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

The creeping dictatorship of the Left...

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 This site is updated several times a month but is no longer updated daily.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

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

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


30 June, 2015

Marilyn Mosby Guilty of What She Seeks to Condemn

Blacks in government have an appalling record -- even before Obama came along

I ask you quite sincerely, What is the moral difference between racially motivated abuses of power by rogue municipal police officers and those by prosecuting attorneys?

People should be concerned by Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby's behavior, but it is especially alarming when you consider that she is engaging in the same type of behavior that she is using her state power to criminalize.

We can now see why Mosby played hide the ball with the autopsy report on Freddie Gray's death, and it certainly wasn't to protect anyone's privacy — except, perhaps, her own, because it is objectively damning to her politically driven prosecution.

I have always been a law-and-order type of person and a strong supporter of law enforcement officials. In my book, cops don't receive nearly the credit and respect they deserve for helping to keep the peace, protect the citizenry and preserve ordered liberty. Over the years, I have observed how the political left has frequently abused, undermined and denigrated law enforcement, presumably because to many leftists, cops symbolize the Man — the existing power structure that represents the form of government they resent. It's ironic that these same leftists still target law enforcement when they are now largely in control of government and have managed to fundamentally change so much about our government that it ought to be to their liking.

Despite my respect for law enforcement, I must also point out that I am equally passionate against those situations in which cops — or any other governmental officials — go rogue and abuse their authority. It is horrifying when people vested with official authority abuse their authority under color of law. And when cops cross that line, they must be brought to justice, without question.

But it's wrong to evaluate allegations of abuse through biased lenses. You don't assume cops are acting improperly just because you are prejudiced against cops or authority. You must assess each individual case on its own merits.

It was obvious at the time Mosby threw the book at these six officers that she had rushed to judgment and that she was primarily motivated not by justice but by political and emotional considerations, including a desire to punish cops for what she apparently believes are institutional wrongs. Why else would she attend anti-cop events? Why else would she appeal to the protesters and promise them justice?

As a state's attorney, Mosby doesn't have the luxury of viewing these incidents through a racial prism because of her own feelings or her desire to satiate a lynch mob. She has a fiduciary duty to weigh the evidence impartially. For her to use her power to overcharge these law enforcement officials was to extend the mob violence and mayhem of the protesters from the streets into the halls of justice, and it is despicable.

The just-leaked autopsy report reveals just how improper Mosby's charging decisions were. She already had to dismiss her absurd false imprisonment counts when the defense exposed that the knife Gray was carrying was not legal under Baltimore's city code as Mosby initially claimed and thus he was not arrested under false pretenses.

The report shows that Gray tested positive for "opiates and cannabinoid." Gray was out of control, verbally and physically active, yelling, banging and disorderly enough to cause the van to rock from the inside. His ultimately fatal injury is believed to have been caused by his crashing into the inside wall of the van when the vehicle rapidly reduced its speed at some point. This apparently led to paralysis in his arms and impeded his ability to breathe.

But here's the kicker. Had Gray remained in the prone position that officers had placed him in, he probably wouldn't have sustained the type of injury he did. Gray's standing up on his own, according to George Washington University law professor John Banzhaf, presented "a new and unexpected danger" that the police "could not have reasonably anticipated."

Banzhaf said it will be "very, very hard" for the state to prove the police officers had the state of mind required to prove the criminal charges against them. Let's just look at the most serious charge filed — that of depraved-heart murder in the second degree against Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr., the driver of the van. Having a depraved heart means having a wanton indifference to the potential harm that could be caused, to the extent that the accused might as well have intended to kill the victim.

Who can look at the facts of the case that have come out so far and not conclude that this particular charge is over-the-top and unwarranted?

All the evidence will eventually come out, but from what we already know, Mosby's decision to file such serious charges, especially this one against Goodson, ought to give us all pause. With the stroke of a pen, she has gone a long way toward ruining this individual's life — even if he is eventually acquitted — not so that justice can be served but so the mob can be satisfied.

How is that any different from the alleged abuses she appears to be abusing her own power to pursue?


Library of Congress Promotes Gay Erotica Literature at Pride Month Event

The federally funded Library of Congress held an event to mark Gay Pride Month on Thursday to showcase the publication of literature focused on the homosexual lifestyle, including a gay man’s photography of nude male subjects and poetry by gays and lesbians about their homosexuality.

“We believe that GLBTQ literature is fundamental to the preservation of our culture and that LGBT lives are confirmed when our stories are written, published and read,” William Johnson, managing editor at the homosexual publishing company Lambda Literacy, said at the event.

A one-hour lecture was presented by Stathis Orphanos, a homosexual photographer whose “work celebrates the male body,” including nude photos of men and photo essays of military men in various states of dress, according to Orphanos and to a description of his work on a website that includes biographical information about gay and lesbian celebrity figures.

Three other publishers of homosexual literature were featured in a panel discussion, including Bryan Borland, who explained how he started his publishing house, which produces “Assaracus: A Journal of Gay Poetry.”

Borland explained that he started his journal after a homosexual mentor published some of his poetry in a journal called Ganymede, named for a mythical Greek figure. When John Stahle died, Borland said he wanted to continue his work but under a different title.

“My research showed me that in Greek mythology Ganymede had a bother Assaracus – his earthbound brother,” Borland said. “While Ganymede was swept up by Zeus’s eagle to serve at Zeus’ feet, there was Assaracus, and I thought what a perfect name for a journal of gay poetry.

“But I flipped it around a little bit -- I put an emphasis on the first syllable and changed the name to Assaracus, because I really wanted librarians across the country to have to say Assaracus, emphasize on a--,” said Borland, who publishes the journal and other gay literature with his homosexual partner through Sibling Rivalry Press. “You’ve got to make a little splash,” Borland said.

Another panelist was Lisa C. Moore, a lesbian who named her publishing company Redbone Press after the expression blacks use to describe her skin tone.

Included in the display set up at the event featuring Orphanos’ nude photography and Borland’s Assaracus was Moore’s anthology of stories by black lesbians “coming out.”

Moore’s book is dedicated Terri Jewell, “who lit a fire in my heart and under my butt and kept me going.”

“Actually, my mother realized I was a lesbian first and told my father, who told me,” Moore writes in the book’s introduction.

Moore said she first saw women acting like men when she moved to Atlanta.  “I saw young black women passing as boys -- breasts bound, cigarettes in shirt pockets and pants hanging off their butts b-boy style,” Moore wrote. “It blew my mind.”

According the Congressional Budget Office, the Library of Congress’ mission is “to support the Congress in fulfilling its constitutional duties and to further the progress of knowledge and creativity for the benefit of the American people.”

The Library of Congress budget for fiscal year 2014 was $618.8 million, according to its website.


Brainwashed into racism by the Left

Ali Michael is a young writer for the Huffington Post. That’s bad enough in itself, but it gets even worse. You see, she’s a white lady who hates… whites. Herself included. As she explains in a recent piece about her views on race:

I definitely experienced this. There was a time in my 20s when everything I learned about the history of racism made me hate myself, my Whiteness, my ancestors… and my descendants. I remember deciding that I couldn’t have biological children because I didn’t want to propagate my privilege biologically.

If I was going to pass on my privilege, I wanted to pass it on to someone who doesn’t have racial privilege; so I planned to adopt. I disliked my Whiteness, but I disliked the Whiteness of other White people more. I felt like the way to really end racism was to feel guilty for it, and to make other White people feel guilty for it too. And then, like Dolezal, I wanted to take on Africanness. Living in South Africa during my junior year abroad, I lived with a Black family, wore my hair in head wraps, shaved my head. I didn’t want to be White, but if I had to be, I wanted to be White in a way that was different from other White people I knew. I wanted to be a special, different White person.

The nut extraordinaire goes on to explain that, after this period of intense hate, she concluded that it’s OK to be white… as long as you’re “the right sort of white.” What this means exactly isn’t clear, but it probably means you have to be a self-hating liberal WASP who feels guilty all day long about everything your ancestors may have done wrong — or not, since the majority of whites didn’t own slaves, of course, only a very small minority did. But hey, they could have had slaves, so that’s enough for little miss Ali.

Of course she conveniently forgets that many African slaves were sold to white slavers by their fellow Africans, but, you know, who cares about cold hard facts like that? Whiteness = evil. Black = good. Pure and simple.

All of that having been said, I won’t argue with her on her unwillingness to have children. One Ali Michael and one Rachel Dolezal are enough for the whole of mankind — whether they’d be black, yellow, red, or white.


Hypocrisy Alert: Female Marine Discharged for Bible Verse, but This Sikh Fella…


I'm a simple fella who doesn't like hypocrisy - especially when it's so very blatant. And when it happens, it's my duty to call it out, and so here we go once again. After all, I thought the liberal progressives were all about "fairness." So I just want someone to explain to me the fairness in this situation.

As reported by the Christian Science Monitor, "A US District Court judge ruled in favor of a Sikh student who sued the Army after being forced to choose between joining the ROTC and keeping his traditional turban, uncut hair, and beard. A federal court has ruled that Iknoor Singh, a Sikh college student at Hofstra University, will be permitted to enroll in the U.S. Army's Reserve Officer Training Corps without cutting his hair, shaving his beard, or removing his turban. U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson issued the ruling in Washington, D.C. on Friday, determining that Mr. Singh's adherence to his religion would not affect his ability to serve.

As a disclaimer, during my first duty assignment as a young lieutenant in Vicenza, Italy I had a mustache. That was 1984 and y'all remember there was an unwritten rule that officers didn't' have lip hair. I had it for that first assignment for a little while, but shaved it off because it was more important to comply with a standard - even an unwritten one. That's what service and individual sacrifice was all about.

Ok, hypocrisy alert! We recently shared with you all the story of a young black female Marine sergeant who was given a bad conduct discharge because she displayed "No weapon formed against me shall prosper" on her computer screen.

Her supervisor deemed the display of that piece of scripture from Isaiah 54:17 as being potentially offensive. And the U.S. Marine Corps stated she wasn't protected under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Yo, wazzup wit dat? Sorry, just having fun with a little Ebonics. So are we all so stupid not to see the hypocrisy of letting young Mr. Singh's religious beliefs supersede the Army's standards for appearance, yet the display of seven words from the Old Testament of the Bible be ruled offensive? I appreciate Mr. Singh's desire to serve our nation, but the objective of the U.S. military is that individuals conform to a unified standard of appearance - but perhaps that's no longer important.

Or could it be that everything is ok for other religious beliefs, just not for Christians?

Remember U.S. Air Force Major General Craig Olson who was attacked by little Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation for speaking of his Christian faith and belief in God in uniform on the National Prayer Day? And we reported to y'all here about Weinstein forcing a nativity scene at GITMO in the chow hall to be taken down. But wearing a beard and turban due to one's religion is ok? So where is the fairness there, and why did the ACLU not step in to assist the Marine Sergeant? Ahh, she has the wrong religion it would seem. How many more instances are there of this blatant hypocrisy? Share with us those you've experienced.

I stay in touch with several Christian chaplains in the military and guess what, they must refrain from praying in the "name of Jesus." So in other words, a Christian chaplain cannot offer prayer in the name of the One for whom his faith is based. But Mr. Singh can have a turban and a beard because it's part of his religion.

Our troops are deployed to Islamic countries and even on our combat posts over there they're told not to openly display articles of the Christian faith - after all, we don't want to offend the folks we are over there to save from Islamic terrorists. So, Christian troops are encouraged not to display crosses and Bibles - but Mr. Singh can wear a turban and beard because it's part of his religion.

"Singh first requested a religious exemption from the military's grooming policies to enlist as an ROTC cadet in April 2013. His request was denied on the grounds that his exemption would have "an adverse impact on the Army's readiness, unit cohesion, standards, health, safety, or discipline." The Army then modified its decision, telling Singh he could seek an exemption but only after he was enlisted as a cadet. This meant he would have to go against his faith in order to be able to apply for an exemption. "I couldn't believe the military was asking me to make the impossible decision of choosing between the country I love and my faith," writes Singh in an ACLU blog post."

The hypocrisy is laughable because Mr. Singh, sadly, that's exactly what Christian men and women in our military are being TOLD to do. I guess being a Sikh makes you a protected class, good for you. We all know about the Air Force CMSGTwho was forced by his openly lesbian commander out of his duty position because due to his religious belief he did not belief in gay marriage. I suppose his Christian faith wasn't worth defending by the ACLU from undue command influence. Then again, believing that marriage is defined as a relationship between one man and one woman has somehow become a hate crime. It's sad, I guess some must make that hard decision of which Mr. Singh spoke Funny thing - we hear little from the liberal progressive socialist left about the religion that condemns gays and lesbians to death. I guess they're protected as well.

At some point in time this hypocrisy has to end and I don't care if I'm hated for pointing it out. Because if I am confronted with making a choice, well, I choose as Joshua did, per Joshua 24:14-15, (NIV):

"Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord."

Sadly, there is a focused movement by the secular humanist liberal leftists to punish those who make the choice of Joshua - then again, "No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me," declares the LORD" - Isaiah 54:17 (NIV).



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 June, 2015

Britain's shame

Particularly at the shipyards on the Clyde in Scotland, Britain once built around half of the world's ships.  But with the coming of the welfare state, it got harder and harder to get the Scots unionists to work. So all that is built on the Clyde now are a few warships for the Royal Navy.

So when a British businessman decided to build three big new cruise liners, whom did he give the order to?  To a company in Italy:  The very experienced Fincantieri.  No good blaming the order on low-wage Asian countries.  Italy's standard of living is similar to Britain's. 

Italian workers don't have a very good reputation for diligence but they are apparently way ahead of the perpetually  aggrieved Scots

Virgin Cruises will launch its first luxury liner in 2020 from Miami, U.S, British tycoon Richard Branson has announced.

In typically flamboyant style, Branson arrived amid fireworks at the Perez Art Museum in Miami, descending from a helicopter dressed in a captain's uniform and shorts.

Branson promised 'a world-class cruise line that will redefine the cruising experience for good'.

Branson arrived amid fireworks at the Perez Art Museum in Miami, descending from a helicopter dressed in a captain's uniform and shorts

'Virgin Cruises plans to make some waves with an original and intimate experience,' he said at a news conference.

A joint venture with Bain Capital, the cruise line will be the latest addition to 64-year-old Branson's Virgin Group, which includes an airline, railroad, bank and cable operator among its more than 400 holdings.

Italian shipbuilding company Fincantieri will construct three mid-size vessels to be delivered in 2020, 2021 and 2022, with 1,430 cabins to accommodate more than 2,800 guests.

'We made the decision to sail against the current trend of building these big megaships,' Virgin Cruises president and CEO Tom McAlpin said. 'We are going to be constructing smaller, more boutique vessels.

'We have deliberately chosen a size of ship that allows us to offer an excellent variety of experiences but in a more intimate environment,' he said.

McAlpin said the ships will weigh about 110,000 tonnes each, and have the capacity to carry some 2,800 passengers and a crew of 1,150.

'These are highly technological machines,' said Fincantieri chairman Vincenzo Petrone.  'The level of the entertainment... envisioned is extremely complex with technological challenges. But we are sure we can together develop a very special type of platform.'


Another of those charming multiculturalists that Britain welcomes and supports

Unemployed Damien Dinobewei, 34, killed tragic Tia Kounota, 27, when he was in a 'florid' state after he stopped taking medication for his paranoid schizophrenia.

A court heard he punched and strangled his lover before driving her corpse around in her pink Audi which he eventually set fire to.

Dinobewei, of Stirchley, Birmingham, admitted a charge of manslaughter at an earlier hearing.  And he was sent to a secure hospital indefinitely when he was sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday.

Judge James Burbidge QC said: 'Whatever was the spark or cause of the disagreement ultimately does not matter.  'You launched an attack upon her, albeit that no bones were broken, with sufficient ferocity to render her unconscious.  'Mercifully it appears, because of the lack of carbon monoxide in her lungs, she was dead before you carried out this dreadful act.

'The most significant aggravating feature is you attempt to dispose of the body as you did. 'This was a gross defilement.'

Friends of Miss Kounota, who had a seven-year-old daughter and was training to be a social worker at Birmingham City University, reacted with anger at the sentence.

The court heard Miss Kounota had been in a relationship with Dinobewei for several years but he could be 'volatile and controlling towards her'.

She was living at a friend's house in Halesowen, West Midlands, when she arranged to meet her lover on July 22 last year.

Prosecutor Mark Heywood told the court neighbours heard screams and saw Dinobewei pushing Miss Kounota into her pink Audi.  He added: 'She saw a muscular man dragging a woman by her hair and punching her repeatedly.  'Tia was screaming very loudly and appeared really distressed.'

The court heard Dinobewei sped off and was spotted at a number of locations as he bought petrol at a garage and drove towards the city centre.

He finally parked the Audi in Erdington, Birmingham, where witnesses saw him get out carrying a petrol can.

'Moments later the car burst into flames and the defendant made his way off.'

He said the likely cause of death was blunt force trauma, with compression of the neck, but she may have survived for up to 30 minutes before she died.


Being a parent beats everything you have ever done or will ever do

Angela Mollard

MY friend tells me she’s thinking of having a baby. She’s hoped for nearly a decade there’d be a man to do it with her but here she is, hurtling towards fertility’s finish line, alone and wondering.

In the weak winter sunshine we thrash out the issues: her fears of doing it on her own; the loveless transaction of donor sperm; whether children need fathers; whether she can afford it; who would raise the child if something happened to her.

She’s thoughtful and logical and talking helps her index her thoughts. Of all life’s decisions it’s got to be one of the hardest and yet …

And yet all I can see is my 14-year-old daughter sitting between us. A girl she adores. A girl upon whom my own life turns. As my daughter listens to the woes of womanhood that will envelop her all too soon, suddenly everything rational, everything considered falls away and I know I have to tell my friend this one true thing. Perhaps the only true thing.

If you even remotely want to have a child, if the thought is just a seed buried in the darkness, then you should endeavour to have one. Why? Because beyond all reasoning, all pragmatism, is a single inarguable and under-publicised truth: loving a child is a joy.

It’s a joy you can’t measure, a joy that defies best-laid plans, a joy so complete, unconditional, infinite, and ever-unfolding that the simple act of watching them breathe takes yours away.

Somehow in the hurly burly of modern parenting, when every conversation about kids includes the words “juggling”, “discipline”, “expensive” “challenges” and “problems”, we’ve stopped talking about the delight of raising a child. Of the fun, silliness and affection. Of seeing your hard work, care and thought made whole in this little person finding their way in the world.

We need to tell women — and men — the good stuff and encourage them to have a conversation with themselves about whether that’s something they want.

Forget patronising them with warnings about their biological clocks — for goodness sake, they know. Stop hassling them to find a partner — they would if they could? Refrain from positioning them as heartless careerists who’ve left motherhood too late — no woman sobs into her hands “I can’t believe I forgot to have children”.

Instead they need to hold a personal child summit. It could be on their own or with a friend or counsellor. It might involve going away solo for a weekend.

Whatever — it should occur between the age of 25 and 35 and be as rigorous as any job interview.

Do I want children?

What lengths am I prepared to go to in having a child?

How might I feel if I never have a child?

Would I consider having a child alone?

In life we set goals — career, sporting, weight-loss, travel, finance — and yet so often this most critical of human experiences is left to circumstance and chance. Many delay the conversation until “I meet the right person”. But the first step should be a thorough examination of your own yearnings.

If you’re not keen or you’re ambivalent about kids, that’s great. Own that decision. If it’s something you’ve always wanted then plan a life that gives you the best possible chance of achieving that goal. Not sure? Diary to check in with yourself every six months. And talk to others who’ve missed out. Ask them their regrets? What they might’ve done differently. That seed in the darkness can grow over time into a thick vine of longing. For some such loss will be unavoidable; for others childlessness might be averted by thorough self-examination and different choices.

In my late 20s a good friend, Sandra, discovered she was pregnant shortly before the relationship ended. She had a brilliant career as a television reporter but gave it up to move home to a provincial seaside town so she could raise her child closer to family. When word of her pregnancy reached colleagues one put her arms around her and said: “This will be the best mistake you’ve ever made.

For the past 16 years I’ve watched this little family — a tight-knit unit of two — throw themselves at life.

For two years Sandra moved them to Rarotonga where she picked lettuces and her daughter enjoyed the freedom of island life. Over the years their photographs have not been the boast of so many perfect Facebook families but scenes of genuine happiness. There’s pictures of them collecting shells, making angel wings out of autumn leaves, camping so they can rent out their home through the busy summer months. As she says: “I often tell women who are pregnant in less than fairy-tale circumstances, ‘I can’t tell you just how much you are going to LOVE this baby’. It’s the purest, most soul-stretching love of all; unconditional in a way couple-love can never be; irrational almost.”

It can’t have been easy but my friend knew she wanted her baby. If she’d waited until all the elements of her life had aligned she fears she may have missed out. “Having and raising a child beats everything else I have ever done or ever will do,” she tells me. “I wish more younger women knew that.”


Authoritarianism in devolved British governments

Wales recently became the first region in the UK to ban the use of e-cigarettes in enclosed public places. Welsh Assembly ministers justified the ban by saying it would prevent the ‘normalisation of smoking’, whatever that means. The ban is likely to come into force in 2017. Surprisingly, there has been opposition to the new law from anti-smoking campaigners. They correctly point out that e-cigarettes are not harmful in the way smoking tobacco is and that they have helped heavyweight smokers kick the habit. Far from being a health risk, e-cigarettes are a harmless way for individuals to enjoy nicotine. Even from the killjoy perspective of health zealots, the e-cig ban appears an irrational and needlessly authoritarian policy.

The creation of petty new laws has become a speciality of the devolved assemblies in the UK. The Welsh Assembly, the Scottish Parliament and the London Assembly often go much further than the UK parliament in controlling and criminalising day-to-day behaviour. Given parliament’s track record in this regard, that’s saying an awful lot. Earlier this month, for instance, the Welsh Assembly made smoking in cars with a child present illegal. In its short existence, the Welsh Assembly has introduced measures that have ranged from enforcing healthy eating in schools to ensuring that local authorities are ‘supporting’ (that is, intervening in) family life.

The picture is much the same in London. When Boris Johnson was elected mayor of London in 2008, his first measure, passed within a few days of his being elected, was to ban drinking alcohol on the Tube. Across London, local authorities are currently killing off the city’s vibrant nighttime economy with endless health-and-safety regulations.

Such petty measures don’t tackle any major problems. In fact, the problems they claim to address are often invented. But they do create a more restrictive and authoritarian society. However, the intolerant measures introduced by the Welsh and London assemblies are positively libertarian when compared with what’s happening north of the border in the Scottish Parliament.

In March this year, a 24-year-old fan of Rangers, the largely Protestant-supported Glasgow football team, was jailed for four months for singing ‘The Billy Boys’, an old anti-Catholic ditty that Rangers fans have been singing for years to wind up fans of Celtic, their largely Catholic-supported rivals. He was arrested, found guilty of songcrimes and sent down. It’s all down to the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act. Introduced in 2012 by the largest party in Scotland, the Scottish National Party (SNP), the act outlaws ‘behaviour of any kind’ at or around football matches that is ‘threatening’ or which a ‘reasonable person would be likely to consider offensive’. The law has led to Celtic fans being arrested in dawn raids for the crime of singing pro-IRA songs, while Rangers fans have been hauled to court for chanting unsavoury things about Catholics.

The SNP has also taken to policing Scots’ eating, drinking and smoking habits. It was the first part of the UK to introduce the smoking ban. Earlier this year, it announced a ban on smoking in cars when children are present. The SNP is now considering a ban on smoking in parks and plans to hike up the tax on booze – as if alcohol wasn’t expensive enough in pubs and bars. But it is in the Children and Young People Act where the irrational but deeply authoritarian instinct of the devolved assemblies reaches its zenith.

Due to come into force in August 2016, this act plans to assign a ‘named person’, a state-approved guardian, to every baby born in Scotland, in order to monitor people from birth up to the age of 18. It is, in essence, a form of shadow parenting and effectively makes all Scottish children wards of the state. As Brendan O’Neill has pointed out, the Scottish Parliament is ‘creating a truly cradle-to-grave system of state meddling in people’s lives, where from birth to adulthood, and everywhere from football games to the pub, from the CCTV-saturated streets to your local restaurant, you’re being watched, finger-wagged at, told what you can and can’t say’. One writer declared that crossing the border into Scotland now means ‘crossing into what is becoming a foreign land, in which the dominant political mindset is separatist, statist and bossy’.

What’s going on? How did the creation of new forms of representative democracy in the UK lead to such a stifling, illiberal and miserable state of affairs? When Tony Blair’s New Labour government introduced devolved legislatures in 1997, with parliament voting in favour of new representative assemblies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland the following year, it was hailed as a way of extending and revitalising UK democracy. Citizens in regional areas would have a ‘greater say’ on what happens to issues that supposedly affect them directly. And through the use of proportional-representation systems, the devolved assemblies would be more representative of the popular vote than in Westminster. A shift from the unitary state of Old Britain to the quasi-federalism of New Britain would help to create a more dynamic, responsive and, above all, representative system of government. Or, at least, that’s the story that was being sold.

There’s no doubt, of course, that electoral reform can have an impact on political life. The use of PR systems can facilitate the rise of multi-party contests and, in theory at least, create more choice at the ballot box. The phenomenal rise of the SNP in Scotland, which took 56 out of the 59 Scottish seats in the recent General Election, is partially a consequence of the Scottish Parliament, in which the SNP has held a majority since 2007. The party’s success in the Scottish Parliament has paved the way for an increase in support for Scottish independence. According to many commentators, the introduction of some devolved powers in Scotland has engaged Scottish citizens in ways that appear alien and unnerving to the Westminster village.

Behind all the constitutional hyperbole, though, the devolved assemblies don’t quite enjoy as much legitimacy as electoral reformers and Scottish nationalists like to make out. Apart from 1999, the first year that Scots could vote in Scottish Parliament elections, voter turnout has hovered between 49 and 51 per cent. It’s hardly a ringing endorsement. Voter turnout for the elections in the Welsh Assembly is even lower – a paltry 38 per cent in the 2003 election and 42 per cent in the 2011 election. For the majority of ordinary citizens in Scotland and Wales, the new assemblies are seen as having no real power to improve people’s lives. They are often likened to glorified church parishes whose only purpose is to create a new layer of bureaucracy and a new set of professional politicians.

The trouble here, though, is that ministers in the Welsh Assembly or the Scottish Parliament instinctively understand that the devolved assemblies aren’t powerhouses of decision-making. Local assemblies may be able to make decisions on collecting the bins, sorting out street lighting or tinkering with transport, but they’re not in a position to make a substantial difference to a region’s economy. They’re not in a position to implement changes that can improve infrastructure or affect the lives of people in any meaningful way. Instead, they have the power to meddle, interfere and restrict ordinary people’s day-to-day behaviour. They’re meaningless institutions desperately in search of meaning. So, in order to create a sense of purpose, to show they’re more than just talking shops, the devolved assemblies introduce fresh bans, new laws and more red tape. Yes, banning e-cigarettes in public places or placing all children under state surveillance doesn’t make much rational sense. But for a minister seeking to justify their existence, such policies make perfect sense.

The other malign impact of the devolved assemblies is that they have encouraged activists to embrace regional identities at the expense of national or traditional class identities. Rather than seeking common solutions to problems that affect the majority of people in the UK, short-term regional gains are becoming more appealing. It creates a new dynamic whereby activists are more likely to defend all sorts of authoritarian measures that they would object to if Westminster had introduced them. The SNP congratulates itself for demolishing the Labour Party’s support in Scotland, only to introduce controls and bans that make New Labour appear like a collection of commune-dwelling anarchists. As anyone who has argued with SNP members will know, they’re bizarrely incapable of making any critical judgements about their party’s poisonous authoritarianism. The centrality of Scottish identity is a way through which politics is now suspended north of the border. All of these developments show that the UK is heading the same way as Spain, whereby regional loyalties trump the interests of a national centre.

Far from revitalising democracy and representation, the devolved assemblies have amplified the illiberal impulses of 21st-century politics. In their quest for a reason to exist, devolved assemblies have had to devise new ways in which to surveil, control and restrict people’s day-to-day lives. The devolved assemblies were founded as part of a window-dressing attempt to sharpen up UK politics, but they’ve become another blunt instrument of authoritarian bureaucracy. In the interests of safeguarding liberties and rights, we should do the decent thing and abolish the lot of them.



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

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

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


28 June, 2015

It takes a woman...

The feminist claim that there is a sisterhood always amuses me.  Women can certainly be very supportive towards their friends and, as good persons,  be nice to many others, male or female.  But the other side is female rivalry and it takes a woman to tear another woman to shreds verbally.

So I was amused to read the article below under the heading: "As scary as she is sexy: Maria Sharapova has all the warmth of her Siberian homeland" by Jane Fryer. It is incredibly bitchy in an only slightly guarded way.  Just part of it below

Teetering about in five-inch black heels and a teeny sleeveless skater dress, Maria Sharapova looks like a giantess dressed up as a doll. Her enormous shoulders jut out either side. Her thighs are rippling, surprisingly chunky and ever so slightly veiny. Her beautiful face is expressionless.

And her eyes . . . her eyes are green, sleepy, incredibly sexy but also rather scary. Like a tiger that could turn any moment, and take out her entire (very extensive) entourage with one arm and then gobble us all up.

She is being photographed in the new Porsche Boxster Spyder, being driven round and round a block in London’s Mayfair.

She appears bored and beautiful, very Russian and very, very tall (6 ft 7 in in her heels) — as if she’s somehow been enlarged by a computer program, or we’ve all shrunk. The driver is very pink. And we are all agog and a little bit afraid.

She is a daunting woman — ranked No 4 in women’s tennis, winner of five Grand Slams, including Wimbledon when she was just 17, beating defending champion Serena Williams to shock and awe. Accompanied, who can forget, by extremely loud grunts every time she served or over-exerted herself. They measured more than 101 decibels, for goodness sake — just nine less than a lion’s roar.

She is also the world’s most highly paid female athlete and has been for more than a decade. She earns more than $20 million a year from endorsements and sponsorship deals ranging from Nike to Tag Heuer, Evian to Porsche.

On top of that, she has her own range of sweets, Sugarpova; a Maria Sharapova Foundation through which she helps victims of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor explosion; and a Pomeranian dog called Dolce, who stays at home in her mansion in Florida where, apparently, the air better suits his flyaway furry coat.

Maria controls everything in microscopic detail. So while, of course, she is delighted to chat, I am warned — very firmly — that she must not be asked any questions about grunting. Or her boyfriend. And particularly no questions connecting the two.

Which is a shame, because for the past three years she has been dating Bulgarian tennis player Grigor Dimitrov, who is No 11 in the world and the hottest man in tennis — in looks, potential, and temper — though he insists he’s made great strides in controlling it better these days, and last year only smashed 200 racquets.

He is utterly gorgeous, silly, fun-loving and a terrible show-off. Last week he tweeted a picture of himself hanging upside down on the London Underground with the caption ‘feeling silly’. If I were dating him, I’d never stop talking about him.

She was also, I’m told, extremely upset about reports in the Mail that the confectionery in her sweetie range are full of sugar.

So I start with an apology for any thoughtless comments and she looks me very hard in the eye and says, ‘no problem, I have a short memory’ — clearly meaning the opposite.

And we move swiftly to permitted topics, such as how much she loves Wimbledon, which, obviously, she wants to win again. ‘It’s a dream of mine and something I work towards every single day,’ she says........

A colleague of mine (male, obviously), who once spent a day with her for an interview and claims he even saw her in a thong during the photoshoot, said that despite her extraordinary looks, he found her utterly unsexy.

I disagree. Maria Sharapova is astonishingly sexy, but you’d have to have a death wish, or be a kamikaze Bulgarian tennis star, to try your luck with her.


A very deceptive multiculturalist in Britain

Another "affirmative action" beneficiary, it would seem

On Monday, June 8, a British academic called Connie St Louis uploaded a sensational document to her Twitter feed. Beginning with the question ‘Why are the British so embarrassing abroad?’, it offered an account of bizarre remarks that a Nobel Prize-winning biologist by the name of Sir Tim Hunt had made earlier that day at a conference in Seoul, the capital of South Korea.

His audience was comprised of roughly 100 science journalists, most of them female, who were being treated to a free lunch by a local trade body representing Women’s Science & Technology Associations.

According to St Louis, who was in the crowd, their meal was ‘utterly ruined’ by the ‘sexist speaker’. She claimed that Sir Tim, having been asked to deliver a toast, embarked on a surreal rant in which he boasted of being a ‘male chauvinist’.....

Then, early this week, the simmering dispute took a further, seismic twist.

It came courtesy of The Times newspaper, which revealed the contents of a leaked report into Sir Tim’s fall from grace compiled by an EU official who had accompanied him to the Seoul conference.

This individual, who has not been named, sat with him at the lunch and provided a transcript of what Sir Tim ‘really said’.

Crucially, it presented a very different take to the one which had been so energetically circulated by Connie St Louis.

The report began by confirming that Sir Tim had joked about falling in love with women in laboratories and ‘making them cry’.

However, it said he’d prefaced those comments with an ironic introduction, joking that they would illustrate what a ‘chauvinist monster’ he was.

The report then revealed the existence of an entire second half of the controversial toast.  In it, Sir Tim was said to have told his audience that his remark about ‘making them cry’ was, indeed, an ironic joke.

He purportedly said, ‘now seriously . . .’ before going on to speak enthusiastically about the ‘important role’ women scientists play. He ended by joking that his largely female audience should pursue their trade, ‘despite monsters like me’.

The report’s author added: ‘I didn’t notice any uncomfortable silence or any awkwardness in the room as reported on social and then mainstream media,’ going on to describe the speech as ‘warm and funny’.

However, Sir Tim’s critics remained unmoved and disputed the EU report’s contents. Importantly, given how the scandal had originally emerged, they were led by Connie St Louis.

She stood by her remarks and told the Mail that she explicitly denied that the scientist’s toast ever contained the words ‘now seriously’.

As a result, this explosive controversy now rests on a single, straightforward question: which of these two, first-hand versions of events is true? Either the anonymous EU official is telling the truth, in which case Sir Tim is a hapless victim, guilty of nothing more than telling a misjudged joke. Or Connie St Louis, the architect of the witch-hunt against him, is in the right. In that case, many will continue to argue that he got what he deserved.

So, who are we to believe?

The EU report appears to dovetail with Sir Tim’s own version of events. Meanwhile, Connie St Louis’s account is shared by two fellow witnesses: Deborah Blum, an academic from Wisconsin, and Ivan Oransky, co-founder of a science website called Retraction Watch. Although, following the leaked report, Blum and Oransky told The Times that they could not recall enough to confirm or deny the additional quotes from Sir Tim.

Strangely, given that there were more than 90 other journalists present at the fateful lunch in Seoul, no other detailed accounts of the toast have emerged.  St Louis did not make a shorthand transcript of it. And, again very strangely, no tape-recording appears to exist.

Perhaps, therefore, we should ask two other related questions: who exactly is Connie St Louis? And why, exactly, should we trust her word over that of a Nobel laureate?

A good place to start is the website of London’s City University, where St Louis has, for more than a decade, been employed to run a postgraduate course in science journalism.

Here, on a page outlining her CV, she is described as follows:

‘Connie St Louis . . . is an award-winning freelance broadcaster, journalist, writer and scientist.

‘She presents and produces a range of programmes for BBC Radio 4 and BBC World Service . . . She writes for numerous outlets, including The Independent, Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Sunday Times, BBC On Air magazine and BBC Online.’

All very prestigious. Comforting, no doubt, for potential students considering whether to devote a year of their lives (and money) to completing an MA course under her stewardship. Except, that is for one small detail: almost all of these supposed ‘facts’ appear to be untrue.

For one thing, Connie St Louis does not ‘present and produce’ a range of programmes for Radio 4.

Her most recent work for the station, a documentary about pharmaceuticals called The Magic Bullet, was broadcast in October 2007.

For another, it’s demonstrably false to say she ‘writes’ for The Independent, Daily Mail and The Sunday Times.

Digital archives for all three newspapers, which stretch back at least 20 years, contain no by-lined articles that she has written for any of these titles, either in their print or online editions. The Mail’s accounts department has no record of ever paying her for a contribution.

Her work for The Guardian appears to consist of two online articles: one published in 2013; the other, about the Sir Tim Hunt affair, went live (online) this week.

Curiously, that 1,000-word piece, in which St Louis recalled the scandal, was heavily edited after publication. Around 30 changes, some of them significant, were made to it. In an apparent contradiction of usual Guardian policy, the version now running online contains no disclaimer detailing this fact.

Elsewhere on the City University web page, readers are led to believe that St Louis has either become, or is soon to become, a published author.

‘She is a recipient of the prestigious Joseph Rowntree Journalist Fellowship to write a book based on her acclaimed two-part Radio 4 documentary series, Raising Ham,’ it reads.

But that is not the full story. In 2005, St Louis did, indeed, receive the liberal organisation’s ‘fellowship’. She was given £50,000, which was supposed to support her while she wrote the book in question.

However, no book was ever published. Or, indeed, written. An entire decade later, the project remains a work in progress.

Asked to explain these discrepancies — although details of the claims are carried, remember, on the internet page where she is supposed to present her credentials to students and fellow academics — St Louis said she had done interviews for the Daily Mail but conceded it was ‘possible’ that she had never written for the paper.

She said her by-lined articles in the Independent and Sunday Times may have been published more than two decades ago. Asked how she could, therefore, justify the claim on her CV that she ‘writes’ for the titles, she hung up.

In a subsequent email, St Louis appeared to backtrack and insist that she has written for all the newspapers cited on her CV, but said: ‘I don’t have time . . . to find all the articles on different old computers.’

She did not respond to a question asking what awards she had ever won for journalism, science, broadcasting or writing.

With regard to the £50,000 fellowship, she added: ‘I didn’t finish the Rowntree book I was writing because I had breast cancer and was extremely ill for a year.

‘Then, after that, I had to work to look after my family. It doesn [sic] take away the fact that I won it [the £50,000] and still hope to finish the book does it?’

Readers can, of course, draw their own conclusions.

In common with most academics, St Louis also uses her online CV to cite articles she has previously published in prestigious academic journals. It claims that she has published three. However, even this is misleading. Two of the three cited journal articles are the same: a piece for the British Medical Journal entitled: ‘Can Twitter predict disease outbreaks?’

Are such errors merely sloppy? Or were they designed to mislead? And what do they tell us about the attention to detail of a woman whose purported recollection of a short lunchtime toast has effectively ruined a Nobel laureate’s career?

Again, readers must draw their own conclusions.

In an email, one of the prominent scientists who have publicly supported Sir Tim Hunt tells me: ‘What you have discovered is very alarming. False claims about publications are taken very seriously by universities. Perhaps even more seriously than reports of dodgy, sexist speeches!’

Another, Dame Valerie Beral, who has worked with Sir Tim, added that if St Louis had made false claims on her CV, then her evidence about his speech ought to be discounted.

‘I think the institutions who have forced Tim to resign now need to look at the claims that this person has made in the past, and work out whether they can trust what she says regarding this incident.  ‘If her previous claims turn out to be false, then I believe that Tim must be re-instated.’

City University, meanwhile, says it’s investigating the web page in question.

This is not, however, the only medium in which St Louis appears to make false, or at least misleading, statements.

Earlier this year, she stood, successfully, in an election to become a board member of the World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ). As part of the election process, St Louis was required to present a detailed CV to voters.

This document, which stretches to six pages, is still on the WFSJ’s website. It contains several deeply questionable statements.

In an early passage, she for example writes: ‘I am a regular contributor to ABC News Worldview TV programme.’ Yet ABC News Worldview has not aired for roughly five years. Factiva, an online search engine which carried transcripts of it, suggests that the last recorded contribution by Connie St Louis to the show was on May 31, 2006.

In another early passage, St Louis writes that she has a second career working for quangos.

‘In November 2002, I was invited and subsequently appointed by the Minister responsible for media, sport and culture to be a board member of UK Sport (the former UK Sports Council) . . . My term of office ended last year but I continue to serve on the audit committee as an external member.’

UK Sport describes things differently. A spokesman says St Louis was appointed to the board in November 2002 but she left in 2005.

St Louis did not respond when asked by the Mail how she can, therefore, claim, in a CV published in 2015, to have been a board member of UK Sport until ‘last year’.

Elsewhere in the six-page CV is a section devoted to ‘Qualification and Training’. In it, St Louis trumpets the fact that she is ‘a member of the Royal Institution’.

Again, very prestigious. Or so it seems, until a spokesman for the Royal Institution told me: ‘Anyone can be a member. It’s simply a service you pay for which entitles you to free tickets to visit us and gives you a discount in our cafe.  ‘It’s like having membership of your local cinema or gym.’

Why would someone include such a thing on their CV?

‘Actually, that’s a bit of a problem,’ the spokesman added. ‘We have heard of a few people using membership on their CV to imply that they have some sort of professional recognition or qualification. But it means nothing of the sort. It’s very, very odd to see this on a CV.’

St Louis did not respond when the Mail asked why she cited this membership as a ‘qualification’.

Neither, as it happens, did she reply to a request to explain what academic qualifications she actually has.

The CV again is unclear. In a section outlining her education, she states: ‘BSc (Hons) Upper Second Class degree in Applied Biology.’ But it does not state where she gained it from, making it impossible to fact-check.

Doubtless, more facts will eventually emerge, perhaps once City University has finished investigating this matter.

In the meantime, those who have condemned the Nobel laureate Sir Tim Hunt may wish to re-examine some of her previous statements about the affair.

Take, by way of a final example, an interview with the BBC on June 10, in which St Louis recalled that toast in Seoul: ‘He just ploughed on for five to seven minutes, actually,’ she said. ‘It was really shocking. It was culturally insensitive and it was very sexist.’

Strangely, the passage from Sir Tim’s speech that St Louis has so far made public is exactly 37 words long. It would take, at most, 20 seconds to recount.

So did Sir Tim really ‘plough on’ for five to seven minutes? And, if so, what did he say?

Why did she selectively quote just one statement from his toast? And how did such a remark end the 50-year career of a Nobel laureate?


Islamic State: Where sex-slave depravity masquerades as faith

“Don’t worry brothers, she won’t dissappoint you,’’ Australian jihad­ist Mohamed Elomar declared in his misspelled tweet, posted with an image of the young captive with sad and tortured eyes.

She was almost certainly Yazidi, one of seven slaves of Islamic State he claimed to have for sale for $2500 each. We don’t know what happened to her, whether Elomar got his price, and probably never will after the former Sydney­sider was reported this week to have been killed. But the brutal intent was all too apparent.

The twice-married Elomar, 29, was reaching out to young Muslims to join him in the combat zone in Syria and Iraq and enjoy the same spoil of war: sex. The inconvenient truth for the professed puritans of Islamic State is that the prospect of “guilt-free sex’’ has moved up on the list of attractions promoted in their slick, multi-dimensi­oned recruiting online and through social media.

The uncomfortable questions for the Western world, including Australia, are why this debased appeal seems to be gaining traction with Islamic State’s target audience, which increasingly includes women, and why it’s not challenged more stridently in the public arena.

In an internet chat room recently, monitored by US researchers covertly keeping tabs on a presumed Islamic State recruiter, the discussion was explicit about the earthly pleasures available to young men who got into the fight.

“They were promised a girl would be provided for them to marry, she would be pretty, and they be given a home to live in,’’ said one member of the team, speaking on condition of anony­mity. “There were direct questions about when there would be sex. They were told, ‘as soon as you like’.’’

Similar Q&A sessions have been logged on the notorious web platform Ask.fm, as well as the plethora of encrypted messaging sites that are used by Islamic State operatives to reel in recruits.

The pitch to young women is more nuanced, but the obligations are clearly understood. Islam­ic State propaganda plays heavily on “romantic notions of adventure and finding romance in the form of a husband or wife’’, according to British academics Erin Marie Saltman and Melanie Smith, writing for London’s Institute for Strategic Dialogue on the gender factor in jihad.

“The sense of adventure in leaving home to travel is influential particularly for the young women,’’ they write. “The other adventure is one based on the promise of meaningful romance as a prize for making the journey.’’

Jytte Klausen of Boston’s Brandeis University calls it a “very professionally run deception scheme’’. She told The Weekend Australian: “It is of course completely in violation of Islamic religious law to lure young people away in marriage and to fight without parental consent … this particular trick appeals to the incipie­nt desire of teenagers to be validated in their thinking that they are right and their parents just plainly not with it.’’

Another notorious Australian jihadi, Khaled Sharrouf, was reported to have died by Elomar’s side when their convoy was taken out by an airstrike in Raqqa, the capital of the so-called caliphate in Syria. Sharrouf was more than his friend and mentor: they were family. Elomar had married Sharrouf’s 14-year-old daughter, Zaynab, after his first wife was intercepted with their three children while trying to join him.

Together, they formed the nucleus of what Saltman and Smith identified as an Australian “sub-cluster’’ within Islamic State, a crucible for exploiting women under the guise of sharia.

When Elomar boasted last December about his slave girls, Islam­ic State was still on a roll, having seized vast tracts of territ­ory in southern Syria and northern Iraq in the breakout that put it on the map. The Yazidis had paid a particularly terrible price.

Long persecuted because some of their beliefs derived from the Bible, they were branded devil worshippers by the Islamists and systematically rounded up. Up to 5000 Yazidi men were murdered and at least that number of women enslaved, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights estimated.

The accounts of what happened to them are horrifying. Human Rights Watch, a non-government organisation, issued a report in April detailing the systematic rape and torture of young women and girls, based on interviews with some who had escaped the clutches of Islamic State.

Jalila, 12, described how she was beaten and dragged away by a gunman. “I told him not to touch me and begged him to let me go,’’ she said. “I told him to take me to my mother. I was a young girl, and I asked him: ‘What do you want from me?’ He spent three days having sex with me.”

Dilara, 20, was taken to a wedding hall and held with about 60 other terrified Yazidi women and children. “From 9.30 in the morning men would come to buy girls to rape them … they were like animals … they would rape them and bring them back to exchange for new girls. The girls’ ages ranged from eight to 30 years … only 20 girls remained in the end.”

Wafa, 12, was told by an older fighter she could trust him; she was “like a daughter’’ to him and wasn’t to be afraid. Soon enough, he raped her. “He was sleeping in the same place with me and … one day I woke up and my legs were covered in blood,’’ the child said.

Islamic State has sought to justify the sexual violence by claiming that Islam permits sex with non-Muslim “slaves”.

At least 3000 Yazidis remain in captivity alongside members of other persecuted minorities, Human Rights Watch believes.

Girls of nine are known to have been violated, a fact chilling­ly acknowledged in an Islamic State field manual that licenses its men to “have intercourse with the female slave who hasn’t reached puberty if she is fit for (it)’’.

The UN’s special envoy on sexual violence in conflict, Zainab Bangura, revealed earlier this month that women could be bought in the slave markets of Raqqa province for the price of a packet of cigarettes. “This is how they attract young men — ‘we have women waiting (for) you, virgins that you can marry’,’’ she told news service AFP.

Klausen, the founding profes­sor of the well-regarded Western Jihad Project, however, insists the proposition that the typical Islam­ic State recruit is an alienated nerd who can’t meet girls doesn’t fly. “Many of the young men have had plenty of girlfriends before they left for IS,’’ she said. “It is, in my view, more important that IS gives them a salary, a house when they marry and they can have children. The inability to set up independent households is a huge social problem across Africa, Asia and also in Europe’s expensive cities.’’

Greg Barton, a professor at the Global Terrorism Research Centre at Monash University, said Islami­c State offered a way for young Muslims to have “their sexual needs met without feeling guilty about it’’. Like just about everything else, the ghanimah system of distributing war booty, including subjugated women, is run on tight hierarchical lines.

The top rung of the male leadership, the emirs, get the first pick of captives, followed by unit commanders and the rank-and-file fighters. The women of Islamic State also receive their cut of the spoils with wedding gifts and living allowances.

And, yes, sex once they are married, though not necessarily to a man of their liking. “In the case of women who come from sheltered families, the promise of legit sex may be as much of the draw as the promise to the guys that they will ‘be somebody’ and become a ‘lion’,’’ Klausen said.

One jihad bride, calling herself Umm Layth, told a British research team: “Honestly, there is something so pleasurable to know that what you have has been taken off the kuffar (non-believer­s) and handed to you personally by Allah.’’

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has said up to 500 foreign women were with Islamic State in the Middle-East war zone, though none was allowed to fight, owing to sharia strictures. By the estim­ate of Saltman and Smith of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue the intermarried knot of Australian women numbers about 20.

If Elomar is dead — and there’s every chance he is — his teenaged wife has joined the ranks of jihad widows whose availability is also used as recruitment bait by Islamic State.

Zaynab was barely 13 when her father moved the family to Syria and made his mark by having one of her brothers pose for gruesome photographs with a severed human head. She professes to have no regrets. “Chillin in the khilafah, lovin life,” the teenager tweeted in March, together with a photograph of five veiled women reclining against what appeared to be Sharrouf’s new BMW.

The hypocrisy of the scene seems to have escaped her. Yet she shows a distinct awareness of the atrocities committed by Islam­ic state against the Yazidis and would have been mindful of what Elomar was up to with the slave girls. Whether he did anything more than try to sell them is something else we may never know; what can be said with certainty is that he would have been prosecuted in Australia for taking a bride as young as Zaynab.

She will have the regula­tion period of iddah — four months, 10 days — to mourn, then be expected to remarry, just as her friend, Zehra Duman, from Melbourne, was after husband Mahmoud Abdullatif, also from Melbourne, died in Syria in January.


Christian Farmers Fined $13,000 for Refusing to Host Same-Sex Wedding Fight Back

The owners of a small family farm in upstate New York fined $13,000 for discriminating against a same-sex couple for refusing to host a wedding on their property are fighting back.

In an appeal filed today before an appellate division of the New York Supreme Court, a lawyer for Cynthia and Robert Gifford, owners of Liberty Ridge Farm near Albany, N.Y., argued that when finding them guilty, the court did not consider their constitutional freedoms and religious beliefs.

“[The decision] violates the Giffords’ free exercise of religion, freedom of expressive association, and freedom of expression protected under the United States and New York Constitutions,” James Trainor, an allied attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, wrote in the appeal.

The Giffords were found guilty of “sexual orientation discrimination” by an administrative law judge last July.

Because Liberty Ridge Farm is open to the public for seasonal activities such as an annual fall festival, the state of New York classifies it as a public accommodation that therefore cannot discriminate on the basis of certain personal characteristics, including sexual orientation.

“Discrimination in the name of civil rights is as abhorrent as discrimination which does violence to the concept of civil rights,” wrote the administrative law judge.

In a statement issued to press today, Trainor said the judge’s order “forces the Giffords to host same-sex ceremonies or to host no wedding ceremonies at all.” He added:

The government is essentially saying to the Giffords, give up your faith, or give up your livelihood.

The conflict began on Sept. 25, 2012, when Melisa Erwin and Jennifer McCarthy, a lesbian couple, called the Giffords to ask them to host their same-sex wedding at Liberty Ridge Farm.

The Giffords live on the second and third floor of the barn and, when they host weddings on the first floor, open part of the second floor as a bridal suite.

Not wanting to go against her beliefs of traditional marriage, Cynthia Gifford politely declined the request. Unbeknownst to the Christian couple, the caller recorded their conversation. Shortly thereafter, the lesbian couple filed a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights.

“We’re not hateful people,” Gifford said in an interview with The Daily Signal, holding back tears. “We just believe that a marriage is between a man and a woman, and we do not want to hold a [same-sex] marriage ceremony here on our family farm because the state tells us we have to do it.”

As punishment, the government fined the family $10,000 and ordered them to pay an additional $3,000 to the women. The Giffords were also required to attend staff re-education training classes to teach the state’s viewpoint on marriage. These are the stipulations that the family is challenging with their appeal this week.



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

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

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


26 June, 2015

Coulter on foolish flag talk

Conservative commentator Ann Coulter dismissed the “completely moronic” debate going on about the Confederate flag Tuesday, arguing that the Democratic Party should be banned in order to help African-Americans.

In an interview on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal,” Coulter also jumped on “liberal talking points” about the flag’s connection to Republicans, adding that Democrats were the ones who “supported the Confederate(s)” in the Civil War.

The best-selling author made the remarks one day after South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley called for the flag to be taken down from the state house’s lawn.

“I think it’s completely moronic,” Coulter said. “I mean, this is an awful thing that happened in Charleston. Luckily, it’s quite rare. But to jump on this and go back to a litany of liberal talking points that make Republicans look bad, how about banning the Democratic Party?”

“They were the ones who supported — who were on the Confederate side of the Civil War. They were the ones that supported segregation for a hundred years,” Coulter said. “If we want to do something nice for black people, how about ending immigration which is dumping millions of low-wage workers on the country, taking jobs from African-Americans, as enumerable studies have shown.”

“I mean there are all sorts of  nice things you could be doing here,” Coulter said.

SOURCE (Video at link)

Charleston and the Confederate Flag Battle

With every murderous rampage committed by a sociopath, the Left exploits the tragedy to push its agenda of taking Liberty from all of us. In recent years, that’s generally meant two things: gun control or racial grievance. The horrific murders of nine black Christians in Charleston by a white supremacist provided an opportunity to bring the two issues together.

Barack Obama, as usual, weighed in on both. He called for more gun control, and then he denounced the Confederate flag flying on the grounds of the South Carolina capitol as a racist symbol. It’s the latter that’s become a rallying point for leftists as well as Republicans eager to shed the racist label.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, a Republican, said Monday, “It’s time to move the flag from the Capitol grounds.” Sen. Lindsey Graham, a GOP presidential candidate, and Tim Scott, the first black Republican senator elected in the South since Reconstruction, likewise called for its removal. That provides political cover for state Republicans to vote to take it down.

Of course, given the prominence of South Carolina in the presidential primary season, the Leftmedia gleefully makes the Confederate flag an issue for Republicans every presidential cycle.

But that’s awfully odd since Democrats are the ones who raised it at the South Carolina capitol in 1962. Democrats are the party of Jim Crow and segregation — the ones in KKK robes who sullied the banner of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia with racial overtones. Democrats Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter campaigned with the flag before it was uncool to do so. Democrats push for an ever-higher minimum wage, which all too often leaves blacks unemployed and enslaved on the Left’s deliberately institutionalized urban poverty plantations.

Yet somehow the Confederate flag is a Republican problem.

Speaking of racism, know what else is racist? Gun control. It was originally conceived in the South to prevent blacks from owning firearms. Even now, proponents of gun control rarely lament the lives lost due to inner city gang violence.

Who else is racist? Barack Obama, whose roots of racial hatred run deep, and who stirs the pot by using the “n” word.

As for the flag itself, Leland Summers, head of the state’s chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, dismissed the Left’s complaint: “Do not associate the cowardly actions of a racist to our Confederate Banner. There is absolutely no link between The Charleston Massacre and The Confederate Memorial Banner. Don’t try to create one.”

He’s right in part, though it’s not that simple. It’s undeniable that the Confederate States propagated slavery — an institution Gen. Lee called “a great political and moral evil” — and that the Confederate flag in whatever form brings that to mind. The Union was hardly innocent in this regard, however. Abraham Lincoln harbored his own racism and favored solving slavery by sending blacks back to Africa. Yet no one seems to associate the American flag with such things.

Democrats made the Confederate banner a symbol of racism at KKK rallies, and now they have successfully turned a large portion of the populace against it. When a racist murderer used the Confederate battle flag as a background for his pictures, it only reinforced the link. Democrats fully intend to use the issue to rally blacks around Hillary Clinton, hoping “racist” Republicans would squirm to avoid calling for the flag’s removal. If South Carolina Republicans do remove it, the issue will be somewhat diffused — though nothing will ever be enough for the Left.

“I think compromising with the left on this issue is not worth it because the left is only politicizing this issue to advance their agenda,” wrote Red State’s Erick Erickson. “Once the flag is gone, the left will advance to the next issue then the next issue, etc. They won’t compromise. There is no compromise. There is only conversion or censorship with the left.”

