audi A3 car in busy rush-hour morning traffic. The star’s vehicle collided with a van as Khali tried to drive past it, according to an eyewitness.


British Film Institute tells filmmakers to tick new diversity targets or miss funding

Movie companies have been told they must meet new targets for ethnic minority, gay and female characters on screen to be eligible for future funding from the British Film Institute.

The BFI, Britain’s largest public film fund, announced a “Three Ticks” scheme to ensure diversity in films and behind the scenes as it set out new rules for funding.

Under the system, to be implemented in September, films must “tick” at least two of three criteria: on-screen diversity; off-screen diversity and “creating opportunities and social mobility”.

The BFI, which allocates lottery funding and invests more than £27?million in film production, sales and distribution, supports about 30 new projects a year. It backed The King’s Speech and Philomena.

The new rules will compel filmmakers to place “diverse” actors and subjects at the forefront of their projects, as well as ensuring minority workers are represented on set and in the crew.

On screen, at least one lead character must be “positively reflecting diversity”, with the story more likely to receive funding if it “explicitly and predominantly explores issues of identity relating to ethnicity or national origins, a specific focus on women, people with disabilities, sexual identity, age and people from a socially disadvantaged background”.

Among the films the BFI has praised for content include Suffragette, the story of the battle for women to gain the vote, and Pride, about gay activists supporting the miners’ strike. It will ask filmmakers to ensure that at least 30 per cent of supporting and non-speaking characters are also “diverse”.

Off-screen, at least two heads of department must be from diverse backgrounds, as well as a range of “key creatives” including the director, screenwriter, composer and cinematographer.

The third category requires companies to offer paid internships and jobs to “new entrants from diverse backgrounds” and to help them progress.

“Three Ticks” is likely to raise fears about compromising scripts’ authenticity, with period dramas less likely to naturally represent “diverse backgrounds”.

A spokesman for the BFI insisted all films would have the opportunity to meet the criteria, with even those not fulfilling them onscreen able to “tick” the other two sections.

Ed Vaizey, the culture minister, praised the initiative as helping to “raise the bar”, adding that he would like to see all television, film and performing arts companies following the BFI’s example.

Amanda Nevill, the CEO of the BFI, said it was “vital” to reflect British society in order to stay relevant and said the announcement “is just the beginning”.

Last month, the BBC announced it would ensure one in seven actors and presenters will be either black, Asian or ethnic minority in the next three years.

At the time, critics including Philip Davies, the Conservative MP, called it “absolutely ridiculous” political correctness, saying that all recruitment “should be done on ability”.


Our liberties must not be given away lightly

A written constitution would create more litigation, and require the judiciary to pass judgment on the constitutionality of legislation

The Commons political and constitutional reform select committee has today published a proposal for nothing less than a “new democratic settlement” in the UK. This has been prompted by the approach of the 800th anniversary next year of Magna Carta. Research by King’s College London has identified what it calls the “sprawling mass” of conventions, statutes and common law precedents that make up our constitution – and the suggestion is that this should all be brought together in one document to clarify the rights and liberties of the citizen, in a new Magna Carta.

The report suggests that a written constitution would entrench the requirement for popular and parliamentary consent. It considers the present unwritten constitution “an anachronism riddled with references to our ancient past, unsuited to the social and political democracy of the 21st century and future aspirations of its people [which] fails to give primacy to the sovereignty of the people and discourages popular participation in the political process”.

A written constitution would also create more litigation, and require the judiciary to pass judgment on the constitutionality of legislation. To that end, one wonders what they would make of the Treasury’s efforts to give HM Revenue and Customs the power to examine everyone’s financial details – bank statements, savings accounts etc – to see whether they have been dodging tax. This idea surfaced in the Budget in March, alongside a proposal for HMRC to seize money directly from the bank accounts of recalcitrant debtors without obtaining a court order.

Appearing before the Treasury select committee this week, Lin Homer, HMRC’s chief executive, rejected claims that these measures would breach Magna Carta protections for the individual against the state. Yet Article 39, which became law in 1297, and remains so, says: “No free man shall be seized or imprisoned or stripped of his rights or possessions… nor will we proceed with force against him or send other to do so except by the lawful judgment of his equals, or by the law of the land.”

Miss Homer said there would be safeguards against the abuse of power, and that it was an easier and more cost-effective way of securing payment than going to court. It is argued that since the state already has powers of detention, confiscation and distraint, there is no reason why it should not have more.

But such powers must be exercised through due process of law. This is not an arcane constitutional point, but the very basis of our liberties, literally fought for down the centuries. Parliament should not give them away to make life easier for the taxman.


Australia: Christian army officer Bernie Gaynor pays the price for marching out of step with top generals

The Australian Army will terminate Major Bernie Gaynor's commission tomorrow.

Gaynor served three tours of duty in Iraq while serving in Army intelligence. In a column published on March 17, I quoted a speech he had given to a conference in Melbourne: "It is my unpleasant duty to inform you that the Australian Defence Force has a fundamentally broken approach to religion, an approach shaped partly by the triumph of bureaucratic administration over battlefield considerations but mostly by political correctness …

"The ADF has a fundamentally flawed understanding of Islam. Just look at Iraq. I was one of the last Australians to serve there. All the politicians and military hierarchy were saying the withdrawal of Western military force was based on success. And yet al-Qaeda today controls more of Iraq than it ever did while Western forces were in the country …"

None of this is why Gaynor is being drummed out of the army. Rather, Gaynor sees this military failure as a symptom of a cultural issue over which he was willing to sacrifice his army career: his Christian faith. On this issue, by his own admission, he has been a provocateur and a serial litigator.

He formally protested the decision by the army to allow service personnel to march, in uniform, in the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. He argued that army personnel are barred from participating in political activities while in uniform and that the Mardi Gras is a political event as defined by its own articles of association.

He also pointed out that Mardi Gras had a long history of openly vilifying the Catholic church, and Catholic clergy, over its opposition to same-sex marriage. Gaynor, who is Catholic, argued this was offensive to many Catholics, who make up about 40 per cent of military personnel.

The army’s "quick assessment" response to his complaint even conceded his core points while dismissing his complaint:

"The ADF traditionally avoids overt support of specific political viewpoints. By allowing official participation in the 2013 Mardi Gras by uniformed personnel the ADF could be seen as now being comfortable in supporting politically polarising issues.

"If a uniformed member were to support a gathering that insulted strongly held beliefs of a religion other than Christianity (to use Gaynor's example), vilifying Islam with 'Mohammad is Gay' signs… that member would be severely dealt with. In the case of the Mardi Gras, the opposite occurred."

Gaynor half-won that argument but he over-stepped the army’s mark by using his private blog to wage a cultural war against what he calls politically correct policies. Eventually, Major-General A.J. Campbell requested his resignation, stating: ''In short, army does not share your views, which are both offensive and divisive and not in the interests of army or our people.''

This view was ultimately confirmed by the Chief of the Defence Force. Gaynor will thus be gone tomorrow.



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 July, 2014

Some more of that wonderful multiculturalism

A businessman in Africa has admitted to a savage act of cannibalism – ripping a man’s heart out and eating it ‘to show he was not gay’, while the victim was still alive.

Andrew Chimboza, 35, told Cape Town police in a statement that he killed Mbuyiselo Manona, 62, in self-defence at the home of a client in the township of Gugulethu after being insulted.

Prosecutor Quawnita Geyer read out the statement during a bail hearing at the Athlone Magistrate’s Court in Cape Town on Wednesday.

He said: ‘In your warning statement you say... “I sit upon him and stabbed him on the chest, tore out his heart and took a knife and then sliced his heart and then I ate his heart.”

“’The reason for me to eat the unknown guy's heart was to show him that I am not a moffie [gay] and after I finished eating the heart, I realised he was dead.”’

Investigating officer Constable Mphumelelo Yengwa attended the autopsy and reported its horrifying conclusion.

According to The Citizen he said: ‘It was conducted by Dr Allie. Dr Allie told me that the heart is not present in the deceased’s body and therefore, when the heart was taken out, he could see that the deceased was still alive.’

Yengwa told the hearing that the officer who arrested Chimboza at the scene found him chewing raw flesh and that Manona's neck had been 'half-eaten'. He added that his chest had a gaping hole in the left side.

However, Chimboza, originally from Zimbabwe, is now disputing the veracity of his statement, arguing that it was fabricated after he was assaulted by the police, according to Sowetanlive.com.

Chimboza, who runs a window-tinting business, claims that while he did stab Manona to death, he can’t remember taking out the heart and eating it.

He said: ‘The way I was continuously stabbing, that must have ripped his heart out. Because I was in a shocked state.’

Geyer retorted: ‘All the witnesses that were there confirm you killed the deceased, you cut out his heart and ate it. They say there was flesh in your teeth and dry blood on your mouth.’


L'Oréal cuts ties with model Belgium fan after hunting picture

A teenager who became a L’Oréal model after she was spotted supporting Belgium during the World Cup has had her modelling contract cancelled after she posted Facebook pictures of herself hunting wild game in Africa.

Axelle Despiegelaere signed a contract earlier this month with the famous French cosmetics brand after she was photographed in Brazil wearing a Belgian “Red Devils” team hat and with her face painted in Belgium’s national colours. She was hailed on social media as the “most beautiful” football supporter.

The 17 year-old from the Flemish seaside resort of Knokke became a social media star, receiving more than 200,000 ‘likes’ on her Facebook page in two weeks, leading to the contract as the new face of L’Oréal’s Professionnel series of hair products.

“Made my decision, signed my contract with L’Oreal!,” she posted to her Facebook page on Tuesday.

Her dream ended on Friday after another series of photographs went viral on the internet showing her posing next to a dead Oryx antelope while holding a rifle on an African safari hunting trip last year.

The picture, uploaded the day Belgium played, and beat, the United States on 1 July, was accompanied by her caption joking that she was ready to turn her hunting rifle on Americans.

“Hunting is not a matter of life or death. It’s much more important than that ... this was about 1 year ago ... ready to hunt Americans today haha,” she wrote.

Her Facebook page has since been deleted.

“I didn’t mean to offend anyone ... it was a joke. Thanks for understanding,” Miss Despiegelaere posted on Wednesday in an attempt to defuse a growing row on social media.

L’Oréal on Friday dismissed Belgian reports that Miss Despiegelaere was a new “It Girl” and emphasised that the cosmetics company “no longer tests on animals, anywhere in the world”.

“L’Oréal Professionnel Belgium collaborated with her on an ad hoc basis to produce a video for social media use in Belgium. The contract has now been completed,” said a statement to the Independent.

L’Oréal is the world’s biggest beauty company with a cosmetics empire ranging from make-up to hair and skin products.

The company is sensitive to animal welfare concerns and two years ago donated $1.2 million to the US Environmental Protection Agency to help improve the testing of safe chemicals without the use of animals.


How about tolerance for Christians, Mr Cameron?

By Amanda Platell

The family-run Ashers Baking Company is well-known locally for its delicious pastries, cakes?.?.?.?and the owners’ deeply held Christian beliefs.

So one has to wonder about the motives of Gareth Lee, of the campaign group Queerspace, who asked the firm to bake a cake to celebrate International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, decorated with the slogan ‘Support gay marriage’.

After the company declined, Mr Lee threatened legal action, claiming its refusal breached equality laws.

The bakery manager, Daniel McArthur, has insisted that Christians must be allowed to apply their beliefs to the running of their businesses.

However, his cause was not helped by David Cameron. Despite having recently asserted that Britain is ‘a Christian country’ and talking about the role religion can play in ‘helping people to have a moral code’, he failed to back the bakery.

At Prime Minister’s Questions this week, rather than defending Mr McArthur’s religious freedom, Mr Cameron lamely said that ‘tolerance and equality was a very important part of being British’.

It’s also part of being British, Mr Cameron, to support those who believe in Christianity, which has been the defining culture of this country for hundreds of years.

But, then, too often today Christians are soft targets, denied the ‘tolerance’ that in our increasingly politically-correct age is so slavishly offered to minority groups.

Imagine another possible scenario. What if an animal rights campaigner had asked a Halal butcher for a piece of meat from an animal that had not been slaughtered by a cut to the jugular vein? I bet that politicians would be queuing up to jump to the defence of the butcher if he was threatened with legal action.


Unelected. Arrogant. The damning report that reveals Britain's mandarins really DO believe they run Britain

Every five years we have a general election to choose our government: correct? We can boot out the nincompoops who have made a mess of things and vote in a new crowd who may have dramatic solutions: correct?

Wrong on both counts. A leaked document from the snooty end of Whitehall has exposed how little influence voters’ wishes have on the way our country is run.

Those general elections might as well be decided by lucky dip. The people really in charge — and don’t they know it — are the Permanent Secretaries of the various departments of government, ie, the top civil servants who continue in their jobs whatever the grubby electorate wants.

In the language of Yes Minister, these unchanging civil service bosses are the Sir Humphreys (and nowadays a few Dame Harriets).
A leaked Whitehall document has revealed how civil servants survive democratically elected changes

A leaked Whitehall document has revealed how civil servants survive democratically elected changes

Thanks to a leaked internal document setting out the criteria for choosing Permanent Secretaries, which would almost be comical were it not so chilling, we now know the extent of their scheming to stop politicians getting their way.

The document, blandly entitled Indicators Of Potential For Permanent Secretary Roles, was printed under an official Whitehall crest alongside the logo of consultancy firm YSC (motto ‘Releasing the Power of People’). You may be interested to know that one of YSC’s managing consultants is Peter Mandelson’s spin doctor Derek Draper, though, oddly, his infamous time with New Labour is not listed on the YSC website.

The six-page paper contained jargon such as ‘managing people drivers’ and ‘real world delivery’. There were Machiavellian (or Mandelsonian) subtitles such as ‘political mastery’ and ‘assert personal authority’.

The tone was one of lofty self-satisfaction, Brahmin disregard for the British electorate. It was penned in a key of elitist subterfuge.

The document was, in short, a sneaky, anti-democratic blueprint for a cadre of remote, powerbase-building, status quo-cementing Civil Service grandees. It praised their ability to bypass, baffle, block and occasionally appease the ministers they are supposed to serve.

The document recommended that Whitehall careerists should use their guile and professional job security to ensure that they, and not their political bosses, leave a personal ‘legacy’ in their departments.

These top civil servants should be ‘number one’ and excel in ‘high levels of ambiguity and uncertainty’, while coping with ‘irrational political demands’, said the memo.

No wonder Francis Maude MP exploded with anger when shown the document. Mr Maude is the minister supposedly in charge of the Civil Service. Yet the mandarins, currently led by the egregious Sir Jeremy Heywood, plainly think they can outwit the Maudes of this world.

Mr Maude said the document did not ‘conform with constitutional propriety’, and immediately issued copies to Cabinet colleagues so they could comprehend what they were up against.

Former Home Office Minister Nick Herbert, whose attempts to rein in the Police Federation were often queried by doubtful civil servants, called the document ‘beyond parody’.

Indeed. It is an all-too-accurate admission of what has been going on at the top of Whitehall. Perhaps the only surprise is that its anonymous author was so clumsy as not to keep it hushed-up, which is the normal trick.

Politicians have long complained of mandarin obstruction.

Richard Crossman, a Labour minister under Harold Wilson, wrote in his diary of the ‘tremendous effort’ required of a minister to fight off the Civil Service. At first, he felt as if he had been placed ‘in a padded cell’. Later, he was ‘like somebody floating on the most comfortable support’. He must finally have been doing what they wanted.

Tony Benn, a 1970s Cabinet minister with radical leanings, was mistrustful of the Civil Service and had a rough time partly as a result.

Sir Humphrey hates radicalism. It involves so much work!

Margaret Thatcher also came to regard the Civil Service with strong suspicion. She remarked that Yes Minister was not so much a TV drama series as a documentary, and was savaged by the political establishment for expecting members of her team to be ‘one of us’.

That dogmatic phrase was considered somehow un-British, yet Mrs T saw that unless you had soulmates alongside you pushing through radical change, it would be blocked by The System. Despite her strength of character she was indeed frustrated, mainly by the Foreign Office when it came to European policy.

Jack Straw, on becoming Home Secretary after the Blair landslide in 1997, was struck by the ceremonial deference shown him by civil servants. They all stood up when he entered a room. That outward respect was not matched by executive ability. Straw was soon complaining that the Civil Service was ‘not so much a Rolls-Royce as a Robin Reliant’.

Both he and his successor, David Blunkett, had terrible battles to get the Home Office to jump to political will, and a later Home Secretary lashed out at the Department as ‘not fit for purpose’.

Blunkett had particular difficulties with his Permanent Secretary, John Gieve. Did it harm Gieve’s career? Hardly. He went on to become a deputy governor of the Bank of England and was given a knighthood.

Tony Blair complained that civil servants ‘reckoned in increments when the system required leaps and bounds’. He was perhaps describing the natural inertia of any vast organisation.

The difference with the Civil Service is that it exists supposedly to process the electorate’s desires. If it obstructs them, is it not a threat to democracy?

One of Blair’s junior ministers, Chris Mullin, wrote in his diaries of how a fellow minister once opened a cupboard at the chaotic immigration department of the Home Office to find it full of unanswered mail, having just been assured there were no more outstanding letters.

An official summoned for a carpeting explained: ‘We put them there so that the Minister wouldn’t see them.’

The Civil Service is supposed to adhere to fine principles outlined in the Northcote-Trevelyan report of 1853, which laid down the idea of impartial permanent administrators working under ephemeral political control.

The model worked when politicians were confident personalities prepared to withstand short-term criticism. But in the past 20 years, opinion polling has become more instant and MPs are less stoical about their ratings.

They quail at the thought of being held personally accountable for difficult policies, so they have farmed out decisions, sometimes to arm’s-length quangos, sometimes to private contractors.

The civil servants, like any middle men, have acquired greater power.

Thanks to the leaked document, it has become undeniable that modern mandarins cynically employ double-speak and misinformation to obscure their role.

We see how they have developed improper political ambitions of their own. They now envisage themselves not as civil servants but as entities with a sense of personal ‘mission’.