For most of those who fly Lee’s banner today, they intend it as homage to the honorable part of their heritage. Certainly those of us at The Patriot Post with long family history in the South view it that way. The vast majority of Southerners did not own slaves and their descendants reject the idea that they (read: we) are to blame for that horrific institution. Yet the modern Left is intent on blaming all Southerners — especially Republicans — for slavery and all racism, which has in part served to make the flag a symbol of defiance akin to the Gadsden flag of the Tea Party.

That said, it’s perhaps too much to ask of our public-school educated population to think of history with such nuance and understanding. And it’s likely the only politically tenable and prudent move for Republicans to concede the point.


Military Assault on Faith?

Update on Chaplain Wes Modder. Modder’s commanding officer is doing all he can to ensure that the Chaplain is forced out of the Navy. Just weeks before this process started, his commanding officer praised him in a review calling him, “the best of the best.”

What happened to change the commanding officer’s mind? A small handful of military personnel came forward to complain that, during counseling sessions, the chaplain had given advice based on the Bible.

Specifically, he talked about the Bible’s views on sexual activity and homosexuality. Because these biblical views run contrary to the politically correct views currently espoused by the military, he is now fighting to save his career.

You might have also heard on the show about LCpl Monifa Sterling who was convicted at a court-martial for putting a Bible verse on her computer screen. And there are many other stories of Christians in the military being punished for expressing their biblical beliefs.

The hostility against expressions of Christian faith in the military increased when Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was repealed and homosexuals were allowed to serve openly in the military. That event propelled forward a shift in the military culture that was already happening.

The same will happen in the civilian world if the Supreme Court ruling on Obergefell vs. Hodges forces same-sex marriage on the nation. We are only a week away from the ruling from the court.


Jihadis and leftists, united in misogyny

Jennifer Oriel, commenting from Australia

I was invited to appear as a panellist on the ABC’s political talk show Q&A this month.

This week, Q&A featured a self-described Muslim activist who tweeted about gang-raping female columnists in January and pleaded guilty to threatening to kill an ASIO officer.

Why would I want to appear on Q&A following such an outrage against women and our nation’s protective forces?

The man who tweeted the idea of gang-raping female journalists also has expressed support for an Islamic caliphate. I consider him such an inferior example of manhood that I would prefer not to stain the page with his name, but here it is for the record: Zaky Mallah.

After hearing the standard Islamist narrative on the ABC — that is, Islamists charged with threatening violence are victims of government action to stop terrorism — Q&A’s audience applauded Mallah. That tells us a lot about the state of left-wing politics today.

In the 21st century, the hard Left goes soft on men who attack liberal democracy and promote violence against women as long as such men belong to a Left-anointed minority.

Q&A host Tony Jones upbraided Mallah, but only after he had blamed the government for jihadism. And Tuesday’s limp corrective by the ABC falls well short of the explanation we need and the apology Australians deserve.

The terms of reference for the investigation into the ABC’s indulgence of Mallah must include why a man who threatened to kill an ASIO official was cast as a victim while criticising our liberal democratic government’s anti-terrorism policy.

The omission that Mallah threatened lethal violence against a member our security forces and sexual violence against female intellectuals demonstrates more than mere oversight by the ABC. Australia’s public broadcaster has put Australian citizens in harm’s way.

What might have happened, for example, if either of the two female columnists Mallah proposed should be gang-raped in January were on the Q&A panel this week?

Unlike those female columnists, I was actually invited to be on a Q&A panel this month. I have written extensively on Islamist terrorism and have been threatened for doing so.

The thought that a man such as Mallah might have been sitting a few feet away from me on Q&A is, quite frankly, horrifying.

No woman should have to fear for her bodily safety in Australia when she exercises her democratic right to free speech — especially on our public broadcaster. And yet, that is precisely what I now feel about the prospect of appearing on Q&A.

There are serious questions which must be answered about the modern Left and its indulgence of Islamist terrorism and misogyny. We might begin by asking why the taxpayer-funded ABC indulged a man who promoted the idea of gang-raping female columnists.

Is it because the targeted columnists, Miranda Devine and Rita Panahi, are viewed as politically conservative and therefore deserved victims by Islamists and their left-wing allies in the West? Does the Left believe dissident women are asking for it?

We are bearing witness this week to a new form of political correctness — politically correct misogyny — where leftists and Islamists converge to shut dissident women out of public debate.

Author and human rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali has suffered the brunt of PC misogyny during the past decade following her trenchant criticism of Islamist ­violence against women and girls.

In his book The Flight of the Intellectuals, Paul Berman chronicled the rise of the new sexism crafted by left-wing men against Hirsi Ali.

Using sleazy sophistry to conceal their contempt for the woman who dared to refuse victim status and became instead a champion of the free world, PC misogynists claimed she only made it because she was attractive.

In the US as in Australia, the sneering disdain some left-wing men reserve for dissident women is becoming more overtly misogynistic and it seems to increase in direct proportion to dissidents’ public success.

After Hirsi Ali received a standing ovation at the American Atheists convention, left-wing activist journalist Sam Hamad described her as: “a perfect little brown-skinned conduit” for the views of “white males”.

One would have thought that describing a woman with African descent as a “little brown-skinned conduit” should provoke public furore. But there was no cry of hate speech from the progressivist media, no call of sexism from the ivory towers.

Instead, the girl who survived female genital mutilation in Africa, assassination attempts in Europe and jihadist threats in America has grown to become a trending target of hard Left hate because by daring to live and tell the tale, Hirsi Ali has exposed their PC misogyny.

While Mallah might lack the hard Left’s talent for sophistry, his effect is just as devastating. On social media, he described columnists Panahi and Devine as “whores” and proposed that they be gang-raped on television. That is hard to write. No woman should have to read it.

It is little surprise to find support for misogyny among men who enthuse about an Islamist caliphate, where the unequal status of women and girls is enshrined as a rule of law and a cultural right.

But it should be a surprise to find self-declared progressives of the Western Left endorsing Islamist misogyny against any woman, let alone parading its advocates as paragons of sound citizenship.

In its response to the public furore about Mallah on Q&A, the ABC acknowledged his tweet about female columnists — in a single sentence of the last line of the final paragraph. The message could not be clearer.

As a female political commentator who leans conservative, my right to free speech and bodily safety may not mean much to the ABC. But I did not spend my formative years fighting for women’s rights in the 20th century only to submit to an Islamist-Left alliance of misogyny in the 21st.

I expect a public apology from the ABC for its outrage against women, female columnists and the basic security of Australians.

Until such an apology is given, I will not consent to appear on Q&A.



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 June, 2015

Consensus! Children raised by same-sex parents are no different from those in traditional families

The article below is very naive.  I could have told you before I read it what the consensus among researchers would be -- and the authors found just that -- and nothing more.  A consensus among a group of people simply tells you what those people at that time want to believe.  It tells you nothing about the facts.  Only evidence can tell you about the facts.  And there was no critical scrutiny of the evidence in this study. And that was certainly needed in this case. 

What for instance are we to make of a large 2012 study that arrived at very different conclusions?  To quote:  "The results reveal numerous, consistent differences, especially between the children of women who have had a lesbian relationship and those with still-married (heterosexual) biological parents".  Which conclusion is right?  We have no means of knowing from the study below.

So what the study below tells you is something about the biases of current social science researchers.  It tells you nothing about its alleged subject.  It simply tells you what the current intellectual fashion is

I follow the article below with the journal abstract

Scientists agree that children raised by same-sex couples are no worse off than children raised by parents of the opposite sex, according to a new study co-authored by a University of Oregon professor.

The new research looked at 19,000 studies and articles related to same-sex parenting from 1977 to 2013.

It comes as the U.S. Supreme Court is set to rule by the end of this month on whether same-sex marriage is legal.

'Consensus is overwhelming in terms of there being no difference in children who are raised by same-sex or different- sex parents,' University of Oregon sociology professor Ryan Light said on Tuesday.

Light, who co-authored the study with Jimi Adams of the University of Colorado at Denver, said the study may be too late to affect the court's ruling this month but he hopes it will have an impact on future cases.

'I hope we'll see acceptance of gay marriage of the courts and by the public at large,' he said.

The studies, Light said, showed some disagreement among scientists on the outcome of same-sex parenting in the 1980s but it largely subsided in the 1990s, and a clear consensus had formed by 2000 that there is no difference between same-sex and different-sex parenting in the psychological, behavioral or educational outcomes of children.

'Across the board we find the iterative suggests there's no significant differences,' Light said.

'To our knowledge this is the most comprehensive analysis of this type on this issue.'

Gary Gates, Research Director at the Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law, said although several review articles have made arguments that there is a consensus that the gender of the parents does not matter, he was not aware of any other in-depth study of this nature.

'That to me actually sounds like a fairly novel approach and I'm not sure that others have done it,' he said.

He said he believes the argument that same-sex parents are less adequate than heterosexual parents has largely been taken out of the legal debates. But he said it's always possible that it could come up.

'We'll see what happens in the Supreme Court argumentation,' he said.

'We find that the literature on outcomes for children of same-sex parents is marked by scientific consensus that they experience “no differences” compared to children from other parental configurations,' the pair wrote.


Scientific consensus, the law, and same sex parenting outcomes

By jimi adams & Ryan Light


While the US Supreme Court was considering two related cases involving the constitutionality of same-sex marriage, one major question informing that decision was whether scientific research had achieved consensus regarding how children of same-sex couples fare. Determining the extent of consensus has become a key aspect of how social science evidence and testimony is accepted by the courts. Here, we show how a method of analyzing temporal patterns in citation networks can be used to assess the state of social scientific literature as a means to inform just such a question. Patterns of clustering within these citation networks reveal whether and when consensus arises within a scientific field. We find that the literature on outcomes for children of same-sex parents is marked by scientific consensus that they experience “no differences” compared to children from other parental configurations.

Social Science Research, Volume 53, September 2015, Pages 300–310.

Another false rape claim

Police charge woman for making up a rape after she was exposed by her own FitBit

A WOMAN who claimed she was raped by a stranger when sleeping at her boss’s house has been caught fibbing by her own FitBit.
Jeannine Risley, 43, has been criminally charged after she told police she was sexually assaulted at knifepoint by an intruder while she was staying at her employer’s home in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in March.

In her horrific account, ABC News reports she said she was dragged from her bed at midnight and raped in the bathroom by a man who was wearing boots.

But her own fitness watch got the better of her. Officers who embarked on the manhunt detected holes in Risley’s story when they found no footsteps in the snow surrounding the house, and no signs of an intruder indoors.

Detectives steered their investigation towards Risley and discovered tracking data on her FitBit — which she initially said was lost in the attack — revealed she had been walking around during the time she said she was sleeping.

Things got murkier when police uncovered that her boss had recently told her she would no longer be a temporary director with the company.

The criminal complaint states Risley was directed to inform staff of the change during the week of the reported rape, but she had not yet done so.

She has been charged with false reports to law enforcement, false alarms to public safety, and tampering with evidence for allegedly overturning furniture and placing a knife to make it appear she had been raped by an intruder.


The Cultural Cleansing of the Southern States Begins

A full-fledged cultural cleansing of the Southern states is underway as lawmakers debate whether to remove Confederate flags and rename schools and parks named after Confederate war heroes.

There are also discussions in Washington, D.C. about removing Confederate-related statues from the U.S. Capitol — including a statue of Jefferson Davis, the former president of the Confederacy.

“It’s something to think about,” Sen. Harry Reid told reporters.

Republicans, meanwhile, are leading the charge in South Carolina and Mississippi to remove the Confederate flag — called a symbol of hate and racism.

Wal-Mart jumped on the band wagon, too – announcing they will remove all Confederate merchandise from its stores. EBay announced they will no longer sell Confederate flags or any other memorabilia.

Has the Department of Homeland Security classified the Sons and Daughters of the Confederacy as right-wing hate groups, yet?

Meanwhile, there are dozens of reports from around the southeast of lawmakers hoping to rename parks and schools and streets that were originally named in honor of Confederates.

*Tennessee lawmakers are demanding that a bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest be removed from the statehouse;

*Baltimore lawmakers want to rename Robert E. Lee Park;

*Dallas lawmakers are considering demands to rename Stonewall Jackson Elementary School;

*St. Louis lawmakers are debating over the future of a confederate statue in a city park;

*Commissioners in Hillsborough, North Carolina are debating whether to remove the words “Confederate Memorial” from a Confederate memorial.

*The Memphis City Council voted in 2013 to rename three parks – Confederate Park, Jefferson Davis Park and Nathan Bedford Forrest Park.

It won’t be too long before they start renaming cities and towns and counties named after Confederates. And I reckon it’s only a matter of time before they bulldoze the Confederate grave yards and war memorials too.

Maybe we can just pretend the Civil War never happened.

I’m assuming Hollywood will cooperate with the South’s cultural cleansing by eradicating any copies of “Gone with the Wind” and “Forrest Gump.” Forrest was named after the aforementioned Nathan Bedford Forrest.

I do wonder, though, about those good ole boys from Hazzard County. What are Bo and Luke Duke are going to do with the General Lee?

Maybe they could just paint a rainbow flag on top and call it the General Sherman.  He culturally cleansed the South, too.


Heretics are the heroes of the fight for free speech

Free speech in the West is threatened today less by jackbooted censorship than by the conformist culture of You Can’t Say That. Those who break strict speech codes and step outside the narrow bounds of acceptable opinion – such as Tim Hunt, the Nobel Prize-winning biochemist hounded out of his profession for making a daft joke about women in science – can expect not just criticism, but demands that they be silenced. ‘Offensive’ ideas are effectively treated as a secular form of blasphemy, and those who express them as heretics to be gagged and punished rather than debated with.

Yet, as my new book, Trigger Warning, argues, those branded heretics have often been the heroes, whipping boys and cause célèbres in the historic struggle for free speech. The big battles have been about the freedom to dissent from the respectable opinion of the age and question the unquestionable; we might call it the right to be offensive. What changes is what society considers heresy at different stages in history.

Heresy is defined as a belief contrary to orthodox religious opinion; or, in non-religious terms, an opinion profoundly at odds with what is generally accepted. The Ancient Greek origins of the word heresy are revealing. An early Christian leader defined his own views as ‘orthodox’, from the Greek for ‘right belief’. The views of his opponents he branded as heresy – from the Greek for ‘choice of belief’.

The thing that has always got you branded a heretic is making an intellectual choice. Heresy is the desire to choose what you believe in and to dissent from the authoritative dogma of the day. What better case for freedom of speech could there be?

Socrates, the greatest philosopher of Ancient Greece, raised the question of the right to be a heretic. Free speech – or parrhesia as they called it – meant something different to the Ancient Greeks. Athenian democracy was based on the idea of all free male citizens being of equal standing. Free speech represented this equality of merit. It was not supposed to be about freedom from overbearing state power, which is what those who fought for it later in Britain and America wanted.

Yet even in the ‘pure’ democracy of Athens, Socrates was put on trial and put to death at the age of 70 for taking free speech ‘too far’. Socrates questioned everything, often to the discomfort of his fellow citizens, and refused to be bound by Athens’ sacred traditions. He was charged with ‘not believing in the gods that the city believes in’ – heresy. Nor did Socrates believe in restraining his speech in line with the Athenian tradition of Aidos – respect, modesty or shame. He was, literally, shameless, even stripping naked to speak before his accusers to symbolise that everything must be out in the open. And the naked philosopher made clear that if the court voted to spare him, he would continue asking forbidden questions.

The trial and execution of Socrates shows that, even in a society of equals with a commitment to open discussion, many who think they believe absolutely in that principle will recoil when confronted with heretical free speech bare-arsed and red in tooth and claw. So, as one expert study has it, ‘[w]hen Socrates practises parrhesia as the Athenians understood it, the bold affirmation and shameless articulation of what one believes to be true, the Athenians vote to execute him’. How much more horrifying real free speech must seem to the many who claim to support it in our timid society.

Like much else discovered or invented by ancient civilisations from science to sewers, the concept of free speech disappeared in Europe’s Dark Ages before being reinvented once more in the modern world.

Before the modern age in a society such as Britain, the very idea of free speech was considered heretical. In medieval England, matters of state were legitimately to be discussed only by the king and his courtiers, quite possibly in Norman French, and matters of faith were officially to be read and spoken of only by the priesthood, in Latin. Anything else could be deemed treason or heresy, potentially punishable by death.

This week marks the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta in 1215. For establishing the idea that there were limits to the power of the Crown, Magna Carta should rightly be celebrated as creating a prototype for liberty. Yet the historic Magna Carta makes no mention of freedom of speech. That was hardly surprising. Such a concept would have been effectively meaningless for the mass of peasants in the feudal England of 1215, among the most advanced nations of its medieval age.

Free speech, understood as the ability openly to express an opinion, take part in public debate and criticise those in authority, could not take hold in England or Europe until humanity moved history on, the notion of individual rights gained currency and people began to question the absolute power of Crown and Church.

Free speech became the voice of the autonomous individual who only emerged in British and Western society in the age of the Enlightenment. Those in authority did all they could to preserve their public monopoly on the Truth. The first printing press was introduced to England by William Caxton in 1476. English monarchs imposed a system of Crown licensing under which nothing could legally be published except with the permission of the Star Chamber. Any criticism of the Crown or the Church could be branded treason, seditious libel or blasphemy.

In 1637, a Puritan author, William Prynne, had his ears cut off for writing heretical pamphlets attacking the religious policies of King Charles I’s regime; Prynne was also branded on both cheeks with ‘S L’ for seditious libeller. Even in 1663, John Twyn was hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn in London – now Marble Arch – under the recently restored King Charles II, having been found guilty of high treason for printing – not writing – a ‘seditious, poisonous and scandalous book’ justifying the people’s right to rebel against injustice.

Intolerance remained a core value of Western culture until the dawn of modernity. As late as 1691, French Catholic theologian Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet could boast: ‘I have the right to persecute you because I am right and you are wrong.’ No nonsense about everybody being ‘entitled to their opinion’ there. Heretical notions of free speech were not to be tolerated.

Yet it was also in the seventeenth-century age of Enlightenment that the growing belief in the freedom of the individual made free speech both necessary and desirable. It burst out as a burning political issue in the struggles between king, Church and parliament in the run-up to the English Revolution. That fire was to burn across the Atlantic.

Over the past 400 years, religious, political, cultural and sexual heretics have fought for the right to offend against the orthodoxy of the age. In the first wave of the modern free-speech wars in England, those demanding free speech were religious heretics who wished to break from the Church of Rome. The Puritans wanted a Bible printed in their own English language. The punishment for such heresy was for not only the book, but also the printer, to be burned at the stake. William Tyndale printed an English version of the New Testament in Germany in 1526 and smuggled it into England. He was strangled and burned for heresy in 1536. Just three years after he was executed, Henry VIII – having split from Rome and founded the Church of England – gave approval for an English text, the Great Bible, based on Tyndale’s work. Yesterday’s blasphemous heresy had become today’s orthodox belief.

The role of religious heretics in demanding free speech is worth remembering, when religion is often seen purely as a force for repression. Since these religious heretics came up against the censorious power of the central authority, their demands soon melded into a rising political clamour for the freedom of the press.

As the English Civil War broke out between king and parliament, John Milton published his plea for unlicensed printing in 1644, the Areopagitica, asking parliament to ‘Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties’. Milton was equally adamant that those who published blasphemy should be punished after the event. Nor did he wish the liberty to ‘utter and argue freely’ to be extended to devilish papists or non-believers. Tolerance has always been a difficult principle to uphold in practice.

The turmoil of the English Revolution, when the king was overthrown and executed in 1649 and the ‘order of the world’ turned on its head, brought new voices from below into public life for the first time. The radical Levellers movement formulated its own demands for more far-reaching changes in society, not least in relation to freedom of speech and of the press. Leveller John Lilburne called for an end to state licensing of the press: ‘For what may not be done to that people who may not speak or write, but at the pleasure of licensers?’

The English monarchy was restored in 1660, along with a new system of Crown licensing of the printing press. But when the Glorious Revolution replaced the autocratic Catholic King James II with the Protestant William of Orange in 1689, parliament passed a Bill of Rights. This wrote freedom of speech and debate into English law, at least for members of parliament. By 1695, the system of Crown licensing of the press finally ended. The fight for freedom of speech, however, was just beginning.



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 June, 2015

Shock! Horror! At LAST a BBC boss who admits it's biased

BBC executives and journalists have a special patronising smile for anyone who suggests they are biased towards the Left.  'Look,' they say pityingly, 'the Left are always telling us we're biased towards the Right. Bet you didn't know that!' End of discussion.

That smile will have been wiped off these faces this week. Roger Mosey, former head of BBC TV news, has published a book giving chapter and verse on the Corporation's liberal bias.

Mosey, who also used to edit Radio 4's Today programme, confirms that Auntie leans so far Leftwards that she frequently topples over into propaganda.

He's the first truly senior BBC executive to do so. As such, he is in a position to provide killer details.

We learn not just the extent of the BBC's liberal group-think, but also exactly how news stories are reshaped and 'sanitised' to fit the agenda of the only newspaper the Beeb's journalists read from cover to cover — the Guardian, it goes without saying.

'One night on the Ten O'Clock News we broadcast a package from a racially diverse part of Britain, where ethnic minorities had become a majority of the local population,' writes Mosey.

'People there were interviewed about how they felt about the immigration that had led to the ethnic mix. Only one white man was featured, and he said he was perfectly happy with the way his neighbourhood had developed.'

Mosey — who years ago hinted privately to me that he was troubled by BBC bias — smelled a rat. So he emailed the reporter responsible.

'Just wondered, did all the people you spoke to think the majority/minority racial position was good?'

Well, said the reporter, the vox pop had been tricky because of the 'problem' of the white population. The people they stopped were 'fairly rabidly racist' so they were left on the cutting-room floor. Now, it's possible that the folk the BBC stopped in this (unnamed) area were all poisonous bigots. But bear in mind that you don't have to vote BNP to count as a rabid racist in the eyes of the Beeb.

You merely have to question the wisdom of open-door immigration or hint at the ethnic or religious identity of the Rotherham grooming gangs — a scandal that the BBC was in no particular hurry to investigate.

Mosey found further evidence of bias when the BBC illustrated stories about France's Sangatte refugee camp with . . . photographs of Sangatte refugee camp. The 'editorial policy people', as he calls them, threw a wobbly.

Stop using those pictures, they told Mosey. In fact, they seem to have wanted to ignore the existence of the squalid 'asylum centre', where migrants — some of them members of criminal gangs — waited for their chance to slip into Britain illegally.

The reason? The debate was being led by 'an angry tabloid agenda and extreme Right-wing groups'. And the BBC's solution? Let's not have the debate at all.

Or, to put it another way, let's hide the facts from BBC licence-fee payers, lest some of them voice the ignorant view that 'asylum' shouldn't extend to Albanian drug smugglers.

Mosey — who was as opposed to genuine racism as any of his colleagues — shared this story with Jeff Randall, then the Corporation's business editor and one of its few token Tory supporters.

He wrote back: 'Does anyone in the BBC's policy unit/Thought Police read [Mail columnist] Richard Littlejohn? They should. He reflects popular opinion far more accurately than the views of those whose idea of a good night out is reading the Indy over a vegetarian meal in a Somali restaurant.' (This was in the days when people still read the Independent.)

Mosey writes about the Corporation's 'dysfunctional' government — which doesn't surprise me so much because, while he was head of BBC news, I wrote a regular newspaper feature called 'Beebwatch', drawing on specially commissioned data from a media monitoring unit.

I didn't concentrate on the obvious targets, such as the Today programme and Newsnight. Instead, I peered into the folds of Auntie's bloomers — trivial, obscure or supposedly non-political items produced by young, right-on BBC staff who thought they were safe from scrutiny.

They were having a field day. When one of Labour grandee Tony Benn's windbag speeches was set to rap music, they decided that the licence-payer should cough up for three separate reports on the BBC website. Headlines: 'Will Tony Benn's CD save politics?; 'Veteran Benn spins politics and rap'; and 'Benn gets down in the groove'.

A BBC2 Timewatch documentary about the Anglo-Zulu war of 1879 revealed the Corporation's bias clearly.

We were spun a tale of tea-sipping toffs versus noble warriors. We learned that the Zulus' disembowelling of British corpses was only an 'apparent atrocity' because it was intended to release the spirits of the dead.

And when David Willetts, then the Tory pensions spokesman, argued in favour of larger families, the BBC online magazine had a fit. 'Conservative politicians and sex,' it read. 'To do it is one thing — perhaps while wearing a Chelsea strip — but to speak of it is quite another.'

The magazine wasn't troubled by the fact that stories of Tory minister David Mellor making love in Chelsea kit were known to be lies.

Drawing a parallel so outrageous as to be absurd, it continued: 'Hitler and Mussolini saw high birth rates as key to victory . . . and set about encouraging their citizens to procreate.'

Roger Mosey read Beebwatch and thought his colleagues had a case to answer. So he invited me to talk to a large group of BBC producers. What a waste of time! Every face was frozen in that patronising smirk.

The level of detail in these new revelations will revive questions about whether the BBC is biased. It's embarrassing for the Beeb, but the same evasive answers will be trotted out.

We'll be told that coverage of May's General Election was even-handed.

That's true up to a point — because special rules govern elections. But I couldn't help noticing that, while the country was roaring with laughter at Miliband's 'Edstone' stunt, BBC reporters didn't enjoy the joke.

On the contrary — some of them were furious with the Labour leader for jeopardising his victory. (How I'd love to have been in the newsroom when that exit poll showing the Tories miles in front sprang on to the screen. Quick, send for the grief counsellors!) In the end, what licence payers need to know is not whether the Corporation is dominated by metropolitan liberals, but what to do about it. Here, I'm a pessimist.

The Tories could slim down the BBC, or end its funding. But America doesn't have a licence fee and, with the exception of Fox News — laughably biased in the other direction — all the major networks are piously liberal.

An independent BBC committed to serious broadcasting would recruit the same Left-leaning staff from the same Left-leaning universities.

My guess is that Roger Mosey knows this, and is frustrated by it. We're lucky that he has vented his feelings so explosively.

The revelations in his book help dull the pain of being forced to pay for a broadcast version of the Guardian.

But there is one trick guests on programmes can play. The other day I was asked on to BBC Radio Wales to talk about the Irish vote for gay marriage.

Just before the interview, they ran a segment so biased in favour of the gay campaigners that I decided to challenge them on it. 'That was grotesquely one-sided,' I said — live. The presenter spluttered, but there was nothing he could do about it.

But a word of warning to Roger. His book is called Getting Out Alive. He shouldn't bet on repeating the trick if he is ever lured back into New Broadcasting House.


After Israeli video mocks journalists, reporters prove its premise

At first I thought the latest video by Israel’s foreign ministry — the one that lampoons media coverage of last year’s Gaza war — was unfunny, amateurish, and useless. Needless to say, it wasn’t my cup of satire.

After seeing the overheated reaction by many journalists, though, I must admit to a slight change of heart. It may still be true that the animated clip, which cast foreign reporters as myopic and oblivious to the realities of the region, was ill-conceived. But it turns out that the video, whether by design or not, was actually useful in that it exposed some of the strange beliefs, blind-spots, and self-justifications relied on by prominent journalists, whose angry reactions in fact underscored the truth behind the video’s central premise: that media coverage of Israel deserves criticism.

Note, for example, the response by Robert Mackey, a news columnist at The New York Times. While dismissing the video’s message that coverage of Israel is flawed, Mackey oddly describes Israel’s now-defunct Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs as the “ministry of Hasbara — responsible for what Israel calls public diplomacy and its critics call propaganda.”

I looked back through the news pages and found example after example of New York Times journalists, Mackey included, introducing ministries in straightforward, neutral terms — even when writing about the most repressive governments. So why, when it comes to Israel, is it different? Why the use of the foreign word hasbara, which Israel’s opponents have attempted to usurp as a derisive word, instead of the English name of the ministry, which more than sufficiently describes its function? Why, only when it comes to Israel, are unnamed critics given the opportunity to introduce the country’s ministry responsible for communications and advocacy? (I try to answer those questions in more detail here.)

Is this hostility by Mackey, who sounds less like an objective journalist and more like the anti-Israel extremists he all too frequently turns to, really supposed to convince us that Israel has no legitimate gripe with foreign journalists?

Mackey also suggests that the country’s use of satire means there must be no “actual examples” of problematic media coverage. The clip, he insists, “would seem to raise the question of why, if wildly inaccurate, comically misinformed reports on the conflict from foreign correspondents are so common, Israeli officials cannot simply point to actual examples but instead find it necessary to resort to fiction again and again to illustrate this reality.”

The flaws in this logic should be clear. Satire is an established genre of expression. And the use of satire, however well-executed, hardly indicates a dearth of concrete examples.

And indeed, there is no shortage of examples of bungled coverage. There was Shati and Shifa, where the death and damage from misfired Palestinian rockets were blamed on Israel; the downplaying and ignoring of Hamas rocket attacks; the newspaper that described destruction in Israel as being from “purported” Palestinian rockets; the patently false assertions that Netanyahu failed to quickly condemn the murder of a Palestinian boy; a slew of headlines downplaying Palestinian violence; journalists siding with Hamas and against other journalists; reporters self-censoring incriminating statements; and a funnier-than-fiction claim that a bridge links the West Bank and Gaza Strip. These are just a few of the examples that could have been mentioned in Israel’s video.

Not that specificity really matters. When a former AP correspondent penned three detailed and devastating exposés about anti-Israel bias, the reporters who now grumble about lack of detail in Israel’s satire clip were largely silent. When even The New York Times public editor called on reporters to “strengthen the coverage of Palestinians” because “they are more than just victims,” there was little public soul searching.

In short, there is plenty of specific criticism about media coverage of Israel and of the recent war. By pretending otherwise, Mackey makes Israel’s case — that the media misinforms — better than any video could.

Mackey wasn’t the only New York Times reporter to suggest that the resort to satire somehow proves Israel has no specific claims.

On Twitter, Diaa Hadid, who covers the Palestinian territories for the newspaper, referred to “A new video by Israel mocking foreign correspondents — but no actual example of incorrect coverage they so mock.” Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren was one of several jounalists to share Mackey’s piece on Twitter, even though she knows more than most that criticism of coverage tends to be specific and substantiated.

A Times opinion editor went further. “If you don’t have a good story to tell,” editorial board member Ernesto Londoño wrote, “a tried and tested tactic is to lampoon the press.” In other words, he believes the problem is not only that Israel has no evidence to back up criticism of media coverage; it is that Israel criticizes the press because it has no compelling narrative about the conflict in general. Fair-minded observers might disagree with the disinterested dismissal of Israel’s story — a story in part about Hamas, its overt anti-Semitism, its commitment to the violent destruction of Israel, the thousands of indiscriminate rockets it lobs toward Israeli cities; a story in part about Israeli families who must send their finest off to fight in a crowded, hostile territory, understanding that they might not come back, but understanding too that the Palestinian rocket attacks must be brought to an end to protect innocent lives.

There’s more to disagree with in Londoño’s piece. Twice he tells readers that the Gaza Strip is currently “occupied” by Israel. Although some political scientists have argued as much, notwithstanding the absence of a single Israeli in the territory, other experts in international law including Eugene Kontorovich, Yuval Shany, Eyal Benvenisti, Ruth Lapidoth, Elizabeth Samson, Salon Solomon, and Benjamin Rubin have assessed that the territory is not currently occupied. Again, if the larger question is whether journalists give Israel a fair hearing, Londoño’s piece, and its attempts to conceal the full range of views about Gaza, would suggest that they do not.

To close out his argument, Londoño insists that “Israel’s image problem is not the result of global misunderstanding of Hamas.” Maybe, but it is telling that, to substantiate the claim that the media treats threats to Israelis seriously, he points to a piece entitled “Hamas Is Accused of Using Gaza War as Cover to Torture and Kill Palestinians.”

The heavy-handed reaction to the video clip wasn’t limited to New York Times journalists. A Haaretz reporter insisted on Twitter that Israel’s video efforts “recall 15 year old boys cracking rape jokes, then sneering at girls ‘you feminists have no sense of humor!’”


EU calls for more mothers to go to work: Bureaucrats accused of bullying

BRUSSELS bureaucrats were last night accused of attempting to ‘bully’ British mothers back to work - after an EU report claimed the country has too many women who choose to stay at home.

Women living in Britain are twice as likely as those in the rest of Europe to choose not to work in order to care for their children or elderly relations, according to figures in a report to the European Council.

The report suggests Britain should do more to get stay-at-home mothers into work by providing additional free child care, the Daily Telegraph reported last night.

But campaigners and MPs have hit out at the report and said that a Brussels institution had ‘no right’ to ‘lecture’ mothers.

The report - part of an annual assessment of every European economy - was presented to Chancellor George Osborne at a meeting of finance ministers last Friday.

It criticised the fact that women were far more likely to be in part-time work than men and said: ‘Despite the positive trends in relation to labour market outcomes, social challenges persist’.

Laura Perrins, of the campaign group Mothers at Home Matter, told The Telegraph: ‘How British families organise their care is up to them.   'They shouldn’t be lectured to by the British government, or beancounters in Europe. This is just another bullying tactic to get mothers to leave their young children.’

Peter Bone, Conservative MP for Wellingborough, added: ‘They have no right whatsoever to tell women and families to go to work. It is not within spitting distance of what they should be doing.’

In 2013, 42.6 per cent of British women were in part-time work compared with 13.2 per cent of men, one of the highest differences in the EU.

The percentage of women who did not work or worked part-time ‘due to personal and family responsibilities’ was 12.5 per cent, almost twice as high as the EU average of 6.3 per cent.

The council’s recommendations are part of European targets to get 75 per cent of working-age adults into employment by 2020.

Britain’s employment rate stands at a record 73.4 per cent.

The Tories pledged in their election manifesto to provide more taxpayer-funded child care places.

Last year, Mr Osborne said he wanted to see nearly 500,000 more women in the workplace by the beginning of 2016, which would allow the UK to match the female employment rate in Germany.


Conservative minister blasts Left on welfare payments

You can hardly blame Iain Duncan Smith for occasionally exploding. The Left are extremely irritating when it comes to welfare cuts.

We will therefore forgive him becoming so batey yesterday during his departmental questions that he started sounding like the Mr Angry character who used to pop up on Steve Wright’s BBC radio shows.

Work and Pensions Secretary IDS has spent the last five years trying to wrestle with our nation’s vast and baffling welfare system, trying to reduce its costs and push more welfare claimants into jobs. He has achieved great things yet still the leviathan exists, pumping cash, de-energising, de-incentivising, de-moralising.

This is not just a British madness. Much of the European Union is in the grip of socialist welfarism, often wrecking the chances of the people it affects to help.

Mr Duncan Smith finds himself taking on a continental statist consensus, constructed over decades by pipe-sucking Jean-Paul Sartre intellectuals – and used by Left-wing politicians to create client voters from the millions whose bank accounts are injected with public money.

Labour’s response? During the election it made noises about being ‘tougher than the Tories’ on welfare. Whoaa! What a great result!

This conversion to welfare ‘toughness’ happened after Labour’s pension spokesman Rachel Reeves twigged that the electorate (the taxpaying part of it, anyway) was fed up with the status quo.

Miss Reeves was not in the Chamber yesterday because she had a baby last week. In her absence it fell to one of her frontbench colleagues, Kate Green, to explain Labour’s marvellous new position.

‘Labour will indeed be tougher on cutting benefits,’ said Miss Green in her posh-Scots voice, ‘when that is a response to the wrong drivers of those benefits. What we will not tolerate is cuts to those benefits for people who are in work but need those benefits to enable their work to pay.’

The basic thrust of Miss Green’s remark, however, was probably ‘we will claim to be tough but we will not identify any cuts we support because that would oblige us to agree with you Tories and that would lose us votes’.

Mr Duncan Smith erupted. He gave Miss Green a tonking. He did likewise with two more Labour women, Marie Rimmer and Debbie Abrahams (Oldham E and Saddleworth) who complained that the welfare cuts were killing people.

Sister Rimmer, new to the House, is a marvellous creation, not least because she sits for St Helens South – formerly the seat of Shaun Woodward. It would be hard to devise a greater contrast to smoothiechops multi-millionaire Woodward.

Our Marie, who might be said by astringent caricaturists to resemble a dinner lady, is a big-boned Northern lass with a voice like a wheezy walrus and a tendency to point, angrily, when contributing to debates.

Given that she is in legal difficulty over an alleged fracas in Scotland, it was perhaps brave of Mr Duncan Smith to take her on, but take her on he did, con gusto. He called her ‘disgraceful’ while Mrs Abrahams was told to stop frightening her constituents. The Mighty Rimmer stood to her feet in outrage, her very being wobbling with indignation and her mouth silently opening and closing.

Many other Labour MPs demanded more or continued welfare spending. Repeatedly, Mr Duncan Smith was denounced as some sort of demon. I don’t know how he doesn’t stab himself in the thigh with his ballpoint pen and bring his palm down on the despatch box with a karate chop, reducing it to kindling.



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 June, 2015

Multiculturalist in Australia ‘mutilated’ his wife, court hears

A MAN who stabbed and mutilated his wife spends his days thinking about how to apologise to their four children, a Melbourne court has heard.

Bona Lual murdered his estranged wife Suzi Oghia with a chef’s knife and then mutilated both her eyes as their children slept metres away in November 2013.

The jealous 38-year-old followed Ms Oghia to her Noble Park home, in Melbourne’s southeast, that night after “lurking in the shadows” while she was at a party, the Victorian Supreme Court heard during Lual’s plea hearing on Friday.

Recordings reveal Lual, of nearby Doveton, called 000 after killing Ms Oghia and told the operator, “Someone is stabbed and is going to die soon” and later: “I’m the one who stab her”.

Defence barrister Greg Barns said Lual, who was convicted by a jury, was remorseful about the impact on his children but struggled to accept moral culpability over his wife’s death.

“I spend my days thinking how I could apologise to my children,” Lual wrote in a letter that was read to the court.

Mr Barns said Lual grew up in South Sudan surrounded by violence and met Ms Oghia while they were both at school.

Ms Oghia would end up fearing for her life as Lual made frightening threats in the lead-up to her murder, Crown prosecutor Andrew Tinney, SC, said.

He said Lual, who killed Ms Oghia with a single deep stab wound, continued to deny his guilt.

The court heard Amanuel Lual, their eldest son, felt he had to look after his younger siblings and wanted to cry all the time after his mother’s death.

Justice Terry Forrest said Lual would likely be sentenced next week.


Time to end Labour's benefits merry-go-round says PM:

Cameron vows to stop culture of complacency that has consigned thousands to the scrapheap

In a major speech, the Prime Minister will say a 'culture of complacency' in our national life has led people to accept a huge number of long-term unemployed.

He will signal that, free from the shackles of Coalition government, he will unleash a welfare revolution designed to wean the jobless off a life of state handouts and instil the idea that work pays.

The intervention comes as his Chancellor prepares to unveil £12billion of welfare cuts in next month's Budget, with child tax credits and housing benefit expected to bear the brunt.

George Osborne and Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, wrote at the weekend that cuts to the spiralling welfare bill would have to continue for at least a decade to return the system to 'sanity'.

Mr Cameron will use his speech today to attack previous governments for simply paying out benefits rather than tackling the causes of welfare dependency such as poor schooling and bad parenting, leaving 'people capable of work written off on a lifetime on benefits'.

This complacency has led to an acceptance of sink schools, children living in care rather than being adopted, and long-term unemployment, he says – and had stalled social mobility.

'We need to move from a low wage, high tax, high welfare society to a higher wage, lower tax, lower welfare society,' he will say.

There are now 574,000 people listed as long-term unemployed – meaning they have been out of work for more than a year. This is a reduction of 28 per cent since 2014, but Mr Cameron still believes the total is too high.

Yesterday Andy Burnham, the frontrunner in the Labour leadership contest, accused the Tories of 'frightening vulnerable people' by not laying out where the axe to benefits will fall.

Ideas that have been proposed include stopping housing benefit for those younger than 25, and ending child tax credit for third and subsequent children. Working families tax credit could also be hit. Mr Cameron has pledged full protection for child benefit and pensioner benefits.

Today the Prime Minister will put welfare reforms at the heart of a new 'one nation' mission to improve life chances for all by targeting education and promoting stronger families.

'I am proud that in the past five years we have begun to turn the tide on the failed approach,' he will say. 'We've put strengthening families, reforming education and transforming welfare at the heart of what we have been doing. But in the next five years we have to go so much further.

'So many of our country's efforts to extend opportunity have been undermined by a tolerance of government failure. The failure to look after children in care. The tolerance of sink schools that have failed one generation after another. An acceptance of long-term unemployment among hard-to-reach individuals.

'We have to end the complacency that has sometimes infected our national life, that says some problems are too big, and we can put up with second best.'

The Prime Minister will set out three strands of work crucial to this goal. First is stronger families, such as providing parents with more free childcare, flexible working and relationship support.

Next is first-class education, with a pledge to turn more coasting schools into academies.

Finally, Mr Cameron wants to end the 'welfare merry-go-round' by increasing the minimum wage, taking more people out of income tax and ensuring that the benefits system makes work pay.

Yesterday Mr Osborne and Mr Duncan Smith reiterated their determination to slash another £12billion a year from the benefits bill. They have already said the household benefits cap will be reduced from £26,000 to £23,000 a year and housing benefit and tax credits are expected to bear the brunt.

Writing in the Sunday Times, they said they had inherited a 'crackers' welfare system from Labour in 2010, adding: 'This Government was elected with a mandate to implement further savings from the £220billion welfare budget.

'Welfare reform is fundamentally about opportunity and changing lives, supporting families to move from dependence to independence – a vital point, because without social mobility there can be no social justice. It is the right thing to do.'


Silly old bag who said farming is like the Holocaust elected as top new RSPCA official -- prompting fears charity could alienate its supporters

A vegan who compared farming to the Holocaust has been elected to the RSPCA’s ruling council, prompting warnings the charity risks alienating its supporters.

Peta Watson-Smith, 62, who said animals were treated ‘abysmally’ on farms, gained a seat on the 23-strong board following a vote by the RPSCA’s 22,000 members.

She has previously said she would encourage people to eat a ‘wholly plant-based diet’ and wants to ban the Grand National [steeplechase].

She stood for election to the council last year, when she failed to get a seat, and told The Times: ‘Encouraging people to eat less meat is going to benefit animals and the knock-on is going to be human health and welfare.

‘I don’t think people always appreciate what is the Holocaust [sic] going on behind closed doors. You talk about the Jews. If we recognise animals as sentient beings, why are we treating them so abysmally on farms?’

She supported calls for the charity to drop its Freedom Foods animal welfare assurance scheme, saying: ‘The RSPCA cannot make claims to protect farm animals while it condones slaughter through its ownership of Freedom Foods.’

Mrs Watson-Smith said more money should be spent prosecuting farmers - even though the charity has been accused of over-zealousness after the number of prosecutions it has launched almost doubled recently.

RSPCA members also voted to give a seat on the ruling council to Dan Lyons, who has previously called for pet owners to sit an exam.

Tim Bonner, director of campaigns at the Countryside Alliance, said the RSPCA’s extreme animal rights agenda ‘alienates people in the countryside completely from what should be the most important animal welfare organisation in the country’.

The RSPCA's ruling council will play a pivotal role in appointing a new chief executive following Gavin Grant's resignation for health reasons 16 months ago. 


An insider’s elegy to human rights

Jon Holbrook, Barrister

Francesca Klug’s new book offers an insight into why the human-rights project has failed to garner public support

Nothing captures the spirit of the Enlightenment better than John Locke’s view that ‘reason… teaches all mankind… no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions’. Just as Galileo used reason to explain that the Earth orbited the sun, so Locke used reason to explain that the good society could be trusted to a mankind that had rediscovered the power of rational thought.

For well over 300 years, a belief in reason as the motor of human progress has been a hallmark of Western society. But, in recent years, the power of reason has been challenged by a discourse that celebrates not reason and rationality but empathy and compassion. This challenge to reason is a hallmark of the human-rights movement. The new book from Francesca Klug, A Magna Carta for All Humanity: Homing in on Human Rights, is revealing in this regard.

As a driving force behind the UK’s 1998 Human Rights Act, Klug became a government advisor, overseeing its implementation, and subsequently became a commissioner with the Equality and Human Rights Commission. In her book, she explores the human-rights project with the insight of an insider.

Klug’s great insight is in debunking what she notes ‘is frequently presumed’ about the human-rights discourse, namely that it is a modern-day development of the belief in the Enlightenment conception of reason. Klug states starkly that the ‘kernel of my argument is that postwar human rights should not be understood as a straightforward continuation of the Enlightenment project of universalising a Western preoccupation with rationality’. In place of this ‘preoccupation with rationality’, she argues that our ‘essential nature as human beings is rooted in two elements… our ability to think and reason in the classical Enlightenment mould, but also our capacity to feel and care, to feel empathy’. Klug posits ‘to suffer with’ as a working definition of empathy.

Of these two elements, reason and empathy, Klug considers reason to be problematic. The problem with reason, argues Klug, is that it ‘alone does not allow human beings to discover what is “right” and “wrong”’. Right and wrong can, however, be discovered when reason is ‘aligned with the human conscience’, she says. For conscience gives us ‘compassion, empathy and the capacity to care about the fate of those you do not know, or cannot even imagine being in a similar situation to you’. Klug claims that humanity’s ability to empathise ‘underlines the whole enterprise’ of human rights.

The logic of Klug’s argument is that an attempt by humanity to reason its way to a better society is doomed. The clear message here is that the Enlightenment approach of problem-solving by applying reason will fail. Humanity’s only hope is to sideline reason in favour of the sort of empathetic approach championed by the human-rights discourse.

Klug’s insight about the centrality of empathy to the human-rights project explains why so many human-rights decisions are resolved in court in favour of the victim. For, as Klug points out, ‘those who have benefited most from the Human Rights Act are… child victims of trafficking, women subjected to sexual violence, prisoners who have died in custody and those with vulnerabilities’. At an emotional level, who couldn’t empathise with trafficked children, sexually abused women, dead prisoners or indeed anyone considered vulnerable?

Nowadays, judges operating under the human-rights discourse are expected to empathise with victims and declare the victims’ pain to have been a breach of their human rights. In earlier eras, Enlightened thinking dominated policymaking. This was particularly the case in law, which, since Ancient Greece, had followed Aristotle’s view that ‘the law is reason, free from passion’.

But, in the hands of human-rights advocates, reason is mere putty to be shaped as emotion requires. Klug quotes her academic colleague at the London School of Economics, Professor Conor Gearty, in claiming that ‘we start with feelings and end with reason, rather than the other way round’. This aptly describes how human-rights advocates see the relationship between reason and emotion: first, you feel and then you develop reasons to justify those feelings. Whereas Enlightened thinkers deploy reason in an objective way to get at the truth, human-rights advocates deploy reason to justify their emotional responses.

In fact, Klug develops her argument to the next logical stage, which is summed up by what she describes as the welcome drift from truth to discovery. In place of observing truth, which connotes objectivity and rationality, Klug says we ‘simply need imagination’.

So Klug has laid bare the essence of the human-rights discourse. Human-rights advocates seek to discover victims with whom they can empathise. Having found them – and those who seek will always find – a little imagination can readily turn this ‘suffering with’ victims into a human right enforced by the law. Putting it simply, the discovery of human rights can be summed up as a logical progression through three words: victims, empathy and law.

Klug is explicit in stating that the rational attempt to prove human rights is ‘a fruitless task’. For Klug, the challenge is (her emphasis) ‘doing human rights’. The practice, rather than the theory, of human rights is what matters. This is entirely appropriate for a discourse that expects its practitioners to use their hearts rather than their minds.

Klug’s analysis is spot on, and it provides the basis for understanding many features of the human-rights discourse: that it is an approach based on empathy rather than reason; that it focuses on victims, rather than any broader sense of social needs; its elite nature (dominated by lawyers) and lack of popular support; and its preference for a court of law over a court of public opinion. And, lest anyone doubt the elite nature of this project, Klug herself notes that the campaign to pass the Human Rights Act was mounted ‘by radical lawyers and civil-rights groups, which was, generally speaking, lost on the rest of the population’.

The high-water mark for the human-rights movement came when the Human Rights Act was passed in 1998. What’s happened since then shows that a movement based on emotion rather than reason cannot succeed. This is clear from Klug’s book, which contains none of the optimism of her writing in the wake of the Human Rights Act’s passing. In her 2000 book, Values for a Godless Age, she claimed that human rights were ‘a new zeitgeist’.

After 15 years of doing human rights, Klug says that Values for a Godless Age had ‘the worst judged title in history’. Suggesting that human rights might have a universal and secular appeal, and hence have something in common with the Enlightenment, was inappropriate ‘for a diverse society’, she reflects.

In 2015, apparently, the human-rights project needs to draw on ‘insights that have guided the great religions’. Yet, despite seeking to bolster her project with the politics of diversity and religion, Klug recognises that, today, the anti-human-rights rhetoric ‘brooks relatively few opponents and a potentially growing number of supporters’. In just over a decade, the human-rights ideal has, as Klug candidly reveals, ‘rapidly descended from an idea whose time had come to an ideal routinely deprecated both domestically and internationally’.

Even the title of this book reflects the loss of confidence of the contemporary human-rights movement. By linking human rights to Magna Carta, Klug is hoping that the moral authority of 800 years of history can bolster the human-rights project. But she conveniently forgets that it was during the Enlightenment – when parliamentarians were seeking to curtail the power of Stuart kings in the seventeenth century – that Magna Carta was given the moral force that it retains to this day. The philosophical zeitgeist of the age that produced Magna Carta was liberty based on reason, not legal protection based on emotion.

The uncomfortable truth that the human-rights movement cannot address is that a movement based on emotion can never win arguments. Its constituency will always be limited to those (often lawyers and campaigners) who see empathy as a basis for laying down the law. As Klug observes, the European Court of Human Rights, the Strasbourg-based court that has proved so unpopular, ‘is not much sturdier than a straw dwelling, and it would only take one lone wolf to blow the house down’. That fatal blow, not just to the Strasbourg court, but to the whole human-rights project is probably further off than Klug fears. But, if society can only regain its faith in Enlightened thinking, then it will be easy, not just for a lone wolf to blow down the house of human rights, but for the whole of humanity to do it together.



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 June, 2015

If feminism set women free, why do we feel more pressure than ever?

Ex-Cosmopolitan editor LINDA KELSEY fought for equality. Now she believes it's got a very dark side

Last month, at a wedding, I got talking to an attractive woman in her early 40s. She had her own business, two lovely young children and a husband who, she said, saw parenting very much as a joint venture.

Yet when she discovered I was the former editor of Cosmopolitan, she raised her eyebrows and, no doubt fuelled by the free-flowing Prosecco, declared, referring to the mantra invented by my former magazine: ‘Having it all, eh? I’ve “got it all”! So can you tell me why I feel so stressed and self-critical, and that I’m not getting anything right the whole time?’

Her words gave me a jolt. Because, 20 years ago, when I was in my early 40s, this could have been me. I was running a glossy magazine, my son was seven — and I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Yet, back then, I would never have admitted that life was anything other than ‘just fine’. My anxiety was tightly reined in. I kidded myself, and everyone around me, that I was on top of things; that life was hunky-dory fabulous — which in some ways it was.

But I was ever-more anxious and panicky, and so wound up that I could have snapped at any time. Had I acknowledged the truth, I would have seen that I was placing myself under intolerable pressure, and that there was a dark side to the equality which I and my feminist contemporaries had fought so hard for.

But it would have been a Judas-kiss to the cause of feminism; an act of treachery to the belief system I had not only adopted wholesale but had actively promoted through my work. If there was a downside to the so-called liberation of women, I couldn’t, or wouldn’t, admit to it.

Even when, at 43, I suffered what became a two-year bout of clinical depression and had no choice but to resign, I never once blamed equality for the pressures of trying to do it all. I took the failure — because failure was how I saw it — as a sign of my own personal weakness.

Like Superwoman author Shirley Conran, I knew life was too short to stuff a mushroom — but I’d still be sautéeing them for supper after a day’s work, rather than ordering pizza, in my efforts to be the best wife and mother I could be.

I’d race home from work, fling my coat on the floor, cook a meal, then play with my darling son until bedtime. And to prove to my boss that I could do everything he feared working mums couldn’t, I’d sometimes still be schedule-planning at 3 am.

But I never countenanced the argument that my predicament might be feminism’s fault. Surely not? The weakness was mine and mine alone.  I couldn’t hack it, yet plenty of other women could. They were achieving this Holy Grail all around me — or, at least, that’s how it seemed.

After her outburst at the wedding reception, the woman immediately apologised. ‘I’m not supposed to say that, am I?’ she said.

‘I don’t talk like this to my friends. I have to believe it will turn out all right. That my lack of libido won’t drive my husband away. That my children won’t grow up and think I’ve been a terrible mother. That my business won’t collapse.’

So she, too, was reining it in. Perhaps it’s time to face some uncomfortable truths, to save another generation of women from falling into the same trap.

Large numbers of today’s educated, middle-class women are more stressed, more prone to depression and drinking more than ever before. They are leaving it too late to settle down and have children, and ending up alone — and lonely.

Lifestyle changes that are concomitant with equality, and which women like me once welcomed, are taking a toll that seems to grow greater by the year.

Take drinking. The right to binge-drink to oblivion was never on my basic list of demands for equality. But I remember when wine bars were popping up back in the 1970s, and I celebrated that, at last, women could drink away from the hostile, male-dominated pub scene.

I even ventured into a wine bar on my own occasionally and felt quite comfortable having a solo, fortifying glass of vino after work.

What I failed to envisage was that the lifting of the taboo against female drinking in public (and at home, of course, thanks to the ready availability of supermarket wine) would lead to high-achieving women ‘catching up with men’ in such a worrying way. That soon, women wouldn’t be consuming just a glass or two on a night out (or indeed in), but quite likely a bottle or two.

The statistics are terrifying. Women in Britain are now twice as likely to have a drink problem if they have a good education. What’s more, we are the worst country in the world for heavy drinking among professional women.

Mandie Holgate, a 41-year-old business coach and mother-of-two, understands this pressure only too well. Until 2013, she was earning as much as £1,000 a day as a business development director in the City — but it came at a price.

‘A career in the City is still very much a male domain, and as a woman, I felt under pressure to work even harder to prove my mettle — and not just during office hours either,’ says Mandie, who lives with husband Andy, 42, a petrochemical engineer, and their children Harrison, 14, and Sophie, 11, in Mersea Island, Essex.

‘To succeed, you must be willing to play hard in the evenings, too, because many a lucrative business relationship is formed over dinner or a glass of bubbly. When you get to know potential clients and associates socially, relationships and trust are formed, and that leads to doing business.

‘But so many times, I’d be sitting in a swanky champagne bar, glass in hand, feeling weighed down with guilt that I hadn’t been there that evening to collect my children from school, cook their dinner and say goodnight.’

Mandie was tipped over the edge in 2011 when she suffered months of ill-health that felt ‘like a permanent hangover’. She resigned in 2013 after being admitted to hospital and diagnosed with an auto-immune disease. She is now working freelance as a consultant.

‘I put it all down to the pressures of my career, and trying — but failing — to balance it with family life,’ she says. ‘After all, by the time a woman arrives at her desk in a morning, she will have put on a washload, organised packed lunches for her children and prepared the evening meal.

‘Although overall I’m happier now, I’ve taken a huge cut in earnings and my health still isn’t great.

‘Yet I miss my old career and it’s difficult to quell the desire to work hard. But I’m resigned to being content with the freedom of working for myself, doing as little or as much consultancy work as I want to.’

Mandie’s situation will be familiar to an army of women juggling full-time careers with children and a husband. Is it any wonder that in any given year, women appear to experience higher overall rates of psychological disorders than men?

Of course, it may be that men are less willing than women to come clean about their problems.

But Daniel Freeman PhD and Jason Freeman, authors of The Stressed Sex, suggest that modern women experience higher levels of stress because of the demands of having to conform to their social role. They are increasingly expected to function as carer, homemaker and breadwinner — all while being perfectly shaped and impeccably dressed.

Emma Sharpe, 40, a deputy headteacher in a secondary school who has two children aged nine and seven, admits she is hugely resentful of the frantic juggling act she has to perform daily. So much so that it almost cost her her marriage to Charles, who is also 40 and a director in the hospitality industry.

‘For years, I’ve earned more than Charles, and four years ago we separated for several months because I felt — and still feel — hugely put-upon. Even as the main breadwinner, everything else still falls to me.

‘Yes, my husband works 60 hours a week, and with two incomes we are able to afford lovely holidays and treats for the children. But I’m the one who enrols the kids in clubs and makes sure they brush their teeth and practise their reading.  ‘It’s me who’s a parent governor at their school and who organises everything from dental appointments to flights and holidays.

‘Meanwhile, Charles, although very hands-on with the children when he’s at home, doesn’t have to cope with much more than his career.’

Yet Emma is the first to admit that much of her resentment is of her own making.

‘The problem, I believe, is that you can’t over-ride the inbuilt instincts in men to be the protectors and providers, while women — however career-minded they are — are still natural nurturers and nest-builders,’ she says.

‘So, even though I’m exhausted, I know it’s because I’m a martyr; that I’m the one who wants to be seen to be doing it all. I suppose I just need my efforts to be appreciated and acknowledged.

‘Ultimately, like millions of women, I felt that, despite flogging myself half to death, I was failing at everything and was weighed down with guilt.’

While there’s much to celebrate in terms of women’s achievements, the price paid for equality is rising exponentially.

When, last week, consultant gynaecologist Professor Geeta Nargund reasonably pointed out that the cost to the NHS of IVF treatments is soaring, and that age-related infertility is on the increase, there were social media mutterings that she was scaremongering, and piling the pressure on young women to have babies before they were ready.

But the brutal truth can’t simply be wished away. I don’t think women are ignorant of the biological clock, but I do think they bury their head in the sand about it.

Putting commitment on hold to concentrate on your career, as well as to experience multiple relationships before settling down, has liberated women from the shackles of economic dependence and enriched their lives socially and sexually.

And, of course, for some women, Mr Right comes along in their mid?30s at the moment they’re ready to commit and there’s a happy-ever-after ending. But a growing number of women are finding themselves alone and unhappy.

A successful solicitor I know, who had a last-ditch baby at 40 after deliberately getting pregnant by a man she had no intention of settling down with, asked me, in all sincerity, why no one of my generation had told her that by focusing so intently on her work and relegating her love life to second place, she would end up without a partner.

I was shocked by her naivety. I would have thought it would have been obvious to this Oxford-educated woman that putting the search for love at the bottom of the to-do list was a risky business.

But she was setting the blame firmly at the feet of us so-called second-wave feminists for not telling her the pitfalls of putting career and independence first.

So did we feminists get anything right?

One thing I was pretty certain about, until recently, was that my generation of successful career women had been wise when it came to marriage — choosing partners who were happy to share their lives with a powerful woman and were willing to pitch in on parenting and domestic chores.

So it struck me with the force of a truck when five high-flying career women in my social circle were abandoned in their mid-to-late-50s by their partners of 25-plus years.

All had grown-up children, all were the principal breadwinners, and in four out of five cases the men left for younger and far less ambitious women. I reckon they thought that the wives they left would be just fine without them; that they’d tough it out.

But each of the women was devastated. And even though they’ve all gone on to remake their lives, they remain convinced that their former partners ultimately felt diminished by their superior earning power and strong opinions.

My marriage broke down around the same time. I was 56 and my son 19. My husband, who had always supported me in my career, made the remark: ‘After your breakdown, you became tougher. I think it was good for you to toughen up, but it wasn’t good for me.’

He packed his bag around the same time as my son left home, leaving me alone.

Plus ça change. Only last week, a study of 2,750 young married people, conducted by the University of Connecticut, reported that men who are the most financially dependent on their wives are the most likely to be unfaithful. ‘Engaging in infidelity may be a way of re-establishing threatened masculinity,’ said Professor Christin Munsch, the lead researcher.

Perhaps the real dark side of equality is that, 40 years on from the Sex Discrimination Act of 1975, women are experiencing all these downsides to their new status, while still suffering from practical discrimination on a daily basis.

Mandie Holgate, the mother who quit her City job for a freelance role, says: ‘Equality remains dubious. I discovered recently that I have been paid 30 per cent less by one company than a male consultant doing exactly the same job.’

You could call it a work in progress, but unless we acknowledge the impacts of change on our physical and mental health and relationships, rather than dismissing them as scaremongering and anti-feminist, women will continue to pay a very high price indeed for so-called equality.


Did Michelle Obama not see the irony in delivering a speech on female emancipation to a school full of girls in headscarves in the Islamic Republic of Tower Hamlets?

Mrs Obama is as blinkered as her husband (Horse blinders are known only as "blinkers" in Britain and Australia)

Of all the schools in all the towns in all the world, why did Michelle Obama visit a girls’ school in the Islamic Republic of Tower Hamlets this week?

She says it was her own choice to make a speech on education at the Mulberry School for Girls. But was it?

I doubt the First Lady had ever heard of the school before this trip, and probably couldn’t point to Tower Hamlets on a map. My guess is that the venue was chosen deliberately by the Department for Education to showcase our new, rigorously enforced State religion: ‘Celebrating Diversity’.

Actually, if that was what they intended, they couldn’t have chosen a worse example. The Mulberry School is probably one of the least diverse schools in Britain. And that includes Eton.

More than 90 per cent of the pupils are Muslim, from a predominantly Bangladeshi background. That make-up pretty much reflects the demography of the surrounding area.

Tower Hamlets, in East London, isn’t so much multicultural, it’s virtually a monoculture. The local council, under its recently deposed Muslim mayor, Lutfur Rahman, has been a by-word for Third World-style corruption and vote-rigging.

There are more burkas on the streets of Limehouse than there are in Lahore. So it wasn’t surprising to see the vast majority of the girls photographed with Mrs Obama wearing the now familiar headscarfs and long robes insisted upon by the more devout adherents of Islam.

Did the First Lady not appreciate the contradictions inherent in delivering a speech on female emancipation and education in front of an audience which could have been transported direct from Saudi Arabia?

Before the usual, excitable suspects start bouncing up and down, hurling their predictable knee-jerk smears of ‘racism’ and ‘Islamophobia’, let me emphasise that this isn’t a criticism of the girls themselves or the Mulberry School, which is rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.

The pupils have no option other than to wear the restrictive clothes imposed upon them by their parents and their religious leaders.

It was bizarre, to say the least, to watch the wife of the President of the United States preaching equality to a single-sex audience dressed from head to toe in what most of us would consider to be a symbol of separatism, female oppression and a rejection of Western democratic values.

While we’re at it, what was she doing there in the first place? Surely her remarks would have been more appropriate in Riyadh or some other outpost of fundamentalist Islam. And it’s not as if America has an exemplary record of educational equality, especially in the inner cities.

This stunt was just another self-serving gimmick, right up there with Michelle’s flippant, doomed-to-failure hashtag internet campaign to free the 200 girls kidnapped in Nigeria by the Islamist barbarians, Boko Haram.

In any event, British Muslim women are already free — theoretically, that is — to pursue formal education and any career they choose. In practice, some of the brightest and best girls are forced to stay at home once they leave school, or take part in arranged marriages.

 There are 270 different nationalities living in London and most playgrounds look like a United Colors of Benetton advert. So why choose one where the pupils are all wearing identical, ultra-religious uniforms?

Of course, many enlightened Muslim parents in Britain encourage their daughters to go on to university and gain professional qualifications. But there are also strict Muslims in this country who still believe in segregation of the sexes, see women as chattels and condone the outrageous practice of female genital mutilation.

They think a woman’s place is walking five yards behind her husband — when she’s allowed out of the house.

It will take more than the fine words of the First Lady to persuade them of the error of their ways.

Perhaps Mrs Obama should have taken her message not to the Mulberry School but to the male elders at the nearest mosque. That’s if they’d let her in.

If ‘celebrating diversity’ was the point of this visit, the DfE could have found dozens of other, more suitable schools. There are 270 different nationalities living in London and most playgrounds look like a United Colors of Benetton advert. So why choose one where the pupils are all wearing identical, ultra-religious uniforms?

One of the most disturbing reports I’ve read recently came from a Government quango which said that decades of successful integration in Britain has now gone into reverse.

Enthusiasm for faith schools was one reason singled out. But the creeping Islamification of some areas, complete with de facto Sharia law, certainly hasn’t helped, either.

This is leading to segregation and separate development, and helps create the conditions under which isolated young Muslim men and women are susceptible to extremist interpretations of Islam, and can be attracted to become cannon fodder for terrorist groups.

None, repeat, none of this is directed at the Mulberry or its pupils. But no one can claim this school is representative of our wider society.

Is this really the image of Britain we wish to project around the globe?

Imagine you were an American looking at this picture in, say, Oklahoma, and trying to work out which, of all the schools in all the towns in all the world your First Lady had just walked into? You might conclude she was in Pakistan, or somewhere in the Middle East.

Now try to gauge your reaction when you discovered that Michelle Obama was actually in London.  London, England? Get outta here. Hey, Wilma! Will ya take a look at this...


Don't blame Rachel for our stupidity

I’m surprised that more people don’t emulate Rachel Dolezal and pretend to be black, or members of some other minority.

Our gullible society rushes to reward such status, often with jobs and money. As I am actually partly Cornish, I am frequently tempted to start some sort of Cornish liberation front in the Home Counties, where our language rights are badly neglected.

I fear to do it because it would probably work. Within months I’d have an EU grant and there would be Cornish-language library books in Stow-on-the-Wold. In which case I’d probably have to actually learn Cornish.

By scattering morning-after pills into the outstretched hands of girls as young as 13, the state believes it may at last bring down the numbers of unwanted pregnancies.

The signs are that this ferocious medical intervention, now to be given out to under-age girls by chemists, is working. And it is doing so where sex education has not just failed, but has been followed by an accelerating increase in the things it claims to prevent.

The pregnancy figures are falling at last, though sexually transmitted diseases continue to spread rapidly, suggesting that sexual activity is not declining.

Well, it’s success of a sort. We’re well on the way to the loveless nightmare of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, in which sex has been completely separated from the making of babies.

A few questions arise. Is there any remaining justification for sex education now we have turned pregnancy into an easily curable disease? And does anyone know what the long-term effect this potent chemical dose will have on the bodies of those who use it? Or are they unwittingly taking part in the trials that will find that out?


McDonald's, the 'Progressive Burger Company'

In January, McDonald’s, leaning against the winds of fashion, said kale would never replace lettuce on its burgers. In May, however, it said it will test kale in a breakfast meal (breakfast is about 25 percent of McDonald’s sales). Kale might or might not cause construction workers to turn at 6 a.m. into McDonald’s drive-through lines, where approximately two-thirds of McDonald’s customers place their orders.

McDonald’s also says its milk will soon be without artificial growth hormones, and chicken (McDonald’s sells more of it than of beef) will be free of human antibiotics. All these might be good business decisions and as socially responsible as can be. They certainly pertain to McDonald’s new mantra about being a “modern, progressive burger company,” whatever that means.

The meaning will perhaps be explained by the progressive burger company’s new spokesman, Robert Gibbs, formerly Barack Obama’s spokesman and MSNBC contributor. McDonald’s British-born CEO Steve Easterbrook clarifies things, sort of, while speaking a strange business dialect: McDonald’s will be “more progressive around our social purpose in order to deepen our relationships with communities on the issues that matter to them.”

Suppose, however, you just want a burger and fries, not social purposes and relationships? You might prefer Five Guys or Shake Shack, where the burgers taste fine even without the condiment of community uplift. Five Guys and Shake Shack are pipsqueaks, with about 1,000 and 63 restaurants, respectively. McDonald’s, which has more than 36,000 — 14,300 in the United States — will open more than 1,000 new ones this year.

Although McDonald’s burgers ranked 21st in a recent Consumer Reports survey of 21 brands, this $81 billion company will not founder because of the small but growing cohort of customers who like the burger equivalent of microbrews. But another behemoth, Budweiser, is experiencing McDonald’s-like difficulties.

Budweiser’s problem is not just that the number of barrels it sells has declined for 25 years, from almost 50 million in 1988 to 16 million in 2013. (Budweiser has been partly cannibalized by Bud Light, which in 2001 displaced Budweiser as America’s top-selling beer.) The ominous fact is that 44 percent of 21- to 27-year-old drinkers have never tasted Budweiser. They prefer craft beers from microbreweries. A craft brewer is one that ships 6 million or fewer barrels a year. In 2013, craft brewers shipped more than Bud did. Budweiser’s response has included this truculent ad:

“Proudly a macro beer. It’s not brewed to be fussed over. … It’s brewed for drinking. Not dissecting. … Let them sip their pumpkin peach ale.”

This is an interesting approach to potential customers, calling craft beer drinkers (“them”) pretentious twits. If this is unavailing, Budweiser could try becoming a modern, progressive beer company with social purposes to deepen relationships with various communities, maybe even including people who just want a beer.

McDonald’s has been serving burgers since Ray Kroc opened his first store in Des Plaines, Illinois, in April 1955. Many billions of burgers later, however, it has had an epiphany: Henceforth it will toast the buns longer and sear the beef patties differently. Its 60-year learning curve bends imperceptibly, which helps explains sagging revenues — down almost 15 percent last year.

Recently, McDonald’s (“I’m lovin' it”) briefly instituted an excruciating policy of inviting randomly selected customers to “Pay with Lovin'” for their meals. Customers could call their mothers, ask another customer to dance, or perform some other act to enlarge the universe’s stock of love.

Shortly thereafter, Starbucks, which evidently thinks Americans do not obsess sufficiently about race, tried to enlist customers in conversations about that subject. After six days, this project died of derision from Starbucks' customers, many of whom go there for coffee, not a seminar.

McDonald’s, deep in an identity crisis, is awakening tardily to Ira Gershwin’s truth: The Rockies may crumble, Gibraltar may tumble, they’re only made of clay. Everything is perishable, and history is a story of vanished supremacies. Easterbrook, channeling his inner Hillary Clinton, vows to “reset” McDonald’s. Perhaps his reset will go better than hers did with Vladimir Putin.

Progressives are forever telling us who is and who is not on “the right side of history.” Many fastidious progressives deplore, and try to control (witness San Francisco’s current crusade against soft drinks), other people’s food choices. It will be instructive watching the progressive burger company try to persuade its chosen constituents to stop at McDonald’s on the way home from Whole Foods, their environmentally responsible, because reusable, shopping bags overflowing with kale.



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 June, 2015

Multicultural rapist released halfway through sentence went on to attack three more while on parole including a schoolgirl who was raped in front of her boyfriend

A 'predatory' rapist released less than halfway into his sentence went onto rape a schoolgirl and sexually assault two other victims, a court heard.

Daniel Elliot was originally jailed for just over five years in 2010 for raping a Japanese exchange student in London.

The 24-year-old, who was released than two-and-a-half years later, has now been sentenced to life after he was convicted of carrying out a string of horrific sexual assaults while on licence from prison.

One of the serial rapist's victims was just 16 when he raped her in front of her boyfriend.

The pair, both 16, were walking home through Beddington Park, Carshalton on September 5 last year in the early hours of the morning when Elliot approached.

He then threatened them with pepper spray, holding the can up to the girl's eyes while he raped her, the court heard.

Addressing Elliot, the judge told him: 'You said you were armed with pepper spray and the male started crying and screaming.

'You raped the victim and asked her if she liked it and had your hand over her mouth.'

She has since undergone a series of health checks for sexually transmitted diseases and always carried a personal alarm after the traumatising assault.

The court heard she felt she had lost her independence while her father said he felt as though he had failed in his responsibilities to protect her.

Elliot, who denied all charges, was convicted of the rape of the schoolgirl at Croydon Crown Court.

He was also found guilty of the attempted rape and digital penetration of a 15-year-old and the sexual assault of a 28 year-old woman in Mellows Park, Wallington on August 3.

'These were attacks on strangers in public places at night, within six weeks of each other, during which you claimed to have a weapon,' Judge Flahive told the serial rapist.

'There was a degree of targeting. They were all terrified and have been psychologically effected by what happened, the effects are great.'

The 15-year-old schoolgirl was also assaulted in front of a male friend in a playground on the evening of November 15 last year.

She was in Grove Park with a 17-year-old boy when Elliot attacked, threatening to stab them if they didn't go along with his demands.

'You punched the boy to the ground and held him down, saying you would hurt him and had a knife,' said Judge Daniel Flahive.

Fearing her friend would be killed, she submitted to Elliot's demands.

The court heard that the attack had a serious impact on the young victim who felt 'angry.'

'The fifteen year-old girl was a bright student whose character has now changed and is now angry and aggressive,' added the judge.

'She has changed her appearance and lost weight.

'The parents feel their daughter has been taken away from them.'

During the attack on the 28-year-old, Elliot had followed her off the bus as she made her way home from work.

He had then attacked threatening to stab her unless she let him rape her.

'You grabbed her from behind and said you were going to stab her,' the judge told Elliot.

'You forced her to the ground while threatening to stab her and you had your hand around her neck and were choking her and forced your hand into her knickers.'

All the offences took place while Elliot was on licence after he was released from jail on October 5, 2012, just two-and-a-half years into his sentence for the summer 2010 attack on the Japanese tourist who asked him for directions in Beckenham.

Today he was sentenced at Croydon Crown Court to life imprisonment - with an eight-year minimum.

Judge Flahive warned: 'You have to be regarded as a dangerous offender and you will only be released when the parole board think it is safe.'

Government guidelines mean that offenders who are sentenced to two years or more will generally serve half their sentence in prison and serve the rest of the sentence in the community on licence.

If an offender breaches licence conditions, they may be recalled to prison to serve out their entire sentence.


The Trans Fat Ban Is Worse Than You Think

The Food and Drug Administration issued a final decision this week, giving the food industry three years to phase out bad trans fats, still used in a wide variety of products, such as Pillsbury’s Ready To Bake cookies and cake frosting. Now, if you’re ingesting large quantities of either, perhaps partially hydrogenated oils aren’t your biggest concern in life. But if the government’s goal is to prevent cardiovascular disease and preventing cardiovascular disease is all that matters, why stop there?

The FDA alleges that phasing out trans fats will prevent about 7,000 premature deaths each year. (If you believe that these things can be quantified with that sort of precision, you have far too much faith in crusading bureaucracies. Years ago, I attempted to tally up the deaths that various studies, public interest groups and government agencies had attributed to obesity, smoking, salt, trans fats, meat, etc., and came up with a number larger than the number of all Americans who’d passed away that year.) But 610,000 Americans die from cardiovascular disease each year. Will 603,000 be left for corporate America to slaughter because we won’t act? The negative externalities of allowing people to eat whatever they desire are huge.

So if we can ban trans fats in an effort to curtail heart disease, I wish someone would explain what stops the state from banning any unhealthful ingredient it feels like. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the leading reasons for higher risk of heart disease are diabetes, obesity, poor diet, physical inactivity and excessive alcohol use.

How could the FDA allow us to keep pumping high-fructose corn syrup into our gullets now that we all understand it’s a contributor to the spike in obesity over the past 30 years? Why do we still sell alcohol, a product that is by any measure more unhealthful than the small amounts of trans fats average Americans consume?

The CDC also contends that if you want to prevent heart disease, the most important thing you can do is to not smoke. Yet our own president (African-American men, incidentally, are at the highest risk for heart disease) may be inhaling tobacco smoke in the White House — a substance far more toxic than trans fats. About 443,000 people die from smoking every year.

Now, President Obama could argue that until very recently, there was no guiding principle in American governance to impel him to try to make sure that every citizen is living salubriously. Maybe, like many other Americans, Obama deems the sensorial benefits of his (onetime?) habit worth the health risk. Maybe I feel the same way about my Haagen-Dazs. As with smoking, there is no lack of transparency when it comes to the inherent dangers of too much trans fat.

Most people, of course, don’t really care whether partially hydrogenated oils fall out of the food supply. What they do care about are the unremitting efforts of politicians to micromanage their lives. Once consumers heard about the risks associated with trans fats, they began avoiding them, and businesses consequently stopped using them as much. Between 1980 and 2009, Americans' consumption of trans fats dropped by about a third (as did our intake of saturated fats). The FDA claims that “trans fat intake among American consumers has declined from 4.6 grams per day in 2003 to about 1 gram per day in 2012.”

As Baylen Linnekin, the founder of the Keep Food Legal Foundation, points out, the American Heart Association has suggested that Americans consume “less than 2 grams of trans fats a day.” So, he argues, “if the FDA and AHA are correct, then current consumption levels — prior to and without any ban — are well within safe levels.”

Even with the decline, the FDA banned trans fats. Left-wing intrusions — small and large — follow a similar trajectory. First come reasonable calls for increased transparency (labeling regulations). If the public remains pigheaded, it’s time to scare you (chilling studies and over-the-top predictions). If that doesn’t work, leftists will discourage you (higher taxes and more regulations). And finally, they’ll force you (banning or mandating) to comply.

With all this, we should not forget the favorite weapon of do-gooders: lawsuits. Government unleashes the lawyers to do their work, punishing companies that fail to comply, even ahead of the deadline. The usual collection of class action attorneys and professional bullies sue food companies that continue to use trans fats for various financial reasons — for example, taste and increased shelf life.

In today’s world, the idea that government could dictate, say, what sort of sexual relationships a person can indulge in — whether they are bad for one’s health or even a public risk — would seem preposterous. Even banning pot is beginning to be regarded as useless intrusion by millions. Yet allowing government to decide what we eat (or what our kids eat) is now considered a moral imperative.

After years of pressure from trial attorneys and junk-science public interest groups, the Obama administration has followed through with its pledge to ban what is — in the amounts most Americans ingest — a benign ingredient. But even if it’s not, we have labels for a reason. It’s unlikely the ban will do anything but create precedents that allow further intrusions into how and what we eat. Which is precisely the point.


UKIP and the Gay Pride March

(UKIP is a party with the primary aim of getting Britain out of the EU)

Sean Gabb?

On the 6th June 2015, the organisers of the Gay Pride March in London announced that they had rejected an application from the UK Independence Party to take part. They had given in to a petition which called UKIP “inherently homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, racist and misogynistic.”

Before making my statement on this ban, I will say the following:

1. I am not, nor ever have been a member of UKIP, and I voted Conservative in last month’s general election.

2. I started denouncing the laws against all-male sex in the 1970s – that is, before many of our leading “gay rights” activists had started filling their nappies. Some of these denunciations were in writing, and enough of them survive and can be found on my website to show that I am telling the truth. I will add that saying what I said as a schoolboy and as a young man could get more than funny looks. It never did in my case, but there was always a risk, and I took that risk.

3. So far as I am concerned, the meaning of “gay rights” begins and ends with the right to do with your own as you please, and to associate as you please with other consenting adults. This means no criminal laws against all-male sex, and no discrimination by the State. It also means no special laws against all-male erotica and no special laws to protect “public decency.” Since I do not believe in general laws against adult erotica, and believe that the old laws against causing a breach of the peace are all that is needed for the regulation of public behaviour, what I mean is complete freedom of speech and a relaxed view of what should be tolerated in the streets.

4. I have no principled objection to gay marriage. I wrote in its favour in the 1980s, and still see no reason why the bundle of declarations and agreements that constitute marriage should not be available to all who want it.

Now this, broadly speaking, seems to be the position taken by my gay friends in UKIP. It seems also largely to be the position taken in public by Nigel Farage. By the standards of twenty five years ago, the UKIP line on gay issues is outrageously libertarian. Why ban its representatives from joining in a gay march?

The answer, I regret, is that the gay movement is no longer about the basic human rights recognised in the English liberal tradition. It is about sectional privilege – privilege that can only be granted and maintained by an enlarged and intrusive state. UKIP and Nigel Farage are condemned because they are against anti-discrimination laws. Their position on these is called “bigotry.”

However, part of the right of association is the right not to associate. Two men should certainly have the right to live together in matrimony. But no one should be forced to bake their wedding cake. If you are running a business, you are risking your money and your time. If you do not wish to do business with people, for whatever reason, that should be your unquestioned right. It may be unwise of you to turn away paying business. It may be small-minded of you. But that should be your right. It is a right of exactly the same kind as the right of two men to have sex with each other.

If you are a minister of religion, you should not be compelled to solemnise a gay marriage. Or, if you do solemnise a gay marriage against the rules of your denomination, you should have no right to any legal redress if you are suspended from or deprived of your position. A religion is a private organisation, formally or effectively separate from the British State. The British State has no right to interfere in its internal affairs, unless these are actively hostile to the lives, liberties or property of others.

Freedom of speech involves the right to publish and to consume erotica. It also involves the right to express disgust for the acts portrayed, and to speak ill of anyone who enjoys them. None of this involves the right to cause a breach of the peace, as traditionally known. But no one should suffer any punishment for speaking out for or against any particular sexual act or any particular lifestyle.

As an aide, let me deal with the claim that UKIP is a “racist” and a “xenophobic” organisation. I do not believe this to be true. But, if true, it is irrelevant. Disliking men whose taste is for all-male sex and disliking foreigners may be equally uncharitable. But they are logically separate. You can oppose mass-immigration on the grounds that it displaces the traditional occupiers of a territory. This has no automatic bearing on how those traditional occupiers should be allowed to behave. And the distinction is not abstract. I know identitarians who are strongly opposed to third world immigration and multiculturalism, but who are indifferent to all-male sex.

I might add that many of the newcomers are not indifferent to all-male sex, and that the areas in which they predominate can be rather unfriendly to men whose taste is for all-male sex.

Of course, Gay Pride is a private organisation, and it has the same right as a Christian baker should have not to associate with people it dislikes. But, I repeat, it is generally the case that the mainstream gay movement in this country has moved away from the liberal fundamentals that it preached from the 1950s until the 1990s. It has become an increasingly sinister interest group pushing for censorship and coerced association. When not able to use the criminal and civil laws to this effect, it has demanded and obtained equally effective administrative policies.

This change of nature is wrong in itself. It is also against the long term interests of its alleged beneficiaries. All the freedoms we presently enjoy are the fruits of the English liberal tradition. Every denial of those fruits to some lay down a precedent for their denial to others. For the past generation, the old prejudices against all-male sex have been dissolving. Who can say what the next generation will bring?

Via email

UK Muslims helping jihadis, says Cameron: Communities must stop 'quietly condoning' barbaric ISIS, PM warns in blunt speech

Dave seems to be growing a spine

Too many British Muslims ‘quietly condone’ extremism, David Cameron will say today.

In a blunt speech, he will urge families to speak out against the ‘poisonous ideology’ driving hundreds of young people to wage jihad for Islamic State.

The Prime Minister will also call for parents to stop blaming police and the security services for failing to prevent British teenagers heading to Syria.

Parts of the Muslim community are guilty of normalising hatred of democracy and western values, he warns – making it easier for violent extremism to take hold.

At the weekend, 17-year-old Talha Asmal became Britain’s youngest suicide bomber when he detonated a car loaded with explosives in the northern Iraqi town of Baiji.

Speaking at a major security conference in Slovakia, Mr Cameron will say: ‘We’ve always had angry young men and women buying into supposedly revolutionary causes. This one is evil, it is contradictory, it is futile.’

But he will point out it is easier to go from being a troubled teenager to a jihadist if extremism ‘is quietly condoned online or perhaps even in parts of your local community’.

Islamic State and its medieval outlook are ‘one of the biggest threats our world has faced’, the Prime Minister will add.

The speech, made the day after the start of the holy festival of Ramadan, is likely to spark anger in parts of the Muslim community.

But Downing Street said Mr Cameron believed parents must speak out.

A source said people should ‘look at the radicalisation of people here in the UK and what is going on in the areas where they live, their households and their communities’.  ‘People should voice their concerns,’ the source said. ‘There might be more senior people in their community they want to talk to, or they can talk to the authorities or the police.’

Mr Cameron’s intervention comes amid mounting concern about the radicalisation of young British Muslims.

On Monday, it emerged that three British sisters from Bradford and their nine children had travelled to join IS in Syria.

Suicide bomber Asmal’s family, from Dewsbury, also in West Yorkshire, said they were left ‘utterly devastated and heartbroken’.

Mr Cameron will say the cases are part of a grave trend that threatens Britain: ‘These are young people, boys and girls, leaving often loving, well-to-do homes, good schools and bright prospects travelling thousands of miles from home to strap explosives to their chests and blow themselves up and kill innocent people.

'To live in a place where marriage is legal at nine and where women’s role is to serve the jihadists, to be part of a so-called state whose fanatics are plotting and encouraging acts of despicable terrorism in the countries from which they have come.’

The Prime Minister will further warn that they are driven by an extremist ideology, parts of which have at least a foothold in ordinary British Muslim communities.

He will say: ‘It is an Islamist extremist ideology – one that says the West is bad and democracy is wrong, that women are inferior and homosexuality is evil.

‘It says religious doctrine trumps the rule of law and caliphate trumps nation state and it justifies violence in asserting itself and achieving its aims. The question is: how do people arrive at this world view?

‘One of the reasons is there are people who hold some of these views who don’t go as far as advocating violence, but do buy into some of these prejudices giving the extreme Islamist narrative weight and telling fellow Muslims “you are part of this”. This paves the way for young people to turn simmering prejudice into murderous intent. To go from listening to firebrand preachers online to boarding a plane to Istanbul and travelling to join the jihadis.’

Mr Cameron will hit out at those in the Muslim community who have blamed the security services for failing to stop the estimated 700 youngsters who have travelled to join IS in recent months. ‘Too often we hear the argument that radicalisation is the fault of someone else,’ he will say.

Today’s speech has echoes of a 2011 address in which Mr Cameron blamed multiculturalism for allowing the rise of extremism 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


19 June, 2015

The Left Rejects Painful Truths

By Dennis Prager

Here’s a difference between Left and Right that is rarely noted despite the fact that it is at least as important as any other and even explains many of the other differences.

At the core of left-wing thought is a rejection of painful realities, the rejection of what the French call les faits de la vie: the facts of life. Conservatives, on the other hand, are all too aware of these painful realities of life and base many of their positions on them.

One such example was the subject of my first column on Left-Right differences: whether people are basically good. When liberals blame violent crime in America on poverty, one reason they do is that liberal beliefs since the Enlightenment have posited that human nature is good. Therefore, when people do truly bad things to other people, liberals believe that some outside force — usually poverty, racism and/or unemployment — must be responsible, not human nature.

Liberals find it too painful to look reality in the eye and acknowledge that human nature is deeply flawed. This is especially so because left-wing thought is rooted in secularism, and if you don’t believe in God, you had better believe in humanity — or you will despair.

Another fact of life that the Left finds too painful to acknowledge is the existence of profound differences between men and women. There is no other explanation for the rejection of what has been obvious to essentially every man and woman in history. It is certainly not the result of scientific inquiry. The more science knows about the male and female brain, not to mention male and female hormones, the more it confirms important built-in differences between the sexes.

Why then would people actually believe that girls are as happy to play with trucks as are boys, and boys are as happy to play with dolls and tea sets as are girls?

Because acknowledging many of those differences is painful. For example, feminists and others on the Left do not want to acknowledge that sex between two people who are not committed to each other usually means much more to women than to men. It is too painful to acknowledge that men are far more capable of having anonymous, emotionally meaningless sex than women. Therefore, feminism has now taught two generations of women that they are just as capable of enjoying emotionless sex with many partners as are men.

That the great majority of women yearn to bond with a man — more than they yearn for professional success — is another fact of life that the Left wishes not to acknowledge. Thus, feminism posited the silly false motto, “A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle” — because the reality is that most women without a man feel a deep hole in their soul. And that is too painful to acknowledge. (This hole also exists in men, but most men have no trouble acknowledging it.)

The entire concept of “political correctness” emanates from the Left’s incapacity to acknowledge painful truths. The very definition of “politically incorrect” is an idea or truth that people on the Left find too painful to acknowledge and therefore do not want expressed.

Why are so many young black males in prison? The reason is politically incorrect, meaning too painful for the Left to acknowledge: Black males commit a highly disproportionate amount of violent crime.

Why are there speech codes on virtually all college campuses? Because Leftists — who control most campuses — do not wish to hear discomforting facts or opinions with which they differ. That causes them pain.

That is the Left’s own language. Leftists constantly speak about people being made “uncomfortable” and about feeling “offended” (conservatives almost never react to an idea with which they differ by saying, “I’m offended”). If a man has a “cheesecake” calendar hanging in his car repair shop, the Left regards him as having created a “hostile work environment” — meaning some women might find it painful to see a woman presented as a sexual object.

Avoiding pain at almost all costs is at the heart of left-wing ideas and policies. That’s why kids can no longer run around during recess at so many American schools. They may get hurt. That’s why child protective services take children away from parents who allow their children to walk home alone or even play alone in the family backyard for 90 minutes without a parent at home.

Or take the left-wing bumper sticker idea: “War Is Not the Answer.” Of course, war is often the answer to great evil. Nazi death camps were liberated by soldiers fighting a war, not peace activists. But having to acknowledge the moral necessity of war is too painful a truth for many on the Left.

One might say Leftism appeals to those who wish to remain innocent children. Growing up and facing the fact that life is messy, difficult and painful is increasingly a conservative point of view.


China Declares War On Islam: Prayer In Mosques Is Outlawed And All Muslim Shopkeepers Must Sell Alcohol Or Face Prosecution

Before a Muslim community gets into Jihad mode, the first thing they do is call on all Muslims to repent from alcohol, pork and tobacco. It is this spark which begins the process rolling, as small groups of Muslims begin to push that agenda on Muslim communities by using peer-pressure. When this happens, it is a sign that trouble is ahead. Pretty soon they begin to demand a change in laws in order to force the host to acquiesce to their demands.

This problem exists in any society where Islam is allowed. So when giving Muslims “freedom of religion,” the ball gets rolling and soon Islam’s ethics begins to conflict with the host nation.

What the west needs to learn, and they will, slowly, is that Islam is the antithesis to western ethics: the more you have repentant Muslims, the more they are prone to violence while in the Judeo-Christian ethics, it is usually that the repentant gives peace and also finds peace. The reason for such a reverse between the two ethics is simple to understand. Firstly, Islam focuses on the outward forms of holiness: Hijabs, beards, no drinking, no pork and no smoking. Secondly, Islam’s concept of ‘peace’ has nothing to do with western understanding of the term. Peace in Islam is the Muslim definition for ‘justice’ and is foreign in all aspects,  be it the concept of peace, the definition of peace and the practice of peace. In Islam, peace can only exist when Sharia reigns supreme.

So in order to fight the spread of Islam, the best approach is almost like the war on drugs where a society brings down the enabler, that is the ‘drug pusher’ (Imams, mosques) and also the substance (Quran and Muslim materials).

So in China, unlike the west, they get it. The Chinese authorities launched a series of “strike hard” campaigns to weaken the hold of the drug of Islam in China’s western region. So they have ordered Muslim shopkeepers and restaurant owners in its troubled Xinjiang region to sell alcohol and cigarettes, and even promote them in “eye-catching displays,” as Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported. Alcohol and tobacco, while it is a problem, to the Chinese is the lesser of the two evils. So now establishments that failed to comply were swiftly dealt with and were threatened with closure and their owners with prosecution.

Government employees and children are also barred from attending mosques, lest they consume the drug and are even prohibited from observing the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. And in many places, women have been barred from wearing Hijabs and the men are discouraged from growing long beards.

China understands that spreading Islam starts by peer pressure and public scorn towards anyone who smokes or drinks alcohol. For example, in the village of Aktash in southern Xinjiang, Communist Party official Adil Sulayman, said  that many local shopkeepers had stopped selling alcohol and cigarettes from 2012 “because they fear public scorn,” while many locals had decided to abstain from drinking and smoking.

So while some might think that China is imposing on freedoms, it becomes a tough balance, westerners  need to ask themselves as to why they impose on Christians to bake cakes for gays with an agenda. So while we complain about China, where are the massive complaints about forcing Christian shops to acquiesce to the LGBT?

In reality, it is the Islamists who are imposing their Sharia driven agenda on the public and the Chinese government is thwarting their attempts. For example, in one unrelated incident in neighboring Qinghai province on Friday, an angry crowd of Muslims smashed windows of a supposedly halal store in Xining city, after pork sausages and ham were found in a delivery van, according to the local government and photographs on social media.

Sulayman said authorities in Xinjiang viewed ethnic Muslim Uighurs/Uyghurs who did not smoke as adhering to “a form of religious extremism” and this is true to a certain extent. They issued the order to counter growing religious sentiment that was “affecting stability,” he said.

The notice ordered all restaurants and supermarkets in Aktash to sell five different brands of alcohol and cigarettes and display them prominently. “Anybody who neglects this notice and fails to act will see their shops sealed off, their businesses suspended, and legal action pursued against them,” the notice said.

According to Radio Free Asia, Hotan prefecture, where Aktash is located, had become “a hotbed of violent stabbing and shooting incidents between ethnic Uighurs and Chinese security forces.”

As Shoebat.com has reported, the Uyghurs are largely a Turkish speaking minority that is revered by the Erdogan regime in Turkey. In 2012, Erdogan and then Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu paid a visit to Xinjiang, a place the Turks do not consider as part of China, but consider it to be East Turkistan.

Last year, the Muslim terrorists in China detonated a suicide car bomb in the middle of a crowd in Xinjiang killing 31 civilians and in 2013, a confrontation involving axes left 21 people dead in China’s troubled far-west region of Xinjiang which was the deadliest violence in the region since July 2009, when Xinjiang’s capital, Urumqi, was rocked by clashes between majority Han Chinese and minority Uighurs that killed nearly 200 people.

The Muslims in China prove one thing, that certain situations require and demand taking certain measures. Measures that the U.S. would not consider, until of course, Muslim violence escalates.

There is no doubt that the west will eventually take drastic measures as we see in China. It was Benjamin Franklin who once said: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” yet Obama wants us to believe that a pound of cure is worth the ounce of Muslim contribution to western society


New York Times Ignores Children of Gay Parents Who Want a Mom and Dad

Ryan T. Anderson

The New York Times ran an article this weekend profiling and quoting many children of gay and lesbian parents under the headline “What Could Gay Marriage Mean for the Kids?”

Noticeably absent were any children who, while loving their two moms or two dads, yearned for both a mom and dad.

In my new book, “The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom,” I devote a chapter to highlighting the stories of children of gays and lesbians who have spoken out about how redefining marriage has social costs. Their basic story is the same: Same-sex marriage denies children like them a relationship with either a mother or a father—denies them their mother or their father.

Worse yet, people claiming marriage must be redefined as a matter of justice are telling children that the hurt they feel isn’t a legitimate response to objective reality but the result of their own misguided feelings. This is nothing less than victim shaming.

Although the loss suffered by these child victims is real and traumatic, their existence is never acknowledged by The New York Times. As a corrective, here are two of their stories.

In February 2015, Katy Faust published her moving testimony in the form of a letter to the man known to be the pivotal vote on the Supreme Court: “Dear Justice Kennedy: An Open Letter from the Child of a Loving Gay Parent.” She wrote:

I write because I am one of many children with gay parents who believe we should protect marriage. I believe you were right when, during the Proposition 8 deliberations, you said “the voice of those children [of same-sex parents] is important.” I’d like to explain why I think redefining marriage would actually serve to strip these children of their most fundamental rights.

Faust explains: “While I did love my mother’s partner and friends, I would have traded every one of them to have my mom and my dad loving me under the same roof.”

Faust is clear that “there is no difference between the value and worth of heterosexual and homosexual persons … because we are all humans created in the image of God.” But not all relationships are equal: “when it comes to procreation and child-rearing, same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples are wholly unequal and should be treated differently for the sake of the children.”

You can believe both of those things. I certainly do. But our culture—and The New York Times—won’t let us say them. Faust explains:

It’s very difficult to speak about this subject, because I love my mom. Most of us children with gay parents do. We also love their partner(s). You don’t hear much from us because, as far as the media are concerned, it’s impossible that we could both love our gay parent(s) and oppose gay marriage. Many are of the opinion I should not exist. But I do, and I’m not the only one.

Faust takes seriously a basic biological truth and moral reality: “Each child is conceived by a mother and a father to whom that child has a natural right.” So what happens “when two adults who cannot procreate want to raise children together”?

When a child is placed in a same-sex-headed household, she will miss out on at least one critical parental relationship and a vital dual-gender influence. The nature of the adults’ union guarantees this. Whether by adoption, divorce or third-party reproduction, the adults in this scenario satisfy their heart’s desires, while the child bears the most significant cost: missing out on one or more of her biological parents.

Despite her painful personal experience, for most of her life Faust publicly supported same-sex parenting: “I could have been the public service announcement for gay parenting.”

But not anymore: “I cringe when I think of it now, because it was a lie.” Only when she herself became a parent did she begin to realize why she was wrong: “Kids want their mother and father to love them, and to love each other.” She continued:

Now that I am a parent, I see clearly the beautiful differences my husband and I bring to our family. I see the wholeness and health that my children receive because they have both of their parents living with and loving them. I see how important the role of their father is and how irreplaceable I am as their mother. We play complementary roles in their lives, and neither of us is disposable. In fact, we are both critical. It’s almost as if Mother Nature got this whole reproduction thing exactly right.

Faust does not denigrate the lives or loves of gay parents. “I am not saying that being same-sex attracted makes one incapable of parenting. My mother was an exceptional parent … This is about the missing parent.”

Family structure matters, and same-sex marriage institutionalizes missing parents. Of course two lesbians can be great moms, but neither one can be a father.

Children of lesbians love their moms, Faust writes, but “ask about their father, and you are in for either painful silence, a confession of gut-wrenching longing, or the recognition that they have a father that they wish they could see more often.”

This makes sense, doesn’t it? The problem with same-sex parenting is obvious if, as Faust suggests, we consider children in similar situations:

What is your experience with children who have divorced parents, or are the offspring of third-party reproduction, or the victims of abandonment? Do they not care about their missing parent? Do those children claim to have never had a sleepless night wondering why their parents left, what they look like, or if they love their child? Of course not. We are made to know, and be known by, both of our parents. When one is absent, that absence leaves a lifelong gaping wound.

Faust points out that the “undisputed social science” shows “that children suffer greatly when they are abandoned by their biological parents, when their parents divorce, when one parent dies, or when they are donor-conceived.” And so she asks, “how can it be possible that they are miraculously turning out ‘even better!’ when raised in same-sex-headed households?”

The politicized science simply doesn’t make sense—it doesn’t reflect reality. “Every child raised by ‘two moms’ or ‘two dads,’” writes Faust, “came to that household via one of those four traumatic methods. Does being raised under the rainbow miraculously wipe away all the negative effects and pain surrounding the loss and daily deprivation of one or both parents?”

In closing her letter to Justice Kennedy, Faust notes that the Court has a duty to protect the freedoms of adults but also to provide equal protection to the most vulnerable amongst us.

Her solution? Freedom for gays and lesbians and the truth about marriage: “I unequivocally oppose criminalizing gay relationships. But defining marriage correctly criminalizes nothing.”

So she urges Justice Kennedy, “The bonds with one’s natural parents deserve to be protected. Do not fall prey to the false narrative that adult feelings should trump children’s rights. The onus must be on adults to conform to the needs of children, not the other way around.”

Another child of two lesbians, Heather Barwick, has expressed the same concern in a public letter of her own: “Dear Gay Community: Your Kids Are Hurting.” She begins:

"Gay community, I am your daughter. My mom raised me with her same-sex partner back in the ’80s and ’90s. … Do you remember that book, “Heather Has Two Mommies”? That was my life. My mom, her partner, and I lived in a cozy little house in the ’burbs of a very liberal and open-minded area. Her partner treated me as if I was her own daughter. Along with my mom’s partner, I also inherited her tight-knit community of gay and lesbian friends. … I still feel like gay people are my people. I’ve learned so much from you".

Why was Barwick writing? “I’m writing to you because I’m letting myself out of the closet: I don’t support gay marriage.”

Her explanation was simple: “It’s not because you’re gay. … It’s because of the nature of the same-sex relationship itself”—a relationship that would deprive children of a mom or a dad.

Barwick used to support same-sex marriage:

"Growing up, and even into my 20s, I supported and advocated for gay marriage. It’s only with some time and distance from my childhood that I’m able to reflect on my experiences and recognize the long-term consequences that same-sex parenting had on me. And it’s only now, as I watch my children loving and being loved by their father each day, that I can see the beauty and wisdom in traditional marriage and parenting."

The problem that Barwick particularly highlights is not only that same-sex parenting deprives a child of a mom or a dad, but that same-sex marriage teaches the child that there’s nothing wrong with being so deprived, that if a child aches and longs for the missing mom or dad, the problem is with the child, not the relationship.

“A lot of us, a lot of your kids, are hurting. My father’s absence created a huge hole in me, and I ached every day for a dad. I loved my mom’s partner, but another mom could never have replaced the father I lost.” Barwick describes it poignantly:

"I grew up surrounded by women who said they didn’t need or want a man. Yet, as a little girl, I so desperately wanted a daddy. It is a strange and confusing thing to walk around with this deep-down unquenchable ache for a father, for a man, in a community that says that men are unnecessary. There were times I felt so angry with my dad for not being there for me, and then times I felt angry with myself for even wanting a father to begin with. There are parts of me that still grieve over that loss today".

Redefining marriage redefines parenting. So a legal system that redefines marriage changes a society’s culture and the values it promotes—as well as the expectations of its citizens. A society that redefines marriage, writes Barwick, “promotes and normalizes a family structure that necessarily denies us something precious and foundational. It denies us something we need and long for, while at the same time tells us that we don’t need what we naturally crave. That we will be okay. But we’re not. We’re hurting.”

Redefining marriage will stigmatize the children of same-sex couples, because they will not be allowed to give voice to their experience of lacking a mom or a dad. Barwick offers a compelling description of the difference between kids of divorce or adoption and kids of same-sex marriage:

Kids of divorced parents are allowed to say, “Hey, mom and dad, I love you, but the divorce crushed me and has been so hard. … ” Kids of adoption are allowed to say, “Hey, adoptive parents, I love you. But this is really hard for me. I suffer because my relationship with my first parents was broken. I’m confused and I miss them even though I’ve never met them.”

But children of same-sex parents haven’t been given the same voice. It’s not just me. There are so many of us. Many of us are too scared to speak up and tell you about our hurt and pain … If we say we are hurting because we were raised by same-sex parents, we are either ignored or labeled a hater.

I wish the voices of Katy Faust and Heather Barwick would have been included in that New York Times piece. For all of the Times’ concern about the benefits of redefining marriage on children of same-sex couples, there’s little concern about the suffering inflicted on children raised in such relationships. A relentless focus on only one side of this debate has left us astonishingly deaf to their cries.


UK: Religious extremism and the shrouded worlds that turn us all into strangers

THE other evening I parked in a side street to take a phone call. The spot was close to my old primary school, a street I knew well as a child. Terrace houses, built for the workers who flooded into the town in the late 19th century. If these houses could talk, they would tell a tale of hard slog, family life and changing fortunes.

As I sat there with the window open, I watched a bedraggled little boy make his way up the pavement. He went into a front garden piled high with an old sofa, broken toys, tattered carpet. A sight only too familiar on this kind of streets, these days. The sad detritus of yet another eviction. Out of the house came two skinny men, who leant on the wall and started smoking. The little boy started talking to them. And I couldn’t understand a word any of them said.

I don’t know what nationality they were. It doesn’t really matter. What does matter though is that my home town is changing, literally before my eyes. No-one can put a number on the recent influx of migrants, from Eastern Europe, the Middle East, South-East Asia and Africa. However, what is clear is that the unity that held this town together through thick and thin is fragmenting.

Different communities are springing up, divided by the languages they speak, the food they eat, the clothes they wear. I know enough of Barnsley’s history to appreciate that it built its identity on waves of migrant workers who turned up here to work first in the linen industry, then coal and glass. Bonds were forged through graft, and suffering. This though, is not integration. This is segregation. And it is making strangers of us all to each other.

Is this what we want for modern Britain, for our region? We are not, and never have been a homogenous nation. We’re an island. Invasion and economic migration characterises us; Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Normans, Irish, Russian, Polish, West Indian. What’s happening now is different though. How to say it without sounding intolerant, racist even?

Let’s put it like this. It is not right that within the shelter of our island we should have communities so closed in on each other that those of us outside have no idea of what is happening inside. It is not right that places such as Dewsbury could give birth to a series of jihadi fighters, including 17-year-old Talha Asmal who is believed to be Britain’s youngest suicide bomber. It is not right that three women from Bradford can leave the country unchecked with nine children under the age of 16, reportedly bound for Syria. It is not right that the back-stories to these two current cases alone provide a glimpse into shrouded worlds which many of us have no understanding of whatsoever. It was not right either that in another Yorkshire town, Rotherham, an endemic culture of child abuse was allowed to fester for so long, the authorities either too afraid or too complicit to make a stand.

It is so tricky, isn’t it? In Britain, we cherish personal freedom above all. We respect each other’s right to live as we choose. How though can we call ourselves a civilised and progressive nation when such oppression is happening amongst us, not just in isolated cases, but every day?

This is no time for political correctness. Politicians, at every level, must face up to a situation which threatens to create irrevocable damage. How can beleaguered towns – and I now count Barnsley amongst them – move forward and regenerate when seismic population change is outpacing the carefully-drawn and budgeted plans made by local councils? In Barnsley, for instance, there’s a shiny new town centre about to start construction. I know though that there are people now too afraid to shop in town because of the youths congregating in gangs. Their fears may be unfounded, but if this continues what’s going to happen to economic recovery?

Then there are the pressures on education, on health and social services that such population change brings. Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw spoke only the other day about the importance of instilling British values in schoolchildren to prevent them being lured into Muslim fanaticism. How do we do this when we have countless children in our schools who can’t even speak English? It could be much more acceptable if we could live without suspicion and fear. Unfortunately, the barriers erected by language, culture and religion drive insurmountable wedges between us.

We hear so much about “community”. Yet how can we stand behind politicians who say we should all pull together, when we know that we are living side by side with strangers who want to keep that way? I’m sorry if this sounds blunt, but take a walk down a street such as the one I parked in the other evening. For every little boy like the one I saw, you will see a disaffected young man, a blind go down, a world shut off. Is that what we want for a country whose freedom is supposedly the envy of the world?



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

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

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


19 June, 2015

Jeb Slaps Hillary Over Her Comment That Religious Beliefs ‘Have to Be Changed’

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush launched his 2016 presidential bid Monday with a swipe at Democratic rival Hillary Clinton’s stated views on the clash between reproductive rights and religious beliefs. He also took a dig at Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate.

“These have been rough years for religious charities and their right of conscience,” Bush said in his announcement speech at Miami Dade College in Miami, Fla. “And the leading Democratic candidate recently hinted of more trouble to come.”

“Secretary Clinton insists that when the progressive agenda encounters religious beliefs to the contrary, those beliefs, quote, ‘have to be changed.’ That’s what she said. That’s what she said, and I guess we should at least thank her for the warning.”

Bush, a practicing Roman Catholic, then took aim at the administration’s regulation requiring most insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act to pay for sterilization, contraceptives and abortifacients.

“The most galling example is the shabby treatment of the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Christian charity that dared to voice objections of conscience to Obamacare,” he went on.

“The next president needs to make it clear that great charities like the Little Sisters of the Poor need no federal instruction in doing the right thing. It comes down to a choice between the Little Sisters and Big Brother, and I’m going with the Sisters.”

Bush’s Clinton quote came from a speech she delivered last April 23 at the annual Women in the World summit in New York City, where her line about cultural and religious beliefs won enthusiastic applause.

Clinton told that event that “far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health care and safe childbirth. All the laws we’ve passed don’t count for much if they’re not enforced.”

“Rights have to exist in practice – not just on paper,” she continued. “Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will. And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”

Bush’s Obamacare reference dealt with an order of Catholic nuns that resisted the contraceptive mandate.

The Supreme Court ruled in January 2014 that the Little Sisters of the Poor does not have to comply with the mandate, pending their appeal at the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. Oral argument in the appeal was heard in Denver, Colo. last December.


Black Chicago Pastor: ‘Democrats Have Taken Advantage of Our Community’

Corey Brooks, pastor of New Beginnings Church on the infamous south side of Chicago, wants Republican presidential candidates to speak to his congregation, because being black doesn’t mean you have to be a member of the Democrat Party – which he says has failed to help his community.

National Public Radio host Scott Simon asked Brooks on Saturday’s “Weekend Edition” why he has made the appeal to the Republican hopefuls.

“Well for far too long, Democrats have taken advantage of our community and just always felt as if we're just going to be there for them without having to do the things that are necessary in our community,” said Brooks, who is a Republican.

“The Republican Party has overlooked this, simply because they thought that - out of tradition and out of culture - that we're going to continue to just vote the same way all the time, but that is definitely not true.

“And if the Republican Party would be so kind to reach out, I'm sure that they will find a group of people who are interested in their policies and their practices,” Brooks said.

Simon, one of taxpayer-supported public radio’s most popular liberal hosts, then asked Brooks if the Republicans had “policies that would interest you more?”

“Absolutely,” Brooks said. “I think school choice is a big thing, and I think, educationally, that African-American children should have the same privilege that all other children that come from well-to-do families have, and that is they should be able to go to any school that is a good school, and they should not be regulated to poor-performing schools in their community just because they live in a certain ZIP code or certain area code."

In defense of Democrats, Simon asked: “What about employment, because I think a lot of Democratic candidates - including, certainly, the ones who've run for office there in Chicago - would argue that they have dedicated a lot of federal, state and city money to the interests of African-Americans in the South Side?”

To which Brooks replied, “Show us some jobs.”

“They're going to say they pumped in a lot of money to the South Side of Chicago,” Brooks said, “and I'm going to say, you pumped in a lot of money, but show us some jobs.

“We need economic empowerment, and we need to have tax incentives and tax breaks for corporations that decide to come to places like the South Side of Chicago and hire individuals on the South Side of Chicago, and we need to have those areas built up,” Brooks said, “and the only way we're going to be - get them built up, is that we have to create a way for an economic base to be put in place.”

Brooks said Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has spoken to the congregation, but he announced in the interview that Ben Carson, a fellow Republican, will be speaking to the congregation on Father’s Day.

Simon ended the interview by asking Brooks if his congregation was merely “indulging” him or were actually receptive to hearing the GOP’s message.

“I think - not just my congregation - but people in the city of Chicago are being more receptive,” Brooks said. “I was talking to a lady at Starbucks, and she was saying, ‘Pastor, thank you, because all my life I've voted Democrat, and I've always thought that we should vote different ways and just never spoke out.’”

“And she was saying that she's going to have - start having that type of conversation with her family about voting differently,” he said, “and this lady is tied to a Democratic political figure in the city of Chicago.

“So I think it's a matter of showing people the various views and then letting them decide for themselves,” Brooks added.


For Leftists, It's Open Season on Christians

Feel the hate

If you doubt that Christians are fair game for ridicule by the cultural left, take a look at the hit piece on Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia by Jeffrey Tayler for Salon.

I can't decide which is worse, the title or the subtitle. The title: "Antonin Scalia is unfit to serve: A justice who rejects science and the law for religion is of unsound mind." The subtitle: "The justice claims to be an originalist, but his real loyalty is to religion and a phony man in the sky."

The writer is trying to be cute, but don't conclude that any part of his thesis is intended to be tongue-in-cheek. He opens by telling us that "faith-derangement syndrome" has now infected the Supreme Court as it has the executive branch.

He writes: "Sufferers of faith-derangement syndrome (FDS) exhibit the following symptoms: unshakable belief in the veracity of manifest absurdities detailed in ancient texts regarding the origins of the cosmos and life on earth; a determination to disseminate said absurdities in educational institutions and via the media; a propensity to enjoin and even enforce (at times using violence) obedience to regulations stipulated in ancient texts, regardless of their suitability for contemporary circumstances; the conviction that an invisible, omnipresent, omniscient authority (commonly referred to as 'God') directs the course of human and natural events, is vulnerable to propitiation and blandishments, and monitors individual human behavior, including thought processes, with an especially prurient interest in sexual activity."

Tayler is particularly exercised by his assumption that Scalia rejects Tayler's sainted opinions on both "anthropogenic global warming" and "the fact of evolution — the foundation of modern biology — in favor of the opening chapter of a compendium of cockamamie fables concocted by obscure humans in a particularly dark age, evidence that his faculty of reason has suffered the debilitating impairment associated with acute FDS." Tayler continues, "He therefore cannot be relied upon to adjudicate without prejudice and should be removed from the bench henceforth."