And in Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood, they have their terrible exemplar. When Sir Jeremy appears before parliamentary committees, as he did only this Monday, he leaves an impression of brazen indifference to democracy.

He gives performances of icy-veined, snippety-lipped, patronising disdain, his bespectacled eyes casting to one side in apparent boredom while the elected dullards ask their questions.

He does not come across as an upholder of dispassionate values. He strikes one more as a management consultant on the make, tapping the table with his fingernails, impatient to get on with his superior existence away from these sub-standard clunkers.

It is uncontroversial to say that the electorate would like the Iraq inquiry to publish its long-delayed report. Who is currently blocking that report? Sir J. Heywood.

David Cameron’s former aide Steve Hilton was one of the few people in Downing Street to voice open criticism of the Civil Service. He was duly shafted — it is said by Sir Jeremy.

Sir Jeremy also, against the wishes of top ministers, insisted the Leveson Inquiry into the Press be given judicial status.

The West Coast mainline rail fiasco can be traced to his door, too. True to the leaked document, the mandarin class filled the air with ambiguity and Sir Jeremy ‘kept going when faced with public criticism’.

He did not resign. These characters never do. They remain disgracefully unaccountable and are invariably rewarded with very handsome pensions and knighthoods.

Never has the power of mandarins been greater than during this Coalition Government.

Civil servants, acting as emissaries between warring Tories and Lib Dems, have filled the vacuum created by the ministerial compromises necessitated by the hung Parliament.

Since the 2010 election, Whitehall’s permanent Pooh-Bahs have pulled every trick to slow down the spending cuts which are so essential to our economic future.

Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has been briefed against viciously for attempting to reduce the welfare monolith. Indeed, it was widely reported that Sir Jeremy manoeuvred to have him sacked. Education Secretary Michael Gove, another inspiring radical, has faced similar Civil Service dissent. A less determined minister would have crumbled.

Now that we have such palpable evidence of the mandarins’ conspiracy to obstruct, why should we ever again take seriously these anti-democratic pen pushers?



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

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

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


11 July, 2014

Leftist art snobbery

Perhaps saddest of all in Leftist art snobbery as described below is that the snobbery usually has so little behind it. From my knowledge of these types, they would not know Janacek from Chaucer. Genuine respect for great art is fine. Thinking that your taste in some way makes you superior is ludicrous. I generally crush them by saying: "As the Romans said: "De gustibus non disputandum est"". Latin is prestigious but they rarely know any so I am usually left with the last word. It would be too humiliating for them to ask for a translation. And if they DO know any Latin, it is hard to argue with the saying concerned

“Perhaps it all goes to show that the middlebrow is inherently corrupt.”

That’s a particularly sweeping statement of smug class-conscious snobbery, even by Guardian standards.

Guardian blogger Jonathan Jones feels vindicated. He alone once had the courage to call the inexplicably famous Rolf Harris a shitty painter to his face, and now Harris is a convicted child molester, so there. Or something.

Jones didn’t even bother name checking the usual convicts—disgraced American daubist Thomas Kinkade; serial killer-cum-clown painter John Wayne Gacy; the freeze-dried personification of evil Amerikkka, Walt Disney—to bolster his theory. Why bother?

“For me, what’s most revealing is that liberals treasure their own beloved catalogue of—and there is no other word for it—kitsch.”
Pointing to frustrated artist Hitler’s taste for baroque spectacle and corny symbolism, leftists have equated lower- and middlebrow kitsch with fascism for generations, and “fascism” with “anything they don’t approve of” rather more recently. (When I still “worked” with flaky progressives, my complaints about their inefficiency were always met with a somber, “Mussolini made the trains run on time, you know…”)

If earnest, unironic kitsch is Nazi Germany, then its first cousin—gay, “edgy,” winking camp (which the left adores)—is Weimar. And we all know who won that scuffle. But leftists love nothing so much as a lost cause. Camp is the Spanish Civil War of aesthetics.

Jones is convinced that Rolf Harris’s paintings and those of his ilk are not only the artistic equivalent of asbestos, but that their lumpen admirers deserve to die of such chemical poisoning anyhow. For instance, Jones loathes ubiquitous café-wall-décor-generator Jack Vettriano, too, condemning him for being “popular with ‘ordinary people’” and “the artist we deserve.” With his tone of millenarian misanthropy, the gnostic Guardian critic sounds more like another Jones—the Jim of People’s Temple infamy.

It’s all simple and obvious to me, if not to Jonathan Jones (who fairly personifies the phenomenon): our personal taste and aesthetic judgments—our sheep vs. goats categorization of “kitsch” and “camp”—are status signifiers of social class and tribe. (See the exquisite satire at Stuff White People Like.)

If Jones were correct, then Lourdes—the roads to which are lined with tacky gift shops—would be piled with bodies, not crutches. The music of Lawrence Welk or Pat Boone may prompt thoughts of suicide, but rape? Murder?

But Jones is a culture critic at the Guardian, and I’m not. So I turned to his opposite number overseas, who, appropriately enough, also belongs to a tribe not my own.

I have little in common with Slate music critic Carl Wilson other than a 416 area code. He announces early on in his essential Let’s Talk About Love: Why Other People Have Such Bad Taste (aka “That Celine Dion Book”) that he feels “put off” “when someone says they’re pro-life or a Republican.” To his credit, he promptly acknowledges that such a “gut reaction” is “crudely tribal.” Indeed, the book might have just as profitably been entitled Up From Snobbery.

After introducing myself as one of those off-putting types, I asked Wilson via email: Wasn’t Jones’ conflation of tacky art with child abuse and presumably every other imaginable atrocity not only just plain weird, but also embarrassingly dated? Did critics still believe in a “middlebrow,” a taxonomy I thought they’d agreed to denounce as “racist” some time ago?

Wilson responded promptly and at some length. Calling Jones’ “leaps” in logic “completely intellectually bankrupt,” Wilson—echoing a certain notorious conservative movement “gateway drug”—pointed out that many “highbrow” familiars, such as Picasso, Miles Davis, and T.S. Eliot, were hardly paragons of virtue, “but you’d be foolish to argue that any of their work was somehow kitsch or a ‘lie’ as a result.

“Likewise, many mediocre artists are perfectly delightful, caring and compassionate citizens, but that doesn’t make their work any better. (Although Canadians sometimes seem to think so.)

“The idea that it is illegitimate for art to be comforting, to celebrate human warmth, seems to me ridiculous,” Wilson continued. “A well-done portrait of a beloved figure [such as Rolf Harris’s portrait of the Queen] might not be profound, but is it somehow evil, while a badly done, at least equally kneejerk, nihilistic or ‘rebellious’ punk-rock song or violent paint splatter deserves greater respect? (…) [S]eeking confrontation is a luxurious impulse to have—it suggests that there’s little enough suffering in your life that you don’t mind looking for ways to feel worse.”

For me, what’s most revealing is that liberals treasure their own beloved catalogue of—and there is no other word for it—kitsch. Ten bucks says Jonathan Jones owns or has owned a Che T-shirt and a rainbow flag lapel pin, and drives a car with a “Free Tibet” bumper sticker. Or maybe “COEXIST.”

When will liberals—who are constantly rebranding themselves—just settle on the unwieldy but far more accurate moniker, “The It’s-Different-When-We-Do-Its,” and have done with it?


Keep Your Team Name And Wear It Proudly

Leftist leadership tries to shame America into believing we are perpetrators of oppression, putting ordinary people on the defensive in order to give their failed policies a free pass. In doing so, they have underestimated the people of this great and beautiful land.

Leftist leadership sees the name of the Washington Redskins as offensive and says so loudly, backed by Congressional leaders and even the President. With the IRS Scandal, VA Scandal, Fast and Furious, The Bergdahl “Trade”, and misuse of executive power at the forefront of administration scandals, it would seem democrats in Congress would want to focus on other pressing issues.

The leftist leaders see fit to regulate the intricacies of our leisure activities because we, the American people who love football (American football), are not to be trusted with even the names of teams according to them.

Growing up, I always took pride in American Indians and pretending, while playing sport, that my team was a team with an Indian name. And never was it an insult to be the Indians fighting cowboys. It was cool and what finer warrior could there be but the American Indian? But the left will not allow even the kids to have their fun. Leftist leaders often look down on masculine sports, such as football, just like they do military culture. They want to assert control even of things of which they have no business doing so and know little about, for these things are the antithesis of who they are.

To them Braves are not brave but racists. We can keep Yankee fans though, especially if that is offensive to the South. Pretty soon every other name will be so offensive that you will not be able to retreat from the safety of your home until you have the politically correct version of mascot names for leisure activities. I would still like to see one documented case of where the name of a sports team turned someone into a racist. Soldiers are dying in Afghanistan, children starve, and people are desperately seeking answers to their existence while leftist leadership prioritizes team names. Something does not add up with their priorities.

The effect of political correctness, as seen in campus speech codes and changing of team names, will be felt in generations to come. The very definition of progressivism means that leftist policies will grow ever leftward until total control is theirs. Leftist leadership will never tell you what their stopping point is. If they were granted everything they wanted, the next election cycle would see them go even further left. Their lack of a sense of history is appalling.

The leftist leadership is supposedly interested in debate but they want no debate. The domino theory of extreme leftism, throughout history, confirms this. They push for more government control, more speech codes, and fewer personal property and individual rights.

People on the right are not perfect (perhaps seen by greater percentages of rightist evangelical expression of the need for a personal savior), but its Conservative social policies are time tested and they work. The leftist leadership believes an impersonal government, that could throw anyone into prison for a tax code violation because of the complexity of laws (save its own Treasury Secretary) can be entrusted with your life as well as your speech and dignity. No thanks.

Despite the self suicide that leftist leadership is trying to inflict from within, the American people are none of those things the leftist leadership says we are.

The Americans are not racist, warmongering, or any other falsity that the mostly leftist college experience tries to bestow upon people. Rather, Americans are part of a special, unique, and fundamentally decent people. DeTocqueville knew that when he came here. So did the man from Europe who sat next to me at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day, in awe of how Americans serve the world and love their country.

Americans give to the poor, feed the hungry, and clothe the naked. They send missionaries throughout the world who, along with American soldiers, die for their beliefs so that others may be free.

Who does the world call when they are in trouble? They call America and its legions who come from many different names.

Keep the names you want whether it be Redskins, Yankee, Brave, Indian, Veteran, Christian, or American. And wear them with pride always.


A Primer on Race

Thomas Sowell

Back in the heyday of the British Empire, a man from one of the colonies addressed a London audience. "Please do not do any more good in my country," he said. "We have suffered too much already from all the good that you have done."

That is essentially the message of an outstanding new book by Jason Riley about blacks in America. Its title is "Please Stop Helping Us." Its theme is that many policies designed to help blacks are in fact harmful, sometimes devastatingly so. These counterproductive policies range from minimum wage laws to "affirmative action" quotas.

This book untangles the controversies, the confusions, and the irresponsible rhetoric in which issues involving minimum wage laws are usually discussed. As someone who has followed minimum wage controversies for decades, I must say that I have never seen the subject explained more clearly or more convincingly.

Black teenage unemployment rates ranging from 20 to 50 percent have been so common over the past 60 years that many people are unaware that this was not true before there were minimum wage laws, or even during years when inflation rendered minimum wage laws ineffective, as in the late 1940s.

Pricing young people out of work deprives them not only of income but also of work experience, which can be even more valuable. Pricing young people out of legal work, when illegal work is always available, is just asking for trouble. So is having large numbers of idle young males hanging out together on the streets.

When it comes to affirmative action, Jason Riley asks the key question: "Do racial preferences work? What is the track record?" Like many other well-meaning and nice-sounding policies, affirmative action cannot survive factual scrutiny.

Some individuals may get jobs they would not get otherwise but many black students who are quite capable of getting a good college education are admitted, under racial quotas, to institutions whose pace alone is enough to make it unlikely that they will graduate.

Studies that show how many artificial failures are created by affirmative action admissions policies are summarized in "Please Stop Helping Us," in language much easier to understand than in the original studies.

There are many ponderous academic studies of blacks, if you have a few months in which to read them, but there is nothing to match Jason Riley's book as a primer that will quickly bring you up to speed on the complicated subject of race in a week, or perhaps over a weekend.

As an experienced journalist, rather than an academic, Riley knows how to use plain English to get to the point. He also has the integrity to give it to you straight, instead of in the jargon and euphemisms too often found in discussions of race. The result is a book that provides more knowledge and insight in a couple of hundred pages than are usually found in books twice that length.

Unlike academics who just tell facts, Riley knows which facts are telling.

For example, in response to claims that blacks don't do well academically because the schools use an approach geared to white students, he points out that blacks from foreign, non-English-speaking countries do better in American schools than black, English-speaking American students.

Asian students do better than whites in schools supposedly geared to whites. In New York City's three academically elite public high schools -- Stuyvesant, Bronx Science and Brooklyn Tech -- there are more than twice as many Asian students as white students in all three institutions.

So much for the theory that non-whites can't do well in schools supposedly geared to whites.

On issue after issue, "Please Stop Helping Us" cites facts to destroy propaganda and puncture inflated rhetoric. It is impossible to do justice to the wide range of racial issues -- from crime to family disintegration -- explored in this book.


Feminism As a Mating Strategy Among Beta Males

First they came for the male feminists, and no one spoke out—because no one likes them, not even the female feminists

Dearest faithful reader, I’m a man who finds something to dislike about nearly everything and everyone, yet even I find male feminists to be especially grating—they’re perched wayyyy up near the top of my “Don’t Like ’Em” list. The very term “male feminist” seems as masochistically counterintuitive as “black Klansman,” “Jewish Nazi,” or “white Democrat.” Sure, one expects women to be feminists, just as one should expect all living organisms to be motivated by self-interest, but there’s something downright gender-traitorous about male feminism. Self-loathing is not an attractive trait in any of God’s creatures, and these dweebs are the Benedict Arnolds of the Invisible Biological Brotherhood.

It only took me a cursory perusal of Google Images to get the strong suspicion that most males get into feminism for the same reason that females do: because they are failures at embodying their gender’s most attractive traits. In other words, females become feminists because they’re failures as women, while men do it because they’re failures as men.

The white knight gallops in quickly and wants you to look at his shiny white horse, because if you took a long hard look at him, you’d never agree to get on that horse and go galloping into the sunset with him.

Seriously—have you seen many of these self-proclaimed male feminists? When I see all these sullen dorks standing like political prisoners holding their “I NEED FEMINISM BECAUSE…” signs, I wish that one of them could be honest and say they need feminism because they’re not naturally attractive to women.

I therefore posit that in at least some cases, male feminism is a mating strategy for men who aren’t getting laid on the virtues of being men alone. So they switch gears and attempt to get laid on the merits of proclaiming to be feminist “allies.” The “allies” thing is all lies. It is a sneaky way of trying to appeal to women by loudly proclaiming that you hate the type of guy who normally appeals to women. I believe the most reasonable explanation for the very existence of the modern “male feminist” is rooted in evolutionary biology: Calling oneself a male feminist is a deceptive and despicable little shame-dance, a pathetic self-puffing mating ritual that beta male lizards do to garner even a scrap of female attention.

It’s like going to some pro-marijuana rally because you know someone there is going to have weed. If you hang around enough girl feminists long enough and claim to be a feminist, sooner or later one of them will f*ck you…maybe…right?

I theorize that these genetic-lotto losers—who tend to be either too fat or too skinny yet are invariably too unhandsome—obviously aren’t going to sow much seed being the uninspiring specimens of near-manhood that they are, so they appeal to feminine wiles in a sort of Hail Mary pass.

But their untrained and unskilled minds don’t grasp that you don’t have to be a male feminist to get laid; in fact, all the available evidence suggests it’s an impediment. I would go so far as to pay top dollar for verified scientific evidence of a woman lubricating to the sound of a man saying, “I’m a feminist.”

For all that they claim to be women’s natural allies, these schmucks don’t have the first clue about female psychology, or they wouldn’t need to turn to feminism as a sort of invisible date-rape drug. To these self-centered bitter little men bouncing around in their baby bubbles, it’s not really about empathizing with women at all, because they obviously don’t understand how women operate; it’s about scoring with women. It is in this sense that male feminists are more misogynistic than, well, you know, the misogynists. Failing desperately in the categories of natural charm and sex appeal, male feminists seek to gain access to women’s bodies via deception.

Male feminists are therefore, by my own tortured logic, the biggest enemy that modern women currently face. They excuse and thereby enable the worst excesses of female feminist behavior while symbolically cuckolding their own entire gender on the outside chance that one of these girls will sooner or later consent to giving him oral.



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 July, 2014

California Removes 'Husband' and 'Wife' from California Marriage Law

One word can make all the difference when it comes to definitions. Exhibit A: exchange the words “husband and wife” for a more inclusive term, and you have the phrase “I now pronounce you spouses.” In the state of California, they are paying special attention to keep their vernacular as progressive as possible.

Governor Jerry Brown (D) signed a bill Monday to formally make marriage gender-neutral to reflect the state’s allowance of same-sex unions. According to Senate Bill 1306:

"Under existing law, a reference to “husband” and “wife,” “spouses,” or “married persons,” or a comparable term, includes persons who are lawfully married to each other and persons who were previously lawfully married to each other, as is appropriate under the circumstances of the particular case.

The bill would delete references to “husband” or “wife” in the Family Code and would instead refer to a “spouse,” and would make other related changes."

The current wording was set in place when 61 percent of California voters elected to define state recognized marriages as those between a man and a woman. The California Supreme Court struck down Proposition 22 in 2008, decrying the restriction as unconstitutional.

Californians again attempted to ban same-sex marriage by approving Proposition 8 by 52 percent. This too, was challenged via the court system and overturned at the U.S. Supreme Court level in the 2013 case Hollingsworth v. Perry.

Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), who authored the Senate Bill, tweeted:

Words are, without doubt, one of the key tools used to shape thought. This alteration in the state law is the next step to easing gay unions into cultural acceptance.