Sorry for the extensive quotes, but I have to assume you'd think I were exaggerating if I paraphrased this harangue.

What apparently got Tayler's attention was an interview of Scalia a few years ago by Jennifer Senior, a contributing editor for New York magazine. Tayler was disgusted that Scalia accepts the Catholic teaching about homosexuality and incredulous at his admission that he believes in heaven and hell and that the devil is "a real person."

Senior asked Scalia, "Have you seen evidence of the devil lately?" I wish Scalia had cited the left's glorification of abortion as Exhibit A, but he chose instead to point to the devil's wiliness in getting people not to believe in him or God.

Scalia's confessions of faith, by Tayler's lights, constitute an "outrage against reason," calling the devil "a comic-book bugaboo the pedophile pulpiteers of (Christianity) have developed to warp the minds of their credulous 'flocks' for two millennia." He condemns Scalia as a self-confessed "biblical literalist," which means Scalia is "an enemy of historical fact."

I wrote a book last year presenting evidence and arguments supporting Christianity's truth claims, so I won't re-litigate that case here except to say that in my humble view, many who espouse Darwinian evolution as if it were gospel despite the gaping holes in the theory or man-made global warming as an unchallengeable fact that represents an existential threat to humankind often are arrogant, curiously incurious and close-minded and don't know a fraction of what they think they know.

Further, the aggressive anti-theists who mock Christians for believing in the God of the Bible and his Word believe at least one thing that requires far more faith: that something arose from nothing without a Creator. Oh, sure, some of them tell you they don't believe that, saying that they believe in multiverses, that we are the spawn of aliens or that the universe has always existed, even though science, which they tend to deify when it is convenient, points to a definite beginning to the universe. Even if it didn't and even if there were no such thing as entropy, it would still take a formidable suspension of disbelief to believe in an eternal universe.

I am not nearly so troubled by Tayler's beliefs or non-beliefs as I am by his derisive, contemptuous and tyrannical attitude toward believers. You should know that he acknowledges that 6 in 10 Americans believe in the devil yet still implies the belief is insane. Christians, in his view, are "devotees of an invisible celestial tyrant."

What I suspect animates Tayler's angst regarding Scalia (and other Christians) is Scalia's faith-based view against same-sex marriage. Why else would Tayler single out a justice of the Supreme Court poised to rule on a case involving this issue? Why else would he sneer at God's "especially prurient interest in sexual activity," which, by the way, is a perverse mischaracterization of the God of the Bible? Why else would he allude to "the many Religious Freedom Restoration Acts disgracing legal codes of far too many states"?

In the end, however, Tayler's motives are beside the point, which is that he feels not only free to unleash this kind of slander against the belief system of the majority of Americans but also that there is no risk that he will be considered, much less called, a bigot or intolerant for doing so. That's because in the leftist-dominated media culture, you can, with limitless vile, insult individuals and groups outside those protected by political correctness with impunity and often with confidence that you'll be praised.


EU accused of telling families 'who should do the dishes' after releasing strategy to get men to do HALF of all household chores

Even the Fascists and Communists weren't this intrusive

Men should be encouraged take on at least half of all domestic chores as part of a European-wide 'strategy for equality', according to a group of Euro MPs.

A European Parliament committee has called for a Brussels-backed campaign to promote an 'equal division of domestic work'.

The Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality said men needed to be pressured into doing more around the house to take the 'unequal division of family responsibilities'.

MEPs said 'measures encouraging men's participation in domestic labour' should be introduced across the EU.

In the UK, 70 per cent of all housework is done by women, according to equality campaigners. Even when women are working over 30 hours a week, on average they take on nearly two-thirds of all household chores.

The EU's housework equality drive was included in the 'EU Strategy for equality between women and men post 2015'.

The main aim of the 'equality strategy' is to tackle domestic violence and the gender pay gap.

It claims there has 'been a slowdown in political action and reform for gender equality during the last decade at EU level'.

But as well as focusing on an increase in paternity leave and flexible working, it also called for the introduction of 'awareness campaigns for the equal division of domestic work', Huffington Post UK revealed.

Produced by German MEP Maria Noichi, the strategy read: 'The rapporteur is calling on the Commission to consider whether it should lay down specific targets and penalties with a view to reducing the gender pay gap.

'Furthermore, if a better work-life balance is to be achieved, men will have to devote more time to housework and caring.'

Ukip MEP Louise Bours accused the EU of interfering in people's home lives.

She said: 'What kind of organisation interferes to this extent in the private lives of people – their marriages, their partnerships?

'It is up to adults in the privacy of their own homes to decide who does what – it is not the place of any government, and certainly not the place of EU bureaucrats, to decide who does and who doesn't do the dishes.'



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 June, 2015

Human Rights Act has devalued Magna Carta, says British PM

The legacy of Magna Carta has been ‘devalued’ by Labour’s Human Rights Act, David Cameron will say today as Britain commemorates its 800th anniversary.

The Prime Minister will say the 13th century charter is the foundation document for human rights worldwide, but the meaning of these rights has become ‘distorted’ in recent years.

In a clear sign that he intends to honour his commitment to scrap the Human Rights Act, he will say that it is the ‘duty’ of politicians of the present generation to ‘restore the reputation’ of human rights.

The Conservatives plan to replace the Act with a British Bill of Rights to affirm the supremacy of UK courts over those in Europe. They say activist judges have widened the concept of human rights too far, making it harder to deport hardened criminals because of their right to a family life.

But the issue did not figure in last month’s Queen’s Speech and proposals to introduce a Bill of Rights have now been delayed for at least a year as officials draw up proposals. There is also confusion over whether the UK would consider leaving the European Convention on Human Rights as part of the plans.

Critics of the Tory plans will not be impressed by Mr Cameron’s argument that he plans to stand up for human rights by getting rid of the Human Rights Act.

Today marks the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, which was forced on King John in 1215 by rebellious barons at a meeting next to the Thames at Runnymede, Surrey. It is credited with cementing the idea of the rule of law, that there are limits on executive power, and that there should be guaranteed justice for all – with no imprisonment without trial.

At today’s commemoration in Runnymede, Mr Cameron will say that Magna Carta was a document that ‘changed the world’ by ‘altering forever the balance of power between the governed and the government’.

He will say: ‘Magna Carta takes on further relevance today. For centuries, it has been quoted to help promote human rights and alleviate suffering all around the world.

'But here in Britain – ironically, the place where those ideas were first set out – the good name of “human rights” has sometimes become distorted and devalued.

‘It falls to us in this generation to restore the reputation of those rights – and their critical underpinning of our legal system. It is our duty to safeguard the legacy, the idea, the momentous achievement of those barons.

‘And there couldn’t be a better time to reaffirm that commitment than on an anniversary like this.’

Mr Cameron will add: ‘Magna Carta is something every person in Britain should be proud of. Its remaining copies may be faded, but its principles shine as brightly as ever – in every courtroom and every classroom, from palace to Parliament to parish church.

‘Liberty, justice, democracy, the rule of law – we hold these things dear, and we should hold them even dearer for the fact that they took shape right here, on the banks of the Thames.

'So on this historic day, let’s pledge to keep those principles alight. Let’s keep Magna Carta alive. Because – as those barons showed, all those years ago – what we do today will shape the world for many, many years to come.’

Mr Cameron will say the influence of Magna Carta stretched far beyond Britain, cited by everyone from early US revolutionaries and Mahatma Gandhi to Nelson Mandela. He will draw attention to the fact that in many countries, governments still do not subject themselves to the rule of law.

‘The countries that have these things tend to be the long-term successes, and those who don’t tend to be the long-term failures.

‘And what is taken for granted here in Britain – what is sewn into the fabric of our nation, so deep we barely even question it – is what others are crying out for, hoping for, praying for.’


Top firms 'use poshness test to keep poor out of best jobs'

I readily believe that bosses in the City choose people like themselves.  Working with others is made easier by that.  And City operators are mostly from private school backgrounds.  They are not trying to keep anybody out.  They just want to be comfortable among the people with whom they work

Elite companies in the City of London are applying a ‘poshness test’ to job applicants which is preventing working class youngsters from getting the best posts, it is claimed.

Researchers found that leading law, financial services and accountancy firms in the Square Mile are ‘systematically excluding’ candidates if they are not middle or upper-class.

A staggering 70 per cent of job offers went to graduates educated at selective state or fee-paying schools.

Bosses admitted favouring applicants who had enjoyed experiences such as travelling, had been to top ‘Russell Group’ universities and spoke without accents – indicating the process was skewed towards the wealthy.

The research was carried out by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, an independent body which monitors whether youngsters from poorer backgrounds have the same opportunities in the workplace.

It collected data from, and carried out interviews with, bosses at 13 companies responsible for 45,000 of the best jobs in the country.

Commission chairman Alan Milburn, a Cabinet minister in Tony Blair’s Labour government, said: ‘This research shows that young people with working class backgrounds are being systematically locked out of top jobs.

‘Elite firms seem to require applicants to pass a “poshness test” to gain entry. Inevitably that ends up excluding youngsters who have the right sort of grades and abilities but whose parents do not have the right sort of bank balances.

‘Some of our country’s leading firms are making a big commitment to recruit the brightest and best, regardless of background. They should be applauded.

'But for the rest this is a wake up and smell the coffee moment. In some top law firms, trainees are more than five times as likely to have attended a fee-paying school than the population as a whole.

'They are denying themselves talent, stymying young people’s social mobility and fuelling the social divide that bedevils Britain.’

Former Tesco chief Sir Terry Leahy said last night that British companies should smash the ‘glass ceiling’ by finding the best people for the job rather than focusing on whether they went to the ‘right universities’.

He told the Daily Telegraph: ‘When I was growing up, I was taught that if you worked hard enough, you could achieve anything you wanted, whatever you wanted, whatever advantages other people might have.

‘It is an attitude that took me from a Liverpool council estate to being chief executive of Tesco for 14 years.’


UN chief says Britain must take in MORE Med migrants: Official condemned for remarks that UK is not housing its fair share or explaining the benefits of migration

Britain should take in more stranded Mediterranean migrants, according to a senior UN official.

In remarks strongly condemned by Tory MPs, Peter Sutherland suggested the UK was not housing its fair share of people fleeing turmoil in North Africa and the Middle East.

He berated Westminster politicians for not explaining the benefits of immigration, claiming this risked fostering a climate of ‘xenophobia and racism’.

Mr Sutherland, who is the UN secretary-general’s special representative on international migration, claimed there was a greater degree of negativity toward immigrants in the UK than elsewhere because the positive case had never been ‘properly explained’.

But Andrew Mitchell, a Tory former international development secretary, dismissed his remarks. ‘Britain has been a leader of the international relief effort for these enormous migration crises,’ he said.

‘Britain has contributed more humanitarian support than practically the whole of the EU.

‘We are putting our shoulder to the wheel. Were the Government to start welcoming migration from Syria and some of these very difficult places in Africa, public support for Britain’s development policy would start to evaporate.’

Andrew Percy, Tory MP for Brigg and Goole, said: ‘These United Nations people should stop mouthing off about things that are none of their business. They are unelected; they don’t represent anyone and they should stop what seems to be a very anti-British sentiment.

‘What is happening in the Mediterranean is incredibly sad, but the only beneficiary of this policy of taking in more migrants would be the people smugglers who profit from this horror.

If we create a route of entry, then that will only encourage more people to take the risk. We need to provide assistance at source, which is what we are doing through our aid budget.’ Yesterday, hundreds of migrants were gathered at the border between Italy and France after being turned away by French riot police who had shut crossing points.

Startling pictures showed many huddled in foil blankets on coastal rocks, holding signs – written in English – demanding to be allowed to continue their journey from Italy to northern Europe. They threatened to hurl themselves into the sea if blocked by the French.

Italy said last night it would ask the EU to set up refugee-processing camps in Libya, and threatened to ‘hurt’ Europe should it turn a deaf ear to the crisis on its shores.

Mr Sutherland, an Irish politician and chairman of Goldman Sachs International, had told the BBC: ‘The Germans and the Swedes are taking far more per capita than the United Kingdom, and a fair settlement of this issue on the basis of objective criteria – population, GDP, unemployment, whatever issues you think may be appropriate – seems to be a reasonable way of dealing with this.’

His intervention is just the latest by UN advisers. Last month François Crépeau [crappy Frank?], the special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, claimed the UK risked taking the path of Nazi Germany if the Tories pulled out of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Two years ago, housing rapporteur Raquel Rolnik – dubbed the ‘Brazil nut’ – launched a blistering attack on the Coalition’s policy of austerity, saying housing benefit cuts were breaching human rights.

Last night a Government source said: ‘We do not oppose resettlement in principle – but we believe such schemes are best decided at national level and have no plans to contribute to an EU quota.


We Muslims MUST stop blaming others for the way our young are radicalised, writes chairman of the Muslim Forum:

As the lethal cycle of British involvement in jihadism deepens, so the cries of victimhood grow stronger.

The families of recruits to the Islamic State’s barbaric regime seem desperate to pin the blame for the crisis on anyone or anything — from supposed negligence by the police to brainwashing through the internet — rather than accept any real accountability.

Yesterday, the relatives of three sisters and their nine children from Bradford, West Yorkshire, who reportedly have travelled to Syria, complained bitterly that the British police had failed to prevent them joining the Islamic extremists.

Balaal Khan, who represents the husbands of these three Dawood sisters, wailed that families had been forced to do everything ‘off their own backs’ because there is ‘only one’ British police officer in Turkey dealing with the problem of Muslim recruitment to jihadism.

It echoes the moaning we heard earlier this year from the families of three East London schoolgirls — dubbed the ‘Jihadi Brides’ — who joined the Islamic State.

On that occasion, the parents and their lawyer took their complaints to Parliament, arguing that the Metropolitan Police had been ‘a disgrace’ in failing to give sufficient warnings of their daughters’ vulnerability to the zealots.

Of course, it must be extremely distressing for any parent to lose a child into the clutches of ISIS.  But I worry that all too often, we are told the same story by the families of those who run off to Syria: that it is always someone else’s fault.

Well, if the families really had no knowledge of such activities, why should the police or schools or social services? And even when they admit to some knowledge of a link with radicalism, too many of them are inclined to play the victim, condemning western foreign policy or ‘Islamophobia’ or extremist online propaganda or a hostile media or Government inaction.

The former chairman of the Tory Party, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, was at it on the BBC yesterday in the wake of the latest jihadist scandal, saying that successive governments have ‘failed to engage with Muslims to tackle extremism’, a problem which she said was ‘incredibly worrying’.

But this search for scapegoats has to stop. The eagerness to pass the buck is not just wrong-headed and hypocritical, it also allows extremism to flourish.

Instead of endlessly pointing the finger at others, the Muslim communities should face up to their own responsibilities. For the fact is that in too many parts of Britain, they have allowed a backward-looking, insular, reactionary Islamic culture to develop, which has undermined social integration and promoted sectarianism.

This climate of division has been a fertile breeding ground for the recruiting sergeants of jihadism, because western liberal democracy has been wrongly presented as something poisonous, dangerous and un-Islamic.

Indeed, there are many Muslim families here in Britain who, despite having potential access to the freedoms and prosperity of our advanced society, have chosen to cut themselves off deliberately for fear of contamination of their faith by the unbelievers.

That wilful separatism is reflected in a host of factors, such as the increasing prevalence of the full veil or burka in Muslim areas. Although it is often seen as a symbol of devotion, the burka actually has nothing to do with Islam, for the Koran merely requires that Muslim women dress modestly.

The burka is, in fact, just an oppressive import from Saudi Arabia, where there has long been a tradition of men taking multiple wives who are required to be covered up. So it owes its existence to institutionalised misogyny rather than religious piety.

Indeed, so many of the dress codes, rituals and abstentions that British fundamentalists hold to be integral to Islam, actually undermine the religion.

The primary duty of Muslims is to behave as upright citizens, conscious of the needs of others and determined to set an inspirational example of civic responsibility.

That is the exact opposite of what is achieved by all this dogmatic isolation driven by the self-appointed guardians of the faith. There is nothing Islamic about failing to teach Muslim children about painting and music, or preventing them from attending sports events, or refusing to instil in them respect for other faiths.

It is difficult, to say the least, for a young Muslim who is deprived of knowledge about British history, democratic values and even the English language to become a well-integrated member of society.

Tragically, the message of separatism is fuelled by a network of mosques and Islamic centres in Britain which preach a message of insularity dressed up as purity. Bankrolled by Saudi Arabia, many of them are in the grip of the ultra-conservative Wahhabism, an austere and harsh creed that took root in the Middle East in the 18th century and has been perverting true Islam ever since.

In its aggressive puritanism and zealous fervour, Wahhabism is precisely the doctrine that gives Islam a bad name in modern Britain.

What is so disastrous is that this refusal to integrate with mainstream British society is leaving young Muslims in limbo. That is why they are so susceptible to the siren voices of extremism. Having been given no spirit of pride in Britain, no sense that they belong to a Westernised country, they are looking for a feeling of belonging.

Spoon-fed a diet of anti-Western propaganda and left disillusioned by the ‘decadence’ of British society, they yearn for an uncompromising alternative — and Islamism, even in the form of the blood-soaked savagery of the Islamic State, seems to provide the answer.

Indeed, for young men it is the brutal self-confidence of the Islamic State warriors — as portrayed in propaganda on social media — that is so appealing. Participation in the conflicts in Iraq and Syria seems to offer adventure, certainty, comradeship and self-righteous martyrdom, as well as the promise of jihadi brides and a sense of belonging.

In contrast to this savage machismo, the female British recruits are drawn to the cause because they believe, all too mistakenly, that jihadism offers them a life of security and purity, in contrast to the messy personal autonomy of Britain.

Moreover, in a twisted version of the excitable enthusiasm that so many western adolescents feel towards pop or sports stars, some young British Muslim women see the ISIS fighters as glamorous heroes, whose ruthlessness only enhances their attractiveness.

Meanwhile, for misguided mothers like the Dawood sisters, the ISIS drive for a caliphate seems to hold out the prospect of raising their children in a pure Muslim society, untainted by any western influences.

This is the kind of nonsense that other Muslims have to confront. It is no use always blaming the police or the Government or foreign policies.

Of course, we ultimately need a political solution to the conflicts in Iraq and Syria, one that involves dialogue and compromise rather than continual bloodshed.

But the existence of these warzones cannot explain the growing incidence of extremism within British Islam, prompting at least 700 Muslims from here to go out and fight in Syria and Iraq.

This week, the organisation Islamic Relief complained, in the typical mode of victimhood, that British Muslims were ‘being demonised again’ by the connection with jihadism.

‘Just 0.02 per cent of the British Muslim population go to join Middle Eastern conflicts,’ proclaimed Islamic Relief.

But that is just sophistry. This is a Muslim problem — and British Muslims have to address it rather than abdicating their responsibilities.



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 June, 2014

Not again! Stupid Indian bitch condemns treatment of women in BRITAIN!

Muslim countries ignored, of course

The United Nations sparked outrage last night after claiming a combination of austerity economics and instituional sexism in the UK is increasing the risk of violence against women.

Rashida Manjoo, the UN special rapporteur on violence against women, will today publish a report concluding that David Cameron’s welfare and legal aid cuts could make it harder to ‘prevent’ attacks on vulnerable women.

In a highly-controversial intervention, she will also launch a blistering attack on the so-called ‘bedroom tax’ – claiming it makes it harder for women to escape violence.

Due to be published in Geneva today, the study claims that Britain’s court system is ‘widely perceived to be biased in favour of men’, and criticises the ‘indifference’ of the police towards domestic violence.

In a section on ‘violence perpetrated or condoned by the state’, she calls for an urgent inquiry into claims of sexual abuse at Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre.

The report concludes that there is a ‘lack of a consistent and coherent human rights based approach in the government’s response to violence against women and girls’.

Last year Ms Manjoo sparked outrage by saying there was a ‘boys’ club sexist culture’ in Britain which was worse than anywhere else she had visited. She made the comments despite the fact she has also praised the governments of Jordan and Algeria over women’s rights.

The special rapporteur is the latest in a long line of UN advisers to criticise British policies over immigration, the bedroom tax and policies towards travellers.

Last month, the UN’s special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, sparked outrage with the claim that the UK risks taking the path of Nazi Germany if the Tories pull out of the European Convention on Human Rights.

And in the most famous example of UN meddling, housing rapporteur Raquel Rolnik – dubbed the ‘Brazil nut’ – launched a blistering attack on the Coalition’s policy of austerity two years ago, saying housing benefit cuts were breaching human rights.

Andrew Bridgen, Tory MP for North West Leicestershire, said: ‘These UN officials are being funded by our taxpayer-funded UK contributions to generate this drivel.

‘Rather than criticising us, she should take a look at the rest of the world such as the Middle East, where violence against women is a much greater problem.

‘Millions of people are voting with their feet to try to get in here, so the UN should take a long hard look at what is going on in the rest of the United Nations.’


Theroux on Women, the Family, and Christianity

According to Independent Institute President David J. Theroux, the decline of the family has resulted from government policies that are based on an “unfounded and easily refuted” “progressive narrative.”

That narrative, Theroux argues, includes the mistaken view that traditional marriage is “a patriarchy to dominate and oppress women, all supported by Christian despots.” In contrast, Theroux points to the work of sociologist and historian Rodney Stark, who makes the case that Christianity created a new foundation for marriage, one based on the idea that women and men are equals, and which implied mutual obligations on the husband and wife, including fidelity.

This development has been particularly beneficial to women, according to Theroux. “No longer serfs to men, women had dignity, were not rushed into marriages, and served as leaders in rapidly growing Christian communities,” he writes. It has also fostered a more stable foundation for child rearing.

“Abandoning these lessons is at the root of the modern decline of the family,” Theroux continues, “and government can only further undermine the rights and benefits that have uplifted the lives of countless men, women, and children through Christian-inspired marriage. To restore the family, civic and religious leaders must challenge such folly to achieve the needed privatization and de-politicization reforms.”


Sen. Mike Lee: America ‘Could Be Losing Ground’ on Religious Liberty

U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) warned that the “culture-defining” religious liberty guaranteed by the Bill of Rights “could be losing ground” in contemporary America.

“Religious liberty as it has been lived in America is not, to be sure, a mere accident of history, and it’s not a mere quirk of the law. It is nothing less than a culture-defining human achievement,” Lee said during a speech at Hillsdale College’s Kirby Center in Washington, D.C. Thursday.

“Yet, recent events suggest resoundingly that it could be losing ground -- and we can’t accept this, we can’t stand back, we can’t tolerate it, we can’t just let it happen,” Lee said. "The great American commitment to religious liberty and diversity may still be universally successful, but it is no longer universally shared."

Senator Lee pointed out that the First Amendment to the United States Constitution -- which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” -- established not just religious toleration, but full religious freedom for all believers.  

“Religion here breathes in the natural human space between the isolated individual and the overwhelming, overpowering state,” Lee continued. “The government’s role...is not to direct our interactions within that space so much as it is to ensure that all Americans have equal access to it, and equal opportunity within it.”

“Every great social reform movement in American history -- from abolition and civil rights, to the struggles for women’s equality and labor rights, to the pro-life movement today -- has grown out of individual Americans’ religious convictions and their constitutionally protected right to live those convictions out…

“All Americans of all faiths and those with none have benefitted deeply from our nation’s unique commitment to religious liberty,” he added, drawing attention to “secular fundamentalists” on the left who “insert in place of our open, pluralistic society...submission to their secular creed.  

“The creed is simple: Americans may believe whatever they want, but they may publicly express and act upon only those beliefs that the government approves,” he said.

Senator Lee recalled several instances of the U.S. government penalizing or threatening Christians for their beliefs, including Oregon bakers who were fined $135,000 for refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding, and the Little Sisters of the Poor, who have been threatened with large fines for refusing to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives and abortifacients.

Most recently, U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli indicated during oral arguments for Obergefell v. Hodges that religiously-affiliated institutions that adhere to a traditional definition of marriage may lose their tax-exempt status should the Supreme Court rule to legalize same-sex marriage.

“Regardless of how the Supreme Court rules in this particular case, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the next controversies will not be over whether gay couples should receive marriage licenses, but instead, whether people who don’t think so may keep their business license, whether colleges that don’t think so will be able to keep their accreditation, whether military chaplains who don’t think so will be court martialed, whether churches who don’t think so will be targeted for reprisal by the state, whether heterodox religious belief itself will be swept entirely from the public square,” Lee said.

The senator said he will soon introduce a bill in the Senate which would extend protections to educational institutions, businesses, and organizations who act upon a moral or religious belief that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Although Lee pointed out that “arguments [for traditional marriage] are no longer winning the public debate,” he reminded the audience that “it is no small thing that the gay marriage movement has succeeded in recent years only by adopting our principles of tolerance, diversity, and equal opportunity, and it is those very principles--not the parties currently enjoying their political resonance--that hold the high ground in this debate.

“And because those of us who believe in religious freedom hold those principles in our hearts, and not just in our political quiver, that high ground remains still open and available to us,” he continued.

Senator Lee laid out two courses of action for advocates of traditional marriage to take going forward: First, he said, engage in the debate over religious liberty “with candor and compassion in the most publicly accountable venues possible,” advancing it in the legislative branches of government at the local, state, and federal levels.

Second, he urged his audience,“be witnesses not just to our own understanding of religious truth, but to the universal truth that man is not free unless his conscience is free.”


Boston Mayor Declares City Hall Bathrooms ‘Gender-Neutral’

Bathrooms in Boston’s City Hall are now officially “gender-neutral”.  An executive order signed Thursday by Mayor Martin Walsh eliminated gender specific bathrooms on the fifth floor of City Hall outside the mayor’s office and City Council chambers.

New signs created by Boston’s Property Management Department indicate that the single-stall bathrooms are open to anyone.

The decision comes in the middle of Boston’s Pride Week, which celebrates the city’s LGBT community.

“Today marks a historic moment in Boston,” said Mayor Walsh. “Boston thrives on diversity, and is an inclusive city. This change will foster a safe and welcoming environment for employees and visitors, and will go a long way as we continue to work towards improving the lives of those who love and call Boston home.”

Massachusetts was the first state to legalize gay marriage. According to a recent Gallup poll, the Boston area has the sixth largest LGBT community in the country. The Boston-Cambridge-Newton area is 4.8 percent LGBT—compared to the national average of 3.6 percent.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey applauded Mayor Walsh’s actions.  “Mayor Walsh’s announcement today is an important step forward in the fight for equality,” Healey said in a statement. “For all of us who are employers in Massachusetts, a real commitment to preventing discrimination starts in our own workplaces, and I hope employers across the state will join in these efforts to promote equal treatment for all.”

But a majority of the public is not in favor of the idea. A poll taken last year by CBS News found that 59 percent of Americans believe that “transgender students should use the bathrooms/locker rooms of their birth gender.” Only 26 percent believe they should use the bathrooms/locker rooms of their "preferred gender".

Mayor Walsh is not the first public official to change traditional sex-segregated bathroom policy to accommodate transgendered individuals .In April, the Obama administration established gender-neutral bathrooms in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

Earlier this month, CNSNews.com reported that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a guide explaining which bathrooms their transgender employees can use.



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 June, 2014

Why the English Tories should hope that the Scots Nats retain their grip on Scotland

The phenomenal electoral success of the Scots nats in the recent  British general election is to my knowledge unprecedented in a democracy so deserves serious thought. They won 56 out of 59  Scottish  seats.  It shows the continuing appeal of Fascism.  Fascism is socialism ("we will look after you") combined with with nationalism ("we are the greatest") so it had huge appeal to all sectors of Scottish society. Scots are nothing if not patriotic.  In WWII, Fascism helped Germans to march relentlessly to their doom -- right up until the bitter end.

So it is likely that Scottish politics will remain dominated by the SNP.  The Scots in Scotland are ferociously socialist so the Labour party will have nothing distinctive to offer and the Tories have only ever been marginal in Scotland.  The only pressure for change might be if the SNP-dominated Scottish government makes a mess of things.  They are certainly spendthrift. But, ironically.  the English subsidy in the form of the Barnett formula or its successors  will probably rescue them from any meltdown.

So why should the Tories care?  They have almost no following in Scotland in any case.  It matters because no Anglospheric political party remains in charge for long.  The political parties tend to rotate.  The British Tories have now won two general elections in a row so, on a purely probabalistic basis, they are due to lose the next one. But they may not, of course.  They have made Britain the standout nation in Europe in terms of economic recovery so that may contribute to a third win.

But the time will one day come when the Tories lose control. And when they do they will most probably not be faced with a Labour government but rather by a SNP-Labour alliance.  And if it is an alliance with policies as destructive as those recently offered by Ed Miliband, that will be a very alarming prospect -- a prospect alarming enough for extreme measures. 

As ever, however, the ace up the Tory sleeve will be the British Labour party.  It used to be said that the Labour party was Margaret Thatcher's biggest asset -- they were so extreme as to be unelectable -- and Ed Miliband was certainly David Cameron's greatest asset in 2015. And something else that is useful about the Labour party -- aside from their destructive policies -- is that they will never consent to Scottish independence.  Without the Scottish seats in the Westminster parliament they would be permanently out in the cold.

And the Tories too don't like the idea of breaking up the UK. But that dislike is more a sentimental than a practical thing.  It would be a great relief to them to boot the Scottish MPs out of Westminster.  And a SNP/Labour government would enable them to do just that.  They could offer to vote with the SNP for Scottish independence.  The SNP would certainly accept and the combined Tory/SNP vote would win the day -- terminating, probably immediately, the SNP/Labour government and entrenching conservatism in England for a very long time.

British TV historian David Starkey points to similarities between the SNP and the Nazis

It is true that the Scottish saltire and the Nazi Hakenkreuz are both versions of the cross


TV historian David Starkey was today branded a 'serial utterer of bile and bilge' after he likened the Scottish National Party to the Nazis.

The outspoken 70-year-old claimed the Saltire was like the swastika and accused the SNP of treating the English in the way Hitler persecuted the Jews.

Furious SNP leaders condemned the comments as 'unsavoury and absurd' and said they served as an insult to the Jewish community and the millions who support the party in Scotland.

The SNP secured a stunning victory north of the border in last month's general election, winning 56 of the 59 seats in Scotland.

However Mr Starkey has drawn a lengthy comparison between the messages, imagery and appeal of the Nicola Sturgeon's party and that of Hilter's Nazis.

He even drew parallels between Scottish men showing their knees in kilts and and the Nazi enthusiasm for lederhosen.

SNP MP Kirsten Oswald today branded the remarks 'irresponsible' and said they have absolutely no basis in reality while John Nicholson said they were offensive to Christians, Jews and all Scots.

In an interview with the Sunday Times, Starkey said: 'What are the points of comparison?

'Well, we have a political movement that has a single historic explanation for why your country is facing such terrible oppression; it's either Versailles or the Treaty of the Union.

'You have a particular group of people who are responsible for this; it is either the English or the Jews.'

Starkey, who has previously sparked controversy by describing Scotland as a 'feeble little country', went on: 'You have as a symbol the twisted cross: the saltire or the swastika. You have a passionate belief in economic self-sufficiency: known by the Nazis as autarky and the Scots as oil.

'And also you have the propensity of your elderly and middle-aged male supporters to expose their knees,' he said, passing comment on the traditional dress of Scotland and Germany.

He claimed that those who sympathise with the SNP, especially in England, are 'incapable of recognising that this is national socialism. And the nationalism is much more important than the socialism, as it was in Germany. The socialism is a very fragile, superficial thing. The nationalism is very real.'

But the comments were today angrily condemned by the SNP, who accused Starkey of being detached from reality.

'The independence movement in Scotland is entirely civic and peaceful - and last year's referendum was a celebration of democracy.


Building the New Dark-Age Mind

America’s descent into the Dark Ages will not end well. It never has in the past

by Victor Davis Hanson

History is not static and it does not progress linearly.  There was more free speech and unimpeded expression in 5th-century Athens than in Western Europe between 1934-45, or in Eastern Europe during 1946-1989. An American could speak his mind more freely in 1970 than now. Many in the United States had naively believed that the Enlightenment, the U.S. Constitution, and over two centuries of American customs and traditions had guaranteed that Americans could always take for granted free speech and unfettered inquiry.

That is an ahistorical assumption. The wish to silence, censor, and impede thought is just as strong a human emotion as the desire for free expression — especially when censorship is cloaked in rhetoric about fairness, equality, justice, and all the other euphemisms for not allowing the free promulgation of ideas.

George Orwell devoted his later years to warning us that while the fascist method of destroying free expression was easily identified (albeit only with difficulty combatted), the leftwing totalitarian impulse to squelch unpopular speech was far harder to resist — couched as it was in sloganeering about the “people” and “social justice.” It is easy to object to the speech codes of a self-interested, corrupt dictator in sunglasses and epaulettes, but difficult to fight censorship that allegedly helps the poor, minorities, and the helpless.

We can all but write off today’s university as a place of free expression. In the age of Obama, zealots in the university have clamped down on any thought deemed reactionary. “Trigger warning” is a euphemism for trying either to censure literature or to denigrate it. “Safe space” is another term for the segregation of campus areas by race, class, or ideology. “Hate speech” has become a pejorative for uncomfortable truth.

So try a thought experiment. If Professor A in various fora — before the academic senate, at the “free speech” area of the quad, during student advising, in a faculty meeting, or during class — announced that on-campus, Christian student groups practiced hate speech and thus should be monitored or silenced, or he declared that due to white privilege he was holding private tutoring sessions only for people of color, or he urged that global warming deniers should not be allowed to spread their heresies in class, or he insisted that the nature and propriety of sexual intercourse should be post facto defined only by the female participant, he would be hailed, and many of those proposals would be taken seriously if they were not already part of campus protocol.

But if a bookend Professor B in the same venues announced that he found Muslim groups equally suspect, or that, due to constant deprecation of white males, he was holding tutoring sessions only for his European-American students, or that he was hosting a campus conference on the unscientific nature of the global warming movement, or if he urged the university to insist that any allegations of rape follow strictly the rules of evidence and procedures as outlined in the U.S. Constitution and state laws of criminal jurisprudence, he would find himself in a great deal of trouble, if not fired.

A pre-Enlightenment Age is not just the absence of uncomfortable free expression. It is also a sort of groupthink acceptance of a lie in place of the truth on grounds of social utility. Forensic evidence, testimony, and logic have shown that “hands up, don’t shoot” is a complete myth. Michael Brown, fresh from committing a robbery, walking down the middle of the street, apparently under the influence, lunged at a policeman, grabbed for his weapon, fled, turned around and charged, before being shot and killed. He was not shot in the back. Nor did he halt and put his hands up, begging the policeman not to shoot him. Yet the president of the United States often invokes generically “Ferguson,” as if it were proof of police brutality. “Hands up, don’t shoot” is analogous to “the earth is flat” or “the sun revolves around the earth.”

“Mattress Girl” is a Columbia University co-ed who had post facto regrets about once sexually hooking up with a young male student. She then recalibrated their pairing as a forcible rape, and yet was not able to demonstrate to either the university or the police that her allegations were valid. Yet she became a cult-hero. The progressive world embraced her as a feminist icon, as she lugged around a mattress and made an explicit sex tape, to further a narrative that could not be proven true. If one assumed that 2,500 years ago Socrates destroyed for good the notion of moral relativism in his take down of the Sophists, think again. The subtext of Mattress Girl’s whine is that even if she is lying, her cause still furthers progressive agendas and thus is not really a lie after all.

Current popular culture is not empirically grounded, but operates on the premise that truth is socially constructed by race, class, and gender concerns. Imagine if Mattress Girl’s male sexual partner had alleged that, in fact, he was coerced into sex, and then he carried his own 50-pound mattress around campus to draw public attention to her coercion. Certainly, he would be ignored or laughed at. Science, logic, probability, evidence — all these cornerstones of the Enlightenment — now mean little in comparison to the race, class, and gender of those who offer narratives deemed socially useful.

Eric Holder called the nation  “cowards” for not holding a national conversation on race. But Holder did not wish a freewheeling discussion about the break-up of the black family, the epidemic of violence and drug use, the cult of the macho male, the baleful role of anti-police rhetoric and rap music — in addition to current racism, a sluggish economy, and the wages of past apartheid.  Instead, the ground rules of racial discussion were again to be anti-Enlightenment to the core. One must not cite the extraordinary disproportionate crime rate of inner-city black males, or the lack of inspired black leadership at the national level. One most certainly does not suggest that other minority groups either do not promote leaders like Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson or do not seem to have a need for national collective spokespeople at all.

In our current Dark Age, logic is ignored in lieu of ideology. Hillary Clinton is declared a populist and — Presto! — she is a populist, railing about everything from hedge-fund operators to Wall Street hyper-profit making. No one seems to care that her egalitarian rhetoric simply cannot be true for a variety of reasons: Mrs. Clinton’s daughter, without any financial experience, worked for Wall Street investment groups and reportedly is now worth $15 million. Chelsea’s husband is a hedge-fund operator. Bill and Hillary Clinton have made over $100 million parlaying their public service into quid-pro-quo speaking engagements.  The Clinton Foundation is little more than a clearing house that allows hundreds of millions of tax-deductible dollars from foreign grandees to be funneled into the Clinton machine in hopes of future crony capitalist advantages — as the foundation pays for everything from Clinton jet travel to sinecures for temporary, out-of-work political operatives.  By any empirical standard, Hillary Clinton is an elitist manipulative multimillionaire, who with her husband mastered the revolving door of pay-for-play lobbying.

The California drought is the locus classicus of 21st-century know-nothingism. In a nutshell, periodic three- to four-year droughts are not abnormal in California. They can be predicated on little-understood changing oceanic temperatures, mostly known as “El Nino,” that involve the heating and cooling of central Pacific Ocean currents, which in turn adjudicate the number and nature of productive storms heading down the western coast of North America. Such droughts and the role of El Nino predated man-made concerns over global warming.

No matter. The president of the United States not long ago flew into Fresno, declared the dry spell the wage of global warming, and flew out to the environs of Palm Springs to golf.

The drought problem is not just that the state cancelled the later phases of the massive California Water Project, but that it also diverted precious stored water from reservoirs out to sea, in service to unproven theories about fish restoration. The Enlightenment idea would have been to make prior arrangements for the periodic absence of El Nino currents, by building more reservoirs, curbing releases of stored water for green experimentation, and matching population growth with new infrastructure. The un-Enlightenment preference is to freeze reservoir construction, to damn farmers as water-wasters, to claim that immigrants are being scapegoated for the drought, and to ignore El Nino facts in preference to global warming theories.

A final symptom of an un-Enlightened age is the assumption that lies are truth because untruth offers collective benefits, while veracity disrupts social justice. Take Obamacare. Almost every promoted tenet of the Affordable Care Act proved false: premiums went up; so did deductibles and co-payments. Millions lost not just their doctors but their existing health care plans as well. The much ballyhooed health care website proved dysfunctional. Newly passed mandates were unlawfully suspended to enhance the Obama reelection effort.

Nationalized health care did not per se reduce the deficit, nor will its protocols contain escalating costs without radical curtailments in service. Mandatory electronic record keeping did not free physicians up to spend quality time with their patients, but often resulted in the very opposite with doctors typing into computer screens while distracted from patients’ inquiries. Again, no matter. Obamacare is now hailed as the president’s “signature achievement” and is becoming institutionalized in the manner of Social Security.

The country is terrified about having a rational and logical discussion about almost every great issue of our times: unsustainable national debts and deficits, the new nexus between leftwing plutocracy and populism, the viability of Social Security and Medicare, deteriorating race relations, the Soviet-style American campus, global warming, and the deterioration of medical care. Instead, to preclude honest talk, we offer perfunctory charges of sexism and racism, and seek cover in “fairness” and “equality.”

The redistributionist, equality-of-result state — fueled by a national progressive ideology — is the new deity that determines what is free expression. Blasphemy is now defined as daring to use logic and evidence to expose the state’s failed, deductive tenets.

This descent into the Dark Ages will not end well. It never has in the past.


The British state’s silent war on religion

It is increasingly clear that the UK government’s failing attempt to promote British values has inadvertently turned into a sanctimonious and intolerant campaign against traditionalist religious institutions. Since most of the targets of the British-values campaign are culturally isolated – Jehovah’s Witnesses, Hasidic Jews, fundamentalist Christians, radical Islamists – many otherwise sensitive observers have not picked up on what is a silent war against religion.

This unrestrained and insidious turn taken by the disoriented British-values campaign was exposed last month when it emerged that young Muslim children in one primary school were given a test to assess their predilection for radicalisation. The stated purpose of this intrusive Big Brother-style initiative was to ‘identify the initial seeds of radicalisation’. Judging by the questions posed, it appears that the marker for the precrime of radicalisation was the strength of infants’ feelings about the way of life of their families. To discover how pupils felt about their beliefs, the test asked them to indicate whether they agreed, disagreed or were unsure about the following statement: ‘I believe my religion is the only correct one.’ Any child agreeing with this statement was deemed to be in danger of becoming radicalised into anti-British values.

The sentiments underpinning this infant-radicalisation test also inform the work of Ofsted school inspectors, assorted government programmes and the outlook of the political establishment. From this elite perspective, those who believe that their religion is the truth contradict the unstated official version of British values – namely, that all religions are correct. According to the jargon of the day, an inclusive, non-judgemental and respectful attitude towards other people’s beliefs is mandatory for school children. This demand for non-judgemental respect implicitly negates the freedom of conscience of millions of ardent believers for one simple reason: many religions assume that only they possess the truth. For Christians, Jews and Muslims, the idea that all religions are correct makes little sense. Indeed, if all religions are ‘correct’, then living in accordance solely with one particular faith is absurd.

According to today’s official guidelines, religions are acceptable as long as their adherents don’t take them too seriously. If they do, then such religions violate what appears to have become a fundamental but unspoken British value – automatic respect for beliefs other than your own. Over the past year, numerous faith schools have been downgraded by Oftsted inspectors and criticised because, allegedly, their pupils did not demonstrate sufficient awareness and respect for the cultures of other people. What’s interesting is that this criticism was based not on concerns about how pupils felt about Britain, but on concerns about how they felt about other cultures and religions.

Uncritical and non-judgemental multiculturalism has become the goal of British-values education. It focuses on people’s attitudes to others rather than on people’s values as such. In reality, non-judgemental multiculturalism avoids engaging with normative statements of value. In the absence of having any actual values of its own, the political establishment prefers to restrain and police those who live their lives according to their values.

The British-values campaign obscures its intolerance of strong religious faith through euphemism and jargon. For example, last year, Ofsted deemed several schools run with a strong Christian ethos to be ‘inadequate’. Ofsted justified its decision on the grounds that these schools were ‘failing to teach respect for other faiths or developing pupils’ awareness and knowledge of communities different from their own’.

What’s remarkable is that Ofsted is assessing the quality of a school according to political and social-engineering criteria, rather than educational criteria. Inspectors seem far less interested in the academic quality of children’s classroom experience than in the cultural and social ethos imbibed by pupils.

So, last month, it was reported that in two Christian schools in north-east England, inspectors were asking 10-year-olds questions about lesbian sex and transgender issues. And because these schools were not trying to socialise their pupils into the latest fashionable cause promoted by the PSHE industry, they were judged as failures. One of the schools involved, Durham Free School, is facing closure, while the other, Grindon Hall, was placed in ‘special measures’ on the grounds that the children lacked tolerance towards ‘people of other faiths and culture’.

Statements like ‘developing pupils’ awareness and knowledge of other communities’ serve as a code for forcing pupils to embrace a secular cosmopolitan ethos. Unsurprisingly, many religious educational institutions – rightly or wrongly – regard cosmopolitan values and practices as a corrosive influence on their faith. Indeed, one reason why many parents send their children to a religious school is to insulate them from some of the values and cultural practices prevalent in mainstream society.

During the past year, Hasidic Jewish schools have been condemned because they failed to deal with sex-education in an acceptable manner. That, for many Hasidic Jews, discussing the topics on the sex-education curriculum would be a deeply disturbing experience appears to be irrelevant to the authorities.

It is worth noting that despite Ofsted’s reservations about the failure of Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls’ School in Stamford Hill to address sex education, it still decided to give it a ‘good’ rating. Ofsted’s decision immediately roused the wrath of the National Secular Society and the British Humanist Association. As far as they were concerned, the school’s ‘good’ rating was undeserved because it indicated it would continue to tell pupils to avoid certain stigmatised topics in exams, like homosexual relationships, evolution and social media.

Tolerance not respect

A tolerant, democratic society would recognise that schools run according to a religious ethos would find it difficult to discuss and teach many issues that secular teachers find unproblematic. A tolerant, democratic society would also recognise that religious schools are particularly sensitive about morality, given their aim is to instil in children their own values, rather than the values of the Department for Education. Forcing religious schools to educate children in values that are alien to their faith has little educational merit.

The purpose of such a policy is not educational, but political. Demanding that teachers ignore what their conscience dictates sets a dangerous precedent for society. It also violates one of the unstated principles of a tolerant, democratic society; namely, that the state does not interfere in the internal affairs of a religion. Since the seventeenth century, advocates of tolerance have argued that religious beliefs, matters of people’s heads and hearts, are not appropriate objects of state control.

The right to religious freedom is the cornerstone on which the ideal of tolerance was founded. It is paradoxical that in the 21st century, when the right to be different is so widely celebrated, that the right to act on your religious beliefs is so readily pathologised. Take the recent case involving two schools run by the Belz sect, a Hasidic Jewish group in north London. As was widely reported, the two schools sent a letter to parents warning that any children driven to school by their mother would be refused entry to the school. The letter outlining the ban on women drivers was based on the recommendations of Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rokeach, the Belzer spiritual leader in Israel.

The ban immediately provoked establishment outrage. The UK education secretary, Nicky Morgan, denounced the ban as ‘completely unacceptable in modern Britain’. Appealing to the core British value of respect, Morgan said that ‘if schools do not actively promote the principle of respect for other people, they are breaching the independent school standards’. She immediately launched an investigation into the affair. A few days later, the Equality and Human Rights Commission informed the Belz schools that the banning of mothers from driving children to school was illegal and discriminatory.

What was remarkable about the official and media reaction to this episode was the near universal reluctance to accept the right of a religious group to act and behave in accordance with its beliefs. The Belz sect did not demand that women who were not members of its faith should not drive children to school. Its rules applied only to members of its faith. No one else is affected by the practices of this sect, and in a tolerant society it is accepted that religious groups should be left alone to practice their faith.

Unlike the current fashion of non-judgementalism, the liberal ideal of tolerance does not demand that any of us should respect religions or cultural groups that we deem incorrect or abhorrent. Indeed, the verb ‘to tolerate’ conveys a judgement towards something we reject but nevertheless accept the existence of. I, for one, do not respect the practices of the Belz sect, but I tolerate its behaviour. Unlike the ideas of respect and non-judgementalism, which avoid the domain of morality, tolerance speaks the language of right and wrong.

The growing tendency to interfere in the internal affairs of religious schools is an indirect expression of the wider cultural conflict about lifestyles and values. Many of society’s questions regarding the moral order are played out through competing initiatives that target children.

But there is another important impulse behind the targeting of religious education. In recent years, officials and politicians have been taken aback by the spectre of Islamic radicalisation haunting many schools. Belatedly, they sought to regain the initiative through the ‘Trojan horse’ inquiry into the influence of radical Islamists in certain schools. The government is all too aware that it has not been able to contain or neutralise radical Islamists’ influence on young Muslims. It is also conscious that its attempt to impose British values on schools might appear as entirely focused on the Muslim community. That is why it has opted to target Christian and Jewish schools.

There is little prospect that Hasidic Jews or Christian students are likely to get radicalised anytime soon. However, by targeting them, the government deludes itself into believing that it is actually doing something to rescue Britain from the scourge of religious extremism.



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 June, 2014

Homosexual marriage: the ‘right side of history’?

The redefinition of marriage will do more harm than good.

Ireland’s recent decision to legalise same-sex marriage has been heralded by some as a turning point in history. In one way, the Irish vote was historic. It was the first time a country ushered in a redefinition of marriage by the process of referendum, as opposed to a parliamentary vote or judicial interpretation.

But did the vote represent a turning point? Is a process now unfolding that will inevitably lead to the gender-neutral redefinition of marriage worldwide? After all, if the supposedly Catholic country of Ireland can legalise same-sex marriage, why can’t it be done elsewhere? Why not everywhere?

Indeed, after the Irish referendum, US vice president Joe Biden urged the world to ‘keep the momentum going’ and proclaimed that ‘the progress is undeniable’. But there are a number of reasons why the vote in Ireland needs to be considered more carefully.

Firstly, though you wouldn’t know it from all the media hype recently, only a fraction of countries have actually redefined marriage in this way. Currently, less than 10 per cent of the nations of the world allow same-sex marriage, and the vast majority of these countries are in Western Europe.

Secondly, pointing to nations such as Ireland and extrapolating a pattern ignores the strong counter-trends. Indeed, every year for the past four years, a different European country has amended its constitution to clarify that marriage is between a man and a woman.

In 2012, Hungary adopted a new constitution that defines the institution of marriage ‘as the union of a man and a woman’. In 2013, Croatia followed suit and amended its constitution to define marriage as ‘a life union of a woman and a man’. In 2014, Slovakia’s National Council voted 123 to 18 to constitutionally define marriage as ‘a unique union between a man and a woman’. And, in January 2015, despite major pressure from the European Union and wealthy Western campaign groups, the Macedonian parliament voted by 72 votes to 4 to amend its constitution to state ‘Marriage shall be a life union solely of one woman and one man’.

In addition to these more recent changes, numerous other European countries have retained longstanding constitutional definitions of marriage as between one man and one woman.

But perhaps the most problematic argument in favour of redefining marriage is the idea that to do so is to be on the ‘right side of history’. We shouldn’t just accept that there is a ‘right side of history’ and that all those who question same-sex marriage are on the ‘wrong’ side of it. The ‘right side of history’ statement is just an appeal to a future that hasn’t yet unfolded. It isn’t an argument in favour of same-sex marriage, simply an assertion: ‘It doesn’t matter whether you think redefining marriage is good or bad. It will happen, so make sure you’re on the winning team.’

But there are many reasons why pursuing the redefinition of marriage is far removed from pursuing ‘the right side of history’. Not least of which is the example of Western Europe, where the most ‘progress’ is apparently being made. This region can hardly be considered a bastion of good family policy.

Europe’s dramatically low birth rates, for example, have been well documented, and the current average of 1.5 births per woman is at least 25 per cent lower than that needed to sustain the population. As a result, the continent is walking into a demographic crisis, and the knock-on effects on the European economy are beginning to be felt. With so few children being born and more and more adults moving into retirement, the troubling implications for future generations are obvious.

And, as European countries try to grapple with new definitions of marriage and the family, the rise of commercial surrogacy and other practices that commoditise children have risen sharply.

Who can legitimately say that in going down this road we are pursuing ‘the right side of history’? Instead of calls to follow the ‘progress’ of Western Europe, we should instead be pursuing a culture that affirms true marriage and recognises its public purpose – namely, to fulfil a child’s right to have a mother and a father, not adults’ right to demand state approval of their relationships.


Divisions among Australian conservatives over homosexual marriage

A SLEEPING giant is rising within Coalition ranks. For some conservatives in the party room who have always supported Tony Abbott and helped secure him the leadership, the issue is a deal-breaker.

They are furious at what they see as an orchestrated campaign, with his blessing, to sneak a change to the Marriage Act through parliament.  “When I told my preselectors I believed in family values I meant it,” says one.  “It’s the most fundamental issue in the Liberal Party and for the parliamentary party to change it will cost us dearly.”

With numbers in the Coalition party room running more than two to one against changing the definition of marriage, some conservatives say they will withdraw their support from Abbott if he “doesn’t hold the line”. “If he takes us to a conscience vote he may as well pack his bags, (because) the damage is done,” says one.

They do not see a socially conservative prime minister who buries his convictions as a statesman devoted to democracy, but a traitor.

More sanguine marriage traditionalists are not so critical of Abbott, understanding it is a difficult issue for him to adjudicate, considering the strongly held views in the party.

But they, too, warn that MPs and senators aren’t just going to sit back and say ‘Yes sir’. “We will be more organised and connect more”, said one, “because it’s on”.

The appearance of assistant treasurer Josh Frydenberg on the ABC’s Q & A last week, endorsing gay marriage and claiming it was “inevitable”, had a galvanising effect.

Frydenberg may have been surprised by the slapdown he received from colleagues.  He was told, publicly and privately, that he had stepped “way beyond” the mark.

For those around the PM, the imperative has been to make the issue go away, and with polls suggesting community support for same-sex marriage as high as 72 per cent, it seemed a no-brainer.

The plan was for the party room first to agree to a conscience vote on the issue, then to vote on whatever bipartisan bill comes up.

With the “marriage equality lobby” estimating they need just 14 extra votes in the lower house, a Liberal Party conscience vote becomes a proxy vote for gay marriage.

It is also a bob each way for MPs who want to keep their preselectors happy but don’t want to be targeted as moral troglodytes within polite society.

Alex Hawke, for instance, who represents one of the Liberal party’s most conservative seats, Mitchell, can push for a conscience vote while telling his constituents that he voted against same-sex marriage.

But he’s fooling no one. “As far as the party room is concerned, the issue of a conscience vote is irrelevant until there is a firm proposition of what any change to the Marriage Act would look like,” says one traditionalist.

Ironically enough, parallels are being drawn with the ETS battle in 2009 that catapulted Abbott to the Liberal Party leadership.

Back then, Malcolm Turnbull ignored his party room’s opposition to the Emissions Trading Scheme proposed by the Rudd government.

He decided that he knew better what was in the party’s best interests and lost the leadership by one vote.

If Abbott disappoints them on gay marriage, the hardliners in the party won’t be turning to Turnbull, who supports “marriage equality”, but to Social Service Minister Scott Morrison, who doesn’t.

Morrison has let it be known he doesn’t want to be the “poster boy” for traditional marriage, and has been urging calm behind the scenes.

But, in letters to constituents, he has firmly stated his position as: “supporting the current definition of marriage as a voluntary union for life of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others. … For me this is ultimately about a child’s natural right to a mother and father … I believe my responsibility is to be faithful to the principles and convictions I hold on this matter.”

Morrison’s position is in tune with Liberal grassroots, especially in multicultural electorates where everyone from Hindus and Sikhs to Muslims, Copts, Maronites, Anglican Africans and Filipino Catholics oppose changing the definition of marriage.

Behind the scenes, the PM is being told the sense of inevitability and momentum on the issue is a “myth”. And he is being urged to hold a non-binding plebiscite so the Australian people can decide.

Just as was the case in the republic debate (another “inevitability” that did not come to pass) the result of any plebiscite would depend on the questions asked.

A number of options are being canvassed. “Do you support marriage equality” could be one.

“Do you support traditional marriage between a man and a woman” might be another.

Another could be the “French option” in which the Marriage Act is changed to a Civil Union Act, allowing the state to register a legal union between same-sex or heterosexual couples, leaving churches free to conduct marriages according to their own beliefs.

The point is that the debate on same sex-marriage has only just begun, and it is presumptuous for anyone to think there is only one option on the table which will be ushered through.

Everything from the status quo through civil union to the full monty should be considered. And, in the end, the Australian people should decide.


UK: We must not give in to the rape panic

The public must challenge the idea that rape is everywhere

Last week, the Metropolitan Police and the Crown Prosecution Service published their review, led by Dame Elish Angiolini QC, into the investigation and prosecution of rapes in London. The review was described by the Met as a ‘victim-centred review of current protocols and procedures’. The report claimed that the volume of rape allegations, having ‘soared’ by 68 per cent between 2005-6 and 2013-14, has left the Met struggling to cope.

However, during this time, the percentage of allegations resulting in a prosecution rose by only 17 per cent. The report warned that, if current trends continued, the number of unpunished rapes would continue to rise. The report went on to recommend that the law enshrine a statutory definition of when someone is too drunk to consent. Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, suggested that rape investigations should be assigned the same level of police resources as investigations into domestic terrorism.