Top Five Liberal Myths About the Hobby Lobby Case

Judging from the seething reaction by liberals to the Supreme Court’s recent decision in the “Hobby Lobby” case, one might easily forget that just two years ago they were singing the Court’s praises after it refused to declare ObamaCare unconstitutional. Then again, such extreme emotional swings should not be unexpected when one’s perception of justice is based not on law, but on politics and emotion. Therefore, in spite of a ruling that was far more limited in scope than could easily have been the case, the Left’s over-the-top reaction to Hobby Lobby is based on myth and delusion. Below are the top five liberal myths about the Hobby Lobby case, and how one might explain why they are wrong.

Case Overview

In a 5-4 decision on June 30th, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby that the “contraceptive mandate” in ObamaCare violated the religious freedom of certain for-profit corporations like Hobby Lobby, which are morally opposed to such forms of contraceptives. While the Court recognized that contraceptive coverage was a “compelling government interest” (as a matter of law), it did not consider that forcing business owners to pay for such coverage was the “least restrictive” way of fulfilling this interest because of the impact on the free exercise religious freedom. In short, the Court extended to “closely held corporations” the same protections under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) afforded currently to non-profit corporations.

Myth 1: “The Supreme Court just declared a war on women.”

For many liberals, the notion of a “war on women” underlies most conservative legislative or legal victories. It is therefore not surprising the Hobby Lobby decision precipitated indignant howls from feminists and liberals. Even though the Court ruled that business owners did not have to pay for coverage, the majority stated the government could pay for such coverage directly, or utilize the same accommodations afforded to RFRA-exempted non-profit organizations currently applicable. The party who pays for the cost of covering contraceptives, not access to contraceptives, is the only aspect changed by the Court’s ruling. Thus, if the Left’s true concern was access to contraceptive coverage, then its outrage over the decision would be entirely unwarranted; but, of course, it is not.

Myth 2: “What is next, blood transfusions and vaccines?”

Even before the Court decided the case, liberals were sliding down the slippery slope of what else was next on the chopping block should the Justices rule in Hobby Lobby’s favor. Perhaps this is why Justice Samuel Alito directly confronted this paranoia in his ruling; noting that the Court’s narrowly-tailored opinion applied only to the contraceptive mandate, and “should not be understood to hold that all insurance-coverage mandates . . . must necessarily fall if they conflict with an employer’s religious beliefs.” Suggesting the ruling affords religious business owners a license for denying all other types of coverage is not only a gross misreading of the case, but contradicts what the Justices explicitly stated.

Myth 3: “The LGBT community should be concerned.”

Once again, such a claim falls well outside the intentionally narrow scope of the ruling, and directly contradicts the Court’s opinion. In the majority opinion summary, Alito wrote that the ruling does not “provide a shield for employers who might cloak illegal discrimination as a religious practice.” The intention of the Court with regard to the decision’s application to discriminatory practices could not be any clearer, which is why this myth is pure fear-mongering. Sure, a company might try to challenge anti-discrimination laws based on this ruling (courts cannot anticipatorily stop people from making frivolous challenges), but it is highly doubtful such a challenge would make it out of the lower courts based on this decision alone.

Myth 4: “Corporations don’t have a right to religious expression.”

The legal concept of corporate “personhood” dates back more than a century, and is the basis of much of modern corporate law. The concept of personhood protects individual shareholders from the actions of the business; so, for example, a person owning just a few shares of stock in General Motors cannot be sued directly if a Chevy Volt catches on fire. Furthermore, the courts have recognized certain fundamental protections for individuals should also be extended to corporations; preventing the government from seizing company assets without a warrant, or shutting down companies for speech with which government officials might disagree. The RFRA protects individuals from being compelled by law to take actions that violate their religious beliefs. This protection was then (naturally) extended to non-profit corporations, such as religious organizations. It seems unreasonable, as the Court stated, that a for-profit corporation ceases to be entitled to hold religious views simply because it makes a profit. After all, were not liberals protesting Chick-Fil-A two years ago for the company’s “religious expression” of Christian values?

Myth 5: “Employers can now mandate health decisions for their employees.”

When an employee agrees to work for a company, he or she agrees to certain salary and incentives as compensation. A mandate is not much of a mandate when it is a part of a voluntary agreement between two parties. Therefore, if an employee does not like the type of coverage offered by an employer -- the same as he or she might not like the salary offered – they are free to find employment elsewhere. Hired employees have no more right to demand customized insurance coverage than they do a corner office.


Humanitarianism Can Be an Effective Disguise for Profiteering

Billionaire Hungarian-American oligarch George Soros is an extremely concerned humanitarian who can be counted on to put his considerable bank balance where his concerns are. Lately, those concerns have included Ukraine and other former Soviet satellite states; Syria; immigration rights in America; the U.S. banking system; and the Great Lakes region of Africa, where all the mining opportunities just happen to be. Perhaps he could lay off the generosity long enough for us to recover from it all.

Humanitarianism and charity can't always be taken at face value, if only because there is no better front for less-than-altruistic endeavors. Islamic charities, for example, have been exposed as fronts for terrorist funding. Most people simply assume that charity automatically equates to goodwill.

Set up a non-governmental organization (NGO) or "think-tank" with a dreamy humanitarian name to ultimately funnel cash into various forms of political subversion and disruption, and you've just created the perfect instrument for the perpetual incitement of low-intensity political conflict.

Low-intensity operations are insidious because they occur at a level just below the threshold that triggers acute opposition. Much like the ignored second hand of an analog clock, these low-intensity operations subtly effect change. Russian President Vladimir Putin knows this, which is why he rammed through a law in 2012 requiring NGOs that receive foreign funding and are engaged in "political activity" to register as foreign agents. Predictably, people complained that it wasn't a very nice thing to do to all the well-meaning humanitarians.

Soros' Open Society Foundations have funded millions of dollars of operations in Georgia, Ukraine and Russia. The only one of those countries that hasn't experienced total anti-Russian upheaval followed by a return to a more balanced geopolitical reality is Russia itself -- which the foundations are constantly complaining about. In May, Soros wrote in The Guardian that Europe should offer "free political risk insurance" to companies that invest or do business in Ukraine, and "guarantee the losses in the same way as they underwrite the World Bank." This was his great offering to humanity in the wake of that crisis.

Yeah, nice try. Fourteen percent of Soros' stock portfolio, according to the investment website GuruFocus.com, consists of energy investments -- the likes of which would benefit from entry into Ukraine's underexploited domestic market. To put that into plain-speak for those of us who aren't among the richest people on the planet, it's like saying that the government should offer me "hunger risk insurance" and guarantee me a lifetime of free dining at taxpayer expense.

Why on earth would we taxpayers want to subsidize Soros' stock portfolio? According to Soros, it's necessary "to counteract Russia's efforts to destabilize Ukraine." Tu quoque. Russia was satisfied with its monopoly in Ukraine and not much interested in doing anything to disrupt it.

So, where else is Soros sticking his fingers? He gave $1 million in humanitarian aid to Syria through the International Rescue Committee, which, according to Eric Thomas Chester's book "Covert Network: Progressives, the International Rescue Committee and the CIA," has worked closely with the Central Intelligence Agency in various parts of the world over the past several decades.

On the domestic front, Obama-appointed regulatory decision-makers ranging from Daniel Tarullo (the Federal Reserve's informally designated lead governor for banking regulations) to Amias Gerety (who chairs the Financial Stability Oversight Council committee responsible for designating the entities to undergo the "too big to fail" regulatory straitjacketing process) are products of the Soros-funded Center for American Progress. Soros told the Wall Street Journal in 2010 that he was unhappy with President Obama's bailouts and instead wanted to see U.S. banks nationalized and taken over by the government. Many argue that strict new Dodd-Frank regulations effectively achieve this.

The Center for American Progress is also churning out pro-amnesty pieces about America's current undocumented-immigrant crisis.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the Open Society Foundations website has been advertising grants available for organizations interested in fighting against "Islamophobia" and "anti-Gypsyism" -- the sort of issues that only totally open borders in Europe could possibly fix, of course.

Not to speculate on possible motives behind supporting a flood of undocumented workers, but it would certainly serve to depress working wages to the benefit of oligarchs such as Soros -- a concern noted in a recent report from the Congressional Budget Office.

In Africa, the slippery slope from humanitarianism to profit has been much steeper and more obvious, with the Open Society Foundations moving from helping prostitutes in the resource-rich Great Lakes Region -- comprising Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda -- to commissioning reports with titles such as "Energy Policy and the Petroleum Industry Bill."

Hmmm. You won't convince the good-hearted naifs of the world to join forces with a multibillionaire to enrich his bottom line through low-intensity disruption operations -- er, I mean, to "save the world" -- with profiteering titles like that.

Russian oligarchs are effectively accountable to Putin as the elected leader of the country. To whom are our oligarchs accountable?


Wendy Davis Losing In Texas Is A Win, Or Something

Today on Slate’s feminist XX blog, there was a headline that read: Even if She Loses in Texas, Wendy Davis Is a Win for America. Seriously? So, a Texas State Senator, who filibustered a bill that would ban abortions twenty-weeks into a pregnancy last summer, is a “win for America?” Jessica Grose, who wrote the article, added:

"Now, for all the support Davis’ campaign has received from fellow Democrats in Washington and elsewhere—former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm called her “Joan of Arc, standing up there for women all across the country”—she’s still running for governor of a deeply red state. That means that the issue that made her a national star—abortion—is one she can’t really touch back at home. As NPR’s Wade Goodwin explains, “Her claim to fame is her filibuster against abortion restrictions, but in 2014, most Texas voters favor such legislation. So the candidate has mostly avoided talking about her signature issue.”

On Sunday, the New York Times published a big article outlining Davis’ campaign missteps. Initial poll numbers don’t look good. But whether she wins in Texas is somewhat beside the point, at least as far as her status as a national icon is concerned. As we head down the long road to the 2016 elections, Wendy Davis’ campaign serves as proof that a lot of people across the country can get fired up about women’s health and that hashtag activism can have concrete results."

Well, it isn’t just voters from Texas who support the ban on abortions twenty-weeks into a pregnancy. It’s pretty much everyone. In fact, a Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 60% of women support the ban. Quinnipiac’s poll had the same result.

Additionally, one could argue that Wendy Davis wouldn’t have received this much attention if it weren’t for President Obama tweeting out a link that broadcasted her filibuster.

But, the progressive left has made her a liberal icon. So, what are Wendy Davis' accomplishments? Right before the Fourth of July, Ashe Schow of the Washington Examiner wrote about a video made by supporters of Davis' Republican opponent Greg Abbott. For Davis being considered "Joan of Arc," her supporters were unable to name a single achievement.

So, it shouldn't be a shock that Wendy Davis is trailing Greg Abbott by an average of twelve points.

As for Grose's points about Hobby Lobby and Wendy Davis being catalysts to get women fired up for 2016, that remains to be seen. It's only been a week since the decision – and 2016 is very far away.



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 July, 2014

Children with same-sex parents are happier and healthier, researchers claim

What a load of codswallop! The journal abstract is here. The indices of health were AS REPORTED BY THE PARENT! Any chance of bias there?

There is also no mention of control for social class

Children of same sex parents have above average health and wellbeing, the largest ever study of its kind has found.

Researchers analysed 315 same sex parents with a total of 500 children, and say they had scores that were on average six per cent greater than the general population on measures of general health and family cohesion.

However, the study also warned stigma was an ongoing challenge for these children, and could have an impact on their health and wellbeing.

The University of Melbourne research published in the journal BMC Public Health is based on data from the Australian Study of Child Health in Same-Sex Families (ACHESS), the largest of its kind in the world, which involved input from 315 same sex parents with a total of 500 children.

Of these families, 80 per cent had female parents while 18 per cent had male parents.

'These children are growing up in a range of family contexts formed in a range of ways; from previous heterosexual relationships, to assisted reproductive technologies and same sex co-parenting arrangements,' said Dr Simon Crouch.

The research revealed children in same-sex parent families had scores that were on average six per cent greater than the general population on measures of general health and family cohesion.

Temperament and mood, behavior, mental health, emotional role, and self-esteem children were equivalent to children from the general population.

However,however in areas of general health and family cohesion in particular, children with same-sex attracted parents were doing better than those in the general population.

'It appears that same-sex parent families get a long well and this has a positive impact on health,' Dr Crouch said.

'We know that same-sex attracted parents are more likely to share child care and work responsibilities more equitably than heterosexual parent families, based more on skills rather than gender roles.

'This appears to be contributing to a more harmonious household and having a positive impact on child health,' he said.

'This study shows that children can thrive in a range of family contexts and the ways that these families are constructed can bring their own particular benefits to child health and wellbeing,' he said.

However, around two thirds of children with same-sex attracted parents experience some form of stigma due to their parents’ sexual orientation which impacts on mental and emotional wellbeing.

'Stigma can be subtle, such as letters home from school addressed to Mr and Mrs,' Dr Crouch said. 'Or it can be overt and very harmful, in the form of bullying and abuse at school.

'What we have found is that the more stigma these families experience the greater the impact on the social and emotional wellbeing of children.'


UK Government freezes the assets of 25 Muslims and 26 Islamic charities linked to jihad groups

Pamela Geller

The UK treasury published a list yesterday that included the names of 25 individuals and 26 organizations believed to be fighting and/or supporting jihad activity in Syria. Apparently this is part of the UK government’s plan to prevent British Muslims from traveling to Syria to fight in the cause of Islam.It is also aimed at preventing zakat (islamic charity) from reaching jihad terror groups.How this strategy dovetails with banning Robert Spencer and me from speaking against jihad in the UK is quite the mystery. That and the UK’s recent sale of more than 200 million pounds ($339 million) in Islamic bonds — “the first non-Muslim sovereign issuer of the debt.” Zakat (Islamic charity) is mandatory in Islamic finance. Zakat funds jihad.“UK jihadists have assets frozen by Treasury,” The Independent, July 5, 2014 (thanks to Halal Pork Shop)The UK government has decided to freeze the assets of three men believed to be in Syria fighting for jihadist groups.

The three men, who include Nasser Muthana and Reyaad Khan both 20 and from Cardiff, as well as Ruhul Amin from Aberdeen, are all on the list of people facing sanctions from the British treasury.The list, which was published yesterday, includes the names of 25 individuals and 26 organisations and is part of the government’s plan to prevent British citizens from travelling to Syria and becoming involved in jihadist militant groups.It is also aimed at preventing terrorist organisations from receiving funding from accounts in Britain.

The decision by the UK government comes a few days after a man claiming to be Nasser Muthana posted a picture of 15 homemade bombs above the words “So the UK is afraid I come back with the skills I’ve gained”.Read the rest. The US has prosecuted Islamic charities in the US for much the same thing. CAIR, ISNA, MSA were all named co-conspirators in the largest such case in the US — the Holy Land Foundation trial.


UK: Homosexual marriage cake leaves Christian bakery facing court threat

A Christian-run bakery is facing legal action from a Government agency for refusing to produce a cake carrying a picture of the Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie and the slogan “support gay marriage”.

Ashers Baking Co, based in Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland, cancelled an order for a novelty cake with a picture of the puppets arm in arm printed onto the icing saying that it went against the directors’ religious beliefs.

They believe that producing the cake with the slogan and the logo of QueerSpace, a gay rights group the would-be customer supports, would amount to endorsing the campaign for the introduction of gay marriage in the province, and go against their religious convictions.

But the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland has now written to the firm claiming that it is breaking the law.

A letter signed by the legal office orders the firm to “remedy your illegal discrimination” within seven days or be taken to court by the commission.

It claimed that refusing to print the cake amounted to discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation against the man who placed the order.

The Christian institute, which is supporting the bakery, says it is not discriminatory for managers to refuse to endorse a political campaign.

Gay marriage is not legal in Northern Ireland, the only part of the UK in which it is not on the statute book.

Colin Hart, chief executive of the Christian Institute, said: “This is a sign of things to come exactly as we predicted.

“The Government repeatedly failed to listen to members of the public, lawyers, constitutional experts even its own MPs when they called for safeguards to protect those who back traditional marriage, especially those who work in the public sector.

“Now this nonsense, more usually associated with the public sector, is being applied to the private sector.

“This means millions of ordinary people who do not agree with gay marriage, face intimidation and the real threat of legal action from the forces of political correctness if they, out of conscience, decline to provide good or services to campaign groups they do not agree with or support.

“It establishes a dangerous precedent about the power of the state over an individual, or business to force them to go against their deeply held beliefs.”


Teach boys how to be feminists to stop culture of abuse towards girls, says Labour

No indoctrination is ever enough for the Left

Schoolboys need to have lessons in feminism to help teach them out to treat women, Labour claims. Compulsory sex education classes should be held in all schools to tackle the rise of sexist abuse fuelled by internet porn, Yvette Cooper said.

The shadow home secretary warned a culture is spreading in schools where girls are subject to verbal abuse and have their shirts undone and skirts lifted by boys who do not respect them.

Schools, colleges and universities are to be consulted on changes in rules – or the law – which are needed to tackle the problem.

Labour warns too many boys believe abuse is ‘normal’ and it is fuelling a culture of violence against women and girls.

Ms Cooper insisted the problems being played out in classrooms today are more than the ‘hormonal mix of over-excited boys, irritated girls, and clumsy flirting that gets a bit out of hand’.

Writing in the Independent, she said the problems are getting worse, with growing levels of abuse and harassment of young women and girls.

The National Union of Students is also worried about a trend of jokes about rape and ‘innocent’ groping on campuses.

Labour would introduce compulsory sex and relationship education into schools, which would include ‘teaching zero tolerance of violence in relationships’.

Ms Cooper added: ‘For years we have talked about the importance of empowering our daughters, giving them the confidence to challenge abuse and bringing them up as feminists.

‘If we are going to achieve a real-step change in tackling violence against women, we need our sons growing up as confident feminists too.’

She added that ‘violence and viciousness’ towards women have been tolerated for too long. If we are going to achieve a real-step change in tackling violence against women, we need our sons growing up as confident feminists too

Labour pointed to figures showing that 21 per cent of rapists and over a quarter of domestic violence perpetrators are under 24.

Ms Cooper added: 'So called "revenge porn" is growing making young lives a misery when an ex posts their half naked photos or stalks them online.'

She recalled one teacher describing how teenage girls face vile verbal abuse on a daily basis.

Girls are 'heckled if they dare to speak in class, their shirts forcibly undone, their skirts lifted and held by groups of boys'.

She added: 'It would be easy and, let’s be honest, more comfortable, to dismiss this as a one off. Or the inevitable, temporary, rite of teenage passage.

'After all, we all remember that hormonal mix of over-excited boys, irritated girls, and clumsy flirting that gets a bit out of hand. 'Sadly it’s rather more than that; it’s certainly not temporary, and the evidence shows it’s getting worse.'



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 July, 2014

An Irish perspective on Africa

This controversial article by Kevin Myers appeared in The Irish Independent in 2008. There have since then been multiple reports of the Somali population explosion. The situation has not improved since Myers wrote:

Somalia is not a humanitarian disaster; it is an evolutionary disaster.

The current drought is not the worst in 50 years, as the BBC, and all the aid organizations claim. It is nothing compared to the droughts in 1960/61 or 73/74. There are continuing droughts every 5 years or so. It's just that there are now four times the population; having been kept alive by famine relief, supplied by aid organizations, over the past 50 years. So, of course, the effects of any drought now, is a famine. They cannot even feed themselves in a normal rainfall year.

Worst yet, the effects of these droughts, and poor nutrition in the first 3 years of the a child's life, have a lasting effect on the development of the infant brain, so that if they survive, they will never achieve a normal IQ . Consequently, they are selectively breeding a population who cannot be educated, let alone one that is not being educated: a recipe for disaster.

We are seeing this impact now, and it can only exacerbate, to the detriment of their neighbors, and their environment as well. This scenario can end only in an even worse disaster, with even worse suffering, for those benighted people and their descendants.

Eventually, some mechanism will intervene, be it war, disease or starvation. So what do we do? Let them starve?

What a dilemma for our Judeo/Christian/Islamic Ethos, as well as Hindu/Buddhist morality.

This is beginning to happen in Kenya, Ethiopia, and other countries in Asia, like Pakistan. Is this the beginning of the end of civilization?

AFRICA is giving nothing to anyone outside Africa, apart from AIDS and new diseases.

Even as we see African states refusing to take action to restore something resembling civilization in Zimbabwe, the Begging Bowl for Ethiopia is being passed around to us outside of Africa, yet again.

It is nearly 25 years since the famous Feed The World campaign began in Ethiopia, and in that time Ethiopia's population has grown from 33.5 million to 78+ million today.

So, why on earth should I do anything to encourage further catastrophic demographic growth in that country? Where is the logic? There is none.

To be sure, there are two things saying that logic doesn't count.

One is my conscience, and the other is the picture, yet again, of another wide-eyed child, yet again, gazing, yet again, at the camera, which, yet again, captures the tragedy of children starving.

Sorry. My conscience has toured this territory on foot and financially. Unlike most of you, I have been to Ethiopia; like most of you, I have stumped up the loot to charities to stop starvation there. The wide-eyed boy-child we saved, 20 years or so ago, is now a low IQ, AK 47-bearing moron, siring children whenever the whim takes him, and blaming the world because he is uneducated, poor and left behind.

There is no doubt a good argument why we should prolong this predatory and dysfunctional economic, social and sexual system, but I do not know what it is. There is, on the other hand, every reason not to write a column like this.

It will win no friends, and will provoke the self-righteous wrath of, well, the self-righteous, hand wringing, letter writing wrathful individuals, a species which never fails to contaminate almost every debate in Irish life with its sneers and its moral superiority. It will also probably enrage some of the finest men in Irish life, like John O'Shea, of Goal; and the Finucane brothers, men whom I admire enormously. So be it.

But, please, please, you self-righteously wrathful, spare me mention of our own Irish Famine, with this or that lazy analogy. There is no comparison. Within 20 years of the Famine, the Irish population was down by 30%. Over the equivalent period, thanks to western food, the Mercedes 10-wheel truck and the Lockheed Hercules planes, Ethiopia's population has more than doubled

Alas, that wretched country is not alone in its madness. Somewhere, over the rainbow, lies Somalia, another fine land of violent, AK 47-toting, khat-chewing, girl-circumcising, permanently tumescent layabouts, housing pirates of the ocean.

Indeed, we now have almost an entire continent of sexually hyperactive, illiterate indigents, with tens of millions of people who only survive because of help from the outside world or allowances by the semi communist Governments they voted for, money supplied by borrowing it from the World Bank!!

This dependency has not stimulated political prudence or common sense.

Indeed, voodoo idiocy seems to be in the ascendant, with the president of South Africa being a firm believer in the efficacy of a little tap water on the post-coital penis as a sure preventative against AIDS infection.

Needless to say, poverty, hunger and societal meltdown have not prevented idiotic wars involving Tigre, Uganda, Congo, Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea etc, etc.

Broad brush-strokes, to be sure, but broad brush-strokes are often the way that history paints its gaudier, if more decisive, chapters. Japan, China, Russia, Korea, Poland, Germany, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in the 20th century have endured worse broad brush-strokes than almost any part of Africa.

They are now, one way or another, virtually all giving aid to or investing in Africa, whereas Africa, with its vast savannahs and its lush pastures, is giving almost nothing to anyone, apart from AIDS.

Meanwhile, Africa's peoples are outstripping their resources, and causing catastrophic ecological degradation. By 2050, the population of Ethiopia will be 177 million, the equivalent of France, Germany and Benelux today, but located on the parched and increasingly Protein-free wastelands of the Great Rift Valley.

So, how much sense does it make for us actively to increase the adult population of what is already a vastly over-populated, environmentally devastated and economically dependent country?

How much morality is there in saving an Ethiopian child from starvation today, for it to survive to a life of brutal circumcision, poverty, hunger, violence and sexual abuse, resulting in another half-dozen such wide-eyed children, with comparably jolly little lives ahead of them?

Of course, it might make you feel better, which is a prime reason for so much charity, but that is not good enough.

Self-serving generosity has been one of the curses of Africa. It has sustained political systems which would otherwise have collapsed. It prolonged the Eritrean-Ethiopian war by nearly a decade.

It is inspiring Bill Gates' program to rid the continent of malaria, when, in the almost complete absence of personal self-discipline, that disease is one of the most efficacious forms of population-control now operating.

If his program is successful, tens of millions of children who would otherwise have died in infancy will survive to adulthood, he boasts.

Oh good!! Then what? I know, let them all come here (to Ireland) or America, Or Australia. Yes, that's an idea....

Via email

United Church Of Christ Sponsors ‘Gay Games 9’ In Ohio This Summer

A deliberate insult to Bible teachings. They are Christians in name only

For the longest time, homosexuality was considered an abomination in the Christian faith. Citing multiple versus from the book of Leviticus (18:22 and 20:13), Christians and Jews have enforced how the act of men having sexual relations with another man is an abomination and a sin punishable by death. Now, certain denominations have accepted gay people stating that “love is love.” The most prominent denomination to do this is the Presbyterian church by accepting gay marriage in areas where gay marriage is legal, as reported here on The Inquisitr.

Now another denomination is showing their support for gay people, as the Protestant Church has agreed to become a major sponsor for the upcoming Gay Games 9!

According to an initial report by The New York Times, the United Church of Christ has agreed with the organizers of Gay Games 9 to sponsor the upcoming annual which starts on August 9th and ends on August 16th. The games, which will be held in both Cleveland and Akron, Ohio, will play host to more than 35 sporting and cultures events. The church also stated that the two reasons for their sponsorship are geography, and more importantly, ideology. Rev. James Moos, a national officer of the church, had this to say about the their inclusion in the games:

“The United Church of Christ has been a leader in L.G.B.T. inclusion. No matter who you are or where you are in life’s journey, you are welcome here.”

As for their popularity (or notoriety), the United Church of Christ made headline news back in 2004 when they ran a television commercial that depicted two bouncers blocking the entrance to a church to would-be worshippers who did not conform to the overall norms of the church. The commercial would then announce, “Jesus didn’t turn people away, neither do we.”

However, some people don’t agree with the United Church of Christ and their decision to support the gay community. Along with their report, Now The End Begins also included Holy Bible verses to show how this could be associated to apostasy running rampant in the church. The primary verse used, right underneath the subtitle, “The great falling away continues unabated” is 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 10 in which it reads:

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

For those who don’t understand old school “King James”-speak, the big part of the quote is “effeminate” which means a man who partakes in feminine nature, behavior, mannerisms, or styles. Summarized, it is a fancy word for gender roles.

In conclusion, the United Church of Christ is following the progressive movement for gay rights and the people it supports. Other companies that have shown the same support include Burger King, a company that recently revealed the Proud Whopper. However, for some denominations, following in the direction the entire country is following doesn’t mean it is right in God’s eyes.



It doesn’t affect you when bureaucratic zealots order a Christian baker, against his conscience, to participate in a same-sex parody of a wedding by baking a special cake for it. Why should you care? You’re not a baker. You’re not one of “those Christians” who are getting slapped down by the government they pay for.

But that’s in the United States. In Canada—at least in the city of Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island—now all you need, to qualify for persecution, is some vague, undefined “association” with “divisive groups” (Christians) that “promote homophobia and other expressions of hate.”

On May 5 the Nanaimo City Council voted, 8-1, to ban simulcasts of a worldwide “leadership conference” from being shown at the Vancouver Island Conference Center, a public facility, because some unspecified number of the “LBGT community” were “upset” by the conference’s “associations” with “persons and organizations with a long history of promoting homophobia,” blah-blah. You can see videos of this bizarre meeting here.

This is a complicated, crazy story, and it’ll take some explaining.

The conference in question, “Leadercast,” is held every year in one major city and simulcast to public venues in hundreds of other cities. Personally, I would find it unbearably dull. It’s a bunch of motivational speakers, CEOs from big companies, and assorted celebrities of the likes of Desmond Tutu, Laura Bush, and Condoleeza Rice, telling you how to become a big success yourself by acquiring certain leadership skills. The chance of any topic related to “gay” issues coming up is zero.

So why were Nanaimo’s homosexuals so “upset” by it? Two extremely silly reasons emerged from the discussion.

First: One of Leadercast’s innumerable sponsors was Chick-Fil-A, whose CEO once said he was opposed to same-sex “marriage.”

Second: One of the featured speakers had once voiced his support for “reparative therapy” for homosexuals. That was not what he was going to talk about for Leadercast, but never mind. Because of his opinion on one subject, his opinion on any subject must not be heard.

By no means is Leadercast any kind of “Christian” conference. But never mind—there are some Christians “associated” with it. So the Nanaimo City Council ruled that, from now on, no one “associated” with such “hate groups” is to have access to any public facility in their city.

Couldn’t that ban apply to almost anybody?

The councilors used the rest of their time to make hysterical equations of “Christians” with Islamic jihad groups like Bokol Haram in Nigeria, etc. In their zeal to combat “hate,” they hate Christians. It’s their own little jihad.

So Chick-Fil-A equals Bokol Haram, an outfit that kills people and kidnaps girls? I fear for the welfare of any city governed by loons who think like that.

In Nanaimo, it seems, homosexuality has acquired a kind of sacred status. One councilor, an old white man with white hair who likes to have his picture taken wearing ladies’ shoes, bragged, “We have made unanimous decisions to fly the Gay Pride flag, year after year!” Bully for you, champ. Another, a 21-year-old black “student”—we don’t want to know what he’s been studying—went on and on about the Christian religion being a form of “hate.” I wonder what his religion is.

The upshot of all this babble is a doctrine that makes non-persons of “Christians” or anyone even remotely associated with them, and forbids them access to public facilities in Nanaimo. So now you don’t have to say you’re opposed to “gay marriage” to be silenced in Nanaimo. Maybe you ate at Chick-Fil-A once. Maybe your cousin’s orthodontist signed a petition against “gay marriage.” Or maybe some lesbian just thinks you’re a bad guy. It doesn’t take much to get you banned from public life in Nanaimo.

Gaydeology has become the religion of the governing class throughout the Western world. Maybe it’s God’s judgment on us. Maybe God has washed His hands of us and given us over to a reprobate mind—as St. Paul warned us would happen, in Romans Chapter 1.

It is an intolerant religion, to put it so mildly as to be almost laughable. It brooks no dissent. “Gay” is sacred, and woe to anyone who thinks otherwise.


Australian hate-speech laws: no dissent allowed

The Australian government is currently trying to amend Section 18C of the Australian Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (RDA). This is the section which asserts that speech content, judged objectively after the event, must not ‘offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people’. Sadly, what is noticeable about the debate so far is the tendency of those in favour of S18C to ignore or treat with contempt the idea of free speech. Below are 10 ways in which those advocating S18C and hate-speech laws in general are dodging, stifling and running away from the debate.

1) Reliance on abstractions

All censors abhor definite standards. Vagueness is always to be preferred. In times past, it was the elastic tendency-based criminal law of sedition, blasphemy, defamation and obscenity. Nowadays, the obscurantism is expressed in two words, ‘hate speech’, to which an ‘identity-specific’ adjective such as ‘racist’ is applied. Yet apart from Holocaust denial and exhibitionist displays of racial prejudice, particularly at sporting events, on public transport and, more widely, by electronic means – both of which are instantly recognisable – no exact definition of racist hate speech is proffered. As with hardcore pornography, we are all expected to recognise it when we see or read it.

As Eatock v Bolt (2011) and Clark v Nationwide News Ltd (2012) demonstrate, the vagueness of S18C operates to restrict public discussion in controversies about ‘race, colour or national or ethnic origin of [persons or groups]’. The supporters of S18C happily proclaim the discretionary flexibility of the formulation ‘offensive, insulting, humiliating or intimidating’ speech as S18C’s great virtue. The context in which the section is defended is characterised by the use of fashionable but unenlightening abstractions, most notably: ‘diversity’, ‘harmony’, ‘inclusion’, ‘respect’, ‘dignity’, ‘marginalisation’ and ‘cultural sensitivity’. The censor’s obscurantism is buttressed by demands that ‘systemic’, ‘unconscious’ or ‘normative’ racism must be stamped out. When Paul Keating’s Labor government introduced the bill for S18C in 1995, the rationale was that racist speech was a form of violence which could be more harmful than physical violence.

The propositions that you can be a racist without knowing it, and that words can, as it were, break your bones (and spirit), are surely in need of debate. But instead of being up for debate, these ideas are treated as doctrinal. Moreover, the all-pervasive vagueness attaching to the words ‘racism’ and ‘racist’, and the relative ease with which accusations of racism are made, have debased both words. The proponents of S18C censorship bear the burden of identifying exactly what it is they say should be censored. Their rationale for doing so, however, remains an enduring mystery.

2) Ignore one awkward concrete problem

There is another category of ‘racist hate speech’ which extends the reach of S18C. It is interpreted by the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) as applicable, selectively, to ethno-religious speech conduct. It is only recently that the archaic Christianity-specific common-law prohibitions on blasphemy have become obsolete. This reflects the reality of the secular state: there should no legally privileged categories of ideas and especially no entanglement of the state in religion. The suggestion that, in order to avoid hurting another person’s religious sensibilities, an individual should be compelled to display ‘respect’ for a religious belief or practice – or the concept of religion itself – which that individual may regard as rank superstition, or that an attack on a religious idea or practice in itself amounts to racism, is profoundly anti-democratic, no matter how much it is dressed up in secular pieties about ‘inclusion’.

However, S18C and some Australian state legislation have, in effect, resurrected a statutory form of blasphemy. In an address to the United Nations in December 2012, then Australian prime minister Julia Gillard asserted that ‘denigration of religious beliefs is never acceptable’. That ‘never’ is by far the most telling recent illustration of the nature and extent of the contest between a defence of the general right to dissent and those who seek state-backed conformity in public discussion.

3) Portray S18C as a protective law

Most S18C advocates emphasise that it is designed to protect minorities, although S18C makes no such distinction. However, even at that disingenuous level, the claim is no more than wishful thinking. Nobody seems to be suggesting that the civil liability imposed by S18C (and its capricious enforcement) has deterred a single person from resorting to Holocaust denial or racist mouthing-off in public. Yet, simultaneously, its supporters trot out the arguments that S18C is little used and that its real utility is symbolic. So much for protecting minorities.

4) Fearmongering about free speech

There has been plenty of hyperbole. If enacted, attorney general George Brandis’s proposed reforms to S18C would usher in a ‘licensing of hate’, ‘give succour to racists’, and be the end of multiculturalism, nay, the end of Australia as we know it. Australia’s race discrimination commissioner went far beyond hyperbole, even, when he said that S18C guards against a repetition of the Holocaust because ‘genocide begins with words’.

5) Misrepresenting the general law

If S18C supporters exaggerate the so-called free-speech protections in S18D of the Racial Discrimination Act (which stipulates that comments made in good faith are permissible as expressions of genuine belief), they fundamentally mis-state the law of defamation and they ignore altogether the torts of intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. They thereby disregard regimes of legal protection for actual psychological harm which apply without regard to ‘race, colour or national or ethnic origin’.

6) Make no concessions

Although the pro-S18C camp is full of acknowledgments that freedom of expression is important, there is a striking absence of any acknowledgment that dissent is central to securing that freedom. One way of testing this is to do a word search of ‘dissent’ on the online archive of AHRC publications, in surveys of social cohesion, or in the vast literature on Australian multiculturalism. As soon as the AHRC acknowledges that dissent – real dissent – is necessary to maintain the health of a free and open society, it undermines its commitment to special legal protection for privileged categories of controversial public debate. It is locked into this position largely because the concept of cultural diversity and sensitivity calls for treating all ‘cultures’ (or at least the privileged minority cultures) as worthy of equal ‘respect’. The end result is that discussion – for example, of barbaric cultural beliefs and practices (including selected religious ones) – is frowned upon for fear of ‘offending’ adherents and being ‘divisive’. This is not all that surprising. S18C is designed to suppress dissent which, by definition, is often offensive, insulting, humiliating and intimidating. Dissent brings about division, disrespect, disharmony, incivility, indignity and so on – all of which are, in theory at least, anathema to inclusiveness theory.