The panicked rhetoric of the report and the response to its findings are striking. The report appears to suggest that the authorities are completely failing to deal with an epidemic of rape and sexual violence. The reaction of Hogan-Howe suggests that our intimate relationships present the same level of danger as hidden terrorist networks, and that the authorities should be just as concerned about what goes on in Londoners’ bedrooms as they are about the activities of homegrown terrorist groups.

But even a cursory look at these figures indicates that they say nothing at all about the reality of rape. The report does not, as some newspapers reported, claim that the number of rapes has increased, merely that the number of allegations has increased. This could mean that more and more people are being raped, or it could mean that more and more people are mistakenly thinking they have been raped. The number of allegations tells us nothing at all about the number of rapes that have actually been committed. It says nothing at all about reality.

Nor is it unusual for there to be a significant difference between the number of allegations and the number of cases resulting in a prosecution. In fact, for most criminal offences, the percentage of prosecutions that arise from allegations is far lower than it is for rape. All sorts of issues can prevent an allegation from progressing to a prosecution. In fact, the idea that this figure is too low and should be ‘driven up’ suggests that more people should be prosecuted – that is, arrested, possibly locked up and put before a court – purely to make the numbers look better. In other words, this report takes numbers and percentages, which mean absolutely nothing in and of themselves, and turns them into a picture of a failing justice system.

The report is a significant example of a worrying trend. In today’s discussion around rape, information is routinely presented misleadingly and then used as a means of justifying a further tightening up of the law. The idea that ‘too few’ people are prosecuted comes to be seen as a problem that needs to be fixed by more aggressive prosecuting. As a result, more and more people are encouraged to see rape everywhere, in every corner of their intimate lives.

This makes it hardly surprising that each individual police officer is now dealing with an average of 15 rape allegations at any one time. Rather than the low rate of prosecutions, it is this figure that should give us pause for thought. Perhaps this report does not merely demonstrate that the police are failing – we hardly need another report to tell us that the police routinely screw up rape investigations – but that we are failing, too.

Perhaps the unrelenting increase in the number of allegations of rape shows that we are succumbing to the hysterical official panic around rape. Perhaps we are starting to believe officialdom’s claim that rape is everywhere. Perhaps the truly frightening aspect of this report is not that too few allegations are being prosecuted, but that so many allegations are being made in the first place. If we truly want to ensure that rape is investigated and prosecuted properly, perhaps we should stop seeing rape in those difficult and ambiguous experiences which are part and parcel of a normal, functioning intimate life. It’s time we drove officialdom out of our private lives.


Feminism and the turn against Enlightenment

The new feminism is the gloss on the West’s loss of faith in itself

One of the most striking things of the 21st century so far has been the rise of feminism. No other movement enjoys as much political, cultural and media validation right now as feminism does. Things have gone so far that when British PM David Cameron refused to pose in a t-shirt that said ‘This is what a feminist looks like’, he got flak. So entrenched is the new feminism that, now, not being a feminist can land you in hot water.

The new feminism infuses political, cultural and media life. It’s good business. Pop stars shake their booties in front of massive backdrops of the word ‘FEMINIST’. Publishing houses fall over themselves to offer huge advances to feminists keen to write memoirs-cum-manifestos. A mix of sauciness and self-help, with titles like Hot Feminist and Do It Like A Woman, these femi-manuals often top bestseller lists. New-feminist blogs abound. Popular online mags like Buzzfeed and VICE promote new-feminist ideas. The Twitterati push the new feminism, too, and police deviations from it: witness the arrest of those who are foul about new feminists.

You can’t open a newspaper without reading a feminist critique of the justice system, the internet, mainstream politics, movies. Culture is now judged by its willingness to adhere to the values of the new feminism. From the outrage over the film version of Gone Girl, which was not new-feminist enough, to the global applauding of the rebooted Mad Max, which is apparently a feast of new-feminist ideas, even art and entertainment must now accord with the new-feminist outlook.

As for the world of politics, new feminism is dominant. Everyone might have laughed at the UK Labour Party’s pink bus, designed to get more women voting, but the idea that women do politics differently, and better, to men is now widely accepted. Hillary Clinton has promised to make women’s rights a key plank of her future dealings in the international sphere. UN bodies and NGOs already execute their global agendas in the language of the new feminism, using terms like ‘female empowerment’ to promote population-control measures and the policing of men in much of the global South. We’ve even had feminist wars: the occupation of Afghanistan was justified in part as a means of liberating women (with very little discussion of how it actually made Afghan women’s lives worse).

So in a very short period of time, feminism has gone from being viewed as the ideology of small groups of women to being the organising principle of vast swathes of Western public life. Politics, media, culture, international relations, global conflict — no area has been left untouched by it.

The rise of this new feminism in the West is strange, for two reasons. The first is that all the other political movements of which feminism was once considered a close cousin have withered. Student radicalism — of the progressive variety — is a thing of the past. Left-wing groups continue to shrink. The anti-war movement is a shadow of its former self. And yet feminism, which in its modern form emerged around the same time as those movements, is soaring, finding favour with everyone from Beyonce to the possible next president of the US.

The second reason the rise of the new feminism is weird is because, in the West at least, feminism has never been less necessary. Thankfully, life for women in the West has improved exponentially. There are now more women than men at university, in Central Europe, the EU, North America and Latin America. In school, too, girls are outperforming boys: the OECD found that, in developed countries, girls and boys are now equal in relation to science, and girls outperform boys in literacy. According to the OECD, the average gap between girls and boys is ‘equivalent to an extra year of schooling’.

This leap forward for women in education is reflected in the Western labour market. In the UK, the gender pay-gap is becoming history. Women in their 20s now earn around four per cent more than their male counterparts. These new levels of female independence have contributed to a decline in violence against women. Many women no longer have to stay put in situations that degrade them. Domestic violence rates in the UK are falling, from a ‘peak of more than one million incidents in 1993 to just under 400,000 [in 2011/2012]’. Very often, new-feminist discourse — with its claim that Western women face daily horrors, online and off — feels as detached from reality as it is possible to get.

So, political radicalism is on the wane, and life for Western women has vastly improved, and yet feminism has become the most fashionable political position of our time — what’s this all about?

In part, the new feminism can be seen as mission creep: an old movement looking for a new role now that its original aims have largely been achieved. This would explain why it is so obsessed with culture, with how people think and speak and with what words they use or images they view. Having achieved equality in the legal and work spheres, some feminists are now moving into the realms of culture and even thought, where their politics, or any politics for that matter, has no place. The end result is often intolerance, a demand not only that society remove all the barriers to women’s engagement in public life — which is a good demand — but also that people and art and culture think about and depict women in a particular, ‘correct’ way, which is an illiberal demand.

Feminists themselves claim the new feminism is on the up because women in the West still live in a ‘sea of misogyny’, which is simply not true. Men’s rights activists — the saddest creatures in the political firmament — claim the new feminism proves influential women are hellbent on making life hard for blokes, which is also unconvincing, and borders on a conspiracy theory. It also raises an immediate question, which very few of the discussants of the new feminism seem able to answer: How have these new feminists become so influential? What is it about society — rather than the new feminists themselves — which has seen new-feminist ideas being so fulsomely embraced by officialdom and elites? The issue is not the apparently terrifying influence of new feminists, but the receptiveness to their arguments and prejudices among those who oversee political, public and media life in the 21st-century West.

My view is that this new feminism is best understood, not as a fresh uprising or an independent movement, but as the gloss on Western society’s own collapse of faith in itself.

What we are witnessing is not the rise of a new ideology or any kind of grassroots upheaval, but the instinctive formulation of a cover, an explanation, for the modern West’s abandonment of the ideas of reason, order, autonomy and truth, and of the Enlightenment itself.

The new feminism, with its calling into question of what one feminist author refers to as ‘reason’s diktat’, of the apparently male belief that the world is knowable and changeable, has risen to the surface of public debate, not because of its newness or profundity, but because it is currently the best lick of paint that can be added to the West’s own jettisoning of its old values. This isn’t women vs men. It isn’t even feminists vs the authorities. No, the new feminism is simply the external expression of the internal corrosion of Western values, the acceptable face of what I think we should view as the unacceptable decommissioning of the ideas that created the modern, democratic world. And as such, it is bad for men and women.

War on the ‘male’ Enlightenment

Too many discussions of the new feminism take it at face value that this global phenomenon, this political, pop and publishing sensation, is just another wave of feminism. People wonder if it’s the heir to second- or third-wave feminism. Whether it is too influenced by the Dworkinite anti-sex feminism of the 1980s, and not enough by the more liberal feminism of 1960s thinkers and later feminists like Camille Paglia. Whether it echoes the pro-Prohibition feminism of some of the early Suffragettes, and whether it might do better to look to the more autonomous feminism of female explorers in the 1920s or radicals like Germaine Greer in the 1970s.

It’s undoubtedly true that all these earlier feminisms have impacted on the current discussion. And of course, as feminist writers never tire of telling us, there is no ‘one feminism’. Even today, when the consensus around feminism can feel suffocating — ‘wear the t-shirt or else’ — there are differences of opinion. ‘Choice feminists’, especially in the US, are doing a good job of standing up to the illiberal outlook of campus and broadsheet feminists, who think nothing of no-platforming those who do not bow before the new feminism or describing as ‘problematic’ (and possibly ban-worthy) every piece of culture that is not sufficiently new-feminist.

And yet there is something very new today. The new feminism is not merely a continuation of debates that have been raging for years — it’s the closest thing we currently have to a ruling-class ideology.

It has become the moral and political glue of the fractured, post-political elites of the West, a means for otherwise cut-off institutions both to promote a particular moral image of themselves and to interfere in more areas of life, thought and speech in a seemingly progressive way. The most fascinating thing about the new feminism is not the thing itself but its impact, especially among the West’s ruling classes, who have embraced it. Unlike all the feminisms that went before, the new feminism represents, not an external strike against the political system, but rather an internal outlook through which the elites hope to create a new political narrative and expand their influence in public and private life.

The new feminism is strikingly concerned with exposing what it — and the political and cultural elites more broadly — views as the folly of ‘male ideas’ and the limits to Enlightened thinking. This is spelled out explicitly by Jacqueline Rose, author of Women in Dark Times. ‘Feminism’, she says, ‘should alert us to the world’s unreason’. For too long, says Rose, we have believed that ‘the so-called reason or enlightenment of our modern world’ can deliver progress and liberate humanity. It’s a story of ‘light triumphing over darkness’, she says, and it’s outdated. What we need now is a political outlook which ‘confront[s] dark with dark’. Rose says the great thing about the new feminism is that it can intervene in that ‘murky, not easily graspable place somewhere between [biology and culture]. A place of unreason… that runs through the world.’

Rose captures the alarmingly interventionist urge of the new feminism, which wants to rearrange, not simply law and politics, but also ‘biology and culture’, our very minds and daily interactions. More importantly, she reveals the new feminism’s desire to expose the shortcomings of Enlightenment and show us the ‘world of unreason’, where ‘we all reside’.

This view of feminism not merely as the securer of equality for women but as exposer of the dangers of the industrialised, Enlightened worldview has been a theme for some years. The Stalinist feminist Beatrix Campbell takes aim at ‘modernity’s Faustian recklessness’, at ‘the sexism — and destructiveness — of modernity’.

She presents growth and progress as male values, which feminism has risen once again to question. ‘Macho, manic productionism relies on force’, she says. ‘It valorises conquest of nature and other humans.’ Feminism, by contrast, is concerned with creating a society that can ‘breathe, give birth, grow and rest, clean up’ — because that’s what women do, right? Have babies and clean up? ‘Male’ modernity wants to produce and grow and control nature, whereas ‘female’ thinking wants to force humanity, in Rose’s words, to ‘recognise the failure [of humankind’s] stiff-backed control, its ruthless belief in its own mastery, its doomed attempt to bring the uncertainty of the world to heel’.

This is fundamentally what the new feminism represents. It is the outward expression of the post-Enlightened West’s own, inner disdain for the idea of humankind’s mastery, the idea of our being reasoned, able to deploy our rational thinking in the name of taming the planet and expanding human wealth and comfort.

It is important to note that feminists did not destroy this idea, which is the idea of the Enlightenment. On the contrary, the West’s commitment to Enlightenment values has been flagging for decades, as expressed in everything from the rise of relativism in the academy, to the undermining of universal human values via multiculturalism, to the calling into question of the value of industry and growth through the politics of environmentalism. No, what the new feminism represents is the latest — and currently most influential — manifestation of the West’s own counter-Enlightenment thinking, of its loss of confidence in the modern mission to remake the world in man’s — and woman’s — image.

This is why the new feminism is most pronounced in areas in which the values of reason, autonomy and judgement are, or ought to be, paramount. It is here, in these zones of Enlightenment, where the new feminism is gaining most traction. Why? Because the new feminism is best seen as a progress-unravelling force green-lighted by Western societies themselves, within their own institutions. Let’s consider three areas of reason in which new-feminist thinking is growing.


The political class has been self-consciously promoting new-feminist thinking for many years, explicitly as a means of softening politics and replacing its focus on reason and judgement with a new focus on emotionalism and consensus.

As one academic study says, in the West ‘the contention that women practise politics in a different way to men is widely held’. Many argue that women ‘introduce a kinder, gentler politics’. Women politicians are said to create a politics ‘characterised by cooperation rather than conflict, collaboration rather than hierarchy’. In particular, the new feminism celebrates women’s supplanting of the supposedly self-interested judgements made by the old, adversarial political class with a new approach to public policy based more on emotion, and therefore they ‘bring a civilising influence’. This so-called feminisation of politics is likely to intensify if Hillary Clinton becomes American president. Promoting herself as ‘grandmother-in-chief’, and talking up how women politicians ‘help each other’ rather than fight with each other, Clinton has been hailed by the Washington Post as the person who could ‘reshape what leadership looks like’, and make 21st-century Western politics more ‘consensus-driven, compassionate, helpful, nurturing’.

The celebrated feminisation of politics is striking. Firstly because it demonstrates that the new feminism rehabilitates many of the old-fashioned ideas about women having particular, mothering values. And as such, as one critic points out, it could actually put women off politics: ‘This emphasis on a feminine consensual style may actually exclude women from politics by making them feel that they cannot participate successfully in adversarial contexts.’

And secondly, the ‘softening’ of politics calls into question the whole point of politics as it has been understood in the modern era. No longer to be a clash of conflicting visions, a marshalling of reasoned arguments in an effort to defeat one’s opponents in the competition to appeal to the public conscience, now politics is, in the words of the Washington Post, about ‘collaboration, consensus and warmth’. This represents, in essence, an unravelling of modern democratic politics in favour of the emotionalism and elitist offer to ‘care’ for the public of earlier, pre-Enlightenment eras. The modern West’s discomfort with politics as a tool of testy, rational debate, its discomfort with the idea of reason and judgement per se, is increasingly expressed through the adoption of a new-feminist approach to public life, in which intuition is elevated over thought and nurturing the public takes precedence over engaging with us as a reasoned entity and the source of democratic authority. And in the process we’re propelled back to a pre-modern era in which, likewise, politics was seen largely as a tool for repressing discussion and catering to people’s basic needs.


For many years now, feminists have called into question the Enlightenment ideal of rational discovery, even querying the very notion that the world can be measured and understood. In the 1990s, Sandra Harding, the American feminist philosopher, juxtaposed feminist ways of knowing with what she called ‘the tightly defended barricade [of] reason, rationality, scientific method [and] truth’. She described feminism as being ‘ambivalent about the Enlightenment faith in scientific method’. In 1989, the feminist writer Jane Flax critiqued ‘faulty Enlightenment assumptions’, including the ‘optimistic belief that people act rationally in their own interests and that reality has a structure that perfect reason… can discover’.

The new-feminist view that knowledge built on reason is somehow ‘male’, and what’s more wrong, infuses much of the Western academy and even schools today. In universities, the growing influence of new-feminist theories has seen overly male reading lists being called into question, the focus on great male writers of the past being casually described as ‘misogynistic’, and the rise of the notion that certain classic texts are harmful to women.

The trigger-warning phenomenon, whereby students demand that books which contain ‘disturbing’ content should come with a warning, is the logical conclusion to the new-feminist depiction of knowledge as something potentially harmful. Feminist students are often at the forefront of demanding trigger warnings. At Columbia University recently, they insisted that Ovid’s Metamorphoses should have a warning, arguing that exposing students to ‘the beauty of the language’ in this poem is not always a good idea, considering it also contains references to sexual assault.

It is tempting to write off as crackpots these students who see literature itself as a form of abuse, but they are only the outcome of an academy that for decades has embraced new-feminist notions about the folly of ‘male’ thought and the sexism of classic texts. Indeed, as far back as 1986, Sandra Harding described Newton’s Principia Mathematica — one of humanity’s key scientific texts — as a ‘rape manual’, on the basis that Newton and other modern scientific thinkers viewed nature as something to be plundered, controlled, ‘raped’. Inevitably, sixteenth-century scientific revolutionary Francis Bacon’s description of nature as a ‘she’, whose secrets we should ‘extract’, has been branded by new-feminist academics as misogynistic, evidence that ‘sexual and sexist imagery permeated the new scientific view of the world’. For years, new-feminist critics have depicted reasoned knowledge itself as invasive, as a kind of rape, of nature, of tradition, of alternative ways of thinking; and we wonder why today’s students view ideas as abusive and words as violence.

The redefinition of knowledge as something overly judgemental, even tyrannical, is increasingly reflected in schools. Across the West, schools are shifting from a top-down communication of knowledge towards a less structured ‘sharing of information’. One critic of this new, softer schooling says ‘the way classrooms are structured has been feminised’, so that ‘teachers no longer stand at the front of the room and children are expected to direct their own learning in open, mixed-ability classrooms’. And because, he says, boys need a ‘disciplined’ and ‘orderly classroom environment’, they inevitably fall behind.

With knowledge, as with politics, the key dynamic is not some sinister invasion of educational institutions by gangs of feminists, as men’s rights activists would have us believe. Rather, these institutions are embracing new-feminist thinking as a progressive-seeming veneer for their own estrangement from the values of reason and the ideal of knowledge, for their already-existing feeling of distance from the gains of modernity, the arrogance of science, and the humancentricity of knowing and maybe even transforming nature.


‘The law is reason, free from passion’, said Aristotle. In modern times in particular, the view of justice as something necessarily cool, ideally free from rashness or prejudice, has been a central tenet of democratic societies. Yet this is changing, too, again as a consequence of the rise of new-feminist theories. Everything from openness in the law, especially the idea that the public should have access to all information about a criminal court case, to the principle of tough, rationalist cross-examination of witnesses in order to establish the truth is now being called into question under the guise of establishing a new, more women-friendly approach.

Cross-examination in cases of sexual assault has been described as feeling like being ‘raped all over again’. In Britain, a recent Court of Appeal case established that when there is a ‘vulnerable’ witness, especially in cases of sexual assault, ‘ground rules’ regarding cross-examination must be set in advance — described by spiked’s legal editor Luke Gittos as ‘deference to the victim’ which serves to ‘obstruct the process of justice, objectivity and truth in our courts’. Anonymity in rape trials, ruthlessly guarded from criticism by new-feminist thinkers, sets a dangerous precedent, undermining the openness of modern justice by denying the public the opportunity to see justice being done in an important area of criminal law.

Recent moves to ‘feminise’ justice, such as by allowing victims more say and even the right to issue therapeutic statements at the end of trials, directly challenge the ideal of law as ‘reason, free from passion’. And yet they’re celebrated by new-feminist observers. According to the authors of Gender and Judging, a more feminised approach to justice challenges the ‘ideology of the impersonal neutral judge’. Karima Bennoune, an American professor of law, cheers how feminised international law challenges the very ‘contours of justice’, through making ‘victims the central focus’ and elevating empathy over cold analytics.

Yet the ‘ideology’ of court neutrality was a key component of universal justice, going some way to ensuring fairness in the unfair clash between the state and the accused individual. The ‘contours of justice’ that demanded that accusers be treated with respect but also with scepticism, rather than being given a hallowed role in the trial, were designed to ensure that their every claim and accusation was tested thoroughly before the accused could be robbed of his or her liberty. A society that takes freedom seriously will want to ensure that criminal trials are as dispassionate and rigorous as possible, because there is an individual who risks losing something incredibly important: his liberty. No longer. The feministic pushing of the law into a new era in which judge neutrality is treated as a bad thing, and alleged victims are protected from tough cross-examination, gives the justice system a pre-Enlightened, even vengeful feel. Consider the words of the influential British new feminist Caitlin Moran, in a piece titled ‘The limits of redemption’. Even men who have served their sentences for sexual assault should see their lives ‘reduced to ash’, made ‘publicly, endlessly awful, unrelentingly humiliating, without prospect of absolution’, says Moran. Behind the ‘feminisation’ of law lurks a powerful pre-modern, irrational urge for revenge in place of Aristotle’s ‘reason, free from passion’.

New feminism, new misanthropy

In all the areas listed above — politics, knowledge, justice — the problem is not any Invasion of the Feminists; it is modern Western society’s discomfort with the values upon which it was built: reason, truth and freedom.

But our rulers, our cultural elites, our academies, cannot simply say, ‘We are against those things; we are over the Enlightenment’. And so they instinctively reach for a new set of values, a means of expressing their alienation from the ideals of modernity in a way that appears progressive rather than regressive. Enter the new feminism, which has moulded itself around the decay of Enlightened thinking, and which is embraced by those one-time guardians of the Western way of life who are now keen to shelve key elements of that way of life. Rational politics becomes cold maleness; the pursuit of knowledge, especially in the scientific realm, becomes tantamount to rape of nature; and rigour and reason in the world of justice are redefined as an ‘ideology of neutrality’ that demeans victims.

The new feminism is the clothing being worn by an Emperor who is shaking off old progressive ideas, but who wants to make this shaking-off look like something forward-looking and women-friendly rather than what it is: anti-human, a rewinding of the gains of modernity, which is harmful to both men and women.

The end result? The new feminism — or rather its embrace by relativistic, illiberal elites — has nurtured a new misanthropy. Today, feminism promotes distrust of humanity more thoroughly than almost any other movement. With its scaremongering about rape and sexual assault, its unhinged depiction of campuses as hotbeds of male abuse, its description of the West as a ‘sea of misogyny’, its presentation of the internet as a site of foul commentary, its claim that the streets are unsafe, and its view even of the home — that heart in a heartless world — as a place of violence against women and children, the new feminism gives the impression that humanity is rotten, untrustworthy, requiring closer policing and censorship in order to keep his passions and madnesses in check. Here, too, we are really witnessing modern society’s own distrust of humankind coming to the fore, once again dressed in new-feminist garb rather than revealing its true essence: which is that, as the values of the Enlightenment are unravelled, so the public comes increasingly to be seen as a problem in need of management rather than as a sentient demos capable of freedom and greatness.

The new feminism, this global franchise, this pop and political phenomenon, is not really a movement. Nor is it, as men’s rights complainers argue, a feministic conspiracy to do down men. Rather, it is but the keenest expression of the mainstream misanthropy and turn against Enlightenment thought of the modern West itself. The ‘male’ values being attacked are really the universal values of reason, autonomy, progress and truth — values that both men and women need, and deserve. Forget the ‘sex wars’. We don’t need new feminism, nor do we need a new men’s rights movement. We need men and women to come together to challenge the illiberalism and backwardness of the modern West, which is so often expressed in new-feminist terminology. That is, we need humanism.



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 June, 2014

The 1960s and the destruction of British manners

When I spent a Sabbatical in Britain -- mostly in London -- in 1977, traditional English manners were still alive.  If you saw a drunk in the street, you could be reasonably certain he was Irish.  That has now changed.  On Friday and Saturday nights in the city centres you see a lot of seriously drunk young people who are English.  Why the change?

It goes back to the famous '60s.  I know.  I was there.  The contraceptive pill became widely available in the '60s and that destroyed the whole basis of sexual morality. 

Sexual instincts are exceedingly strong but throughout history, resource shortages meant that they had to be kept within strict  bounds.  Children are expensive to bring up and men have always wanted to be sure that they were incurring such expenses for THEIR child.  So there was a strong economic and social need for sexual fidelity.  You had to be sure that the woman in your life was sleeping with no-one but you. That was the ONLY way you could be certain of the paternity of your child. 

And expecting sexual fidelity in women was not a goer unless men accepted a similar code of restraint.  It takes two to tango so breaking up undesired tangos was best achieved by having neither partner interested in such tangos. 

But the interest was there -- in both men and women.  Sexual fidelity does not come easily or naturally.  Because sexual attraction is strong, it tends to be elicited by multiple persons in one's environment.  A man who finds one woman very attractive will find others attractive too.  So keeping such instincts within bounds was a big ask.  It required most severely enforced social codes and pressures.  And the codes WERE severe.  An ex-nuptial child (a "bastard") was a great disgrace.  And for a code of sexual restraint to be effective, it helped if there was a custom  of general restraint. 

And in Britain there certainly was.  Self-abnegation and restraint were once near-universal behaviour expectations in Britain.  Among the elderly (who grew up before the '60s) one still hears "Mustn't complain" as a form of self-reproof for many sorts of dissatisfaction. And great politeness still to a considerable extent survives.  People still "queue up" (line up) submissively and will apologize if you bump into them.  Both parties will normally apologize in such a situation.  Even a glare at the offending party is rare.

And a major area of restraint was in alcohol consumption.  Total abstention was rare but good discipline was common.  An Englishman could, for instance "sit on a pint" all night.  He could take a whole evening to drink one pint of beer.  There would normally be more that one pint to an evening out but the Englishman would "sit" on each for a long time.  Some still do.

There is of course still a great deal of restraint, reserve and politeness among the English.  Social codes fade slowly.  They do not vanish overnight and civilization generally requires certain restraints.  But the vanishing of the need for sexual restraint has been seen as generally liberating. Liberation became the watchword of young people growing up in the '60s.  I had a lot of fun then myself.

But if the pill disconnected sex from child-bearing, there came along something even more liberating:  A great expansion of welfare payments from governments.  England had Clement Attlee and his "welfare state" and the USA had Lyndon Johnson and his "great society".  That, basically, liberated men from supporting their own children.  So ex-nuptial births did not even need to be avoided any more.  The great expansion of prosperity that industrial capitalism had brought about had built up to the point where goods and services were now abundant enough to be substantially redistributed without imposing great hardship on anyone. It no longer required the devoted labours of a husband to support a child. There were enough resources in the community for that task to be undertaken by the taxpayer.

So a culture of self-discipline was replaced by a culture of irresponsibility.  And it shows:  In crime and elsewhere. Wise people still defer gratification but many do not.

And the decay has been greater in Britain than in the USA.  Why?  It is because religion has long been used to prop up the moral order.  An erring penis risked the immortal soul of its possessor.  But the only time when England was very religious was from the Tudors to the time of the "Glorious Revolution" (which wasn't a revolution) and the establishment of a new monarchy.  The gory excesses of the Tudor period and the severe restraint of Cromwell's Puritans did a pretty good job of discrediting religion among the English.

The Church of England still meandered along and social custom and an appearance of respectability still mandated Sunday attendance for most -- but the sermons were drowsy and an ability to handle a teacup without spilling anything was the main expectation of the clergy. Almost the whole of English literature from the 18th to the 20th century portrayed the clergy as either dimwits or rogues. Though sometimes the cleric was a figure of fun -- as in "Tristram Shandy".  Only the humble country parson was spoken well of (e.g. in Gray's "Elegy").

In America, by contrast, the religion had always been heavily evangelical and hence had (and has) a much stronger grip on the people.  So in England, religion was hardly any reinforcement to the moral code at all while in the USA it still fulfils that  traditional role for many.  The decay of conviction in the Church of England has meant that the glorious old buildings built by believers are now temples to celebrate homosexuality, feminism and  environmentalism.  But those are secular creeds.  Redemption might get a mention at Easter but that is it.

A small anecdote from my life in Australia may help illustrate where the Church of England is these days. I am a great fan of the 39 "Articles of Religion" that to this day are supposed to define Anglicanism.  They are a marvellously vigorous statement of Protestant faith. So when I was at a dinner party that included an Anglican clergyman some years ago, I began to ask him about his view of the 39 articles, to his evident discomfort. Being merciful and not wanting to ruin the party, however, I soon said to him, "But I am an atheist, of course".  He visibly relaxed and said "Ah, I can deal with that a lot more easily".  He was comfortable with an atheist (He probably was one himself) but not with a traditional Protestant.

So social standards are visibly looser in England these days, as the change in alcohol misuse shows.  There is little of the high standards demanded of most American Christians. It would be hard to quantify the difference, however, as Britain too now has a substantial sub-population of sub-Saharan African origin -- and their level of behavioural restraint is very low  -- to their own great detriment and the detriment of others. So for a meaningful  statistical comparison of behavior standards in England and the USA, one would have to collect statistics for whites only, which would produce a disabling storm of condemnation from the faux-righteous Left -- JR.

10 Myths About Redefining Marriage to include homosexuals

Advocates of redefining "marriage" to include same-sex couples use a number of arguments that can best be described as "myths." The reality is often quite different. For example:

MYTH: A "one man and one woman" definition imposes a religious definition of marriage on civil society.

REALITY: The definition of marriage is rooted in nature itself. The sexual union of a man and a woman is what reproduces the human race. The durable commitment of that man and woman to one another is what provides children with a mother and father. This is important for people of any religion or of no religion.

MYTH: Children don't actually need both a mother and a father.

REALITY: An overwhelming body of social science evidence demonstrates that children raised by their own mother and father, who are committed to one another in a lifelong marriage, are happier, healthier, and more prosperous than children raised in any other household setting.

MYTH: Marriage can't be about procreation, because infertile couples are allowed to marry.

REALITY: Laws are based on the rule, not the exception. While not all heterosexual couples do reproduce, it is indisputable that only heterosexual couples can do so naturally. No homosexual couples can do so. That fact provides a clear bright line for limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples.

MYTH: Legalizing homosexual "marriage" would have no effect on other marriages and families.

REALITY: "The law is a teacher," and if we change the definition of marriage we will change what we teach about all marriages and families. For example:

    We would teach—wrongly—that procreation is no longer a uniquely important public interest.   We would teach—wrongly—that children do not need a mother and a father.  We would teach that adult desires, not the interests of society or the needs of children, should drive the definition of marriage.

MYTH: Defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman is "discrimination."

REALITY: Every individual has the same access to marriage, but no one has been permitted to marry a child, a close blood relative, a person who is already married, or (through most of human history) a person of the same sex. Removing the last restriction would cast doubt on all the others.

MYTH: Homosexual relationships are the same as heterosexual ones.

REALITY: Research shows that homosexuals are less likely to enter into long-term partnerships, be sexually faithful, or have relationships last a lifetime. Legal recognition of same-sex unions in Scandinavia has led to a weakening of society's commitment to marriage across the board.

MYTH: Homosexuals suffer serious harm because they're denied the "protections" of marriage.

REALITY: Many of these "protections" are already available to same-sex couples through the use of private contractual arrangements, such as wills, durable power of attorney, health care proxies, and life insurance policies.

MYTH: Homosexuals are unable to care for their own children if they cannot "marry."

REALITY: A biological parent has the same rights whether the individual is heterosexual or homosexual. States, if they choose to, can provide for homosexual couples to adopt children without changing the definition of marriage. However, recent research shows that children of homosexual parents suffer significant disadvantages. It is not in children's interest for society to actively affirm a family structure that may harm them.

MYTH: Laws "banning same-sex marriage" are the same as the old laws that banned interracial marriage.

REALITY: It is actually the supporters of homosexual "marriage" who resemble the opponents of interracial marriage. Both groups sought to exploit the marriage laws in pursuit of a social goal irrelevant to marriage. Neither racial segregation (in the one case) nor the social affirmation of homosexual conduct (in the other) was or is related to the basic public purpose of marriage, which is promoting responsible procreation and the rearing of children in the optimal family setting.

MYTH: Legalizing homosexual "marriage" would not affect anyone's religious liberty or conscience rights.

REALITY: All taxpayers, consumers, and businesses would be forced to provide financial subsidies for homosexual relationships, whether they want to or not.   Schools would teach children that homosexual relationships are an option fully equivalent to heterosexual ones, even in opposition to parental teaching. Faith-based organizations and individuals would be forced to compromise their beliefs, or be punished or driven from the public square.

As the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments on whether the U.S. Constitution includes a "right" to marry someone of the same sex, they—and the public—should be wary of falling for these myths.


Children thrive on risky play: Activities including climbing trees and rough and tumble games help improve their creativity, behaviour and resilience

Taking part in risky outdoor play improves children’s creativity, behaviour and resilience as well as their health, researchers have found.

The benefits come from activities including climbing, jumping, rough and tumble play and exploring alone, they added.

Playgrounds with natural elements such as trees, plants and changes in height are best. Youngsters also gain from being free to choose their own activities without restrictive supervision, added the Canadian study.

Lead researcher Mariana Brussoni of the University of British Columbia in Canada, said: 'We found that play environments where children could take risks promoted increased play time, social interactions, creativity and resilience.

‘These positive results reflect the importance of supporting children’s risky outdoor play opportunities as a means of promoting children’s health and active lifestyles.  ‘These spaces give children a chance to learn about risk and learn about their own limits.'

Safety fears were seen as the main reason for limiting risky play, reported the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Researchers found that playground safety standards and too much supervision prevented children from engaging in risky activities.

Dr Brussoni added: ‘Monitoring children’s activities may be a more appropriate approach than active supervision, particularly for older children,

‘We recommend considering policy, practice and built environment approaches to risky outdoor play that balance safety with children’s other health outcomes.’


Black vs. Blue in America

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Half a century ago this summer, the Voting Rights Act was passed, propelled by Bloody Sunday at Selma Bridge. The previous summer, the Civil Rights Act became law on July 2.

We are in the 7th year of the presidency of a black American who has named the first two black U.S. attorneys general.

Yet race relations seem more poisonous now than then, when the good will of America's majority was driving legislation.

Today's issue, however, is not voting rights, open housing or school busing. It is black vs. blue: African-Americans inflamed at what they see as chronic police brutality and police forces feeling besieged in a demagogic "war on cops."

And the media are obsessed with it, and determined to make us equally so.

Consider. On June 9, America's "newspaper of record" ran four stories in the first section about police violence against blacks.

Page one of The New York Times told of black leaders in Cleveland, "distrustful of the criminal justice system," invoking a "seldom-used Ohio law," by going "directly to a judge to request murder charges" against the cops involved in the death of Tamir Rice.

Responding to reports of a man with a gun, a cop, two seconds out of his car, shot Tamir, 12. The gun was a toy.

Yet, though this happened six months ago, the Times went into loving detail again on how Tamir died. It then regurgitated the deaths, also last year, of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner on Staten Island.

On page A11 was a story with three color photos, covering almost the whole page, about a cop who, called to a raucous pool party in McKinney, Texas, drew his gun and wrestled to the ground a 14-year-old black girl in a bathing suit.

"A Party at a Pool, a Jarring Image of Police Force" was the banner over the Times' tale of "powerful and disturbing" images, from video showing "a police officer pointing a gun at teenagers in bathing suits and shoving a young black girl's face into the ground."

Had the girl been white, would the Times have splashed it?

Page A12 was given over entirely to cops vs. blacks, with two fresh stories, plus continuations of the Tamir Rice and pool stories.

The story across the top of A12 told of how a North Charleston, South Carolina, cop, held since April on murder charges, has now been indicted by a grand jury for murder.

Officer Michael Slager shot fleeing suspect Walter Scott in the back repeatedly, a killing caught on video, apparently after a fight over Slager's Taser.

There was also a fresh story on terrorism suspect Usaamah Rahim, shot dead after being confronted by FBI and a Boston cop. Rahim was allegedly wielding a large knife. Blurry video from a Burger King camera shows the cops backing away from Rahim, but not the knife.

Seven Times reporters got bylines for these four stories.

What does the Times' investment of all this journalistic talent and news space tell us? The Times does not want this issue to die.

The Times editors and writers see "blacks being victimized by white racist cops" as a representative truth about America 2015 that we all must address.

But what is the larger reality? First, the vast majority of black males killed violently are killed by black males, and interracial crime in America is overwhelmingly black-on-white, not the reverse.

While not the media truth, that is the statistical truth.

This is reality. Indeed, if the ugliest expressions of racism are interracial assaults, rapes and murders, the heaviest concentrations of racism in America are in the black communities themselves.

But the preferred story of the Times and mainstream media, of most cable channels and social media, is white cops victimizing black folks.

Thus we have all heard about Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and Freddie Gray, but few know even the number of black folks gunned down annually in their own black communities.

The press is not interested in ferreting out those statistics.

Why? Such stats would muddy the message the media seek to send and reinforce: I.e., America must confront the crisis of rogue cops.

What is coming is not difficult to predict.

As, invariably, white cops clash with black suspects, the media will seize upon and pump up every episode that fits and advances their scripted narrative. Angry and violent protests will occur. There will be judicial proceedings and trials, like that of the West Baltimore cops coming up.

America will divide and take sides. And the rival "war on cops" and "Black lives matter!" claims will be adjudicated in the election of 2016.

In 1968, Richard Nixon rode the law-and-order issue into the White House. Hillary Clinton seems to be moving to capture the "Black-Lives-Matter!" constituencies.

As for the Republicans, they seem to be acting more like the John Lindsays and Bill Scrantons of yesteryear than the Nixons and Ronald Reagans. But someone is going to pick up this issue.



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

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

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


12 June, 2014

Not a Very P.C. Thing to Say:  How the language police are perverting liberalism

The article below is from "liberal" Jonathan Chait, probably best known for his rather deranged utterance, "I hate President George W. Bush. There, I said it".  Knowing Chait's form, I did not bother to read the article at the time it came out but merely put up in reply another article that delved into the causes of PC.  Now that I read Chait's article, however, I think it is pretty good.  It seems that, as Leftists have often done, he is drifting rightwards with age.  He might even one day come to see GWB as the sentimental Christian gentleman that he is!  OK. There's a limit  

Around 2 a.m. on December 12, four students approached the apartment of Omar Mahmood, a Muslim student at the University of Michigan, who had recently published a column in a school newspaper about his perspective as a minority on campus. The students, who were recorded on a building surveillance camera wearing baggy hooded sweatshirts to hide their identity, littered Mahmood’s doorway with copies of his column, scrawled with messages like “You scum embarrass us,” “Shut the fuck up,” and “DO YOU EVEN GO HERE?! LEAVE!!” They posted a picture of a demon and splattered eggs.

This might appear to be the sort of episode that would stoke the moral conscience of students on a progressive campus like Ann Arbor, and it was quickly agreed that an act of biased intimidation had taken place. But Mahmood was widely seen as the perpetrator rather than the victim. His column, published in the school’s conservative newspaper, had spoofed the culture of taking offense that pervades the campus. Mahmood satirically pretended to denounce “a white cis-gendered hetero upper-class man” who offered to help him up when he slipped, leading him to denounce “our barbaric attitude toward people of left-handydnyss.” The gentle tone of his mockery was closer to Charlie Brown than to Charlie Hebdo.

The Michigan Daily, where Mahmood also worked as a columnist and film critic, objected to the placement of his column in the conservative paper but hardly wanted his satirical column in its own pages. Mahmood later said that he was told by the editor that his column had created a “hostile environment,” in which at least one Daily staffer felt threatened, and that he must write a letter of apology to the staff. When he refused, the Daily fired him, and the subsequent vandalism of his apartment served to confirm his status as thought-criminal.

The episode would not have shocked anybody familiar with the campus scene from two decades earlier. In 1992, an episode along somewhat analogous lines took place, also in Ann Arbor. In this case, the offending party was the feminist videographer Carol Jacobsen, who had produced an exhibition documenting the lives of sex workers. The exhibition’s subjects presented their profession as a form of self-empowerment, a position that ran headlong against the theories of Catharine MacKinnon, a law professor at the university who had gained national renown for her radical feminist critique of the First Amendment as a tool of male privilege. MacKinnon’s beliefs nestled closely with an academic movement that was then being described, by its advocates as well as its critics, as “political correctness.” Michigan had already responded to the demands of pro-p.c. activists by imposing a campuswide speech code purporting to restrict all manner of discriminatory speech, only for it to be struck down as a First Amendment violation in federal court.

In Ann Arbor, MacKinnon had attracted a loyal following of students, many of whom copied her method of argument. The pro-MacKinnon students, upset over the display of pornographic video clips, descended upon Jacobsen’s exhibit and confiscated a videotape. There were speakers visiting campus for a conference on prostitution, and the video posed “a threat to their safety,” the students insisted.

This was the same inversion of victim and victimizer at work last December. In both cases, the threat was deemed not the angry mobs out to crush opposing ideas, but the ideas themselves. The theory animating both attacks turns out to be a durable one, with deep roots in the political left.

The recent mass murder of the staff members of Charlie Hebdo in Paris was met with immediate and unreserved fury and grief across the full range of the American political system. But while outrage at the violent act briefly united our generally quarrelsome political culture, the quarreling quickly resumed over deeper fissures. Were the slain satirists martyrs at the hands of religious fanaticism, or bullying spokesmen of privilege? Can the offensiveness of an idea be determined objectively, or only by recourse to the identity of the person taking offense? On Twitter, “Je Suis Charlie,” a slogan heralding free speech, was briefly one of the most popular news hashtags in history. But soon came the reactions (“Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie”) from those on the left accusing the newspaper of racism and those on the right identifying the cartoons as hate speech. Many media companies, including the New York Times, have declined to publish the cartoons the terrorists deemed offensive, a stance that has attracted strident criticism from some readers. These sudden, dramatic expressions of anguish against insensitivity and oversensitivity come at a moment when large segments of American culture have convulsed into censoriousness.

After political correctness burst onto the academic scene in the late ’80s and early ’90s, it went into a long remission. Now it has returned. Some of its expressions have a familiar tint, like the protesting of even mildly controversial speakers on college campuses. You may remember when 6,000 people at the University of California–Berkeley signed a petition last year to stop a commencement address by Bill Maher, who has criticized Islam (along with nearly all the other major world religions). Or when protesters at Smith College demanded the cancellation of a commencement address by Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, blaming the organization for “imperialist and patriarchal systems that oppress and abuse women worldwide.” Also last year, Rutgers protesters scared away Condoleezza Rice; others at Brandeis blocked Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a women’s-rights champion who is also a staunch critic of Islam; and those at Haverford successfully protested ­former Berkeley chancellor Robert Birgeneau, who was disqualified by an episode in which the school’s police used force against Occupy protesters.

At a growing number of campuses, professors now attach “trigger warnings” to texts that may upset students, and there is a campaign to eradicate “microaggressions,” or small social slights that might cause searing trauma. These newly fashionable terms merely repackage a central tenet of the first p.c. movement: that people should be expected to treat even faintly unpleasant ideas or behaviors as full-scale offenses. Stanford recently canceled a performance of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson after protests by Native American students. UCLA students staged a sit-in to protest microaggressions such as when a professor corrected a student’s decision to spell the word indigenous with an uppercase I — one example of many “perceived grammatical choices that in actuality reflect ideologies.” A theater group at Mount Holyoke College recently announced it would no longer put on The Vagina Monologues in part because the material excludes women without vaginas. These sorts of episodes now hardly even qualify as exceptional.

Trigger warnings aren’t much help in actually overcoming trauma — an analysis by the Institute of Medicine has found that the best approach is controlled exposure to it, and experts say avoidance can reinforce suffering. Indeed, one professor at a prestigious university told me that, just in the last few years, she has noticed a dramatic upsurge in her students’ sensitivity toward even the mildest social or ideological slights; she and her fellow faculty members are terrified of facing accusations of triggering trauma — or, more consequentially, violating her school’s new sexual-harassment policy — merely by carrying out the traditional academic work of intellectual exploration. “This is an environment of fear, believe it or not,” she told me by way of explaining her request for anonymity. It reminds her of the previous outbreak of political correctness — “Every other day I say to my friends, ‘How did we get back to 1991?’?”

But it would be a mistake to categorize today’s p.c. culture as only an academic phenomenon. Political correctness is a style of politics in which the more radical members of the left attempt to regulate political discourse by defining opposing views as bigoted and illegitimate. Two decades ago, the only communities where the left could exert such hegemonic control lay within academia, which gave it an influence on intellectual life far out of proportion to its numeric size. Today’s political correctness flourishes most consequentially on social media, where it enjoys a frisson of cool and vast new cultural reach. And since social media is also now the milieu that hosts most political debate, the new p.c. has attained an influence over mainstream journalism and commentary beyond that of the old.

It also makes money. Every media company knows that stories about race and gender bias draw huge audiences, making identity politics a reliable profit center in a media industry beset by insecurity. A year ago, for instance, a photographer compiled images of Fordham students displaying signs recounting “an instance of racial microaggression they have faced.” The stories ranged from uncomfortable (“No, where are you really from?”) to relatively innocuous (“?‘Can you read this?’ He showed me a Japanese character on his phone”). BuzzFeed published part of her project, and it has since received more than 2 million views. This is not an anomaly.

In a short period of time, the p.c. movement has assumed a towering presence in the psychic space of politically active people in general and the left in particular. “All over social media, there dwell armies of unpaid but widely read commentators, ready to launch hashtag campaigns and circulate Change.org petitions in response to the slightest of identity-politics missteps,” Rebecca Traister wrote recently in The New Republic.

Two and a half years ago, Hanna Rosin, a liberal journalist and longtime friend, wrote a book called The End of Men, which argued that a confluence of social and economic changes left women in a better position going forward than men, who were struggling to adapt to a new postindustrial order. Rosin, a self-identified feminist, has found herself unexpectedly assailed by feminist critics, who found her message of long-term female empowerment complacent and insufficiently concerned with the continuing reality of sexism. One Twitter hashtag, “#RIPpatriarchy,” became a label for critics to lampoon her thesis. Every new continuing demonstration of gender discrimination — a survey showing Americans still prefer male bosses; a person noticing a man on the subway occupying a seat and a half — would be tweeted out along with a mocking #RIPpatriarchy.

Her response since then has been to avoid committing a provocation, especially on Twitter. “If you tweet something straight­forwardly feminist, you immediately get a wave of love and favorites, but if you tweet something in a cranky feminist mode then the opposite happens,” she told me. “The price is too high; you feel like there might be banishment waiting for you.” Social media, where swarms of jeering critics can materialize in an instant, paradoxically creates this feeling of isolation. “You do immediately get the sense that it’s one against millions, even though it’s not.” Subjects of these massed attacks often describe an impulse to withdraw.

Political correctness is a term whose meaning has been gradually diluted since it became a flashpoint 25 years ago. People use the phrase to describe politeness (perhaps to excess), or evasion of hard truths, or (as a term of abuse by conservatives) liberalism in general. The confusion has made it more attractive to liberals, who share the goal of combating race and gender bias.

But political correctness is not a rigorous commitment to social equality so much as a system of left-wing ideological repression. Not only is it not a form of liberalism; it is antithetical to liberalism. Indeed, its most frequent victims turn out to be liberals themselves.

I am white and male, a fact that is certainly worth bearing in mind. I was also a student at the University of Michigan during the Jacobsen incident, and was attacked for writing an article for the campus paper defending the exhibit. If you consider this background and demographic information the very essence of my point of view, then there’s not much point in reading any further. But this pointlessness is exactly the point: Political correctness makes debate irrelevant and frequently impossible.

Under p.c. culture, the same idea can be expressed identically by two people but received differently depending on the race and sex of the individuals doing the expressing. This has led to elaborate norms and terminology within certain communities on the left. For instance, “mansplaining,” a concept popularized in 2008 by Rebecca Solnit, who described the tendency of men to patronizingly hold forth to women on subjects the woman knows better — in Solnit’s case, the man in question mansplained her own book to her. The fast popularization of the term speaks to how exasperating the phenomenon can be, and mansplaining has, at times, proved useful in identifying discrimination embedded in everyday rudeness. But it has now grown into an all-purpose term of abuse that can be used to discredit any argument by any man. (MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry once disdainfully called White House press secretary Jay Carney’s defense of the relative pay of men and women in the administration “man­splaining,” even though the question he responded to was posed by a male.) Mansplaining has since given rise to “whitesplaining” and “straightsplaining.” The phrase “solidarity is for white women,” used in a popular hashtag, broadly signifies any criticism of white feminists by nonwhite ones.

If a person who is accused of bias attempts to defend his intentions, he merely compounds his own guilt. (Here one might find oneself accused of man/white/straightsplaining.) It is likewise taboo to request that the accusation be rendered in a less hostile manner. This is called “tone policing.” If you are accused of bias, or “called out,” reflection and apology are the only acceptable response — to dispute a call-out only makes it worse. There is no allowance in p.c. culture for the possibility that the accusation may be erroneous. A white person or a man can achieve the status of “ally,” however, if he follows the rules of p.c. dialogue. A community, virtual or real, that adheres to the rules is deemed “safe.” The extensive terminology plays a crucial role, locking in shared ideological assumptions that make meaningful disagreement impossible.

Nearly every time I have mentioned the subject of p.c. to a female writer I know, she has told me about Binders Full of Women Writers, an invitation-only Facebook group started last year for women authors. The name came from Mitt Romney’s awkwardly phrased debate boast that as Massachusetts governor he had solicited names of female candidates for high-level posts, and became a form of viral mockery. Binders was created to give women writers a “laid-back” and “no-pressure” environment for conversation and professional networking. It was an attempt to alleviate the systemic under­representation of women in just about every aspect of American journalism and literature, and many members initially greeted the group as a welcome and even exhilarating source of social comfort and professional opportunity. “Suddenly you had the most powerful women in journalism and media all on the same page,” one former member, a liberal journalist in her 30s, recalls.

Binders, however, soon found itself frequently distracted by bitter identity-­politics recriminations, endlessly litigating the fraught requirements of p.c. discourse. “This was the first time I had felt this new kind of militancy,” says the same member, who requested anonymity for fear that her opinions would make her employer uncomfortable. Another sent me excerpts of the types of discussions that can make the group a kind of virtual mental prison.

On July 10, for instance, one member in Los Angeles started a conversation urging all participants to practice higher levels of racial awareness. “Without calling anyone out specifically, I’m going to note that if you’re discussing a contentious thread, and shooting the breeze … take a look at the faces in the user icons in that discussion,” she wrote. “Binders is pretty diverse, but if you’re not seeing many WOC/non-binary POC in your discussion, it’s quite possible that there are problematic assumptions being stated without being challenged.” (“POC” stands for “people of color.” “WOC” means “women of color.” “Non-binary” describes people who are either transgender or identify as a gender other than traditionally male or female.)

Two members responded lightly, one suggesting that such “call-outs” be addressed in private conversation and another joking that she was a “gluten free Jewish WWC” — or Woman Without Color. This set off more jokes and a vicious backlash. “It seems appropriate to hijack my suggestion with jokes. I see,” the Los Angeles member replied. “Apparently whatever WOC have to say is good for snark and jokes,” wrote another. Others continued: “The level of belittling, derailing, crappy jokes, and all around insensitivity here is astounding and also makes me feel very unsafe in this Big Binder.” “It is literally fucking insane. I am appalled and embarrassed.”

The suggestion that a call-out be communicated privately met with even deeper rage. A poet in Texas: “I’m not about to private message folks who have problematic racist, transphobic, anti-immigrant, and/or sexist language.” The L.A. member: “Because when POC speak on these conversations with snark and upset, we get Tone Argumented at, and I don’t really want to deal with the potential harm to me and mine.” Another writer: “You see people suggesting that PMs are a better way to handle racism? That’s telling us we are too vocal and we should pipe down.” A white Toronto member, sensing the group had dramatically underreacted, moved to rectify the situation:


Every free society, facing the challenge of balancing freedom of expression against other values such as societal cohesion and tolerance, creates its own imperfect solution. France’s is especially convoluted and difficult to parse: It allows for satire and even blasphemy (like cartoons that run in Charlie Hebdo) but not for speech that incites violence toward individuals (like provocative comments made by the comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala). This may appear to Americans as a distinction without a difference, but our distinctions are also confused, as is our way of talking about free speech as it overlaps with our politics.

The right wing in the United States is unusually strong compared with other industrialized democracies, and it has spent two generations turning liberal into a feared buzzword with radical connotations. This long propaganda campaign has implanted the misperception — not only among conservatives but even many liberals — that liberals and “the left” stand for the same things.

It is true that liberals and leftists both want to make society more economically and socially egalitarian. But liberals still hold to the classic Enlightenment political tradition that cherishes individuals rights, freedom of expression, and the protection of a kind of free political marketplace. (So, for that matter, do most conservatives.)

The Marxist left has always dismissed liberalism’s commitment to protecting the rights of its political opponents — you know, the old line often misattributed to Voltaire, “I disapprove of what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it” — as hopelessly naïve. If you maintain equal political rights for the oppressive capitalists and their proletarian victims, this will simply keep in place society’s unequal power relations. Why respect the rights of the class whose power you’re trying to smash? And so, according to Marxist thinking, your political rights depend entirely on what class you belong to.

The modern far left has borrowed the Marxist critique of liberalism and substituted race and gender identities for economic ones. “The liberal view,” wrote MacKinnon 30 years ago, “is that abstract categories — like speech or equality — define systems. Every time you strengthen free speech in one place, you strengthen it everywhere. Strengthening the free speech of the Klan strengthens the free speech of Blacks.” She deemed this nonsensical: “It equates substantive powerlessness with substantive power and calls treating these the same, ‘equality.’?”

Political correctness appeals to liberals because it claims to represent a more authentic and strident opposition to their shared enemy of race and gender bias. And of course liberals are correct not only to oppose racism and sexism but to grasp (in a way conservatives generally do not) that these biases cast a nefarious and continuing shadow over nearly every facet of American life. Since race and gender biases are embedded in our social and familial habits, our economic patterns, and even our subconscious minds, they need to be fought with some level of consciousness. The mere absence of overt discrimination will not do.

Liberals believe (or ought to believe) that social progress can continue while we maintain our traditional ideal of a free political marketplace where we can reason together as individuals. Political correctness challenges that bedrock liberal ideal. While politically less threatening than conservatism (the far right still commands far more power in American life), the p.c. left is actually more philosophically threatening. It is an undemocratic creed.

Bettina Aptheker, a professor of feminist studies at the University of California–Santa Cruz, recently wrote an essay commemorating the Berkeley Free Speech movement, in which she participated as a student in 1964. She now expressed a newfound skepticism in the merits of free speech. “Freedom of speech is a constitutional guarantee, but who gets to exercise it without the chilling restraints of censure depends very much on one’s location in the political and social cartography,” she wrote. “We [Free Speech movement] veterans … were too young and inexperienced in 1964 to know this, but we do now, and we speak with a new awareness, a new consciousness, and a new urgency that the wisdom of a true freedom is inexorably tied to who exercises power and for what ends.”

These ideas have more than theoretical power. Last March at University of California–Santa Barbara, in, ironically, a “free-speech zone,” a 16-year-old anti-abortion protester named Thrin Short and her 21-year-old sister Joan displayed a sign arrayed with graphic images of aborted fetuses. They caught the attention of Mireille Miller-Young, a professor of feminist studies. Miller-Young, angered by the sign, demanded that they take it down. When they refused, Miller-Young snatched the sign, took it back to her office to destroy it, and shoved one of the Short sisters on the way.

Speaking to police after the altercation, Miller-Young told them that the images of the fetuses had “triggered” her and violated her “personal right to go to work and not be in harm.” A Facebook group called “UCSB Microaggressions” declared themselves “in solidarity” with Miller-Young and urged the campus “to provide as much support as possible.”

By the prevailing standards of the American criminal-justice system, Miller-Young had engaged in vandalism, battery, and robbery. By the logic of the p.c. movement, she was the victim of a trigger and had acted in the righteous cause of social justice. Her colleagues across the country wrote letters to the sentencing judge pleading for leniency. Jennifer Morgan, an NYU professor, blamed the anti-­abortion protesters for instigating the confrontation through their exercise of free speech. “Miller-Young’s actions should be mitigated both by her history as an educator as well as by her conviction that the [anti-abortion] images were an assault on her students,” Morgan wrote. Again, the mere expression of opposing ideas, in the form of a poster, is presented as a threatening act.