7) Except the ‘Irish jokes’ concession

Then there is the ‘curiouser and curiouser’ dimension of the S18C debate; that is, the unexplained acknowledgment that there are tolerable forms of public racist speech. What are we to make of the endorsement by the AHRC in its submission to the attorney general’s S18C consultation of the following statement in the Report of the National Inquiry into Racist Violence (1991)? ‘No prohibition or penalty is recommended for the simple holding of racist opinions without public expression or promotion of them or in the absence of conduct motivated by them. Nor would any of the proposed measures outlaw “casual racism”, for example the exchange of “Irish jokes”.’ (My italics)

Putting to one side the unexplained concept of ‘casual racism’, what moved the AHRC to use ‘Irish jokes’ to exemplify permissible casual racism? The Irish ambassador to Australia recently complained about the casual stereotyping of national groups in the Australian media and managed to extract a prompt apology from the Fairfax Media group (the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age), which, in an odd role-reversal for the Fourth Estate, is at the forefront of the pro-S18C censorship campaign.

8) Remind the majorities that ‘they just don’t understand’

And then there are the angry ad hominem contributions to the ‘non-debate’. The attorney general’s draft proposal for the amendment of S18C contains a provision which would impose limited civil liability according to an objective test applied by reference to ‘the standards of an ordinary reasonable member of the Australian community, not by the standards of any particular group within the Australian community’. This type of standard is entirely coherent and well-known – for example, in the law of negligence and defamation. Many in the pro-S18C camp have denounced this because, so it is said, only the victimised minorities are capable of understanding what it is to endure racist hate speech and suffer its unique psychic harm. This is a claim that is calculated to stifle debate.

9) Invoke White Australia policy

A harsher variation of the ignorance trope is advocates of S18C invoking the unedifying history of the White Australia policy (discontinued a half-century ago). The objective is clear: to signify that present-day, ordinary, reasonable (white) Australians are still not to be trusted.

10) Argue that the White majorities are ignorant

A more confrontational version of the ‘majorities are ignorant’ thesis is the claim made by one prominent commentator in the Age that there are two types of Australians. The first group consists of the privileged Anglo-Saxon folk who regard being ‘Australian’ as something in respect of which they have a superior claim. The rest are the supplicant subordinated non-white folk. It is the ‘whiteness’ of the ignorance of the former group, sitting at the top of an alleged Australian racial power hierarchy, which precludes them from telling people what they should and should not find racist. The link to this contribution has been conspicuously displayed on the Age since it first appeared in print on 27 March 2014. It might be thought that, to date, it is the standout candidate for the award of unintended irony in the S18C controversy. Yet there has to be space for statements such as these (and for that matter, the denigration of the Irish by the AHRC) if free speech is to have any real meaning. These statements do at least stand in striking contrast to the speech-stultifying mush being preached in the name of ‘harmony’, ‘inclusion’, ‘identity’, ‘respect’, ‘dignity’, ‘civility’ and all their soothing synonyms.

Those supporting the repeal of S18C are having to withstand sustained heckling, including from what passes for the Australian left. The attorney general, they say, will abandon his proposed amendment or be rolled in his party room. In contrast, the most powerful case against the neo-puritan whingeing that propels hate-speech censorship has come from a small minority of outspoken indigenous Australians. ‘People have a right to decide for themselves how they feel about the idea of “race” and racism’, writes Kerryn Pholi, an Aborigine and former social worker. ‘In order to do that, they need to be free to exchange ideas about these matters, and this includes the freedom to say whatever they like — however ugly — about people like me.’ Now, that’s diversity.



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 July, 2014

Playmate Joanna Krupa Thinks Huntress Kendall Jones Should Be Killed

Doug Giles

Last week, a firestorm erupted on Facebook over several pics of legally hunted, not endangered, African animals by a Texas Tech University cheerleader named Kendall Jones.

One would’ve thought, given the rank, ripe and replete rancor leveled at Miss Kendall that she publicly filmed the murder of a baby or something.

Sorry, that example sucked. My bad. I should’ve dug deeper for a better analogy because a Leftist doesn’t give a rat’s backside about babies getting offed, and they recently even celebrated some chick that actually filmed her abortion.

Anyway, the anti-hunting nutters on the Left did their typical crybaby shtick aimed at Jones, namely caterwaul and campaign that Kendall and her pics be “banned” from Facebook. Aren’t liberals cute? They love banning things. They don’t care what one does as long as they mandate it. Everything else, well, it should be banned. They would’ve made awesome youths in Hitler’s army, but they were born too late. Oh, well. Maybe Satan has something new for them in the 21stcentury since they missed the Third Reich’s boat last century. Who knows? I guess we’ll have to wait and see, eh?

What I find interesting about the incendiary nature of their wrath against the young huntress was not only their petty protest of things they don’t like and do not understand, but the multiple online calls (which I believe have traceable IP’s to their home addresses) for Kendall’s death. One prominent song writer, a rather mannish looking, snaggle-toothed British lady, even tweeted for “the bitch to be killed“. But then she deleted it. But we preserved it, just in case she deleted it accidentally. You’re welcome.

After the homely song writer spewed her murderous rage at the teenager, a‘Real Housewives From Miami’… uh … star, Joanna Krupa took to Instagram and said, ‘This bitch Kendall Jones killed this beautiful creature so she post a selfie! That lion is an endangered species… breaks my f**king [heart] not to mention he had a family… I wish I can fly to Africa and shoot her ugly ass.’

Which brings me to this twist with the twisted mooks that make up the anti-hunting taskforce: Apparently, after reading their multitudinous tirades, they’re against the legal hunting of unendangered animals and they’re completely comfy with the illegal murder of a college coed.

Question: Is it okay for people to now put out calls, multiple calls, for law-abiding hunters to be killed? Did I miss some new policy that affords PETA types to go onto social media and request the death of a person? I must have, because these anti-hunting lovelies do it nowadays with impunity and I’ve preserved several of these screeds on my website at ClashDaily.com.

Now, I’m sure they would say they’re merely using a “figure of speech” when they cry for Kendall to killed, but I guarantee that there’s some bath-salt zombie wanking to a Nat Geo magazine right now that just might follow through with their ill-will.

And that’s why I think the cops should pay those who made death threats against her a little visit. Y’know … a house call to find out what the blank they’re thinking, because it’s a very odd behavior for a civilized society. These death-spewing, anti-hunting clowns are giving al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda’s 2.0 version, ISIS, a run for their deranged money, they are so vocal with their terror threats. I guarantee if it were a Tea Partier calling for a person’s or a specific group’s annihilation they’d get a little knock-knock from the police. Fo’ sho’.

As stated, these freaks won’t be hard to find with the snail slime they’ve left behind on the Internet. It’s traceable and it would be a peace of cake to rattle the cages of the various and the most vociferous Facebookers screaming for Jones’ head.

Watch your six, Kendall, these winners are not right in the head.


Where’s the Tolerance – Black FL GOP House Congressional Candidate Glo Smith Campaign Signs Vandalized

The political left frequently complains about the imaginary conservative war on women yet they conveniently ignore the real war waged against black female conservatives.

Florida Republican House of Representatives candidate Glo Smith is the latest victim subjected to intimidation tactics from the “tolerant” left.

Smith’s face, appearing on one of her campaign signs, was sprayed over with white paint last week. There are also reports that several of Smith’s campaign signs have been stolen.

The NationalReview.com reports:

…she became aware of the racist defacement of an eight-foot-by-four-foot sign Tuesday. The sign was situated on private property in view of Interstate 10 in Jacksonville. The vandal sprayed white paint over the face of Smith, who is African-American. The paint job appears to be carefully done and leaves the eyes untouched, creating a very creepy effect.

Although it has not been determined who the vandals are, this race-based attack is consistent with the black liberal assault on black conservative women.

As a high profile black conservative, I’m very familiar with this type of intimidation tactics. Because of my political views, I’m constantly attacked and criticized through social media with comments claiming “You want to be white” and “You should dye your hair blond.” I’ve also been called “Auntie Tom,” “Aunt Jemima” and numerous other names not appropriate for posting.

Black conservative females are attacked because we threaten the money and power of the black liberal establishment – community activists, politicians, media publications and some ministers – that propagate the victimization game.

The independence and self-sufficiency message of black conservatives dispels the lies from these individuals and groups because their constant message is about blacks being victims and requiring special treatment.

Not surprising, the so-called black leaders – Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and the NAACP – have not come out to defend Smith. There have been no marches or demonstrations in the streets or grandstanding on this incident because in reality, the black liberal establishment’s outrage is only used to protect liberal causes – conservatives need not apply.


Reading to Newborns Is Probably Useless

RAZIB KHAN points out that correlation is not causation

Like clockwork every few months I feel prompted to write about The Nurture Assumption. In this case it is due to The New York Times reporting that the American Academy of Pediatrics is now recommending that parents start reading to their newborns. As noted in the piece in The New York Times a major reason for this recommendation is the research which shows that higher socioeconomic status families tend to talk a lot more to their offspring than lower socioeconomic status families, and provide them with a richer vocabulary. The assumption is that this head start allows higher socioeconomic status children to outpace their peers cognitively. Naturally they reference Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experience of Young American Children. This work surveying 42 families was published in 1995, and concluded that children raised in professional households will hear 8 million more words in a year than children raised in a household on welfare.

But that’s old news. There is also a reference to a 2013 study, SES differences in language processing skill and vocabulary are evident at 18 months. The study here looks at 48 individuals. You can see the major result at the top of this post. To me one thing that strikes me are the rather modest correlations. The children in higher socioeconomic circumstances have larger vocabularies, but it’s not an incredibly big difference. There is a huge amount of variation within socioeconomic brackets, just as there is within families. The standard deviation of IQ in groups of siblings is nearly the same as the standard deviation of IQ in the general population. There’s only so much control families and genes have (shared environment + heritable component).

Naturally the first thing that comes to mind is that socioeconomic status and intelligence are not totally uncorrelated, and intelligence is at least somewhat heritable. Smart parents might simply talk more to their children, and those children will tend to be smarter than you would expect by chance. The authors are aware of the behavior genetic literature, but they tend to argue that it can be interpreted in a way which leaves open the possibility for the large effect of shared environment. In general my prior is to be skeptical of this, because the overall body of research suggests that for many behavioral traits the variation within the population which isn’t genetic (on the order of half) is simply unaccounted for.

(1) This doesn’t mean that there aren’t environmental effects which might result in changes in outcome on the margin. But we just don’t know enough about non-genetic component to assume that a silver bullet policy prescription can be formulated out of a few studies. A few years ago Jim Manzi came out with the book Uncontrolled: The Surprising Payoff of Trial-and-Error for Business, Politics, and Society, where he unveiled the term “high causal density.” In other words, there are lots of causes for some effects, and it is difficult to tease apart the variables so as to engineer appropriate responses. This is clear even in the case of the genetically heritable component, which is often polygenic and difficult to assign to any given gene of large effect. And it is also likely in many cases for numerous environmental variables, some of which may simply be stochastic (which can explain differences between identical twins raised together).

Unfortunately a major human cognitive bias seems to be the need to think that we can control things, and effect change. This results in the adherence to fads and fashions such as Freudianism and attachment parenting as the years come and go. The single biggest thing you as an expectant parent can do to have a child with a large vocabulary is to select a mate with a large vocabulary. This won’t guarantee anything, because there is going to be lots of variation on individual outcomes, but in a developed world context this is probably the lowest hanging fruit in terms of ‘return on investment.’ Think of it as ‘loading the die.’ That doesn’t address the issue of inequality, which is really what’s bothering people in this particular case, but I strongly suspect that reading to newborns is going to be a waste of everyone’s time here, though it may make people feel as if they are doing something. Young parents have a finite amount of time, and it seems pragmatic for them to starting reading to children when children can actually start understanding the structure of narratives!


Political constraints on homosexual research

Will gay marriages be more durable than heterosexual marriages have been over the last generation? Let’s face it: it is not as though traditional boy-girl marriage has been a world-beater lately in the U.S. Will gay breakups differ from hetero marriages, given that in most cases there will be fewer child custody battles or alimony payments to haggle over? I have no idea, and make no prejudgments about the matter. This will be a great time to follow the data.

But that may be a problem. I do have one hunch about what will happen: social science research in to gay marriage will be discouraged, when it is not suppressed or demonized because any finding that might deviate from the current triumphalism will be politically incorrect. Just as most graduate students in social science stay away from certain aspects of research on minorities (see Jason Richwine for what can happen when you try it), this will become another area marked off limits.

It’s already happened to two researchers who attempted to assemble and analyze statistics on adopted children raised by gay couples, Mark Regnerus, a sociologist at the University of Texas at Austin, and Loren Marks, a sociologist at Louisiana State University. In separate studies using standard panel large-scale survey methodology, they each concluded that children raised in same-sex marriage households had higher rates of various social dysfunctions than children raised in traditional married households. As with almost every social science analysis, there is ample room to criticize the research design, and Regnerus’s sample size (only about 250 parents) may be too small and over too short a span to bear the weight of any conclusions at this point.

But of course that’s not the way people responded to his work. The liberal establishment, and Regnerus’s own university, went to DefCon1 to denounce his work in all of the usual ways. A group of 200 professors signed a letter denouncing the study. I wonder how many of them actually read it? I wonder how many of them will conduct similar research? There’s a survey I’d like to do, and on these questions I’d be happy to offer a confident prediction about the results.



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 July, 2014

Federal Gov’t Sues Wisconsin Company, Says English-Language Requirement is 'Discrimination'

This is an attack on the most basic liberties

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a federal agency tasked with enforcing workplace discrimination laws, is suing a private American business for firing a group of Hispanic and Asian employees over their inability to speak English at work, claiming that the English-language requirement in a U.S. business constitutes “discrimination.”

Judicial Watch reported Tuesday that the government is accusing Wisconsin Plastics, Inc. of violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on “national origin.” The government argues this includes the “linguistic characteristics of a national origin group.”

Irene Garcia, the blog editor and Spanish media liaison for Judicial Watch, called the EEOC’s accusation “ludicrous.”

“That’s ludicrous and an overreaching of government,” Garcia told CNSNews.com. “If you are a private company in the United States, you should be able to require your employees to speak English.”

According to a news release from the EEOC, Chicago Regional Attorney John C. Hendrickson said the Green Bay-based company’s English requirement is based on “superficial” reasoning.

"Our experience at the EEOC has been that so-called 'English only' rules and requirements of English fluency are often employed to make what is really discrimination appear acceptable. But superficial appearances are not fooling anyone,” Hendrickson said in the release. “When speaking English fluently is not, in fact, required for the safe and effective performance of a job, nor for the successful operation of the employer’s business, requiring employees to be fluent in English usually constitutes employment discrimination on the basis of national origin — and thus violates federal law.”

But Garcia said the ability to speak English is necessary for employees of Wisconsin Plastics, Inc., but that the employees in question “were not able to speak English at any kind of level that would be considered proficient.”

“In this case some English is necessary to communicate with supervisors and stuff like that, and the EEOC just went after this private company because some employees were being marked down for not having English skills. So that doesn’t really make sense,” she said.

Garcia added that the lawsuit, filed on June 9, is just the latest in a slew of attempts by the EEOC and the Obama administration to go after American businesses for so-called “discrimination.” She cited numerous cases in which the EEOC has accused businesses of discriminating by requiring workers to speak English, running background and criminal checks, and enforcing company-wide restrictions on head coverings, including those worn by some Muslim women.

“We’ve seen some decisions that are kind of radical that we haven’t seen in the past, under Republican or Democrat administrations,” she said, claiming the EEOC under the Obama administration is “on a roll.”

Many lawsuits brought by the EEOC subjectively twist the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include things it was never meant to cover, Garcia added.

“We’re seeing a lot of these kinds of law suits using his civil rights law to sue on behalf of all these different causes that I believe violate the spirit of the law,” Garcia explained.

“In terms of religious and language rights under the Civil Rights Act, that’s what the administration is using to offer and extend protects when really and truly there’s no place for them [in the law],” she said.


Vatican Document Reaffirms Traditional Marriage -- Pastoral Approach Towards Gays

A document released by the Vatican last week reaffirmed longstanding Catholic teaching that marriage is exclusively between a man and a woman, and ruled out same-sex unions as its equivalent.

“There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family,” Instrumentum Laboris states, quoting a 2003 church document that said “under no circumstances can they be approved.”

But Instrumentum Laboris also addressed the Church’s need to show compassion towards those with homosexual inclinations. It garnered mixed reviews from gay advocacy groups who said that while they were pleased with the “new, welcoming tone,” they were also “disappointed” that the Church did not change its stance on same-sex marriage.

The document discusses the findings of a worldwide Vatican survey which “was divided into eight groups of questions on marriage and the family” and sent to “a significant number of dioceses, parishes, movements, groups, ecclesial associations and families” in November in preparation for the Extraordinary Synod on the Family called by Pope Francis, which will be held at the Vatican in October.

According to the survey, “every bishops’ conference voiced opposition to ‘redefining’ marriage between a man and a woman through the introduction of legislation permitting a union between two people of the same sex.”

The document also points out that the bishops “are clearly opposed to legislation which would allow the adoption of children by persons in a same-sex union, because they see a risk to the integral good of the child, who has the right to have a mother and father, as pointed out recently by Pope Francis.”

However the document emphasized that it is also Church teaching that “men and women with homosexual tendencies ‘must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”

The bishops voiced a need for a better pastoral response towards such persons, finding that “on the whole, the extreme reactions to these unions, whether compromising or uncompromising, do not seem to have facilitated the development of an effective pastoral programme which is consistent with the Magisterium and compassionate towards the persons concerned.”

For example, the document stated that when people living in homosexual unions “request a child’s baptism, almost all the responses emphasize that the child must be received with the same care, tenderness and concern which is given to other children.”

“Many responses indicate that it would be helpful to receive more concrete pastoral directives in these situations,” the document stated, referring to the survey results.

“Should a reasonable doubt exist in the capability of persons in a same sex union to instruct the child in the Christian faith, proper support is to be secured in the same manner as for any other couple seeking the baptism of their children. In this regard, other people in their family and social surroundings could also provide assistance,” the document explains.

At their October gathering, the synod fathers will “thoroughly examine and analyze the information, testimonies and recommendations” in the document.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), an organization “working for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender equal rights,” called the document an attempt by the Vatican to “embrace a new, welcoming tone needed towards LGBT people.”

However, Equally Blessed, a group that claims to be “faithful Catholics committed to full equality for LGBT people in the church and civil society,” said in a statement that they were “disappointed by the lack of listening evidenced in the report released by the Vatican yesterday in preparation for the Synod which will discuss ministry to the family.”

“We hoped that this Synod signified a new openness in the Church to truly dialogue,” the group said. “The Bishops once again claim that the problem is not that their teachings clash with the Biblical teaching of love, but that Catholics are unaware of the teachings. Catholics are not unaware, rather they have long struggled with these teachings, and ultimately reject them as inconsistent with the Gospel.”

But the document makes it clear that ecclesial leaders are not about to change the Catholic Church’s “constant teaching on marriage and family.”

“The great challenge will be to develop a ministry which can maintain the proper balance between accepting persons in a spirit of compassion and gradually guiding them to authentic human and Christian maturity” as embodied in that teaching, the document states.


Why Jihad?

The question worth posing is why radical Islamic ideals appeal to young people who have often benefited from life in the West. It is clear that their embrace of radical Islam is coupled with a rejection of the way of life of their parents and also of the communities they inhabit. Such a generational rebellion against the old ways is not confined to Muslim youth. When you talk to young radical British Muslims it is obvious that they are motivated by impulses shared by many of their non-Muslim peers.

Take their rejection of Western consumer society: ‘Are you willing to sacrifice the fat job you’ve got, the big car you’ve got, the family you have’, asks Abdul Raqib Amin in his ISIS-sponsored video. His views, which draw on the anti-consumerist rhetoric of Western radicalism, are shared by a significant section of European youth. Indeed, it could just as easily be a statement made by a member of Occupy. But Amin is not just a radical protester, and he reminds his audience that he also belongs to a distinct youth subculture by asking: ‘Are you willing to sacrifice this, for the sake of Allah?’

What security officials characterise as radicalisation should be understood as an expression of generational estrangement. Young Muslims’ estrangement from and resentment towards Western society is logically prior to any radicalising message that they might subsequently internalise. Many young people, who find it difficult to gain meaning from their experience in Western society, react by rejecting Western society. Their Muslim peers sometimes go a step further and express their alienation through the medium of a jihadist outlook. The attraction of this outlook is that it provides a coherent and edgy identity. It offers the cultural resources for the constitution of an Islamic youth subculture. Unfortunately, unlike the typical manifestation of the generation gap, the embrace of a jihadist youth subculture can have some very destructive consequences.

Most young people who are attracted to jihadist websites are not searching for a new religious experience or worldview. Their behaviour is not all that different to the numerous non-Muslim Westerners who visit nihilistic websites and become fascinated by destructive themes and images. Jihadist social media, just like certain conventional internet sites, provide young people with an outlet to let off steam. Young people use these sites to express their frustration and alienation, often using extravagant language to boast about their behaviour, against a background of Middle East imagery and angry Western rap music. Jihad is often presented not just as a religious duty, but as an exciting adventure. For many, these are ‘cool’ sites that allow users’ fantasies to flourish. For others – a relatively small minority – such sites provide something more: a medium through which they can make sense of their lives.


Arrogant State politicians aiming to circumvent free speech -- in defiance of SCOTUS

HAD THE Supreme Court struck down the Massachusetts abortion clinic buffer-zone law over a strenuous dissent from the four liberal justices, the truculent reaction from many state politicians — who promptly vowed to find some new restriction that would get around the ruling — might have been easier to justify.

But all nine justices agreed that the Massachusetts law indefensibly violated the First Amendment. Even the court's staunchest defenders of abortion rights — three of them women — had to remind Beacon Hill that citizens have a right to speak on public sidewalks. That's a pretty basic component of American liberty. It would have been reassuring to hear Bay State officials acknowledge as much.

Instead, Attorney General Martha Coakley proclaimed that "this fight is just beginning again" and blamed the 9-0 ruling not on Massachusetts overreach but on a Supreme Court that "from the beginning was hostile." One of the Democrats running to succeed Coakley, prosecutor Maura Healey, declared it "unconscionable" that the justices would "deny a few seconds of privacy to women going to see their doctors." Warren Tolman, another AG hopeful, urged lawmakers to "identify immediate action enforceable by the legislature and by local municipalities" to replace the 35-foot barrier. House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray signaled support for passing a bill before formal legislative sessions end on July 31.

But before rushing to enact another misguided law, Massachusetts politicians might want to reflect on the message at the heart of the court's rebuke: Assuring safe access to clinics is a legitimate and important concern, but it doesn't validate a sweeping deprivation of the free-speech rights of people who pose no safety threat.

"A painted line on the sidewalk is easy to enforce," the court ruled, "but the prime objective of the First Amendment is not efficiency." If troublemakers block the entrance to a clinic, you have every right to stop them. You don't have the right to draw an arbitrary barrier across public sidewalks and used to criminalize peaceful speech or leafleting.

There are far less obnoxious ways to maintain public order than by taking "the extreme step" of a no-free-speech zone. Beacon Hill should have known that, the Supreme Court said. It wasn't a close call.



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

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

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


4 July, 2014

The reckless black man who was at the heart of the global financial crisis

One of the great failures of affirmative action. I am putting this up now because the whole story has just been removed from its search results by Google


Other publishers have been affected, including the BBC, whose economics correspondent Robert Peston disclosed that a blog he had written about former Merrill Lynch boss Stan O'Neal had been censored.

Written in 2007, it was about how O’Neal was forced out as head of Merrill Lynch after the banking giant suffered colossal losses on reckless investments.

Last night Peston complained Google had cast his 2007 blog into ‘oblivion’, and wrote: ‘Is the data in it “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant”? Hmmm.

'Most people would argue that it is highly relevant for the track record, good or bad, of a business leader to remain on the public record - especially someone widely seen as having played an important role in the worst financial crisis in living memory (Merrill went to the brink of collapse the following year, and was rescued by Bank of America).’

A BBC spokesman said: 'We're surprised that this is the outcome of the ECJ ruling and concerned at the implications of the removal from search of this type of material.'

There are already signs of a backlash against the new policy. As word spread on Twitter, users were urging each other to retweet the name of Mr O’Neal – who left the bank with $250million (£145million) – to start him ‘trending’ on the social media site.


Multicultural jealousy in Britain

A jealous Royal Mail worker stabbed his wife 32 times and then called her father round to show him the corpse, the Old Bailey has heard.

Richard Otunga, 37, is accused of repeatedly knifing Shamin Gabriel, 33, after confronting her about text messages she was receiving from other men.

The court heard Miss Gabriel's father Gabby went to the couple's flat in Northolt, west London, last December and found his daughter lying in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor,.

Otunga, who had a history of domestic violence, claimed he 'lost consciousness' during an argument with his wife.

The court heard he later told officers: 'I killed her. She was getting text messages from men at work, we both work for Royal Mail. 'We argued and she went to the kitchen and picked up a knife and said she would kill herself, so I took it and killed her.'

Prosecutor Timothy Cray told jurors that the attack was 'brutal, unnecessary and beyond any excuse that the law may provide'.

He said: 'The allegation against Richard Otunga is that he murdered his wife, a lady called Shamin Gabriel. They married in 2003 and had a daughter in 2005.

'Shortly before 5am on Sunday, 29 December 2013 the defendant made a telephone call to his father-in-law Gabby Gabriel.

'He said that he had argued and fought with Shamin but there were no serious injuries.

'Mr Gabriel, getting a call like that, perhaps like any father would, caught a taxi to Northolt, arriving at 6.40am.

'He found the defendant in the hallway and noted two things - that all the internal doors were closed and that a mobile phone had been smashed into pieces in the hallway.'

He added: 'The defendant told Mr Gabriel that Shamin had been talking to another man and was always being praised for her beauty by other men.

'He said that he had lost consciousness and control, that he was very sorry about what he had done and what had happened to Shamin.

'Otunga opened the kitchen door and Mr Gabriel saw that his daughter was lying on the floor. She had been stabbed many times and the kitchen was covered in blood.'

Mr Gabriel asked Otunga: 'Is this what you called me for, to show me the body of my daughter?' but Otunga made no reply, repeating that he was 'very sorry', the court heard.

The jury heard Otunga later told police officers his wife came at him with a knife and he was trying to defend himself. The postmortem revealed she had been stabbed 32 times.

Mr Cray described Otunga as a controlling and possessive husband who regularly checked his wife's phone. 'There had been previous incidents of domestic violence by the defendant,' he said. 'They show a pattern of controlling and jealous behaviour on his part.

'They also suggest that the fatal attack was not some sudden or unusual event but rather a culmination of violent behaviour on the part of the defendant towards his wife, including previous threats to kill her - he had thought about it before.'

Ms Gabriel had repeatedly complained to her family about his jealous behaviour, the court heard. In one allegedly incident in July 2013 Otunga held a knife to her throat and threatened to kill her, Mr Cray said.

A few months later he threatened to run the man who was texting his wife over with his car and murder Ms Gabriel as well, it is claimed.

Otunga, of Northolt, west London admits manslaughter but denies murder. The trial continues.


Au Revoir to the Open Internet

Authoritarian regimes want more control over the Web. Now France has joined the movement.

When the Obama administration announced that the U.S. would end its stewardship of the open Internet, critics warned that Russia and China would take advantage of the American surrender. We didn't anticipate that supposed friends of the multistakeholder system of self-governance would also be eager to grab control.

Last week France joined authoritarian regimes in seeking to replace the self-regulating Internet with a new system of one-country, one-vote control. More than 3,000 Internet specialists had gathered in London for the largest-ever meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or Icann. China's minister of cyberspace affairs expounded on how different countries have "different modes and methods in Internet management" and welcomed America's giving up control, which "ushers in a new era of joint global Internet governance."

But France made the most headlines when it opposed an Icann plan to add .wine and .vin as new top-level Internet domains. France objected that the new suffixes would give makers of sparkling wine a way of passing plonk off as champagne.

Such disputes are common. Amazon lost a bid for a .Amazon domain because countries in the Amazon rain forest objected that there could be confusion. But when the French didn't get their way, they joined the authoritarian regimes in demanding an end to Internet self-regulation.

"Icann's procedures highlight its inability to take into account the legitimate concerns of states," read the French delegation's statement. It demanded Internet governance move to majority voting by governments. This means France could protect champagne—and other countries could censor websites around the world they don't like. So much for the multistakeholder system overseen by the U.S. that has left engineers and network operators free to build an open Internet without political pressure.

The French statement added: "Today Icann is not the appropriate forum to discuss Internet governance." That's awkward because President Obama delegated to Icann the creation of some new system of Internet oversight to replace U.S. control.

Opposition to the Obama abandonment is already building in Washington. This month the House passed a budget bill for the Commerce Department denying funds for any transfer of oversight away from the U.S. over Icann or the "root zone file" of global Internet addresses. Several Republican congressmen requested a Government Accountability Office report on what happens if the U.S. gives up its role as "an important backstop against foreign governments that would subvert the Internet."

The French power grab over the wine domains is a timely reminder that governments of all kinds would like to take control of the Internet if the U.S. lets them. The Obama administration should retract its plan to give up the open Internet before it causes any more damage.


Australia: Happy Ramadan signs at 239 Woolworths stores creates a stir with some customers threatening to boycott stores

WOOLWORTHS is wishing some customers a "Happy Ramadan” — but not everybody is celebrating. The supermarket giant has Ramadan promotions in 239 stores in areas with big Muslim populations.

At Sunshine’s Marketplace Woolworths, posters and a display of nuts and dried fruit greet customers.

The month-long Islamic religious festival involves fasting in daylight hours.

But some customers have complained the promotion is offensive and un-Australian. On the supermarket’s Facebook page, one person accused the chain of "pandering to a minority”. Another said: "I find this kind of advertising OFFENSIVE, as an Australian & as a female!!!”.

And another said the signs were offensive to her beliefs and she would boycott stores where they were displayed.

Woolworths spokesman Russell Mahoney said the promotion was running in 239 stores around Australia. "We celebrate as many international festivities as possible to support the diverse population of Australia,” he said. That included Diwali, Lunar New Year and Passover.

Islamic Council of Victoria secretary Ghaith Krayem welcomed Woolworths’ promotion and said people who opposed such initiatives did so out of ignorance and unsubstantiated fears. "Ramadan is a time of reflection and renewal and maybe it is also a time for all of us to be inclusive rather than push each other away.”



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 July, 2014

European Court of Human Rights upholds French burka ban

The European Court of Human Rights has upheld France's ban on wearing a burka or a niqab in public, ruling that the 2010 law on religious headgear does not breach Muslim women’s human rights.

The Strasbourg court ruled in the case brought by a devout French Muslim that there had been no violation of her right to respect for private and family life, no breach of her right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and no breach of the prohibition of discrimination.

France has both the largest Muslim community in western Europe, estimated at around five million, and some of the continent's most restrictive laws about expressions of faith in public.

It was the first European country to pass a law banning veils that conceal the face in public. Belgium later followed suit.

The French law, which carries a fine of €150 or lessons in French citizenship for those found wearing a veil in public, was brought in under conservative ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy and is backed by the current Socialist administration of President François Hollande.

Authorities say religious veils are degrading to women, an affront to France's secular traditions, and a security risk as they prevent the accurate identification of individuals.

The European court accepted the French government’s argument that the veil ban was justified in the interests of social cohesion, but dismissed the argument of public safety, stating that a full ban would not have been required to achieve that aim.

The plaintiff, identified only by her initials SAS, had described herself as a 24-year-old woman who is a "devout Muslim and she wears the burqa and niqab in accordance with her religious faith, culture and personal convictions".

She insisted that "neither her husband nor any other member of her family puts pressure on her to dress in this manner".

The plaintiff was represented by a law firm based in the British city of Birmingham -- where she has family connections - specialising in immigration and human rights. Her lawyer has said she did not "feel comfortable" using a French lawyer.

The ban has sparked tensions within France's Muslim community. There were riots in the Paris suburb of Trappes last summer after a man was arrested for allegedly attacking a police officer who stopped his wife for wearing a full-face veil.

Souad, a 21-year-old Muslim from the Paris region who wears a full face veil, said she wasn't surprised by the European court’s ruling.

She said she has had to severely curtail her social and professional life since the French law came into effect, avoiding going out in public as much as she possibly can.

“I can no longer walk down the Champs Elysees like anyone else,” she said.

The judgment was criticised by James A. Goldston, executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative, as a failure to protect women's rights.

"Coming at a time when hostility to ethnic and religious minorities is on the rise in many parts of Europe, the Court's decision is an unfortunate missed opportunity to reaffirm the importance of equal treatment for all and the fundamental right to religious belief and expression. The majority has failed adequately to protect the rights of many women who wish to express themselves by what they wear," he said.

The ruling by the Strasbourg court came just days after one of France's highest courts upheld the dismissal of a kindergarten worker for wanting to wear a headscarf to work.

Religious symbols such as headscarves, crucifixes, or Jewish skullcaps are banned from state schools in France.


Separated mothers must not get away with 'Catherine Tate justice' and ignore dads' rights, says Appeal Court judge

Catherine Tate is a rather disturbed English comedian who grew up without a father

Separated mothers must no longer get away with ‘Catherine Tate justice’ that prevents fathers from seeing their children, a senior judge said.

No mother should be able to ignore court orders, stop a father ever meeting his children, and then tell him ‘Am I bothered?’, Appeal Court judge Lord Justice McFarlane said.

He said that radical fathers’ groups were right to complain that men were often wrongly shut out of their children’s lives.

Mothers who fail to obey court rulings will in future be ‘brought up short’, the judge said.

The warning from Sir Andrew McFarlane, one of the country’s most experienced family judges, follows a series of reforms earlier this year designed to speed up cases which decide on how separated parents will share the care of their children.

It follows years of failure to enforce orders giving fathers contact with their children. In around 4,000 cases a year fathers go back to court repeatedly to try to get access to their children because mothers defy the courts.

Judges have rarely fined or imprisoned intransigent mothers because most believe that to punish the mother would harm the children.

At one point the last Labour government considered, and then dropped, the idea of making disobedient mothers wear electronic tags.

Sir Andrew said in a speech that he hoped the reforms introduced this spring will compel more mothers to stick to the rules.

‘Where, post separation, a child lives with one parent, it is hard to underestimate the expectation that the system will now place upon that parent to respect and to meet the need for the child to have a good, sound, ordinary relationship with the other parent,’ he said.

‘These changes should, and in my view must, mark the end to what I might call the Catherine Tate approach to post-separation parenting, where the parent who holds all the trump cards, because the child is currently living with them, simply shrugs her shoulders and says to the other parent, who merely wants to see his child, “Am I bothered?”’

‘The system, the law, now requires them to be bothered. They have a responsibility to be bothered and if they persist in abdicating from that responsibility they can expect all those they encounter in and around the court system to bring them up short.’

Sir Andrew said that groups like the radical Fathers 4 Justice – which organised disruptive demonstrations at landmarks and in parliament in the 2000s – had a case.

‘Whilst deprecating some of their tactics, I had, in the course of a number of meetings, sat down in calm circumstances and listened to the stories of a number of fathers who considered that they had been profoundly let down by the system.

‘Whilst it might be that there are genuine, child focused, reasons why individual members of the various fathers’ groups have been denied contact, that could not be said of most of the individuals I have met in that context over the years. There is, in my view, a core validity to the essential complaints that these fathers make.’


More intolerance from the tolerance movement

Denmark's Parliament last week voted by a large margin to force churches belonging to the state Lutheran Church to conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies inside their sanctuaries. The law goes into effect June 15.