The website The Feminist Wire mounted an even more rousing defense of Miller-Young’s behavior. The whole idea that the professor committed a crime by stealing a sign and shoving away its owner turns out to be an ideological construct. “The ease with which privileged white, and particularly young white gender and sexually normative appearing women, make claims to ‘victimhood’ and ‘violation of property,’ is not a neutral move,” its authors argued. It concluded, “We issue a radical call for accountability to questions of history, representation, and the racialized gendering of tropes of ‘culpability’ and ‘innocence’ when considering Dr. Miller-Young’s case.”

These are extreme ideas, but they are neither isolated nor marginal. A widely cited column by a Harvard Crimson editorial writer last year demanded an end to academic freedom if freedom extended to objectionable ideas. “If our university community opposes racism, sexism, and heterosexism,” asked the author, “why should we put up with research that counters our goals simply in the name of ‘academic freedom’?” After the Nation’s Michelle Goldberg denounced a “growing left-wing tendency toward censoriousness and hair-trigger offense,” Rutgers professor Brittney Cooper replied in Salon: “The demand to be reasonable is a disingenuous demand. Black folks have been reasoning with white people forever. Racism is unreasonable, and that means reason has limited currency in the fight against it.”

The most probable cause of death of the first political-correctness movement was the 1992 presidential election. That event mobilized left-of-center politics around national issues like health care and the economy, and away from the introspective suppression of dissent within the academy. Bill Clinton’s campaign frontally attacked left-wing racial politics, famously using inflammatory comments by Sister Souljah to distance him from Jesse Jackson. Barbara Jordan, the first black woman from a southern state elected to the House of Representatives, attacked political correctness in her keynote speech. (“We honor cultural identity. We always have; we always will. But separatism is not allowed. Separatism is not the American way. We must not allow ideas like political correctness to divide us and cause us to reverse hard-won achievements in human rights and civil rights.”)

Yet it is possible to imagine that, as the next Clinton presidential campaign gets under way, p.c. culture may not dissolve so easily. The internet has shrunk the distance between p.c. culture and mainstream liberal politics, and the two are now hopelessly entangled. During the 2008 primary contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the modern politics of grievance had already begun to play out, as each side’s supporters patrolled the other for any comment that might indicate gender or racial bias. It dissipated in the general election, but that was partly because Obama’s supporters worried about whether America really was ready to accept its first president who was not a white male. Clinton enters the 2016 race in a much stronger position than any other candidate, and her supporters may find it irresistible to amplify p.c. culture’s habit of interrogating the hidden gender biases in every word and gesture against their side.

Or maybe not. The p.c. style of politics has one serious, possibly fatal drawback: It is exhausting. Claims of victimhood that are useful within the left-wing subculture may alienate much of America. The movement’s dour puritanism can move people to outrage, but it may prove ill suited to the hopeful mood required of mass politics. Nor does it bode well for the movement’s longevity that many of its allies are worn out. “It seems to me now that the public face of social liberalism has ceased to seem positive, joyful, human, and freeing,” confessed the progressive writer Freddie deBoer. “There are so many ways to step on a land mine now, so many terms that have become forbidden, so many attitudes that will get you cast out if you even appear to hold them. I’m far from alone in feeling that it’s typically not worth it to engage, given the risks.” Goldberg wrote recently about people “who feel emotionally savaged by their involvement in [online feminism] — not because of sexist trolls, but because of the slashing righteousness of other feminists.” Former Feministing editor Samhita Mukhopadhyay told her, “Everyone is so scared to speak right now.”

That the new political correctness has bludgeoned even many of its own supporters into despondent silence is a triumph, but one of limited use. Politics in a democracy is still based on getting people to agree with you, not making them afraid to disagree. The historical record of political movements that sought to expand freedom for the oppressed by eliminating it for their enemies is dismal. The historical record of American liberalism, which has extended social freedoms to blacks, Jews, gays, and women, is glorious. And that glory rests in its confidence in the ultimate power of reason, not coercion, to triumph.


Mark Steyn on the big Jenner celebration

In a not terribly long life, I have known well three transsexuals (as we used to say), and another three not so well. Not because I especially sought out their company, but just because I've spent a lot of my time around theatre and music and areas that attract those who feel "different". Two of those three friends I didn't know were transsexual until they were "outed", one very publicly - although with hindsight certain curious aspects of both their physiognomy and behavior suddenly made a lot more sense.

But that's the point: Even those far closer to them than I was weren't aware - because back then the object of having a "sex change" (also as we used to say) was to change from being a man to being a woman. There were still only two teams and you were simply crossing over to bat for the other side. The trans-life had little in common with "gay pride" - because the object wasn't to come out of the closet, but to blend into it so smoothly no one would know you hadn't always been there. Before their outing, the two ladies in question were more lady-ier than thou: both used to show up once a month with a box of Tampax discreetly poking out from the top of their handbags - even though, as we all understood in retrospect, they had no need of it. But they had chosen to live as women, and so they wished to be as other women. And they were mortified when they were exposed.

This was the conventional view as late as the Nineties, when Armistead Maupin's celebration of the gay life,"Tales Of The City", became must-see TV for sophisticated liberals on Britain's Channel 4 and America's PBS. The big plot point was the matriarch Mrs Madrigal (Olympia Dukakis) "revealing" her "secret" - that she was not born a woman.

To be sure, as the chromosomocentrists argue, one cannot, biologically, "change sex". But I'll skip that argument, because, as usual, social conservatives are fighting over ground the left has already scorched and moved on from for new conquests. I have no great objection to a grown man who "identifies" as a woman and wishes to live as one. Guys have been doing that, to one degree or another, throughout history, and all that's happened is that cosmetic surgery has caught up with their desires. If half the women in California can walk around with breast implants, I don't see why the chaps can't.

But the chromosomocentrists are missing the point. The left's saying, "Yeah, XY chromosomes, big deal. You're right, but so what? No one's saying she's a woman. We're saying she's a transwoman - a new, separate and way more glamorous category that's taking its seat at the American table and demanding public affirmation. This isn't your father's sex change. Changing from man to woman is so last century."

The coronation of Caitlyn is ultimately not about the right to choose which of the two old teams you want to play on. It's about creating a cool new team. The "T" was always the relatively sleepy end of LGBT, and didn't ostensibly have much in common with the other three-quarters of the acronym. The company it keeps only makes sense if the object of transitioning is not to "pass" but to create a new assertive identity group in and of itself.

So far it's going gangbusters. Hence, the congratulatory Tweets from both Barack and Michelle Obama, and the instant conferral of the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage - but also the immediate ruthless pronoun enforcement by The Washington Post and the Twitter-lynching of Tom Cruise's kid and Snoop Dogg merely for having the lèse-majesté to suggest that, on the one hand, war, poverty and over-fishing and, on the other, solar power for Africa might be more important than some Z-list reality-TV celeb showing off her new rack. (Michael E Mann, the celebrated Doctor Fraudpants lui-mème, would certainly agree with young Master Cruise and Mr Dogg that "climate change" ought to be our paramount concern. But, unlike them, he doesn't have the guts to Tweet that NOAA's adjustment of their figures is a far bigger story than Caitlyn's adjustment of hers.)

And then there's the Vanity Fair cover itself: Caitlyn unveiled in her 1950s cheesecake shot. She hasn't completed her "transition"; she's just at the beginning of it - and, as all the world knows, she still has the old wedding tackle. Apropos the discreet swell in the crotch of her Grace Kelly bathing suit, some wag said Caitlyn Jenner is the most prominent Republican ever to appear on the front of Vanity Fair cover. Be that as it may, we are being invited to admire her not as a woman but as a transwoman - and to accept, as perforce the creator of the now passé Vagina Monologues has been forced to do, that there is such a thing as a woman with a penis. Miss Jenner herself is unclear whether she'll go all the way, or whether, in her new identity, she'll have sex with women or men or both, with or without the meat and two veg.

The economic historian Deirdre McCloskey, who used to be the economic historian Donald McCloskey, wrote an account of her own experience in The Des Moines Register:

    "My dean at the University of Iowa, Gary Fethke, said at first when I came out, in a little comedy act, "This is great for our affirmative action program: one less man, one more woman!" Gary, like me, is a free-market economist. So his next joke was, "Thank God! I thought you were going to tell me you were converting to socialism!"

In Caitlyn Jenner's case, she actually did convert to the Republican Party, which may yet prove an unfortunate complicating factor. But Dean Fethke's gentle jokes are a normal, human reaction to the situation - the G-rated version of what happened to another acquaintance of mine, a prodigiously talented arranger and composer called Angela Morley. You won't know her name, but if you watched TV in the Eighties you surely heard her music - on "Dallas", "Dynasty", "The Colbys", "Wonder Woman", "Falcon Crest", "Cagney & Lacey", and on and on.

Thirty years earlier, she'd been a household name in Britain, although not as "Angela Morley". Back then, she was Wally Stott, and the house conductor for the BBC's most popular radio comedy, "The Goons". It was the Prince of Wales' favorite show when he was a boy, and he can still do all the silly voices. A little of it goes a long way with me, but Wally Stott's music was very adroit. He was a very deft comical composer in those days: The tuba theme he wrote for the lugubrious comedian Tony Hancock on "Hancock's Half Hour" is ingenious: It says that character, which is what the best themes do.

The sex change happened in 1972, and shortly thereafter Angela moved to America. Indeed, it seemed less of a sex change than a total lifestyle upgrade, as thorough as the Cinderella transformation in the film she scored so beautifully, The Slipper And The Rose. You can't ask for a better name for a jobbing musician in northern England grubbing around for ten shillings a week with Bert Clegg's orchestra at the Empress Ballroom than stolid working-class "Wally Stott". Conversely, "Angela Morley" is perfumed with the heady swirl of Oscar and Emmy ceremonies and Hollywood parties with Larry Hagman and Henry Mancini.

It wasn't quite that instant a transformation. She was the conductor of the BBC Radio Orchestra at the time of her operation, and there was a lot of tittering about Wally losing his baton. The boys in the band weren't entirely sure what to make of it when Wally Stott conducted his last session and then Peter Knight filled in until their conductor returned in her new guise as Angela Morley. Studio musicians are among my favorite people but it has to be said they're not always the most sensitive. So things were a bit awkward when their old boss walked in and took the podium but this time with a stylish silk skirt swishing against his - er, her hosiery. Eventually, Stan Roderick, the BBC's splendid first trumpet, broke the silence. "Fancy a shag?" he asked.

She didn't, but the session proceeded smoothly thereafer. Angela Morley was a first-class musican, and happy in her new life - although one couldn't but notice with the onset of age that, as with most transsexuals, the unwanted mannishness lurking deep down keeps trying to re-emerge in one's features. Professor McCloskey writes:

    "I couldn't at age 53 "become" a woman in genes or life history, no more than Jenner can at age 65. Yet I could and did present as a woman, and Iowans were mostly calm about it. I'm calm, too, now a church lady (Episcopalian, the Frozen Chosen), younger sister and daughter, at 72 still working, if you call the work I love "working." Gender change is a distinctly minority desire — maybe one in 200 or 300 born girls or boys".

At a certain basic level, Professor McCloskey understands that she is not a woman, but she chooses to live as one. She's talking the way Angela Morley talked - about wanting to "present as a woman" and carry on doing what you love, whether teaching history or conducting orchestras. But Caitlyn Jenner is instead "presenting" as a transwoman, and blazing a new trail in self-definition. Why she's doing it is obvious: she's got a reality-TV series, and she wants it to open big, and have people stick with her as she explores various options for her new sexuality with whatever genitalia she decides to go for. She is, in that sense, transitioning from a Jenner to a full-blown Kardashian. But the broader movement - the Big Gay enforcers - have signed on because of the opportunity it affords, to validate a glamorous, fashionable, expandable, elite, noisy, assertive identity-group category and further demolish the old ones.

Hence the backlash against those who step out of line. Tom Cruise's son? Oh, he totally lost it in a "hateful rant" of "off-color transphobic remarks":

    "Don't get me wrong. Do what you feel like doing and don't let anyone stop you. But everyone is taking this way too seriously... There are so many more important things that should be talked about.  "I'm totally supportive of people staying true to themselves and finding true happiness in whatever way they can," he continued. "There are just more things that we as a nation and as a planet should be talking about and working on."

As Evan Real responded for real:

    "Geez, tell us how you really feel, Connor!.. Sorry Mr. Cruise, but what really needs to change is your attitude!"

This Evan Real wallah is the usual metrosexual pajama boy favored by today's media, but this is apparently how he really really really really feels!!! It's not enough to say "do what you feel like doing" and "I'm totally supportive of people finding true happiness": you have to accept that this is the most important and transformative event of our time. Why else would the President and First Lady be Tweeting their support? Screw climate change, you bigot!

Now imagine you're like the parents of that kid in British Columbia. You notice your Second Grader seems to prefer Barbie to GI Joe, and one day you caught him walking around in his big sister's princess slippers. And maybe it's just a phase, but the doctor and the school guidance counselor are all eager to get him transitioning. And deep down you're not really on board with it, but you remember with that Olympics winner who's something to do with the Kardashians how everyone jumped all over people who weren't celebratory, even Snoop Dogg, who's one mean muthaf**ker, but Big Gay still clubbed him to a pulp like he's some weedy easy-listening lounge act, even when he wanted to talk about green energy, which is like the most pressing, urgent, important subject ever...

Except for Caitlyn, and her "bravery".

It takes an awful lot to push back against that level of cultural enforcement.

What happened this week was a strange mix of Huxley and Orwell, Brave New World and 1984, hedonism and totalitarianism, sexual diversity and ruthless conformity in everything else - a stiletto heel stamping on a human face, forever.

Or until the mullahs take over.


Alveda King: Liberal Race Baiting Is Tired, Sagging and Outdated

For decades, the liberal camp has stirred up the emotions of the African American Community with reminders of our victimization from first slavery and then segregation and racism. Yet, in the midst of all our oppression, we have always managed to rise to the surface, and even ascend to the peaks of promise, stepping over the boulders of despair that would try to hold us back.

My grandfather, Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr. often quoted his mentor Dr. Benjamin E. Mays. During his lifetime, Dr. Mays was President of Morehouse College in Atlanta. Many of the men of our family, including Daddy AD King and Uncle ML King, like Granddaddy, are "Morehouse Men."

Dr. Mays would say: "No one can ride your back unless it is bent." Granddaddy always taught us to "stand up straight and walk tall because God is on our side."

When I hear Mrs. Senator Hillary Clinton or Mrs. Michelle Obama, or Al Sharpton, or other leading speakers stir up memories of racial unrest and oppression, even when they are pointing out the obvious current racial overtones and undertones that Blacks in America are still facing, I don't hear hope. They don't offer solutions, only more anger, pain and despair.

As a survivor of the 20th Century Race Wars, my back remains unbent, and I move forward for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all who were created equal in God's eyes.

In my book “KING RULES,” I write about the "Beloved Community" our legacy embraces. I write about Acts 17:26, where we discover that the human race is born of "one blood." So we are not even "separate races." This reminds us that what Uncle ML said is true: "We must all learn to live together as brothers [and sisters] or perish as fools."

Please, someone, remind speakers like Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Clinton that the answer to racial strife and confusion, in fact to all human issues, will always be love and nonviolent conflict resolution.

Kitchen table issues affect the rich and the poor alike.  How will we feed our families, how will we educate our children, how will we manage successful career strategies, how will we improve our quality of life? It doesn't matter how much we are able to pay for these benefits. The American Dream is that everyone will have some form of satisfaction, free from fear of danger, poverty and harm.

We still have a dream, The American Dream.


Remember the Story of the Muslim Woman Denied a Can of Coke? It Might be a Hoax

It wouldn't be another hostile and lying Muslim, would it?

Last week, I expressed some exasperation with the idea that CNN was leading its website with unsubstantiated claims from a Muslim women that a United flight attendant had denied her an unopened can of Coke because she could potentially use the can as a weapon.

While the point of my post was to note that the only reason why such a minor incident made national news was to advance the bogus liberal narrative that America is beset with Islamophobia, some folks on Twitter called me out for questioning whether we were getting the whole story.

The breathless CNN report was based almost entirely on the woman’s social media post, yet the left side of the internet erupted as if the story were undeniable fact.

 Well, thanks to Mark Hemingway at the Weekly Standard, we know there is at least one competing account. Here it is, from a person claiming to be a passenger on the same flight:

To be clear, I have no idea which account is closer to the truth, but I agree completely with Hemingway — the story was a “complete and total perversion of journalism.” As he notes, “[I]t is inexcusable to turn someone’s one-sided Facebook post into a national news story without making an effort to verify the details.” I suppose, however, when the left has a politically correct narrative to advance, the “facts” are just too good to check.



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 June, 2014

Immigrants who beat their children should get special treatment, says British judge
Immigrants should be allowed to “slap and hit” their children because of a “different cultural context” when they are new arrivals in Britain, a High Court judge suggested yesterday.

Mrs Justice Pauffley indicated police and social services should make allowances for immigrant groups, as she heard an application from an Indian man alleged to have beaten his wife and seven-year-old son.

The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said in evidence heard by the court he was hit on the back and leg with a “long belt”.

The father denied ever using a belt to strike the child but admitted he would deliver a “slap or a tap” to “keep him disciplined".

In her ruling the judge concluded: "I do not believe there was punitively harsh treatment of [the boy] of the kind that would merit the term physical abuse.

"Proper allowance must be made for what is, almost certainly, a different cultural context.  "Within many communities newly arrived in this country, children are slapped and hit for misbehaviour in a way which at first excites the interest of child protection professionals."

She added: "In this instance ... (the boy) did not appear to have suffered more than sadness and transient pain from what was done to him."

The Children’s Act 2004 made it illegal for parents in England and Wales to chastise children if blows led to bruising, swelling, cuts, grazes or scratches, with the offence carrying up to five years’ imprisonment.

Philip Hollobone, the Conservative MP for Kettering, said: “We simply can’t have a situation where different rules apply to families from different family backgrounds.  “The law of the land should apply equally regardless of the heritage of the children involved.  “Children with Indian heritage deserve the same protection in law as white British children.”

He added: “I really do wonder sometimes whether judges in our senior courts have adequate training for some of the cases that come before them.”

Mrs Justice Pauffley, sitting in the Family Division of the High Court in London, heard the boy's parents met and married in India a decade ago.  They travelling to Britain on a six-month visa but failed to return when the visas ran out and became "overstayers", the court heard.

The husband was arrested on suspicion of assaulting his wife but was released on bail and told to stay away from her and the youngster.  He then launched family court litigation in October last year asking a judge to return the boy to his care.

The judge said she had been asked to make preliminary decisions about whether - on a balance of probabilities - the man had attacked his wife and son.

The boy made "physical assault allegations" about his father and told investigators: "With his belt, he kind of hits me."  He described being hit on his back and leg with a "long belt".

The youngster was asked how he felt and replied: "Sad ... But I'm little brave ... I'm not scared of him... But normally I'm sad.”

He "nodded his head" when asked whether it hurt, or left marks and whether they "went quite quickly".

Mrs Justice Pauffley said the man denied ever striking his son "with a belt or otherwise".

Asked to describe what he meant by a "slap or a tap" the father said: "This was not to slap [the boy] badly but to keep him disciplined".

Mrs Justice Pauffley concluded the man had not physically abused his son but had subjected his wife to a "horribly aggressive and violent assault".

The judge said he attempted to strangle her and "violently pushed" her, leaving the woman extremely distressed and the boy "worried, even terrified".

Mrs Justice Pauffley gave no detail about the progress of any police investigation.

The judge, Dame Anna Pauffley, 59, has sat in the Family Division since 2003 and has one step son and two step daughters with her husband, whom she married in 2001.


Rev. Graham to Bruce Jenner: ‘Changing the Outside Doesn’t Change the Inside’

In reference to ex-Olympian Bruce Jenner’s pretend transition into a woman through some surgery, long hair, and lots of makeup, Rev. Franklin Graham said you can change the outside but not the inside because “no man-made modification can fix” what is broken in the heart – only God can fix that.

“In Vanity Fair’s cover story about Bruce Jenner’s gender change, the author talks as if Bruce and his newly chosen identity of ‘Caitlyn’ are two separate people,” said Rev. Graham in a June 2 post on Facebook.  “Bruce’s son Burt said, ‘I have high hopes that Caitlyn is a better person than Bruce.’”

“The article also says Jenner openly acknowledges mistakes made with his children as Bruce, ‘and expresses genuine regret,’” reported Rev. Graham, adding,  “I have news for them—changing the outside doesn’t change the inside.”

“No man-made modification can fix what’s wrong with the heart,” said the reverend.  “Only God can fix the human heart.”

“If we ask for His forgiveness and accept by faith His Son, Jesus Christ, He will wipe the slate clean,” said Franklin Graham, son of world-renowned pastor Billy Graham.  “The Bible says, ‘Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new’ (2 Corinthians 5:17).”


The New BDS Challenges

by HERBERT LONDON (Big Herb is in his mid 70s now. I have been reading him for around 40 years and he is still spot on IMHO)

A growing global pro-Palestinian movement to boycott Israel took on new proportions when the top executive of Orange, a leading French telecommunications company, said he would withdraw from the Israeli market if he could.

Britain's National Union of Students voted recently to align itself with the goals of the boycott movement, following a series of similar symbolic moves on American campuses.

Symbols count. For many, what they want to believe is what they consider true. Needless to say, many in the Middle East do not believe in Israel's existence. To cite yet another example, Harper Collins one of the world's largest publishing houses, sold English language atlases to schools in the Middle East that omit the state of Israel.

As a Harper Collins official noted the inclusion of Israel in a map of the Middle East was "unacceptable" to customers in the Gulf and was resistant to "local preferences." Some Customs Officers in an unnamed Gulf country only permitted the import of atlases when Israel had been deleted by hand.

There is little doubt about the motive of this deletion: An effort was made to delegitimize Israel using sales success as tactical ploy. With pressure, Harper Collins apologized for the omission and removed the doctored atlases from sale in the territories.

Yet even though Harper Collins ultimately made the right decision, there will be other attempts to delegitimize Israel. The BDS movement (boycott, divestment, sanctions) has been referred to as the latest form of anti-zionism and, yes, even anti-semitism. But while the strategy may be familiar, i.e. demonize Israel, the tactics are different. The BDS movement is a triple threat embracing politics, culture, and economics.

It has gone after Soda Stream, a company once housed in the West Bank. The BDS movement has attempted to exclude Israeli professors from international conferences. It has attacked Israeli tennis and soccer players at international tournaments. And it attempted to oust Israel from FIFA, soccer's global governing body. It has excoriated performers over their appearances on an Israeli stage. BDS acolytes have organized petitions and demonstrations at campuses across the globe.

This is in essence a systematic effort to undermine Israel as a nation, to isolate it as a pariah state. The often hostile action of proponents appears as a form of anti-semitism. While this contention is routinely denied, it is important to note that Israel is a sanctuary for Jews threated and persecuted in other venues. It is not merely a home, but a retreat against bigotry. Israel was not founded on the ashes of the holocaust, but the slaughter of six million Jews is a reminder that Israel is the last line of defense against the growing horde of terrorists.

Moreover, the BDS movement is clever and shadowy. It claims to be an extension of human rights efforts. But whose rights are being violated? Those who have challenged BDS adherents like Scarlet Johannsson and Lady Gaga are to be commended. Yet the risk for the opposition is high since the proponents of the movement are relentless and new avenues are explored each day for the expression of hate and recrimination.

Alterations on a map seem innocent enough. And who cares whether a rocker can perform in Tel Aviv. The BDS adherents are merely expressing another point of view, say some supporters. Alas, these matters aren't trivial because the assumptions that undergird the BDS movement, particularly the arguments surrounding the founding of the Israeli state, are fraught with lies and deception and are designed to mobilize public opinion and action against the only genuinely democratic state in the Middle East.

Lies, however, are not easily challenged when students at American universities are propagandized by a host of professors who assign Edward Said's Orientalism as if it were The Holy Bible. This widely disseminated text makes the claim Israel is a colonizing state exploiting the Palestinian population. Claims of this kind ignore the complicated historical record to make a point; a point used by activists to demonize the state of Israel.

BDS is now something of a rallying cry on American colleges. Seven of the ten student councils in the University of California system have adopted the BDS agenda. Opposition voices have been shouted down, in many cases with open debate on the issues considered an outmoded notion. For proponents, claims are dispositive; as they see it, it is time to stop talking and act.

The well-organized and financed Muslim Student Association is in the vanguard of the BDS movement. It is instructive that this organization is joined by Jewish groups such as J Street and the New Israel Fund that believe sanctions against Israel will lead to a more accommodative position with the Palestinian authority than the Netanyahu government has displayed thus far.

The favorite tactics of BDS proponents is generally fear. In order to create anxiety, flyers are distributed in student dorms telling undergraduates that as a result of administration decisions, they must leave their rooms by the following morning. Presumably this is an attempt to illustrate the horror associated with those who were obliged to leave their homes at the outbreak of the 1948 War for Independence. On every level this is a reenactment of the theater of the absurd. It is designed to instill emotion instead of reasonable analysis and it misreads the historical record.

But analysis doesn't count in the hothouse of resentment. BDS is on the march at many universities that largely cave into the well-financed voices of anger


The case for Israel is rooted in more than security

by Jeff Jacoby

NOSES WENT out of joint and knickers got in a twist when Israel's new deputy foreign minister delivered her inaugural speech to the Jewish state's diplomatic corps.

"We need to get back to the basic truth of our right to this land," said Tzipi Hotovely, who is running the foreign ministry's day-to-day operations, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu retains the title of foreign minister. The land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people, she declared, and their claim to it is as old as the Bible. "It's important to say this" when making Israel's case before the world, and not to focus solely on Israel's security interests. Of course security is a profound concern, Hotovely observed, but arguments grounded in justice, morality, and deep historical rights are stronger. She even quoted the medieval Jewish sage Rashi, who wrote that Genesis opens with God's creation of the world to preempt any subsequent charge that the Jewish claim to the land was without merit.

Needless to say, Hotovely's message was scorned on the left as primitive zealotry. "Her remarks raised eyebrows among many in the audience," the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported. One diplomat said his colleagues "were in shock" at the suggestion that they should cite the Torah when advocating for Israel abroad.

Diplomacy is not Bible class. Yet why should Israel and its envoys shrink from making the fullest defense of Jewish rights in what was always the Jewish homeland? Though modern Zionism didn't arise as a political movement until the 1800s, the land of Israel has always been at the core of Jews' national consciousness. Even during 19 centuries of exile, Jewish life in Israel (renamed "Palestine" by the Romans) never ceased. In all those years, no other people ever claimed the land as their country, or built it into their own nation-state.

Jewish sovereignty wasn't regained by downplaying the historical and religious bonds linking the Jews to the land. World leaders and opinion-makers didn't regard those links with patronizing disdain; many found them intensely compelling.

In 1891, alarmed by reports of Jews being massacred in Russia, hundreds of prominent Americans signed a petition urging the restoration of Palestine to Jewish rule. "According to God's distribution of nations it is their home, an inalienable possession from which they were expelled by force," declared the petition, among whose signatories were the chief justice of the Supreme Court, the speaker of the House of Representatives, future President William McKinley, and scores of influential industrialists, bankers, educators, and journalists. (One of them was Charles H. Taylor, the first publisher of the Boston Globe).

Twenty-five years later, when Britain famously committed itself to "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people," its motives were not only strategic and pragmatic, but religious. Prime Minister David Lloyd George and Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour spoke feelingly of Jewish history. "I could tell you all the kings of Israel," Lloyd George said, recalling his school days, "but I doubt whether I could have named half a dozen of the kings of England."

President Woodrow Wilson, whose father was a Presbyterian minister, also endorsed the Zionist cause. "To think," he later exclaimed, "that I, the son of the manse, should be able to help restore the Holy Land to its people!" Still more enchanted with the revival of Jewish governance in the Jewish homeland was Harry Truman, whose lifelong study of the Bible strengthened his conviction that the Jews had a legitimate historical right to Palestine.

The immemorial Jewish bond with the land is even enshrined in international law. When the League of Nations set the terms of the Mandate for Palestine in 1922, it unanimously recognized "the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine" and the justice of "reconstituting their national home in that country." It was essential, wrote Winston Churchill at the time, to stress that the Jews were "in Palestine as of right and not on sufferance," and that the Jewish national home there "be formally recognized to rest upon ancient historic connection."

Israel has gained nothing from its unwillingness to vigorously assert the Jewish claim to the land as a matter of historical justice and biblical legitimacy. It has only made it easier for its enemies to promote a false narrative of Zionist aggression and illegal occupation. Hotovely may have "raised eyebrows" in exhorting Israel's diplomats to focus unapologetically on Jewish rights and history, but the record is clear: Those are the arguments that have always gained the most traction.

To repeat: Diplomacy isn't Bible class. But the strongest case for Israel is rooted in something more transcendent than security. Even now, according to the Pew Research Center, 44 percent of American adults — and 55 percent of American Christians — believe that Jews have a God-given right to the land of Israel. A backward superstition? On the contrary. The Jewish nation's ties to its homeland are an enduring element of the human story, and an asset that Israel underrates at its peril.


The LGBT Lobby: Not The Same Thing as People Who Are Homosexual

by Benjamin Harris-Quinney

I was railed against last week for being “homophobic” for suggesting last year at a Christian conference that the “LGBT lobby” had become an overly influential facet of British public life, independent from the reality of the wishes of desires of the nation, gay or otherwise. That was before “Gay Pride” banned LGBT UKIP from attending their annual march, whose members, despite being gay, were not deemed to be “LGBT friendly.” It served to underline my point.

In the media today, we hear often of the views of “the black community”, “the gay community”, “the Polish community”, but despite this identity politics being so prevalent, these so called communities simply do not exist.

There is not a single viewpoint that unites all gay people, black people or Polish people, that doesn’t unite all of humanity. It is the madness of our age that concludes equality and cohesion can be achieved by separation and unequal treatment.

The “LGBT lobby” comprises a number of groups, perhaps most notably Stonewall, The Peter Tatchell Foundation, and Pink News, who between them have an estimated budget of more than £10 million. These organisations have clearly defined aims, which they intend to spend their money on persuading politicians, celebrities and media outlets to agree with. This is how politics works in Britain, and it is how we have allowed minority advocacy groups a grip over the majority of our citizenry.

The fact is, the “LGBT lobby” does not speak for gay people, it speaks for itself. The great trap for lobby groups is that once they are founded and funded, like any bureaucracy, they go far beyond their initial, often single issue scope, chiefly in the cause of maintaining their new found power in the political spectrum and the careers of those involved.

The message went out in 2012 from self appointed spokesmen like Peter Tatchell, that gay marriage was the final step in achieving equality for gay people in the UK. Same Sex Marriage has been passed, and yet there are more LGBT advocacy groups in Britain than there have ever been, with more funding than they have ever had.

The danger of lobbying more generally is that it grants disproportionate influence to issues and groups because they have money, not because they speak for many people, or even any people.

Sir Ian McKellen, a founder of the Stonewall lobby group spoke this week, in a moment of disarming truth, of the power of Westminster LGBT lobbyists: “It’s astonishing for a Tory Prime Minister to insist on gay marriage, dragging the party behind him.

“It’s possible because we live in a small country and you only have to persuade about 50 people, all of whom live within sight of this window, and if they agree, they can have it in law within a year. Americans have to slog through every state.”

Many gay Christians have experienced the same exclusion from LGBT groups and events as UKIP has experienced this week, and I have had a large number of conversations and debates with members of LGBT advocacy groups where they refuse to accept that anyone who is gay might not support same sex marriage. Such is the vitriol and hysteria of their politics. I was told that any gay person who does not support gay marriage is “either not really gay or insane.”

And much of the “LGBT lobby” is defined by being exclusive, not inclusive. These are groups advocating tolerance, but by their own newfound hubris display their clear intolerance of any viewpoint or background that differs even slightly from their own extremely narrow view and desire for society. They have become an even more extreme version of exclusivity and elitism than their founding thinkers initially set out to break down.

It has reached the point of such ridicule where many in the movement believe they have the ability and right not only to decide if an individual is worthy of taking part in their purportedly inclusive events and organisation, but to decide if they are worthy of even being considered gay.

Today’s liberals speak off the cuff about the importance of hearing everyone’s views, but then appear disgusted when they learn that there are other views.

Almost every public figure is terrified of challenging both the unchecked march of LGBT lobby groups and the rise of the fascism of “liberal intolerance”, for fear of being labelled a “homophobe”, “racist” or any number of other modish, progressive buzzwords.

It would be a fair assessment to suggest that the “LGBT lobby” is more powerful now in terms of influence than it has ever been, more so even than the Christian lobby, which dominated the governance of this nation for a thousand years.

Times change, power shifts, but the measure of the powerful is how they treat those who are not, and I would suggest the “LGBT lobby” is, in record time, well on its way to learning the ancient political tale of hubris: nemesis.



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 June, 2014

Christianity’s Revolutionary Recognition of Women as Equals

Marriage has been universal to civilization with most marriage ceremonies involving religion. Yet for years, traditional marriage and the family have been subjected to secular ridicule, with the family increasingly politicized and socialized by “progressive” government bureaucracies. The result has been an unprecedented decline of the family in America, producing increasing rates of non-marital births, divorces, juvenile crime, substance abuse, and other pathologies. This trend can be reversed, however, because the progressive narrative that supports it is unfounded and easily refuted.

The biblical account of marriage begins with one man and one woman: “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them.’” And, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” Jesus later called humanity back to these records (Matthew 19:4–5, Mark 10:6–8), and the Christian story is viewed as ending with the wedding of Christ with His bride, the Church, from which all Christian discussions of marriage stem.

In Christianity, marriage is hence a sacred union of the highest order. However, since the Enlightenment, secularism has defined marriage as a civil union. Many academics view traditional marriage as a patriarchy to dominate and oppress women, all supported by Christian despots. Such a narrative is based on the theory that primitive mankind was egalitarian, matrilineal, and socialist, with communal sexual relations, despite the biological and kinship basis of heterosexual pairing.

However, for thousands of years around the world, a wife was considered a husband’s property. In ancient Jewish communities, almost every adult was married. By age thirteen, a man chose a wife who was betrothed and considered married. The man headed the family, with the wife his property. In the Greco-Roman pagan world, marriage was reserved for citizens, and a woman shared her husband’s station as mother of his children, but she and the offspring were his.

While adultery was prohibited for women, no fidelity obligation existed for men. Older men could force marriage on pre-pubescent girls and compel them to have abortions, usually certain death for not only the baby but also the girl. Moreover, according to sociologist and historian Rodney Stark in his Pulitzer-Prize Finalist book The Rise of Christianity, infanticide was a commonplace, with baby girls disproportionately abandoned, resulting in “131 males per 100 females in the city of Rome, and 140 males per 100 females in Italy, Asia Minor, and North Africa.”

Only with the arrival of Christianity did the status of women change as obligations were placed on husbands. As Stark has shown, “Christians condemned promiscuity in men as well as in women and stressed the obligations of husbands toward wives as well as those of wives toward husbands.... The symmetry of the relationship Paul described was at total variance not only with pagan culture but with Jewish culture as well.”

Stark shows that Christianity recognized women as equal to men, all sacred to God. Christian wives did not have abortions (neither did Jewish wives), and Christians opposed infanticide, polygamy, incest, divorce, and adultery—all to women’s benefit. No longer serfs to men, women had dignity, were not rushed into marriages, and served as leaders in rapidly growing Christian communities. Christian women married older than pagans and into more secure families, had better marriages, were not forced to remarry if widowed, and were given assistance when needed. Stark notes Paul’s teaching:

But because of the temptation to immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not rule over her own body, but the husband does; likewise the husband does not rule over his own body, but the wife does.

Thus, the progressive narrative upon which contemporary, anti-family policies rest, is false. Only through Christianity did women receive full marriage rights and gender equality in fidelity. The private, monogamous family has served the human needs for love and companionship, economic and social well-being, and the rearing of children. Abandoning these lessons is at the root of the modern decline of the family, and government can only further undermine the rights and benefits that have uplifted the lives of countless men, women, and children through Christian-inspired marriage. To restore the family, civic and religious leaders must challenge such folly to achieve the needed privatization and de-politicization reforms.


Actor Patrick Stewart Sides With Christian Bakers Who Refused to Make Gay Marriage Cake

Longtime LGBT advocate and actor Patrick Stewart has sided with Christian bakers in Northern Ireland who refused to write the words, “support gay marriage” on a cake.

"It was the actual words on the cake they objected to," Stewart told BBC's "Newsnight" Thursday. "I would support their rights to say, 'No, this is personally offensive to my beliefs, I will not do it.'"

Ashers Baking Company was found guilty of discrimination and ordered to pay $978 to Gareth Lee, who had asked them to bake a cake with Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie underneath the words, “Support Gay Marriage” for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia last year. After initially accepting the order, the bakery called Lee two days later to cancel.

“Finally I found myself on the side of the bakers,” said Stewart, who starred in the “Star Trek” TV show and the “X-Men” movie. “It was not because this was a gay couple they objected. It was not because they were going to be celebrating some kind of marriage. It was the actual words on the cake they objected to, they found them offensive.”

Judge Isobel Brownlie ruled that the McArthurs, who own the bakery, directly discriminated against Lee, “for which there can be no justification.”

“The defendants are not a religious organisation. They are conducting a business for profit and, notwithstanding their genuine religious beliefs, there are no exceptions available under the 2006 regulations which apply to this case,” Brownlie added.

“Our issue was with the message on the cake, not with the customer, and we didn’t know what the sexual orientation of Mr. Lee was, and it wasn’t relevant either,” Ashers general manager Daniel McArthur said.


Will Congress take on Obama's racial preference housing policies?

One Supreme Court decision flying under the radar at the moment is Texas Dep't of Housing & Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project. Yet the implications of this case are every bit as important as anything else before the nation's highest court being decided this month, including the constitutionality of federal exchange subsidies under the health care law.

The Texas case involves the non-profit Inclusive Communities Project, which contends that low income housing tax credits are being disproportionately granted to developments within minority neighborhoods and denied to white neighborhoods, supposedly perpetuating segregation in violation of the Act.

This puts on trial the use of so-called disparate impact analysis under the Fair Housing Act.

Disparate impact is "a legal doctrine under the Fair Housing Act which means that a policy or practice may be considered discriminatory if it has a disproportionate 'adverse impact' against any group based on race, national origin, color, religion, sex, familial status, or disability," according to the Fair Housing Alliance.

But, argues Texas, federal rules requiring disparate impact analysis violate the equal protection of the laws under the 14th Amendment by requiring "a State's qualified allocation plan to give preference to projects in low-income areas — and those areas will be disproportionately  populated by racial minorities."

Such racial preferences, then, require states to discriminate on the basis of race in allocating the tax credits.

Should the Supreme Court reject the use of disparate impact under the Fair Housing Act as unconstitutional, its effects will be far-reaching into other areas of housing law.

For example, an adverse ruling by the Supreme Court would surely ensnare the "Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing" rule and the "Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Assessment Tool," which, when finalized, will empower the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to condition eligibility for community development block grants on redrawing zoning maps to achieve racial and income integration.

In 2012, HUD dispersed about $3.8 billion of these grants to almost 1,200 municipalities. Conditioning those grants on rezoning will generate obvious political outcomes, namely, to turn what were once Republican districts — which tend to be higher income and white not because of racism but rather economics and regional demographics — into marginal, purple districts under the guise of providing "fair housing."

In preparation for implementing the rule, HUD has released template racial rezoning maps and data tables to be used in each community development block grant recipient area.

The tool's worksheet orders the assessing bureaucrat using the maps and data to "identify neighborhoods or areas in the jurisdiction and region where racial/ethnic groups are segregated and indicate the predominant groups for each."

Additionally, the bureaucrat must identify the extent the following factors "contribut[e] to segregated housing patterns" including "Land use and zoning laws, such as minimum lot sizes, limits on multi-unit properties, height limits, or bedroom-number limits as well as requirements for special use permits; Occupancy restrictions; Residential real estate steering; Patterns of community opposition; Economic pressures, such as increased rents or land and development costs; Major private investments; Municipal or State services and amenities; and Foreclosure patterns."

According to HUD, the tool is "for use by each program participant to evaluate fair housing choice in its jurisdiction, to identify barriers to fair housing choice at the local and regional levels, and to set and prioritize fair housing goals to overcome such barriers and advance fair housing choice."

Why, that sounds a lot like the very type of disparate impact analysis now in the Supreme Court's crosshairs.

In the meantime, U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) has offered an amendment to the Transportation and HUD appropriations bill that would bar the department from using any funds to carry out the rules.

Last year, the House passed a similar amendment offered by Gosar in a 219 to 207 vote.

As it stands, floor action on Gosar's latest amendment is imminent. And since members cannot predict how the Supreme Court will rule, action in favor of the amendment is now that much more important.

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning issued the following statement urging support, "Racial quotas are unconstitutional, and yet that is exactly what HUD will use to redraw every neighborhood in America. This has nothing to do with housing discrimination, which has been illegal since the 1960s. Instead 'Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing' is based on a utopian goal of creating evenly distributed neighborhoods based on racial composition and income."

Manning concluded, "The House must take a stand to preserve local zoning rights." Indeed, who gets to draw the map of every neighborhood in America may be at stake. Will it be local communities, or faceless bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.? It's up to the House to now decide.


Britain Sent Thousands Of Its Convicts To America, Not Just Australia

The joke about Australia is that it was founded by a bunch of criminals. And from 1788 until 1868, Britain did send roughly 164,000 convicts to the land down under. America’s dirty little secret? The same exact thing was happening here. In fact, experts estimate that over 52,000 British prisoners were shipped off to colonial America.

Britain had been shipping convicts to America for decades before they started sending them to Australia. In fact, it was precisely because of America’s fight for independence that the Brits had to start sending their criminals to Australia. But from 1718 until 1775, convict transportation to the American colonies flourished. Some estimates claim that almost 10 per cent of migrants to America during this time were British convicts.

Typically, getting banished to America was for a term of either seven or fourteen years, after which the convict could theoretically come back the Britain. Escaping home early, however, was punishable by death. And it wasn’t just men. Some female convicts were transported to the American colonies as well, for crimes such as being “lewd” and “walk[ing] the streets after ten at night.”

Many Australians have more or less embraced their convict history. But if you’re an American who had no idea that your country’s founding included a huge prison population, you’re not alone. Historically, Americans have not been too keen on discussing the fact that convicts came to what would eventually become known as the United States.

As Anthony Vaver explains in his book Bound With An Iron Chain, historians have sought to cover up the fact that so many prisoners were sent to America:

"Through the 19th century, most historians simply ignored the institution, and those who did recognise it usually claimed that nearly all of the people who were transported were political prisoners."

No less a figure than Thomas Jefferson himself tried to downplay the history of penal transportation to America. Writing in 1786, Jefferson insisted that even if British criminals had been sent, they must’ve been small in number:

"The Malefactors sent to America were not sufficient in number to merit enumeration as one class out of three which peopled America. It was at a late period of their history that the practice began. I have no book by me which enables me to point out the date of its commencement. But I do not think the whole number sent would amount to 2000 and being principally men eaten up with disease, they married seldom and propagated little. I do not suppose that themselves and their descendants are at present four thousand, which is little more than one thousandth part of the whole inhabitants."

Except that this wasn’t true. British convicts came over in droves, and free Americans weren’t too happy about it. In fact, even before the Transportation Act of 1718 really opened the doors for Britain’s dumping of undesirables in America, some colonies tried to pass laws that would prohibit the practice. In 1670 authorities in Virginia passed an act that prohibited convicts from being sent to the area. This, unsurprisingly, was overruled by the king.

Pennsylvania tried to do something similar in 1722 by passing a tax for the importation of any people for servitude who had been found “guilty of heinous crimes.” The king, naturally, said that this wasn’t allowed either, proclaiming in 1731: “Whereas acts have been passed in America for laying duties on felons imported, — in direct opposition to an act of Parliament for the more effectual transportation of felons, — it is our royal will and more pleasure that you approve of no duties laid on the importation of any felons into Pennsylvania.”

Many of those sent to the American colonies were put to work doing manual labour. From an 1896 paper on the subject by James Davie Butler:

Planters both in the West Indies and in Virginia, which was reckoned a part of them far on in the eighteenth century, needed laborers, and welcomed a supply from whatever quarter. […] As Virginia’s staple was tobacco, it naturally became a centre of white as well as black servitude, whether its victims were indented or not, and criminal or not.
Americans have rather romantic ideas about how their country was founded. We’ve long been fond of the mythology surrounding persecuted people freely travelling to the New World and building the greatest country on Earth. But, like all history, it’s much, much messier than that. Our history includes plenty of genocide, slavery, and just a dash of prison folk — and the latter may be news to many Americans who wouldn’t hesitate to make jokes about Australia being populated by the descendants of criminals.

But Australia really wasn’t special in that regard. Shipping criminals halfway around the world was part of America’s sordid history, too.



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

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

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


9 June, 2014

Women clawing women again

Not very sisterly

The Daily Mail has come under attack from media executives for shaming a high-profile woman for the way she looks.

The notorious Daily Mail website, best known for stealing content from rival media outlets, has humiliated a woman based on her appearance, deliberately buying the most unflattering paparazzi photograph taken of her from a recent shoot to imply she did not look good for her age.

In an attack one media executive described as “one of the nastiest things I have ever seen written about anybody”, the Mail published a story that at its premise argued Laura Csortan, a former Miss Universe Australia, is less attractive than the images that appear on her social media accounts.

The full set of photographs offered to the Daily Mail by photographic agency INF, and used as the basis of the story it published this week, shows the media outlet purchased an image where Csortan was mid-conversation, and ignored pictures where she looked attractive.

The Australian purchased for $250 one of the images offered to The Mail, pictured above, and it shows the difference between how Csortan appeared at Bondi markets and how The Daily Mail chose to portray her, below.

The Mail also took an image and zoomed in on some minor blemishes she had on her cheek.

It looks as though a colour-enhancer may have been used to make Csortan’s skin appear worse than it was.

In an original photograph, as seen to the right, Csortan’s blemishes appear minor.

The photographs were taken by paparazzo Jonathan Marshall, on a Saturday morning, when Csortan, who finished her eight-year stint at The Great Outdoors in 2008, was having a relaxed breakfast with friends.

In the article, The Daily Mail included Csortan’s age in the headline: “The real Laura Csortan, 38, revealed as she goes makeup free to Bondi markets.”

The article was written by a woman, The Daily Mail’s entertainment editor, Amy Croffey.

Pacific Magazines publisher and former editor-in-chief of Marie Claire magazine, Jackie Frank, said it was “not fair” of the media industry to attack women for their appearance.

“Women are scrutinised differently to men in the public eye and are held to different standards,” she said.

“They wouldn’t be looking for pimples, for blackheads, for ­wrinkles on a man.”

Frank said women were sometimes the worst culprits of attacking other women and it did not surprise her that the article’s author was female.

“Women can be harder on women when we need to support each other. We need to treat each other the way we want others to treat us,” she said. One senior media executive described the article as “one of the nastiest things I have ever seen written about anybody.” “It’s quite incredible,” he said.


Are Women without Kids Failures?

Vox Day is being VERY politically incorrect

Dr. Helen disagrees with my description of childless women and asks if women without kids are failures:

"I don’t think men who have no children are “failures” and nor do I think women who have no children are “failures.” I think that people make choices in life that are right or seem right for them at the time. People are autonomous beings who may or may not want children. While I agree that our culture is a negative one that often mistakenly tells women to go only for careers and other pursuits rather than have children, I do think there are some women who do not want them. This choice may be wrong for some but not for all."

I had a friend in college who didn’t want kids. She is happy today many years later without them. That is her choice. It should be everyone’s to decide what is right for their own life. To call that a failure for that decision seems extreme.
I like and respect Dr. Helen, but I disagree with her here on two grounds. First, one's success or failure as a human being are not determined by whether or not one is happy. That way lies, quite literally, madness. I'm sure John Wayne Gacy was quite happy when he was raping and killing little boys, and that was his decision about what was right for his own life, but I don't think we would be well to describe him as a success as a human being.

Second, it's simply not possible to argue that a woman who is childless is not a failure at reproduction. That is a tautology; a childless woman has, by definition, failed to reproduce. Moreover, unlike men, this failure to reproduce is very seldom imposed by others, or by external circumstances. And while this doesn't make her a failure at anything else, it does mean that she has failed in her singular duty to her species, to her sub-species, and to her genetic line; she has failed to continue it.

 And as a human being, what Earthly responsibility could possibly be greater?

In our present age, young women are being actively dissuaded from fulfilling their primary role and responsibility as women and as human beings. It should be no surprise that women have never been unhappier or less fulfilled. This is a consequence of the true Female Imperative being replaced by a false one.

The only way to effectively dispute the definition is to a) claim that women have a more important purpose in life or b) to claim that women have no purpose in life at all. And the latter, I submit, is entirely more damaging and degrading to women than to suggest that they have a extraordinarily important purpose at which they can fail.

As for the former, well, what is it?


Prominent Catholic Archbishop: Americans ‘Increasingly Subject to a Soft Despotism’

Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami, who serves as chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, has delivered a sermon warning that religious liberty is under attack in the United States and that American Christians “are being increasingly subject to a soft despotism.”

A transcript of the archbishop’s sermon--which was delivered at a special mass for Catholic lawyers in Broward County, Fla.--is now linked to a page on the USCCB’s website that is dedicated to the issue of religious liberty.

“While atrocities are committed against peoples and institutions of all the world’s religions, the International Society for Human Rights estimates that 80 percent of all acts of religious discrimination in the world today are directed at Christians and that some 150,000 Christians are killed for the faith every year,” said the archbishop. “So the Age of Martyrs did not conclude with the Peace of Constantine; it is still with us.”

“Even in our Western liberal democracies, discrimination against religion in general and Catholic Christianity in particular is growing--albeit in perhaps more sophisticated and less violent ways,” the archbishop said.

“But even as de Tocqueville pointed out almost 200 years ago, despotism comes in both soft and hard forms,” said the archbishop. “Your patron, St. Thomas More, beheaded for refusing to consent to King Henry VIII’s takeover of the Church, fell victim to a hard despotism. This type of hard despotism is decimating the Christian populations of the Middle East. But, in this country and other liberal democracies, people of faith are being increasingly subject to a soft despotism in which ridicule, ostracism, and denial of employment opportunities of advancement are being used to marginalize us.

“We see this when butchers, and bakers and candlestick makers are being put into the legal dock for refusing to renounce their religious beliefs,” said the archbishop in the sermon that was delivered on April 23 at St. Anthony Church in Fort Lauderdale.

“A new religious intolerance has established itself in our country--and it is being propagated by those who claimed to have been victims of previous instances of intolerance,” said the archbishop. “Christian pastors are stalked and threatened for being ‘Christian’ pastors, social scientists are expelled from universities for having turned up ‘politically incorrect’ facts, charitable organizations and confessional schools are harassed if they take seriously their faith’s moral precepts and required their employees to support their missions.”

The archbishop said that anti-religious forces in the United States are trying to limit freedom of religion to mean merely “freedom to worship.”

“In order to fit new political agendas, religious freedom is being reinterpreted narrowly to mean merely ‘freedom to worship’ but excluding the freedom to serve and/or the freedom to witness,” he said. “The Catholic Church in this country is currently battling in legislatures and in courts against this tendency. And it is not clear that we will prevail.  Education, family law, healthcare are just some of the areas in which narrow readings of religious freedom are paving the way for antireligious policies.”

The archbishop called on the lawyers he was addressing not to surrender to this trend—not to “neuter” themselves in the pursuit of money and status.

“In an environment increasingly hostile to faith, you as Catholic professionals will also increasingly experience the soft despotism of this new intolerance,” he said. “May the integrity and courage of St. Thomas More inspire you – and may his prayers strengthen you so that you will not consent to neuter yourselves just for worldly status and wealth.”

King Henry VIII beheaded Thomas More because More refused to take an oath recognizing the king as the supreme head of the church in England.


Rev. Graham: Gays’ Assault on Real Marriage ‘Driven by Forces of Evil That Hate the Name of Christ’

That the Supreme Court is even considering a ruling on homosexual marriage shows how “depraved” America is today, said Rev. Franklin Graham, who added that the radical gays’ “attack” on real marriage is an “assault on the church” that is “driven by the forces of evil that hate the name of Christ.”

Further, if the Supreme Court rules in favor of homosexual marriage, said Rev. Graham, it will compound “blatant sexual immorality” and rebellion against God that constitutes a “sign warning of the imminent disintegration of a culture."

“The full-fledged attack on the institution of marriage by gay rights groups is in reality an assault on the church of the Lord Jesus Christ,” said Rev. Graham in his commentary for the June issue of Decision magazine.

“It is driven by the forces of evil that hate the Name of Christ,” he said.

“This is a pivotal moment in the history of our nation,” said the reverend, son of Pastor Billy Graham and president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. “If the nation’s highest court decrees same-sex marriage as the law of the land, the consequences will be grave.”

“It sets the stage for persecution of believers who are committed to the truth of Scripture,” said Rev. Graham. “Can pastors preach against homosexuality without being accused of hate speech? Can Christian schools and colleges deny housing to same-sex couples and maintain their tax-exempt status?”

“The ultimate danger, of course, is the devastating results of disobedience to God’s Word,” said the reverend. “Continual blatant sexual immorality that shakes its arrogant, godless fist before Almighty God is a flashing red sign warning of the imminent disintegration of a culture.”

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the case Obergefell v. Hodges in April and is expected to issue a ruling this month.  The case is challenging state bans on homosexual marriage, and the gay activists want the high court to rule that such prohibitions are unconstitutional.

Homosexual marriage became law by popular vote in only three states: Maine, Maryland and Washington.

Currently, 37 states have same-sex marriage – in most cases ruled legal by a federal judge – and 13 states have bans against homosexual marriage, mostly through constitutional amendment and state law.

Before Obergefell v. Hodges got to the Supreme Court, Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Jeffrey Sutton, in ruling against gay marriage, said, “For better or worse, or for more of the same, marriage has long been a social institution defined by relationships between men and women. So long defined, the tradition is measured in millennia, not centuries or decades.”

Sutton further said, “If it is constitutionally irrational to stand by the man-woman definition of marriage, it must be constitutionally irrational to stand by the monogamous definition of marriage.”

In reference to Judge Sutton’s remarks,  Rev. Graham said, “The very fact that the U.S. Supreme Court is even considering a ruling on same-sex marriage reveals the depraved moral state of our nation. Just a decade ago, no one would have predicted the rapid ascent and outsized influence of the gay lobby.”

“Regardless of the outcome” from the Supreme Court’s pending ruling, “the Bible has the final, authoritative word on marriage,” said Rev. Graham.  “No justice, court, state, legislative body, or cultural opinion can change the divine purpose for marriage. It is a sacred institution. It is holy matrimony designed by God for the glory of God.”

“Marriage, defined by God, is between one man and one woman,” he said.  “God created us ‘male and female’ (Genesis 1:27). After fashioning woman from the rib of man, God declared, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife’ (Genesis 2:24).

In concluding his comments on the gay marriage battle, Rev. Graham said, “Pray now. Pray fervently. Pray for the wisdom and counsel of God to work its way into the hearts and minds of the Supreme Court justices who are making this momentous decision.”

“God Himself is the final arbiter,” said Rev. Graham.  “For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our Lawgiver, the Lord is our King; He will save us” (Isaiah 33:22, NKJV).

In addition to heading the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Franklin Graham, 62, is president of the international Christian relief group Samaritan’s Purse.  Rev. Graham is married and has five children. He lives with his family in Boone, N.C.

Billy Graham, 96, reportedly is doing fairly well, according to his son, Franklin Graham. Over the years, Billy Graham preached to more than 215 million people in 185 different countries, and he wrote 31 books. For more than 50 years he has regularly been ranked among one of the most admired people in the world.



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 June, 2014

Left Exploits Mental Illness to Push PC Agenda

By Ben Shapiro

My grandfather was deeply mentally ill. He spent nearly a year in a psychiatric institution after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder; he heard the radio talking to him. He became suicidal. He spent years battling the condition, until he was prescribed lithium. For the next several decades, the medication brought his mental illness under control.

Nothing would have been crueler to my grandfather than had society told him that his delusions were correct — that the radio was, in fact, talking to him; that the curtains were indeed threatening him; that he was normal, and that it was the stereotypes of the world inducing his paranoia.

Yet that is the view of the anti-science left that this week declared former Olympic champion Bruce Jenner a woman. Vanity Fair led the way, featuring Jenner wearing a one-piece corset, Photoshopped and made up beyond nearly all recognition. The 22-page profile of Jenner insists that everyone call him Caitlyn, addresses him as "she," and explains that despite the fact that Jenner has all male genitalia and all male genetics, he is in fact a woman — even though the writer explains his own confusion as to gender pronoun usage.

Jenner freely admits that he had doubts right after having his face surgically altered in a 10-hour procedure, but that a counselor from the Los Angeles Gender Center explained it was just the painkillers talking (it would be illegal in California for a counselor to explain to Jenner that he requires serious mental illness treatment beyond bodily mutilation). Jenner also admits that he is doing a reality television show about his sex change for the money: "I'm not doing it for money. ... If I can make a dollar, I certainly am not stupid. [I have] house payments and all that kind of stuff."

It's cruel to allow a mentally ill person to exploit himself in public, but the political left is happy to do so in order to perpetuate the pseudo-scientific nonsense that a man can magically turn into a woman.

Their agenda: If men and women are the same but for hormone therapy, implants and repeated surgical intervention, then all disparities between male and female can be attributed to societal biases. And those societally created "gender constructs" can be corrected only by massive government intervention, including re-education of children. Bruce Jenner is merely a tool in this quest for redefinition of gender.

Thus, the White House hailed Jenner as a hero, with presidential advisor Valerie Jarrett tweeting, "Nice to meet you, @Caitlyn_Jenner. The brave choice to live as your authentic self is a powerful example to so many." Except that Caitlyn certainly isn't Jenner's "authentic self," any more than the "authentic self" of an anorexic requires constant liposuction. Surgery is not the solution to mental illness. The post-surgical suicide rate among transgenders remains 20 times higher than that of the general population.

As Dr. Paul McHugh, former psychiatrist in chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital, wrote last year, "'Sex change' is biologically impossible. People who undergo sex-reassignment surgery do not change from men to women or vice versa. Rather, they become feminized men or masculinized women. Claiming that this is civil-rights matter and encouraging surgical intervention is in reality to collaborate with and promote a mental disorder."

And promoting mental disorders hurts no one more than those who suffer from such disorders. Delusions ought not be supported, let alone celebrated. They ought to be treated.


All 8 Females in First Co-Ed Class at Army Ranger School Failed

All eight female soldiers in the first co-ed class of the U.S. Army Ranger School failed to pass the first phase of training, the Darby Phase, according to a May 29 Army press release. In addition, this was the second attempt by all eight women to try to pass the Darby Phase of the training.

“Today, at Fort Benning, 195 Ranger Students met the requirements … to begin the Mountain Phase of Ranger School,” reads the release. “There were no female soldiers amongst the 195 Ranger Students going forward to the second phase of Ranger School.”

“Additionally, 54 men and no women will be recycled, or given a second attempt at the next Darby Phase of Ranger School, starting on Thursday, June 25, 2015,” said the press release.  “All eight women in the Ranger Course were on their second attempt of the Darby Phase.”

Pentagon officials announced in January that the historically male-only Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade course would be opened to women on a one-time basis for research purposes, in response to a 2013 directive from former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to open combat-roles to women before 2016.

Nineteen women and 380 men started the program on April 20. Before formally beginning Ranger School, however, students must pass a demanding physical fitness assessment.

During this 4-day Ranger Assessment Phase, known as RAP week, students must complete 49 push-ups in two minutes; 59 sit-ups in two minutes; a five-mile run in 40 minutes; six pull-ups; a combat water survival assessment; a land navigation course; and a 12-mile road march carrying about 45 pounds of equipment.

Three women failed the physical assessment on day one. Eight of the remaining 16 women and 184 men completed RAP week and were cleared to begin the 57 remaining days of the three-phase Ranger Course Assessment.

Phase One, the Darby Phase, is “fifteen days of intensive squad training and operations at Fort Benning, Georgia,” featuring student-led patrols, techniques training, and the infamous Darby Queen obstacle course, the press release states.

In April, 115 male soldiers proceeded to Phase Two, the Mountain Phase, while eight women and 101 men did not meet the standards of the first phase but were permitted to retry, or “recycle” through the Darby Phase with the next class.

One-hundred-ninety-five men passed the next Darby Phase, which began on May 14, and 54 men will be recycled to start again on June 25, 2015.

Five soldiers, including three women, will start the Ranger Course over at RAP week on June 21 in what is called a Day One Recycle. According to the press release, this is standard procedure “when students struggle with one aspect of the course and excel at others.”

Twenty-nine soldiers, including five women, have been dropped from the Ranger Assessment course.

“For a variety of reasons, these students were unsuccessful at meeting the standard--some for leading their graded patrols, some for a poor evaluation of their teamwork from their peers, some for accumulating too many negative spot reports, and some for a combination of all three,” the press release states.  “However, the vast majority who are being dropped from the course were unable to successfully lead a patrol,” after several opportunities to do so. 

U. S. Army Ranger School has about a 50 percent pass rate, and students are given three recycle opportunities. About 75 percent of soldiers who pass RAP week will pass the Ranger program, but this process can take several months for those who recycle through phases. The Darby Phase has a 15 percent recycle rate, lower than the 18 percent recycle rate of the two subsequent phases.

Colonel David G. Fivecoat, Commander of the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade, spoke with the soldiers upon their completion of the Darby Phase.

“Each Ranger student, whether successful or unsuccessful, learned more about themselves, leadership, and small unit tactics, and returns to the Army a better trained Soldier and leader,” he said.


The trouble with homosexual marriage

Yes, Ireland has entered a new era of equality – but not the positive kind

Brendan O'Neill

The most striking thing following the Irish referendum on gay marriage is how few people are talking about gay marriage. Amid the near-global cheering that greeted the vote in favour of instituting gay marriage, there was barely any commentary on the institution of gay marriage. Sure, there was a handful of on-air marriage proposals in Dublin as the news cameras rolled, and the tailend of a BBC TV report informed us when the first gay marriages in Ireland would take place (Autumn). But given that this referendum was all about opening up a social institution to which gays had apparently been brutally denied entry, the lack of post-referendum talk about actual marriage was remarkable.

Instead of saying ‘We can finally get married’, the most common response to the referendum result from both the leaders of the Yes campaign and their considerable army of supporters in the media and political classes has been: ‘Gays have finally been validated.’ Across the spectrum, from the drag queens who led the Yes lobby to the right-wing politicians who backed them, all the talk was of ‘recognition’, not marriage. Ireland’s deputy PM Joan Burton said the Yes vote was about ‘acceptance in your own country’. Writing in the Irish Examiner, a psychotherapist said ‘the referendum was about more than marriage equality… it was about validation and full acceptance [of gay people]’. (Tellingly, Ireland’s psychotherapy industry played a key role in backing the Yes campaign.) PM Enda Kenny also said the referendum was about more than marriage — it was a question of gay people’s ‘fragile and deeply personal hopes [being] realised’. Or in the words of novelist Joseph O’Connor, the Yes vote was an act of ‘societal empathy’ with a section of the population.

The official Yes campaign went so far as to describe the Yes victory as a boost for the health and wellbeing of all Irish citizens, especially gay ones. A spokesperson said ‘the effect of legal equality goes beyond the letter of the law… it enters our daily lives and our interaction with others’. In ‘embracing’ gay people, Ireland had ‘improv[ed] the health and wellbeing of all our citizens’. In short, the Yes result made people feel good. A writer for the Irish Times described his gay friends’ pre-referendum ‘nagging shadow’, a ‘feeling that [they are] less somehow’, and he claimed the Yes victory finally confirmed for them that they now enjoy society’s ‘support, kindness and respect’. Fintan O’Toole said the Yes victory was about making gays feel ‘fully acknowledged’.

And you thought it was about marriage? How wrong you were. All the commentary on how the referendum was ‘about more than marriage’, how it went ‘beyond the letter of the law’ to touch on something deeper, something psychic, confirms that the campaign for gay marriage is not about achieving social equality — no, it’s about securing parity of esteem, which is very different. The march of gay marriage has a stronger relationship with the new culture of therapy, and the need for recognition, than it does with the more longstanding ideal of legal equality and the need for rights. What is being sought here is not really the right to marry but rather social and cultural validation of one’s lifestyle — ‘societal empathy’ — particularly from the state. What we have witnessed in Ireland is not a new dawn of social equality but the further entrenchment of the value of cultural equality, and this is far from positive.

Ireland’s focus on recognition rather than rights, and the celebration of gay marriage as a means of validating gay people’s sense of worth, echoes the discussion about gay marriage in nations across the West. Time and again, the language used has been that of therapy rather than autonomy. In her excellent 2004 essay ‘The liberal case against gay marriage’, Susan M Shell noted the way that early agitators for gay marriage seemed to be primarily concerned with ‘relieving adult anxiety’, what some of them referred to as their ‘elemental fear’ of not being ‘valued’ (1). Activists spoke of how ‘the lack of legal recognition [for our relationships] rankled more and more’. In the words of the authors of The Politics of Same-Sex Marriage (2007), activists primarily want ‘the sanction of the state for our intimate relationships’. This search for state sanction, for external recognition, has been echoed in the response to the Irish referendum. ‘My country has acknowledged that we exist’, said a gay Irish businessman.

What we have here is not the politics of autonomy, but the politics of identity. Where the politics of autonomy was about ejecting the state from gay people’s lives — whether it was Stonewall rioters kicking the cops out of their bars or Peter Tatchell demanding the dismantling of all laws forbidding homosexual acts — the politics of identity calls upon the state to intervene in gay people’s lives, and offer them its recognition, its approval. For much of the past 50 years, radical gay-rights activism was in essence about saying ‘We do not need the approval of the state to live how we choose’; now, in the explicit words of The Politics of Same-Sex Marriage, it’s about seeking ‘the sanction of the state for our intimate relationships’. The rise of gay marriage over the past 10 years speaks, profoundly, to the diminution of the culture of autonomy, and its replacement by a far more nervous, insecure cultural outlook that continually requires lifestyle validation from external bodies. And the state is only too happy to play this authoritative role of approver of lifestyles, as evidenced in Enda Kenny’s patronising (yet widely celebrated) comment about Irish gays finally having their ‘fragile and deeply personal hopes realised’.

What is being sought through gay marriage is not the securing of rights but the boosting of esteem. And this is a problem for those of us who believe in liberty. For where old, positive forms of social equality were a narrowly legal accomplishment, concerned simply with either removing discriminatory laws or passing legislation forbidding discrimination at work or in the public sphere, cultural equality is far more about… well, culture; the general outlook; even people’s attitudes. It is not satisfied with simply legislating against discrimination and then allowing people to get on with their lives; rather, it is concerned with reshaping the cultural climate, discussion, how people express themselves in relation to certain groups. In the apt words of the Yes campaign, this goes ‘beyond the letter of the law’. It is undoubtedly the business of society to ensure social equality for gays, so that they may work and live as they choose free from persecution or harassment. But is it the job of society to ensure that there is parity of esteem for gays? That they feel good? That they feel validated, respected? I would say no, for then we invite the state not simply to remove the barriers to gay people’s engagement in public life but to interfere at a much more psychic level in both gay people’s lives, in order to offer ‘sanction for their intimate relationships’, and in other, usually religious people’s lives, in order to monitor their refusal to validate gay people’s lifestyles and offer them ‘support, kindness and respect’.

This is why we have seen, across the West, the bizarre ‘gay cake’ phenomenon, where there are more and more cases of traditionalist bakers (and other businesses) being purposefully approached by campaigners to provide services to gay weddings. The aim of this very modern form of religious persecution is to discover and expose those whose attitudes have not yet been corrected by the top-down enforcement of parity of esteem, of protected feelings, for gays. That cultural equality is concerned not merely with altering laws, but with reshaping culture and even belief itself, is clear from the growing trend for harassing those who do not bow before the altar of gay marriage. Joan Burton made clear that this trend will now intensify in Ireland, when she said there will be no ‘conscience clause’ in the New Ireland: it would be intolerable, she said, to ‘exclude some people or some institutions from the operation of marriage equality’. That is, all must agree, all must partake; there can be no room for the exercise of individual conscience when it comes to the engineering of a new cultural climate.

What Ireland crystallises is that gay marriage has nothing to do with liberty. The presentation of this as a liberal, or even libertarian, issue is highly disingenuous. For in truth, gay marriage massively expands the authority of the state in our everyday lives, in our most intimate relationships and even over our consciences. It simultaneously makes the state the sanctioner of acceptable intimate relationships, the ultimate provider of validation to our lifestyle choices, while empowering it to police the cultural attitudes and consciences of those of a more religious or old-fashioned persuasion. This is bad for gays, because it reduces them, in Kenny’s words, to ‘fragile’ creatures who require constant recognition from others; and it is bad for those uncomfortable with gay marriage, since their ability to in act in accordance with their conscience is limited. Making the state the validator of our intimacies and the policer of our moral outlooks is a very dangerous game.

This goes some way to explaining why every single wing of the Irish state supported gay marriage, from the police, who proudly waved the rainbow flag, to all the political parties, the public sector, the health establishment and the cultural establishment. It’s because they recognise, at a gut level, that unlike pretty much every other demand for liberty or equality in modern times, the campaign for gay marriage does nothing to threaten their authority — on the contrary, it extends it, in a way that the most authoritarian among them could only have dreamt of. Strikingly, Fintan O’Toole celebrated the referendum result by saying that ‘Ireland has left tolerance far behind’, by which he meant that the New Ireland actively encourages ‘respect’, not ‘mere toleration’, of minority groups. He’s right, but not in the way he thinks: the new era of state-monitored cultural equality, of expanded state authority over more and more areas of our intimate lives and moral beliefs, does indeed mean that Ireland is leaving tolerance behind, and looks set to become a less tolerant country.


Sen. Lee and Faith Leaders Act to Defend Religious Liberty, Cite ‘Biblical Revelation' and Millennia of ‘Judeo-Christian Tradition'

Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) was joined by religious freedom advocates at a press conference on Wednesday to announce legislation he is introducing in Congress to protect religious individuals and institutions from government infringement on religious expression, particularly in the wake of what could be the Supreme Court ruling that homosexuals have a constitutional right to marry.

"The threat that worries me the most is the infringement on religious liberty by our own government," Samuel Oliver, president of Baptist Union University, said at the press conference. "Our views about human sexuality and religious liberty are deeply rooted in biblical revelation and thousands of years of Judeo-Christian tradition."

Senator Lee explained at the press conference that he introduced the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act last year and would reintroduce a similar bill this session ahead of the high court’s ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges, expected by the end of the month.

“We have to have to have a guarantee by the government to the American people, to churches, to religious and non-religious people alike saying that the government won’t penalize any religious institution or any religious individual based on a religious belief that that individual or institution believes; that marriage is an institution between a man and a woman,” Lee said.

“We need to draw lines around the power of government – lines that are there to protect the people from the overpowering influence of government – an overpowering influence that can, from time to time, trample on religious freedom,” he said.

Lee cited the exchange between Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr. during oral arguments on the same-sex marriage case in April.

Scalia asked Verrilli whether he was concerned if the high court ruled in favor of homosexual marriage that the government could penalize institutions such as religiously affiliated educational institutions by revoking their tax-exempt status or other federal benefits.

“The response from Verelli was troubling to say the very least,” Lee said. “He responded by saying, ‘I don’t deny that – I don’t deny that Justice Alito,’” Lee said. “’It’s going to be an issue.’”

The Marriage and Religious Freedom Act, first introduced in December 2013, states, in part:

-- Prohibits the federal government from taking an adverse action against a person on the basis that such person acts in accordance with a religious belief that: (1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.

-- Defines "adverse action" as any federal government action to discriminate against a person who is acting in accordance with such religious belief, including a federal government action to:

-- Deny or revoke certain tax exemptions or disallow a deduction of any charitable contribution made to or by such person;

-- Alter the federal tax treatment of, or cause any tax, penalty, or payment to be assessed against, such person or such person's employees with respect to any employee benefit provided or not provided by such person;

-- Deem an employee benefit plan covering employees of such person to have lost its status as a qualified plan under the Internal Revenue Code, or to be in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, because the plan fails to provide a benefit, right, or feature on account of such person's religious belief;

-- Deny or exclude such person from receiving any federal grant, contract, cooperative agreement, loan, license, certification, accreditation, employment, or similar position or status; or

-- Deny or withhold any benefit under a federal benefit program.

The bill also provides legal recourse for those who believe the protections provided by it have been violated.

Lee told reporters that the legislation he will introduce in the coming days will have a different name and some changes to the bill are being considered.

Also speaking at the press conference was Jerry Johnson, president of National Religious Broadcasters and former president of Criswell College; Keith Wiebe, president of the American Association of Christian Schools; and Travis Weber, director of the Center for Religious Liberty at the Family Research Council.

"Over the past year, the Obama Administration has made clear it will use any possible method -- whether contracting, grants, school funding, and now tax exempt status -- to establish and enforce its view of morality on the private religious sphere by redefining marriage,” said Travis Weber at the press conference.

“If the court redefines marriage by mandating it as a constitutional right, the impact will be significant,” he said. “Religious organizations must be left free to determine their own beliefs, which cannot be coopted by the State. The Government Non-Discrimination Act would prevent the federal government from discriminating against people because of their belief in natural marriage. We urge Congress to act to pass this vital legislation."



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 June, 2014

No wonder men don't want to get married!

Feminist-inspired divorce laws have tempted many women to turn marriage into prostitution

When a Russian ex-beauty queen walked away from court this week after being awarded £1.2million and £320,000-a-year maintenance following a bitter divorce battle, she said it was a victory for all women.

Ekaterina Parfenova Fields, 42, has never worked and doesn’t intend to. She was married to Richard Fields for ten years and had two children with him before he left her to pursue the woman who became his sixth wife.

Mrs Fields had demanded £75,000 annually for holidays, £50,000 for nannies (even though she’s a stay-at-home mum) and £60,000 for clothes and personal pampering.

Between them, this deeply unsavoury couple spent £1.2million on legal fees, leading the judge to say it wasn’t a divorce, but a boxing match.

Mrs Fields insists her fight for justice was on behalf of abandoned mothers and children everywhere.

Others — and I include myself among them — see it instead as a stab in the heart for those bedrocks of society: marriage and motherhood.

For even though the money involved is eye-watering and the protagonists risible, the same legal principles apply to any marriage that produces children and ends in divorce.

The assets are invariably split down the middle and the breadwinner, still usually the man, rightly has to support the children and pay his ex-wife a maintenance allowance often for life.

Is it any surprise that the moment the story appeared on MailOnline yesterday, it was awash with comments from men insisting there was no point getting hitched if you’re clobbered for life when the marriage breaks down?

‘Don’t get married chaps,’ said one. ‘No wonder men don’t want to commit to marriage these days,’ commented another. ‘After such a short marriage why should he have to fund her lifestyle after divorce?’ asked a third, adding: ‘Why any man gets married now is beyond me.’

The average age men marry today is 36.5, while for women it’s 34. Men are leaving it later to commit because they realise what’s at stake if it goes wrong.

The inevitable consequence is that the age women marry is also creeping up. Yet only this week, a senior NHS fertility expert warned women should not wait until they’re 30 to have a baby — for they might find it’s too late.

A divorce like this Russian beauty’s is not only making it more difficult for women to find a husband, it’s also putting at risk their chance of settling down in time to have children. What kind of victory for women is that?


The ASA: Torquemada meets "No More Page 3"

The Advertising Standards Authority has become a censorious tyrant

Guardians of moral decency have always had a penchant for policing flashes of women’s flesh. Whether it was Victorian moralists expecting all women to be draped from head to toe, or the British Board of Film Censors in the mid-20th century calling on filmmakers to ‘reduce to an absolute minimum’ any shots of women’s breasts and thighs, or Mary Whitehouse railing against a 1970s TV show in which a woman is shown ‘shaking her breasts before a man!’, controlling the depiction of women’s bodies has long been on the to-do list of prudes and censors. Yesterday’s ruling by the UK Advertising Standards Authority suggests this top-down urge to cover up the ‘wrong’ kind of women’s flesh is still alive and kicking.

The ASA has banned an advert for Yves Saint Laurent on the basis that the model in it appears ‘unhealthily underweight’. Showing thin female bodies is apparently ‘irresponsible’. The ad, which appeared in Elle, featured a model lying on a floor in YSL clobber, her hand running through her hair, her chest (but not breasts) visible through a slit in her dress. With all the forensics with which a BBFC suit might once have timed how long a woman’s nipple appeared on screen, and whether its appearance was culturally justifiable, the ASA castigated both ‘the model’s pose’ and ‘the particular lighting effect’. It said the lighting meant the model’s ‘rib cage was visible’. It even policed what the model was wearing, drawing attention to ‘the contrast between the narrowness of her legs and her platform shoes’, which combined to make her legs look ‘very thin’. Showing such a lithe body is wicked, it seems, so the ASA decreed that the ad ‘must not appear again in its current form’. That is, it’s banned: a woman’s body has been hidden after officials decided that it was unacceptable, unpalatable.

This isn’t the first time the ASA, which enforces advertising codes in Britain, has used a metaphorical black marker to scribble out the ‘wrong’ kind of woman’s body. It’s currently investigating whether those Protein World ads that caused such a fuss in April, with their image of a model in a yellow bikini asking ‘Are you beach body ready?’, were ‘socially irresponsible’.

In 2011 it banned an online ad for a bikini — after receiving just one complaint! — on the basis that the model’s ribs were ‘highly visible’. (Censors were once outraged by highly visible nipples or vaginas — now it’s highly visible ribs or collarbones.)

Last year it banned a lingerie advert for the hipster clothes store Urban Outfitters, on the basis that there was a ‘significant gap between the model’s thighs’. Old moralists crushed images of buttocks or boobs; new moralists outlaw images of thigh gaps and thin legs.

Strikingly, the ASA justified all these bans on images of women, not on sexual grounds, but on health grounds. Where once images of women’s flesh were considered ‘morally corrupting’, now they’re described as ‘socially irresponsible’. The fear of the breast and bum, and the impact they might have on men’s minds in particular, has been replaced by disgust for the thigh gap or the pronounced collarbone, and the impact such flesh (or lack thereof) might have on impressionable girls and women.

But whatever the justification, whether it’s the sexuality or svelteness of women’s bodies that is being policed, and whether this censorship-of-the-female is done to placate God and encourage moral control or to promote public health, the result is the same.

In fact, both the instinct and the impact of the old censorship of sexual women and the new censorship of thin women are the same: the instinct is to define what kind of woman’s body it is acceptable to show, and the impact is to patronise the public, reducing us to the level of children whose eyes must be guarded against either big breasts or thin chests.

The mission creep of the ASA has been astonishing. This is a body that is supposed to keep an eye out for dodgy claims in ads — this tincture will cure your impotence! etc — yet which in recent years has become a kind of cross between Torquemada and No More Page 3.

It banned a TV ad for the fruit drink Oasis on the basis that its slogan — ‘for people who don’t like water’ — might ‘discourage good dietary practice’. A measly 32 people complained about that ad.

It banned a TV ad for hair products, which featured models dressed as nuns, on the grounds that it was offensive to Christians (it was to 23 of them, the number of complaints received). It banned an ad for a supermarket which showed a girl taking the salad out of her hamburger before eating it, on the grounds that it ‘disparaged’ healthy eating. Disparaging good health! Imagine that. It’s the equivalent of blasphemy in these five-a-day, chip-dodging times.

The burger episode followed by the YSL episode shows just how screwed-up is the ASA, and the rest of British officialdom. On one hand they panic about children being encouraged to eat ‘junk food’, and on the other they strictly police images of skinny women. It’s a kind of schizo-censorship: ‘Don’t show people enjoying burgers — the stupid public might feel free to get fat!

Oh, but being thin is really bad, too. So don’t show thin people, either.’ With such mixed messages from the self-elected overlords of public morality, it’s no wonder some kids have body-image issues.

With its growing forays into the policing of female imagery, the ASA’s true censoriousness is becoming clear. For what we can see in these health-justified clampdowns on fashion ads and posters with bikini-clad women is the crashing together of the old moralism and the new moralism, an unholy marriage of the Victorian instinct to hide ‘bad’ women’s bodies with the new PC urge to educate the public about the right way to eat, look and, fundamentally, be.

Across the West, we’re witnessing a shift, a scarily seamless one, from an older era in which censorship was justified as a means of controlling our sexual desires or political thoughts to a new era in which censorship is designed to protect apparently isolated, vulnerable individuals from the harm of ill-health or any challenge to their self-esteem.

The Victorian-style censors who wanted to hide away sex and sauce have been usurped by left-leaning, feministic censors who want to cover up what they view as sexist imagery, or unhealthy imagery, or esteem-rattling imagery.

The end result? That, alarmingly, we still live in a world in which women’s bodies are considered disturbing, deviant things, and in which all of us are infantilised by those who think they know what we should be allowed to see, hear and talk about.


Limbaugh: American Left Has Made Christianity Its No. 1 Enemy

Rush Limbaugh said on his radio show on Wednesday that the American Left has made Christianity its "number one enemy." Limbaugh made the observation and explained it after playing an interview of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) by David Brody of CBN. In that interview Rubio suggested that mainstream Christian teaching was under assault from the left.

“You think Rubio's got a point there?" asked Rush. "You better not sweep this one away. You better not think this one was a little over the top. He is right on the money. This is exact. In fact, I would even go further. I think mainstream Christianity is the target, and has been for I can’t tell you how long. And before I was born, it's been, Christianity has been the biggest enemy of the American left, or any left – organized religion in general – but Christianity is the number one enemy of these people.”

“You notice, they’ve made friends with militant Islam,” Rush went on. “The left will not stand for any criticism of Islam, right? You start drawing cartoons of the prophet, they’re the first to jump on your case, right? Democrats and the left, they're out condemning any criticism of Islam."

“They’ve sided up, why?” asks Rush. “Well, Islam has an enemy. In their mind, their enemy is Christianity. So there’s a commonality there. And I don’t care. Folks, maybe this is just another one of those things you’re just not supposed to say, but I’m sorry. It’s undeniable.”

“Okay. Okay. Tell me I’m wrong,” urges Rush, “when I say that the left has formed an accord with Islam. Tell me I’m wrong.”

"Militant Islam says you can't draw pictures of the prophet," says Rush. "Democrat Party, you can't draw pictures of the prophet. You can't criticize Islam. And they go out of their way not to. We can't call them terrorists. You know the drill."

“Christianity it’s open season,” says Rush. “You can say anything. You can do anything. You can mock anything. And Christians are just supposed to take it. And the reason we’re just supposed to take it is we’re the majority. The majority just has to understand, minorities feel offended. They’re going to always be hit on, ripped apart and so forth. You just have to take it. It’s part of being a majority. And that is a relevant factor. I mean, majorities are hated by the people in the minority.”

“The problem for us is,” states Rush, “that the minorities we’re talking about here, most of them are really tiny, and yet they’re winning. They’re bullying their way around. It’s incredible. And Marco Rubio, here, is right on the money.”


What Abercrombie and Fitch Can Teach Us about the Same-Sex Marriage Controversy

When I was a young teenager, Abercrombie & Fitch was one of the “it” brands. Everyone in school wanted to wear it, and it was absolutely used to signal that one was up-to-date on recent trends. As the child of two schoolteachers, I learned very early in my life that paying $50 for a t-shirt I’d grow out of in six months was an absurd expense that would not be paid (you can imagine how well this line went over with a 12-year-old girl).

A few years ago, former Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries and the company came under fire when Business Insider published a piece containing comments Jeffries had made in 2006. In the interview, Jeffries stated that he didn’t want fat or “uncool” people wearing the brand. In fact, the store carried ladies pants only up to size 10 and didn’t carry any women’s sizes above a “large.” Jeffries stated:

"We hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t want to market to anyone other than that."

In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and lots of friends. A lot of people don’t belong, and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.

The company came under scrutiny once again after a lawsuit regarding its aesthetic guidelines, or “look policy,” for its employees, dictating everything from hair color to nail length. The outrage was immediate and intense. A variety of celebrities and talk shows discussed the story and called for a boycott of the brand. Another group began giving Abercrombie & Fitch shirts to homeless people.

Then, miraculously, something amazing happened. In 2013, Abercrombie & Fitch, in a complete departure from its standing practices, started stocking larger women’s clothing. Although the company continues to defend many of its policies for employees, it’s clear that Abercrombie has caved to the pressure and now encourages even “uncool” clientele to buy their products.

So why should we care about a change in policy for some clothing company?

We should care because it’s a marvelous example of market forces at work. The CEO of Abercrombie chose to indulge his preferences, what some have called “fat shaming” or “fat-bias.” He chose to restrict his company’s product to particular groups and exclude others. As a result, he not only eliminated a potentially large source of revenue, but turned many potential customers away from his brand as they found the policies offensive. Jeffries’ firm suffered the consequences as a result. Their popularity waned, their profits declined, and eventually Jeffries stepped down as CEO.

Often when discussing issues of discrimination and exclusion, there are immediately calls for government to “do something” to remedy it. “Congress should pass a law,” “government should ban,” “retailers should be required to…” The list goes on and on.

But note here that Congress didn’t have to pass a law stating that Abercrombie & Fitch had to create clothes for larger women or let chess-team captains shop in their stores. No committees needed to be formed. No bureaus were created to advance the cause of “ugly people.” Instead, it was individuals, their choices, and profit and loss incentives that put a check on poor business decisions. Jeffries and Abercrombie made choices that cut against many people’s ideals—and suffered the consequences.

Such a case and the logic behind it are important to remember when discussing a variety of current issues. Several weeks ago, I discussed one such issue surrounding same-sex marriage. In particular, I made the argument that businesses should be allowed to serve whatever clientele they wish. That is, if a bakery or photographer has moral or other qualms about providing their services to a same-sex couple, they should be allowed to decline their services. I made the case that vendors choosing not to serve same-sex couples would suffer the consequences of such a policy, whether positive or negative.

The case of Abercrombie & Fitch is one example of how the market enforces social norms. If people think discriminating against overweight, ugly, or “uncool” people is wrong, then letting a company like Abercrombie demonstrate its preferences against these groups unleashes the wrath of the consumer. In the same way, allowing vendors to openly indulge their preferences on same-sex marriage will let market forces work. Those who find such policies offensive won’t buy, and those who agree will continue to support the business.

So perhaps it’s time to stifle our moral outrage and quit calling on the government to “fix” these kinds of problems and instead let the market do its job.



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

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

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


5 June, 2014

As a controversial book says women who’ve never wed should treasure their freedom... is it possible to be a happy spinster?

Kate Mulvey is a real woman with a good brain who obviously has all the normal hormones and instincts.  She has long wanted matrimony -- see here -- but took a long time to figure out what she was doing wrong  -- see here

And, as she starts out saying below, children are the big issue.  There is no greater happiness than children and you don't have to be a genius to figure that out. During my day, I see a lot of mothers with young children and you only have to smile at the child to see how bursting with pride and happiness the mother is over her child.  You get a huge smile in response. Children can be difficult but only the rarest mother would be without them. 

Some people accuse the voluntarily childless of being "selfish" but the truth is absolutely the reverse.  Having children is very selfish.  It is choosing the greatest possible happiness for yourself.  Children can of course turn out badly but it is a rare woman who wishes she never had the child concerned.  Mostly, mothers just keep on loving the child concerned.  It's the greatest love there is. 

Women who choose childlessness are not selfish.  They are foolish, abnormal or maladjusted.  They are often women who find giving difficult -- but they will also be given little. As the apostle Paul said in Galatians 6:7: "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap". And as Jesus once said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). As always, the Bible has the needed wisdom.  I am an atheist but whenever I try to live by Christian principles I get a reward. It's wisdom that can help anyone

Kate Mulvey, 51, says: As I stood in the middle of the room, my eyes pricked with tears and mustering all my strength not to cry, I felt a gaping sense of loss.

I was not at the funeral of a loved one, but at my friend’s son’s tenth birthday party, and I was the only woman there without an army of squabbling brats and a man to call my own.

Most of my friends were there, a medley of middle-aged couples, settled around the kitchen table, content and relaxed as they swapped in-jokes about truculent teenagers and the grind of GCSEs.

Amid the hubbub, I was shouting into my mobile, organising my Saturday night ahead. I laughed and joked about yet another date, but my laughter was empty, merely a mechanism to cover up the loneliness I felt.

After all, I am 51, and quite honestly, I’d much rather be spending a cosy night in with a husband and children than running around like the teenager I so obviously am not.

Yet, according to U.S. author Kate Bolick, I should be out and proud, enjoying my exciting single lifestyle. Her book, part memoir and part eulogy to the state of spinsterhood, challenges the idea that women who don’t marry are somehow sad and pathetic.

Being single, she says, shouldn’t be seen as a default position for we modern bachelorettes, but a life choice, a conscious decision to exist independently and self-sufficiently.

I used to think like Bolick and even wrote articles about living an unconventional life that was unfettered and free. But who was I kidding? Myself, actually.

Because the idea of being able to have a happy, fulfilled life on your own is a myth. I can’t tell you how many times I have come home to a cold house and an empty bed and felt utterly dejected and scared.

Yes, I may be able to eat chocolate profiteroles in bed, watch daytime soaps and drink mojitos in the bath — the usual arguments trotted out by the Bridget Jones generation. But, as pleasurable as all this may be, I know I’d enjoy it far more if I shared it with someone I loved.

Which is why Bolick’s premise that life can be lived more fully on your own — she even writes of finding herself yearning, when with a man, for ‘the extravagant pleasures of simply being alone’ — seems to me like a slow-burning recipe for unhappiness.

I wonder if Bolick has factored in what will happen when old age catches up with her. The fact is, she is still in her early 40s, stunning with tumbling locks and full lips. Wait till the lips are puckered and the cheeks sunken. I often wake in the night terrified no man will ever want me again.

Because — and here’s the nub — Bolick’s feminist mantra of ‘If bachelorhood can be celebrated, why not spinsterhood?’ is simply naive. I am sorry, but as cruel as it is, being single is different for women. It’s unfair, even disgustingly so, but it is also true.

Only the other day I was at my local bar chatting to a group of men in their early 60s. They listened to me attentively, until a blonde thirty-something wafted in. One even managed to arrange a date with her. And it is not only dating disappointments we mid-life singletons have to contend with. I also wonder, with no children of my own and growing health niggles, who will look after me as I age?

And as if that wasn’t enough, there is the problem of ageing parents. Five years ago, my mother was diagnosed with vascular dementia. My sisters, with their many child-centric responsibilities, left the bulk of caring duties to me. As my father pointed out, it wasn’t as if I had any family commitments. And he was right.

When she passed away this time last year, it was my job to look after my devastated father. To make him his favourite meals, sit and chat about the happy times and have the hankies ready when the tears came.

I don’t resent it, and am happy to be useful. But to be honest, it is a bit like landing the booby prize. Never in a million years did I ever think my life would end up like this. It is far from the footloose ‘living on your own terms’ that Bolick talks about.

So I am sorry to contradict the author and her merry army of glad-to-be-single followers, because it may seem glamorous, glossy and daring now, but come a certain age, being on your own is simply sad and lonely.

No, we spinsters, don’t need to be pitied or laughed at, but neither do we need to pretend to ourselves and the world we are having a ball. Because we’re not.


A big family 'is the key to a happy life': Two thirds who live in household with three or more children consider themselves to be satisfied with their lives

This will rile feminists.  "The least happy people were women aged over 65 who lived alone".  That's where feminists are heading

The happiest people live in big families, according to the latest official research into the causes of contentment.

The happiness measures – backed by David Cameron as a means to guide government policies – found that more than two thirds of people who live in families headed by a couple with three or more children consider themselves to be happy most of the time.

They also show that members of large families say they are more satisfied with their lives than others and that they think they have stronger personal relationships than most people.

Evidence of the link between big families and happiness comes at a time when parents are having fewer children and the number of children growing up with large numbers of brothers and sisters is at an all-time low.

According to a count conducted by the Office for National Statistics, the decline of marriage and the pressure on women to go out to work have contributed to a drop of the proportion of families with three or more children to around one in seven. Two decades ago 17 per cent of parents with children had three or more, compared to 14 per cent now.

The connection between large families and happiness was made by the EU’s statistics arm Eurostat in a major study of the results of quality of life surveys carried out across the continent.

It found that 66.8 per cent of homes with two adults and three children said they had been happy all the time or most of the time over the four weeks before they took part in the survey. Smaller families with one or two children recorded happiness levels just under the two thirds mark.

‘Generally two adult households, in many cases couples, were happier than people living on their own,’ the Eurostat report said.  ‘Households with children were the happiest, with the exception of single parents who report rather low happiness levels.’

By contrast the least happy people were women aged over 65 who lived alone, among whom more than one in five said they rarely felt happy.

The 278-page Quality of Life report said families with two parents and three or more children also reported the best levels of satisfaction with their lives. Some 28 per cent said they were highly satifisfied, more than double levels recorded by single working-age men, and nearly double those of single parents.

A similar pattern applied when people were asked about the quality of their personal relationships. Some 41 per cent of families with two parents and three or more children reported high levels of contentment with relationships.

Higher relationship satisfaction levels were recorded by couples of all ages, and by single women over 65, but there were also low levels of happiness with relationships found among greater numbers of single over-65 women.

The report said wealth, health and education were important for happiness, and that unemployment was closely linked with low life satisfaction. It found self-employed people tended to be less satisfied with their personal relationships, probably because many work unsocial hours which limit their social lives.

Retired people, by contrast, are happier with relationships. The report said this may be a result of ‘greater time availability that allows them to pursue opportunities to develop and maintain personal relationships.’

The happiness measures, which are based on scores out of 10 given by people asked a series of questions about their well-being, were introduced in Britain in 2010 with personal encouragement from the Prime Minister. They are intended to give an alternative to traditional measures of how well people are doing, and to give better guidance to ministers and civil servants.

Households with children were the happiest, with the exception of single parents who report rather low happiness levels.
The EU report said happiness is not directly linked to wealth.

‘Luxembourg, Norway and Switzerland show high values of overall life satisfaction but they are not as high as a potential relationship between Gross Domestic Product and average life satisfaction would imply,’ it said.

‘However, other factors may be at play as well. On the other end of the scale Bulgaria shows even lower life satisfaction than would be expected from its low GDP. The GDP of Romania is comparable to that of Bulgaria but residents of Romania rate their life satisfaction much higher on average than their Bulgarian counterparts.’

Britain scored above-average levels of overall life satisfaction – 7.3 out of 10 compared to an EU average of 7.1 – a finding that may be linked to higher numbers of large families in England.

Only six of the 28 EU countries have higher proportions of families with two parents and three or more children, despite the falling proportions in Britain. Large families are increasingly rare because of the movement of millions of young women through higher education and into careers, and because the decline of marriage has led to delayed childbirth and smaller families.

Married couples, according to recent UK figures, have an average of 1.79 children, while cohabitee parents average 1.62.

In England the ONS has said numbers of large families have been propped up by immigrant groups, particularly from Pakistani and Bangladeshi backgrounds, among whom parents continue to have bigger families.


‘Free Range’ Parents Not Charged for Letting Their Kids Walk Home Alone

Child Protective Services has ruled out neglect charges in one of two investigations into Maryland’s “free range” parents, according to the Associated Press.

Danielle and Alexander Meitiv, the parents of Dvora, 6, and Rafi, 10, practice what they call a “free range” parenting style in which their children are given a great deal of independence.

The Meitivs were under investigation for allowing their children to walk home from a park unsupervised in December. This case has now been dismissed.

The Daily Signal previously reported that the Meitiv children were picked up by police last month after a caller reported seeing unattended children walking in the neighborhood. The results of this investigation are still pending.

“This ruling confirms that we never exposed our children to a ‘substantial risk of harm,’” Danielle Meitiv said in a statement.

“Although we welcome the decision, we are concerned that CPS’s misguided policy remains intact. We fear that our family and other Maryland families will be subject to further investigations and frightening police detentions simply because our children have been taught how to walk safely in their neighborhood, including to and from school and local parks.”

The Meitiv’s lawyer, Matthew Dowd, said in a statement that he is “very pleased” the Meitivs have been “vindicated.”

“The county officials’ actions were a completely unnecessary overreach into the personal lives of the Meitivs,” Dowd said. “Unfortunately, the children and their parents have suffered from the actions of county officials. CPS’s investigations and actions have been premised on a fundamental misapplication of the law and violate the constitutional rights of parents to raise their children as they see best.”


Johns Hopkins Psychiatrist: Transgender is ‘Mental Disorder;' Sex Change ‘Biologically Impossible’

Dr. Paul R. McHugh, the former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital and its current Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry, said that transgenderism is a “mental disorder” that merits treatment, that sex change is “biologically impossible,” and that people who promote sexual reassignment surgery are collaborating with and promoting a mental disorder.

Dr. McHugh, the author of six books and at least 125 peer-reviewed medical articles, made his remarks in a recent commentary in the Wall Street Journal, where he explained that transgender surgery is not the solution for people who suffer a “disorder of ‘assumption’” – the notion that their maleness or femaleness is different than what nature assigned to them biologically.

He also reported on a new study showing that the suicide rate among transgendered people who had reassignment surgery is 20 times higher than the suicide rate among non-transgender people. Dr. McHugh further noted studies from Vanderbilt University and London’s Portman Clinic of children who had expressed transgender feelings but for whom, over time, 70%-80% “spontaneously lost those feelings.”

While the Obama administration, Hollywood, and major media such as Time magazine promote transgenderism as normal, said Dr. McHugh, these “policy makers and the media are doing no favors either to the public or the transgendered by treating their confusions as a right in need of defending rather than as a mental disorder that deserves understanding, treatment and prevention.”

“This intensely felt sense of being transgendered constitutes a mental disorder in two respects. The first is that the idea of sex misalignment is simply mistaken – it does not correspond with physical reality. The second is that it can lead to grim psychological outcomes.”

The transgendered person’s disorder, said Dr. McHugh, is in the person’s “assumption” that they are different than the physical reality of their body, their maleness or femaleness, as assigned by nature. It is a disorder similar to a “dangerously thin” person suffering anorexia who looks in the mirror and thinks they are “overweight,” said McHugh.

This assumption, that one’s gender is only in the mind regardless of anatomical reality, has led some transgendered people to push for social acceptance and affirmation of their own subjective “personal truth,” said Dr. McHugh. As a result, some states – California, New Jersey, and Massachusetts – have passed laws barring psychiatrists, “even with parental permission, from striving to restore natural gender feelings to a transgender minor,” he said.

The pro-transgender advocates do not want to know, said McHugh, that studies show between 70% and 80% of children who express transgender feelings “spontaneously lose those feelings” over time. Also, for those who had sexual reassignment surgery, most said they were “satisfied” with the operation “but their subsequent psycho-social adjustments were no better than those who didn’t have the surgery.”

“And so at Hopkins we stopped doing sex-reassignment surgery, since producing a ‘satisfied’ but still troubled patient seemed an inadequate reason for surgically amputating normal organs,” said Dr. McHugh.

The former Johns Hopkins chief of psychiatry also warned against enabling or encouraging certain subgroups of the transgendered, such as young people “susceptible to suggestion from ‘everything is normal’ sex education,” and the schools’ “diversity counselors” who, like “cult leaders,” may “encourage these young people to distance themselves from their families and offer advice on rebutting arguments against having transgender surgery.”

Dr. McHugh also reported that there are “misguided doctors” who, working with very young children who seem to imitate the opposite sex, will administer “puberty-delaying hormones to render later sex-change surgeries less onerous – even though the drugs stunt the children’s growth and risk causing sterility.”

Such action comes “close to child abuse,” said Dr. McHugh, given that close to 80% of those kids will “abandon their confusion and grow naturally into adult life if untreated ….”

“’Sex change’ is biologically impossible,” said McHugh. “People who undergo sex-reassignment surgery do not change from men to women or vice versa. Rather, they become feminized men or masculinized women. Claiming that this is civil-rights matter and encouraging surgical intervention is in reality to collaborate with and promote a mental disorder.”



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 June, 2014

Equal pay

The sisterhood is very supportive of one another -- feminists say

A former Virginia Tech student has been sentenced to 45 years in prison for the 2014 murder of another female student, who she brutally strangled after the victim wrote their lesbian fling off as an 'experiment.'

Jessica Michelle Ewing, 24, gave detailed testimony at her sentencing hearing Monday of the evening leading up to the murder of 21-year-old biology student Samantha Shrestha.

Ewing started the night with high hopes--wearing a dress and bringing along wine and whipped cream--while Shrestha wore sweats and a t-shirt.

High hopes: Ewing started the night with high hopes--wearing a dress and bringing along wine and whipped cream--while Shrestha wore sweats and a t-shirt

She told the court she was disappointed but that eventually Shrestha put on a dress of her own and the two downed a bottle of wine after having a 'whipped cream fight' and building a fort out of blankets, reports the Roanoke Times.

But the mood soon soured again after Ewing called Shrestha a 'spoiled bitch,' at which point Shrestha shot back that they were just 'experimenting' and that she was 'toying' with Ewing.

'I loved Sam — I couldn't believe she would say that I was some experiment to her,' Ewing told the court in Christiansburg. 'It hit me where I was most hurt.'

And so Ewing hit back. Her cause of death would later be deemed as strangulation, though blunt force injuries would also be discovered on her head and body.

'I made the most horrible decision to cover it all up to hide it,' Ewing said. 'I wish I had just called 911, but at that point it was too late.'

Shrestha's body was discovered stuffed in a sleeping bag in the back seat of her abandoned Mercedes on February 10, 2014.

In February of this year, Ewing entered an Alford plea to the first-degree murder of Samantha Shrestha. In an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges the prosecution has enough evidence for a conviction.

Judge Robert Turk sentenced Ewing to 80 years for first-degree murder and five years for transporting and concealing a body, the Roanoke Times reports.

She must serve out 45 years of her sentence before the rest is suspended. She will remain on probation for 20 years after her release.


A Warning from Canada: Same-Sex Marriage Erodes Fundamental Rights

Americans need to understand that the endgame of the LGBT rights movement involves centralized state power—and the end of First Amendment freedoms.

I am one of six adult children of gay parents who recently filed amicus briefs with the US Supreme Court, asking the Court to respect the authority of citizens to keep the original definition of marriage: a union between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others, so that children may know and may be raised by their biological parents. I also live in Canada, where same-sex marriage was federally mandated in 2005.

I am the daughter of a gay father who died of AIDS. I described my experiences in my book: Out From Under: The Impact of Homosexual Parenting. Over fifty adult children who were raised by LGBT parents have communicated with me and share my concerns about same-sex marriage and parenting. Many of us struggle with our own sexuality and sense of gender because of the influences in our household environments growing up.

We have great compassion for people who struggle with their sexuality and gender identity—not animosity. And we love our parents. Yet, when we go public with our stories, we often face ostracism, silencing, and threats.

I want to warn America to expect severe erosion of First Amendment freedoms if the US Supreme Court mandates same-sex marriage. The consequences have played out in Canada for ten years now, and they are truly Orwellian in nature and scope.

Canada’s Lessons

In Canada, freedoms of speech, press, religion, and association have suffered greatly due to government pressure. The debate over same-sex marriage that is taking place in the United States could not legally exist in Canada today. Because of legal restrictions on speech, if you say or write anything considered “homophobic” (including, by definition, anything questioning same-sex marriage), you could face discipline, termination of employment, or prosecution by the government.

Why do police prosecute speech under the guise of eliminating “hate speech” when there are existing legal remedies and criminal protections against slander, defamation, threats, and assault that equally apply to all Americans? Hate-crime-like policies using the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” create unequal protections in law, whereby protected groups receive more legal protection than other groups.

Having witnessed how mob hysteria in Indiana caused the legislature to back-track on a Religious Freedom Restoration Act, many Americans are beginning to understand that some activists on the Left want to usher in state control over every institution and freedom. In this scheme, personal autonomy and freedom of expression become nothing more than pipe dreams, and children become commodified.

Children are not commodities that can be justifiably severed from their natural parentage and traded between unrelated adults. Children in same-sex households will often deny their grief and pretend they don’t miss a biological parent, feeling pressured to speak positively due to the politics surrounding LGBT households. However, when children lose either of their biological parents because of death, divorce, adoption, or artificial reproductive technology, they experience a painful void. It is the same for us when our gay parent brings his or her same-sex partner(s) into our lives. Their partner(s) can never replace our missing biological parent.

The State as Ultimate Arbiter of Parenthood

Over and over, we are told that “permitting same-sex couples access to the designation of marriage will not deprive anyone of any rights.” That is a lie.

When same-sex marriage was legalized in Canada in 2005, parenting was immediately redefined. Canada’s gay marriage law, Bill C-38, included a provision to erase the term “natural parent” and replace it across the board with gender-neutral “legal parent” in federal law. Now all children only have “legal parents,” as defined by the state. By legally erasing biological parenthood in this way, the state ignores children’s foremost right: their immutable, intrinsic yearning to know and be raised by their own biological parents.

Mothers and fathers bring unique and complementary gifts to their children. Contrary to the logic of same-sex marriage, the gender of parents matters for the healthy development of children. We know, for example, that the majority of incarcerated men did not have their fathers in the home. Fathers by their nature secure identity, instill direction, provide discipline, boundaries, and risk-taking adventures, and set lifelong examples for children. But fathers cannot nurture children in the womb or give birth to and breast-feed babies. Mothers nurture children in unique and beneficial ways that cannot be duplicated by fathers.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that men and women are anatomically, biologically, physiologically, psychologically, hormonally, and neurologically different from each other. These unique differences provide lifelong benefits to children that cannot be duplicated by same-gender “legal” parents acting out different gender roles or attempting to substitute for the missing male or female role model in the home.

In effect, same-sex marriage not only deprives children of their own rights to natural parentage, it gives the state the power to override the autonomy of biological parents, which means parental rights are usurped by the government.

Hate Tribunals Are Coming

In Canada, it is considered discriminatory to say that marriage is between a man and a woman or that every child should know and be raised by his or her biological married parents. It is not just politically incorrect in Canada to say so; you can be saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, fined, and forced to take sensitivity training.

Anyone who is offended by something you have said or written can make a complaint to the Human Rights Commissions and Tribunals. In Canada, these organizations police speech, penalizing citizens for any expression deemed in opposition to particular sexual behaviors or protected groups identified under “sexual orientation.” It takes only one complaint against a person to be brought before the tribunal, costing the defendant tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees. The commissions have the power to enter private residences and remove all items pertinent to their investigations, checking for hate speech.

The plaintiff making the complaint has his legal fees completely paid for by the government. Not so the defendant. Even if the defendant is found innocent, he cannot recover his legal costs. If he is found guilty, he must pay fines to the person(s) who brought forth the complaint.

If your beliefs, values, and political opinions are different from the state’s, you risk losing your professional license, job, or business, and even your children. Look no further than the Lev Tahor Sect, an Orthodox Jewish sect. Many members, who had been involved in a bitter custody battle with child protection services, began leaving Chatham, Ontario, for Guatemala in March 2014, to escape prosecution for their religious faith, which conflicted with the Province’s guidelines for religious education. Of the two hundred sect members, only half a dozen families remain in Chatham.

Parents can expect state interference when it comes to moral values, parenting, and education—and not just in school. The state has access into your home to supervise you as the parent, to judge your suitability. And if the state doesn’t like what you are teaching your children, the state will attempt to remove them from your home.

Teachers cannot make comments in their social networks, write letters to editors, publicly debate, or vote according to their own conscience on their own time. They can be disciplined or lose any chance of tenure. They can be required at a bureaucrat’s whim to take re-education classes or sensitivity training, or be fired for thinking politically incorrect thoughts.

When same-sex marriage was created in Canada, gender-neutral language became legally mandated. Newspeak proclaims that it is discriminatory to assume a human being is male or female, or heterosexual. So, to be inclusive, special non-gender-specific language is being used in media, government, workplaces, and especially schools to avoid appearing ignorant, homophobic, or discriminatory. A special curriculum is being used in many schools to teach students how to use proper gender-neutral language. Unbeknownst to many parents, use of gender terms to describe husband and wife, father and mother, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, and “he” and “she” is being steadily eradicated in Canadian schools.

Which Is More Important: Sexual Autonomy or the First Amendment?

Recently, an American professor who was anonymously interviewed for the American Conservative questioned whether sexual autonomy is going to cost you your freedoms: “We are now at the point, he said, at which it is legitimate to ask if sexual autonomy is more important than the First Amendment?”

Under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Canadian citizens were supposed to have been guaranteed: (1) freedom of conscience and religion; (2) freedom of thought, belief, opinion, and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication; (3) freedom of peaceful assembly; and (4) freedom of association. In reality, all of these freedoms have been curtailed with the legalization of same-sex marriage.

Wedding planners, rental halls, bed and breakfast owners, florists, photographers, and bakers have already seen their freedoms eroded, conscience rights ignored, and religious freedoms trampled in Canada. But this is not just about the wedding industry. Anybody who owns a business may not legally permit his or her conscience to inform business practices or decisions if those decisions are not in line with the tribunals’ decisions and the government’s sexual orientation and gender identity non-discrimination laws. In the end, this means that the state basically dictates whether and how citizens may express themselves.

Freedom to assemble and speak freely about man-woman marriage, family, and sexuality is now restricted. Most faith communities have become “politically correct” to avoid fines and loss of charitable status. Canadian media are restricted by the Canadian Radio, Television, and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), which is similar to the FCC. If the media air anything considered discriminatory, broadcasting licenses can be revoked, and “human rights bodies” can charge fines and restrict future airings.

An example of legally curtailed speech regarding homosexuality in Canada involves the case of Bill Whatcott, who was arrested for hate speech in April 2014 after distributing pamphlets that were critical of homosexuality. Whether or not you agree with what he says, you should be aghast at this state-sanctioned gagging. Books, DVDs, and other materials can also be confiscated at the Canadian border if the materials are deemed “hateful.”

Americans need to prepare for the same sort of surveillance-society in America if the Supreme Court rules to ban marriage as a male-female institution. It means that no matter what you believe, the government will be free to regulate your speech, your writing, your associations, and whether or not you may express your conscience. Americans also need to understand that the endgame for some in the LGBT rights movement involves centralized state power—and the end of First Amendment freedoms.


Breaking the silence report

by Matti Friedman

I’ve been asked a few times about the “Breaking the Silence” report that is currently being played up by the international press, as is any report that fits the narrative of Israelis as war criminals. (Contradictory reports, like the recent one I posted here from two US military experts, are not considered news.) I hope that most intelligent people have stopped taking international press coverage of Israel too seriously. But there are a few things that are important to understand.

1. War is awful and people come back feeling upset about things they’ve seen and done. Some observers are reliable, and others aren’t. Some of the things described in the report no doubt happened as they were described. Others didn’t. Infantrymen at the bottom of the hierarchy often don’t understand what they’re seeing, or the reasons for what they’re doing, and I’m speaking from experience. Things that make no sense to a private, sergeant, or lieutenant sometimes (but by no means always) make more sense if you go a few notches up the command chain. Young soldiers tend not to understand this, certainly not at the time and not immediately afterward. For example, open-fire regulations at a particular time could seem too aggressive given your limited understanding of where you are. If you have all of the information at your disposal – and no soldier does – you might understand why.

A target shelled for reasons unknown to you might have been shelled for good reason after all. Or not. You don’t know, and in many cases (but not all) it’s a mistake to think you do. Drawing broad conclusions about Israeli military practice from “testimonies” of this kind is irresponsible.

2. Professional journalists looking at this report, and at similar reports, should be asking (but aren't, of course): Compared to what? IDF open-fire regulations are lax – compared to what? Civilian casualty rates are high – compared to what? Compared to the U.S. in Fallujah? The British in Northern Ireland? The Canadians in Helmand Province? “Lax” and “high” are relative terms. If Israel is being compared to other countries in similar situations, we need to know what the comparison is. Otherwise, beyond the details of individual instances the broad criticism is meaningless.

3. Breaking the Silence is described as an organization of Israeli veterans trying to expose Israelis to the nature of service in the occupied territories, in order to have a political impact on Israeli society. That's what it was a long time ago, and it once had an important role to play. But now it's something else. Today, like B’Tselem and others, it's a group funded in large part by European money which serves mainly to provide international reporters with the lurid examples of Israeli malfeasance that they crave. They are not speaking to Israelis, but are rather exploiting Israelis' uniquely talkative and transparent nature in order to defame them.

There is actually a fairly straightforward solution to this problem. Any group genuinely fighting for the character of Israeli society should do so in Hebrew, which is the language that Israelis speak -- and only in Hebrew. If you're expending a great deal of energy and money translating your materials into English and speaking to foreign reporters, as we’re seeing Breaking the Silence do right now, I think it's fair to ask what, exactly, you're up to. How is speaking to the international press supposed to swing Israelis in your direction? Of course it has the opposite effect.

As long as this state of affairs continues, Israelis will be correct in identifying this group and its sister organizations as people paid by foreigners to say things that a lot of foreigners want to hear Israelis say. And Israelis will continue to live without the strong left that we need – one that comes from Israel, is part of Israel, and is concerned with bettering our society, not with posturing for an audience abroad whose hostile obsession with us has nothing to do with us at all.


From Communists to Progressives, the Left's Takedown of Family and Marriage

By Paul Kengor

As the Supreme Court considers rendering unto itself the right to redefine marriage -- that is, to arrogate to itself something heretofore reserved to the laws of nature and nature’s God -- it’s a good time to have something that liberals always insist we have: a conversation. And given liberals’ constant calls for “tolerance” and “diversity,” they ought to be willing to sit back and join us in a civil, healthy dialogue.

To that end, I invite them to consider something so crucial and yet so neglected that I wrote a full book on it, released just in time for this national conversation on marriage. It’s titled, Takedown: From Communists to Progressives, How the Left Has Sabotaged Family and Marriage, and I sincerely wish liberals would lend it their professed toleration and open-mindedness.

Before I share my thesis, I should clarify my own stance.

I support the natural-traditional-biblical definition of marriage that has been Western civilization’s standard for multiple millennia. My position echoes my Roman Catholic faith. Basically, in a nutshell, my position is Pope Francis’ position (properly understood). Though Piers Morgan marvels at my position as “extraordinary,” it’s merely the one held by your grandparents, great grandparents, great-great grandparents… great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandparents and the ongoing long line of ancestors who preceded them. Even the ancient Greeks and Romans, long viewed as the models of perversity, never broached the unthinkable prospect of same-gender people marrying. That simply has never been marriage. What millions of Americans are rushing to do right now is completely unprecedented.

Today’s leftists should understand that they are the new One Percenters. They stand against the literal 99%-plus of humans who ever bestrode the planet, who never conceived of marriage as anything beyond man and woman.

As for those who disagree with me, and no longer support marriage as reserved to one man and one woman – a redefinition which will ultimately open the door to numerous new configurations -- I’d like to address you politely with a point I’m sure you haven’t considered. Do I expect to change your mind or those of Elena Kagan or Ruth Bader Ginsburg or the wider culture? No, I don’t. America has entered a protracted phase of post-Judeo-Christian thinking, where individualism and relativism reign supreme, fostered by a steady stream of incredibly naïve parents who marched their children in wide-eyed cadence through the educational system at giant costs both financial and moral. Nothing short of a major religious revival will save it. This culture and country will redefine marriage, either this month or in the months and years ahead.

That said, I would like to inform gay-marriage supporters of something they haven’t considered. Here it goes, a brief summary of what I detail over a couple hundred pages in Takedown:

Efforts to fundamentally transform family and marriage have been long at work, but never (until now) accepted and pushed by the mainstream. In the past, these efforts were spearheaded by the most dangerous leftists. For two centuries, leftist extremists made their arguments, from the 1800s to the 1960s, beginning with the Communist Manifesto, where Marx and Engels wrote of the “abolition of the family!” Efforts to revolutionize family and marriage continued from socialist utopians like Robert Owen, Charles Fourier, and Albert Brisbane, to cultural Marxists in the Frankfurt School such as Herbert Marcuse and Freudian-Marxist Wilhelm Reich, to 20th-century leftists and progressives ranging from the Bolsheviks -- Lenin, Trotsky, Alexandra Kollontai -- to Margaret Sanger, Betty Friedan, Kate Millett, and ‘60s radicals like Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, and Mark Rudd. When Tom Hayden and Robert Scheer ran a “Red Family” colony in near Berkeley in the 1960s, they were merely following the footsteps of socialist-utopian colonies in the 1800s in places like Oneida, New York and New Harmony, Indiana.

Were these “ideological colonists” (to borrow an apt description by Pope Francis) supporting gay marriage? Of course, not. No group of radicals, no matter how unhinged, ever contemplated that. The mere fleeting contemplation, the mere momentary notion, the slightest passing fancy of a man legally marrying another man in the 1850s or 1950s would have been scoffed at as incomprehensible. Such proponents would have been deemed certifiably insane. Public authorities might well have hauled them away as menaces to society.

These fundamental transformers did, however, seek to break down natural-traditional-biblical boundaries for family and marriage. They sought every means to reshape and redefine. They did so to the point that now, today, the Communist Party USA, the People’s World, and even Castro’s Cuba, not to mention leftist groups like the Beyond Marriage campaign, have picked up their mantle and embraced gay marriage as the vehicle to achieve what their leftist forbears were unable to achieve.

For the far left, gay marriage is the Trojan horse to secure the takedown of marriage it has long wanted, and countless everyday Americans are oblivious to the older, deeper forces at work. And even more delicious for the left, gay marriage is serving as a stunningly effective tool in attacking what the far left has always hated most: religion.

In a telling moment about a year ago, I received an email from a reader who once had been part of the “gay left.” He told me that even most gay people, who are either not political or nowhere near as political as the extreme left, have no idea how their gay-marriage advocacy fits and fuels the far left’s anti-family agenda, and specifically its longtime take-down strategy aimed at the nuclear family. The emailer is exactly right (and inspired me to begin collecting the material that led to this book).

Indeed, most of the gay people I have known are Republicans. Generally, I have had no problem easily dialoguing with them, though it is getting more difficult, as liberals have done their usual excellent job convincing an entire group that I as a conservative hate them. Even when socially liberal -- and, even then, mainly on matters like gay rights -- the gay people I’ve met have been economic conservatives, not to mention pro-life on abortion. But in signing on the dotted line for gay marriage, they have also, whether they realize it or not, enlisted in the radical left’s unyielding centuries-old attempt to undermine the family. The same is true, ironically, for “conservatives” who support gay marriage, for libertarians who worship a golden calf of “freedom” that is fully separated from faith, and for the “moderates” swimming (as they usually do) with the cultural tide.

Unlike the communists who ripped marriage as “bourgeois claptrap,” as a form of “slavery” and “vile patriarchy,” as a system of “captive housewives,” and who forcibly collectivized children into full-time nurseries in order to deliberately undermine the traditional family, the vast majority of today’s proponents of same-sex marriage have friendly motives. Their goal is not to tear down but to “expand” marriage to a new form of spousal partner. They do this with the intent of providing a new “freedom” and “right” to a new group of people. I get that. Unfortunately, there’s so much that they are not getting.

Today’s advocates of same-sex marriage need to be aware of the quite insidious deeper historical-ideological forces they are unwittingly serving. Sure, that knowledge still will likely not change their minds, but it’s something that a well-informed, thoughtful person should at least be willing to learn before urging the unprecedented action that our culture and court may be about to take.



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 June, 2014

Political cakes

Another false rape claim from Britain

At least the Brits do lock these bitches up sometimes

A London Underground worker is facing jail for accusing an accountant she met at a nightclub of rape after he left her waiting for a lift home outside McDonald's for 45 minutes.

Comfort Yinusa, 23, from Tilbury, Essex, became angry after the victim - who cannot be named - was late returning to give her a lift back to her hotel following a night out.

When he finally arrived to pick her up from outside the fast food restaurant in Liverpool Street, central London, she stormed off and called her boyfriend Kenneth Umezie to pick her up instead.

On the drive home, she then told her partner that she had been raped by the accountant and sexually assaulted by his friend.  She later called 999 to report the alleged incidents and the two men were arrested and held in a cell for at least 14 hours before being released on bail.

It took five further weeks of investigations - including for forensic evidence, mobile phone data and CCTV footage to be studied - for Yinusa's allegations to be proved false.  However, she refused to admit her lies until just before the trial at the Old Bailey last month. [Blacks very rarely make admisions]

Judge Peter Rook QC is now due to sentence the Tube worker on Friday after she admitted perverting the course of justice between October 25, 2013 and January 3 last year.

The court heard how Yinusa reported the accountant for rape on October 26, 2013 while travelling in her boyfriend's car. She claimed she had met the Nigerian at the Dollhouse nightclub near Liverpool Street.

Heather Stangoe, prosecuting, said: 'She left with him and his friend. She had been offered a lift home.  'All three went to McDonald's and they ordered some food and CCTV showed them there laughing at the tills.'

The accountant, who was carrying Yinusa's bag, left her with his friend while he went to collect his car - only to realise he could not remember where he had parked.

Yinusa told police that she was sexually assaulted by the friend while they waited outside McDonald's and the Lord Aberconway pub.

She claimed that when the accountant returned, he took off his trousers and raped her while his friend watched.

Miss Stangoe said: 'She said she did not know whether he was using a condom.'

Officers described her as 'coherent and calm' while she was making the allegation via the 999 call.

Her boyfriend, who she has since split from, told police that she called him and asked him to pick her up in the early hours of the morning.

Miss Stangoe said: 'It seems there was a bit of an atmosphere when he arrived. CCTV shows them having a remonstration.

'He says that after about a minute of her being in the car she told him she had been raped.  'She told him she had made several attempts to contact the police but had been unsuccessful. She was with him when she made the call to 999.'

Yinusa was taken to the Haven centre – a specialist establishment for people who have been sexually assaulted - at 8.30am and surprised staff by falling asleep while waiting to be examined.

She also insisted that she did not want to be examined and instead wanted to go home.

The court also heard how when she was driven back to the scene, which had been cordoned off by police, she claimed she could not remember where exactly the attack happened.

Yinusa also failed to turn up for a police video interview and instead sent a text message to officers which said: 'I can't make it, please can I call you later, I'm sorry for wasting your time.'  She then called police on November 1, 2013 to say she did not want to go ahead with the complaint.

At a meeting three days later, Yinusa told police that the rape happened after they left McDonald's but did not know where. Two weeks later, she backtracked again and said she did not want to go ahead with the allegation.

Yinusa was finally arrested on December 2, 2013 and confronted with the CCTV and phone evidence proving she had lied. However, she made no comment during her police interview.

The following day, the victim and his friend were told they would not be charged, having spent five weeks on bail.  Miss Stangoe said that the incident 'had affected him very severely'. 

Both men had to provide intimate samples, surrender their clothing and undergo a medical examination. They were kept in custody for over 14 hours before being released on bail.

Two police officers and two paramedics were called to meet Yinusa after the 999 call and CCTV from 16 locations had to be trawled through by investigators.  Miss Stangoe said that the complaint wasted more than 100 hours of police time and the forensic investigations alone cost £3,216.

Yinusa's barrister Neville Rudston described her as 'desperate' and said: 'It is popularly seen as a monstrous act. The enormity of the consequences should have been clear. The reality is they weren't.  'It was an outburst of anger, albeit she had a great deal to be angry about, it's an outburst.

'She says it and then she was stuck with it, she didn't have the robustness or strength to say 'no I take it back' and that's why it turned out as badly as it did.'


Muslim woman, 24, who was denied a job at Abercrombie & Fitch because of her head scarf wins in Supreme Court

Muslims must be "accomodated", apparently

The Supreme Court ruled Monday for a Muslim woman who did not get hired after she showed up to a job interview with clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch wearing a black headscarf.

The justices said that employers generally have to accommodate job applicants and employees with religious needs if the employer at least has an idea that such accommodation is necessary.

Job applicant Samantha Elauf did not tell her interviewer she was Muslim.  But Justice Antonin Scalia said for the court that Abercrombie 'at least suspected' that Elauf wore a headscarf for religious reasons. 'That is enough,' Scalia said in an opinion for seven justices.

The headscarf, or hijab, violated the company's strict dress code for employees who work in its retail stores.

Elauf was 17 when she interviewed for a 'model' position, as the company calls its sales staff, at an Abercrombie Kids store in a shopping mall in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 2008. She impressed the assistant store manager with whom she met.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the civil rights law requires certain people to be treated differently to other applicants if they have a religious requirement.

'They don't have to accommodate a baseball cap. They do have to accommodate a yarmulke,' Ginsburg said, in a reference to the cap worn by some Jewish men.

Justice Samuel Alito said employers like Abercrombie could easily find out if prospective employees need a religious accommodation by simply asking if they are able to abide by work rules.

He noted that Abercrombie had assumed Elauf would wear the head scarf every day simply because she wore it at the interview. 'Maybe she just had a bad hair day,' Alito said.

Other conservative justices were more skeptical about the government's arguments.

Chief Justice John Roberts speculated that putting the burden on the employee to assess whether a religious accommodation is needed 'may promote stereotypes to a far greater degree' by requiring interviewers to inquire about applicants' religious beliefs.

Muslim groups said in a friend-of-the-court brief in supportof Elauf that employment discrimination against Muslims iswidespread in the United States.

Often, the act of a woman wearing a head scarf is what triggers the discrimination, the brief said.

The EEOC has reported that Muslims file more employment claims about discrimination and the failure to provide religious accommodations than any other religious group.

Groups representing Christians, Jews and Sikhs also filed court papers backing Elauf.

The case came before the top U.S. court at a time when some Western nations are struggling with culture clashes relating to accommodating local Islamic populationS.

The United States has not, however, faced the same tensions as some European countries including France.

Abercrombie has faced other employee lawsuits, including one in which it agreed in 2004 to pay $40 million to several thousand minority and female plaintiffs who had accused the company of discrimination.


Must not kill animals for food?

A 'sexy' Czech hunter who has been widely criticized for posting photos of her big game trophies and an American TV host paired up for a controversial outing in Slovakia.

Michaela Fialova and Larysa Switlyk documented their trip as they hunted roe deer in Europe together, filming as they went in search of the animals.

The ladies documented not just the kill, but also the aftermath as they cooked and ate the animals.

Fiavola, 27, who is from Litomerice, Czech Republic, spends the rest of her time working as a personal trainer, kick-boxer and guide for other hunters in Africa and Europe, began hunting when she was just 13-years-old.

She has previously described the sport by saying hunting gives people 'memories that will last a lifetime.'

Photos of Fiavola's kills, which include everything from zebras and lions to monkeys and boars have sparked outrage among many.

An online petition on Change.org titled 'Ban Michaela Michaelka Fialova from Africa and shut down her Facebook page promoting trophy hunting as being a glamorous thing to do' has almost 25,000 signatures.

It was created by Alice Harding, from Dartmouth, England, who described hunting as 'despicable.' She said: 'It's repulsive to glorify trophy hunting and sadistic practices such as bow hunting and posing with dead bodies of animals as if hunting is an appealing and desirable thing to do.

Despite this criticism, Fialova, who refers to those against hunting as 'antis', wrote on Facebook on February 24: 'Hey antis, do you really think this will stop me? I WILL NEVER STOP HUNTING.'

And in a video posted at the beginning of March, she explained: 'The difference between this meat and your meat is your meat is usually from slaughterhouses.  'The animal has a right to live a proper life and until its end it doesn't know about being hunted.'

Switlyk, 30, is a former accountant who left her job in New York City to pursue her passion for hunting and fishing, and now hosts Larysa Unleashed on Sportsman Channel.

The show follows her around the world, and her outing with Fialova will no doubt be featured in an upcoming episode.

She also works closely with Hunt of a Life Time, a Florida nonprofit that grants hunting and fishing trips for children who have been diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses.


Church fat cat's salary climbs to £409,000

How typically hypocritical of today’s Church of England leadership to preach one thing but do the opposite.

During the election campaign, Anglican bishops made the highly political move of issuing a 52-page letter urging Christians to resist the power of big business.

Their call for an end to the free-market ideas embodied by Margaret Thatcher, which they claimed were ‘entrenching inequality’ between rich and poor, infuriated the Tory Party.

Yet just a few weeks later, Church leaders now appear to be happily embracing big-business values.

For the latest report by the Church Commissioners, who handle the C of E’s investments, reveals that they awarded a £75,000 pay rise to their director of investments.

The 18 per cent increase, at a time when the Government has imposed a public sector pay freeze, brings Tom Joy’s total salary package to £409,000.

Of course, the Church has to employ the best financial brains to look after its investments, but such a large amount of money will shock many parishioners working hard to raise funds.

Indeed, Mr Joy is not the only person being well-rewarded by the Church. Ten of the commission’s 229 staff earn more than £100,000 a year.

The report says: ‘The Church Commissioners is a large and sophisticated institutional investor investing in a broad range of asset classes including significant property holdings and as such seeks to attract and retain high-calibre investment professionals.

‘Accordingly, salaries are designed to reflect the market for investment specialists…’ Spoken like true Thatcherites.



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 June, 2015

NHS chief warns women not to wait until 30 to have baby as country faces a fertility timebomb

One of Britain’s top NHS fertility specialists last night issued a stark warning to women: Start trying for a baby before you’re 30 – or risk never having children.

In a strongly worded letter to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, consultant gynaecologist Professor Geeta Nargund has also demanded that teenagers are taught about the dangers of delaying parenthood, because of the spiralling cost to the taxpayer of IVF for women in their late 30s and 40s.

Professor Nargund cites the agony of a growing number of women left childless as a key reason why fertility lessons must be included in the national curriculum. Her controversial intervention – in which she warns Britain faces a ‘fertility timebomb’ – will fuel the debate over the best time to start a family, amid the rise in women delaying motherhood to pursue careers.

In the letter, seen by The Mail on Sunday, Prof Nargund writes: ‘I have witnessed all too often the shock and agony on the faces of women who realise they have left it too late to start a family.

‘For so many, this news comes as a genuine surprise and the sense of devastation and regret can be overwhelming.  ‘And so often the cry will be “Why did no one warn me about this?”’

Fertility issues placed a ‘costly and largely unnecessary burden on the NHS’, she said, warning that the IVF bill ‘looks set only to increase’. Hundreds of millions is already spent on IVF, with each treatment ‘cycle’ costing around £5,000.

Arguing passionately for fertility lessons, she tells Mrs Morgan: ‘Information is power and the best way to empower people to take control of their fertility is through education.’ Prof Nargund said last night: ‘Ideally, if a woman is ready for a child, she should start trying by the time she is 30. She should consider having a child early because as a woman gets older, her fertility declines sharply.’

She said: ‘A lot of women think they can just delay motherhood, have IVF and it will all be fine.’

If a woman started trying early enough, doctors would still have time to diagnose problems and take action before it was too late, she said.

Her comments were endorsed by Professor Allan Pacey, outgoing chair of the British Fertility Society.

‘You need to be trying by 30 because if there is a problem and you need surgery, hormones or IVF, then you’ve got five years to sort it out,’ he said. ‘If a woman starts trying at 35, doctors have got to sort it out when she is already on a slippery fertility slope’.

He went even further on educating youngsters on fertility, saying pupils should receive ‘age appropriate’ information from primary school to university.

Prof Nargund, lead consultant for reproductive medicine at St George’s Hospital in London and medical director of the private Create Fertility clinics in the UK said: ‘As women get older, they experience more complex fertility problems, so treatment tends to be less successful and more expensive.

‘On average, more [IVF] treatment cycles are required for a successful pregnancy. So educating people about fertility is very important for the public purse, because it will help us to get more babies within the same NHS budget.’

Egg quantity and quality is frequently the problem, she said, particularly among women in their late 30s and 40s.

In such cases, IVF is usually necessary. But there can be other factors at play, such as poor blood flow to the ovaries or uterus.

Prof Nargund and colleagues have helped pioneer diagnostic approaches using ultrasound scans and other tests to discern the problem before rushing to pricey IVF.

The cost is considerable: The NHS funded 25,571 IVF cycles in England and Wales in 2013, or 41 per cent of the total.

The average success rate is just one live birth per four cycles – meaning each IVF baby costs the taxpayer around £20,000. But the chance of IVF success falls rapidly with age, with only one in eight cycles being successful in women aged 40 to 42 using their own eggs.

The average age women give birth is now 30, according to the Office of National Statistics, which has cited more women going to university and pursuing careers as a key reason for older mothers.

With one in six couples now having trouble conceiving and the birth rate among UK-born mothers in long-term decline, Prof Nargund said Britain faced a ‘fertility timebomb’ that had to be addressed.

‘We can’t rely on net immigration to increase the country’s birth rate,’ said Prof Nargund, who moved to the UK from India as a medical student in the 1980s. ‘It’s not a permanent fix.’

Now 55, Prof Nargund started a family with her husband at 29, even though she was a busy junior doctor at the time, saying: ‘My biological clock was absolutely on my mind.’

Many young people were surprisingly poorly informed about the impact of age on fertility, she said. Neither did they know that smoking, too much alcohol, taking drugs, or being too fat or too thin negatively affected the chances of conception.  She added: ‘Educated women are not necessarily educated about their fertility.’

A Department for Education spokesman said: ‘Sex and relationship education is compulsory in all maintained secondary schools. ‘We also expect academies and free schools to deliver relationship education.  ‘We trust schools to ensure the education they provide meets the needs of particular students. As such, they are free to talk about fertility or any other relevant issues.’


I want my daughter to know that she can never 'have it all’

My generation focused on careers – with tragic consequences for some. So I applaud new, hard-hitting advice on the best time to have a baby

Cristina Odone

Lately, I have been thinking about my character, after listening to David Brooks, American author of the best-selling The Road to Character, speak eloquently about ''resumé values vs eulogy values’’. With a pang, I recognised that I had led my early life with only my CV in mind. I sought an interesting career, status, money and an influential network, and honed traits like grit and ambition (not to mention self-centredness and competitiveness).

In my defence, I can plead that I was the product of my times: in the Eighties and Nineties, educated women like me were told by teachers, the media and – more than anyone – our mothers that it was work, above all else, that offered us the route to independence, success and self-confidence. Never before had so many professions been opened to women. Our generation should not waste this exciting and unprecedented opportunity.

I took up the challenge with relish, and careered towards my goals. But in the year I turned 40, I filmed a documentary for the BBC on fertility that left me devastated: one of the experts I interviewed told me bluntly that I had left childbearing so late that I’d only have a baby through IVF. I stumbled out of his clinic and burst into tears, blaming everyone but Myself. Why had no one warned me that a work-centred life carried the risk of childlessness?

The doctor was proved wrong and I conceived naturally, at 43. I was, I know, incredibly lucky, but I would certainly have liked to have had more children. That wasn’t possible. The near-miss shook my faith in our work-centred culture and our resumé values: I won’t be giving my daughter the same advice I received. I will advise her to study hard and get into university, yes. But I’ll tell her that once graduated, she should work on establishing the foundations for her personal as well as professional life. I will advise her that without a single-minded focus on her job in her twenties, she risks forgoing a brilliant career. But I will explain, too, that if she pursues her professional life at the expense of her personal one, she risks being childless. Better compromise on the six-figure salary, which she can still hope to attain if she returns to work after the birth. A baby – despite all the progress in assisted reproduction techniques – only comes easily until 30.

In 2015 it is a lot easier to convince Izzy of the danger of delaying childbirth than it would have been back in my day. When Bridget Jones in 1995 agonised about her biological clock going tick-tock, she was playing her singleton paranoia for laughs: few scientists had raised the alarm about postponing childbirth back then. The billion-pound industry in assisted reproduction techniques was just being conceived; working women worried about breaking the glass ceiling, not forgoing the pastel-coloured nursery.

Today, fertility experts routinely regale us with statistics regarding a woman’s fertility, and its rapid decline once she’s past 35. Now, Professor Geeta Nargund has added her voice to theirs. The lead consultant for reproductive medicine at St George’s Hospital in London is reported to have written to the Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, urging schools to teach teenagers the real facts and figures about age and reproduction. ''Ideally, if a woman is ready for a child, she should start trying by the time she is 30.’’

Her comments have triggered a row, with parents worrying that sex education – after teaching generations that pregnancy is something to safeguard against – will now instead promote baby-making.

Helen Fraser, chief executive of the Girls’ Day School Trust, has responded by saying: ''The threat of infertility should not be used as a stick to beat women into reproducing early.”

But Prof Nargund has a point. From an ever earlier age, youngsters are taught the facts about sex and reproduction and how to avoid pregnancy. As teenagers they are being conditioned to see childbirth only as a barrier to happiness and prosperity. Yet, while having a baby can indeed blight the prospects of a teenage mother, they should also know that having a baby when she’s ready for it is a cause for celebration

We urgently need Prof Nargund’s prompt: my generation’s utilitarian approach attached far greater importance to what we do than who we are. If I can point to the corner office, the CEO title, the fat monthly cheque, no one can question my purpose. I have achieved, therefore I am. Women, especially, find this logic seductive. We have only recently been welcomed at the boardroom table. It seems perverse to question the rewards we have just started to enjoy.

But for too many, a place on the Board has come at the price of having children. More than a fifth of women born between 1960 and 1968 who went on to graduate had no children, according to the Economic and Social Research Council Centre for Population Change. Those who did have children had fewer than their peers who did not go on to further education. Professor Ann Berrington, who led the study, spoke of the ''mismatch’’ whereby ''[graduate] women do not have as many children as they intended’’. Getting to the top requires total immersion; many – too many? – of my generation accepted this and kept their heads down, while a female colleague who took time off to raise a family found it difficult to return to the same job prospects. Professional women sensed that in a man’s world they had to play the man’s game – with no gaps, no breaks. When they finally attained their goal, they looked up to find it was too late to conceive.

Many of the amazing breakthroughs in assisted reproduction – from IVF to frozen eggs – falter in the over-thirties. As the tough-talking Prof Nargund outlined, older mothers need far more IVF cycles and are subject to more complications than their younger counterparts. This alone should make the Government sit up and take notice: each cycle costs £5,000 on the NHS, which already has spent millions on fertility treatments for women in their thirties and forties.

In her comments, Helen Fraser spoke wisely when she said that she did not like the phrase ''having it all’’. “It makes a girl feel that when she leaves university she has to make a decision between having a full and rewarding career or a wonderful relationship and children.” I agree. I will teach my daughter never to use the phrase “having it all” – because it is impossible to have it all. It is impossible to chase professional success without compromising on the personal front. When that compromise is measured in the hours you did not spend with your 11-year-old, the dilemma is painful enough; when that compromise is never having had her in the first place, it is unbearable.

I want my daughter and her friends to learn now that is impossible to live their lives by resumé values and expect a eulogy at the end of it that celebrates an existence that was truly fulfilled.

As harsh as it sounds, for those young women who may want children, planting the seeds of fear of childlessness forces them to look beyond their careers. Prof Nargund has done us a favour.


Realistic lady in trouble with the feminists

Davina McCall is an English television presenter

Davina McCall has beckoned a social media uproar after advising women that keeping that they should work hard at keeping their men sexually happy or face being cheated on.

The brunette beauty, who has been married to Matthew Robertson for 15 years, said in an interview with the Telegraph that matching underwear is on her list of keeping her spouse happy.

'Matthew has strong views on underwear,' she told the newspaper, adding: 'You must keep your husband satisfied in the bedroom department, even if you’re absolutely exhausted. Otherwise he will go somewhere else.'

Within hours of the interview being published, Davina faced an avalanche of criticism on Twitter, as a number of users made it clear that they disagreed with her sentiments.

'The problem [with] articles like this is that it puts responsibility entirely on women [and] ignores their sexual agency,' wrote one woman.  Another tweeted: 'Don't know how much of this is true but if it is I feel deeply sorry for her. What a horrifying message to send.'

Other users took to Twitter to point out that men were also not painted in the best of lights, per the advice that was given.

'What complete trash is this,' ranted one male user. 'Men are not animals and women do not exist to serve and pleasure them.'

Realising the controversy she had created, Davina tweeted on Sunday evening that she would soon be clarifying her comments.

She wrote: 'For all you ladies up in arms about my "satisfying my husband comment" I shall be writing a blog so u can all pipe down... !! Xx'

Sure enough, two hours later, she returned with a post clearing up any misconceptions over her choice of words.

She wrote: 'Argggghhhhhh! I've got myself in a controversy!!!! In the paper this weekend I talked about a couple of things that I would like to explain further...

Firstly, I do like to wear matching underwear... no biggy... I don’t do it for Matthew... I do it for me.

'If I want to feel hot and sexy I wear nice undies... if I'm at work, and for practicality, I wear really boring ones... but always matching.

'Right, next… my husband…I do not submit to my husband, nor does he submit to me. My mum said, to keep your man happy, stay intimate. Sometimes, especially when the kids were very young and I was super tired, this was the last thing on my mind… has he ever coerced or pressured me? NO!!! But have I ever started feeling tired and finished feeling very happy? Yes!!'

She previously told the Mail On Sunday that their relationship has been her greatest achievement.  The brunette beauty said: 'For any man to be married to a famous woman, it doesn’t matter what you do or where you are in life, it’s a big ask.

'And also for my husband to have endured quite a few years of being called Mr McCall when his name is Mr Robertson – that is a kick in the nuts.'


Welcome to the OTHER Londonistan:  London, Canada

If a tree falls in the Forest City and the London Free Press doesn’t report it, did it really fall?  Well, if reporting about this fallen tree is unflattering to Liberals, Socialists, unionists and/or Jihadists, then . . . what tree?

Welcome to Londonistan, Canadian edition. We may not be as populous as Britain’s Londonistan, but Canadians have a reputation for punching above our weight and London is no exception. Our tolerance for Jihadists gets results!

Here’s a small sampling of Islamist activity the LFP didn’t bother spilling much ink over.

In 2011, Revenue Canada shut down the London, Ontario operation of a Gaddafi affiliated charity, World Islamic Call Society (WICS) run by Assem Fadel. Fadel was the former President of London’s Islamic Centre of Southwest Ontario, and remains on the Mosque Executive in “Human Resources”. The “charity” quietly raised funds which were then funneled to terrorist organizations around the world through Fadel’s personal bank account.

Fadel wasn’t the only Londoner involved with WICS as reported by Pointe de Bascule; “In spite of his leadership position in the terror-funding Libyan WICS, Munir el-Kassam was appointed chaplain of the London Police Service in 2011.” Perhaps if the LFP had bothered to inform Londoners, el-Kassam’s Chaplaincy appointment might have received the scrutiny it deserved.

Also involved with WICS was London doctor, Wael Haddara, “an advisor to Muslim Brotherhood-backed Egyptian President Morsi”. During the heady days of Arab Spring jubilation in 2010, before it became obvious that this revolution was nothing to celebrate, we might have forgiven the LFP for sub-titling the article they finally wrote about Haddara, “Our Man in Egypt”. But, the LFP story didn’t appear until 2013, begging the question, “who were they kidding?”

With the generosity of Saudi/Wahhabi oil money, Huron University College established a Chair in Islamic Studies attracting Ingrid Mattson, former President of the Islamic Society of North America, to the London-Windsor Community Chair. Mattson is a convert who has cavorted with some of the biggest names in Islamism although you wouldn’t know it from the scant but flattering coverage the LFP gave her appointment.

Converts remind me of reformed smokers in the zeal they bring to their new religion often identifying with more radical elements. Reformed smokers don’t just eschew cigarettes for themselves but would happily execute any smoker who doesn’t join them.

Who can forget the four young Londoners barely out of school, who somehow made their way to an Algerian desert to participate in a deadly terrorist attack on a gas plant? This incident should have had the LFP salivating over the opportunity to dig into the story which could have read like a less wholesome version of The Sandlot; a coming of age story about a young terrorist, laughed at by all the seasoned terrorists until a big shot at the mosque shows him how to properly throw a grenade.

London is also home to tenured French linguistics professor, David Heap. Some may remember his Boat to Gaza adventures which did receive some coverage in the LFP where he appeared as a principled defender of human rights rather than a radical Kaffiyeh wearing supporter of known terrorist organization, Hamas.

According to the latest census released in 2011, 1 in 20 Londoners, identify as Muslim and Arabic occupies the number 2 spot on the Top Ten Non-Official Languages spoken at home. These statistics might help explain “London Ontario’s best kept secrets” and why our local rag doesn’t seem interested in sharing those secrets with others.

If this is the last you hear from me, send CSIS. We don’t have nearly as many trees to hide behind as our Forest City moniker would suggest.



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

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

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


1 June, 2015

British social worker evil is hard to believe sometimes

They just aim to hurt respectable people. A mother who had done nothing wrong and desperately wanted custody of her own biological daughter was denied it on the most specious grounds and the baby was given to an adoptive family

Throughout her pregnancy, surrogate mother Wendy Reid had been resolute: she was doing the right thing. After all, what greater gift could she give a childless woman than a baby?

In a world where the rules and players in the process of parenthood are growing ever-more complicated and varied, it’s a line we’re hearing frequently, as women happily ‘rent out’ their bodies to infertile and gay couples.

Recent examples include a mother giving birth to a baby for her gay son, and a daughter carrying her own ‘sister’ for her mother and new husband. The families insisted the arrangements worked brilliantly for all concerned.

Yet no matter how many times one reads these stories, a nagging question always remains: how could any woman hand over a child they gave birth to? And the most uncomfortable question of all: what happens if the woman changes her mind?

Sadly, that is what happened to Wendy. The repercussions were catastrophic, destroying her relationship and leaving an innocent baby — her own biological daughter — to be raised by adoptive parents, with no idea of who she is. Despite the rising popularity of surrogacy — figures from the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service show that there were 167 surrogate babies born in the UK last year, more than triple the 47 born in 2007 — it remains an unregulated practice in this country.

Agreements between couples and their surrogates are made entirely on trust, often between virtual strangers, with obvious potentially disastrous pitfalls.

Two months ago, Wendy, 28, lost an appeal against a court decision to place her now two-year-old daughter with another family. She may never see her again: ‘Losing her has been agony, just traumatic. The thought that she is being brought up by a couple of strangers and not her blood family is torture. I won’t ever come to terms with it.’

Wendy, who already had Lucy, five, decided to become a surrogate in July 2012. A former administrator, she says: ‘I remember reading about a woman who’d had a longed-for child through a surrogate and felt overwhelmed with emotion. I adored having Lucy and began thinking how terrible it must be for couples who can’t have a child.

‘We’d planned to add to our family, but I thought it would be wonderful to have a baby for a couple who couldn’t have children first.’

Wendy broached the subject with her partner, James, 23, and the couple discussed the possible strain on their family life, as well as the health implications for Wendy, before deciding to go ahead.

‘He felt the same way as me,’ Wendy says.

After registering her details with a reputable surrogacy website, where couples can advertise for surrogates and vice versa, Wendy, who lives in the north of England, was delighted when just a few days later she was contacted by Jane and William, a couple in their 40s.

‘They were desperate to have a baby,’ she says. ‘Jane told me health problems meant she’d had to have a hysterectomy and so had missed out on having a family. My heart went out to them.’

Obviously this meant Wendy would have to use her own eggs and would be biologically related to any baby that was born. But after careful thought, and moved by the couple’s apparently desperate situation, she chose to go ahead.

‘Every month, when a woman goes through her cycle, an egg is wasted — I felt I would be giving life to an egg that would otherwise not have life and James agreed,’ she concluded.

Over the next four weeks the couples chatted regularly online and on the phone, eventually deciding to meet.

‘They came to meet us at our home,’ she recalls. ‘I was relieved when I opened the door to see a smartly dressed couple. They said they both had professional jobs in management, and reassured us they had no criminal record or financial worries.

‘We all got on incredibly well and they just seemed so genuine and down-to-earth, it felt as if we’d been friends for years. We even shared the same sense of humour. James and I both felt a connection with them and I couldn’t wait to have their baby.’

While it’s illegal in the UK to pay a woman to have a baby, reasonable expenses are allowed to cover maternity outlays and the couple insisted on paying Wendy £7,000 spread over nine months because she would have to take time off work for midwife appointments and scans, and buy maternity clothes.

At the same time, the couple also agreed to Wendy’s wish to see the child weekly as she grew up.

‘As surrogacy contracts aren’t legally enforceable, we agreed everything verbally on trust,’ she says.

Swept up in the excitement of helping the couple realise their dream, events then moved fast, something Wendy now regrets.

As it was, two weeks later Wendy worked out she was at the most fertile time in her cycle and arranged to meet the couple at a nearby hotel.

She says: ‘Over the next three days I artificially inseminated myself with William’s sperm using a syringe designed for giving a child medicine. I was delighted when I got pregnant immediately and announced the news by sending them a photo of my positive pregnancy test.’

Apart from morning sickness the pregnancy was straightforward.

‘The wife came to all my scans and seemed genuinely thrilled when she saw the baby kicking,’ she says.

‘We spoke every day and I saw them at least once a month. I even went to stay with them for a week so they could spoil me and give me a rest, and I saw nothing that suggested they weren’t genuine.

‘At the time, even though this was biologically my child, I didn’t have any maternal feelings towards it. I always knew I was having a baby for this couple.’

By January 2013 a scan revealed Wendy was having a baby girl. Wendy says: ‘They were both over the moon about having a daughter.’

That May Wendy went into labour. A midwife rang the couple and the woman joined her in the delivery room. After six hours Emily was born weighing a healthy 8lb. Wendy says: ‘I was so proud I’d produced such a bonny baby. As she held her, the look on the woman’s face was incredible and I could see she was overjoyed.

‘I didn’t want to hold Emily as I didn’t want to bond with her. But she kept crying and in the end I said, “Put her on my chest” as I remembered Lucy being comforted by that as a newborn.’

It was then, as the midwife laid Emily onto Wendy, she was hit by an overwhelming feeling of maternal love for the baby girl — and the first pangs of uncertainty about handing her over to her new ‘mum’ began to stir.

‘I looked down at her and she immediately quietened. She seemed so vulnerable and beautiful. The rush of feelings for her came out of the blue. It was a terrible shock and I desperately told myself, “This is not your baby.” I knew I had to leave the hospital and get away as I was bonding with her.’

Within four hours Wendy had discharged herself and, after giving Emily a kiss, left her in the arms of her new ‘mother’. She says: ‘James took me home. I felt upset, but put it down to exhaustion and quickly went to sleep.’

The next day Wendy woke panic-stricken. ‘An enormous feeling of loss immediately struck me. My whole body ached for Emily and I couldn’t wait to see her again.’

She and James went back to the hospital to say their final goodbyes. She recalls: ‘I walked into the side room where the woman was holding Emily. I longed to sweep her into my arms and cuddle her.

‘The only thing that stopped me from wrenching Emily from them was seeing them so besotted with her.’

James carried baby Emily outside where Wendy gave her a final hug and her new parents strapped her into a car seat.

She says: ‘As soon as I got home I felt sick with grief. I rushed to the bathroom where I broke down in huge breathless sobs. Eventually, I allowed James in and he said over and over, “You had this baby for another couple and you will have to live with it.”

‘He wasn’t being cruel. He was simply stating the facts. I knew he was right. I had made my choice. I reassured myself they were great parents, reminding myself how happy they looked at the hospital.’

Over the next few days Wendy expressed milk for Emily. She says: ‘We’d arranged that I would do this for six months and they would pick up the milk every couple of days.’

Two days later the couple arrived with Emily and Wendy couldn’t help herself — rushing out of the house to scoop the baby out of her car seat because she was so desperate to hold her.

The next four weeks were a struggle. Wendy clung onto the pre-arranged weekly meetings, as agreed at the start of the surrogacy process.

‘The meetings when they would bring Emily to see me was all I could think about,’ says Wendy. ‘The longing to see her was painful.’

Far worse was to come, however. Three weeks later, Wendy met the couple to discuss the final adoption arrangements, and was horrified by what she saw.

‘Emily had socks on that were too tight around her ankles,’ she says. ‘Her nappy was dirty and she seemed ravenously hungry — when I gave her a bottle she couldn’t gulp down the milk fast enough. ‘She always seemed to be hungry. I’d pick her up and she’d root around for milk, even though they assured me she’d only just been fed.

‘I began texting, reminding them to ensure she was fed properly. I became obsessed that her nappy wasn’t being changed often enough.’

Then one day, five weeks later, when the couple didn’t reply to a text, Wendy began to panic.

‘I was in such a state I even rang the police to check they were OK — that their car hadn’t been involved in an accident. When the officer asked why I was so concerned, I replied, “Because they have my biological daughter.” ’

The next day she received a text from the couple saying they no longer wanted her to contact them.

By now Wendy had received the legal order she was due to sign, legally transferring parental rights over Emily to them.

But she refused to sign it, instead launching a bid for custody. A social worker was assigned to the case to carry out reports. And what was uncovered about the couple was truly shocking.

Instead of the childless couple they’d pretended to be, social services discovered they were in fact already parents to three children, now grown up, who’d been taken into care more than 20 years ago.

‘They’d lied to us with sob stories,’ Wendy says. ‘She hadn’t even had a hysterectomy. It was an utter bombshell, as we’d trusted them implicitly.

‘We were horrified, but the only upside was that it left James and me certain Emily would be returned to us. Although he wasn’t her biological father, James wanted her back, too.’

Nothing could have prepared Wendy for the court judgment in June 2014; she was denied custody.

She says: ‘Social services claimed that because I’d given up Emily at birth I had a lack of emotional attachment to her.’

They also used the fact that because Wendy had excitedly talked to Lucy about her sister, and put photos up in the house of her, that she had ‘emotionally neglected’ her older daughter — a black mark against her character which ultimately led to her being ruled as unsuitable to raise her new baby.

The other couple were also not judged as suitable and so it was ordered Emily should be adopted by strangers.

Wendy fled from the court in tears. She says: ‘I couldn’t believe their reasoning — especially after I’d done so much to try to get Emily back.’

Wendy has undoubtedly paid a high price for her altruism in trying to help another couple. The custody bid, and the subsequent appeal, cost her thousands, wiping out her savings.  And the stress of the legal battle also cost Wendy her relationship with James; this January, they split up. Then, in March, Wendy’s appeal was turned down.

Not surprisingly, Wendy has very strong advice for anyone contemplating becoming a surrogate. ‘While I can never regret bringing such a wonderful baby into the world, I do regret being a surrogate,’ she says. ‘Women should consider it very carefully before they go ahead.

‘Even if you are giving birth to a child that is not biologically yours, there is still likely to be a bond.

‘I now don’t understand how any mother can give up a child she has given birth to whether they are biologically related or not.’

As it is, all Wendy is left with are her memories, a handful of photos and some baby clothes. She is determined that Emily will know how desperately she fought for her.

She says: ‘I have some unwashed clothes that belonged to Emily and find comfort in holding them close to me as they still have her smell. Otherwise I cope by telling myself Emily’s been given to a family who want her very much.

‘And I console myself that I will see her again — when she is 18, she will be able to trace me.

‘Not a day goes by when I don’t think of her.’


St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church in Mississauga, Ontario - vandalised with a hate crime, Muslim Iqbal Hassan charged!

Three times now, St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church in Mississauga, bordering on the west of Toronto, has been attacked with vandalism. The most recent included black painted graffiti on the walls and defacement of the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Peel Regional Police have arrested 22 year-old Iqbal Hessan. Congratulations Icky, you got your 15 minutes of fame and you didn't have to go to Syria to earn it.

Hessen, a Moslem, was arrested on the Feast of St. Philip Neri, in the early morning hours on the school grounds next door. He calls himself The Chosen One on his Facebook which is the yields nothing revealing except the dichotomy between Je suis Charlie and an Israeli flag with a red line through it.

Hessan faces five counts of mischief over $5000, and break and enter to commit and indictable offense.  According to Peel Regional Police the offenses are considered indictable not minor and the Hate Crime potential is still under investigation. That part may be referred to the Crown Attorney and the Staff Sergeant acknowledged the "high profile" nature of this case.

Will the Crown play politics with the need for Hate Crime charges because he is a Moslem?

Let this serve as a warning to all Catholic Churches in the Toronto area. Invest in security systems including perimeter alarms, digital surveillance and appoint ushers to be on watch during Mass.

The influence of the evils of ISIS will reach these shores.


British Columbia’s Human Rights Tribunal to Consider Eliminating Gender from Birth Certificates

The Human Rights Tribunal in British Columbia will consider completely eliminating gender designations from birth certificates in response to complaints from the Trans Alliance Society (TAS) and other transgender individuals, according to an article in the National Post.

According to the complainants, we need to stop acting as if doctors can tell the sex of a baby just by looking at the baby’s genitals: Birth certificates [may] give false information about people and characterize them in a way that is actually wrong, that assumes to be right, and causes people . . . actual harm,” said transgender woman and TAS chair Morgane Oger. “It’s considered true and infallible when it isn’t,” she added.

The complainant’s lawyer, barbara findlay (no, that’s not a typo — she spells her name in all lowercase letters because who are you to tell her she can’t), said that the current practice of putting “male” or “female” on birth certificates is downright wrong because: 1. Those are not the only two genders and 2. A person’s “gender develops” over time.

“Children are raised ‘as’ the birth-assigned gender, which is a crazy-making experience,” findlay said in an e-mail to the Post. “Instead of living in a social reality that recognizes that gender develops, and does not exist at birth, those children have nothing to work with except that something feels profoundly wrong,” she added.

Cunningham — the parents of Harriette Cunningham, a transgender child who became one of the first in British Columbia to have her birth certificate changed last year — who claim that “Harriette was mistakenly assigned the gender ‘male’ at birth.” “Since it is impossible to tell an individual’s gender at birth it is discriminatory to issue a birth certificate with that information on it,” the complaint stated.

Of course, the tribunal has simply agreed to review the complaints, which does not necessarily mean that the policy will change — especially considering how many people are still holding on to that antiquated view that the designations are helpful for statistical, scientific, and travel purposes.


Ireland abandons its children

Comment from Australia

Ireland has written a social suicide note and we grieve for her. But we will not follow her.  More than half the Irish have voted for homosexual marriage, seduced by celebrities to violate something they once held sacred: the life between mother, father and child.

From today, the Irish Constitution assumes a mother does not matter to a baby, and a father is irrelevant to his son. That is madness.

A constitutional right to same-sex marriage means a constitutional right to same-sex adoption and surrogacy, and that means motherless and fatherless families are now enshrined as an ideal in the Irish Constitution.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said the vote was “Yes to love” -- but there are children who will never know the love of their mother because of  Friday’s  constitutional amendment. He said it was “Yes to inclusion” -- but it deliberately excludes children of same-sex couples from “the natural and fundamental group unit of society”, which is how the Universal Declaration of Human Rights describes the trinity of mother, father and child. 

If equality for gay adults means inequality for kids, where is the justice in that?

If removing spurious discrimination against gay adults means imposing genuine discrimination on children who are deliberately deprived of a mother or a father, what is the reason to celebrate?

Gay Irish celebrity blogger Paddy Manning  rejected claims  of discrimination against gay couples, saying, “Marriage is, at its heart, about children and providing those children with their biological parents. Recognising difference is not discrimination.”

Here in Australia, there is no unjust discrimination against same-sex couples in any way, be it taxation, superannuation, Medicare, next of kin status or any other matter, since Federal Parliament amended eighty-five laws in 2008. Same sex couples have full relationship equality and are free to live as they choose; they do not have the right to choose a motherless or fatherless existence for a little child.

Here in Australia, we will resist the dementia that is afflicting the decadent West. If we are the last country standing, we will still not abolish a child’s birthright to the love of her mum or her dad just to gratify the demands of homosexual adults.

Nor will we let our children be taught in school, by force of gay marriage law, that the sexual relationship of two men is no different, legally or morally, to a child’s mother and father in marriage.

For serious gay activists the greatest cultural gain of this referendum will be that all Irish children must now be instructed in the constitutional normality, indeed desirability, of homosexual behaviour, and conscientious objectors will be silenced by the big stick of anti-discrimination law.

We have observed many instances of homosexual enforcement in jurisdictions that have legalised gay marriage: parents in Massachusetts have been denied the right to withdraw their child from lessons by gay activists and church adoption agencies in England have had to close rather than adopt babies to homosexual households. A teacher in London was demoted for refusing to read a storybook to her class promoting same-sex marriage, and the former Archbishop of Glasgow, Mario Conti, was reported to police by a Greens Party MP for teaching Christian doctrine on marriage during a sermon. 

This is the uncivil future under a gay marriage regime, and yet the good-natured Irish succumbed to the stupidity of nice. They were trying to be kind to the two percent of their neighbours who identify as same-sex attracted, without understanding that gay strategists have despised marriage for decades as a patriarchal repressive institution and only want it now because it brings with it the power to compel social attitudes.

In Australia we will not be that stupid. There are ways of being kind to our gay neighbours that do not involve violating the foundational relationship of human society: mother, father, child.



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


HOME (Index page)

BIO for John Ray

(Isaiah 62:1)

Political correctness is Fascism pretending to be manners

Political Correctness is as big a threat to free speech as Communism and Fascism. All 3 were/are socialist.

Psychological defence mechanisms such as projection play a large part in Leftist thinking and discourse. So their frantic search for evil in the words and deeds of others is easily understandable. The evil is in themselves. Leftist motivations are fundamentally Fascist. They want to "fundamentally transform" the lives of their fellow citizens, which is as authoritarian as you can get. We saw where it led in Russia and China. The "compassion" that Leftists parade is just a cloak for their ghastly real motivations

I record on this blog many examples of negligent, inefficient and reprehensible behaviour on the part of British police. After 13 years of Labour party rule they have become highly politicized, with values that reflect the demands made on them by the political Left rather than than what the community expects of them. They have become lazy and cowardly and avoid dealing with real crime wherever possible -- preferring instead to harass normal decent people for minor infractions -- particularly offences against political correctness. They are an excellent example of the destruction that can be brought about by Leftist meddling.

I also record on this blog much social worker evil -- particularly British social worker evil. The evil is neither negligent nor random. It follows exactly the pattern you would expect from the Marxist-oriented indoctrination they get in social work school -- where the middle class is seen as the enemy and the underclass is seen as virtuous. So social workers are lightning fast to take children away from normal decent parents on the basis of of minor or imaginary infractions while turning a blind eye to gross child abuse by the underclass

What feminism has wrought:

There's actually some wisdom there. The dreamy lady says she is holding out for someone who meets her standards. The other lady reasonably replies "There's nobody there". Standards can be unrealistically high and feminists have laboured mightily to make them so

Racial differences in temperament: Chinese are more passive even as little babies

The genetics of crime: I have been pointing out for some time the evidence that there is a substantial genetic element in criminality. Some people are born bad. See here, here and here, for instance"

Gender is a property of words, not of people. Using it otherwise is just another politically correct distortion -- though not as pernicious as calling racial discrimination "Affirmative action"

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

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

So why do Leftists say "There is no such thing as right and wrong" when backed into a rhetorical corner? They say it because that is the predominant conclusion of analytic philosophers. And, as Keynes said: "Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back”

Children are the best thing in life. See also here.

Juergen Habermas, a veteran leftist German philosopher stunned his admirers not long ago by proclaiming, "Christianity, and nothing else, is the ultimate foundation of liberty, conscience, human rights, and democracy, the benchmarks of Western civilization. To this day, we have no other options [than Christianity]. We continue to nourish ourselves from this source. Everything else is postmodern chatter."

Consider two "jokes" below:

Q. "Why are Leftists always standing up for blacks and homosexuals?

A. Because for all three groups their only God is their penis"

Pretty offensive, right? So consider this one:

Q. "Why are evangelical Christians like the Taliban?

A. They are both religious fundamentalists"

The latter "joke" is not a joke at all, of course. It is a comparison routinely touted by Leftists. Both "jokes" are greatly offensive and unfair to the parties targeted but one gets a pass without question while the other would bring great wrath on the head of anyone uttering it. Why? Because political correctness is in fact just Leftist bigotry. Bigotry is unfairly favouring one or more groups of people over others -- usually justified as "truth".

One of my more amusing memories is from the time when the Soviet Union still existed and I was teaching sociology in a major Australian university. On one memorable occasion, we had a representative of the Soviet Womens' organization visit us -- a stout and heavily made-up lady of mature years. When she was ushered into our conference room, she was greeted with something like adulation by the local Marxists. In question time after her talk, however, someone asked her how homosexuals were treated in the USSR. She replied: "We don't have any. That was before the revolution". The consternation and confusion that produced among my Leftist colleagues was hilarious to behold and still lives vividly in my memory. The more things change, the more they remain the same, however. In Sept. 2007 President Ahmadinejad told Columbia university that there are no homosexuals in Iran.

It is widely agreed (with mainly Lesbians dissenting) that boys need their fathers. What needs much wider recognition is that girls need their fathers too. The relationship between a "Daddy's girl" and her father is perhaps the most beautiful human relationship there is. It can help give the girl concerned inner strength for the rest of her life.

A modern feminist complains: "We are so far from “having it all” that “we barely even have a slice of the pie, which we probably baked ourselves while sobbing into the pastry at 4am”."

A beautiful baby is king -- with blue eyes, blond hair and white skin. How incorrect can you get?

Patriotism does NOT in general go with hostilty towards others. See e.g. here and here and even here ("Ethnocentrism and Xenophobia: A Cross-Cultural Study" by anthropologist Elizabeth Cashdan. In Current Anthropology Vol. 42, No. 5, December 2001).

There really is an actress named Donna Air

The love of bureaucracy is very Leftist and hence "correct". Who said this? "Account must be taken of every single article, every pound of grain, because what socialism implies above all is keeping account of everything". It was V.I. Lenin

"An objection I hear frequently is: ‘Why should we tolerate intolerance?’ The assumption is that tolerating views that you don’t agree with is like a gift, an act of kindness. It suggests we’re doing people a favour by tolerating their view. My argument is that tolerance is vital to us, to you and I, because it’s actually the presupposition of all our freedoms. You cannot be free in any meaningful sense unless there is a recognition that we are free to act on our beliefs, we’re free to think what we want and express ourselves freely. Unless we have that freedom, all those other freedoms that we have on paper mean nothing" -- SOURCE


What the Bible says about homosexuality:

"Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind; It is abomination" -- Lev. 18:22

In his great diatribe against the pagan Romans, the apostle Paul included homosexuality among their sins:

"For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature. And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.... Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them" -- Romans 1:26,27,32.

So churches that condone homosexuality are clearly post-Christian

Although I am an atheist, I have great respect for the wisdom of ancient times as collected in the Bible. And its condemnation of homosexuality makes considerable sense to me. In an era when family values are under constant assault, such a return to the basics could be helpful. Nonetheless, I approve of St. Paul's advice in the second chapter of his epistle to the Romans that it is for God to punish them, not us. In secular terms, homosexuality between consenting adults in private should not be penalized but nor should it be promoted or praised. In Christian terms, "Gay pride" is of the Devil

The homosexuals of Gibeah set in train a series of events which brought down great wrath and destruction on their tribe. The tribe of Benjamin was almost wiped out when it would not disown its homosexuals. Are we seeing a related process in the woes presently being experienced by the amoral Western world? Note that there was one Western country that was not affected by the global financial crisis and subsequently had no debt problems: Australia. In September 2012 the Australian federal parliament considered a bill to implement homosexual marriage. It was rejected by a large majority -- including members from both major political parties

Religion is deeply human. The recent discoveries at Gobekli Tepe suggest that it was religion not farming that gave birth to civilization. Early civilizations were at any rate all very religious. Atheism is mainly a very modern development and is even now very much a minority opinion

"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" - Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)

I think it's not unreasonable to see Islam as the religion of the Devil. Any religion that loves death or leads to parents rejoicing when their children blow themselves up is surely of the Devil -- however you conceive of the Devil. Whether he is a man in a red suit with horns and a tail, a fallen spirit being, or simply the evil side of human nature hardly matters. In all cases Islam is clearly anti-life and only the Devil or his disciples could rejoice in that.

On all my blogs, I express my view of what is important primarily by the readings that I select for posting. I do however on occasions add personal comments in italicized form at the beginning of an article.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age.

I imagine that the the RD is still sending mailouts to my 1950s address!

Germaine Greer is a stupid old Harpy who is notable only for the depth and extent of her hatreds

Even Mahatma Gandhi was profoundly unimpressed by Africans

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To be continued ....
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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)

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Leftism is authoritarian
James on Leftism
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Van Hiel
Pyszczynski et al.