Under the legislation, individual priests can refuse to carry out the ceremony, but they cannot forbid the ceremony from taking place in their church building.

“For the moment we [the Catholic Church] are not worried,” said Niels Messerschmidt, the Information Officer for the Catholic Diocese of Copenhagen.

“There have been some discussions in the media where people said this legislation should also [include] other religious groups,” he told Vatican Radio, “but there has not been anything from the official level.”

Messerschmidt also said more conservative members of the Lutheran Church have opposed the legislation, and the Lutheran bishops have not had a unified policy on the issue.


Well of course we should reform inheritance tax

by Tim Worstall

Another report into inheritance tax and another observation that it doesn’t actually do what it says upon the tin:

"People with estates worth many millions are able to avoid the brunt of inheritance tax through complex schemes, including moving the cash offshore or investing in agricultural land and small business shares. Those avenues are closed to “moderately well–off” people whose only assets are their home and pension, Mr Johnson said"

It’s just about possible to see that the great plutocratic fortunes should be broken up every generation or so to prevent the fossilisation of society: if that’s something you tend to worry about which we don’t very much. But to have a taxation system which attempts to do this and then doesn’t is obviously entirely dysfunctional.

Our current system manages to tax the small capital of the bourgeois while leaving those plutocrats untouched. We therefore really rather do want to change that taxation system.

This is not, I hasten to add, the official ASI line here, rather being a personal musing. But I take it as a given that we don’t actually want to tax the petit and haute bourgeois accumulations of capital. Far from it, we’d much prefer to see modest estates cascade down the generations. For reasonable amounts do provide freedom and liberty. In that currently fashionable phrase, enough to do anything but not enough to do nothing. It’s also, even if you do worry about the plutocrats, not how much money is left that is the problem but how much money is received. Someone leaving a few billions to be spread among thousands is very different from a few hundreds of millions being left to just one.

So I would muse that we might want to move to a system something like the following. It is the receipt of an inheritance which is taxable, not the leaving of one. Further, there’s a substantial lifetime exemption from having to pay tax on receiving one or many. Several millions perhaps: that need to still do something amount.

Alternatively, of course, we could just move the entire taxation system over to being a consumption tax. In that manner we don’t actually mind who has what amount of capital nor where it came from. We just tax people when they spend with the capital or the income from it. and given that that’s the general thrust of the Mirrlees Report there’s good academic backing for the plan.



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 July, 2014

Judge blasts social workers telling them they ‘are not above the law’ after they remove nine-year-old from family then keep him away without consent

A judge has blasted social workers who he said illegally withheld a nine-year-old boy from his mother. Judge Gareth Jones said that social services were not above the law and that he suspected proper procedures were not followed in order to save money.

Now the mother - who won an injunction to have her son returned to her immediately - is seeking damages from Anglesey County Council in North Wales. Her lawyer, Frances Jones, today confirmed the child had been returned to his mother immediately after the injunction was granted.

She said: 'As the mother’s solicitor I am delighted to have played a part in bringing the child home. 'We are now continuing with the claim for damages.'

The child was taken in as a temporary case while the mother received treatment in a psychiatric unit but was not returned to her for five months for which there was consent. When she came out of treatment she withdrew consent and asked for her son back.

However social workers refused and put him in foster care. But they did not make applications for a care order first – so rights were denied.

Their barrister David Abberton took the issue to court and said social services had acted unlawfully.

Judge Gareth Jones, sitting at the family division of the high court in Mold, agreed and asked for his judgement to be made public so that lessons could be learned.

The court heard how the child had been taken to hospital with pneumonia in March of last year and the mother had a short stay in a psychiatric ward.

On release from hospital the boy was placed in foster care and in April, when she was back home, the mother asked for her son back.

The judge said that once the mother indicated her consent for the child to be in care had been withdrawn, the local authority should have asked itself very carefully on what statutory basis it continued to place him with foster carers.

Mr Abberton argued there was simply no legal basis at all which breached their client’s human rights to a family life.

Anglesey County Council claimed that it acted in good faith and said the placement was for the child’s welfare - but accepted that social workers had not followed the correct procedures.

The judge said that once the mother’s consent was withdrawn the authority should have gone to court to apply for an emergency protection order or an interim care order.

In the absence of any application to the court, the mother was entitled to remove the child from care at any time, he said.

The authority had acted unreasonably by failing to initiative such applications.

'By failing to do so, they were essentially maintaining an unlawful position,' he said.

The judge said that he was 'extremely critical' of the council’s conduct.

No one dealing with the child had asked themselves under what lawful authority the child was being placed in care.

'The social services department of Ynys Mon Council in that respect, it seems to me, were acting beyond the proper control of that local authority’s legal department,' he said.

They had failed to take proper legal steps, its failure to apply for orders meant that there was no judicial over-sight, the child was deprived independent representation to look after his interests.

Judge Gareth Jones sad that he had previously voiced his concern about a health board case which involved Anglesey council.

'I have a suspicion, and it is only a suspicion, that this local authority may have fallen into the temptation of withholding the commencement of public proceedings for reasons of economy. I hope very much that this is not a correct suspicion.

'If that suspicion was well founded, that to my mind would be wholly unacceptable.'

The judge said that the authority needed to carry out an urgent review of its internal procedures and he said that key personnel in positions of authority in social services and the children’s services department needed to be fully informed by the legal department of the legal framework in which they operated.

'Social services are not above the law and they, like everybody else, is subject to it,' he declared.

The judge said that Anglesey Council needed to demonstrate to the public of Ynys Mon that it is 'able and competent' once again to administer its local authority function without outside intervention.

It had 'failed abysmally' in the present case to demonstrate to the public that it could discharge its functions in a proper manner.

He said he hoped very much that the lesson would be learned for future cases. The judge said the matter should be made public because if the public at large and those in authority were not aware of it there was no prospect of improvement.

To conceal matters when they went badly wrong served no public purpose whatsoever. 'I see no reason why the court should connive in concealment of important information in cases of this kind,' he said.

An Isle of Anglesey County Council spokesperson said: 'Due to ongoing legal considerations, we are not in a position to comment on this matter.'


Now children get checklist on how to play outside! Council introduces 13-point code to tell youngsters exactly what to do

Council chiefs have issued a 13 point checklist telling children how to play outside, it emerged yesterday.

The ‘outdoor play code’ included instructions such as ‘don’t climb over walls’, ‘try not to shout’ and ‘don’t play in one place for a long time’.

Children were also warned to keep their play area tidy, that playing on the roads could be illegal and to ask neighbours before going into their gardens to retrieve balls.

The briefing was posted through the doors of families in North Tyneside, Newcastle, after a resident complained about several incidents of groups of children playing ball games on a number of local roads.

A child kicking a ball into a resident’s garden and damaging their plants is also believed to have triggered action from the council.

Within days, everyone in the area received a letter from the council to say children’s play would be monitored and residents should read the ‘outdoor play code’.

Last night local residents were furious about the letter and branded the move ‘ridiculous’.

A father-of-two, who lives on one of the roads affected, said: ‘I was very surprised to get a letter.

‘There was an incident a few weeks ago, a ball had gone into a man’s garden and some of his flowers were squashed. It was all tittle-tattle and then we receive this letter through the door.

‘The play code is quite condescending. The council have not given any evidence of how many complaints have been made and to what extent the damage is, if any.

Mother-of-two Sally Farn, 55, said she was furious over the council’s letter.

Mrs Farn, whose two grandchildren, Abi Lee, nine, and her seven-year-old brother Steven, live with her in one of the roads, said: ‘I think this is absolutely ridiculous. They aren’t allowed to play in the street but there is nothing else for them to do around here.

‘I don’t like my kids to play away from the door. I like to be able to see them so I can keep an eye on them.

‘This is a stupid set of rules. The people who created them obviously don’t have kids or theirs have grown up.

‘They should back off and let the kids play.’

Newcastle MP Chi Onwurah warned at the time that children should not be made to feel like criminals for playing in the outdoors.

A spokesperson for North Tyneside Council said: ‘As a council we want all of North Tyneside’s children and young people to enjoy playing safely outdoors, especially in the long summer evenings.

We have a great range of leisure activities and some brilliant parks and play sites.

‘But we also have a role to play in making sure neighbours get along together.

‘Over the years, particularly in summer, we get complaints about a tiny minority of young people upsetting some residents. In order to be fair to everyone, we have a ‘Play Code’ which we simply drop off in an area where there have been complaints.

‘This allows everyone to understand what is reasonable.’


Scrap compulsory Christian assemblies in schools because they are 'meaningless' in 21st Century society, say governors

Governors have been told to defy a 70-year-old law which says state schools must hold daily Christian assemblies because it is 'meaningless' in today's society.

In a landmark move, the National Governors' Association said many non-faith schools are already ignoring the law because teachers are 'unable or unwilling' to lead group worship.

The organisation, which represents more than 300,000 school governors in England, added: 'Schools are not places of worship, but places of education.'

The move was welcomed by the British Humanist Association, whose leaders include the atheist scientist Professor Richard Dawkins and the philosopher AC Grayling.

The National Governors' Association had already moved towards banning Christian assemblies in non-faith schools four years ago, when it said they should no longer be compulsory.

Now its policy committee says they should be abolished completely.

It announced in a newsletter to members: 'Few schools can or do meet the current legislative requirement for a daily act of collective worship, partly because there isn’t space in most schools to gather students together, and often staff are unable or unwilling to lead a collective worship session.

'There is also the added issue that worship implies belief in a particular faith – if the 'act of worship' is not in your faith then it is meaningless as an act of worship.

'The view was taken that schools are not places of worship, but places of education, and expecting the worship of a religion or religions in all schools should not be a compulsory part of education in England today.

'This is different in schools with a religious character – as faith schools are termed in the legislation – where parents have chosen to send their child in the knowledge that the particular faith and its worship is at the core of the ethos of the school.

'Removing the collective worship from the remit of schools that are not faith schools would not prevent them from holding assemblies that address a whole range of topics, including faith and belief.

'In addition, it does not alter our position on religious education; it is important that students should continue to be taught a broad and balanced curriculum that encourages a knowledge and understanding of all faiths.'

Faith schools, private schools and schools in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will not be affected.

The 1944 Education Act made it a legal requirement for all English state schools to 'provide a daily act of collective worship' for all pupils, unless their parents object.

The only significant change to the law has been the 1988 Education Act - but that only removed a requirement for worship to take place 'at the start of the school day'.

Assemblies must still be 'wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character', and head teachers must apply to their local council to allow non-Christian pupils to skip them.

The National Governors' Association said it is consulting with the Department of Education to change the law, which still remains in force.

The change was welcomed by the British Humanist Association, which campaigns to keep church and state separate.

Chief Executive Andrew Copson said: 'The continued operation of this 70-year-old law requiring daily Christian worship in schools is widely opposed.

'Teachers don’t want it, parents don’t want it, pupils don’t want it, and according to opinion polls, 60 per cent of the public don’t want it.

'Children as young as four are coming home and telling their non-religious parents they believe in God, or being distressed at age-inappropriate tales about hell.

'In a plural and fair-minded society that cares about children and their development, schools should be holding inclusive assemblies that forward the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of all pupils and staff, regardless of their religious or non-religious beliefs.'

The announcement comes in the wake of comments by Education Secretary Michael Gove that all schools should adhere to 'British values'.

And it was criticised today by the Church of England, which said Christian assemblies were about community and shared experience, not just praising God.

The Rev Jan Ainsworth, the Church of England’s chief education officer, said: 'The unique contribution of worship in church schools is to involve pupils in a shared experience of reflection and silence, singing and story framed with reference to Christianity and other religious traditions.

'It takes its place as part of the religious and spiritual education of the pupils, but with a far greater range of possibilities than a lesson leading to well-scripted outcomes.

'Worship may be the only place in our over regulated schools where the tyranny of SATs and constant assessment can for 15 minutes be forgotten and real engagement take place.'


Banned Books: City Shuts Down 9-Year-Old Boy’s Little Library

Check the regulations: You may be in violation of a city ordinance if you decide to share your books with friends and neighbors. For 9 year-old Spencer Collins of Leawood, Kansas, it meant receiving a government citation for doing just that in his front yard.

It all started with Spencer’s plan to create a little free library in front of his house. With the help of his father and grandfather, he built a small bookcase to allow neighbors to freely borrow and exchange books. This concept has been widely promoted by the non-profit group Little Free Library as a community movement to encourage literacy and a love of reading. According to Little Free Library, there are around 15,000 little libraries all over the world.

This project was especially significant to Spencer, because he built it as a gift to his mother.

Spencer told Fox4kc he wanted to build a little free library in his family’s front yard as a surprise Mother’s Day gift. “Reading is one of my favorite things to do. We built it on Mother’s Day as a present for my mom because she really wanted one.”

The City of Leawood had other plans.

After returning from vacation, the Collins family found a letter from the Leawood City Codes Enforcement Office warning that if the little library was not removed from the front yard, they would be issued a citation. According to the City of Leawood, local ordinances prohibit detached structures on single-family homes.

The relevant portion of Section 16-4-2.2 of the Leawood Development Ordinance states: “No detached structure including garages, barns, sheds, greenhouses, above ground pools, or outbuildings, shall be permitted, unless expressly allowed by this Ordinance.” Inexplicably, the code enforcement office believed the ordinance prohibits a bookcase despite the fact it does not fall within the definition of the ordinance. Consider: Each item mentioned in the ordinance could hold a person. A bookcase cannot. Spencer could have used a box to hold his books. A box would have four sides and maybe a top but could not reasonably be deemed a “structure.” If so, Spencer also should have been able to use a bookcase. It has three sides and a top but no front. That difference is immaterial. In fact, if Spencer laid his bookcase on its back, it would not differ at all from a box.

Richard Coleman, the Leawood director of community development, said the law must be strictly enforced against Spencer Collins and his family because, as he told told KMBC, “We need to treat everybody the same. So we can’t say if somebody files a complaint but we like the little libraries—we think they’re cute—so we ignore it. We can’t do that.”

This is not the first time local government regulations have interfered with little free libraries.

In Wisconsin, Avi and Dannette Lank decided to check with their local government before building a little free library on their private property. Officials from the Village of Whitefish Bay denied them permission to build, citing the need to comply with ordinances which prohibited structures such as mailboxes from being built in residential areas.

The village even went so far as to demand that a local church remove its little free library.

Christ Church of Whitefish Bay had built a library on its property, but pressure from the village resulted in Rev. Dietrich’s decision to tear down the structure. After significant backlash from the public, the village passed an amendment to accommodate little free libraries for residents who wished to build one.

Government regulations are extensive, and citizens are often unaware they might be in violation of the law—even for something as minor as building a little library in their front yard. The expansive nature of government regulations should give cause for concern about the level of intrusion into the private lives of citizens, and increase scrutiny into how laws are enforced.

If Spencer took the issue to court, his First Amendment rights certainly would come into play since this ordinance prohibits his ability to share and disseminate information on his private property. How differently would the city have treated this young boy if he had simply stood out on his front lawn holding the books in his arms for neighbors to borrow, instead of the little library he built to accomplish the same purpose?

For Spencer Collins, the joy of reading will not end simply because of threats from the government. He plans to challenge the ordinance in City Hall and advocate for the creative power of reading to be shared with local neighborhoods and communities. Let’s hope he (and common sense) prevail.

You can check out his official Facebook support page to view pictures of his little free library and receive updates as this story develops.



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 July, 2014

Dads Who Do Dishes Raise Ambitious Daughters(?)

I have read the academic journal article behind the popular report below and must advise caution about the assertions below.

For a start, the sampling underlying the article was a mess. Respondents were recruited from visitors to a Canadian science center so would have been solidly middle class -- and the authors (Croft et al) even then had data for both parents for only 27% of their sample.

More importantly, however, I think the results can be fully explained by saying that parental attitudes towards sex roles tend to be transmitted to their children -- which is not much of a surprise. Fathers with less traditional attitudes tended to raise children with less traditional attitudes. Nothing new there, with the results explicable on both genetic and learning grounds. As has been known since the '80s, social attitudes are highly transmissable genetically

Dads who equally divided the drudgery of household chores with their wives tended to have daughters whose “when I grow up” aspirations were less gender-stereotypical, suggests an upcoming paper in Psychological Science.

Moms’ work-equality beliefs did also color their daughters’ attitudes toward gender roles, but this study found that a stronger predictor of girls’ career goals was the way their dads handled domestic duties. The daughters of parents who shared housework were more likely to tell the researchers they wanted to be a police officer, a doctor, an accountant, or a "scientist (who studies germs to help doctors find what medicine each patient needs)," lead author Alyssa Croft wrote via email, quoting one little girl in the study.

Here’s more from the Association for Psychological Science:

"The study results suggest that parents’ domestic actions may speak louder than words. Even when fathers publicly endorsed gender equality, if they retained a traditional division of labor at home, their daughters were more likely to envision themselves in traditionally female-dominant jobs, such as nurse, teacher, librarian or stay-at-home-mom.

Even feminist fathers who fail to lift a finger around the house might be unconsciously telling their daughters that housework equals women's work, this study suggests. So, dads: Do the damn dishes already."


Lest we forget

Satan's children at work

IT was a day of excitement and wonder that turned to horror in the flash of a gun. Scores of tourists marvelling at awe-inspiring ruins of Luxor, in Egypt, were ambushed by Islamic terrorists.

In the space of 45 minutes, a mere six attackers hunted down and butchered 62 people as they cowered among the ancient temple walls.

The killers, screaming “Allah Akbar” (God is Great), used guns and machetes, their victims — 58 foreign visitors and four locals — ranging from children to pensioners.

Some survivors said young women were first sexually assaulted; others that victims’ bodies were mutilated.

The massacre was in November 1997, four years before the world learned to fear the names of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda.

There have been numerous deadly attacks since, some directed at tourist hot spots such as the Sharm el Sheik slaughter of 2005 and the following year’s strike in Dahab.

Muslim-Christian riots rock the country’s cities regularly. And it was an interview with the controversial Muslim Brotherhood that led to this week’s politically-motivated jailing of Australian Al-Jazeera journalist Peter Greste.

The attack at Luxor was a chilling low mark, however, for its ferocity and brutality as much as for its unexpectedness.

On the morning of 17 November, as tourists wandered among the well-preserved 3,500-year-old columns of Hatshepsut’s Temple, close to the Nile, the six attackers, disguised as security men, approached.

They swiftly killed the two police guards — leaving their real target, the tourists, entirely unprotected and effectively trapped in the temple.

Then the slaughter began.

The killers were disaffected members of al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, also known as the Islamic Group.

The tourists nearest to the fanatics were the first to realise what was happening, some desperately trying to flee — but their efforts were in vain.

Others at first heard gunfire and wondered what was happening — the chilling truth swiftly dawning as the shots blended with screams and war cries.

‘’People were running away, left and right,’’ one survivor, Swiss writer Linka Fingerhuth, said days later.

She saw two visitors topple over as they were hit; then men carrying assault rifles charged towards her — blasting a Japanese woman in the face at point blank range as they came.

Four couples on honeymoon were among Japan’s ten dead; a five-year-old British girl was murdered alongside her mother, grandma and three other Britons; Germans and Colombians were also slain. The majority — 36 of the victims — were Swiss.

As the tourists scattered and tried to hide, the gunmen apparently split up and began crisscrossing the temple area, hunting for victims.

“I kept waiting to hear someone firing back, but there was nothing,’’ said Ms. Fingerhuth, a widow who had mercifully left her two young children with relatives in Zurich while she went on holiday.

But, she added: “There were only the screams of the victims, and the attackers shouting ‘Allah Akbar!’”

Despite her fears one terrorist had spotted her, she was able to climb over a wall into a ruined enclosure, where she cowered with three others.

One of them was a fellow journalist, Felix Muller.

“Now the shooting is very close,’’ he wrote a few days later. “There are hysterical screams, rending cries, Arabic commands — all sending multiple echoes from the rock walls around us.”

Swiss survivor Stefan Kopp lost his wife, Nanette, who he spotted lying dead just two meteres away as he lifted his head during a lull in the firing.

“I took my wife in my arms, and closed her eyes and mouth,” he told Al-Jazeera later.

Tour guide Nahla al Kadi, who also survived, told Al-Jazeera: “I felt only a few seconds would be left of my life ... I do not know how to tell you the sound but I was hearing people dying.”

As the attackers exhausted their targets — but not their bullets: they had carried stacks of magazines, prepared for an even greater slaughter — and the gunshots stopped, some survivors began to hope it was over.

They were wrong.

The fanatics apparently launched a second sweep across the courtyard, finding more victims who they dispatched.

The killing was methodical but also brutal. A number of women’s bodies were slashed with machetes, either in post-death mutilation or possibly to finish them off after they were wounded with gunshots.

A note praising Islam was reportedly found in one disembowelled body.

It is not clear what eventually ended the killing, but eventually the attackers fled. It may have been the approach of security forces, who later came in for criticism for taking so long to respond.

The attackers first left in a taxi then hijacked a bus — at which point they ran into a security force checkpoint and their final, bloody stand began.

One was wounded in the shootout and dispatched by his colleagues to prevent his capture; the others then fled into the hills where, over the next two hours, they were either shot dead or committed suicide.

The attack is believed to have been an attempt to undermine Hosni Mubarak’s secular government by sparking repression against Islamist groups which would then swell into a revolution.

However it failed spectacularly, with the tourist industry hit hard and a widespread public backlash against the terrorists.

In clumsy attempts to distance Islamist movements from the massacre, Islamic Group leader Omar Abdelrhaman (now incarcerated in the US for terrorist acts) said the killers were Israeli, and Egyptian al Qaeda lieutenant Ayman al Zawahiri — once bin Laden’s right-hand man — blamed Egyptian police.
Three generations lost ... Briton Katrina Turner, her five-year-old daughter Shaunnah and

Three generations lost ... Briton Katrina Turner, her five-year-old daughter Shaunnah and mother Joan all died at Luxor. Source: Supplied

The fundamentalist Muslim menace has not left Egypt, with attacks making the country increasingly dangerous right up until the 2011 overthrow of Mubarak and the brief rise to power of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Tourist hotels frequented largely by Israelis in the Sinai Peninsula in 2004, leaving 34 dead; eighty-eight people died in the following year’s attack on Sharm el Sheik — most of the victims were Egyptian, although Britons and Italians were among the foreigners killed; and 23 people were slain in the 2006 attack on resort town Dabhab.

The unrest since the 2011 revolution and the following 2013 military overthrow of then-President Mohamed Morsi have done nothing to make Egypt safer.


British false rape accuser goes to jail

A lying law graduate has been labelled 'utterly wicked' after she falsely accused her boyfriend of rape so she would have an excuse for failing her legal exams.

Rhiannon Brooker, 30, has been jailed for three and a half years after she was found guilty of perverting the course of justice by claiming Paul Fensome, 46, forced her to have sex with him on five occasions.

The Birmingham law graduate even faked injuries to suggest Mr Fensome had beaten her, and alleged that he caused her to have a miscarriage by punching her in the stomach.

Bristol Crown Court heard that Brooker falsified the allegations because her party lifestyle led her to fail her bar assessments.

She repeatedly told an exam committee that her performance suffered from 'extenuating circumstances'.

Mr Fensome, a 6ft 8in heavy metal fan, was arrested, charged and held in custody for 36 days before police realised he had clear alibis for the dates of the alleged rapes.

Brooker, of Frampton Cotterell, South Gloucestershire, denied 20 charges of perverting the course of justice between May 2011 and January 2012.

But a jury of 10 men and two women convicted her of 12 charges - five false rape claims, six assaults and one of false imprisonment - earlier this month.

Jurors were discharged after failing to reach verdicts on the eight remaining charges.

Judge Julian Lambert said Brooker, who did not wish to be present in court as the sentence was passed, had lied in an 'utterly wicked' way.

'Rhiannon Brooker was a bright star and shining example of what can be achieved by those who lack special privileges,' the judge said.

'All that went terribly wrong with tragic consequences when she began to lie. These lies had a terrible, corrosive effect. The effect was like ripples spreading through a pool of sadness.

'The effect continues today. Rhiannon Brooker lied and lied and lied again and was relentless in her attempts to mislead.'

Judge Lambert said Brooker began to circulate false stories about being sexually abused by Mr Fensome in 2011.

Her lies led to Mr Fensome’s arrest, charge and detention in Horfield Prison, where he was subjected to abuse by fellow inmates.

'She does bear the ultimate responsibility for circulating then doggedly pursuing false rape allegations,' the judge said.

'Prison is a terrible humiliation and degradation, particularly for a person of previous good character. The irony is that is what she inflicted on her former partner.'

Judge Lambert said he had sat through 'hour after hour' of video interviews in which Brooker told officers how she had been raped, during the eight-week trial.

'What I observed was someone of high intelligence who went to significant devious lengths to pervert the course of public justice,' he said.

'The conduct was utterly cynical, calculating, determined and repeated.'

Judge Lambert said two people suffered 'dreadfully' as a consequence of Brooker’s actions - Mr Fensome and Brooker’s nine-month-old baby, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

'What the defendant did here was cold, calculated, sustained, repeated and under any analysis utterly wicked,' he added.

Judge Lambert sentenced Brooker to three and a half years for each of the five false rape allegations, to run concurrently.

He imposed nine-month sentences for the remaining six false assault allegations and one charge of false imprisonment, also to run concurrently.

Prosecutor David Bartlett had told the court that Brooker’s actions could have resulted in Mr Fensome, an innocent man, receiving a substantial prison sentence.

'There can be no doubt that if Mr Fensome was convicted of five rapes, six assaults and one false imprisonment, he would have faced a very long term of imprisonment, measured in double figures,' Mr Bartlett said.

'Despite his good character, a sentence of life imprisonment would have been considered.'

Mr Bartlett said Brooker submitted a statement containing the false allegations to her tutor at the University of West of England on April 11 2011.

Police were called and began their investigation on May 24 that year, with Mr Fensome arrested on August 1.

Brooker continued her lies in interviews with police between August 2 and August 22 and further interviews in November that year.

Mr Fensome spent 36 days in custody, after which he was subjected to an electronic tag and curfew and had to report to police by phone call six times per day.

In January 2012, prosecutors offered no evidence against Mr Fensome as phone records and work rosters from his railway signalman job proved he could not have committed the attacks.

Mr Bartlett said Brooker even used a secret second phone to send abusive messages to herself - then pretended they were from Mr Fensome.

'Miss Brooker has shown no remorse,' Mr Bartlett said.

In a victim impact statement, Mr Fensome, who has since received £38,000 in compensation from Avon and Somerset Police, said: 'My life has been turned upside-down and ripped apart. My family and I have been put through an immense amount of stress and heartache, which continues to the present day.

'We cannot come to terms with why we have been put through this. If I had not been able to prove my whereabouts, I could have been locked away for something that I had not done which would have lost me my career, my home - everything I have worked so hard for.

'Please be assured I have the utmost sympathy for anyone who has been through a genuine attack but I also feel strongly that false claims must be dealt with strongly to send the message that such acts will not be tolerated.'


Court Rules Marriage Must Be Redefined Under 14th Amendment. Why That’s Wrong

Today the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an important ruling on Utah’s marriage amendment. This is the first time a circuit court has ruled on marriage since the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) this time last year. In a 2-1 split decision, the 10th circuit ruled that Utah’s marriage amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman violates the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The majority held that “the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right to marry” and that “a state may not deny the issuance of a marriage license to two persons, or refuse to recognize their marriage, based solely upon the sex of the persons in the marriage union.” The decision will almost certainly be appealed.

Of course the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right to marry—but the Supreme Court decisions that established a fundamental right to marry understood marriage as the union of a man and a woman. In issuing today’s ruling, the court implicitly supplied its own, new answer to the central question in this debate: what is marriage?

The only way the 10th Circuit could reach its decision today was to smuggle in a view of marriage that sees it as an essentially genderless institution and then declare that the Constitution requires that the States (re)define marriage in such a way.

But our Constitution is silent on what marriage is. And there are good arguments on both sides of this debate. Judges should not insert their own policy preferences about marriage and declare them to be required by the Constitution.

Indeed, this is the message that Judge Paul Kelly delivered in his dissenting opinion in today’s case. Quoting Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, Judge Kelly explains: “‘Same-sex marriage presents a highly emotional and important question of public policy—but not a difficult question of constitutional law,’ at least when it comes to the States’ right to enact laws preserving or altering the traditional composition of marriage.”

Kelly continued:

The Constitution is silent on the regulation of marriage; accordingly, that power is reserved to the States, albeit consistent with federal constitutional guarantees. And while the Court has recognized a fundamental right to marriage, every decision vindicating that right has involved two persons of the opposite gender.

Kelly explained that we need not seek from the courts a single 50-state answer: “If the States are the laboratories of democracy, requiring every state to recognize same-gender unions—contrary to the views of its electorate and representatives—turns the notion of a limited national government on its head.”

In citing Justice Alito, Judge Kelly hit on an important point—that there are competing policy arguments on the definition of marriage and that in a system of limited constitutional self-government, the people and their elected representatives should be making these decisions.

Justice Alito’s opinion on DOMA cited my book, What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense, as an example of one view of marriage: a “comprehensive, exclusive, permanent union that is intrinsically ordered to producing new life.” And he cited Jonathan Rauch as a proponent of the idea that marriage is a commitment marked by emotional union.

Alito explained that the Constitution is silent on which of these substantive visions of marriage is correct. The Court, he explained, should defer to democratic debate.

Indeed, whatever any individual American thinks about marriage, the courts shouldn’t redefine it. Marriage policy should be worked out through the democratic process, not dictated by unelected judges. The courts should uphold the freedom of the American people and their elected representatives to make marriage policy.

Last summer, when the Supreme Court struck down DOMA, Chief Justice John Roberts emphasized the limits of the majority’s opinion. He made clear that neither the holding nor its logic required redefining state marriage laws. The states remain free to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

If marriage ends up back at the Supreme Court again next year, the Court will be less likely to usurp the authority of citizens if it is obvious that citizens are engaged in this democratic debate and care about the future of marriage.

We must rally in support of our constitutional authority to pass laws defining marriage. We must make clear that court-imposed same-sex marriage via a Roe v. Wade-style decision will not settle the marriage debate any better than it has settled the abortion debate.

We must insist, with Judge Kelly, that judges “should resist the temptation to become philosopher-kings, imposing [their] views under the guise of constitutional interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment.”



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

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

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


Examining political correctness around the world and its stifling of liberty and sense. Chronicling a slowly developing dictatorship

BIO for John Ray

I record on this blog many examples of negligent, inefficient and reprehensible behaviour on the part of British police. After 13 years of Labour party rule they have become highly politicized, with values that reflect the demands made on them by the political Left rather than than what the community expects of them. They have become lazy and cowardly and avoid dealing with real crime wherever possible -- preferring instead to harass normal decent people for minor infractions -- particularly offences against political correctness. They are an excellent example of the destruction that can be brought about by Leftist meddling.

I also record on this blog much social worker evil -- particularly British social worker evil. The evil is neither negligent nor random. It follows exactly the pattern you would expect from the Marxist-oriented indoctrination they get in social work school -- where the middle class is seen as the enemy and the underclass is seen as virtuous. So social workers are lightning fast to take chidren away from normal decent parents on the basis of of minor or imaginary infractions while turning a blind eye to gross child abuse by the underclass

Gender is a property of words, not of people. Using it otherwise is just another politically correct distortion -- though not as pernicious as calling racial discrimination "Affirmative action"

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

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

Juergen Habermas, a veteran leftist German philosopher stunned his admirers not long ago by proclaiming, "Christianity, and nothing else, is the ultimate foundation of liberty, conscience, human rights, and democracy, the benchmarks of Western civilization. To this day, we have no other options [than Christianity]. We continue to nourish ourselves from this source. Everything else is postmodern chatter."

The Supreme Court of the United States is now and always has been a judicial abomination. Its guiding principles have always been political rather than judicial. It is not as political as Stalin's courts but its respect for the constitution is little better. Some recent abuses: The "equal treatment" provision of the 14th amendment was specifically written to outlaw racial discrimination yet the court has allowed various forms of "affirmative action" for decades -- when all such policies should have been completely stuck down immediately. The 2nd. amendment says that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed yet gun control laws infringe it in every State in the union. The 1st amedment provides that speech shall be freely exercised yet the court has upheld various restrictions on the financing and display of political advertising. The court has found a right to abortion in the constitution when the word abortion is not even mentioned there. The court invents rights that do not exist and denies rights that do.

Consider two "jokes" below:

Q. "Why are Leftists always standing up for blacks and homosexuals?

A. Because for all three groups their only God is their penis"

Pretty offensive, right? So consider this one:

Q. "Why are evangelical Christians like the Taliban?

A. They are both religious fundamentalists"

The latter "joke" is not a joke at all, of course. It is a comparison routinely touted by Leftists. Both "jokes" are greatly offensive and unfair to the parties targeted but one gets a pass without question while the other would bring great wrath on the head of anyone uttering it. Why? Because political correctness is in fact just Leftist bigotry. Bigotry is unfairly favouring one or more groups of people over others -- usually justified as "truth".

One of my more amusing memories is from the time when the Soviet Union still existed and I was teaching sociology in a major Australian university. On one memorable occasion, we had a representative of the Soviet Womens' organization visit us -- a stout and heavily made-up lady of mature years. When she was ushered into our conference room, she was greeted with something like adulation by the local Marxists. In question time after her talk, however, someone asked her how homosexuals were treated in the USSR. She replied: "We don't have any. That was before the revolution". The consternation and confusion that produced among my Leftist colleagues was hilarious to behold and still lives vividly in my memory. The more things change, the more they remain the same, however. In Sept. 2007 President Ahmadinejad told Columbia university that there are no homosexuals in Iran.

It is widely agreed (with mainly Lesbians dissenting) that boys need their fathers. What needs much wider recognition is that girls need their fathers too. The relationship between a "Daddy's girl" and her father is perhaps the most beautiful human relationship there is. It can help give the girl concerned inner strength for the rest of her life.

The love of bureaucracy is very Leftist and hence "correct". Who said this? "Account must be taken of every single article, every pound of grain, because what socialism implies above all is keeping account of everything". It was V.I. Lenin

On all my blogs, I express my view of what is important primarily by the readings that I select for posting. I do however on occasions add personal comments in italicized form at the beginning of an article.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age.

I imagine that the the RD is still sending mailouts to my 1950s address!

Germaine Greer is a stupid old Harpy who is notable only for the depth and extent of her hatreds

Index page for this site


"Tongue Tied"
"Dissecting Leftism" (Backup here)
"Australian Politics"
"Education Watch International"
"Political Correctness Watch"
"Greenie Watch"
"Food & Health Skeptic"
"Eye on Britain"
"Immigration Watch International" blog.


"Marx & Engels in their own words"
"A scripture blog"
"Some memoirs"
To be continued ....
Queensland Police -- A barrel with lots of bad apples
Australian Police News
Of Interest


"Leftists as Elitists"
Socialized Medicine
Western Heart
QANTAS -- A dying octopus
BRIAN LEITER (Ladderman)
Obama Watch
Obama Watch (2)
Dissecting Leftism -- Large font site
Michael Darby
The Kogarah Madhouse (St George Bank)
AGL -- A bumbling monster
Telstra/Bigpond follies
Optus bungling
Vodafrauds (vodafone)
Bank of Queensland blues

There are also two blogspot blogs which record what I think are my main recent articles here and here. Similar content can be more conveniently accessed via my subject-indexed list of short articles here or here (I rarely write long articles these days)

Main academic menu
Menu of recent writings
basic home page
Pictorial Home Page (Backup here).
Selected pictures from blogs (Backup here)
Another picture page (Best with broadband. Rarely updated)

Note: If the link to one of my articles is not working, the article concerned can generally be viewed by prefixing to the filename the following: