The creeping dictatorship of the Left...

This document is part of an archive of postings on Political Correctness Watch, a blog hosted by Blogspot who are in turn owned by Google. The index to the archive is available here or here. Indexes to my other blogs can be located here or here. Archives do accompany my original postings but, given the animus towards conservative writing on Google and other internet institutions, their permanence is uncertain. These alternative archives help ensure a more permanent record of what I have written. My Home Page. My Recipes. My alternative Wikipedia. My Blogroll. Email me (John Ray) here. NOTE: The short comments that I have in the side column of the primary site for this blog are now given at the foot of this document.

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.

The picture below is worth more than a 1,000 words ...... Better than long speeches. It shows some Middle-Eastern people walking to reach their final objective,to live in a European country, or migrate to America.

In the photo, there are 7 men and 1 woman.up to this point – nothing special. But in observing a bit closer, you will notice that the woman has bare feet,accompanied by 3 children, and of the 3, she is carrying 2.There is the problem,none of the men are helping her,because in their culture the woman represents nothing.She is only good to be a slave to the men. Do you really believe that these particular individuals could integrate into our societies and countries and respect our customs and traditions ????


30 June, 2019


Just that one topic today

Most poverty is behavioral

The Left talk about poverty incessantly but their only diagnosis of it seems to be that it is because of evil men who have somehow grabbed all the wealth. So it is about time that someone gave the matter some reality-based thought.

If you are a poor Indian farmer, your big problem is definitely a lack of money.  But in the Western world it is not.  If you are poor in the Western world your poverty is usually a result of bad  decisions.

I was born into a poor family myself so I have seen a lot of it.  The poor decisions vary, from a lack of frugality -- foolish spending -- to a woman who gets her legs up for a man who will be unwilling or unable to support her through a pregnancy and child rearing. Most of the really poor are single mothers who have loaded the dice against themselves. Babies are expensive and demand a lot of time.

I once ran a boarding house in a poor area and the sort of thing I often saw was a tenant who would buy a packet of chips for a snack from a nearby service station when the same product could be had for half the price from the supermarket just a little further down the road.  Such people will always be poor.

And there are of course many these days who spend big on drugs and alcohol, not to mention cigarettes and various sorts of entertainment.  It's a rare person who indulges in much of those things who can save.

But saving is the key to not being needy. Even when people have a windfall of some sort -- as in a lottery win or when a rich uncle dies and leaves you a legacy, the benefited person soon returns to poverty in the absence of frugal habits.

So I think there is no doubt that most poverty these days is self-inflicted. Frugality obviously does not come easily to everyone and to some it never will. 

But I do not like to be totally negative so I want to go on to setting out some ways of being frugal, in case there is someone reading this who needs encouragement in that direction.

So I reproduce initially below Sean Gabb's account of how he saves money. He emphasizes how well you can do by buying secondhand. Sean is an English libertarian.  The account below is long but that enables Sean to go into details

After Sean's account I add a few notes from my own life which might also be of some help:

The Joys of Buying Second-Hand

Sean Gabb

Though not at all rich in terms of income, I think my net wealth is somewhat above the average for men of my age. I have achieved this by spending less than I earn and by avoiding debt. Of course, I wish I could earn more than I do. A newer car than the one I have driven for ten years would be nice. On the other hand, I have not had a conventional job since I resigned in 1990, and I have spent the past generation mostly doing things that I enjoyed or that contributed to less immediate enjoyment. In this essay, I plan to make one explicitly political point. For the rest, I will explain one of the strategies by which my women and I live well and within our means.

Briefly explained, this strategy is hardly ever to buy new electronic equipment. It is not an invariable strategy. Earlier this month, we spent £3,500 on a new piano for our daughter – a Yamaha Clavinova CLP685. Since last September, she has passed the Kent and Dover Tests with impressive scores, being offered a place at the best secondary school in the area; she has passed examinations in the piano, in singing and in the guitar; she has played in several concerts; she has the leading part in the leaving play at her primary school; she has published her second novel and is working on a third. For doing less than this, other children have been given expensive telephones and gaming toys, and been taken on visits to Disneyland in France or America. She deserved that piano, and it was nice to see her face light up when I handed over my debit card in the showroom and arranged for immediate delivery.

But this was the exception. The general rule is not to buy new. I give two reasons which support the saving of money. First, most consumer technology has not significantly improved since about 2010. Things are smaller and sometimes prettier. They are not much better in terms of the uses my women and I have for them. Older things still work and do all that we reasonably want of them, and they sell on E-Bay or Facebook Marketplace at ten or twenty pence in the pound. Second, buying new gives money to corporations that undeniably make nice things, but also spend their profits on political enslavement and cultural degeneracy. Buying new also generates tax revenue for a state that at least should not be encouraged.

And so we avoid buying new. We save the money, or spend it elsewhere, or are freed from the trouble of earning it. We still have shiny electronic toys – but we make do with older shiny electronic toys, and we hardly ever feel the difference.


Now, to some of my more notable savings. I will begin with our main computer. We have two notebook computers, both of which I regret having bought new, but which I have kept going beyond their normal time by mending as required. We also have a desktop computer in the office. My last-but-one upgrade for this was in October 2009. Haunting E-Bay for a week, I bought an Asus P5Q3 motherboard and a Socket 775 Intel Q9650 processor, plus an Nvidia GeForce GF9500GT graphics card and 8Gb DDR. All second-hand, it cost about £160, and I put it together just in time for an almost free upgrade to Windows 7. Except I replaced power supplies and hard disks now and again, and took advantage of the free upgrade to Windows 10, this ran without trouble for ten years. It began life on the edge of obsolete. It was soon comically obsolete. But it did everything asked of it – mostly running web browsers and Office software, and the occasional burst of video-editing. Otherwise, it served as a unified repository for about 4Tb of data.

It would be running still, had the motherboard not died last month. Back I went to E-Bay. After much thought, I laid out £30 on an Intel DQ670W motherboard and an Intel i3-2100@3 processor. I reused the existing RAM and hard disks, though I did spend an additional £35 for a Yucun 480GB SSD. I cloned the old boot disk, and switched everything on. After a frenzy of driver updates, the system started. A word next with a helpful young man in India, and my free Windows 10 upgrade was reactivated. It all runs very fast. I suppose the integrated graphics are an improvement on the 2006 graphics card I had been using. Total cost: £65. Take away the cost of the solid state drive, which I had planned to buy in any event. Take off also the £60 had from selling the unwanted but useable parts of the old system on E-Bay. You tell me the i3 runs slower than the i7, or that I am missing out on USB3. Well, if your taste is for playing Killer Krabs 5 in 3D, the system I have described will never suit. But our tastes are different, and what we have suits us. We have a newer system than we had. It runs as fast as we need. We made a profit of £25 on the upgrade. The only taxable events were a few E-Bay commissions – and I believe the E-Bay accountants have very sharp noses. The British State can go jump. Intel must look elsewhere to pay the salaries of its Diversity Directorate.

Then there is the printer. Last year, I decided we were in need of a colour printer. So I looked on the local freebie pages on Facebook. I found an Epson BX305 in Folkestone. This was old, but was said to be in good condition. What interested me most, colour and the round price of zero aside, was the integrated scanner and document feeder. I picked it up on my way to one of my lectures in Canterbury. The main cost of running an inkjet printer is the ink cartridges. Even refilled, these are luxury goods. My solution was to buy a continuous ink supply for £20 on Amazon. I top this up every few weeks from large bottles that I buy from Ink Express in Wolverhampton – you should never economise on the quality of printer ink: good stuff is still cheap, and poor will ruin the printing heads. In the past year, I have gone through twenty reams of paper, many pages reused on the clean side. My total running costs have been about £20 to that firm in Wolverhampton. Another win, I think, for economy.


In February, I got sick of the broken-down music system I had kept going for a decade. I mostly used it for playing MP3 files through a Bluetooth interface from Jongo. But the sound quality was poor. I looked on the Facebook Marketplace. I found a Denon M38 integrated system in Ramsgate. The seller was asking £25, plus £10 for delivery if wanted. No speakers or remote control. Having no business at the time in Ramsgate, I decided to pay for delivery. It came that evening. In 2010, this cost about £400. It won several awards. The modern upgrades do nothing to improve sound that was already excellent, but only add wireless and Bluetooth – which I already had with that interface. I bought a generic remote on E-Bay for £8, and then a pair of Wharfdale Diamond 9.1 speakers for £15, which I collected from a man who turned out to live just round the corner from me. The new system plays Wagner with a bang. I gave the old system to one of my students. He says he is happy with it. I was happy to see the back of it.

Then there is the television. For obvious reasons, my women and I watch little of this. But we do watch recorded films and documentaries, and DVDs which I always make sure to buy for a pound in the local charity shops: no copyright payments to the Enemy. We bought a Sony Trinitron in 2000. It had a 28-inch flat screen and cost £997 – we were feeling rich at the time from an insurance pay-out. It weighed a hundred pounds and took up about the same space as a cooking stove. Until last week, it sat in a corner of one of our living rooms. It had paint splashed on it from some redecorating we did without dustsheets in 2003. It had a dark patch on the screen. It stopped receiving in 2007, when the UHF channels were turned off. It still worked well enough with the Panasonic DMR EX79 Freeview recorder we bought on special offer in 2010.

However, we had part of the house rebuilt in 2014. While the scaffolding was up, we had a satellite dish installed, but never felt the need to buy a satellite receiver. There things remained until last week, when a casual look on Facebook Marketplace turned up a Humax Foxsat-HDR recorder for £30. This dated from 2011, when it sold for about £600. Its main difference from the modern upgrades is that it has no easy connection to the Internet – but I will think about that next year or the year after. I collected the receiver the same evening from outside Dover.

I now realised that the television was past it even by my standards, and might not be showing things to their best effect. So I looked on E-Bay. I found a Samsung LE40M8 40-inch LCD television with a starting bid of £19.90. There were no bidders. I did some research. It dated from 2010, when it cost nearly £800. I contacted the seller, who confirmed it was in good condition. I asked if she would end the auction early for £25 and a promise of instant collection from Sandwich. We closed the deal, and had the telly before bedtime. The next day, Amazon delivered the universal stand I had ordered – £50.

I now remembered – one thing invariably leads to another until you decide otherwise – that the Freeview recorder played only lowish-resolution avi files from USB stick. So I picked up an LG BP135 DVD player for £5 – from a council flat in Dover. This plays every format, and in high-definition.

It took an hour to put everything together. It looks lush. It looks even better, now I have used one of the Facebook freebie pages to get the Sony out of the house. If you compare the television we have with new models in the shops, there may be slightly less definition, and the blacks will be less intense. But these are things the eye barely notices. I say again – consumer technology has progressed in the past decade, but not in the radical ways it progressed in the previous decade. Older stuff still does a fine job, and at a fraction of the price. Treated well, it lasts a long time.

My Camera

I have always bought second-hand cameras – always good ones from a few years before. In 2017, I felt the need of a very good camera. I did my research, and decided on a Canon G1X MkII. This had a 1.5 inch sensor and did almost everything that a really expensive camera did. It cost over a thousand in 2013. It still sells new for £490 on Amazon. I got one second-hand on E-Bay for £260. Two years on, it takes lovely pictures.

I could continue. Antique furniture pulled from skips. Floorboards reused from a demolished out-building. Coupon-clipping. A weekly trawl of the charity shops – clothes if someone your size has died, pictures occasionally, books all the time. Food bought in bulk. Home cooking. But I think you get the idea. We make do and mend. Mrs Gabb is good with a paintbrush, I with a soldering iron, and with all things electrical, plumbing and legal. We buy second-hand. Where possible, we get for free. The result is that everyone who visits leaves with the idea that we are rich. In a sense, we are rich. We live as we please. We have most of the things we want. We have money for treats like that wonderful new piano. We pay little tax. We contribute little to the profits of companies we despise.

Everyone else could do the same. If more of us did the same, the world would be a richer and a freer place. It would be richer, because there are opportunity costs in bringing new products to market that are functionally equivalent to what was on sale in 2014, and hardly better than the 2010 models. It would be freer, because people who live within their means have less reason to be afraid of overbearing authority. Though not inclined to follow their example, I feel some respect for people who grow their own food and make their own clothes. I have none for people, already awash in mortgage debt, who max out what remains of their credit on the latest 75-inch television from Curry’s. They are fools riding for a fall – often fools who grumble that the Gabbs are rolling in it.


Buying cheap - by JR

Savings (frugality) is the key to having money when you need it

My own experiences are dissimlar to Sean's in detail but similar in effect.  So it might be helpful if I outlined some of my experiences with frugality -- spending less than you earn -- as a supplement to Sean's narrative.

I have been frugal from childhood.  Frugality was preached to me at my Presbyterian Sunday school and I took to it like a duck to water. So as a kid I saved my 2/- per week pocket money rather than spending it on confectionry  -- which is what most of my peers did.  Though I would always buy the latest "Phantom" comics. But every now and again, my mother would borrow the money in my money box to buy family needs.  How poor can you be when you have to borrow the money in your kid's money box in order to put dinner on the table? My mother's purchases were almost all from convenience stores so she just did not have a frugal mind.

So I have always lived simply and very economically, which has left me in a very comfortable situation in my old age.

The high point of my frugality came during my student days, when I lived on skim milk plus a few vitamins for around six months.  I bought the skim milk from the local dairy factory in the form of a 56lb paper sack of dried skim milk, which was almost a give-away product at that time but was very nutritious all the same.  So in modern terms my food bill was something like $5 per week.  It was ridiculously small.  As the recipient of a government scholarship to go to university I had a small living allowance and I saved virtually the whole of my allowance at that time -- and also remained in perfect health.

With my savings much reinforced, I gave that up after a while,  and moved back on to a more normal but still economical diet featuring a lot of cheese sandwiches.  I still like a slab of cheese on a fresh bread roll. Did you know that a dollop of plum jam on top of the cheese in your cheese sandwich really lifts it?  Plum jam has always been the cheapest jam.

There are many ways you can have a good and healthy diet for a small cost -- with anything featuring eggs being high on the list.  A 3-egg omelette makes a very good breakfast, with the eggs costing you a total of around one dollar only. And oats for making porridge are also very cheap. I still like a nice plate of porridge on occasions.  And you can often get day-old bread for a song.  It makes great toast.

These days my frugality consists of buying most of my groceries as "specials" and "markdowns" from my local supermarket.  And I buy most of my alcohol in the form of Vodka, which is generally the cheapest of spirits. And if I eat out, I eat at ethnic restaurants, which often give me amazingly good dinners for a very modest price.

And I am not seized with the vice of old age:  Travel.  Travel can be very expensive but I did all I want of that when I was younger and highly paid.

Unlike Sean, I am not remotely a electronics technician.  But my son is.  So he takes care of any computer needs I have, giving me equipment that is far in excess of what I need.  Most people probably have a friend or relative who could help in that way.

So I now spend very little on myself and give about half of my income away to friends, relatives and conservative causes.


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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


28 June, 2019

Politically correct London becoming more nutty by the day

If Boris Johnson does become British prime minister next month, he will surely challenge one of the most profound ideological movements in Europe today, and one which flowers in Britain perhaps more fully than anywhere else in the world. I refer, of course, to political correctness.

Britain, or rather, more specifically London, is surely the political correctness capital of the world.

I have been here a mere couple of weeks and I am positively dizzy from the blizzard of intersectional offence-taking, speech clipping, thought controlling, verbal over -regulation.

The loss of Christian belief seems to have resulted in the imposition of the most excessive version of psychologically damaged pseudo-religious scruples.

Let me offer you a few examples of PC purity, from the trivial to the ridiculous.

A GCSE English exam included a short passage from a 1935 novella by HE Bates.

The passage was unexceptional. But later in the story, not in the passage examined, a girl in domestic service is exploited and raped by her employer.

A Twitter storm erupted saying the examination paper should have had a trigger warning, and objecting to students being subjected to a story which included rape.

Rape is a serious and tragic business, but like other crimes it has often figured in literature. In any event, the popular culture is, to its vast detriment, saturated in stories of rape. There were at least a dozen in every series of Game of Thrones, which was watched by millions of Brits. Therefore it was not really a question of anyone actually being offended by anything, it was a question of people searching out an offence against political correctness.

And of course the exam authorities duly apologised for any distress they caused.

Another exam, a maths paper this time, asked students to calculate the number of calories someone had consumed in a breakfast the paper described. The paper was roundly condemned for potentially causing distress to anyone who had struggled with body shape issues.

Again, the hypocrisy is spectacular. Weight control programs are advertised all the time. But more than hypocrisy is the sheer psycho-silliness of the whole business.

Comedy legend John Cleese recently issued a low-voltage tweet saying London did not seem to him any longer to be really an English city. He thought the city he grew up in was a bit nicer than the London of today.

Now, as it happens, I'm more or less on the other side of this argument from Cleese. I like diversity. But Cleese's calm, modest, perfectly lame tweet was condemned as though he had called for the slaughter of the innocents.

There are many episodes far more serious than these. Some people lose jobs, others are silenced by fear. Jordan Peterson, the great Canadian writer and speaker, was about to undertake a fellowship at Cambridge to research the Book of Genesis. Somewhere on social media a photo was found of a fellow in a T-shirt with the logo "I'm an Islamophobe" who had draped his arm around Peterson's neck. There was no serious effort to inquire into the degree of Peterson's complicity or otherwise in such views as the T-shirt conveyed. His fellowship, however, was dropped.

Distinguished philosopher Roger Scruton lost a government appointment because of an outrageous misrepresentation of things he'd said in an interview with the wretched New Statesman. The whole point of the interview was to entice Scruton into saying something that would get him into trouble. The allegedly offending words, that Chinese people were robots, were misrepresented in the journalist's report. Scruton had criticised the Chinese government for trying to control its people.

But the allegedly conservative government of Theresa May sacked Scruton without even the most cursory inquiry into what he had actually said. I don't think an Abbott, Turnbull or Morrison government would have done that.

Often, too, there is a sinister political double standard to political correctness. A comedian on the BBC mocked demonstrators for throwing milkshakes at Nigel Farage and said they should use battery acid instead. This is genuinely shocking. It is a rare example of the kind of speech - incitement to violence - which should indeed be outlawed. But the BBC defended the comic, saying obviously no one would take the words seriously. Can you imagine a similar reaction if the object of the proposed acid attack were not a right-wing bogeyman but a member of some designated victim group?

Sometimes London is just a bit ahead of us in social trends. Are we going to be as nutty as this one day? Many people think the PC stuff will get worse if Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn becomes prime minister. I'm not entirely sure that's right. London isn't the whole of Britain. The Brexit rebellion was cultural as much as political. And the Conservatives would likely be braver in opposition than they have been in government.

They could hardly be less so.


Clint Eastwood To Film Latest Movie In Georgia In Defiance Of Hollywood’s Call To Boycott

Despite the boycott of filming in Georgia launched by Hollywood liberals angry over the state’s new pro-life “Heartbeat” law, legendary actor/director Clint Eastwood will be making his latest movie, “The Battle of Richard Jewell,” in Atlanta this summer, reported NBC Charlotte and other media.

“Clint Eastwood will perform new film in Georgia despite abortion bill boycott,” tweeted NBC Charlotte on June 25. The movie is about Richard Jewell, a police officer and security guard who discovered a bomb at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Ga., and saved countless lives. Jewell was initially hailed as a hero and then was viewed as a suspect.

CNS News Reports:

The liberal media criticized Jewell relentlessly and essentially practiced “trial by media.” Eventually, however, Jewell was completely exonerated and the real bomber, Eric Rudolph, was captured. Jewell sued NBC, CNN, and the New York Post for libel and won large settlements. His lawyer, L. Lin Wood, is the same lawyer now representing the Covington Catholic kid Nicholas Sandmann in defamation lawsuits against CNN and the Washington Post.

The heartbeat bill in Georgia prohibits abortion once a baby’s heartbeat starts, which is usually six weeks into pregnancy. The bill, signed into law in May, allows exceptions in the cases of rape, incest, or if the mother’s life is at serious risk.

One of the lead Hollywood activists to protest the new law is Alyssa Milano, and she helped organize the boycott of the Peach State.

In a letter to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, Milano — joined by 40-plus other actors and Hollywood activists — wrote, “As actors, our work often brings us to Georgia. We’ve always found your state to be populated with friendly and caring people. We’ve found the hotels in which we stay and restaurants in which we dine while filming there to be comfortable and of a high quality. We’ve been glad to bring billions of dollars in revenue to support Georgia’s schools, parks, and communities.

“But we cannot in good conscience continue to recommend our industry remain in Georgia if H.B. 481 [heartbeat bill] becomes law…. [W]e will do everything in our power to move our industry to a safer state for women if H.B. 481 becomes law. You have a choice, gentlemen. We pray you make the right one.”

The letter was signed by many Hollywood personalities including Alec Baldwin, Billy Baldwin, David Arquette, Don Cheadle, Jon Cryer, Laura Dern, Lena Dunham, Mia Farrow, Ashley Judd, Zoe Kravitz, Brie Larson, Eva Longoria, Many Moore, Rosie O’Donnell, Patton Oswalt, Sean Penn, Natalie Portman, Emma Roberts, Mark Ruffalo, Amy Schumer, Ben Stiller, and Naomi Watts.

Some of the actors slated to work on the Eastwood film include Kathy Bates, Olivia Wilde, Jon Hamm and Sam Rockwell.

Clint Eastwood, 89, has worked in television and movies since the mid-1950s. He has won 13 Academy Awards (nominated 40 times) and won 8 Golden Globe awards (nominated 32 times).

Some of his more famous films include The Outlaw Josey Wales, High Plains Drifter, The Eiger Sanction, Dirty Harry, Escape from Alcatraz, Heartbreak Ridge, Unforgiven, Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, Letters from Iwo Jima, Sully, American Sniper, Gran Tourino, True Crime, and The Mule.

Clint Eastwood describes himself as libertarian. He endorsed Republican Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. He also gave a speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention where he mocked an empty chair that represented President Barack Obama.


Pompeo Visits India Amid Spat Over Religious Freedom Violations

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is visiting India Wednesday, just days after his department, in a major annual report, highlighted serious incidents of religious persecution there, including “an increase in attacks against religious minorities and the perceived diminishing space for religious freedom.”

In an assessment that raised the ire of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, the State Department report released by Pompeo on Friday pointed to instances of Hindu mob violence against religious minorities, especially Muslims and Christians, in 2018.

It cited non-governmental organization (NGO) reports charging that “the government sometimes failed to act on mob attacks on religious minorities, marginalized communities, and critics of the government.”

Moreover, “some senior officials” in the BJP “made inflammatory speeches against minority communities,” it said.

The report identified as major triggers for mob violence accusations that non-Hindus are killing cows, which Hindus consider sacred, and accusations that Christians and others are converting Hindus, using inducements or coercion to do so.

“Mob attacks by violent extremist Hindu groups against minority communities, especially Muslims, continued throughout the year amid rumors that victims had traded or killed cows for beef,” it said. “According to some NGOs, authorities often protected perpetrators from prosecution.”

Nine of India’s 29 states have laws that restrict or criminalize religious conversion, and Christians accused of “forced conversions” faced criminal charges in several states.

‘Clear bias’

Religious freedom is not the only potential irritant in the relationship between the world’s two biggest democracies, but it is a particularly sensitive issue.

“We see no locus standi [legal standing] for a foreign entity/government to pronounce on the state of our citizens’ constitutionally protected rights,” foreign minister spokesman Raveesh Kumar said in response to the report.

“India is proud of its secular credentials, its status as the largest democracy and a pluralistic society with a longstanding commitment to tolerance and inclusion,” Kumar said.

“The Indian constitution guarantees fundamental rights to all its citizens, including its minority communities. It is widely acknowledged that India is a vibrant democracy where the constitution provides protection of religious freedom, and where democratic governance and rule of law further promote and protect the fundamental rights.”

The national spokesperson of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling BJP, Anil Baluni, said the U.S. report “shows clear bias against the Modi government and the BJP.”

“The basic presumption in this report that there is some grand design behind anti-minority violence is simply false,” he said. “On the contrary, in most of such cases, these instances are carried out as a result of local disputes and by criminal mindsets.”

India has slowly been edging up the Open Doors USA annual watch list of “countries where it is most dangerous to follow Jesus.” In 2012, it was in 32nd place, but by 2016 – two years after Modi’s BJP came to power – it had climbed to number 17. Last year it was in 11th place, and this year India is at number ten.

The BJP is closely affiliated to radical Hindu nationalist groups accused of violence against converts from Hinduism to other faiths.

Modi’s own record is controversial too. He was chief minister of Gujarat state during the worst episode of interreligious violence in modern Indian history, when more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in 2002.

After Muslims attacked a train carrying Hindu pilgrims, Hindus carried out retaliatory attacks against Muslims across the state. Modi was accused of doing nothing to stop the carnage.

The State Department subsequently charged that there was “a comprehensive failure on the part of the state government to control the persistent violation of rights of life, liberty, equality, and dignity of the people of the state.” Modi was consequently denied a visa to enter the U.S., a restriction only lifted when he became prime minister in 2014.

Other difficult issues in the bilateral relationship include trade tariffs, U.S. visas for Indian nationals, and Indian arms sales from Russia, a longstanding ally.

Still, the partnership is an important one, the State Department stressed in a statement on Tuesday.

“As vibrant democracies rooted in shared values, with fast-growing economies, cultures of entrepreneurship, and leadership positions on the global stage, the United States and India are natural strategic partners,” it said.

“President Trump and Prime Minister Modi are firmly committed to accelerating the upward trajectory of this partnership.”

The statement also focused on economic ties, noting that the U.S. is India’s most important trading partner and number one overseas market, while India is the fastest growing major market for U.S. goods.

“Two-way bilateral goods and services trade with India totaled $142 billion in 2018, up 12.6 percent, or almost $16 billion, over the prior year,” it said. “The United States exported nearly 50 million barrels of crude to India in 2018, compared to less than 10 million barrels in 2017, and is on pace to export even greater volumes in 2019.”


Gender reassignment surgery could soon be ILLEGAL in Tasmania under sweeping changes to protect intersex children

The Tasmanians get something right at last

Tasmania could become the first state in Australia to make sex-assignment surgery on intersex children illegal.

The Tasmania Law Reform Institute (TLRI) seeks community feedback on a controversial proposal to criminalise gender normalisation surgery without the consent of the child.

Doctors only need parental consent to conduct the surgery on children, babies and children born with intersex variations under current laws.

The institute is particularly keen to hear from medical professionals and the broader community on the 'complex' issue of sex-assignment surgery.

The bold proposal is part of a TLRI Issues Paper examining the Justice and Related Legislation (Marriage and Gender Amendments) Act 2019, ('the JRL Act') passed by the Tasmanian Parliament in April.

Making gender optional on birth certificates was among the landmark laws passed.

While legal amendments relating to recording sex and gender information on birth certificates were consistent with international trends and human rights obligations, the issue of consent to invasive medical procedures on children remains unresolved for the TLRI.

Paper co-author Dylan Richards said many concerns raised in earlier debate were addressed in the final Act or can be resolved through minor amendments or administrative procedures.

'However, non-consensual medical procedures performed on intersex children, often with long-term adverse physical and psychological impacts, remain a concern to the intersex community,' Mr Richards said.

'There are increasing calls from international bodies for legislation to protect the rights and dignities of intersex children.'

The institute has also called for a specialist tribunal be set up to oversee all operation performed on an intersex child with the exception of emergency surgery.

 Mr Richards said Tasmanians are still confused about the recent amendments.

'We hope that the clear explanation in the Issues Paper will provide a basis for an informed community conversation about the issues the JRL Act was designed to address,' he said.

Community feedback is open until August 20.

The Institute hopes to deliver its final report to Attorney-General by the end of September, which is due to be publicly released by the end of October.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


27 June, 2019

Doctors may not forcibly abort the baby of a disabled British woman, appeal court judges have ruled

I understand the thinking behind the order to abort but the question is whether any court should have that power.  I think not. It is an outrage

Today three appeal court judges overturned a decision by Mrs Justice Nathalie Lieven, 55, that doctors should perform an abortion on the woman against her will.

The appeal was brought by the unnamed woman's mother, who is a Nigerian Catholic and a former midwife.

Lord Justice McCombe, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Peter Jackson considered the challenge to Lieven's ruling at a Court of Appeal hearing in London today, according to Press Association.

They said they would give reasons for their decision at a later date.

The new ruling follows days of protest as even some pro-abortion advocates reeled at the idea of the British state forcing a woman to undergo an abortion against her wishes.

On Friday, doctors petitioned the Court of Protection, a legal measure for making decisions on behalf of people believed mentally incapable of them, for permission to perform an abortion on the disabled woman, a black Briton of Nigerian descent, who is said to have the understanding of a ten-year-old child. Mrs Justice Nathalie Lieven, QC, agreed with the doctors that the woman's unborn child should be killed even though the woman did not want to undergo the procedure. 

Lieven, who was revealed in a recent article by UK-based Nigerian pro-life activist to have worked for years on behalf of the British abortion lobby, admitted that forced abortion was "an intrusion."

"I am acutely conscious of the fact that for the State to order a woman to have a termination where it appears that she doesn't want it is an immense intrusion," Lieven said. 

"I have to operate in (her) best interests, not on society's views of termination."

Lieven, the descendent of Baltic German nobility and a member of a highly accomplished German-British family of academics and journalists, dismissed the wishes of the pregnant woman, saying, "I think she would like to have a baby in the same way she would like to have a nice doll."

The woman is twenty-two weeks pregnant, but Lieven said she believed the woman would suffer more if her baby was taken away than if she underwent an abortion. The judge suggested that the baby wasn't yet "a real baby."

"I think (she) would suffer greater trauma from having a baby removed," Lieven stated. "It would at that stage be a real baby."

"Pregnancy, although real to her, doesn't have a baby outside her body she can touch," she said.

A 22-week old unborn baby is roughly the size of a coconut.

Not only do the pregnant woman and her mother oppose the abortion, the social worker caring for her disagreed that an abortion "was in her best interests." According to the Society for the Protection of Children (SPUC), her legal team said that there was "no proper evidence" to show that this was the case. 

The mother of the pregnant woman has stated that she is willing to care for her daughter, who is in her twenties, and her grandchild, but Lieven doubted she was capable of it.


Senator blasts `politically correct CEOs,' `cultural elites' for imposing abortion extremism

Earlier today, Republican Sen. Tom Cotton skewered "billion-dollar corporations" that "wield their economic power as a weapon to punish the American people for daring to challenge their pro-abortion extremism."

The Arkansas Republican devoted a speech on the U.S. Senate floor to criticizing the CEOs of hundreds of companies for their loud criticism of states that have passed laws strengthening protections for preborn humans.

"These reforms are the work of the pro-life movement, which fights for the most vulnerable among us every day," said Cotton. "The pro-life movement seeks to change the laws of our country in the noblest traditions of our country, working within our democratic system so that our laws ultimately live up to our highest principle: That `all men are created equal,' in the words of our Declaration. That all have a basic right to life."

"Politically correct CEOs shouldn't be in the business of threatening normal Americans," he continued. "But that's exactly what we've seen lately."

The senator noted that "cultural elites" and large corporations are hoping to damage the economies of states whose legislatures have passed pro-life laws, naming Disney, Netflix, and Warner Media as examples.

"And just last Monday, the New York Times ran a full-page advertisement organized by the pro-abortion lobby and signed by the CEOs of hundreds of companies saying that legal protections for unborn babies are `bad for business.' How disgusting is that?" asked Cotton. "Caring for a little baby is `bad for business.'"

"Now, I get why outfits like Planned Parenthood or NARAL would say babies are `bad for business.' Abortion is their business, after all, and they're just protecting [their] market share."

Cotton went on to make a point Tucker Carlson has frequently emphasized on his nightly television show.

"But what about those other CEOs? Why do they think babies are `bad for business'? Perhaps because they want their workers to focus single-mindedly on working - not building a family and raising children," he suggested. "All these politically correct CEOs want company men and women, not family men and women. They'll support your individuality and self-expression just so long as you stay unattached and on the clock."

The company &Pizza, whose CEO signed the pro-abortion New York Times ad, is a "perfect example" of this mindset, said Cotton. "&Pizza doesn't even offer paid maternity leave to its employees - but it does celebrate their `oneness' and `individuality.' It'll even pay employees to get a tattoo of the company logo. So if you want to be a walking billboard for your employer, &Pizza will foot the bill. But if you're pregnant with a child, tough luck."

"As liberal activists have lost control of the judiciary, they've turned to a different hub of power to impose their views on the rest of the country," lamented Cotton. "This time it's private power, located in a few mega-cities on the coasts."

These coastal companies, along with a handful of foreign ones, are "hoping to rule the rest of us like colonies in the hinterlands."


`I can't be naive anymore': Targeted by arson fires, Mass. rabbis face anti-Semitism at home

ARLINGTON - Luna Bukiet smelled smoke first. It was late, sometime after 10 p.m on Saturday, May 11, the end of Shabbat. The kids were asleep. Her husband, Rabbi Avi Bukiet, was studying in his office. Luna was reading a novel on the living room couch.

Avi, Luna asked, do you smell that? A neighborhood bonfire, perhaps? Or a nearby barbecue? Nothing to worry about. Luna headed upstairs to bed.

Nearly an hour later, the fire alarm shrieked. Avi ran out of the office. Luna woke the kids and hurried them into the car. Tendrils of dusky smoke were creeping through the floorboards. The basement was engulfed in a black, impenetrable fog.

Firefighters arrived and quickly identified the source: a 10-foot stretch of shingle siding on the Bukiets' house was aflame.

The Bukiets' house is not just their home; it's the community's only Jewish outreach center and synagogue. They relocated the Chabad Center for Jewish Life Arlington-Belmont to Lake Street two years ago, after it outgrew a small storefront on Massachusetts Avenue. Here, the Bukiets host Sabbath services, Jewish holiday celebrations, and Hebrew classes for about 200 local families.

For Avi and Luna, arson was the last thing on their minds. But it was clear to investigators the fire had started from the outside. Their next-door neighbor had captured black-and-white surveillance footage of a stranger in a hoodie walking across their driveways.

Then, five days later, an arsonist struck the Bukiet home again. That same night, in Needham, another rabbi's Chabad house was set on fire.

The arson fires at the Chabad houses in Arlington and Needham are part of a disturbing trend of anti-Semitic violence across the country. In April, a gunman at the Chabad of Poway synagogue near San Diego killed one person and wounded three others. That rampage occurred exactly six months after a gunman opened fire at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing 11 and wounding six others in what is believed to be the deadliest attack on Jews in US history.

And then there are the insidious everyday acts of anti-Semitism. Last month, a Peabody rabbi said he and another local rabbi were accosted while they were walking down Lowell Street. A man driving past in a pickup truck yelled profane, anti-Semitic slurs at them before hurling a penny out of his window.

The Anti-Defamation League, which tracks anti-Semitic incidents ranging from vandalism and harassment to deadly assaults, recorded 1,879 attacks on Jews and Jewish institutions in 2018, a near-record level, surpassed only by the previous year (1,986 incidents) and 1994 (2,066 incidents). Massachusetts catalogued a record 177 incidents in 2017 and slightly fewer, 144, in 2018, following only the more populous states of California, New York, and New Jersey in reported incidents.

Meanwhile, hate crimes against Jews, according to the FBI's most recent data, jumped 37 percent in 2017 to 938 incidents, up from 684 a year earlier.

"Anti-Semitism has existed for centuries," said Robert Trestan, executive director of the ADL's New England office. "But the difference now is that it's becoming mainstream and I think for some people it's suddenly becoming fashionable and acceptable to target Jews and to do so in a very open and public way."

Federal authorities are leading the investigation into the Arlington and Needham arson fires, probing, among other questions, whether the fires are connected. An FBI spokeswoman declined to answer questions seeking updates on the cases. The state fire marshal, ADL, and Massachusetts chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations have offered a combined $21,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest of the person or people responsible.

At the Chabad Jewish Center in Needham, the fire charred a section of the house's vinyl siding and chewed a gash into the lattice below it. Rabbi Mendy Krinsky, 47, who lives there with his wife, Chanie, 43, and five of their eight children, put out the blaze with a fire extinguisher before emergency workers arrived. "I couldn't believe it. I was shocked," Mendy Krinsky said. "It was very shocking - very, very unsettling."

The arson fires at the Bukiets' home last month were not their first run-ins with anti-Semitism. Within a week of opening their Massachusetts Avenue Chabad center in September 2013, a cutout of a swastika arrived in the mail with no return address. The message was clear: You're not welcome here.

Avi, who is 32, recalled a more ambiguous incident from earlier that summer, when he and Luna, 29, were looking for a place to live in Arlington. As they were driving down a suburban street, Avi rolled down his window and asked a passerby what he thought about the neighborhood. The man, Avi said, glared at him with startling disdain and snarled, "People like you are moving down here."

Did the man look at Avi and see another gentrifier in town? Another millennial snapping up real estate and ratcheting up costs? Or did he see Avi's brown beard and his kippah and think, "outsider?" Avi drove away not knowing.

Although he grew up in neighboring Lexington, Avi is keenly aware of the pervasiveness and destruction anti-Semitism causes globally. In his teenage years, he went to school in a Paris suburb, where, Avi said, he routinely endured name-calling and worse. Once, an attacker shoved him down an escalator at a Paris train station. To ward off another assault, Avi had to defend himself and a friend with pepper spray. Avi has relatives who were murdered in the Holocaust. His grandfather fled Nazi-occupied Poland for Shanghai when he was 15 before settling in the United States.

"I grew up with that feeling of no matter how safe you feel, no matter how much a society embraces you . . . there's going to be that baseless hatred there," Avi said.

Surveys show Jews are the most highly regarded religious group in the country - more popular than Catholics or Protestants - despite representing less than 2 percent of the US adult population. Most Americans are not anti-Semitic, said Leonard Saxe, a social psychologist and Jewish studies professor at Brandeis University, but today's bigots are more emboldened than before.

Saxe pointed to a few factors that may be contributing to this uptick in anti-Semitic behavior: Record wealth inequality, he said, has provoked immense anxiety among struggling Americans and for some, Jews and immigrants are convenient scapegoats. Social media has fueled the dissemination of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. For perpetrators of horrific acts of violence, the 24/7 news cycle is both a megaphone and recruiting tool for their noxious ideology.

Other researchers and civil rights groups lay the blame on President Trump and his inflammatory rhetoric against Muslims and migrants. It's no coincidence, they've argued, that his political rise has corresponded with a spike in reported hate crimes.

"I think the president's behavior has something to do with this," said Matt Boxer, also a Jewish studies professor at Brandeis. "He has effectively signaled to these people who previously have been afraid to act on their bigotry in quite [as] public a manner that it's acceptable to do so."

Boxer cites the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017, during which hordes of mostly white men, protesting plans to remove a Confederate statue, chanted, "Jews will not replace us" and other neo-Nazi slogans. Responding to the rally, President Trump remarked that there were "very fine people on both sides."

Before the arson fires, the Bukiets made a habit of leaving their doors unlocked in keeping with Chabad tradition. Also known as Chabad-Lubavitch, Chabad is a Hasidic movement within Orthodox Judaism that emphasizes unconditional love and acceptance above all. Any Jew seeking help, faith, or charity, they ensured, would feel welcome in their home.

Today, their house is a fortress, outfitted with security cameras and motion detectors that alert Avi and Luna's phones when anyone sets foot on their property. A sign advertising their home security system is prominently displayed on the sidewalk in front of their elegant teal Victorian. Arlington police regularly swing by. Neighbors have volunteered to stay up at night and keep watch. The Bukiets lock their doors.

"I can't be naive anymore," Avi said. "I thought over here [in the United States], it was different and I have to realize, no, it's not different. There's going to be people that are going to treat you ill, and I need to have my eyes wide open."

In Needham, Mendy Krinsky declined to elaborate on his home's security measures for fear of tipping off another potential attacker.

Jeremy Yamin, associate vice president and director of security and operations at Combined Jewish Philanthropies in Boston, said anxiety about the recent surge of anti-Semitic violence here and across the country has spurred more demand among Jewish institutions for stronger security protocols. Rabbis, in particular, Yamin said, are more worried about safety than ever.

Since Nov. 1, CJP has held at least 40 security trainings and seminars for approximately 1,500 people representing dozens of Jewish organizations, including local synagogues and day schools.

"After Pittsburgh, after Poway, after the Chabad arson fires, the phones really haven't stopped ringing," Yamin said. "We have a hard time keeping up with requests for training and assessment."

After the arson fires, the communities of Arlington and Needham rallied around the Bukiet and Krinsky families. The Bukiets held Shabbat services the Saturday after the second arson fire that were so packed the crowd spilled outside. The following Monday, May 20, more than 600 people flooded Arlington Town Hall for a solidarity gathering in support of the Bukiets. Gifts, cards, and flowers turned up by the hundreds on their doorstep. On Lake Street, just about every house still has a sign on the front lawn that says, "Hate has no home here."

The response was similar in Needham. Observant Jews perform a ritual called Havdalah - Hebrew for "separation" - marking the end of Shabbat and the beginning of a new week. The Saturday night following the arson fire, hundreds of neighbors gathered on the Krinskys' front lawn to observe Havdalah with them - singing, praying, and carrying candles.

"The outpouring of love and support, that's the real Needham. Not whoever did this, this attack on us," Mendy Krinsky said. "As bad as the hate was, the love was many, many times more."


Australia: 'I lost my job and my marriage'. Man says his life's been 'ruined' since a girl, 19, lied about him sexually harassing her as he helped fix her car

"Always believe the woman" feminists say.  They ignore that there are a lot of lying bitches around.  Thankfully, this one is being prosecuted

A Bosnian refugee falsely accused of sexual harassment has set up a GoFundMe page to help him get his life back on track.

Kenan Basic helped Caitlyn Gray, now 20, fix her car for two hours in Bankstown, west Sydney in November.

Gray, who was 19 at the time, lied to police that he demanded sexual favours and lunged at her breasts and crotch when she refused.

Basic found himself charged and locked up in Silverwater maximum security jail for two weeks.

He lost his job and his wife divorced him and he has now launched a fundraising page. On the page, Mr Basic writes: 'Hi my name is Kenan Basic and l been falsely accused and jailed my life has been ruined after I was wrongly accused of indecent assault.

'I lost my job and my marriage.

'After all this happening to me it's really hard to come back on track when l don't know where to start from.

'So I am rising this profile for me if you guys can help me with anything l would extremely appreciate to all of yous (sic) who help me to come back on track of my life.'   

Gray faced Bankstown Local Court on Tuesday and pleaded guilty to lying about her initial accusations.

She said she did it because he had said something to offend her and she wanted him to go to jail. She submitted a written apology to Mr Basic. 

Gray falsely accused Mr Basic - who had spent more than two hours helping fix her car at a western Sydney petrol station after she had a minor collision - of acting inappropriately towards her.

She wrongly claimed Mr Basic had made unwanted advances towards her and subsequently grabbed her breast and vagina as a way of 'payment' for assisting her with the damaged vehicle.

The court heard Gray, who has no prior criminal history, had regularly been seeing a psychologist in November last year - before making the false accusations against Mr Basic.

Her psychologist's clinical notes, counsellor notes, character references and job history was also handed to the court.

Magistrate Glenn Walsh told Gray to ensure she attended Campbelltown Community Corrections office within seven days so that a full sentencing assessment report could be completed.

Gray will reappear in court for sentencing on August 7.

Mr Basic previously said he was grateful to be free after all charges, but was now hesitant to help strangers.

CCTV captured the interaction between the pair, but Gray told police he followed her after she drove away.

Mr Basic admitted he did follow her, but claimed he did so to ensure her car didn't break down again. - not to harass her as she claimed.

Gray later went to Liverpool police station and gave a statement about the ordeal - which resulted in the arrest of Mr Basic on November 23.

Mr Basic was then charged with multiple offences including one count of incite person over the age of 16 to commit an act of indecency and one count of stalk and intimidate intending to cause fear or physical harm.

Five days later police spoke to Gray again after they failed to find any CCTV evidence to comply with her version of events.

Again, Gray continued to lie and insisted she had been telling the truth. When she spoke to police for a third time on November 29 she repeatedly insisted she had been telling the truth.

Shortly after, Gray came clean and admitted she had fabricated the accusations.

'No-one would ever expect that as a Good Samaritan you stop to assist a broken down motorist that then you would subsequently be charged with these serious offences,' Mr Basic's lawyer said.



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

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

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


26 June, 2019

No, McDonald’s Does Not Make You Obese

Hans Bader

I lost ten pounds in the summer that I worked at McDonald’s, eating there all the time. Yet, people try to blame fast-food restaurants for their obesity. It’s one of the “myths about fast food” discussed this week in The Washington Post.

As that newspaper notes, this myth was based on the claim that poor people are getting fat because, as noted “in the New York Times back in 2011, … ‘junk food is cheaper when measured by the calorie, and that makes it almost essential for the poor because they need cheap calories.’” Based on this perception, “the Los Angeles City Council in 2008 banned new fast-food restaurants in South Los Angeles.”

But as The Post points out, “Studies and surveys show that fast food is most popular among upper-middle income brackets.” Indeed, “wealthier Americans – those earning $75,000 a year or more – are more likely to eat it at least weekly (51 per cent) than lower-income groups,” according to a 2013 Gallup survey. “Those earning the least are the least likely to eat fast food weekly – 39% of Americans earning less than $ 20,000 a year do so.”

Moreover, “regular restaurants aren’t appreciably healthier than fast-food joints,” according to a comprehensive 2015 study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition that compared fast food with full-service restaurants. And entrees at fast-food restaurants typically have fewer, not more, calories, than those at fast-casual restaurants.

In America, obese people have so far been unsuccessful in suing McDonald’s over their weight gain. But in Brazil, a judge in 2010 ordered McDonald’s to pay an overweight employee the equivalent of $17,500, after he gained 65 pounds over 12 years of working at the restaurant and eating its food for free. That was a truly strange ruling that disregarded the fat man’s personal responsibility for his eating habits.

While restricting fast-food restaurants in places like Los Angeles, government officials have sometimes subsidized sit-down restaurants whose food is no healthier. Pancakes with butter and syrup have less nutrition and more empty calories than a McDonald’s cheeseburger. But the Obama administration used federal funds to subsidize the opening of an International House of Pancakes in Washington, D.C.

Critics often have an overly negative view of McDonald’s food. To appease them, McDonald’s altered the contents of its Happy Meals, replacing some of their french fries, which do contain some vitamin C, with prepackaged apple slices that contain essentially no natural vitamin C (they do contain artificially-added vitamin C).

But my daughter did not like the prepackaged slices. She said they tasted different from a fresh apple. Such prepackaged apple slices lose virtually all of their natural vitamin C in processing. Even a fresh apple has far less vitamin C than a potato. A potato contains 40 percent of your vitamin C needs for the day, compared to about 10 percent in an apple, or 20 percent for a typical order of french fries.

Potatoes are highly nutritious, yet many people harbor irrational prejudices against them. They have a lot more vitamin C, and at least as much potassium, as a banana. And a baked potato typically has only about 110 calories, similar to a banana.

Despite this fact, the Obama administration banned white potatoes from the federal WIC program in a 2009 regulation, a ban that was repealed in 2017 after policymakers realized that potatoes were a nutritious and economical food source.

In 2010, an NIH official foolishly urged an audience of parents to stock their refrigerators with apple sauce, as a way of ensuring that kids always have access to fruits and vegetables. She made this silly recommendation even though apple sauce has no vitamin C (unless vitamin C is artificially added to it, since an apple’s natural vitamin C is lost when it is processed into apple sauce).


What the UK’s Orwellian Gender Policy Gets Wrong About Men and Women

The British government has adopted a concerning new policy regulating speech. The New York Times reports a new policy banning the use of “harmful” gender stereotypes in advertising—yes, private ads.

The U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority announced last week that it will “ban ads that connect physical features with success in the romantic or social spheres; assign stereotypical personality traits to boys and girls, such as bravery for boys and tenderness for girls; suggest that new mothers should prioritize their looks or home cleanliness over their emotional health; and mock men for being bad at stereotypically ‘feminine’ tasks, such as vacuuming, washing clothes, or parenting.”

The new policy was developed after a report from the agency supposedly found that ads containing such stereotypes “can lead to unequal gender outcomes in public and private aspects of people’s lives.”

I’m not even sure how this could be quantified, but that’s the springboard for these gender-neutral regulations.

There are several issues to point out here.

First, this is a dangerous incursion on free speech. Admittedly, the U.K. has always lacked the same affinity for free speech that America has, so it’s not completely surprising the public would tolerate this regulation.

But second, there is a more important cultural issue at stake here, one that is also starting to circulate in the United States.

While we can all dismiss certain stereotypes as crass and unwarranted—for instance, that women are worse than men at driving—this policy drives at something deeper and more radical.

In banning a wide range of gender stereotypes, the British government presumes that boys and girls are essentially the same and that any notion of “male” and “female” career tendencies is inherently oppressive.

In the name of equality, the state is enforcing a policy of “sameness.”

It has essentially banned private companies from operating on the rational belief that men and women really are different, and that those differences factor into how men and women buy products.

In the name of equality, the state is enforcing a policy of “sameness.”
The Advertising Standards Authority has passed similar policies before. A few years ago, it hit Gucci hard for making ads with a model who looked “unhealthily thin,” to name just one example.

I can partially appreciate where this comes from.

As a woman who has seen advertisements of airbrushed women selling makeup or clothing, I know these ads can be misleading and even frustrating. Often these ads perpetuate false stereotypes that can be harmful to a woman’s self-esteem.

And yet, I don’t think a regulation against such stereotypes is the way to go. If people don’t like the ad, they should boycott the company.

But there is a difference between unhealthy stereotypes and ordinary stereotypes that might actually reflect reality. The U.K.’s new regulations ban the latter.

There is nothing wrong with stereotypes that generally reflect reality: Women tend to be drawn to careers with more nurturing aspects; men are often drawn to careers that utilize bravado—like construction or the military, or perhaps the STEM fields.

This doesn’t mean men can’t stay home with the kids or that a woman can’t be an engineer. That’s not the point.

The point is that, in general, there is a career divide that is largely driven by innate biology, not simply society’s expectations for men and women.

There is nothing wrong with stereotypes that generally reflect reality
We know this because in countries that have tried to engineer gender “equality,” like Sweden, there is still a gender divide.

In fact, Scandinavian countries now have lower levels of women entering STEM fields than other countries considered less egalitarian, like Albania and Algeria.

Many of the careers that men and women pursue—and the accompanying stereotypes—exist, and continue to exist, because men and women are naturally drawn to them.

For starters, it’s scientifically proven that men’s and women’s brains are different, and these differences contribute to how both function in different vocational fields.

Consider this piece in Stanford Medicine, which explores the difference:

Women excel in several measures of verbal ability—pretty much all of them, except for verbal analogies. Women’s reading comprehension and writing ability consistently exceed that of men, on average. They out­perform men in tests of fine-motor coordination and perceptual speed. They’re more adept at retrieving information from long-term memory.

Men, on average, can more easily juggle items in working memory. They have superior visuospatial skills: They’re better at visualizing what happens when a complicated two- or three-dimensional shape is rotated in space, at correctly determining angles from the horizontal, at tracking moving objects, and at aiming projectiles.

These are scientific facts. Men and women are different. To neutralize all advertisements that suggest as much—or worse, to flip reality on its head—might actually produce a feeling of shame among boys and girls, and men and women, for wanting to pursue the career that comes naturally to them.

The notion that men and women are wired the same, want the same things, and can do the same things at work or at home is one of the most dangerous myths animating the social-justice left today.

Not only are these things false, but male and female differences complement one another, helping men and women to accomplish equally important, yet often different tasks.

It’s a shame to see the British government bow the knee to political correctness and go into regulatory overdrive, banning stereotypical ads from the public.

This perpetuates the myth that men and women are biologically the same, and refuses to acknowledge that their propensity toward various vocations might just be due to those innate and incredible differences.


Leftists have always lied about Auschwitz

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's rhetorical strategy descends from Stalin himself

Danusha V. Goska

Ces?awa Kwoka was a Polish Catholic girl who was murdered at the age of 14 in Auschwitz

On Monday, June 17, and again on Tuesday, June 18, freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stated that the "authoritarian and fascist" Trump administration "has established concentration camps on the southern border of the United States for immigrants, where they are being brutalized with dehumanizing conditions and dying." "Concentration camps are an institutionalized practice in the home of the free … a presidency that creates concentration camps is fascist."

I was a teenager the first time I visited Auschwitz. I grew up with one foot in New Jersey, and with one foot, through my parents' heartfelt stories, songs, recipes and reminiscences, in Poland and Slovakia. I met anti-Nazi and anti-Soviet resisters, victims of torture and rape, all members of my own family, when I was fifteen. I sat around the table and watched my strong, resilient, subsistence farmer aunts' and uncles' faces melt with shame and terror as they recounted Nazi, and then Soviet, occupation. I watched my mother, a monument to strength and stoicism, cry when she heard, firsthand, of the fate of her beloved Jewish neighbor who had saved her from drowning in the River Nitra. She had long known he was among the millions. She had read of his fate in letters. Now back in her village for the first time since her departure as a child, she just couldn't take it when they told her to her face, as she stood in front of what used to be his home.

After the visit to Auschwitz, I met both survivors of the camp and Polish citizens who had hidden Jews in their homes. These rescuers radiated a quality I can't quite capture in words but I can say that sitting in front of them and listening to them speak was comparable, for me, to sitting in front of Yosemite's Half Dome. These Poles, senior citizens in Soviet-era rumpled clothing, who spoke few and humble words, not lush vocabulary out of any epic saga but rather monosyllabic words focused on how to dispose of human waste without detection or how to manage to cadge enough calories while living under a genocidal occupation, conveyed the aura of massive natural wonders. These rescuers' souls seemed to have outgrown their human flesh and have already transcended to the ageless, the mythic.

I grew up a child of immigrants, and, inevitably, I went on to be an immigrant myself, living and working in Africa, Asia, and Europe. I held my mother's hand as she died, seventy-two years after her forced migration to America, and I can say that she never got over the trauma of that passage. She told me about walking to school along railroad ties because the ties hurt her bare feet less than the gravel between the tracks. She was barefoot so the "cardboard" shoes she received from the "Poor Board" would not disintegrate in her walk to school. She told me about being beaten by a nun who spoke Slovak but wouldn't speak it to her because it was her job, as a child immigrant, to sink or swim. She told me about the first time she ate that most American of foods, peanut butter, out of a half empty jar encountered while foraging in a garbage dump.

So, yes, those of us familiar, even though handed-down stories from our elders about the Nazis, are also familiar with the burdens of immigration. This much we know. A decent person does not steal the vocabulary of one horror to discuss the discomforts and inconveniences, or even the heartbreaks and tragedies, of the other. As horrific as the black lung, the police chases, the incarceration, and the death all were, they were not those horrors as lived in Auschwitz, which was an experience so cursed you don't use the same vocabulary when speaking of the one about the other. You just do not do that. 

The term "concentration camp" existed before the Holocaust, and pre-Holocaust governments have set up what were called, at the time, concentration camps. During the 1899-1902 Boer War between Boers, or Dutch-speaking South Africans and the British Empire, the Empire drove Boers into concentration camps. Approximately 28,000 Boers, that is 25%, of Boers in these camps, and 10% of the overall Boer population, died of hunger and disease. Twenty thousand black South Africans also died.

No one objects to the use of the term "concentration camp" for discussion of the Boer War, or other pre-Holocaust atrocities. Why, then, do we express such revulsion when Ocasio-Cortez claims "concentration camp" to discuss facilities to house illegal immigrants?

The answer is obvious. The answer is history. In the same way that the word "apple" is heard differently in the post-Steve-Jobs world, the term "concentration camp" is heard differently in the post-Auschwitz world. To pretend otherwise is disingenuous. And to pretend otherwise is to camouflage a very real leftist agenda.

The left itself has a doctrine that should, if followed, obviate this lie. It's the doctrine of cultural appropriation. You do not take the cultural inheritance of another group and claim it as your own. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez knows about this doctrine. She was blasted for violating it on April 5, 2019, when giving a speech to Al Sharpton's National Action Network. Ocasio-Cortez, in an attempt to curry favor with her mostly African American audience, adopted a faux Ebonics rhythm and syntax. All leftist cultural appropriation stories are ridiculous; it's difficult to pick which is most exemplary of the trend. Perhaps Lena Dunham fretting over Oberlin college students' sushi consumption. Perhaps the height, or depth of cultural appropriation sermonizing took place after Keziah Daum, a Utah high school student, wore a Chinese-style dress to her prom and posted the photo on social media. In a frequently retweeted twitter post, Jeremy Lam accused 18-year-old Keziah Daum of colonizing Asians.

Since leftists preach against cultural appropriation, why are leftists now trying to appropriate the term "concentration camp" to talk about immigration? One of the most disturbing, and obvious, trends in today's Democratic Party is anti-Semitism. Not all Democrats are anti-Semites, but Congressional Democrats surrendered to the anti-Semites in their midst when, on March 7, 2019, they failed to sanction freshman Congresswoman Ilhan Omar for her frequent and egregious expressions of anti-Semitism. Ocasio-Cortez made it a point to support Omar in the midst of that controversy. Ocasio-Cortez was also happy to mouth anti-Semitic tropes, tropes she clearly did not understand and could not support when exposed to questioning. In a July 17, 2018 appearance on PBS's Firing Line, Ocasio-Cortez said she objects to "the occupation of Palestine" and a "humanitarian crisis." When questioned what she meant by these terms, she collapsed, laughing, acknowledging, "I am not the expert on geopolitics … Middle Eastern politics was not exactly at my kitchen table every night." Why the Democratic Party is currying favor with anti-Semites is a topic for another piece, but that toadying is on display for all to see. Ocasio-Cortez's attempt to claim the term "concentration camp" for her very own is part of that agenda.

And there's more. Leftists have always lied about the Holocaust. I saw those lies firsthand, during my visit to Auschwitz. In those Soviet days, visitors were shown a film. I watched the Polish language version of the film. I listened for the word "Jew" – "Zyd." I never heard it. What I do remember hearing, over and over, was the term "victims of fascism." I recognized that I was being propagandized. I wondered how many viewing this film would not recognize that. "After the war internal politics led the Soviet leadership to erase the Holocaust from historical memory," writes historian John Klier in "The Holocaust and the Soviet Union." Soviet Russia and its satellite states systematically lied about the Holocaust from the end of the war till its toppling in 1989. Communists inflated the numbers of those killed at Auschwitz. They did so in order to minimize the number of Jews murdered there.

Soviet Russians called Auschwitz "the ultimate capitalist factory where the workers were dispensable." "One of the least appealing aspects of the Soviet analysis of Auschwitz, now and later, was the downplaying of the scale of suffering endured by Jews." This downplaying constituted "a rift in historical interpretation between East and West concerning the operation of the camps that would not be resolved until the fall of Communism," writes Laurence Rees in Auschwitz: A New History. This downplaying of Jewish suffering occurred throughout the Soviet Empire. Thomas Haury writes that East Germany, "emphasized the workers, the party, and the Soviet population as having suffered most from National Socialism. The genocide of the European Jews was only one crime among many, to which the GDR hardly paid attention."

Jews were also accused of crimes said to be "just as bad as the Holocaust." "Not only Holocaust deniers but also communists used Holocaust Equivalence early, aiming at Jews. In 1953, the Soviet Union's daily Pravda published alleged information about a conspiracy of mainly Jewish doctors to kill communist leaders through wrong diagnoses and sabotage in treatment," writes Georg von Rauch. Romanian textbooks emphasized Romanian suffering and downplayed Jewish deaths.

People often criticize Poles for their apparent lack of awareness of Holocaust history. After all, Poland was the site of many concentration and death camps. But Poles, too, were taught a Holocaust history consciously distorted by Communism, and it is only post-1989 that Polish historians have been able to tell their own country's story without that distortion dominating their work. When perusing a Soviet-era history book about WW II, or watching a Soviet-era film about the liberation of Auschwitz, or listening to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's justifications for using the term "concentration camp," one must remember this core principle: "The truth is that which serves the party."

Czeslawa (ches WAV ah) Kwoka was a 14 year old Polish Catholic girl. She was murdered in Auschwitz. Wilhelm Brasse, as his name suggests, had some Germanic ancestry. But he was born in Poland and he self-identified as Polish. After the Nazis invaded, the SS "invited" Brasse to identify as German. He declined, and he was sent to Auschwitz, where he was forced to photograph prisoners. Later he was ordered to destroy those photos. Through subterfuge, he saved many of the photos.

Brasse took the photograph we have of Czeslawa Kwoka. He described the process to an interviewer, who said that Brasse trembled while speaking. "She was so young and so terrified. The girl didn't understand why she was there and she couldn't understand what was being said to her. So this woman Kapo took a stick and beat her about the face. This German woman was just taking out her anger on the girl. Such a beautiful young girl, so innocent. She cried but she could do nothing. To tell you the truth, I felt as if I was being hit myself but I couldn't interfere. It would have been fatal for me. You could never say anything."

I do not begrudge anyone the compassion they feel for immigrants. I do not begrudge anyone for actually extending aid to immigrants. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her leftist allies are not expression compassion, and they are not helping anyone, by appropriating the term "concentration camp." Rather, they are appropriating cultural material that does not belong to them, and that no decent person would want.

They are doing this as part of the left's current and growing anti-Semitic program. Stalin, we are told, said that one death was a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic. If the deaths of the eleven million leave Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her allies cold, I ask them to look into the face of Czeslawa Kwoka, who was murdered at 14 because she was the wrong ethnicity.


Australia: Ads highlight CSR concerns

In the past two weeks, we have witnessed full page newspaper ads proclaiming that a slew of big companies “support the Uluru Statement from the Heart”. This followed the announcement of support for Recognition by 21 investment banks, super funds and accounting firms.

This renewed bout of corporate politicking was clearly planned in anticipation of an election victory by the Labor party, which had pledged to fast-track a constitutional referendum on a Voice to Parliament.

In the wake of the Morrison government’s re-election, big business — like many commentators and pundits — have found themselves on the wrong side of history … and found out just how tin their political ear is.

The election result offers a timely opportunity for those operating within the corporate bubble to reconsider what is being done by companies in the name of CSR.

I hope my book encourages such a reconsideration through the critique it offers of the current — highly political — approach to ‘social responsibility’ that is being enthusiastically embraced at the highest levels of business.

What the election result has demonstrated is the validity of the insider vs outsider thesis about modern politics.

The Quiet Australians’ rejection of Labor’s embrace of identity politics and progressive ideology has exposed the cultural divide between so-called inner city elites and ordinary Australians in the outer suburbs and regions holding mainstream views.

What the election result also ought to burst is the insider bubble —the propensity for corporate elites to live, work, and socialise with like-minded elites and not question self-reinforcing progressive agendas.

Bursting the bubble surrounding CSR exposes the contradiction that lies at heart of the CSR philosophy.

The standard argument for CSR is that that in order to earn a ‘social license’ to operate, companies must fulfil a range of social obligations beyond their traditional profit-making role, by considering the social impacts of their activities on the interests of broader groups of stakeholders in the community.

The book turns around the reputational and branding arguments for CSR to make the case against CSR by pointing out what the election result has now made even more obvious.

This is that corporate involvement in divisive social questions on which there is no community consensus among shareholders, stakeholders, employees and customers, can have negative brand and reputational consequences for companies that risk acquiring reputations for being ‘being political’.

The book, therefore, argues that because CSR politicking can be bad for business, corporate leaders should be encouraged to take a more hardheaded approach.



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

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

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


25 June, 2019

Meetings are a plague

I reproduce below the core message of a VERY long-winded article in the NYT.  The authors looked at different groups in Microsoft with a view to finding out which group were the happiest and why.  They found that meetings were the big bugbear. Lots of big meetings were seen as boring and stealing time from the main work that the employees were doing. Fewer and smaller meeting were needed for happy workers. 

I have always hated meetings myself.  Sitting around for hours listening to other people who I think have got it wrong was very hard for me to bear when I could be doing other much more interesting things

To figure out why the workers in Microsoft’s device unit were so dissatisfied with their work-life balance, the organizational analytics team examined the metadata from their emails and calendar appointments.

The team divided the business unit into smaller groups and looked for differences in the patterns between those where people were satisfied and those where they were unhappy.

It seemed as if the problem would involve something about after-hours work. But no matter how Ms. Klinghoffer and Mr. Fuller crunched the data, there weren’t any meaningful correlations to be found between groups that had a lot of tasks to do at odd times and those that were unhappy. Gut instincts about overwork just weren’t supported by the numbers.

The two kept iterating until something emerged in the data. People in Mr. Ostrum’s division were spending an awful lot of time in meetings: an average of 27 hours a week.

That wasn’t so much more than the typical team at Microsoft. But what really distinguished those teams with low satisfaction scores from the rest was that their meetings tended to include a lot of people — 10 or 20 bodies arrayed around a conference table coordinating plans, as opposed to two or three people brainstorming ideas.

The issue wasn’t that people had to fly to China or make late-night calls. People who had taken jobs requiring that sort of commitment seemed to accept these things as part of the deal. The issue was that their managers were clogging their schedules with overcrowded meetings, reducing available hours for tasks that rewarded more focused concentration — thinking deeply about trying to solve a problem.


John Lennon’s Son Slams Politically Correct Leftist Intellectuals As ‘Embarrassing… It’s Pathetic’

The son of the famed Beatles member John Lennon has publicly made it clear that political correctness has destroyed the left he once knew and respected.

Sean Ono-Lennon took to Twitter on Friday and tweeted out a message that stirred controversy within the left.

“When I was young the most interesting people were left-wing intellectuals. Believe it or not,” tweeted Lennon.

One person identifying themselves as a leftist intellectual attempted to argue that they still are the most interesting people he could meet, but Lennon flatly shot that idea down and dropped a major bomb.

“No we’ve become the church lady as person below says. It’s embarrassing. We’re offended by comedy and science. It’s pathetic,” tweeted Lennon.

He’s not wrong. The left has become so anti-science that what they now believe can be considered something along the lines of fantasy land. They believe in a limitless number of genders despite there being only two and will punish anyone who disagrees with them. Their stances on climate change rely on inaccurate sensationalism despite many scientists coming out and saying the doom isn’t upon us.

Their hot takes on abortion are even in direct defiance of science.

Now, the left’s primary goal isn’t knowledge and understanding, it’s finding where you stand on the victim hierarchy and asserting your power based on your place in it. It is, as Lennon described, pathetic. More importantly, it’s boring, and it causes boredom to arise in everything it touches. Introduce a bit of social justice into escapism and people immediately begin to tune out.

What’s more, is that the left doesn’t allow discussion that may ruin their narrative. Free thought isn’t allowed to exist. You have to subscribe to the body politic or be punished. Nothing grows, everything stagnates.

Now the counter culture consists of those willing to actually question the mainstream narrative with logic. Those who actually respect things like the constitution and individualism are considered the “fringe.” It’s within these circles, where speech can actually go unfettered, that you’re going to find the most interesting conversations and intellectual thought.


Peaceful death threats

Threatening me over Mohammad cartoons provokes more Mohammad cartoons

Bosch Fawstin

Were it not for my Mohammad cartoons, some Muslims believe that they would be peaceful, and they act as if my “terrorism”, (yes, they call my Mohammad cartoons “terrorism”) must be responded to in kind, with terrorism, even though they’re “peaceful”.

If you want to maintain your illusions that “Islam means peace” and that “99.9% of Muslims are peace-loving”, then my book, Peaceful Death Threats, is not for you, as you’re either a Muslim or you might as well make it official and become one. If you can’t imagine threatening to murder cartoonists over cartoons, then my book is for you.

Islam wasn’t “hijacked” by jihadists, peace was hijacked by Muslims. In my acceptance speech after I won the Mohammad cartoon contest, I asked the audience, “Why do you think we have this kind of security?”, and as the audience started to applaud, and even laugh, as they had a good idea where I was going with it, I said that it was because Islam did not mean peace. The Only reason any of us are talking about Islam is because it doesn’t mean peace. Islam hasn’t given us any reason to talk about it outside of our concern over it.

When a lone evil scumbag goes on a shooting spree in America, the “national conversation” is that it has something to do with America, that it says something about us, and that we all have to answer for it in some way. Only self-loathing leftists would define America by a small minority of evil scumbags. Yet when daily atrocities are committed by Muslims across the world, the “national conversation” crowd tells us that it “has nothing to do with Islam”, while also saying that we had it coming. They live for a chance to condemn America for things it’s not responsible for, and to exonerate Islam for things it is responsible for. These “national conversationalists” don’t want a conversation about Islam, about jihad, or about the truth. And the “national conversation” that needs to take place is about Islam and its calls for violence against non-Muslims. As for “nice Muslims”, especially those in the West, they embody Western values that they fancifully attribute to Islam, and it’s left to “mean” people like me to have to point that fact out.

The reason why many of us choose to define Islam by the behavior of its least devout Muslims is because devout Muslims who model themselves after their warlord prophet, Mohammad, are monsters. “But what about Muslims who support Israel and condemn jihad?” It’s not Islam that leads some Muslims to support Israel and condemn jihad. I give credit to these individual Muslims and their embrace of Western values, even though they themselves usually deny it, and falsely credit Islam. We need to stop pretending that the anti-Islam positions of some Muslims somehow derive from Islam. They don’t, no matter what these Muslims tell us, or what we tell ourselves. Like the so-called “Imam of peace”, he represents the West in his criticisms of Islam, and he’s naturally rejected and condemned by most Muslims, and embraced by the West. The best Muslims are the least Islamic, and the most Western. But of course, in this increasingly truthless world we’re living in, merely pointing that fact out makes me a monster.

In the summer and fall of 2018, I got a wave of death threats from Muslims the likes of which I’ve never experienced, and my life has not been the same. Thousands of Muslims from across the world, with many from Pakistan, threatened to murder me after I was announced as the judge for a Mohammad cartoon contest that Geert Wilders announced in the summer of 2018 (and which ended up being canceled). Many of the threats were monotonous and I couldn’t keep up with all of them, as they came from all corners of the internet, from social media, email, YouTube, my blog, and I even got audio death threats in Facebook messenger. So the “peaceful” death threats in my book are the “best” 400 of them.

I’ve been called a “dangerous” cartoonist, and Peaceful Death Threats has the potential to be my most “dangerous” book yet, as it will make it more difficult for some among us to maintain their illusions about Islam and its “peaceful” followers. My “co-writers” in this book are average, everyday Muslims who think it’s normal to threaten to rape and murder a cartoonist over Mohammad cartoons. They are not to be “understood”, but condemned. This book is a good document to show that Islamic culture, at large, is a problem, and that Muslims at large want cartoonists who draw Mohammad to be murdered, by their hand, or by the hands of their more devout co-religionists. All of the thousands of Muslims who wrote me death threats want me dead, and those who didn’t write me would likely celebrate if I were murdered, or at “best”, would “understand” why I had to die. “Not all Muslims”? Not One Muslim wrote me to say, “I may not like what you do, and I may even hate it, but you have the right to draw whatever you want, and you shouldn’t be threatened or killed over it.”

Not one.

When the Muslims who’ve threatened me hear of this book, what do you think their response would be that their threats were published, and that they inspired my 60 new Mohammad cartoon that are in my book? More threats. The threats in this book are from Muslim students, doctors, engineers, musicians, etc., and I think that will be a revelation for some, for those who still cling to the idea that it’s only “extremists” who are the problem, because seeing is believing. Seeing death threats along with the names and pictures of average Muslims might open some eyes.

After years of getting death threats, they’ve become white noise to me, in a way. They’re meant to scare me into silence and inaction, but I’m more likely to laugh at them than be terrified. But I do pause at times, at the casual, decadent evil of it all, and the mass support that it gets from far more Muslims than many would like to believe. What did Muslims do after the massacre of Charlie Hebdo? They callously ran over the dead bodies of the murdered innocents to defend Mohammad. Islam didn’t teach them to live and let live, despite whatever criticism came their way, Islam taught them that the answer to criticism is to silence critics, by any means necessary.

Regarding my new Mohammad cartoons in my book: I think it’s important to show Mohammad, the murderous figure who inspires Muslims to murder, alongside screenshots of the death threats over my Mohammad cartoons, which inspired even more Mohammad cartoons by me.

The threats in Peaceful Death Threats will be a revelation for some, and a confirmation for others. And to those who’ve dismissed me when I say that Hitler is Islam’s favorite Infidel, there were endless Muslims who expressed their admiration for Hitler to me, and I have a page of the “best” ones in my book, where I draw Hitler as Mohammad.

I’m well aware that most of these threats are just talk, however obscene that talk may be, but unlike members of other groups, Muslims are more prone to back up their threats with violent action, and so I take their threats more seriously than I do the threats of others. And some of them get very specific and personal. It’s one thing for Muslims to have their prohibitions, but it’s quite another thing for them to try to force their prohibitions on us. Since 9/11, we’ve waged war the way Muslims wage peace, and we’re gong to have to learn how to wage war, in order to have peace.



Socialism appeals to the young but many don't know what it means

Red is the new black, right? Jeremy Corbyn leads the British Labour Party. Bernie Sanders came close to winning the Democratic Party's nomination for the US presidency describing himself as a "democratic socialist".

And the 2018 US midterm elections saw a surge of enthusiasm for Democratic candidates running on policy platforms at least as leftist as Mr Sanders espoused in 2016.

That the young are thought to lead the revival for socialism is not surprising.

The most prominent face of the leftward turn among Democrats is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, just 29 years old and only four months into her legislative career.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez is one of the sponsors of the Green New Deal, a suite of social-democratic and pro-environmental proposals, supported by several of the Democratic presidential candidates (eg Senators Booker, Gillibrand, Harris, Sanders, Warren).

It's happening here too. Australian public opinion also exhibits an unmistakable age gradient, with younger Australians more likely to support Labor — and especially the Greens — than older Australians.

But what do people — and younger people in particular — mean when they say they favour or oppose socialism?

New polling by the United States Studies Centre and YouGov reveals considerable confusion and ignorance about socialism in both Australia and the United States.

We asked: "What is your understanding of the term socialism?"
Respondents could provide any answer they liked, in their own words.

Twenty-eight per cent of Australians fell at the first hurdle, with "don't know", "unsure" or "no clue" responses.

Another 13 per cent of Australians gave answers indicating they understand socialism as being sociable (eg "spending time with friends", "talking with people").

Just 59 per cent offered a response that was even close to any conventional definition of socialism (greater equality, public control of the means of production, etc).

Younger Australians are more likely to offer "don't know" or the "being sociable" classes of responses.

Less than one in three of our youngest Australian respondents could offer an even vaguely correct definition of socialism, a rate that rises to about two in three or better for respondents in their 50s or older.

The "s" word has been thrown around far more frequently in America than in Australia in recent years. Seventy-four per cent of Americans respond with something close to a conventional definition of socialism.

Although younger Americans were less likely than older Americans to be able to define socialism, more than 60 per cent of even the youngest US respondents could do so, compared to less than 30 per cent of young Australians.

Socialism is generally much more popular in Australia than America, but there are nuances in what Australians and Americans like and don't like about socialism.

Despite plenty of Australians being unable to define socialism, Australians do have strong views on the components of socialism, whether specific sectors of the economy should be owned and operated by the government, by the private sector, or if respondents were indifferent.

Here Australians report more socialist preferences than Americans, with clear majorities for government control in six out nine cases, spanning roads and highways (70 per cent), health care and hospitals (67 per cent), public transport (62 per cent), schools and universities (59 per cent), electricity, gas and water (58 per cent) and aged care (53 per cent).

A much different picture emerges in the United States.

In one only case out of nine — roads and highways — do a majority of Americans prefer government to private sector control or indifference, and only barely, with 51 per cent support.

Australians are more likely to support public ownership and control than Americans, but not because young Australians are embracing socialism. Just the opposite.

In six out of nine sectors we asked about, older Australians support public ownership and operation at rates of around 75 per cent or higher, typically outpacing younger Australians on this score by more than 20 percentage points.

Perhaps older Australians are pining for the "pre-privatised" Australian economy of their youth, while younger Australians have known nothing else.

It's the opposite in America

In the United States we see not only less enthusiasm for government ownership across the board, but a reversal of the age gradient we observe in Australia.

Younger Americans are almost always more enthusiastic about government ownership than their elders, typically by about 15 percentage points. There's is the only sector of the American economy with majority support for public ownership and control among any age cohort: roads and highways.

This finding helps explains the political headwinds encountered by advocates of public-private partnerships in the United States, including the Australian Ambassador Joe Hockey.

Roads and highways have been the domain where public-private partnerships have had some acceptance in the US, with Australian institutions prominent among the private investors and operators.

Americans sure aren't socialist, but roads and highways is the domain where support for public ownership runs the strongest and support for private ownership is weakest (just 23 per cent, compared to 11 per cent in Australia).

While generally quite sceptical about socialism, Americans need further convincing of the utility of "Australian style" asset recycling and public-private partnerships as a model for transport infrastructure.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


24 June, 2019

Ex-Dem Staffer Who Doxed Republicans During Kavanaugh Hearing Sentenced To 4 Years In Jail

The former Sheila Jackson Lee staffer who posted the private information of Republican senators during the final hearing for then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has been sentenced to four years in prison for his crime.

Jackson Cosko was described by prosecutors as having “self-righteous entitlement” and believing “that he could violate the sanctity of the United State Senate at will and threaten individual Senators as he pleased,” The Daily Caller’s Luke Rosniak reported. Rosniak further wrote prosecutors sought to make an example of Cosko because his crime allegedly led to other incidents of attacks on political opposition.

Cosko is the son of the CEO of a major construction company who has ties to House Speaker Nance Pelosi (D-CA) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). Cosko previously worked as a staffer in Sen. Maggie Hassan’s (D-NH) office, but had since moved on to working for Lee. While senators questioned Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who accused the now-Associate Justice of groping her while they were both in high school some 30 years ago, Cosko snuck into his former boss’ office to use a computer to publish the private information of some of the Republican senators who supported Kavanaugh.

Another staffer in Hassan’s office recognized Cosko and reported him, so he sent the staffer an email threatening to “leak it all” if the staffer told anyone what he had done.

“Emails signal conversations gmails. Senators children’s health information and socials,” Cosko wrote to the staffer.

Cosko pleaded guilty in April “to crimes related to an unparalleled effort to ransack a Senate office, extorting a Democratic senator, illegally harming Republicans for their political views, and blackmailing a witness,” Rosniak reported.

Prosecutors, according to Rosniak, asked for a five-year prison sentence.

“The government believes that a significant sentence would help to make clear that difference of political opinion do not entitle people to engage in politically motivated, criminal attacks threatening elected officials with whom he disagrees, and would thereby encourage respect for the law, and deter future criminal conduct,” they wrote.

Rosniak reported that new details about Cosko’s crimes were released in a sentencing memo, including the fact that the senate learned later — because Cosko told them — that the offices were being spied on due to his keylogger devices.

Prosecutors wrote that Cosko laughed about his crimes and said he planned to use the data he stole from the senate offices “to punish people who disagreed with his politics.”

“The defendant operated under the belief that he was entitled to inflict emotional distress upon United States Senators and their families, simply because they disagreed with the defendant and had different political views,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo. “The government believes that there appears to have been an increase in similar criminal harassment, particularly through social media channels, by people across the political spectrum.”

On Wednesday, a second former Hassan staffer was charged for acting as Cosko’s accomplice. Politico reported that Samantha Deforest Davis, a former staff assistant for Hassan who left in December, was expected to plead guilty to two misdemeanor charges for helping Cosko. Davis allegedly tampered with evidence and aided and abetted computer fraud by allowing Cosko to use her keys to repeatedly return to Hassan’s office after he was let go.


Overthrow the Prince of Facebook
Peggy Noonan

I’ll start with a personal experience and then try to expand into Republicans and big tech.

In the spring of 2016, Facebook came under pressure, stemming from leaks by its workers, over charges of systemic political bias. I was not especially interested: a Silicon Valley company that employs thousands of young people to make decisions that are often ideological will tilt left, and conservatives must factor that in, as they’re used to doing.

My concerns about Facebook had to do with its apparently monopolistic nature, slippery ethics and algorithmic threats to serious journalism.

Soon after, I received an email from Mark Zuckerberg’s office inviting me and other “conservative activists” to attend a meeting with him to discuss the bias charges in an off-the-record conversation. I responded that I was not an activist but a columnist, for the Journal, and would be happy to attend in that capacity and on the record. That didn’t go over too well with Mr. Zuckerberg’s office! I was swiftly told that wouldn’t do.

What I most remember is that they didn’t mention where his office is. There was an air of being summoned by the prince. You know where the prince lives. In the castle. Who doesn’t know exactly where Facebook is?

In February 2018 Nicholas Thompson and Fred Vogelstein of Wired wrote a deeply reported piece that mentioned the 2016 meeting. It was called so that the company could “make a show of apologizing for its sins.” A Facebook employee who helped plan it said part of its goal—they are clever at Facebook and knew their mark!—was to get the conservatives fighting with each other. “They made sure to have libertarians who wouldn’t want to regulate the platform and partisans who would.” Another goal was to leave attendees “bored to death” by a technical presentation after Mr. Zuckerberg spoke.

Predictably, the conservatives “failed to unify in a way that was either threatening or coherent.” Many used the time “to try to figure out how they could get more followers for their own pages.”

After the meeting, attendees gushed, calling Mr. Zuckerberg and his staffers humble and open. Glenn Beck praised the CEO’s “earnest desire to ‘connect the world.’”

Never were pawns so happily used.

I forgot about it until last summer, when Mr. Zuckerberg’s office wrote again. His problems were mounting. I was invited now, with an unspecified group of others, to “an off the record discussion over dinner at his home in Palo Alto.” They used that greasy greaseball language Silicon Valley uses: Mr. Zuckerberg is “focused on protecting” users and thinking about “the future and how best to serve the Facebook community.”

I ignored the invitation. They pressed. Their last note reached me at an irritated moment, so I wrote back a rocket, reminding him of the previous meeting and how it had been revealed to be a mischievous and highly political enacting of faux remorse. I suggested that though it was an honor to be asked to cross a continent for the privilege of giving him my time, thought and advice, I would not. I added that I was sorry to say he strikes me in his public, and now semiprivate, presentations as an imperious twerp.

For a second I actually hesitated: The imperious twerp runs the algorithms, controls the traffic, has all the dark powers! But I am an American, and one with her Irish up, so I hit send.

And I’m still here, at least at the moment, so I guess that’s OK.

Facebook’s famous sins and failings include the abuse of private data, selling space to Russian propagandists in the 2016 presidential campaign, starving journalism of ad revenues, monopolistically acquiring or doing in possible competitors, political mischief, and turning users into the unknowing product. I once wrote the signal fact of Mr. Zuckerberg’s career is that he is supremely gifted in one area—monetizing technical ingenuity by marrying it to a canny sense of human weakness.

None of this is news. We just can’t manage to do anything about it.

Now there are moves to push back. The House Judiciary Committee will hold antitrust investigations into big tech. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is warning that “unwarranted concentrated economic power in the hands of a few is dangerous to democracy.” Sen. Elizabeth Warren has made a splash with her pushback on big tech; Sen. Amy Klobuchar included it in her presidential announcement speech.

The New York Times this week had a breakthrough report, from Cecilia Kang and Kenneth Vogel, on how the tech giants are fighting back. They are “amassing an army of lobbyists.” Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple spent a combined $55 million in lobbying last year, about double what they spent in 2016. They “have intensified their efforts to lure lobbyists with strong connections to the White House, the regulatory agencies, and Republicans and Democrats in Congress.” Facebook hired Mrs. Pelosi’s former chief of staff. The speaker herself has received major campaign money from employees and political-action committees of all the tech giants. Google pays lobbyists who worked on the Republican staff of House Judiciary.

They’ve got it wired, haven’t they?

But the mood in America is anti-big-tech. Everyone knows they’re too powerful, too arrogant, loom too large in public life.

And something else: This whole new world of new technology was born in the 1970s and ‘80s. We still think it’s new and we’re figuring it out, but we’re almost half a century into it and we can see what works and what doesn’t, what’s had good effects and hasn’t. It is time to move.

We’re Americans and we love money and success and the hallowed story of the kid in the garage who invents the beautiful product that changes the world.

And Republican officials—they can’t help it, they don’t just rightly love business; they love big business, they love titans. It’s almost romantic: Look what people can do in America! He started it in his dorm room! And now we’re at lunch!

It’s all too human, and of course greedy: Maybe these guys will start giving me money! I mean Pelosi-size money!

Here’s what they should be thinking: Break them up. Break them in two, in three; regulate them. Declare them to be what they’ve so successfully become: once a pleasure, now a utility.

It all depends on Congress, which has been too stupid to move in the past and is too stupid to move competently now. That’s what’s slowed those of us who want reform, knowing how badly they’d do it.

Yet now I find myself thinking: I don’t care. Do it incompetently, but do something.

Why are Republicans so slow to lead? The Times quoted Republican Sen. Josh Hawley as saying “the dominance of big tech” is a “big problem.” They “may be more socially powerful than the trusts of the Roosevelt era, and yet they still operate like a black box.”

He’s right.

But I read about lobbyists coming at Republican congressional leaders and I think, it’s going to be like Mr. Zuckerberg’s meeting with the conservatives in 2016. A tech god will give them some attention, some respect, and they’ll fold like a cheap suit.

If they are as stupid and unserious as their critics take them to be, they will go to the meeting and be used.

They should say no and hit send.


Another crooked cop in Britain

A police officer groomed, raped and sexually abused a string of teenage girls, bragging about his role on the force, a court has heard. In one case David Waller, 33, raped a 16-year-old girl minutes after she had spotted his police uniform hanging in his wardrobe, it is alleged.

He also groomed another teenager by bragging about being a police officer, owning a new BMW and being a glider pilot.

Waller, it is alleged, abused his positions of responsibility as a Cleveland Police officer between 2006 and 2010, as a gliding instructor and as a member of theatre groups.

Throughout a 12-year period from 2004 to 2016 he ignored his duty of care towards the girls and used his position to groom them into sexual activity with him.

He also began a sexual relationship with a woman after meeting her when she went to his force to report a crime.

In total he faces 13 charges with eight complainants, seven of them being girls aged 13 to 16.

Nine of the offences encompass the four years he was as a serving police officer working in Stockton on Tees.

One of his alleged victims later told police that the attentions of the older man made her feel "dead grown up," unaware that she was being deliberately targeted and groomed for sex.

Waller denies three charges of rape, three charges of grooming under age girls, two charges of inciting sexual activity with a child, one charge of sexual assault, three of sexual activity with a child and one of misconduct in public office.

The latter alleges he had a sexual relationship with a complainant in a case being investigated by the police. The trial continues.


Albo, take faith seriously

One of the first things new Australian Labor Party leader, Anthony Albanese, needs to emphasise to his demoralised party is that they will not return to government without showing they take religion seriously.

Albo’s own seat of Grayndler — which Labor holds with a margin of nearly 16 per cent — is one of a number of Labor-held Western Sydney seats where the electorate includes many voters who are about God.

It matters to Australia’s Muslim, Christian, and Hindu voters — and all the others who have a religious affiliation — that they are free to practise their faith; and, if they wish, to talk about it openly.

No wonder Labor frontbenchers have warned Albanese that Labor needs to work constructively with the Morrison government to address concerns about religious freedom by passing new laws.

It sounds like simple and sensible advice. But the problem for the new Labor leader is that a decision to cooperate with the government on matters of religion is likely to further divide his party.

For a deep and possibly irreparable fissure has opened up — and runs right through the heart of the ALP.

On one side stand Labor’s traditional blue-collar and middle-class voters respectful of belief in God. But on the other side stand the battalions of Labor’s inner-city intellectuals who sneer at religion, dismiss faith as primitive superstition, and wield the cudgels of identity politics.

It is not the deity that commands the unswerving devotion of the elites, but diversity. And they impose on the rest of us what political scientist, Kenneth Minogue, once described as “a dictatorship of virtue”.

The ALP is going to have to get to grips with God if it hopes to occupy the government benches in the House of Reps again. But in order to do that, Albanese is going to have to work a miracle of his own.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


23 June, 2019

Former NFL Player Burgess Owens Uses Testimony on Reparations to Highlight the Dem Party’s Racist Past

Former NFL player Burgess Owens called out the Democratic Party for its dark past of suppressing black Americans during his testimony on reparations.

House Democrats held a hearing on HR 40, a bill that would fund a commission to study reparations and deliver policy proposals to Congress about how to repay black Americans for the injustices of slavery and Jim Crow.

While Democrats who sponsor the legislation feel as though reparations are necessary for America to move past its racist history, those who oppose reparations believe that Americans who were not alive during slavery should not have to pay for the sins of their fathers.

Owens is in the latter party. During his testimony, he described the success of black Americans like his grandfather, who escaped slavery to become an entrepreneur. Owens noted that racism is an ideology and highlighted its ties to the Democratic Party.

Owens’ testimony:

“This is not about black and white, rich and poor, blue collar, white collar. We’re fighting for the heart and soul of our nation. We have a very, very special country instilled with the Judeo-Christian values that allowed every single generation to become better than the last. That has not ended. That has not stopped — until now. We’re telling our kids a little bit something different. That they don’t have the opportunity that we had. I’m going to talk about some ideologies. When I talk about them, I’m not talking about people. People change. I used to be a Democrat until I did my history and found out the misery that that party brought to my race. So when I talk about these ideologies, ideologies don’t change, people do.”

Owens covered the racism of Karl Marx and other socialists all the way to the struggles of young black men in present-day California. The former NFL safety doesn’t believe pitting white Americans against black Americans through reparations is the answer. He believes reparations do nothing but paint white Americans as “evil” and black Americans as “beggars.”

He said that Democrats who feel “guilty” can feel free to pay for the sins of their party, but he doesn’t want to see Americans divided over race because of reparations:

“Let’s point to the party that was part of slavery, KKK, Jim Crow, that has killed over 40 percent of our black babies, 20 million of them. The state of California, 75 percent of our black boys cannot past standard reading and writing test. A Democratic state. Yeah, let’s pay [reparation]. Let’s pay restitution. How about a Democratic Party pay for all the misery brought to my race, and those — after we learn our history — decide to stay there, they should pay also. They are complicit. And every white American — Republican or Democrat — that feels guilty because of your white skin, you just need to pony up also.”

He claimed that would allow those who feel guilty to “get past” reparations and acknowledge that “this country has given us greatness.”

Owens concluded his testimony by stated that he believes reparations send a message that black Americans cannot get ahead without payment from reparations, a position he could not disagree with more.


UK: Man successfully sues Brewer for £1,000 after being told beer was only on sale to women

A drinker won a discrimination case against a popular brewery after he was stopped from buying its women-only beer.

Brewdog last year offered discounts on a “pink” craft ale to anyone identifying as female at its bars, as part of a campaign to highlight the gender pay gap.

However, the “satirical” initiative backfired when a male customer at a branch in Cardiff decided to launch legal action after being told he could not order the drink.

Thomas Bower, 27, said he “felt forced to identify as a female” to convince bar staff to serve him the £4 Pink IPA rather than the £5 Punk IPA in March 2018.

The software engineer complained to Brewdog but was told his treatment did not amount to discrimination - prompting him to sue the brewery in a small claims court.

He was awarded £1,000 after a judge agreed he had been unfairly treated because of his gender.

District Judge Marshall Phillips, sitting at the Civil Justice Centre in Cardiff, said in his judgment: “It is clear that in this case the claimant has been directly discriminated against by the defendant because of his sex.

"The fact that by identifying as female he was still able to purchase a Pink IPA, makes no difference.

"I accept what Dr Bower says, namely that identifying as female was the only way he could purchase a Pink IPA at a cost of £4."

Brewdog argued it had not discriminated against Dr Bower because he had identified as female and was allowed to purchase the drink.

Dr Bower, who represented himself in court, said he did not want to profit from the case and donated his money to charity.

He said: "After taking into account my costs, I donated equal amounts of this award to the Young Women's Trust, which aims to help women negotiate for better pay, and the Campaign Against Living Miserably, which runs a male suicide prevention line, among other things."


Why America’s Declining Marriage Rate Affects Everyone

Families are the building blocks of civilization.

They are personal relationships, but they greatly shape and serve the public good. Strong families make for strong communities. Conversely, family breakdown harms society as a whole.

That’s why America’s declining marriage rate is a real problem.

While on the surface this might not seem like an issue that you and I need to care about, the decline in marriage has a significant impact on each and every one of us—from the amount of taxes we pay to the level of crime in our neighborhoods.

How do we know?

Decades of statistics have shown that, on average, married couples have better physical health, more financial stability, and greater social mobility than unmarried people.

Other studies show that the children of those couples are more likely to experience higher academic performance, emotional maturity, and financial stability than children who don’t have both parents in the home.

The social and economic costs of family breakdown are paid by everyone. Studies show divorce and unwed childbearing cost taxpayers over $110 billion each year. But the real victims are children.

Children raised in single-parent homes are statistically more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, exhibit poor social behaviors, and commit violent crimes. They’re also more likely to drop out of school.

And when it comes to fighting poverty, there is no better weapon than marriage. In fact, marriage reduces the probability of child poverty by 80 percent.

So what can and should be done?

When it comes to public policy, one way government can help is by eliminating the marriage penalty. That’s the part of the tax code where two people are taxed more if they’re married than if they’re single.

Second, government assistance programs should provide temporary help to families in need, not welfare that spans generations. For too long, these programs have encouraged the formation of single-parent families by taking the place of breadwinning fathers or mothers. 

But more family-friendly public policies like these are only part of the solution.

Civil society—including community organizations, schools, and places of religious worship—must do its part to make sure the next generation understands the hard facts about the benefits of marriage and the costs of broken families. Armed with that knowledge, people can make better choices.

Marriage remains America’s strongest anti-poverty, anti-crime, pro-health institution. It’s an undeniable fact that the best chances for financial success, emotional well-being, and good health for both parents and children happen when parents are married and families are intact.


PC terminology distorts the truth

Comment from Australia

Do readers remember when the term “political correctness” was on every conservative’s lips and at the fingertips of every commentator? That term, used as a phrase to denote intimidatory “right think”, is unfortunately fast leaving the lexicon. This is because so much of what was once scoffed at as political correctness has been absorbed into the mental and psychological landscape.

Today almost every political and social problem is looked at through a set of ideological prisms, and opinions on even the most serious issues are conveyed through a menu of acceptable tropes. The result is superficial, ideologically motivated mumbo jumbo.

Take violence against women. Lately the union boss John Setka got himself into a lot of trouble about this issue. Why? Not just because he himself has been charged with harassing a woman through phone and text messages, nor because he has publicly threatened Australian Building and Construction Commission inspectors, claiming their children will be made to feel “ashamed” of them, nor because he is the boss of a union that has used systematic bullying at building sites for years.

No, this is not why Setka has been threatened with expulsion from the ALP and his job. It is because he was perceived to criticise Rosie Batty, whose campaign against gender-based domestic violence has turned her into an untouchable icon of the virtuous right-thinking elite. Does anyone see the irony of this?

Of course, no one should criticise Batty, who had the hellish experience of seeing her child killed by his mentally deranged father. Her son was the victim of the most appalling laxity on the part of the police. Her husband had four outstanding arrest warrants and two intervention orders against him. He should not have been let loose to murder that child. At the inquest the police lack of action was criticised by the judge as revealing “a disturbingly relaxed attitude and a failure to accord an appropriate degree of urgency to the situation”. Obviously.

However, despite her devastating personal experience, Batty’s campaign will be fruitless, doomed to empty breast-beating. This is because it is a direct product of political correctness. The campaign, which was started during the prime ministership of Malcolm Turnbull with $100 million of taxpayer money, was never going to have any effect on the real causes of domestic violence, because it is seemingly not about looking at the real causes.

It has been hijacked as an ideological campaign by ambitious feminists, harnessing the mantra of gender inequality, to attack something that does not originate in gender inequality.

Rather, domestic violence has its origins in the twin social evils of alcohol and drug abuse, combined with poverty, large-scale family breakdown, and of course inadequate policing. Hence domestic violence is most acute in Australia in Aboriginal communities. However, that fact does not play to the anti-racism ideology. So while the professional feminists are using domestic violence as a vehicle to promote yet more talkfests and paid lectures, Aboriginal women and children are being continually subjected to the most degrading physical and sexual violence.

Meanwhile, in the alternative universe in which we white educated types live, the men are not allowed to question any of this. Instead, they are encouraged to pay homage to the phony gender rubric that frames any discussion about domestic violence by flinging off the scourge of their maleness and sporting white ribbons.

Women are too hamstrung by the platitudes of feminists to query this agenda. So we are all obliged to treat domestic violence not as a practical problem of the drug culture and of policing, but as a seriously vague “gender issue” about which men have to beat their breasts and women take the high ground as victims and then demand that governments should do something, even though government can do very little.

Domestic violence is not the only area where the demands of political correctness have skewed the mental landscape interfering with the truth of the matter. So-called identity politics is rife with this. The language is carefully policed and anyone going outside to call a spade a spade, even in the mildest terms, invites condemnation. Witness what happened to Barry Humphries when he was shunned by the very festival he helped to set up. His fault? He had called the current epidemic of transgenderism “a fashion”.

Then there was the fearless duo of Germaine Greer and the equally acerbic Julie Burchill, special subjects of the bleedin’ obvious, who pointed out, not in mild but in scathing terms, that you could “put on a dress and cut off your bits” but it doesn’t turn you into a woman — unless of course you live in Tasmania, where you don’t even have to cut off the bits.

Despite their “transgressions”, these people are safe by virtue of their fame and intelligence. However, look what happened to Israel Folau, who as a contracted football player was doing the only thing he can do. He was not safe. His case has a strange inverted relationship to that of Setka — who was condemned because he slipped up on the politically correct line rather than his transgressions.

Folau is a good man, a model family man who has nevertheless been pilloried as a bad man, an undesirable and lost his job.


The brouhaha surrounding his posts was caused by one thing. His employers did not sack him because of his religion, nor was it an employment issue. Folau’s big mistake was a political correctness transgression.

He crossed a threshold that the commissars of political right think will not allow. He should have left only one category [homosexuals] out of his list of sinners.

We are not interested in the salvation of drunks and adulterers, or anyone else for that matter. After all, there are people who have been taking drugs still playing for the Wallabies — not to mention the footballers of various codes charged with rape.



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

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

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


21 June, 2019

It isn’t Leavers who are authoritarian

Dubious surveys have been used to give a misleading picture of Brexit voters.

Kevin Baldeosingh below concludes that it is British "Remainers" who are authoritarians.  I agree. "Remainers" are people who like big government and the EU is a VERY big government.  And a liking for big government is ipso facto authoritarian. But a liking for  big government is also Leftist.  Authoritarianism and "Remainerism" are, then, both part of the good old Left-Right dimension.  Both are Leftist, not something new or unusual.

Kevin's reference to there being two dimensions of politics is an idea popular among libertarians but is not supported by factor analytic explorations of political statements.  That also shows that authoritarianism is part of a single Left-Right dimension, not something independent of it.

For more on the absurd RWA scale also referred to by Kevin, see here.  In terms of current politics it does not measure ANYTHING Right-wing

It has been scientifically confirmed that Brexiteers are bigots, ignoramuses and, above all, really, really authoritarian.

How do we know this? Because just under a year ago, something called the Online Privacy Foundation published an updated version of its 2016 psychological survey of 11,225 Britons. It found that Leavers were more authoritarian, less open and more conscientious than Remainers. It then explained that ‘intelligence has been found to be positively correlated with the… trait of openness… and negatively correlated with conscientiousness’.

The findings were reported in the New Statesman, the New Scientist and The Sunday Times, which even cited the findings as proof that ‘Brexit voters are less bright than Remainers’.

But there is a problem. The standard questionnaire that tests people for authoritarianism is designed to discover only right-wing attitudes. In fact, the survey actually uses something called the right-wing authoritarianism scale (RWA). According to the RWA, authoritarians are characterised by obedience to authorities which the individual considers to be established and legitimate, general aggression against groups considered undesirable by these authorities, and a high degree of adherence to social conventions.

Now, characteristics such as these could apply far more to the woke crowd than any other cohort. Yet, although the RWA was developed by psychologist Robert Altemeyer in 1981, it was not until 2017 that a team of American political psychologists used Altemeyer’s questions, albeit modifying their content, in order finally to create a left-wing authoritarian (LWA) test.

So, a statement designed to measure obedience to authorities in the RWA – ‘It’s always better to trust the judgement of the proper authorities in government and religion than to listen to the noisy rabble-rousers in our society who are trying to create doubts in people’s minds’ – was changed in the LWA test to read: ‘It’s always better to trust the judgement of the proper authorities in science with respect to issues like global warming and evolution than to listen to the noisy rabble-rousers in our society who are trying to create doubts in people’s minds.’

Similarly, references to ethnicity and race in the RWA were replaced with references to fundamentalist Christian groups in the LWA.

So what did the psychologists find? ‘Not only did LWA show a significant correlation with liberalism in both a sample of US college students and a separate nationwide sample of US citizens, it also showed overwhelmingly significant correlations with dogmatism, prejudice, and attitude strength.’ In other words, left-wingers are pretty much just as authoritarian as right-wingers.

Yet, as spiked editor Brendan O’Neill has argued, even the concepts of left and right are now becoming obsolete in Britain. ‘The left v right feels increasingly like a relic’, he writes. ‘The divide now is between Leavers and Remainers; between those who have a strong sense of nationhood and those who see globalist institutions as the best means of organising political life.’

Interestingly, this split was predicted more than two decades ago by British political scientists in a paper entitled ‘Measuring left-right and libertarian-authoritarian values in the British electorate’, which noted that the common assumption that ‘political attitudes are arranged uni-dimensionally along a left-right ideological continuum… has been shown to be implausible in numerous studies’.

The authors went on to say that ‘issues associated with the libertarian-authoritarian dimension may in time compete with the traditional left-right dimension for a central position in British political conflicts’.

This libertarian-authoritarian dimension informs, often unconsciously, the elitist narrative about Brexit (and Trump). So, in conclusion, the Online Privacy Foundation claimed that ‘many voters lack the skills to evaluate critically the information which is being presented’. This prompted it to ask questions with authoritarian implications: ‘Should access to and the use of social media and other personal online data be better regulated?… [H]ow do we ensure that we unleash the power of personal data for social good?’

That reflexive disdain for the average Briton has informed several supposedly data-driven analyses. So, in a survey conducted soon after the Brexit vote, the European Journal of Political Economy concluded that Leavers were old, white, uneducated, technologically incompetent, on welfare, in poor health, and unsatisfied with their lives. Alternative viewpoints from academia came later, with, for instance, political scientists from the London School of Economics finding that ‘the profile of Brexit voters is more heterogeneous than initially thought, and includes voters with high education and “middle class” jobs’.

However, no amount of research has changed the narrative in the mainstream media that Leavers are all authoritarian thickos. Thus, in April this year, the Guardian ran a report with the dire headline ‘UK poised to embrace authoritarianism, warns Hansard Society’. Yet the Hansard Audit 2019, on which the Guardian report was based, does not even have the words ‘authoritarian’ or ‘authoritarianism’ in it.

In fact, what the audit actually reveals is widespread disillusionment with politicians, following their failure to adhere to the decision made by the 17.4million voters in the 2016 referendum. Hence, according to the audit, only 25 per cent of the public have confidence in MPs’ handling of Brexit; 47 per cent feel they have no influence at all over national decision-making; and 72 per cent feel that the system of governing needs quite a lot or a great deal of improvement.

Indeed, according to Hansard, it is Remainers, rather than Leavers, who are more willing to defer to civil servants, judges, and peers in the House of Lords. Which tells you pretty much all you need to know about who are the real authoritarians today.


Feminism has destroyed the relationship between fathers and their daughters

I myself have always said (I’ve said it here) that a “Daddy’s Girl” relationship is one of the most beautiful human relationships there is so I am glad to see the agreement below

There are no sweeter words for a daughter to hear than, “Daddy’s little girl.” Those words can put a smile on any girl’s face as it touches her very essence of who she is. These words cultivate her, comfort her, and make her feel like she’s the most special human being on God’s earth. Every daughter should experience the love of her father, but this is not the reality. In the world we live in, she’ll be fortunate to develop a meaningful bond with her father. Most likely she’ll have a “complicated” relationship with her dad and won’t realize the impending danger facing her in future relationships with boys and men because of this. Sad, but true, and it’s not her fault.

Dads, for the most part, have kneeled on the sidelines and watched their daughters grow into womanhood without really teaching them the intimate details of the game of love, sex, relationships, or even marriage. The seeds of fear, ignorance, and indifference kept dad in the dark.

When daughters grow up in homes where the father is emotionally absent they feel less confident, less secure, and less beautiful. They grow up feeling they have no voice or no choice to pursue their God-given destiny. It’s a feeling of powerlessness that speaks to their subconscious mind that they are unworthy. If a daughter is rejected love from her father, she learns to love rejection. Being rejected is love to her and love is being rejected. This might sound strange, but think about it. When a daughter is rejected love, she’s learning that rejection is her love language. So the more she is rejected love by her father, then by boys and men, the more she pursues love from them. Once she discovers that her thirst for love can’t be quenched through the opposite sex and once she realizes her father failed her emotionally, she looks for empowerment from within. Enter feminism, the “F-word.”

Feminism is the belief that a patriarchal system was methodically designed for girls and women to live beneath their means. The term patriarchal comes from patriarch, which comes from pater or father. This feminism strongly suggests that fathers are the problem, not the solution. Well, I happen to agree that dads are both the problem and solution for feminism. When dads are indifferent towards their daughters, they create women who seek to be what their dads weren’t — men. These women grow up to prove their worth by performance, promiscuity, and power. However, when dads are emotionally engaged with their daughters they don’t seek to prove themselves through feminism. They already know who they are and can simply be feminine. Femininity is attractive! Feminism is foul. Dads who create good relationships with their daughters teach them that their identity is not based on how they perform or what they look like, but who God created them to be.

The father daughter relationship determines so much of how girls and women see the world around them.


More bigotry in British TV

ITV will no longer commission comedy shows with all-male writers' rooms, the broadcaster's head of comedy has said.

Saskia Schuster said she realised last year that "an awful lot of my comedy entertainment shows are made up of all-male writing teams". She said: "Too often the writing room is not sensitively run. It can be aggressive and slightly bullying."

She has now changed ITV's contracts, and female writers have been hired to join shows like ITV2's Celebability.

There has been "a significant lack of shows written by women or with women on the writing teams", she said.

Last year, when reviewing the gender balance of sitcom scripts she was sent, she realised that for every script she received from a female writer, she got five from men.

After consulting writers, producers, agents and performers, "the first thing I did was I changed my terms of commissioning," she told Channel 4's Diverse Festival in Bradford on Monday. "I won't commission anything with an all-male writing team."

Ms Schuster has launched a scheme called Comedy 50:50 to encourage more female comedy writers. She said female writers struggle because:

It is difficult to compete for jobs with men who have more writing credits

They can't find producers who "get" their voice and can develop their script to its full potential

They don't thrive as the lone female voice in a writers' room

"There can all too often be a sense of tokenism towards the lone female," she wrote on the Comedy 50:50 website. "Or the dominant perception is that the female is there purely so the production can hit quotas."

She has now changed ITV's contracts so any shows that are commissioned or recommissioned "must aim towards 50:50 gender representation".

Comedy 50:50 has set up a database which currently has details of 460 female writers. Many producers had complained that "there aren't any female writers [or] we don't know where to find them", she said.

Ms Schuster also runs events where she says she "forces" her producers to have 10-minute conversations with three female writers. She has set up confidence workshops and is launching a mentoring network next month.

"If you have the same type of writers in terms of race or sexual orientation or gender, then you're only getting one kind of joke, and if you've got different voices in the room, you're getting different kinds of jokes," she said.

"You want to represent the wide audience that's watching. You want diversity in voice, or else it won't be as funny because it won't be appealing to as many people."


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Signs Bill Granting Driver’s Licenses To Illegal Immigrants

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday night signed legislation granting driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants — shortly after the controversial measure passed the state Senate.

Cuomo’s action came despite throwing supporters a last minute curveball by asking the state’s top civil attorney, Solicitor General Barbara Underwood, to review the measure for possible safety concerns — threatening to veto it if he didn’t like her assessment.

The New York Post Reports:

“You could create a database for the feds to use to actually track down undocumented people,” Cuomo said on WAMC radio. “California passed a law, and they are now in litigation.”

But Underwood’s boss, Attorney General Tish James, later released a statement amid the Monday-night vote arguing that the bill is legally sound.

“The legislation is well-crafted and contains ample protections for those who apply for driver’s licenses. If this bill is enacted and challenged in court, we will vigorously defend it,” she said.

The law takes 180 days to go into effect, meaning the first licenses will be available in December.

The measure on Monday passed the state Senate by a 33-29 count, often eliciting emotional remarks from both sides of the aisle during the floor vote.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


20 June, 2019

Removing portraits — a mistaken approach to promoting diversity in medicine

The walls were entirely bare. Thirty-one oil portraits of medical and scientific leaders that had made the room distinctive were gone. Images of Harvey Cushing, Soma Weiss, George Thorn, Eugene Braunwald — and other historic figures — had been removed.

I’d been to the Bornstein auditorium of Brigham and Women’s Hospital many times during 40 years on the Harvard Medical School faculty and nine years as its dean. But when I arrived in the early morning several weeks ago to lecture to the hospital’s storied department of medicine, I was startled upon entering the familiar venue.

A year earlier, The Boston Globe reported that the portraits would be removed as part of a diversity initiative, but I hadn’t seen the result. What I experienced was not diversity, but sterility.

The room was empty, and I snapped a photo of the bare walls. As the audience assembled, two senior professors greeted me. When I queried them about the missing portraits, both seemed uncomfortable. Loss of the portraits was sad, they said, but looking around to ensure they weren’t overheard, they said discussion was “no longer possible.”

After introduction by the chief resident, I delivered my lecture, the bare walls a constant reminder of the missing portraits. Later that day I tweeted my reaction.

The response to the tweet was mixed. Some praised me for my “bravery” in addressing this, while others suggested I should have been more sensitive to the unwelcoming environment the portraits created for some in the community.

Why should this be? Today’s Brigham is increasingly diverse with respect to gender and underrepresented minorities, but nearly all the portraits were of white men.

The gap between portraiture and current workforce was obvious, and addressing it fell to Brigham’s CEO, Elizabeth Nabel, a physician-scientist who had trained in medicine and cardiology at the Brigham 30 years earlier. She concluded that removing the portraits would foster a more welcoming environment for the increasingly diverse community of employees, students, trainees, and faculty. And then — overnight — the portraits were gone. Some were redistributed to other, less public, locations, raising the question of how such relocation would promote diversity or create a more welcoming environment.

Reactions to removal of the Bornstein portraits varied. Some who couldn’t decouple the portraits from prior exclusion of women and minorities cheered.

Others supported the portraits as a means to recognize past accomplishments, despite the subjects living at a time of limited opportunities for women and minorities. But voicing such views today is not without risk. As I discovered on Twitter, discussion is less likely when those questioning the change are probably going to be characterized as members of a white patriarchy indifferent to concerns of women and minorities.

My tweet inspired discussion and reflection. I concluded that, despite some valid concerns, removing all the portraits from this historic amphitheater — in this way — was a mistake. Celebrating diversity doesn’t require erasing or suppressing the memories of those who contributed greatly to the institution and the profession — people whose work continues to have impact today.

This issue is not restricted to the Brigham. In Harvard’s historic psychology department, portraits of its founder, William James, famed psychologist B.F. Skinner, and other leaders were removed for similar reasons. Such events have broad cultural significance.

Institutions commission portraits to acknowledge past contributions and to narrate institutional history, and their public display highlights important issues. In this case, American medicine — and medicine elsewhere — was for much of its history largely closed to women and minorities. The first women were admitted to Harvard Medical School in 1945, and the first woman was appointed full professor in 1946. Black medical students were few in number until 1968, when faculty pressure happily produced a sustained effort to increase their numbers.

But display or removal of portraits doesn’t change history or current practice. The latter requires culture and policy to evolve. Brigham and HMS now aggressively seek equal opportunity for women and minorities, reflected in broadly increased participation by students, residents, faculty, and CEOs. Women represent half of entering medical students and lead programs and departments throughout the school. Underrepresented minorities have also advanced, though their numbers are smaller than their share of the population, so more remains to be done.

We should seek to learn from this story of substantial progress — rather than hide it from view.

Some wish to judge those who lived at a time when different values prevailed, but this is hardly straightforward. Unlike disputed portraits and statuary related to slavery and the Civil War, these men made contributions to medicine and research that stand up well to current scrutiny. Early in Brigham history, actions of single individuals wouldn’t have diversified the workforce — that required major shifts in societal values. More recent leaders played essential roles in promoting today’s more diverse community.

History and context matter, and should be accurately communicated in any effort at portrait renewal.

Removing all the historic amphitheater portraits — leaving bare walls in their place for the past year — won’t advance diversity. What might? An array of art that reflects today’s rapidly changing physician leadership, while recognizing essential but less male-dominated health-related professions, such as nursing and social work.

Perhaps a rotating subset of older portraits displayed alongside newly commissioned works — with the reasons for the choices conveyed in historically informed commentary. As images of women and minorities join those of past leaders, the divide between limited past diversity and the more diverse present would diminish. And importantly, newly configured portraiture could provide an essential lesson: that diversity and inclusion are hard-won victories that should neither be hidden nor taken for granted.

Gender and ethnicity must cease being barriers to positions and recognition. As that day approaches, public portraiture should be reconfigured to promote pride in institutional history, education about the difficult path to progress, and a welcoming environment for today’s diverse communities.


Atheists Drop $1 Billion Church Suit

An atheist group has dropped its attempt to strip American pastors of their tax exemption for housing.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation will not appeal an appeals court decision that said the federal government is allowed to exempt priests, pastors, rabbis, and other religious instructors from paying taxes on the housing they receive, ending an eight-year legal battle.

The suit threatened to cost clergymen $1 billion if successful, but Chicago's Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the foundation's argument that such a tax break violated the Constitution's establishment clause. The three judge panel, citing previous Supreme Court rulings, found that, "Providing a tax exemption does not ‘connote sponsorship, financial support, and active involvement of the [government] in religious activity.'"

"Its principal effect is neither to endorse nor to inhibit religion, and it does not cause excessive government entanglement," the court ruled unanimously in March.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation had until Thursday evening to appeal the suit to the Supreme Court, but allowed it to expire rather than challenge the ruling further. The foundation filed the suit after several officers attempted to have their own income exempted and argued they were discriminated against when they failed to qualify as a minister. Foundation co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor said in an email to the Washington Free Beacon that the foundation stands by the merits of the suit. She blamed the make-up of the Supreme Court following President Trump's appointments of Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh for the decision to not pursue the case further.

"We have full confidence in the legal merits of our challenge of the discriminatory pastoral housing allowance privileges," Gaylor said. "We did not, however, have confidence in the current Supreme Court."

The Appeals Court faulted the foundation for failing to provide historical evidence demonstrating that any tax break should be seen as a government endorsement of religion. State and local governments in the United States have been giving churches tax exemptions out of deference to their charitable missions, and the federal government began adopting such policies as early as 1802, according to the court.

"FFRF offers no evidence that provisions like § 107(2) were historically viewed as an establishment of religion," the ruling said. "The government and intervenors, and amici curiae supporting their position, have provided substantial evidence of a lengthy tradition of tax exemptions for religion."

Religious liberty groups were pleased to see the suit dropped. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a pro-bono law firm that joined the case on behalf of several churches, said the suit threatened to impose a $1 billion burden on clergymen. It would have particularly harmed small churches in low-income neighborhoods. Pastor Chris Butler of the predominantly African-American Chicago Embassy Church, who was represented by Becket, called the end of the case "a victory for all houses of worship."

"This is a victory for all houses of worship that serve needy communities across the country," Pastor Butler said in a release. "I am grateful that my church can still be a home for South Side Chicago's at-risk youth, single mothers, unemployed, homeless, addicted, victims of gang violence and others on the streets."

Luke Goodrich, vice president and senior counsel at Becket, faulted the plaintiffs for ignoring the extensive carveouts in the tax code that benefit workers of all stripes and said it is misleading to claim only clergy enjoy special privileges granted by the IRS.

"The tax code has long exempted housing allowances for ministers under the same principle that it exempts housing for soldiers, diplomats, peace corps workers, prison wardens, nonprofit presidents, oil executives, school superintendents, teachers, nurses, fisherman, and many more," Goodrich said. "The court rightly recognized that providing this kind of equal treatment to churches is perfectly constitutional, and churches should be allowed to serve the neediest members of their communities without the tax man breathing down their necks."

Other religious liberty activists said they do not expect the fight to end with the Seventh Circuit. Terry Schilling, executive director of the American Principles Project, welcomed the conclusion of the suit, but said he expects atheist groups to continue chasing religion from the public square.

"Church tax exemptions, including for housing allowances, have a long history in this country, and the argument that these are somehow unconstitutional is absurd," Schilling said. "No doubt this will not stop the left from continuing to push the legal envelope in the future as they try to eradicate religion from the public square. But fortunately today, sanity has again prevailed."

Gaylor said the group feared that its appeal would have been rejected by the Supreme Court or, if it were accepted, "put the kibosh on future challenges." Gaylor, who led the suit, was "dismayed" to see it come to an end before reaching the High Court. She said she hopes to see a future attempt to bring an end to the exemption.

"We have (secular) faith that someday the Supreme Court composition will again favor the Establishment Clause and be willing to scrutinize this preferential code and declare it unconstitutional," she said. "By leaving this at the Seventh Circuit level, the Freedom From Religion Foundation is making it possible for another challenge to be taken in the future, and we hope to be part of that."


Starbucks Goes Overboard on Progressiveness, Will Provide All Transgender Surgeries for Employees Now

Starbucks has long been known for its liberal politics, but it’s drawing attention again after revealing how far the company is willing to go in the realm of activism and support for transexuals.

On Monday, the coffee giant announced its decision to cover all surgical expenses for current and future transgender employees, according to The Hill.

Since 2012, Starbucks has proclaimed great pride in funding the sometimes controversial gender reassignment surgery for its employees.

Now, the company is expanding its coverage and opting to pay for several additional cosmetic procedures and services for transgendered employees.

For example, surgeries such as facial feminization, voice therapy, breast reduction or augmentation and hair removal or transplants will now be covered.

Ron Crawford, Starbucks vice president of benefits, said the new plan will make the company fully inclusive.

“The approach was driven not just by the company’s desire to provide truly inclusive coverage, and by powerful conversations with transgender partners about how those benefits would allow them to truly be who they are,” Crawford said in a company blog post.

“I view this as a diagnosis with a treatment path. You have to think of it from an equity perspective.”

The World Professional Association for Transgender Health brought Starbucks on as a partner and together they crafted a benefits package that Crawford said isn’t being offered elsewhere.

“Nobody else is doing this. We would love to see more employers doing this,” Crawford added in the corporate blog.

While Starbucks is an independent business that can make its own decisions, there are definitely reasons other companies probably won’t be launching benefit programs like this one. First and foremost, it’ll likely be a target of abuse, even if it’s on a very small scale.

Theoretically, would-be transgender individuals will be able to get a job at a local shop, work for a few months until benefits kick in and then request the company fund their numerous, expensive surgeries.

Second, this program wades into legitimate gray area. Gender reassignment surgery is elective — especially the numerous cosmetic procedures Starbucks is now saying it will cover. Basically, how far are they prepared to go in order to be “fully inclusive?”

Can a female employee request a tummy tuck because her transgender co-worker got a boob job? How about hair extensions? Liposuction surgery? How about a celebrity nose job?

The line between essential benefits and elective benefits has been crossed and it could cause a lot of headaches for the company down the road.

And it could make a $6 cup of coffee, which is already too expensive, a $10 cup of coffee if the program is widely used. Who knows?

That’s not to mention the headaches Starbucks has today, as many potential or former customers are not happy with the announcement of these pro-transgender benefits. “I will never go there again! My hard earned money will not supply treatments I disagree with,” one Twitter user wrote.



Australia: Controversial Anglican priest Father Rod Bower hit out at footballer's Bible-based condemnation of sexual deviancy

"Father" Bower  may be an Anglican priest but he is not a Christian.  You can believe anything and be an Anglican. As long as you can balance a cup of tea on your knee you are right. He is just a "social justice" warrior in a clerical collar.  He has form for ignoring the Bible teachings on homosexuality

An outspoken priest has hit out at sacked rugby union player Israel Folau following his latest attack against transgender and gay people.

Father Rod Bower shared his support for the LGBT community on the billboard at Gosford Anglican Church, on the New South Wales central coast, on Monday. 'LGBT friends. Folau is wrong. Don't listen to him,' the message read.

The gesture comes after Folau took aim at the LGBT community in his latest sermon at the Truth of Jesus Christ Church in Kenthurst, Sydney, on Sunday.

Folau said allowing children to undergo a sex change was giving in to the 'devil' and kids were going through treatment despite 'not even knowing what they are doing'.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


19 June, 2019

US Supreme Court sides with Christian bakery that refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple - the second time its thrown out a discrimination case against a bakery in the past 12 months

The Supreme Court decided on Monday against a high-stakes, election-year case about the competing rights of gay and lesbian couples and merchants who refuse to provide services for same-sex weddings.

The justices handed the former owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa in the Portland, Oregon, area a small victory by throwing out a state court ruling against them and ordering judges to take a new look at their refusal to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple.

The high court's brief order directs appellate judges in Oregon to consider last term's Supreme Court ruling in favor of a baker from Colorado who would not make a cake for a same-sex wedding.

The court ruled that baker Jack Phillips was subjected to anti-religious bias in the Colorado Civil Rights Commission's determination that he violated state anti-discrimination in refusing to bake the couple's wedding cake, though Phillips has been sued again.

The Oregon appellate ruling came before the court's decision in Phillips' case out of Colorado.

The Oregon case had been in Supreme Court limbo for months, sometimes signaling behind-the-scenes negotiation over what to do. There were no noted dissents or other explanation for the delay in Monday's order.

The case involves bakers Melissa and Aaron Klein, who paid a $135,000 judgment to Rachel Bowman-Cryer and her significant other for declining to create a cake for them in 2013.

The Kleins' bakery was located in Gresham, Oregon but has since closed.

The dispute began when Bowman-Cryer went to the bakery with her mother in January 2013. They met with Aaron Klein, who asked for the date of the ceremony and the names of the bride and groom.

When told there was no groom, Aaron said he was sorry but the bakery did not make cakes for same-sex weddings. According to documents from the case, Bowman-Cryer and her mother left the shop, but returned a short time later. As the daughter remained in the car, in tears, her mother went in to speak with Aaron.

The mother told Aaron she had once thought like him, but her 'truth had changed' when she had two gay children. Aaron responded by quoting Leviticus: 'You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.'

The appellate court upheld the judgment against the Kleins, and on Monday the Supreme Court threw that ruling out.

Of significant importance related to the order is that it keeps the case off the docket for a term that will end in June 2020 amid the presidential election campaign.

The justices already have agreed to decide in their election-year session whether federal civil rights law protects people from job discrimination because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The larger issue weighing the rights of LGBT people against the religious objections of merchants remains unresolved.

Another dispute involving a florist from Washington state who would not create flower arrangements for a same-sex wedding is headed back to the Supreme Court.

The high court took the same tack last year in the florist's case. Taking a second look at the case, the Washington Supreme Court concluded earlier in June that there was no animosity toward religion in court rulings that florist Barronelle Stutzman broke the state's anti-discrimination laws by refusing on religious grounds to provide flowers for the wedding of a gay couple.

Stutzman owns Arlene's Flowers in Richland, Washington.

The justices could consider Stutzman's appeal in the fall.

Meanwhile, Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, has had another lawsuit brought against him.

Transgender woman Autumn Scardina filed a court documents earlier this month accusing him of refusing to make her gender transition cake.

It comes after the Supreme Court ruled in the baker's favor last year after he was sued for refusing to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

The justices' decision turned on what the court described as anti-religious bias on the Colorado Civil Rights Commission when it ruled against Phillips.

The justices voted 7-2 that the commission violated Phillips' rights under the First Amendment.

The same-sex couple at the heart of the case, Charlie Craig and Dave Mullins, complained to the Colorado commission in 2012 after they visited Phillips' bakery in suburban Denver and the baker quickly told them he would not create a cake for their wedding celebration.

They were married in Massachusetts because same sex marriage was not yet legal in Colorado.

Scardina, the transgender woman who filed the recent lawsuit against the baker, placed the order for a cake celebrating her gender transition on the day the Supreme Court handed down its decision.

She filed a lawsuit after that order was declined but the suit was dismissed.

The lawsuit she filed in early June is her second attempt at suing Phillips for what she says is discrimination and unfair trade practices.

'Masterpiece Cakeshop said before the Supreme Court they would serve any baked good to members of the LGBTQ community. It was just the religious significance of it being a wedding cake,' her attorney Paula Griesen said.

'We don't believe they've been honest with the public.'

The lawsuit filed by Scardina claims that Phillips and Masterpiece Cakeshop had confirmed they would happily make the exact same cake requested by her for other customers.

Phillips' attorneys issued a statement after the lawsuit was filed, saying it rehashed old claims.

'A new lawsuit has been filed against Masterpiece Cakeshop that appears to largely rehash old claims. The State of Colorado abandoned similar ones just a few months ago.

'So this latest attack by Scardina looks like yet another desperate attempt to harass cake artist Jack Phillips. And it stumbles over the one detail that matters most: Jack serves everyone; he just cannot express all messages through his custom cakes.'


Woman, 19, who claims it's her DUTY to make her husband's dinner every night, wash his clothes and make sure he gets up for work on time is slammed for 'acting like his mother'

A woman who says she was raised to 'take care' of her husband has received backlash for her comments online. 

In the post which she uploaded to her Twitter page, Brylea Langley, from Texas, penned: 'I was raised to take care of my husband make his plate every night, wash his work clothes for him, make sure he’s up for work the next morning, always have a clean house for him to come home to, etc. and that’s exactly wife I will be.'

And while few agreed with the college student's controversial opinion, others slammed her comments for being 'old-fashioned.'

'Sounds like you were raised to be his mom,' wrote one, while another penned: 'Sooooo do you get to pursue any hobbies or passions or is your full time job being a mother to a fully grown adult man?' 

Meanwhile, others suggested that chores such as doing the dishes and cleaning the house should be split equally - with one warning, 'know your worth.'

'I'm a stay at home mom and my husband doesn't treat me like we're in the fifties,' wrote one. 'He knows he's a grown man who can depend on himself if I do not cook or clean on some days. He doesn't make demands. Ladies know your worth...'

A further explained: 'I’ve been married 30 years. Marriage is a partnership, with give and take and mutual respect for each other, not one person catering to the other. Think about the model you’re setting for your daughters.'

However, not everyone was quite as outraged by Brylea's comment - and instead spoke out in support of her. 

'It's your choice to be the kind of wife and woman you want to be,' encouraged one, while another said: 'Pretty sure @BryleaLangley is my soul twin.' 'I've never heard of another female (close to my age) that believes the same way I do on what "wifey material" really is.'

Another added: 'I thought feminism was about letting women have the power to choose? As far as I can tell this lady isn't trying to push her agenda on anyone. It's just her own values affecting her own life,' while a fourth commented: 'This is the realist response. Everybody's situation is different.' 


These men say the Boy Scouts’ pedophile problem is worse than anyone knew. They’re speaking out for the first time

Attorneys say they’ve collected information recently from more than 500 men and boys whose accounts of rape, molestation and abuse indicate the Boy Scouts’ pedophile problem is far more widespread than the organization has previously acknowledged.

These men are speaking out for the first time, and several of them detailed their allegations of abuse in interviews with TIME. (TIME was not able to confirm the men’s specific accounts but spoke with others who said they’d been told of the incidents. TIME also obtained a police report filed by one of the individuals alleging abuse.)

The men hope to illuminate a problem that has plagued but never fully exposed the Boy Scouts, an institution that for 109 years has vowed to teach youngsters good manners, useful skills, and a sense of right and wrong. For generations of men, the Boy Scouts have been central to their identity as good citizens. Presidents from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush have touted their scouting credentials as proof of a virtuous grounding.

Lawyers for the ex-scouts, though, paint a picture of an organization that has failed not only those who were abused, but the entire country: the Boy Scouts of America is a federally chartered nonprofit that must provide annual reports to Congress, and attorneys for the former scouts say the organization did not include information about abuse accusations in those records. “They were reporting... that they were a wholesome organization,” says Tim Kosnoff, one of the attorneys, “when they were kicking out child molesters at the rate of one every two days for 100 years.”

In a statement to TIME, the Boy Scouts denied withholding any relevant information from Congress or enabling abusers. “For decades, the BSA has provided Congress with a yearly report that meets the requirements of our charter.” But separately, the Scouts’ chief executive, Michael B. Surbaugh, has acknowledged that the organization “did, in at least some instances, allow individuals to return to scouting even after credible accusations of sexual abuse.” “I am devastated that this ever occurred,” Surbaugh added in a May 28 letter to lawmakers looking into the Boy Scouts’ handling of abuse claims.

Former scouts have brought hundreds of individual sex-abuse cases against the Boy Scouts over the past several decades, and in 2010, a judge ordered the organization to make public an internal list of men accused of preying on boys. Within Scouts head quarters, the list was known as the P Files or Perversion Files. In January, a sex-crimes expert hired by the Boy Scouts to analyze these files testified that she found 12,254 boys had reported experiencing sexual abuse at the hands of at least 7,800 suspected assailants between 1944 and 2016. Academics who research child sex abuse tell TIME that number is a gross underestimation. Many boys were likely intimidated or shamed out of reporting their assailants, who often held influential positions in local churches, schools or businesses.

The cascading claims of misconduct invite comparison to the Catholic Church’s sex-abuse scandal. In both cases, institutions entrusted with the care of boys responded by protecting themselves instead of the victims of abuse. The Catholic Church faced more than 10,000 accusations of child abuse in the U.S. between 1950 and 2002, according to one report.

In fact, many of the former scouts who have waited decades to come forward say they were inspired by other victims who spoke out about long-ago abuse both in the church and in the entertainment, media and sports industries and saw their perpetrators toppled from powerful positions and, in some cases, prosecuted. Those testimonies have also spurred several states to extend the statute of limitations on sex-abuse cases, opening the door to more legal claims. The Boy Scouts quietly hired lobbyists to push against such laws for fear of facing an onslaught of criminal cases.

Kosnoff, who has brought more than 100 cases against the Boy Scouts since 2007, calls the Boy Scouts’ behavior a century-long cover-up. Indeed, so many individuals have sued the organization alleging harassment, molestation and rape that insurers have refused to pay out settlements, arguing in court filings last year that the Boy Scouts could have reasonably prevented the abuse. Kosnoff had retired to Puerto Rico when he learned that the Boy Scouts were considering bankruptcy—a tactic some Catholic dioceses have used to stall lawsuits against them. Outraged, the lawyer recruited attorneys from two other law firms to launch a national ad campaign in March to draw clients. Their goal is to lay the groundwork for possible legal action even if the Boy Scouts file for bankruptcy and a judge sets a deadline for new claims to be filed.

“We’re struggling to keep up with the response,” says Kosnoff. The legal team says the men who have come forward so far have named more than 300 “hidden predators” who did not appear in the Perversion Files. TIME is not publishing their names because a suit identifying them has not been filed. However, Kosnoff would like to push the Boy Scouts to list the names of the men his clients have accused in a public database. Based on his experience representing church abuse victims, Kosnoff worries that bankruptcy proceedings could bury the names of potential assailants: “The assailants who would otherwise be identified in lawsuits get enshrouded in darkness, and these predators can continue to operate.”

At its 1972 peak, membership in the Boy Scouts numbered more than 6 million. Families across the country were eager to enroll their sons in the organization that touted mentorship from older men and bonding activities with other boys, including camping trips.


You’ll Be Shocked to Learn That Book Claiming ‘Married Women Are Less Happy’ is Total Bull***t

“Happiness expert” Paul Dolan’s claim that married women admit to being less happy than unmarried women when their spouse is out of the room was based off a misreading of the data, adjunct professor Gray Kimbrough has revealed.

From Vox:

“Married people are happier than other population subgroups, but only when their spouse is in the room when they’re asked how happy they are. When the spouse is not present: f***ing miserable,” Dolan said, citing the American Time Use Survey, a national survey available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and used for academic research on how Americans live their lives.

The problem? That finding is the result of a grievous misunderstanding on Dolan’s part of how the American Time Use Survey works. The people conducting the survey didn’t ask married people how happy they were, shoo their spouses out of the room, and then ask again. Dolan had misinterpreted one of the categories in the survey, “spouse absent,” which refers to married people whose partner is no longer living in their household, as meaning the spouse stepped out of the room.

The error was caught by Gray Kimbrough, an economist at American University’s School of Public Affairs, who uses the survey data — and realized that Dolan must have gotten it wrong. “I’ve done a lot with time-use data,” Kimbrough told me. “It’s a phone survey.” The survey didn’t even ask if a respondent’s spouse was in the room.

Dolan confirmed to me by email, “We did indeed misinterpret the variable. Some surveys do code whether people are present for the interview but in this instance it refers to present in the household. I have contacted the Guardian who have amended the piece and my editor so that we can make the requisite changes to the book. The substance of my argument that marriage is generally better for men than for women remains.”

Kimbrough disputes that, too, arguing that Dolan’s other claims also “fall apart with a cursory look at the evidence,” as he told me.

Imagine my shock.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


18 June, 2019

Hey!  Fathers matter after all!

I am recycling below a post from 2006 because what it says is too rarely mentioned. The report concerned must have the feminists grinding their teeth.  Fancy fathers being good even for DAUGHTERS!  I myself have always said (I’ve said it here) that a “Daddy’s Girl” relationship is one of the most beautiful human relationships there is so I am glad to see that the facts bear out that judgment.  It is my great regret that I never had a daughter myself but I had two gorgeous stepdaughters so that makes up for a lot

Girls who have good relationships with their fathers tend to wait longer to have their first sexual intercourse experience, according to a new study by a University of Texas at Austin sociologist.  In a study published in this month’s Journal of Family Issues, Dr. Mark Regnerus reports that girls who claimed to have very low quality relationships with their fathers were nearly twice as likely to lose their virginity over the course of a year than girls who reported very high quality father-daughter relationships.  No similar correlation was found between girls and their mothers, or between boys and either parent.

“This shows us that it is not enough for dads to be merely present,” says Regnerus, an assistant professor of sociology at The University of Texas at Austin. “They need to be active in their daughters’ lives. There are hints here that girls who have poor relationships with their dads tend to seek attention from other males at earlier ages and often this will involve a sexual relationship.”

Regnerus reviewed data gathered from about 10,000 seventh through 12th grade students living in two-parent households. The data came from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a study designed to analyze the causes of health-related behaviors in teenagers.  While the parent-child relationship did not have a strong effect on boys, the number of an adolescent’s romantic partners did affect the probability of both sexes having intercourse for the first time.  “For each additional partner reported, the odds of a boy losing his virginity increase by 88 percent,” notes Regnerus.

The biggest shift for girls was between those who weren’t actively dating and those who had one dating partner.  “For girls, it’s not dating around that adds much risk, but whether they date at all,” says Regnerus.

The study also showed that anticipation of guilt curbed the likelihood of both boys and girls having sex for the first time.  Two other factors that delayed girls’ sexual activity were religious service attendance and their mothers’ education level. Girls whose mothers had college degrees were 64 percent less likely to lose their virginity compared to girls whose mothers did not.  Researchers have previously studied the sexual behavior of adolescents who come from broken homes or live with stepparents, but this study is unique in that it examines teenagers whose biological parents are still together.


Dads Make THE Difference

Dads are marginalized by society, but fathers are paramount for raising healthy children.  

The Hebrew word for “father” is “ab.” Abba, meaning “Daddy”, comes from this word. The source of a thing is its “ab” or father. The source of all relationships is at the core of fatherhood. The functions of fatherhood include: Originator, Author, Founder, Source, Sustainer, Protector, Disciplinarian, Leader, Head, Caring One, Creator, or Developer. If these titles sound paramount, it’s because they are. The father’s role is so important and that’s why it’s under attack in our nation.

Fatherhood in America has been torn to shreds through sex outside of marriage, no-fault divorce, and males in men’s clothing who have planted their seeds in women of questionable reputation. According to the U.S. Census, 57.6% of black children, 31.2% of Hispanic children, and 20.7% of white children are living absent their biological fathers. An estimated 24.7 million children (33%) live absent their biological father. If we want to change this patriarchal epidemic, then it must start with our boys being trained early. Boys are being raised by porn and rebellious music all within an effeminate society that tells them that being tender is more important than being tough. Men have to come to the understanding that to be great dads we need both toughness and tenderness.

Dads teach their sons fatherhood by the way they mentally, emotionally, and spiritually groom them. Boys pass down what they caught from their dads, not what they were necessarily taught.

The father is the starter.

Unfortunately, today, dads are marginalized, ostracized, and even demonized into idiot caricatures through the media. This is a major problem, not just for the demeaning image of the father, but for the defaming imagery that children end up grasping. Children are the glory of their fathers. However, for some strange reason on Father’s Day you find single or divorced moms attempting to usurp the honor of fathers.

Dads are dads because they carry the seed. Moms are moms because they carry the egg. The absence of a father can’t be filled by a mother. If a mother spends her energy trying to be the dad, she has not strength to mother properly. We were created to fulfill our God-given roles, not compete for the opposite parent’s position.

Dads are responsible for imparting confidence, courage, and character in their children. The presence of the father is needed. There is no present that can replace his time, love, and passion.

The relationship to your earthly father is a direct connection and link to your relationship with our Heavenly Father. Your earthly father is the first impression you get of God our Father. Many children in America have an absentee dad, so they believe God is truant as well. The godless youth culture we see is a direct reflection of apathetic, antagonistic, and alcoholic dads.

Dads make THE difference! I wish all dads understood their worth to the children. My three children know how important fatherhood is. It’s because I’ve made it my duty to do fathering well. I particularly pray my two sons take the legacy of fatherhood to another generation.


Painting of Muslim Men Sexually Enslaving White Women Triggers Outrage

Truth is toxic to Leftists

by Raymond Ibrahim

To highlight the apparent threat male Muslim migrants pose to women in Germany, a political party has triggered many on both sides of the Atlantic by using an older painting in its campaign.

Painted in France in 1866 and titled "Slave Market," the painting "shows a black, apparently Muslim slave trader displaying a naked young woman with much lighter skin to a group of men for examination," probably in North Africa.

The Alternative for Germany party (AfD), founded in 2013 and first elected to Germany's national parliament in 2017, has been putting up posters of the painting with the slogan, "So that Europe won't become Eurabia."

"We are strongly opposed to the use of this work to advance any political agenda," objects Olivier Meslay, director of the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, which houses the original painting. He said his museum had written to AfD, "insisting that they cease and desist in using this painting." Despite the rather legal tone, the painting is in the public domain; even Meslay acknowledges that "there are no copyrights or permissions that allow us to exert control over how it is used other than to appeal to civility on the part of the AfD Berlin."

For its part, the AfD said the U.S. museum's call is "a futile attempt to gag the AfD," adding that "[t]he German public has the right to find out about the truth about the possible consequences of illegal mass immigration."

Other elements in Germany are even more hostile to the AfD's painting/poster: almost as soon as they are put up, every poster has been torn down, so that "party workers have had to repeatedly put up new copies, only to see them destroyed again the following night."

What to make of all this? Objectively speaking, the "Slave Market" painting in question portrays a reality that has played out countless times over the centuries: African and Middle Eastern Muslims have long targeted European women—so much so as to have enslaved millions of them over the centuries (as copiously documented in my recent book, Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West, from which the following quotes and statistics are derived).

The Muslim demand for, in the words of one historian, "white-complexioned blondes, with straight hair and blue eyes," traces back to the prophet of Islam, Muhammad, who enticed his followers to wage jihad against neighboring Byzantium by citing its blonde ("yellow") women awaiting them as potential concubines.

For over a millennium, Islamic rulers coaxed their men to jihad on Europe by citing its fair women.

For over a millennium afterwards, Islamic caliphates, emirates, and sultanates—of the Arab, Berber, Turkic, and Tatar variety—also coaxed their men to jihad on Europe by citing (and later sexually enslaving) its fair women. Accordingly, because the "Umayyads particularly valued blond or red-haired Franc or Galician women as sexual slaves," Dario Fernandez-Morera writes, "al-Andalus [Islamic Spain] became a center for the trade and distribution of slaves."

Indeed, the insatiable demand for fair women was such that, according to M.A. Khan, an Indian author and former Muslim, it is "impossible to disconnect Islam from the Viking slave-trade, because the supply was absolutely meant for meeting [the] Islamic world's unceasing demand for the prized white slaves" and "white sex-slaves." Emmet Scott goes further, arguing that "it was the caliphate's demand for European slaves that called forth the Viking phenomenon in the first place."

As for numbers, according to the conservative estimate of American professor Robert Davis, "between 1530 and 1780 [alone] there were almost certainly a million and quite possibly as many as a million and a quarter white, European Christians enslaved by the Muslims of the Barbary Coast," that is, of North Africa, the telling setting of the painting. By 1541, "Algiers teemed with Christian captives [from Europe], and it became a common saying that a Christian slave was scarce a fair barter for an onion."

With countless sexually enslaved European women—some seized from as far as Denmark and even Iceland—selling for the price of vegetables, little wonder that European observers by the late 1700s noted how "the inhabitants of Algiers have a rather white complexion."

Further underscoring the rapacious and relentless drive of the Muslim slave industry, consider this: The United States of America's first war—which it fought before it could even elect its first president—was against these same Islamic slavers. When Thomas Jefferson and John Adams asked Barbary's ambassador why his countrymen were enslaving American sailors, the "ambassador answered us that it was founded on the laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that ... it was their right and duty to make war upon them [non-Muslims] wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners."

The situation was arguably worse for Eastern Europeans; the slave markets of the Ottoman sultanate were for centuries so inundated with Slavic flesh that children sold for pennies, "a very beautiful slave woman was exchanged for a pair of boots, and four Serbian slaves were traded for a horse." In Crimea, some three million Slavs were enslaved by the Ottomans' Muslim allies, the Tatars. "The youngest women are kept for wanton pleasures," observed a seventeenth century Lithuanian.

Even the details of the "Slave Market" painting/poster, which depicts a nude and fair-skinned female slave being pawed at by potential buyers, echoes reality. Based on a twelfth-century document dealing with slave auctions in Cordoba, Muslim merchants "would put ointments on slave girls of a darker complexion to whiten their faces... ointments were placed on the face and body of black slaves to make them 'prettier.'" Then, the Muslim merchant "dresses them all in transparent clothes" and "tells the slave girls to act in a coquettish manner with the old men and with the timid men among the potential buyers to make them crazy with desire."

In short, outrage at the Alternative for Germany's use of the "Slave Market" painting is just another attempt to suppress the truth concerning Muslim/Western history—especially in its glaring continuity with the present. For the essence of that painting—Muslim men pawing at and sexually preying on fair women—has reached alarming levels all throughout Western Europe, especially Germany.


Catholic Cardinals, bishops issue declaration: homosexual acts, gender reassignment are ‘grave sins’

Two cardinals and several bishops have issued a declaration to correct “almost universal doctrinal confusion and disorientation” they claim is endangering Christians’ spiritual health.

The “Declaration of the truths relating to some of the most common errors in the life of the Church of our time’, released last week, took aim at some of the liberal positions on controversial issues taken by Pope Francis and others.

It was signed by US Cardinal Raymond Burke, who was the Vatican’s principal legal officer for six years, appointed by Pope Benedict, but who was sacked by Francis in 2014.

In 2017, Francis restored Burke as a judge on the Vatican’s highest court, the Apostolic Signatura.

Other signatories were retired Latvian Cardinal Janis Pujats, and Kazakstan archbishops Tomash Peta and Jan Pawel Lenga and bishop Athanasius Schneider.

The declaration said the church was in a state of “almost universal doctrinal confusion and disorientation’’ which necessitated their exercising responsibility to speak up: “One has to recognise a widespread lethargy in the exercise of the Magisterium on different levels of the Church’s hierarchy in our days.’’

Many Christians, they said felt “an acute spiritual hunger’’ and a need for “a reaffirmation of truths that are obfuscated, undermined and denied by some of the most dangerous errors of our time.’’ Many people felt abandoned in a kind of existential periphery, a situation that “urgently demands a concrete remedy’.’

The Declaration covers dozens of issues, crystallising decades-old debates that have recently come to a head. It is a comprehensive restatement of centuries of church teaching, upholding, for example that “hell exists” and that people condemned there “for any unrepented mortal sin” are there eternally.

That insistence will be as welcome among some bishops, priests and Catholics as Israel Folau’s tweet on a similar subject was at Rugby Australia. The Declaration says “homosexual acts” and gender reassignment surgery are “grave sins” and same-sex civil marriages are contrary to natural and Divine law.

Father Paddy Sykes, chairman of Australia’s National Council of Priests, said the document “highlighted the huge divisions in the church, around the world and in Australia’’. The NCP has 1200 to 1500 paid up members. Its quarterly magazine, The Swag has a circulation of 4000 to 5000.

The divisions in the church, Fr Sykes said, were clear when the Australian bishops’ conference split 50/50 last year between Brisbane’s archbishop Mark Coleridge and Sydney’s archbishop Anthony Fisher, with Archbishop Coleridge, regarded as the more progressive and liberal, appointed president on the grounds of seniority. “I’m glad he was,’’ Fr Sykes said.

Fr Sykes, a parish priest in the NSW country diocese of Wagga, said the new declaration was 100 per cent correct theologically. It would appeal, he said, to “people whose natural inclination was to have certainty in order to feel safe’’.

“Pope Francis recognises that life is not like that and that we need to deal with the fluidity of the life of the world,’’ he said. The pope had “shaken a few cages’’.

But Fr Sykes agreed that Francis was dogmatic on some political subjects, such as climate change. Last week, the pope told energy executives at the Vatican that the world faced a “climate emergency’’ and called for radical action.

Australian Confraternity of Catholic Clergy chair Fr Scot Armstrong took a different line to Fr Sykes. He said the cardinals and bishops had produced a “quality, comprehensive’’ document to offer “concrete spiritual help to address the difficulties being experienced as unity (in the church) is further stretched, and in some cases, even breaking down’’.

It was “a useful reminder that the faith is not our own concoction but received from Christ’’ Fr Armstrong said. It could not be altered “as a political party might change policies, or a corporation might change its business approach’’.

“Pope Francis recently remarked — jokingly — that if some don’t like the faith they can go and found their own church,’’ Fr Armstrong said. “He was joking, but the point was made. This document serves to strengthen that point.’’

In the declaration, the cardinals and bishops said abortion was “forbidden by natural and divine law” and euthanasia, which becomes lawful in Victoria under tightly controlled conditions this week, was a “grave violation of the law of God” because it is the “deliberate and morally unacceptable killing of a human person”.

Marriage, they said, was “an indissoluble union of one man and of one woman … ordained for the procreation and education of children”. The priesthood must be reserved for males.

In a swipe at the joint Muslim/Catholic document signed in Abu Dhabi in February by Francis and Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, imam of Cairo’s Al-Azhar Muslim University, stating that the “diversity of religions” is “willed by God”, the signatories insisted that “the religion born of faith in Jesus Christ … is the only religion positively willed by God.”

Referring to the confusion over divorce, remarriage and the reception of Communion generated after Francis’s encyclical Amoris Laetitia [It was NOT an encyclical] and the Vatican’s 2014 and 2015 synods on the family, the signatories insisted it was unacceptable for Catholics who divorced their spouses and entered into subsequent civil unions to receive Communion.

In contrast, many of the 17,457 submissions collected during the consultation phase of the Catholic Church’s Plenary Council, suggest many Australian Catholics favour modernisation of church structures and teachings, with calls for married priests, women priests, an end to LGBTIQ discrimination, greater transparency and reform of church governance. But others advocated a reassertion of tradition and better faith education.

Australia’s Catholic bishops are in Rome to meet Pope Francis on their five yearly ad limina visits.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


17 June, 2019

A grievous sinner, and a great American

Jeff Jacoby is fairly conventional below in what he says about MLK but I cannot agree that such a disgusting creature is a great American. The Dream speech was widely praised but ignored by everyone.  The Left in particular don't share the dream.  They constantly highlight group differences instead of ignoring them and campaign relentlessly for racial preferences.

And even if it was somehow still a good speech, so what?  Even Hitler said one or two wise things in his long career of speechifying.  Here they are:  "Widerstaende sind nicht da, dass man vor ihnen kapituliert, sondern dass man sie bricht" and "Es gibt keinen Sozialismus, der nicht aufgeht im eigenen Volk".  Even a stopped clock is right twice a day."

IT WAS March 3, 1968, and America's most influential pastor, the preeminent leader of the civil rights movement, was in the pulpit of Atlanta's Ebenezer Bapist Church. His theme that Sunday was the neverending tension between good and evil — a tension that exists not merely in the abstract, not just "out somewhere" in the "forces of the universe," but in the heart of every human being.

Including his own.

"You don't need to go out this morning saying that Martin Luther King is a saint. Oh, no," he exhorted the congregation. "I want you to know this morning that I'm a sinner like all of God's children. But I want to be a good man."

He spoke of the constant struggle to resist base impulses. "Every time you set out to be good, there's something pulling on you, telling you to be evil," King preached. "There is a schizophrenia . . . within all of us. And there are times that all of us know somehow that there is a Mr. Hyde and a Dr. Jekyll in us."

MLK's flock that morning didn't know just how sinful their shepherd could be. But the lurid details have long since been made public. Many first came out during the 1975 Church Committee hearings, a Senate investigation into abuses by US intelligence agencies. Those hearings exposed the obsessive quest for dirt on King by the FBI, which was authorized by Attorney General Robert Kennedy to tap the civil rights leader's phones and bug his hotel rooms. The bureau compiled salacious reports on King's sexual activity, peddling some of the information to reporters and politicians.

The FBI's quest to discredit King is one of the most shameful chapters in its history. But there is no denying King's seamier side. He was a compulsive philanderer, who cheated on his wife Coretta with numerous mistresses, including two in the Lorraine Motel in Memphis the night before his assassination. "We all understood and believed in the biblical prohibition against sex outside of marriage," King's devoted friend and fellow pastor, Ralph Abernathy, wrote in The Walls Came Tumbling Down, his 1989 memoir. "It was just that he had a particularly difficult time with that temptation."

Now this unpleasant topic is back in the news. In a long essay for the British magazine Standpoint, the respected historian David Garrow sheds new light on King's womanizing. Garrow — author of a Pulitzer-winning biography of MLK and a noted authority on the civil rights movement — quotes from newly released FBI surveillance summaries that "expose in graphic detail the intense focus on King's extensive extramarital sexual relationships with dozens of women." The most disturbing describes King's "presence in a Washington hotel room when a friend, a Baptist minister, allegedly raped one of his 'parishioners,' while King 'looked on, laughed, and offered advice.'"

The actual FBI tape of that episode still exists in a National Archives vault, and could presumably confirm or refute the FBI's shocking claim. But all of the MLK transcripts and recordings were put off limits for 50 years by federal court order in 1977, and won't become available to researchers until January 31, 2027. "When they are made fully available," writes Garrow, "a painful historical reckoning concerning King's personal conduct seems inevitable."

A number of Garrow's fellow scholars have squared off over his essay. Some suggest that it needlessly sensationalized allegations that may not be reliable; others argue that Garrow was professionally obliged to incorporate the new material into the record. Of course the debates over King and his legacy will go on, just as the debates over other historical giants go on. The treatment of women looms larger today as an element in assessing reputation than it did a generation ago; in a #MeToo environment, the disclosures of MLK's sexual dissipation are bound to affect the way historians judge him.

What will not change is King's status as one of the towering moral champions of the 20th century.

A flawed man he may have been, as he told his parishioners in Atlanta that day, but MLK was also a figure of almost inconceivable moral valor. He devoted his life to the worthiest goal in American history — the goal of racial fairness and freedom, of an end to oppression based on color, of a nation committed to the God-given equality of all its citizens.

King, the 1964 Nobel laureate for peace and a singular advocate of nonviolent civil disobedience, never wavered from his absolute commitment to peaceful change. He was repeatedly targeted by enemies wielding knives, guns, and dynamite — he had a premonition that he would be assassinated — yet he steadfastly rejected violence. He deployed his extraordinary power as a speaker not to enrage or mock, but to elevate and ennoble. His 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech ranks with Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and Patrick Henry's "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" as some of the most indelible and affecting rhetoric in American history.

Like everyone who has ever lived, MLK had his ignoble side. He should have been a better man, a better husband, a better Christian. For all that, he was one of the greatest Americans who ever lived, and a hero for the ages.


Disney And Netflix Embrace Corporate Fascism

A few weeks ago, we explained the new phenomenon of corporate totalitarianism where corporations campaign against their customers and betray their shareholders in pursuit of Leftwing political goals. Now, with their announcements that they are boycotting Georgia and Alabama over their adoption of pro-life legislation, it appears that media giants Disney and Netflix have become the latest members of the league of corporate totalitarians.

According to CNN Business Netflix, Disney have said they will join WarnerMedia in a boycott of Georgia if the state's new abortion law takes effect.

The state became a hub for entertainment industry production, in part because of generous tax breaks Georgia offers filmmakers and producers. But the companies are prepared to betray their fiduciary obligations to shareholders and give up those tax incentives and leave the state in pursuit of the Left’s morally bankrupt abortion agenda.

Reporting for CNN Business, Brian Stelter and Shannon Liao claim prominent celebrities and some production companies have vowed to boycott Georgia as a result of the state’s pro-life legislation. But, say Stelter and Liao, the deep pockets of Netflix and Disney “mean the companies have louder voices.”

Citing the concerns of the predominantly liberal-leaning stars and producers who make their comedies, dramas and other productions. Disney CEO Bob Iger told Reuters that the studio will find it "very difficult" to film in Georgia if the new law takes effect. "I think many people who work for us will not want to work there, and we will have to heed their wishes in that regard. Right now, we are watching it very carefully," Iger said.

When the bill was signed into law, report Stelter and Liao, the heads of several production companies said they would not film in the state. They included Christine Vachon, chief executive officer of Killer Films; David Simon, creator of "The Wire" and "The Deuce" who heads Blown Deadline Productions; and Mark Duplass of Duplass Brothers Productions.

Director Reed Morano canceled plans to scout locations in Georgia for a forthcoming Amazon series. Director Ron Howard has also threatened to boycott if the law survives a legal challenge. And actor Kristen Wiig said that a comedy project had pulled out of the state.

Then came Netflix's statement on Tuesday.

"We have many women working on productions in Georgia, whose rights, along with millions of others, will be severely restricted by this law," Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos told Variety according to Stelter and Liao. "It's why we will work with the ACLU and others to fight it in court. Given the legislation has not yet been implemented, we'll continue to film there, while also supporting partners and artists who choose not to." But — here's the but — "should it ever come into effect, we'd rethink our entire investment in Georgia."

Stelter and Liao report AT&T's WarnerMedia, which is the parent company of HBO, TNT, TBS, CNN, and other brands, also said the company may stop making "new productions" in the state if the bill takes effect.

"We operate and produce work in many states and within several countries at any given time and while that doesn't mean we agree with every position taken by a state or a country and their leaders, we do respect due process," WarnerMedia said according to Stelter and Liao’s reporting. "We will watch the situation closely and if the new law holds we will reconsider Georgia as the home to any new productions. As is always the case, we will work closely with our production partners and talent to determine how and where to shoot any given project."

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee tweeted a sentiment shared by many saying:

So Disney thinks most of its customers for its children's movies and toys are women who aborted their babies rather than the ones who have a house full of kids? Disney CEO isn't real smart.

Huckabee’s tweet came as conservatives began to organize a counter-boycott on social media, with Twitter handle @Jennifercc777 tweeting:

Another one!  Ironic on this one as their main target audience is children. Time to Boycott Disney and let them know why!  #BoycottDisney

Of course, the totalitarian impulses of these media companies are somewhat selectively directed – they shoot films in Tunisia where homosexuality is against the law and women are second class citizens,

Bolivia, where abortion is illegal, Croatia, where abortion is illegal after 11 weeks and the UAE, where abortion is illegal and homoosexuality are illegal, but object to protecting the lives of unborn children in Georgia and Alabama.

Then again, they happily take investments from, and distribute their products in, Red China where freedom of expression is harshly suppressed, religious persecution is state policy and abortion is not just legal but often required, so maybe there is a certain totalitarian consistency to their policies.

And pro-life conservatives were quick to nail the hypocrisy.

“Whatever happened to the tolerant left? Is there no room for people who peacefully and respectfully voice their opposition to the loss of nearly one million innocent lives each year?” Focus on the Family president Jim Daly asked in a statement to LifeSiteNews. “When it comes to Netflix’s threat to boycott our friends in Georgia, the company’s tagline – ‘See What’s Next’ – seems to work both ways. To the company’s executives: Go ahead and turn your back on the good, decent and hardworking people of the Peach State – and we’ll see what’s next for a company that relies on the hard earned income of those of us who believe every life is precious and deserving of protection under law.”

“Quite frankly, I see this as more bluster from business just as we saw in North Carolina — all the companies threatening to pull out. Look, bottom line is they're in it for the money," Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said Tuesday on his radio show. “If you still have a subscription to Netflix – I got rid of mine because the content is becoming increasingly objectionable; that's beyond their conduct as a business – contact them."

“I think that Georgians and pro-life advocates canceling their Netflix subscriptions can do Netflix far more harm than Netflix boycotting Georgia,” Iowa pro-family activist Shane Vander Hart wrote. “I don’t care if a company is neutral on an issue I care about, but I do care when they work against me.”

We agree with Jim Daly, Tony Perkins and Shane Vander Hart – it’s time for a counter-boycott of Disney, Netflix and other media companies that work against the moral and religious choices of their customers and betray the interests of their shareholders in pursuit of Leftwing political causes.


Rev. E.W. Jackson: Gay-Rainbow Flag is Blasphemous, 'Shaking Your Fist in God's Face'

Pastor E.W. Jackson, who is a Marine, the great-grandson of slaves, and a graduate of Harvard Law School, denounced the fact that some U.S. embassies around the world are defying the order of the president to not fly the gay-rainbow flag next to or below the U.S. flag, an act in itself that is blasphemous, he said, and the equivalent of "shaking your fist in God's face."

“Most people don’t know that these State Department folks are defying the president of the United States and flying the rainbow flag," said Rev. Jackson during his June 9 sermon. 

"That’s an accursed thing," he said, in reference to the homosexual flag.  "The rainbow was given to us by God as a sign that He would not destroy the Earth by water again, and you’re going to appropriate that as pride in homosexuality? Are you kidding me? Talk about blasphemy. Talk about arrogance. Talk about boldness. Talk about shaking your fist in God’s face.”

Earlier in his remarks, Rev. Jackson said, “The president of the United States, President Donald J. Trump gave an order and contradicted the order of President Obama. President Obama, eight years ago, gave an order to the State Department that during June, ‘Gay Pride Month,’ you may fly the rainbow flag in every embassy in the world."

"So, the rainbow flag under President Obama flew under the American flag at every embassy in the world, under President Obama," said Jackson.

He continued, “President Trump said, ‘No, we’re not going to do that. You’re only going to fly the American flag at embassies. We’re not going to fly the rainbow flag during June.’"

“Well, guess what?" said Jackson. "You’ve got people in the embassies saying, ‘We don’t care what the president says and flying them [flags] in some places anyway.’"

For June, which homosexuals celebrate as "Gay Pride Month," the State Department ordered that the gay-rainbow flags should not fly alongside or under the U.S. flag on flagpoles at U.S. embassies.

However, the State Department left open the option for homosexual employees to display the rainbow flag outside windows, on walls, in hallways, etcetera.


Invisible conservative women    

Who’s the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court?

My guess is that most Americans would answer: Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She’s so famous now that she is often referred to just by her initials – RBG.

Elevated to the high court by President Bill Clinton in 1993, the left-leaning Justice Ginsburg was the subject of not one, but two movies in 2018 alone. But she isn’t the first female Supreme Court justice. She’s the second. The first doesn’t have a movie named after her. That’s because Sandra Day O'Connor was appointed by a Republican president, Ronald Reagan.

We hear a lot about “the year of the woman,” “the women’s march,” and “the war against women.” But if the major media – the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, CBS and others – were more interested in accuracy than advocacy, it would be that they are promoting “the year of leftist woman” or “the leftist women’s march.” The major media like to pretend that all women think alike and that conservative women are just the exception that proves the rule. But according to a 2018 Pew Research study, about a third of women are Democrats; a little less than a third are Republican; and a little more than a third are independents. So if there are all these conservative women around, how does the media make it seem like they barely exist?

They use three strategies.

The first is Omission: If you don’t see something, you don’t have to deal with it.

Open up a glossy magazine. Every liberal woman is glamorized. Stylishly dressed, beautifully photographed, their personal stories are almost always an inspirational version of Joan of Arc: they have overcome overwhelming obstacles to make the world a more compassionate and tolerant place.

Glamour magazine recognized eleven Democrat women among their 2018 Women of the Year. No Republican made the cut.

First Lady Michelle Obama was on the cover of Vogue three times.

First Lady and former fashion model Melania Trump? So far, not once.

Every now and again, the major media will do a story about a female conservative to “balance things out.” But, let’s be honest, it’s not balance – it’s tokenism.

The second strategy the media uses to diminish conservative women is Mocking: Making fun of a woman’s appearance discounts what she says.

You would think the major media would resist this kind of objectification. But they don’t. Not if the target is a conservative woman. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, and Kellyanne Conway, the first woman to run a winning presidential campaign, are routinely belittled for their hair, their eye makeup, or their weight. Their significant accomplishments, in contrast, are rarely acknowledged.

Why? Because the media doesn’t like their boss. And it treats women who work for him as traitors to their sex.

The third strategy the media uses to demean conservative women is Labeling: Using stereotypes precludes there being a valid reason for conservative women to hold the positions they do.

The major media simply can’t accept that conservatives have serious and important reasons for their beliefs. So they have to come up with answers to explain this seeming anomaly to themselves: these women must be racist or self-hating or just weak-minded.

Here’s how Barbra Streisand put it to the Daily Mail in England: “A lot of women vote the way their husbands vote; they don’t believe enough in their own thoughts.”

Labeling, like the strategies of mocking or omission, is just another way to display contempt and demonize conservative women. Its purpose is to persuade you to not treat those being labeled with respect, to ignore their ideas, and to even avoid associating with them.

Not surprisingly, the vilification that results discourages a lot of conservative-leaning women from running for political office. Or even from speaking up. Who needs that grief?

It takes a strong person to swim against the media tide.

But here’s the thing about swimming against the tide: it makes you stronger. Maybe that’s why Nikki Haley can stand up in the UN and tell the truth. Or why Candace Owens can question the devotion to progressive policies that have so hurt blacks. Or Ayaan Hirsi Ali can take on the cause of truly oppressed women: those living in radical Islamist societies.

We need these voices–and more like them.

That’s why it’s so important to encourage a more respectful, inclusive debate. We should want everyone at the table – both sides of the political spectrum – listening with civility. That way we can be better informed and make better decisions.

So if you hold conservative views, you have a particularly important role to play.

You need to speak out – to your friends, your family, and your co-workers. Let them hear your thinking. And then let them make up their own minds.

The media may pretend you don’t exist; they may even mock or label you. They want to intimidate you into silence. That’s not fair, and that’s not right.

Don’t let them.

I’m Heather Higgins, chairman of Independent Women’s Forum, for Prager University.


Signs of resistance to the woke gang’s war on reason

Comment from Bernard Lane in Australia

Will we ever wake up from the “woke” activist nightmare? This week, Kmart insisted it was a software glitch in photo printing ­kiosks — not some PC edict — that erased the “offensive” word Jesus from captions. Maybe, but the suspicion of journalists is hardly surprising. The grim reality of offence-activism keeps racing ahead of parody.

In Britain, transgender folk angry at being “misgendered” go running to the bobbies, who may be distracted by an epidemic of knife crime. Two years ago a biology professor at a US liberal arts college, Bret Weinstein, objected on moral grounds to a diversity “day of absence” when whites were told to stay away from campus. Harangued as a “white supremacist”, Weinstein was forced out of his job after the college president pandered to “courageous” students fighting racism with more racism. Some days the outlook seems bleak, and we may miss the filaments of hope. So, at the risk of being a politically incorrect Pollyanna, here’s a handful of reasons for optimism.

Planet Peterson

Had a gutful of anti-social media? On Sunday, Jordan Peterson, the most famous psychologist on the planet, gave a sneak preview of Thinkspot, his new online venue for people to speak their minds. “Once you’re on our platform, we won’t take you down unless we’re ordered to by a US court of law,” he said. “We’re trying to make an anti-censorship platform.” Unlike Twitter, where unwoke posts can get you banned. Ever on the lookout for white supremacists and other malefactors, Twitter last month suspended Ray Blanchard, a psychologist who helped write the diagnostic bible on “gender dysphoria”. He’d posted “hate speech”, namely his clinical opinion that sex-change surgery was less than ideal for children who might grow up to bitterly regret it. This won’t happen on Thinkspot. Peterson’s social media play may shake things up. He has 1.2 million followers on Twitter. Others in the loose grouping known as the intellectual dark web — united by the belief that without free speech and honest debate, society can’t correct its errors — also command big audiences. To join Thinkspot, you’ll have to pay a subscription and forswear mindless blurts of abuse. “If the minimum content (for posts) is 50 words, you’re going to have to put a little thought into it,” Peterson said. “If you’re being a troll, hopefully you’ll be a quasi-witty troll.” Thinkspotters will be able to tag a point of interest in a podcast, attaching their own remarks, audio comments or video clips. “We can really add dialogue to the podcast and YouTube world (with) continual running conversations.” Peterson is also plotting a private, online university to bypass what he sees as a corrupted academy.

Smarter than we look

Entrepreneurs are twigging to the podcast secret: a vast, hitherto unsuspected audience hungry for long-form debate of deadly serious stuff, plus jokes. Likewise the appetite for that crusty old form, the 90-minute public lecture. Peterson’s rather severe self-help book, 12 Rules for Life, has filled halls in 150 cities around the world with more than 300,000 people. And their pay-off is to be told that life is suffering and malevolence made bearable by the meaning that comes with willingly shouldering a heavy burden of responsibility. Peterson: “It’s almost inconceivable the degree to which people are starving for encouragement, how little they get and how little it takes to make a massive difference in their life, to say to them, you are a sovereign individual … and you can put your life together with truth and courage.”

Name your grievance

Believe it or not, dog-humping is good news for the intellect. Canine rape culture, Hitler’s Mein Kampf as an influence on “intersectional feminism”, “fat-exclusionary” bodybuilding, a plan to put white students in “light chains” to teach them about their “privilege” — all this and more went into a booby trap sprung upon activists disguised as journal editors. Even insiders couldn’t tell the difference between hoax gibberish and genuine gibberish. The credit for this expose goes to three left-leaning scholars (two Yanks, one Brit) fed up with repulsive excess in “grievance studies” — critical race theory and kindred identity politics on pseudo-­academic steroids. Helen Pluckrose, the Brit of the trio and a medievalist, will be in Sydney on Tuesday night at the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation to give a lecture against woke rewriting of higher education’s “colonialist” curriculum. She and her co-conspirators in the grievance studies hoax — mathematician James Lindsay and philosopher Peter Boghossian — have been alert for any sign that this academic victimology might fall out of fashion, as happened to the skull bump mumbo jumbo of phrenology. Pluckrose: “(Grievance studies has) got so dominant, it’s overreaching and so much of it now is so ridiculous that even the best intentioned left-liberals, who really want to support identity-based politics, are having to say, oh come on, this is a bit much.” From the US state of Tennessee, Lindsay thinks he can already discern what looks like sanity up-in-arms. “A rapidly increasing number of people are sick of the ultra-woke,” he says. “Most people don’t want to focus on race and sex all the time and be told they’re never doing it right, and they’re sick of what is pretty clearly racist attitudes (against whites).” In Portland, Oregon, Boghossian is less sanguine: “My guess is that things will get a lot worse before they correct.” He’s the only one of the three employed at a university, and may lose his job after being found guilty of an ethics breach for failing to alert journal editors to the hoax. Of course, this would have sabotaged the hoax, sparing universities the spectacle of ­scholarship deranged by activism. But this is a story with staying power. Mike Nayna, a Melbourne-based filmmaker, has documented every move in the grievance studies saga. Coming to a screen near you this year, with any luck.

Bad ideas mean well

Universities are an ideas incubator for society, so their vices matter. Next Friday and Saturday, 300-plus pointy heads will converge on the Sheraton New York Times Square hotel for seemingly yet another academic conference. But this is different because the host, Heterodox Academy, wants universities to choose between truth-seeking and political activism. Diversity is a higher education fetish — more women and people of colour, please — but “viewpoint diversity” is an awkward topic because of progressive groupthink in the social sciences, humanities and university administration. Heterodox Academy has put viewpoint diversity on the agenda, challenging the dishonesty that prevails when noisy activists intimidate the sensible majority. For authorities to preside over this campus culture — of “safe spaces” and “deplatformed” speakers deemed to offend groupthink — is a form of malpractice, according to American social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, a prime mover in Heterodox. “To teach students to see society as a zero sum competition between groups is primitive and destructive,” he says. The brutal tribalism of social media has compounded errors of judgment by administrators who ignore the findings of psychology. If you want to make young people resilient, the worst thing possible is to shelter them from different views, to play along when they equate unwelcome words with injury, allow feelings to trump reason and abandon all nuance for moral warfare. It has grown rapidly and the underlying conditions are present throughout the Anglosphere. It’s not just scary, it’s a threat to the very purpose of the university. “We can’t do higher education with no nuance,” says Haidt.

Our friend, dissent

It’s welcome news that next month Haidt will make his first tour to Australia, speaking about “Moral psychology in an Age of Outrage”. It should boost Heterodox membership Down Under, which is small. One graduate affiliate is Monica Koehn, a mature-age student at Western Sydney University with a business background. She is doing her doctorate in evolutionary psychology and mating behaviour, a field where gender politics sometimes denies inconvenient science. Koehn says: “If universities had more viewpoint diversity, I believe people would be more willing and able to listen to evidence from differing points of view.” Like Haidt, her politics happen to be on the left but she opposes the shutting down of debate. “If people don’t have the ability to hear a speaker or understand both sides of a controversial topic, how are they able to make up their own minds?” Another Heterodoxer is Kevin Carrico, now at Monash University in Melbourne but American-born and a seasoned visitor to China, the object of his scholarship. “A considerable amount of my thoughts about viewpoint diversity and orthodoxy very much grew out of my experiences in China, where I was not always particularly impressed by the vitality of political debates,” he says. “Coming back to the US after living in China — I don’t want to be too hyperbolic, but I suppose I did recognise the dangers of a situation in which everyone agrees on something and nobody raises any questions about it.” He, too, regards himself as progressive. “But sometimes in academia, critical engagement is too often simply equated with a far left or Marxist viewpoint, which in my perspective … don’t actually provide us with any real understanding of the sheer complexity 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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


16 June, 2019

Inside a far-Left organization

On 14th I put up an expose of what a foul organization Oxfam is. Oxfam started out running thrift shops but -- as you will read in my earlier post -- it these days is a left-dominated "charity" that seems to be principally devoted to condemning "the Rich" and fucking impoverished women in Third World countries.

Amnesty International is another "charity" that has gone off the rails.  It started out as politically impartial but those days are long gone.  I was a member of it myself years ago.  It is heavily Leftist these days. It still does some good work in some genuinely tyrannical countries but also emits gravely unbalanced criticisms of Western countries such as Israel and the United States. They even slam peaceful old laid-back Australia. And they even campaigned against the unfortunate Sri Lankans who were at the time battling a vicious Marxist insurgency led by the relentless Tamil Tigers. And in Israel Amnesty is seen as little more than a branch of the PLO.

Its inability to keep its nose clean is evidenced by the fact that there is actually a Wikipedia article titled  "Criticism of Amnesty International". And there is a fuller account of Amnesty's Leftist biases here.

So Amnesty is led by far-Leftists.  And what do we know of such  folk?  We know that they are angry hate-filled people. Just say "Donald Trump" in front of one of them to witness the hate and anger come pouring out.  And look at what they do when they gain untrammelled power -- as in the old Soviet Union or Mao's China.  They have no respect for life at all.  They are vicious mass murderers. They stop at nothing in their lust for power.

So what do you expect of an organization led by such people?  In a word you expect a "toxic" organization full of unhappy people.  The report below shows that Amnesty fulfils that expectation.  There is nothing surprising, original or inexplicable in it

The report was devastating. The working environment at the organisation was described as “toxic”. There was widespread bullying of staff and a bunker mentality among senior management; 39% of employees developed mental or physical health issues as a result of their work. An investment bank or a technology firm in Silicon Valley?

No. This was Amnesty International, a human-rights charity. Five managers have just left the organisation following the report’s findings.

Workplaces create their own hierarchies, regardless of whether the aim of the operation is to help people or make money. Two female partners at KPMG, an accountancy group, recently left out of concern at the behaviour of a male colleague. Coming from a family of teachers, Bartleby can attest that school staff rooms are beset by bitter rivalries. Universities are famous for their internecine disputes, as captured in the adage that “academic politics are so vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.”

At Amnesty, the problem was not with staff motivation. The report, by the Kon-Terra group, a consultancy, makes clear that many employees regarded their job as a “vocation or life cause” that provided them with “a compelling sense of purpose and meaning”. But that commitment proved to be a double-edged sword.

First, in the eyes of workers, managers believed the importance of the NGO’s work was so great that they did not need to listen to staff concerns. Employees, the higher-ups seemed to conclude, “should be grateful for being able to work at Amnesty”. Second, workers found it difficult to set healthy boundaries on their hours (or on their tolerance of a toxic climate) owing to a deeply held belief in their mission. One cause of stress was a process called the Global Transition Programme, which moved Amnesty’s staff away from headquarters and closer to the abuses they covered. Workers felt that their views about these transfers were not seriously considered and that the implementation of the programme was rushed. As a result, employees found their work patterns disrupted, even as some moved to high-risk locations. Concerns came to a head when Gaëtan Mootoo, a long-time employee, committed suicide, leaving a note blaming work pressures. Another staff member committed suicide shortly afterwards, although inquiries found no evidence that the death was work-related. These tragic incidents led to the commissioning of the report.

So what went wrong? On the surface, Amnesty seemed to offer services to help employees cope with stress. Staff were eligible for five counselling sessions, and an external reporting service for whistleblowing had been created. Programmes were developed to train leaders and to help staff support their colleagues. But these efforts were described as “ad hoc, reactive and inconsistent”. In a survey 85% of employees said they had not been given enough guidance to support the well-being of their colleagues.

The problem clearly came from the top. If senior management is not committed to a caring atmosphere, no amount of discussion groups or special programmes will make things better.

A certain amount of stress at work is inevitable. Most organisations are hierarchical. Deadlines are a part of life, as is uncertainty over whether individual projects are going to succeed. But workers who are stressed and fearful are unlikely to stay in their jobs or be productive in the long run.

Many managers derive a lot of their status from their oversight role. That is, in part, why organisations create such roles: they can reward high-achieving employees with a title as well as with extra money. But power is seductive. Peter Cappelli, a scholar of human resources at the Wharton School in Philadelphia, says that toxicity arises when “the boss acts like a dictator and actively punishes people who articulate different views or express disagreement”.

As Amy Edmondson of Harvard Business School explains in her book, “The Fearless Organisation”, the ideal is to create an atmosphere of “psychological safety” where workers can speak their minds. Managers need to learn the art of “respectful inquiry”, where they ask employees questions and listen intently to the answers. The bosses at Amnesty may have listened to the political dissidents whose causes they were championing. But they clearly weren’t listening to their staff.


Pence Defends State Dept. Decision to Disallow Gay Pride Flag on American Embassy Flagpoles

Only “one flag” should fly on the American flagpole at its embassies around the world, Vice President Mike Pence told NBC News, when asked about the State Department denying requests to fly the gay pride flag on four embassy flagpoles.

“I’m aware that the State Department indicated that, on the flagpole of our American embassies, that one flag should fly, and that’s the American flag – and I support that,” Pence said.

Last Friday, NBC News reported that the U.S. State Department has denied the requests of four embassies seeking to put the gay pride flag on the American flagpole during June, Gay Pride Month:

“The U.S. embassies in Israel, Germany, Brazil and Latvia are among those that have requested permission from Trump's State Department to fly the pride flag on their flagpoles and have been denied, diplomats said.”

Asked to respond to offended members of the LGBTQ community, Pence said he and President Donald Trump are committed to serving every American, but only “the one American flag” should fly on the official U.S. flagpole at embassies around the world:

"As the president said on the night we were elected: we're proud to be able to serve every American. And, we both feel that way very passionately.

“But, when it comes to the American flagpole at American embassies in capitals around the world, having the one American flag fly, I think, is the right decision. And, we put no restrictions on displaying any other flags, or any other displays, at our embassies, beyond that.”

“The pride flag can and is being flown elsewhere on embassy grounds, including inside embassies and on exterior walls,” NBC reported.


Cartoon Network Promotes LGBTQ+ 'PRIDE' to Children

The Cartoon Network, which broadcasts mostly children's programming, expressed a "HAPPY PRIDE" to "all of our LGBTQ+ fans" in a tweet for June "Pride Month," and encouraged the young homosexuals "to stand proud all year long!"

In the June 2 tweet, the Cartoon Network, which is owned by Warner Bros. Entertainment, states, "We want to wish everyone a HAPPY PRIDE and encourage all of our LGBTQ+ fans to stand proud all year long!" The tweet then includes heart, unicorn, and gay-rainbow emojis and #pride, #happypride, #powerpuffyourself, #pridemonth, #powerpuffgirls."

June is celebrated as "Pride Month" in honor of the Stonewall riot in 1968, when gay partiers fought back against the police during a vice raid on the homosexual bar, the Stonewall Inn, which was then owned by the Mafia.

According to the Library of Congress, "Today, [Pride Month] celebrations include pride parades, picnics, parties, workshops, symposia and concerts, and LGBTQ Pride Month events attract millions of participants around the world. Memorials are held during this month for those members of the community who have been lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS. The purpose of the commemorative month is to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally."

The Cartoon Network was founded in 1992. According to its website, cartoonnetwork.com, the "Cartoon Network is the best place to play free games and watch full episodes of all your favorite kids TV shows with apps and online videos!"

In its CNShop pages online -- it automatically links through despite a cursory note about items for sale for an "adult fan or parent" -- there is a "Celebrate Pride Month!" page.  It is sub-headlined the "Steven Universe Made of Love Collection."


Australia: Audit doubts outcomes of plan to tackle domestic violence

A 67 page report titled: "Coordination and Targeting of Domestic Violence Funding and Actions" has just come out from the  Auditor-General.  There is a useful summary of it below from education journalist Rebecca Urban.

Campaigner Bettina Arndt is very pleased with it.  She has long called out feminist lies on the subject.  She comments:

"Big news this week of damning evidence from the National Audit Office revealing the monstrous waste of public funds on the domestic violence industry which simply demonises men and does nothing to address real problems of family violence.

This is an important report and we all need to get active using this to make the case to MPs and other influential people that this important social issue needs proper attention instead of pandering to feminist propaganda."

Serious doubts have emerged about the effectiveness of Australia’s multi-million-dollar plan to tackle violence against women, with a scathing audit report highlighting a lack of performance tracking, robust data collection and public accountability.

The Australian National Audit Office has reviewed the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children, finding that monitoring, evaluation and reporting was “not sufficient to provide assurance that governments are on track to achieve the … overarching target and outcomes”.

The national plan, which was developed in partnership with the states and territories and rolled out by Labor prime minister Julia Gillard in 2011, has been championed by successive governments since and has cost taxpayers more than $700 million so far.

With an overarching vision for Australian women and their children to “live free from violence and in safe communities”, the plan is delivered with several partners, including Australia’s National ­Research Organisation for Women’s Safety, Our Watch and White Ribbon, and funds projects ranging from research into links between gambling and domestic violence, or incidences of violence in diverse communities, through to social media campaigns about men’s behaviour and respectful relationships lessons in schools.

However, as the audit office found, although metrics to assess the performance of the plan were established at the outset, they were limited and did not necessarily align with the targeted outcomes that the plan sought to achieve.

For example, for the stated outcome “communities are safe and free from violence”, the single ­related measure of success was limited to “increased intolerance of violence” and did not consider actual levels of violence or broader community safety. For the outcome “relationships are respectful”, the single measure of success was limited to young people and the available data allowed for an assessment of “knowledge or awareness of violence against women” but was unable to assess whether young people were demonstrating “improved skills and behaviour”.

According to the audit office report, this is not the first time that concerns have been raised, with stakeholders previously flagging to the federal Department of ­Social Service, which oversees the plan, a need for improvements to the measures of success and data sources.

They noted “significant concern around the lack of performance indicators”, “concern about the consistency and completeness of the data used”, and that “current indicators do not adequately account for all cohorts of women at risk of violence or adequately account for all forms of violence that women and their children could be exposed to”.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


14 June, 2019

A Moving Picture of Repentance

Andrea Roncato is an Italian actor and infamous playboy who is now, at 80 years old, reflecting on his life choices. One choice that he regrets is one he made with his former partner.

Roncato’s new book includes a poem he wrote to the son whose life they ended through abortion. The poem is called “I Would Have Liked You.”

One section reads: “I would have liked you to be small, so I could hug you.

“I would have liked you to be big, so I could lean on you.

“I would have liked you to be looking out the window in winter, watching the snow begin to fall.”

It ends this way: “I would have liked you near me on the day I must leave this world. I wish I had wanted you, the time when I didn’t want you…”

This is a moving picture of repentance—and it’s also a reminder that abortion harms more than just the ones who die. The ones who must live with their decisions suffer as well.


Dirty do-gooders

As a hard left political organisation masquerading as a charity, Oxfam has for decades been prominent in the international aid conspiracy. The exposure of Oxfam's contemptuous exploitation of disaster victims is long overdue. Oxfam and all other fakes should be stripped of charitable status.

Oxfam abuse victims were sent back to war zones after raising complaints against aid workers, it was claimed in an official report exposing the scale of the scandal that engulfed the charity.

The report, by the Charity Commission, accuses Oxfam of underplaying the scale of allegations made by victims in Haiti and the UK in an attempt to protect the charity’s reputation and keep donations coming in.

It found that the charity failed to respond adequately to allegations that aid workers in Haiti were sexually abusing women whom they were supposed to be helping.

It also found that 16 child volunteers in UK high street stores had complained of being victims of abuse. However the report found that Oxfam “tolerated poor behaviour”.

The Charity Commission, which has been investigating Oxfam since last year, concluded that the charity’s approach to the allegations was marked “by a desire to protect its reputation and donor relationships”.

One allegation in the report, published yesterday, said: “Beneficiaries who raised complaints against Oxfam GB and UN staff were removed from camps and repatriated back to conflict zones by staff who wanted to protect their colleagues.”

The report came a year after allegations emerged that Oxfam aid workers had used prostitutes in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake. The claims resulted in more than 7,000 people cancelling their donations, forcing Oxfam to make £16?million of cuts to aid projects.

Oxfam held its own investigation following allegations by a whistleblower in 2011, resulting in four people being sacked and three others, including Roland van Hauwermeiren, its former director in Haiti, being allowed to resign.

The Charity Commission report, which concluded that Oxfam put vulnerable children at risk by not investigating allegations of sexual assault by aid workers, came after an 18-month investigation and a six-month delay.

On Tuesday, the National Crime Agency confirmed it was investigating a case relating to two Haitian girls, aged 12 and 13, who claimed that they were “beaten and used” by an Oxfam “boss”.

Their emails were seen by Dame Barbara Stocking, the charity’s CEO at the time, and the charity concluded that the claims were “fake”.

However the report condemned the charity saying it did not take their allegations “seriously enough”, that it “should not have taken the risk with the safety of minors” and should have reported the allegations to police.

Regarding allegations that war refugees were “repatriated” if they raised concerns or reported staff had abused them, Stephen Twigg, Labour MP and chairman of the International Development Committee, said: “This allegation is extremely serious and merits further investigation.

There is a clear need to change the culture away from maintaining reputations of organisations. Staff need to have confidence that they will be protected and believed.”

This comes as a separate Oxfam-commissioned Independent Commission on Sexual Misconduct, Accountability and Culture conducted a global audit of the charity and concluded that it is blighted by “toxic working environments”, “colonial behaviour”, and sexism.

In response, Caroline Thomson, chairman of trustees at Oxfam GB, said that the charity is “deeply sorry” for its failure to prevent sexual abuse by its former staff in Haiti. “It was a terrible abuse of power, and an affront to the values that Oxfam holds dear,” she said.

She added that Oxfam has begun to implement the review’s 79 recommendations and accepted that its response to safeguarding should have been improved “further and faster” after Haiti, and added that the “very uncomfortable” findings from the inquiry will be used to “spur to greater improvement”.

Regarding the claim that victims were “repatriated”, a spokesman said more details have been requested.


Massive Victory For Religious Freedom Over Obamacare Contraceptive Mandate

In a sweeping and dramatic victory for religious freedom, that the establishment media has refused to cover and Google has all but hidden from search results, a federal court in Fort Worth, Texas permanently blocked the federal government from enforcing the Obama Administration’s “Contraceptive Mandate” against any employer or individual who objects to the provision of contraception on religious grounds.

The court issued this injunction in response to a class-action lawsuit brought on behalf of individuals and employers who object to the Contraceptive Mandate based on their religious beliefs. The objecting individuals were represented by four Christian residents of Fort Worth who wish to purchase health insurance that excludes coverage of contraception, but are unable to do so on account of the Obama-era Contraceptive Mandate. The objecting employers were led by Steven F. Hotze, M.D., who operates his company as a Christian business and is unwilling to provide contraceptive coverage in the plan that he offers to his company’s employees.

Federal Judge Reed O’Connor’s 35-page decision is thorough and comprehensive in its reasoning. No American company should be forced to violate its religious beliefs, and no American should be forced to forgo health insurance to avoid subsidizing contraceptive methods that violate his or her religious convictions.

“The Contraceptive Mandate systematically discriminates against the Individual Class by blocking members’ entrance into the marketplace—due to religious exercise—[and] is a substantial burden of the highest order,” the court held in siding with religious freedom. The Court applied and enforced the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, which is based on the First Amendment, to protect all who oppose the Contraceptive Mandate on religious grounds.

“This is a dramatic, historic victory for religious liberty in our country,” Dr. Hotze declared. “We took a strong stand for our beliefs and it is gratifying to prevail in protecting this fundamental right of Americans to remain true to their religious beliefs.”

The Contraceptive Mandate has forced religious objectors to financially support abortifacients, drugs that cause abortions, despite their opposition to abortion. It has also compelled religious employers to become complicit with the provision of abortifacients. These compelled violations of religious freedom were permanently prohibited by Judge O’Connor’s ruling.

This decision follows on the heels of the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision from 2014, and continues the broad protections for religious liberty that were established in that ruling. “The Individual Plaintiffs having demonstrated a substantial burden on their religious exercise, it is again up to the government to demonstrate that the compelling interest test is satisfied,” the court held. It concluded that “the Government cannot do so,” and that religious freedom must prevail over the Contraceptive Mandate.

“I want this decision to encourage Christians to assert their religious liberty rights against the Obama Administration’s regulations,” said Dr. Hotze. He further stated, “There is a war between the secularists who promote a culture of death through the killing of the unborn and those who adhere to a Biblical faith and revere life. All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men and women to do nothing. It is critical that Christians demonstrate the courage of their convictions and oppose the civil government when it violates their fundamental, God-given rights.”

The unprecedented news blackout of this important decision is in stark contrast to the wall-to-wall coverage of the order of a federal judge in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania who issued a nationwide injunction blocking a Trump administration healthcare policy that would allow employers to choose whether or not to provide free birth control to employees. The policy was supposed to take effect on Monday.

When U.S. District Judge Wendy Beetlestone issued the injunction back in January, temporarily preventing the policy from taking effect that would have reversed a mandate from Obamacare forcing employers to provide free healthcare to employees, whether or not they may have a moral or religious objection to birth control practices the major networks gave it substantial coverage and news of the temporary injunction still tops Google search results on the subject.


Masterpiece Cakeshop Was Just Sued For 'Discrimination' For A THIRD Time

Masterpiece Cakeshop is again under fire, now the subject of a third discrimination lawsuit alleging that owner Jack Phillips "discriminated" against a customer by refusing to make a cake for an unspecified event.

Phillips, of course, won at the United States Supreme Court after suing a Colorado "human rights" commission that punished him for refusing to provide a wedding cake for a same-sex wedding in Denver, a task Phillips said violated his religious conviction that true marriage is between one man and one woman. Phillips offered to sell the couple a pre-made cake or refer them to another baker — solutions that would have allowed Phillips to avoid material participation in the same-sex wedding — but the couple wasn't satisfied and leveled a complaint with Colorado authorities.

Ultimately, in a decisive Supreme Court victory, Phillips won against the Colorado human rights commission, but the victory hinged on the behavior of the commission itself, which SCOTUS found to be harassing and discriminatory. The Supreme Court refused to issue a verdict on whether the First Amendment's free exercise clause protects Christians from being forced to participate in same-sex weddings — or any event or action that violates their right of conscience.

But, intent on punishing Phillips for his "crimes," leftists have hit the baker twice with lawsuits alleging further "discrimination," once the day of the Supreme Court verdict — that was tossed out — and again last week, according to CBS's Denver affiliate.

"The latest lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Denver District Court on behalf of Autumn Scardina by attorneys Paula Greisen and John McHugh," the outlet reports.

Scardina is the same woman who filed the previous lawsuit alleging discrimination after Masterpiece Cakeshop denied her request — made the day Phillips won his case — for a cake celebrating her gender transition. Reports on this newest lawsuit are vague on the theme of the pastry in question — they have said, so far, only that Scardina requested a "birthday cake" — but previous filings indicate that Scardina has gone out of her way on several occasions to request cakes Masterpiece Cakeshop clearly will not make.

Newsweek reports that the baked goods at the center of Scardina's previous complaints to Colorado authorities included a "cake to celebrate Satan's birthday," with "cheesecake frosting" that would feature "a large figure of Satan, licking a 9” black Dildo...an actual working model, that can be turned on before we unveil the cake."

Phillips said then that he believes Scardina regularly requests objectionable cakes from his bakery, including cakes with pentagrams and upside-down crosses.

Scardina's previous lawsuit, based on claims Phillips made during the original same-sex wedding cake litigation that he would make "any" cake for an LGBT customer except for a wedding cake, was dropped back in September of last year, after Phillips agreed to drop his own discrimination case against the state of Colorado, according to Colorado Public Radio.

But Scardina, apparently, felt no need to give up.

"A new lawsuit has been filed against Masterpiece Cakeshop that appears to largely rehash old claims. The State of Colorado abandoned similar ones just a few months ago. So this latest attack by Autumn Scardina looks like yet another desperate attempt to harass cake artist Jack Phillips. And it stumbles over the one detail that matters most: Jack serves everyone; he just cannot express all messages through his custom cakes," Phillips' attorney said in a statement Monday.

This latest lawsuit bypasses the state of Colorado and requests a trial by jury instead.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


13 June, 2019

Vatican says people CANNOT choose or change genders and calls transgenderism a bid to 'annihilate nature'

It's a sad day when you have to look to a church for realism

The Vatican has released an official document which had called transgenderism a bid to 'annihilate nature'.

The text called 'Male And Female He Created Them' has also said that people can't choose or change their genders and insists on the sexual 'complementarity' of men and women to make babies.

The publication of the documents comes during LGBT Pride Month and was quickly denounced by LGBT Catholics as contributing to bigotry and violence against gay and transgender people.

Advocacy group New Ways Ministry said it would further confuse individuals questioning their gender identity or sexual orientation and at risk of self-harm.

The new 'guidance' was intended to help Catholic teachers, parents, students and clergy address what the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education called an 'educational crisis' in the field of sex education.

It called for a 'path of dialogue' and listening on the issue of 'gender theory' in education.

But even priestly advocates for LGBT Catholics noted that the text appeared to have relied entirely on previous papal pronouncements, Vatican documents and philosophers and theologians.

'The real-life experiences of LGBT people seem entirely absent from this document,' said Father James Martin, a Jesuit priest who wrote a book on improving Catholic Church outreach to the LGBT community, titled Building A Bridge.

'We should welcome the congregation's call to dialogue and listening on gender, and I hope that conversation will now begin.'

Pope Francis has repeatedly argued the position that people cannot choose their genders.

According to Associated Press the document represents the first attempt to put the Vatican's position, first articulated fully by Pope Benedict XVI in a 2012 speech, into a comprehensive, official text.

The document called for a new alliance among families, schools and society to offer a 'positive and prudent sexual education' in Catholic schools so children learn the 'full original truth of masculinity and femininity'.

It called gender fluidity a symptom of the 'confused concept of freedom' and 'momentary desires' that characterise post-modern culture.

It rejected terms such as 'intersex' and 'transgender' and said the purpose of the biological 'complementarity' of the male and female sex organs was to ensure procreation.

Francis DeBernardo, head of New Ways Ministry, said such concepts are outdated, misinformed and ignore contemporary science on factors beyond visible genitalia that determine gender.

'Gender is also biologically determined by genetics, hormones and brain chemistry - things not visible at birth,' Mr DeBernardo said in a statement.

'People do not choose their gender, as the Vatican claims, they discover it through their lived experiences.'

He said the Catholic Church should encourage this process of discovery, saying it's 'a process by which individuals discover the wonderful way that God has created them'.


Female Physician Calls Out Planned Parenthood President: Abortion Isn’t ‘Care’

In a tweet over the weekend on her Twitter page, female physician and Senior Policy Advisor for The Catholic Association Grazie Pozo Christie, M.D. called out Planned Parenthood President Leana Wen, M.D. on abortion, saying, “Abortion isn’t ‘care.’”

“Abortion isn’t ‘care’, [sic]” wrote Dr. Grazie Christie in a tweet. “[I]t’s the ending of a human’s life. #HydeAmendment protects Americans from paying for killing of innocents.”

Dr. Christie’s tweet came in response to a tweet by Planned Parenthood President Leana Wen, M.D., who wrote on June 8, 2019:

“‘Supporting Hyde isn’t good policy or politics.’ -- Kelley Robinson, Executive Director of @PPact

“We must fight for a world where all people are able to access safe, legal abortion care—regardless of how much money they make. #BeBoldEndHyde”

The Planned Parenthood president’s tweet included a link to a piece by “The Cut” titled “Why the Debate Over the Hyde Amendment Is Back – and What It Means.” The piece suggests, in part, that the Hyde Amendment “has made it so that women who want to end a pregnancy but rely on Medicaid — disproportionately, women of color — have to choose between paying out of pocket for abortion services, or carrying a pregnancy to term, unless they meet the three narrow exceptions.”

As reported by CNSNews.com, Dr. Christie addressed a comment by Planned Parenthood President Leana Wen, M.D. last week in a similar fashion, writing in a tweet, “ABORTION DOESN’T IMPROVE A MOTHERS HEALTH.”


With the market making parental leave routine, who needs Congress?

by Jeff Jacoby

IT ISN'T the job of the federal government to provide, mandate, or encourage paid leave for new parents, and there was a time when Republican politicians would have said so. That was long ago, when the GOP was still the party of fiscal sobriety and limited government. Alas, Republicans today are as wedded as Democrats to the belief that anything desirable must come from Washington, even if it would be better left to state and local discretion, or kept in private hands altogether.

Expanding the welfare state to encompass paid parental leave is the latest example of this phenomenon. President Trump has endorsed the idea in his State of the Union addresses, and his proposed 2020 budget calls for providing "at least" six weeks of paid leave for new mothers and fathers. On Capitol Hill, meanwhile, several Republican senators are pushing a scheme to fund paid leave for working parents through the Social Security Administration, at an estimated cost of $10 billion or more each year.

The legislation, versions of which have been sponsored by Marco Rubio of Florida, Joni Ernst of Iowa, and Mitt Romney of Utah, is offered as a response to complaints that the United States is the only industrialized nation without a law mandating paid parental leave. Exactly why that should trouble Republicans who ordinarily regard American exceptionalism as an admirable quality isn't clear. Nor is it clear that the absence of a federal policy should be seen as evidence of a national problem.

As Cato Institute scholar Vanessa Brown Calder points out, studies indicate that a large majority of working mothers are already offered paid maternity leave by their employers. Between 1961 and 2008, according to the Census Bureau, the percentage of women with access to paid leave to care for new children soared from just 16 percent to more than 61 percent. More private employers than ever before offer paid leave for new parents, including all 20 of the nation's largest corporations. Paid leave for new fathers, once unheard-of, is increasingly common.

In short, the want of a federal law compelling or facilitating paid leave has not kept private employers from supplying it. And if any federal boost were needed, Republicans can already point to the 2017 tax-reform law, which not only cut corporate income tax rates but also added an explicit tax credit for companies that make paid leave available to lower-wage workers.

Nevertheless, Rubio, Romney, Ernst and other Republicans are lobbying for their paid-leave plan, which would allow working parents to collect Social Security benefits for 12 weeks after a baby's birth. In exchange, they would have to either delay their eventual retirement for 25 weeks, or retire without a delay but with a cut in benefits. The plan's boosters claim that it would pay for itself without new taxes or borrowing, a win-win for all.

"This is something entirely based upon the principle of personal responsibility," says Romney. No, that's exactly what it's not based on. Rubio has described the proposal as "a consistent application of Social Security's original principle ... to the challenges of today." That too flips reality upside-down.

If anything is fundamental to the Social Security model, it is that retirement benefits must be earned. Workers pay into Social Security throughout their career; they become eligible to take money out only when they retire. "Contributions first, benefits later," economist Veronica de Rugy emphasizes. "Using Social Security to pay for paid leave would turn the contribution-then-benefits pattern on its head. Benefits happen first in this case, then contributions (supposedly) come later."

That is not the "principle of personal responsibility." It's the principle of J. Wellington Wimpy, the cartoon character who would "gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today." The Republican senators would like to invite new parents to enjoy a paid-leave hamburger courtesy of Social Security today, but not have to pay for it until 30 or more years of Tuesdays have elapsed.

That would be dubious even if Social Security's finances were as stable as the Rock of Gibraltar. But Social Security is slipping down the slope to insolvency.

Already it pays out more each year than it collects — its negative cash flow last year was $80 billion, which the Treasury had to cover by borrowing. On present trends, the Social Security trustees recently warned, the system will be depleted by 2034. If the trust funds are now to be tapped for parental-leave benefits in addition to retirement, they will be depleted even faster, and still more money will have to be borrowed each year to cover the shortfall. That is just another way of saying that even more money will have to be extracted from future taxpayers.

One estimate cited by de Rugy puts the added 10-year cost of a parental-leave option at $114 billion. With Social Security already under extreme stress, requiring it to cut checks to yet another population of beneficiaries could hardly be more reckless. And once "hamburgers today, payment next Tuesday" goes into effect for new parents, it will be only a matter of time until other lawmakers want to draw on Social Security for other worthy beneficiaries, and then others — always with the assurance that the program will pay for itself and require no taxes.

Paid leave for new parents is an appealing idea. So appealing, in fact, that more and more American employers are making it a standard element of their employees' compensation. Entangling that process with Social Security is not likely to make anything better. It's all but guaranteed to make Social Security worse.


The ballot box is a great refuge from political correctness

Every time this nation goes to the polls, I’m taken aback by the sheer brutality of the conflict. This is a gladiatorial battle that never fails to deliver victors and vanquished, in the process exposing the flaws and foibles of an imperfect humanity.

To the victorious flow the accolades and the spoils of office. As soon as the direction of the battle becomes apparent, sycophants magically materialise to declare their undying allegiance to the new emperor and his regime. Meanwhile, the conquered are left to wander dazed amid the carnage in search of a narrative that explains the magnitude of the loss to their dispirited and dwindling supporters. It is a blood sport played to the death.

On the other hand, I believe a federal election is one of the few times you can hear the Australian people speaking honestly about their fears and aspirations. And last month there was an almighty disconnect between the mood of the Australian people as measured by the polls and as realised by the election. This is the same issue that surrounded the 2016 US presidential election and perhaps even the Brexit vote.

I think that a shy, silent majority – the non-combatants in the culture wars – are increasingly loath to speak honestly about their voting intentions. People have been socially conditioned to give only politically correct responses. We no longer say what we feel; we say what we think is the right thing to say. But in the quiet anonymity of the polling booth, a different logic is unleashed that speaks to our fears and aspirations.

To the majority of Australians it doesn’t seem unreasonable to say, for example, “I understand we need to take action on climate change – but what action should be taken, at what cost and for what benefit?” I don’t think the Australian people are questioning the logic of climate change, but I do think they believe they’re entitled to an answer.

This issue is opening up a division within the nation. Inner-city knowledge workers, the globally connected, those whose livelihood isn’t dependent upon mining, passionately assert the need for this nation to renounce coal mining. In the swish streets of South Yarra and Woollahra, so-called “green credentials” are an important social decal, rather like the badge of a Mercedes-Benz.

But in the regions, especially in northern Queensland where inner-city thinking isn’t as omnipotent as it is in the southern states, it’s a different story. In towns connected to the Bowen Basin, for example, there are far fewer jobs in knowledge industries. They also have fewer of the tenured, tax-exempt public sector jobs, replete with defined benefits retirement schemes, that abound inside the capital cities’ goat cheese curtain.

What they do have are well-paid jobs in mining that underpin a way of life that is equal to – many say better than – that of the inner city. I suspect that the regions also mightily resent being lectured to by those they perceive to be minimally affected by the very policies they profess. And so, when a pollster calls to ask about voting intentions in the regions, what spills forth isn’t necessarily the truth. The truth comes out on polling day, as it does in the US and UK.

Rather than focusing on the divisions, though, we need to find a way forward. My concern is that I can’t see either side giving ground in what has become an ideological battle underpinning the way we live now. But then, this really is the job of leadership: to galvanise the nation and to navigate a path to sustainable prosperity for all Australians.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


12 June, 2019

Non-diversity and the spelling bee

Jeff Jacoby below may be right that it is all hard work but that looks doubtful to me.  It's too big a coincidence.  Indians are very verbal and I think we are seeing that.  Talk is one of India's major exports.  Helplines for large organizations are often outsourced to India

THE SCRIPPS National Spelling Bee makes news every year, but this year's competition was epic: For the first time ever, it ended with not one spelling champion or even two co-champions, but with eight winners. Winnowed down from 562 starting contestants, the final eight spellers had proved unconquerable through 20 rounds. "We're throwing the dictionary at you," said Jacques Bailly, the Spelling Bee's official pronouncer, "and so far, you are showing this dictionary who is boss."

That was after the 17th round. Three rounds later, all eight contestants were still in the running — and the judges had run out of challenging words. Whereupon they ruled that each member of what Bailly called "the most phenomenal assemblage of super-spellers" in the Bee's history would take home a first prize trophy and an accompanying $50,000 check.

These were the winners, along with the final word each spelled correctly:

Rishik Gandhasri: auslaut.

Erin Howard: erysipelas.

Saketh Sundar: bougainvillea.

Shruthika Padhy: aiguillette.

Sohum Sukhatankar: pendeloque.

Abhijay Kodali: palama.

Christopher Serrao: cernuous.

Rohan Raja: odylic.

In case a glance at the kids' names doesn't make it obvious, all but one of the champions is of Indian descent. Since 1999, the children of immigrants from South Asia have usually crushed the world's most prestigious spelling bee. Is that a problem? Should we be lamenting the lack of diversity in the top ranks of competitive student spellers? Ought Scripps and ESPN (which broadcasts the annual spelling bee) manipulate the rules — the way Harvard, for example, has manipulated its admissions standards — to ensure that more non-Asians make it to the final rounds?

Certainly not.

Indian-American kids haven't become the royalty of competitive spelling because their race or color gives them an advantage. There is no "Asian privilege" that explains the failure of white, black, or Latino kids to capture the trophy. Awesome spelling skills aren't coded in DNA from the Indian subcontinent. High-level spelling competition is a meritocracy; the only way to win is by spelling more words correctly than any other player. And the only way to get that good at spelling rare and difficult words is to work at it — hard.

Many Indian American children devote extraordinary time and effort to training for spelling bees: They memorize word lists, study etymology, familiarize themselves with prefixes and roots, take guidance from coaches, and compete in regional contests.

"The training regimen can be ruthless," Kodali told CNN. "I study like four to five hours on weekdays. But when the competition became near, I ramped it up and I studied as much as I could, maybe like an extra one or two hours, and 10 hours on the weekends."

Such rigor, diligence, and patience has nothing to do with genetics or superficial "diversity." It has everything to do with motivation. And what fuels that motivation is a combination of culture, social expectations, family encouragement, and ethnic solidarity. "Spelling bees have become a vital part of the Indian American experience," anthropologist Shalini Shankar has written. "There is community prestige in placing competitively in spelling bees and great familial pride for having participated in something so challenging at a young age." Nor does it hurt that many of "these young word nerds," as Shankar calls them, have a "vast social network of friends who also love spelling."

The disproportionate success of Indians in world-class competitive spelling ought to elicit only admiration. But there's no denying that it flies in the face of America's vast diversity-industrial complex, which endlessly reinforces and endorses a great fallacy: that statistical disparities between racial and ethnic groups, or men and women, are proof of invidious discrimination and inequality.

Bigotry and injustice are only too real, of course, but they have no more to do with the dominance of Indians in spelling competitions than with the dominance of Kenyans in distance running, or of Russians in chess, or of African Americans in the NBA. Or, for that matter, of men in commercial fishing and logging. Or of women in veterinary medicine and child care. Or of Southerners in military service, or of Jews among Nobel laureates, or of Catholics on the Supreme Court, or of any of a thousand-and-one other examples that could be shown of extreme statistical disparities among categories of people.

Women are dramatically overrepresented in the field of veterinary medicine, while the vast majority of loggers are men. Statistical disparities among groups are normal, not evidence of discrimination or injustice.

"Human beings are not random events," economist and social scholar Thomas Sowell observes. "Individuals and groups have different histories, cultures, skills, and attitudes."

What is true of high-stress spelling bees is true of workplaces and investments and college applications and entertainment: People do not randomly sort themselves out by color, background, and sex. Group disparities are not, as a rule, evil. They are normal, the result of a myriad of human choices, preferences, interests, and motivations.

The Scripps Spelling Bee "octo-champs" are amazing spellers who worked fantastically hard to achieve something wonderful, for which they deserve applause and admiration. True, they aren't a diverse amalgam of races, colors, and ethnicities. Who cares?


Johns Hopkins Research: No Evidence People Are Born Gay or Transgender

Scholars at Johns Hopkins University released a new report on Monday which argues that there is not sufficient evidence to suggest that lesbian, gay, or transgender people are born with this sexual orientation or gender identity.

"The idea there that sexual orientation is fluid, that people change as people grow," Lawrence Mayer, a co-author of the report and a scholar-in-residence at Johns Hopkins University's psychiatry department, as well as a professor of statistics and biostatistics at Arizona State University, told The Christian Post. "There are probably some people that identify as hetrosexual [sic] that then later on identified as homosexual, so it goes both ways. The importance there is the fluidity and flexibility that these things change in time."

The three-part, 143-page report, which appeared in the Fall 2016 edition of The New Atlantis, also investigated other commonly accepted ideas about homosexuality and transgenderism. Mayer and his co-author Paul McHugh, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins, challenged the claim that discrimination and social stigma are the only reasons why homosexual and transgender people suffer higher rates of mental health problems and are more likely to commit suicide.

The study breaks down in three parts: First, Mayer and McHugh examined whether homosexuality is an inherited trait, and concluded that people are not simply "born that way." Second, they looked at the causes of the poor mental health associated with gay and transgender people, concluding that social stress does not explain all of it. Finally, they studied transgenderism, concluding that it is not innate and that transgender "treatments" are associated with negative outcomes.

The report found insufficient evidence to back up the idea that people are born with innate sexual attractions. Mayer and McHugh examined past studies which show a modest association between genetic factors and sexual orientation, but these studies have not been able to pinpoint particular genes responsible. Other hypothesized biological causes, such as prenatal development and hormones, have also been linked to sexual orientation, but that evidence is also limited.

"Studies of the brains of homosexuals and heterosexuals have found some differences, but have not demonstrated that these differences are inborn rather than the result of environmental factors that influenced both psychological and neurobiological traits," the report explained. "One environmental factor that appears to be correlated with non-heterosexuality is child sexual abuse victimization, which may also contribute to the higher rates."

The report cited the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, which tracked the sexual orientation of children aged 7 to 12 in 1994-1995 and again in 2007-2008. Eighty percent of male respondents who had reported same-sex attraction and both-sex attraction in childhood later identified as exclusively heterosexual, while more than half of the females who reported both-sex attraction as children reported exclusive attraction to men as adults.

Mayer and McHugh also analyzed twins. They pointed to a 2010 study by psychiatric epidemiologist Niklas Långström which analyzed 3,826 identical and fraternal same-sex twin pairs. Both twins had at least one same-sex partner in only 18 percent of male identical twins, and 11 percent of male fraternal twins. For women, both twins had at least one homosexual partner in 22 percent of identical twins and 17 percent of fraternal twins.

"Summarizing the studies of twins, we can say that there is no reliable scientific evidence that sexual orientation is determined by a person's genes," the researchers wrote. "But there is evidence that genes play a role in influencing sexual orientation."

"So the question 'Are gay people born that way?' requires clarification. There is virtually no evidence that anyone, gay or straight, is 'born that way' if it means that their sexual orientation was genetically determined," the report explained (emphasis added). "But there is some evidence from the twin studies that certain genetic profiles probably increase the likelihood the person later identifies as gay or engages in same-sex sexual behavior."


‘Are you a feminist?’ has become a religious test

Raab isn’t the only public figure to be attacked for not embracing the f-word.

In order to get on in British polite society these days, to be retweeted by the right-on journos and lauded by the commentariat, it is advised that you join the feminist club. Calling yourself a feminist has pretty much become mandatory for anyone who wants to be part of public life. From politicians to soap stars, the feminist label is a must-have.

And if there’s one thing contemporary feminists love, it is chastising those who refuse to toe the line. One of the more than a dozen Conservative leadership hopefuls, Dominic Raab, has been denounced as a heretic for refusing to call himself a feminist. In 2011, he wrote an article for Politics Home in which he argued that feminists were ‘now among the most obnoxious bigots’ for not recognising that ‘from the cradle to the grave, men are getting a raw deal’. In an interview last week, Raab said that he stood by his comments, saying he would ‘probably not’ call himself a feminist, ‘but I would describe myself as someone who is a champion of equality and meritocracy’.

Though comparing feminists to bigots might have been a little OTT, Raab’s 2011 article was really a criticism of the growing, unhelpful obsession with gender espoused by leading feminists. It even had some good lines in it, pointing to the incoherence of some fashionable positions on gender: ‘If you buy into the whole Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus theory of gender difference – with all its pseudo science – you can’t then complain about inequalities of outcome that flow both ways from those essentially sexist distinctions.’

Instead of taking him up on his (rather wrongheaded) view of men’s victimhood, Raab was mocked by fellow candidates, given the dictionary definition of feminism by news anchors, and denounced in thinkpieces. Apparently it is incredibly damaging for a politician to criticise feminism.

He is not the only one to feel the heat for refusing to call himself a feminist. Many female celebrities have suffered similar chastisements, and many of them have been forced to backtrack. Years ago, Beyoncé was castigated for saying, ‘Why do you have to label yourself anything? I’m just a woman, and I love being a woman.’ She later repented by inserting some lines from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s famous ‘We Should All Be Feminists’ speech on to a track. Demi Moore, Susan Sarandon and Sarah Jessica Parker have all been criticised for calling themselves ‘humanists’ rather than feminists. Lady Gaga once said, ‘I’m not a feminist. I hail men, I love men, I celebrate American male culture – beer, bars, and muscle cars.’ She later backtracked and said she was a ‘little bit’ of a feminist.

Now, prominent women’s criticisms of feminism vary. Some are ridiculous – such as when Geri Halliwell was denounced in 2007 for describing feminism as ‘bra-burning lesbianism’ and ‘very unglamorous’. But others are far more serious. Monica Lewinsky said that, ‘given my experience of being passed around like gender-politics cocktail food, I don’t identify myself as a Feminist, capital F’. She says feminist leaders have failed to articulate a ‘position that was not essentially anti-woman’ during the Bill Clinton scandal.

Regardless, none of these women said they should get back in the kitchen and start making up some sandwiches. Most of them went out of their way to assure reporters that they really believed in gender equality – just that they prefer not to use the f-word. Despite the outrage at their comments, they’re not alone. A recent YouGov poll found that only 34 per cent of women in the UK identify as feminists. A poll two years previously, carried out by the well-respected feminist organisation the Fawcett Society, found that only seven per cent of women identified as feminists. Yet, again, the vast majority of people surveyed agreed that women and men should be equal.

That ‘are you a feminist?’ has become a kind of religious test is strange, not least when it comes to men. Raab has been criticised for not calling himself a feminist, but it is infinitely more irritating when men go out of their way to declare themselves a ‘male feminist’ or ‘feminist ally’. After all, many contemporary feminists want men to ‘sit down’, ‘shut up’, ‘check their privilege’, and listen to their female betters. One shouldn’t generalise, but, in my experience, most men who go along with this self-flagellation are just trying to curry favour with a bunch of pretty feminists. It’s feminism for dating purposes.

Raab went too far when he threw around the word bigot – a lot of today’s feminists are just embarrassing. Which is part of the reason most women don’t call themselves feminists. Plus, when Theresa May can be cheered for wearing a ‘this is what a feminist looks like’ t-shirt, it is clear feminism has lost all meaning. Nowadays, it just seems to be about being nice to women. Never mind the labels, what women do care about is whether or not people in power will deliver change that will materially better their lives. I don’t care if Raab is a feminist – will he get behind the idea of free childcare for all? I couldn’t give two burning bras if Taylor Swift is a feminist or not – will she march with women to decriminalise abortion?

These are the questions we should be asking, rather than demanding to know why someone doesn’t consider himself a feminist.


Turkeys voting for Christmas

Bettina Arndt 

I have a fun video for you – my interview with UK journalist Peter Lloyd, author of the 2015 book Stand By Your Manhood which did a great job pulling together all the evidence about what was happening to men in our society and presenting it in a most entertaining manner.

Peter was prompted to write his book in response to the ‘dismissive, patronising and skewed narrative about heterosexual men’ now standard fare in mainstream media. His book demonstrated that it has become normal to consider masculinity as entirely negative and problematic and to present boys as ‘defective girls, damaged by default’ who need to be medicated, educated and socialised out of their masculinity.

His book exposes modern feminists’ determination to promote the idea that this privileged generation of women is still somehow oppressed. He’s now a media favourite on UK television panel shows representing the token male taking on the feminist ideologues. I’m showing you his famous ‘sticks and stones’ video, which has well over a million views on YouTube, where you’ll see his feminist antagonist having a total melt-down. Very funny.

Revealing the real Ita Buttrose

We include an extract from the first interview Peter did with Australian media soon after his book came out – with a morning television show, Studio 10. Anyone deluding themselves that the new Chair of the ABC, Ita Buttrose, will do anything about the appalling anti-male bias in that organisation, should look at Ita’s sneering treatment of Peter and his book.

You’ll hear Peter’s hilarious line about men who support feminism being like ‘turkeys voting for Christmas’  – a very apt description of another member of that Studio 10 panel, Daily Telegraph writer, Joe Hildebrand. You’ll see him in action virtue-signalling to his dim-witted feminist panellists by treating Peter in the most patronising manner.

That was four years ago but just a few weeks back a most amazing thing happened. Joe Hildebrand has been ‘red-pilled’, having finally seen the light about our male-bashing culture. A brutal murder of a homeless woman in Melbourne - by another homeless man – led the Assistant Commissioner of Police to make an inane comment that this was ‘all about men’s behaviour.’  Amazingly Hildebrand bucked and objected to this comment – both on television and in a newspaper column – saying the behaviour of this man had nothing to do with him.

Anyway, I am sure you will enjoy my discussion with Peter about all this – and many other issues.


Email from Bettina: bettina@bettinaarndt.com.au

11 June, 2019

The two stages of political correctness

As seen in China

In the novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” part of the dystopian government that George Orwell imagined was its use of the language of “Newspeak,” a simplification of the English language to serve the needs of the state. Newspeak altered thoughts, so that people were rendered incapable of thinking outside Party lines.

We now see this same principle at play in political correctness, in which concepts behind words are being altered to fit political narratives, and people are censoring their thoughts to not violate the artificial morals of the state.

The effects of political correctness can be found most clearly where the concept originates: under the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as Mao Zedong created the concept in 1967 to control public dissent at the start of the Cultural Revolution. The idea was simple: support the regime’s policies and you are politically correct. Oppose them, and you can be targeted and destroyed.

In its details, the CCP’s use of political correctness is different from the way it’s used in the United States and Europe, yet underneath it has the same purpose. Under the Chinese regime, it’s used as an artificial moral system to guard the policies of the CCP. In the United States, it’s used as an artificial moral system to guard socialist policies.

Under the CCP’s film censorship laws, for example, the standards are made intentionally vague so that filmmakers attempt to over-censor, in order to please authorities. Using this system, people need to consider what the regime would consider immoral, and attempt to pre-censor themselves to appease its politically correct censors.

Variety recently reported as an example the Chinese film “Last Sunrise,” about which CCP censors said it “showed too much of the darkness of humanity.” To appease the regime, the filmmakers went overboard. The director, Ren Wen, said: “The problem is they’re not specific, so we just had to cut whatever we thought they might find too dark or violent.”

Of course, while making a film less dark and violent could be a good thing, in the context of communist political correctness, this has other purposes.

Soviet defector and former propagandist Yuri Bezmenov explained in his book, “Love Letter to America,” that when a communist regime is trying to subvert a country, it attacks all of the nation’s moral and cultural foundations. These attacks take various forms, but include promotions of drug use, grassroots movements, and all forms of vices.

Yet, when the regimes take power, they will move to forbid the systems of destabilization. Bezmenov wrote that when a socialist regime is formed, it then needs to establish stability and create a “new morality.” At that point, Bezmenov explained, there will be “No more ‘grass roots’ movements. No more criticism of the State. The Press will obediently censor itself.”

In other words, during the stages of destroying morals and destabilizing society, political correctness is used to guard the systems of cultural decay. When the regime takes full power, however, it will use political correctness to guard its hold on power.

In the context of the CCP, its stage of wanting people to sense the “darkness of humanity,” has come to a close—at least when it’s related to the Chinese people. Instead, it wants people to feel happy with 12-hours a day, 6-day work weeks, and the environment of mass censorship and surveillance. They’re living the dystopian reality that Orwell envisioned, but with a shiny polish that they’re told to feel happy about. Thoughts that drift into thinking that life may be better with another political system would be dangerous to the state, and so the regime forbids imagery that could invoke such thoughts.

Meanwhile, the CCP has no problem portraying the “darkness of humanity” when it serves its interests—such as portraying life before the communist regime took power. As Chinese people began to have a fascination with China’s 5,000 years of history, the CCP took things a step further and banned portrayals of China before the CCP took power.

When the show “Yanxi Palace,” about life in imperial China, became the country’s most-watched drama, the communist regime saw public interest in the culture it destroyed as a threat to its power. In January, state media declared that the show, and other imperial dramas, were having “negative impacts,” and they were banned soon after.

The CCP has portrayed traditional Chinese history—which was heavily based in values of filial piety, propriety, and reverence for the divine—as being something dark and evil. Any portrayal of the true values and culture is seen as a threat to the state.


Sikh-American becomes first Air Force member allowed to wear turban and beard on active duty

I am  pleased about this.  I have a soft spot for the Sikhs.  They are good people -- JR

The United States Air Force has for the first time allowed a Sikh airman to serve with a beard, turban and unshorn hair as part of a given religious accommodation.

Airman Harpreetinder Singh Bajwa is the first active duty airman allowed to wear his articles of faith, the Sikh American Legal Defence and Education Fund (SALDEF) said in a statement.

“Today, I feel that my country has embraced my Sikh heritage, and I will be forever grateful for this opportunity,” Mr Bajwa, who joined the Air Force in 2017, said.

Heather Lynn Weaver, a senior staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), an advocacy organisation that represented Mr Bajwa, said on Twitter that she was “thrilled”.

“We are working to ensure that every branch of the military provides similar religious accommodations,” she said.

In the UK last year, a Sikh Coldstream Guards soldier became the first to wear a turban during the Trooping the Colour parade, during which more than 1,000 soldiers took part in a ceremony to mark the Queen’s official 92nd birthday.

Guardsman Charanpreet Singh Lall said he hoped it would seen as “a new change in history”.

"I hope that more people like me, not just Sikhs but from other religions and different backgrounds, that they will be encouraged to join the Army," the 22-year-old from Leicester, who joined the British Army in 2016, said before the parade last June.

The turban he wore during Trooping the Colour was black and featured the ceremonial cap star to match the bearskin hats worn by the other soldiers.


Will political correctness kill classic movies?

The rise of political correctness can be seen across movie screens this weekend.

“The Hustle,” a gender-swap remake of 1988's “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” rails against the patriarchy between sight gags. “Avengers: Endgame” shoehorns a minor gay character into the story as a super-virtue-signal. “Long Shot” shows Seth Rogen apologizing for the United States bombing Japan to help end World War II.

Even older films, and the stars who made them great, are now seen through the PC prism. Just ask the estate of John Wayne. The legendary star got pummeled a few months ago, decades after his passing, for a racially insensitive Playboy interview in 1971. Some critics demanded that his name be stripped from John Wayne Airport in Orange County, Calif.

Singer Kate Smith’s film career is dwarfed by her radio, TV and stage accomplishments. Yet Smith’s recording of two 1930s songs deemed racist convinced two professional sports teams — the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Flyers — to strip her iconic rendition of “God Bless America” from their programming.

It’s easy to imagine the culture attempting to do something similar to films that don’t mirror today's cultural mores. Molly Ringwald, who brought some of John Hughes’s best films to life, turned on her collaborator last year, saying that his films weren’t "woke" enough in our "Me Too" era.

Those films primarily hit theaters in the 1980s. So what about older films? Would any modern studio greenlight 1974’s “Blazing Saddles,” the Mel Brooks farce teeming with racial and sexual humor?

What about James Bond's early adventures, in which 007 treated female characters in a sexist fashion? Even a comedy classic such as 1959's "Some Like It Hot," featuring two men dressed in drag, could be insensitive given modern mores.

Could problematic films eventually be pulled from home video and streaming services?

Sound hysterical? It's currently in vogue to tear down statues that don’t align with current groupthink. So why would pop culture artifacts be spared?

In fact, it’s already been done.

Two years ago, a Memphis theater nixed a screening of the 1939 classic “Gone with the Wind” because of its “insensitive” content.

Disney’s Oscar-winning “Song of the South” won’t be seen on the company’s forthcoming streaming platform. The 1946 film’s antiquated, and some say racist, portrayal of black life turned the movie into cultural poison. It’s never made it to home video, and that’s unlikely to change in the near future.

The effort to wipe clean questionable content is happening elsewhere, too. The work itself doesn’t have to be “problematic” if the performer in front of the camera is. Bounce TV yanked reruns of “The Cosby Show” following star Bill Cosby’s conviction on rape charges.

When comedian Louis C.K. admitted to pleasuring himself in front of a series of women without their consent, he lost more than his FX series “Louie.” HBO announced it had expunged all C.K.-related programming from its service, including stand-up specials and his series “Lucky Louie.”

His 2017 film “I Love You, Daddy” never hit theaters as intended following his revelation. More than a year later, the film can’t be found on home video or streaming outlets, despite rave reviews from its festival run. The film’s star, Chloe Grace Moretz, even argued against the film’s release. “I think it should just kind of go away, honestly,” the millennial actress told the press.

Her age matters because her peers represent a potent part of the PC movement. Just ask any conservative speaker chased off campus by students frightened by unfamiliar viewpoints.

Woody Allen’s historic film career may be over, and not because of his age or any health woes. Allegations of child abuse against his daughter Dylan Farrow, while never proven, finally caught up with the “Annie Hall” superstar. Amazon refused to release Allen’s latest work, “A Rainy Day in New York,” citing Allen’s Me Too statement in court.

One highly controversial film, and its collective shunning, predates the current PC mania. The 1915 drama “Birth of a Nation” glorified the KKK and dehumanized black slaves, among other revolting elements. Cultural critics marvel at some of its artistic achievements, given the technical constraints of the era, but its content makes any public display cultural dynamite.

Is that the best way to deal with art? Wouldn’t a screening of the film, followed by an informed dialogue on its place in culture and how the real KKK used it as a recruiting tool, be more illuminating?

Audiences could process the material on their own terms along with the vital context.

That’s the key word missing from PC-themed conversations — “context.” Without it, PC scolds too often win the day.

Hughes couldn’t have imagined his plucky teen comedy would one day be shamed by its star. And there’s a chance movies like “Long Shot,” “The Hustle” and “Avengers: Endgame” may one day be seen as “problematic,” too, in ways we can’t imagine now. Who knows how we’ll handle art that doesn’t fit the current zeitgeist by then?


Bursting CSR virtue-signallers’ bubble

Many pundits have been forced to explain why middle Australia not only rejected Bill Shorten’s class war rhetoric [in the recent federal election] but also spurned Labor’s enthusiastic embrace of identity politics and progressive ideology agendas.

To be fair, if you live in the insider bubble, it was easy to miss this story. All our key culture-shaping institutions — schools, universities, the bureaucracy, the media — have embraced identity politics and progressive ideology.

This also includes corporations; Australia’s big public companies, which have done so under the rubric of so-called Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

The long march of the left is increasingly making our key business institutions inhospitable places for those with conservative and traditional views and values.

Understandably, many people stay silent and consent to progressive ‘social responsibility’ agendas to avoid the social and professional consequences that dissenters from the politically correct consensus can face in these increasingly intolerant and polarised times.

No wonder, therefore, that people working in big corporations prefer to stay quiet, especially given what is at stake: careers, mortgages, school fees, and superannuation.

What is missing is the sound and sensible cultural leadership that can convince people to not remain quiet and confidently speak up for traditional values that are genuinely under threat and at stake in the many-fronted culture war.

In Corporate Virtue Signalling: How To Stop Big Business from Meddling in Politics, I outline the apparent take-over of big business by politically correct lefties.

The book also warns companies that by endorsing progressive agendas, they risk politicising their reputations, and alienating from their brands the millions of conservative members of the community who do not subscribe to such agendas.

The problem is that many corporate leaders may not realise how divisive their CSR politicking is, because they live, work, and socialise with like-minded elites deep inside their inner city ‘bubble’.

Hopefully, the election result will burst this bubble and make corporate elites aware where the true centre of mainstream opinion lies in Australia. Surely, the only ones who won’t get it now are the truly tin-eared.

So now is perhaps an opportune time to introduce a new principle — the Community Pluralism Principle — into the management of companies.

This would hold directors and CEOs accountable for making sure CSR activities don’t stray into meddling in contentious political issues, and instead properly respect the pluralism — the different views and values — of the diverse Australian community.

If this principle was supported at shareholder meetings by the ‘mum and dad’ investors fed up with companies indulging in political activism, the Quiet Australians would send a powerful message to penetrate the dense bubbles of corporate boardrooms: business should halt the corporate virtue signalling — and stick to business.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


10 June, 2019

New York Times smears Transportation Secretary Chao with innuendo and not so subtle racism

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement blasting a New York Times hit piece on Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao:

“Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao is an effective conservative member of the Trump Administration and this is why she is under attack by the New York Times under the guise of investigative journalism.  Here is the truth.  Secretary Chao was born in Taipei, Taiwan after her family fled communist China following the communist takeover. As a seven-year-old, Elaine Chao came to America with her mom and siblings to join her father who arrived in 1953 to establish himself before sending for his family. She spoke no English when she arrived but after just two years in America, she was elected president of her class.

“Secretary Chao is one of the hardest working Cabinet Secretaries focused like a laser beam on accomplishing President Trump’s agenda.  Her efforts to mitigate the Obama administration’s regulatory attempt to end the internal combustion engine in vehicles through unattainable federal government mandated fuel efficiency standards is just one example of the Secretary tackling the hard issues of fixing and balancing the former administration’s regulatory excesses creating a sound economic future for transportation in America.

“As someone who worked for Secretary Chao in the Labor Department during President George W. Bush’ administration, I can personally attest that she is an aggressive conservative seeking ways to roll back government and reduce overall spending.  And these attacks are clearly motivated by those with a desire to thwart her through innuendo and sometimes not so subtle racism.

“The fact is that Secretary Chao was appointed to head the Transportation Department after serving not only as Labor Secretary for eight years, but also as the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation under President George Herbert Walker Bush and the Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission. Having received about three dozen honorary degrees from around the globe, to infer that any of these honorary degrees somehow taints her is patently absurd.

“This attempt to smear Elaine Chao is clearly rooted in fear.  Secretary Chao is an effective conservative working to transform the transportation policy, working against the bureaucrat resisters and former Obama officials who are so often quoted by liberal outlets like the New York Times as if they were objective non-partisans. Among her recent actions which have drawn the ire of the professional left, Chao ended funding for the California high-speed rail and started an inquiry on whether the San Antonio and Buffalo airports religious discrimination against the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain ran afoul of federal law.

“It is no surprise that by carrying out President Trump’s mandate at the Department of Transportation, that Secretary Chao is being subjected to this type of scurrilous attack, and I, for one, am sick of this type of political assassination of someone who has dedicated her life to reining in the administrative state.”


The lawful exercise of your Second Amendment rights does not make you a second-class citizen

State supreme court ... could 'find no justification for the notion that a police officer may infer criminal activity merely from an individual's possession of a concealed firearm in public.'

Earlier this week, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court delivered a message that the United States Supreme Court desperately needs to hear: The lawful exercise of your Second Amendment rights does not make you a second-class citizen.

Here’s the context. For the last two years, federal courts — including, sadly, the Supreme Court — have endorsed a legal regime where police can use even the lawful exercise of gun rights as a pretext for the violation of other constitutional rights, principally our Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure.

For example, in 2017, the Eleventh Circuit held that a police officer enjoyed immunity from suit when he pounded on the door of the wrong apartment late at night, failed to announce himself, and then shot dead a young man when he lawfully answered the door, armed. The existence of the gun granted the officer the right to shoot with absolute legal impunity.

Two months later, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of police officers who, without a warrant, entered the modest dwelling (a one-room shack) of a man named Angel Mendez and opened fire when he pointed a BB gun at them. Mendez lost his leg. His girlfriend was also injured. SCOTUS then used this case as an occasion to reverse a Ninth Circuit use-of-force rule that would impose liability when police “provoke” a violent confrontation through an “independent Fourth Amendment violation.”

But perhaps the best expression of gun owners as second-class citizens under the Bill of Rights came from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. The court ruled that police could frisk a person if they believed that the person carried a firearm, even if he possessed a concealed-carry permit. According to the court, “the danger justifying a protective frisk arises from the combination of a forced police encounter and the presence of a weapon, not from any illegality of the weapon’s possession” (emphasis added).

In a concurring opinion, a federal circuit-court judge actually typed these words:

The majority decision today necessarily leads to the conclusion that individuals who elect to carry firearms forego other constitutional rights, like the Fourth Amendment right to have law enforcement officers “knock-and-announce” before forcibly entering homes. . . . Likewise, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that individuals who choose to carry firearms necessarily face greater restriction on their concurrent exercise of other constitutional rights, like those protected by the First Amendment.

In plain English, this means gun owners must choose: carry their weapon and lose the full protections of the rest of the Bill of Rights, or never pick it up and enjoy your other rights. For people who live in high-crime areas, people who are often poor and sometimes nonwhite, this presents a wholly unacceptable dilemma. The people who have the most urgent need for self-defense find themselves facing the greater risk of the loss of their liberties.

Enter the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. In Commonwealth v. Hicks, police responded to a citizen call after Hicks was spotted showing his handgun to another person outside a convenience store. He did not rob the store. He did not do anything illegal. He was a concealed-carry holder in lawful possession of his gun. “Numerous” police officers responded to the call, stopped the vehicle, restrained him, and conducted a search. They smelled alcohol and found a small bag of marijuana. They then arrested him for driving under the influence and disorderly conduct.

Hicks challenged the legality of his arrest, and while the trial court dismissed the disorderly-conduct charge, it upheld the legality of the initial search. The court ruled that “possession of a concealed weapon in public creates a reasonable suspicion justifying an investigatory stop in order to investigate whether the person is properly licensed.”

Thus any concealed-carry holder could be subject to search simply because he chose to carry his weapon, to exercise rights guaranteed by state law and buttressed by the Bill of Rights.

The state supreme court disagreed, holding that it could “find no justification for the notion that a police officer may infer criminal activity merely from an individual’s possession of a concealed firearm in public.” It continued:

Unless a police officer has prior knowledge that a specific individual is not permitted to carry a concealed firearm, and absent articulable facts supporting reasonable suspicion that a firearm is being used or intended to be used in a criminal manner, there simply is no justification for the conclusion that the mere possession of a firearm, where it lawfully may be carried, is alone suggestive of criminal activity.

This is exactly correct, and it’s buttressed by the plain constitutional truth that there exists “a first principle that lies at the heart of the Fourth Amendment — that the government may not target and seize specific individuals without any particular suspicion of wrongdoing, then force them to prove that they are not committing crimes.”

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court notes that SCOTUS has not addressed the specific legal questions at issue. When the right case arises, it must. And when it does, it should note once and for all that gun possession — by itself — does not compromise the protections of any other constitutional right.


Democrats keeping house prices high in Boston

They like to keep the poor out of their neighborhoods.  It's called compassion -- for themselves

Thanks to a thicket of zoning rules, the suburban communities of Greater Boston have lots of ways to make it difficult to build apartments and other multifamily housing that many of their residents don't want.

Now housing advocates are cataloging those ways, and looking for new approaches to getting more homes built.

A coalition of major housing industry and advocacy groups on Tuesday is releasing a study billed as the first comprehensive review of zoning laws in Eastern Massachusetts in more than a decade. The groups hope to highlight the local rules that slow or block development and keep the growing region in the grip of a housing crisis that shows few signs of easing.

"These rules may be logical for each community," said Marc Draisen, executive director of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, one of the groups behind the study. "But they become negative for the region as a whole."

In a state where land use decisions are almost entirely a local affair, zoning laws at the city and town level have a huge influence on what gets built. Yet no one comprehensively tracks these regulations. So the groups - including trade organizations for home builders and real estate agents as well as affordable-housing advocates - hired a public policy researcher, Amy Dain, to study the zoning codes and housing plans of 100 Eastern Massachusetts municipalities. Two years and countless site visits later, she produced a 123-page report highlighting how they relegate new housing to certain spots, at certain sizes, or discourage it altogether.

"Basically, we were trying to come up with what is the aggregate, de facto plan for building multifamily housing across Greater Boston," Dain said. "Everyone talks about it. But we don't talk about what we're actually allowing, and where."

Much of the report examines what Dain calls "the paper wall," the maze of regulations - lot size requirements, parking minimums, age restrictions - that often serve to block multifamily housing, even when it is nominally permitted by zoning.

The Town of Dover, for instance, technically allows apartment buildings but requires that 25 percent of units in a new building be affordable, that 40 percent be set aside for senior citizens, and that the project contain no more than four units per acre - a density more common to single-family homes with yards. No project has ever been permitted in Dover under those rules, Dain noted.

When cities and towns do approve large-scale housing, they often do so through so-called special permits - and usually through Town Meeting votes - a lengthy process that can drive up costs and introduce lots of political complexity.

It's a process that should be simplified, said Andre Leroux, executive director of the Smart Growth Alliance.

"Communities love their special permits. They want to have discretion over development," he said. "Fine. But let's at least make it easier for communities to approve special permits."

And that's where this study, two years in the making, plays into the debate of the month on Beacon Hill. Governor Charlie Baker is pushing hard for a vote on his long-stalled Housing Choice bill, which would lower the threshold that's needed to approve many zoning changes from the two-thirds majority of a City Council or Town Meeting currently needed to 50 percent plus one.

It's a small tweak that could unlock thousands of new units of housing that have local support but not a supermajority, Baker has said.

All the groups behind Tuesday's study agree, but some say Housing Choice should be just a first step to broader reforms.

"Once that passes, we've got to seriously talk about other things we need to do," Draisen said. "There are plenty. This is a major crisis."

One of the solutions may be a more regional approach to planning.

Dain's report highlighted how many municipalities force denser development to their edges or to formerly industrial areas, to protect existing single-family neighborhoods. Those areas often border a neighboring town, but the neighbors are not necessarily collaborating with each other.

If they did collaborate, they could better plan new corridors of growth, Dain said, pointing to areas such as the north side of the Mystic River, where Medford, Malden, and Everett separately have permitted nearly 3,000 apartments in total over the last 20 years.

"That is like a dream area to prove how we can build on the edges of our cities and towns, in a connected way," Dain said, pointing to similar opportunities along Route 1A in Dedham and Westwood and along Route 128 in Newton, Needham, and Wellesley.

"How do we plan to knit zoning and infrastructure together in places like that?"


The morality of defending America: A letter to a young Googler

By Ash Carter

I’m often asked about the controversy over Google’s role in projects for the US Department of Defense. Concerned over an artificial intelligence effort called Project Maven, 5,000 of the firm’s employees declared in a letter last year to CEO Sundar Pichai that “Google should not be in the business of war.” Two months later, Google decided not to renew the contract. I did not agree with the protest letter, nor with management’s initial withdrawal. But I was pleased to hear Pichai tell Congress a few months later: “I am proud to say we do work, and we will continue to work, with the [US] government to keep our country safe and secure.”

At a time when other tech companies are facing internal pressure over their work for the Defense Department — and when young engineers and computer scientists are sincerely grappling with these tough questions — I want to share with them my perspective as both a scientist and former secretary of defense.

Dear Googler,

As a scientist by background, I share your commitment to ensuring that technology is used for moral ends. You’re very much in the tradition of the Manhattan Project scientists who created that iconic “disruptive” technology: atomic weapons.

These physicists and public servants were proud of their invention because it saved lives by bringing a swift end to World War II. It then deterred another, even more destructive war between superpowers. But they also assumed responsibility for the terrible dangers of nuclear war. So they worked to reduce this risk by developing safety locks on bombs, effective command-and-control systems, arms control and nonproliferation regimes, and systems for missile defense and civil defense.

Several of these scientists became my mentors. Their example informed my earliest work in the Pentagon as a physicist helping to shape nuclear programs, and later leading the Nunn-Lugar effort that safely denuclearized the former Soviet states.

Unfortunately, the tech world and national defense often seem at odds today. This mistrust is understandable, but it’s not sustainable — and it’s not good for America. Let me share why I think your engagement with the DOD is important.

First, while national defense may not be the main work you do, it’s an inescapable necessity. Shouldn’t people like you, who combine expertise with commitment to moral values, shape this tough arena? AI is an increasingly important military tool. Will it be crude, indiscriminate, and needlessly destructive? Or will it be controlled, precise, and designed to follow US laws and international norms? Refusing to help design these systems means ceding the assignment to others who may not share your skill or moral center.

In 2012, I issued the Pentagon’s first policy regarding AI, which established rules for its ethical deployment. My regulations, which are still in force today, require human involvement in any decision to use lethal force.

You will appreciate the technical complexity this involves. It does not mandate a “person in the loop” in a literal sense, since this is infeasible even with today’s simple computer-aided weapons. A guided missile homes in on its target with rapid recalculations from flight data. A commander can’t check these calculations in real time. Instead, avoidance of error is designed into the weapon and checked during rigorous testing, and launch decisions are then made by trained personnel. Everyone is held responsible and accountable in a transparent investigation of any error.

The AI-aided weapons of the future will intensify this challenge, making it more complex to determine how and why a firing decision was made. A reasonable level of traceability — strong enough to satisfy the vital standard of human responsibility — must be designed into those algorithms. The integrity of the huge underlying data sets must also be checked. This is complex work, and it takes specialists like you to ensure it’s done right.

Second, remember that Google, like other global companies, works in and for adversarial nations such as China. It’s ironic that, shortly after the Project Maven decision, a leaked report revealed that Google had been secretly working on the Dragonfly project, a search engine compliant with China’s censorship. The company announced plans to end its involvement, but let’s not kid ourselves about the deeper issue: Working in and for China effectively means cooperating with the People’s Liberation Army. Are you really more morally concerned about working with DOD than with the PLA? A glance at China’s human rights record should make clear that strengthening Beijing’s hand is not a formula for making a better world.

Third, and perhaps most important, Google itself and most of your colleagues are American. Your way of life, the democratic institutions that empower you, the laws that enable the operations and profits of the corporation, and even your very survival rely on the protection of the United States. Surely you have a responsibility to contribute as best you can to the shared project of defending the country that has given Google so much.

I applaud you and your colleagues for taking seriously the moral aspect of your work. Now I urge you to think more broadly about it, and to get fully engaged in the work it takes to make our world safer, freer, and more peaceful. America’s military brings our values as well as our power to the battlefield. All of us must work to ensure that will always be the case.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


9 June, 2019

The rise of 'toxic femininity': Author reveals female colleagues tricked her into making mistakes so she wouldn't be promoted and told her everyone hated her - and insists other women create the REAL glass ceiling

Imagine turning up to work every day knowing the person sitting opposite you is doing everything in their power to push you out of your job.

That was the shocking reality for Naomi Joy, a 30-year-old former PR director from London, who witnessed and experienced 'toxic femininity' throughout her career.

She reveals one female colleague in her thirties once declared everyone in the office 'hated her', while another tricked her into making a mistake so that she would be favourite for a promotion.

It eventually led to Naomi quitting her job and penning The Liars, a psychological thriller about two rivals competing for a promotion, inspired by her own shocking experience.

While researching her book, she conducted a survey of 1,000 employed British women and found more than half claimed to have been sabotaged at work by another member of the so-called sisterhood, while more than a third (37 per cent) said they'd actually felt scared or threatened by a female colleague.

Here Naomi tells FEMAIL how she coped with all-out office war - and how you can attempt to break through the 'sisterhood ceiling'...

It had been building for a while. I'd been walking on eggshells for months, trying not to provoke one particular female colleague prone to passive aggression and making snide remarks.

In her early thirties, bright and energetic, she had seemed supportive at first, keen to be friends in the chic PR agency where we worked.

Now she'd finally come out with it: 'Everyone in this office hates you. Everyone wants you to leave.' Furious, I remember clenching my hands so hard the nails punctured the skin on my hands, drawing blood.

And what did I do next? Well, nothing of course - instead I tried to placate her, like so many women would have done in my place. Yet something changed forever that afternoon. It was the beginning of the end of a life lived in the shadow of other women's toxic femininity.

I thought I'd learned my lesson about female rivalry at the very start of my career when, as a young intern, I was fortunate enough to land a dream full-time job at PR and events agency.

The boss - a brilliant, rather fierce woman with high-arched eyebrows and dark-red lips - had decided to give me the position, much to the chagrin of the other female intern who would have to leave.

This girl, who I'll call Tara*, said nothing to my face - but then she didn't need to. Instead she made sure I had the wrong information for the following day's photoshoot, while I was too naive to bother checking.

I spent the following morning dashing along Oxford Street hunting for pairs of gold designer heels. Shoeboxes were piled high in my arms as, eyes watering as I stuffed receipts from Manolo Blahnik, Louboutin and Jimmy Choo into my purse. I hadn't been given a credit card as juniors were expected to stomach expenses like this and wait a month to be reimbursed. I couldn't afford it.

I got to the shoot at lunchtime as instructed, bright red and sweating, only to be met with a single brusque question: 'Where have you been?'

I looked around to see the cameras were packed up, blow-up palm-tree props deflated, a pair of bright-gold designer heels flung to one side.

Tara stood smugly across the room, hand covering her mouth, jaw dropped with faux-shock. I handed the shoes to the woman who had offered me the job, stuttering an explanation.

'What are these?' she snapped. 'The shoot finished an hour ago. There was no one on hand to fetch coffees. I had to do it myself!'

Tara got the job instead of me - a sign of things to come.

Millions will recognise what I'm talking about - that world of women who flash you a broad smile as they turn on their computers in the morning, teeth still on show as they huddle into their screens while angrily plotting your demise in secretive emails.

These are the women who actively block your path to success if they deem you a threat; women who, in my experience, create a ceiling far harder to break than a glass one. And, much as it pains me to say it, they exist in offices everywhere.

I conducted my own survey of 1,000 women in full-time employment in Britain, and a troubling 58 per cent of them told me that they had at some point been sabotaged at work by another member of the so-called sisterhood. There was no bias in terms of age, location or wealth.

My second job took me to some of London's most exciting red-carpet occasions. I held vast black umbrellas over the heads of celebrities. I set up events with Olympic athletes and worked on publicity campaigns that made a real difference to people's lives.

The culture was much better. Even so, there was one woman who, when my promotion was announced, took me to one side to say I hadn't deserved it. 'I had to wait a year to be promoted, you only had to wait nine months,' she said. 'It's not fair.'

Her disruption became systematic. She blamed her mistakes on me. She blocked my chances to work on more important projects, spreading rumours that I would probably leave the company soon. This woman, by the way, was supposed to be my mentor - and, despite everything, I wanted her to like me.

She wasn't the only one. There was a senior colleague who quite incorrectly pointed the finger of blame at me in a crisis meeting. 'You understand why I had to do that, right?' she said afterwards.  'I'm the head of this project, if they think I'd f****d up we would have been fired. Thanks for understanding, hun. You're the best.'

I put it down to being junior, telling myself that my brilliant female bosses - and they were brilliant - wouldn't want to hear about such petty problems. My female friends agreed. This was just the industry we're in, we said. Things would get better as we moved through the ranks.

They didn't. The higher I climbed, the more toxic the female rivalry became.

Top PR offices have a few things in common. There are the white walls splashed with vibrant art, the model receptionists, the sound of manicured nails typing furiously on sleek silver keyboards. It's all rather Devil Wears Prada - in more ways than one.

I was 24 when I landed a job at a boutique PR agency in central London, working with a range of clients in health and beauty.

One of my new colleagues stood out among the rest. Around my age, she had the confidence to be brusque with juniors, seniors and clients alike. I liked her. She knew her stuff and she was great at her job. I wanted her to like me.

For a while, everything was harmonious until, with the annual review of salaries on promotions on the horizon, things began to change.

She started ignoring my emails. She wouldn't take part in team meetings if she thought I'd be running them. In fact, she avoided working with me on anything at all.

She started referring to herself as my senior. She tried to find out how much money I was earning per year. She even told a colleague she was keeping a log of the things I did in my free time - and that she was determined to make sure I couldn't get ahead of her in any regard.

I had laser eye surgery; she bought a new pair of glasses and had a make-over. I had my teeth whitened; she went to the same clinic to have hers done a week later. Her competition with me was fierce and about so much more than work.

Then, after nearly a year, came that derisive outburst - the claim that 'everyone hates me'. Childish, yet devastating.

I didn't leave the agency right away. Instead I started writing about what I'd seen and felt – the things that happened to me in offices in London and California. About the repeating pattern of women turning against each other in order to get ahead.

Six months later I had a literary agent and a three-book deal. My first novel, The Liars, launched a few weeks ago.


Candace Owens Blasts Modern Feminism – Once a good thing and now hijacked by the left

Candace Owens kicked off Turning Point USA’s Young Women’s Leadership Summit Thursday afternoon and blasted the “scam” of feminism during a passionate speech.

Candace Owens gave the audience of young women a brief background on her past as a liberal Democrat. It was a college course — Feminism 101 — that made her realize that feminism was not for her.

The “BLEXIT” founder argued that feminism — once a good thing — has been hijacked by the left.

“What the left is really good at doing is hijacking a term that once meant something and pretending that it’s still the same thing when, in fact, it’s not,” Owens said.

“Really, if you want to see something toxic, tell a feminist — who says they support every idea a woman has — tell a feminist that you’re not a feminist and see what happens. See the way that you get treated,” she continued.

“I can’t think of women that are nastier and meaner than the ones who exist under these pussy hats, right?” she added.

Owens pivoted to her distaste for the #MeToo movement and the backlash she received for speaking against it. However, she said the truth eventually came out in the form of the Kavanaugh hearings.

“Suddenly, everybody woke up and they realized that this was not about empowering women,” she said. “This was not a movement that was really about giving people a voice who have struggled in their past. It was about getting power and getting it by any means necessary.”

She said the “bitter” and “angry” left can’t understand the fact that men and women cannot be separated and blasted the left for telling women otherwise.

She told the crowd about an upsetting comment she read online after having a conversation on the dangers of feminism with Allie Beth Stuckey. The comment was from a 55-year-old woman who said she fell for the modern day feminist lies, leaving her with no children and forcing her to take medication regularly.

“If there’s anything I could go back and do, I would’ve warned myself against the scam of feminism,” the woman wrote.

Owens brought up a number of far-left feminist icons in Hollywood, including Lena Dunham, Miley Cyrus, and Chelsea Handler.

“I believe these voices like Lena Dunham, and Miley Cyrus, and Chelsea Handler are convincing women against themselves, telling women, ‘You don’t need a man. You don’t need anyone. You should want to do everything by yourself. And if you do aspire to that — if you aspire toward nature — then something’s wrong with you,’” Owens said.

She told the crowd to “pause” and ask the following question: “Who is the most extreme feminist you know today?”  Owens named Handler, Dunham, Sarah Silverman, and Alyssa Milano as some that came to mind.

“Ask yourself a very simple question: Do you think those women are happy?” she asked. “There’s no chance that they’re happy.”

“That is why I believe feminism is a scam,” she continued. “It’s not about uplifting women. It’s about tearing women down.”


Wisdom in unexpected places

Meryl Streep Rejects 'Toxic Masculinity' Term.  She notes that "women can be pretty f-ing toxic too." Is this a watershed moment?

See the Video: here

Brent Bozell: Abortion Is Sacred in Hollywood

In recent years, generous tax credits have brought a wave of Hollywood productions to Georgia. Then the state legislature passed, and the governor signed a very protective pro-life bill. The reaction was furious. How can the will of the people stand?

Network reporters, all aligned with movie and TV studios, pronounced that their conscientious corporate overlords might forgo the tax breaks to show their support for untrammeled abortion, even though there is no demand from their shareholders — their owners — that they do any such thing.

None of these major media companies felt any anger or angst when the state of New York did just the opposite in January, passing a bill that would allow abortions up to birth — and allow non-doctors to perform them. These leftist networks barely noticed the bill was passed and signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as legislators cheered ... because that's the kind of America they want, in all 50 states.

But now power players in Hollywood have rushed to the ramparts of Georgia.

Peter Chernin, who worked for Rupert Murdoch for decades, announced a campaign to raise $15 million for the American Civil Liberties Union to fight any abortion restrictions in Georgia and other red states. ACLU boss Anthony Romero gushed to CNN, "Peter Chernin's leadership in Hollywood has been critical to sounding the alarm among industry leaders."

Chernin, like the typical self-interested Hollywood executive, wants the tax benefits and an overturned pro-life bill.

David Simon, the creator of "The Wire" and other TV shows, said he would boycott Georgia and that Hollywood "must undertake production where the rights of all citizens remain intact." In Tinseltown's utopia, unborn babies do not have the right to remain intact.

Miley Cyrus, so far removed from her teenage Disney Channel days, not to mention taste, was pictured licking a round white cake with the sides covered with rainbow sprinkles that read "ABORTION IS HEALTH CARE."

George Orwell, call your bakery. Perhaps there should have been a disclosure saying that "no bakers were harmed in the creation of this cake."

There were some terrific tweets about this picture. LifeNews.com was amazed, saying, "The irony of @MileyCyrus using a birthday cake to promote abortions when abortions deny babies a birthday."

Ben Sixsmith wrote, "It's interesting how the right to kill the unborn is advertised with such neotenous aesthetics. Children get in the way of adults behaving like children." ("Neotenous" is a $10 Bill Buckley word for "juvenile.")

A tweet from the fashion brand Marc Jacobs features Cyrus topless in jeans holding two grapefruits in front of her breasts. That was part of the design of a hooded sweatshirt by Marc Jacobs that says, "Don't F—- With My Freedom." It's a lyric in her new single called ... "Mother's Daughter." The lyrics that follow aren't on the shirt: "I'm nasty, I'm evil / Must be something in the water or that I'm my mother's daughter."

All proceeds from the hoodie sales go to Planned Parenthood. One hoodie costs $175.

Cyrus was a fervent backer of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign in 2016 and runs a nonprofit called the Happy Hippie Foundation, whose stated mission is "to rally young people to fight injustice facing homeless youth, LGBTQ youth and other vulnerable populations."

Isn't it amazing that the left is so fixated on feminist ideology and consequence-free sex that it cannot see the unborn babies as the most "vulnerable population" in America?

Unborn babies are not merely dehumanized in abortion activism. They are not even an afterthought. They are literally and metaphorically obliterated.


Michelle Malkin: From Convicted Murderer to Exoneree to Law Grad

What would you do if you were falsely accused and convicted of a brutal rape and murder you didn't commit?

How would you handle a violent maximum-security prison, sentenced 16 years to life, at age 17?

And where would you go, what would you choose to do, if you won your freedom back after full exoneration?

Jeffrey Deskovic, 45, graduated from Pace University School of Law three weeks ago to rousing cheers from friends, family and faculty. On its own, the achievement warrants celebration. Any graduation does. But Deskovic's feat is just one of an extraordinary set of milestones in the extraordinary life of an extraordinary man I'm honored to know and support.

Hollywood couldn't manufacture a nightmare and redemption script as compelling as Deskovic's real-life saga.

In November 1989, Deskovic's Peekskill, New York, high school classmate, 15-year-old Angela Correa, was raped, beaten and strangled to death. Detectives decided that Deskovic, who did not know Correa, had acted excessively upset at the murdered sophomore's memorials. Police succumbed to tunnel vision and confirmation bias, misinterpreting Deskovic's amateur passion to help solve the crime as a sign of guilt. After speaking with him multiple times, steadily feeding him information about the case, they brought the 17-year-old Deskovic in for a polygraph.

The young teen who had never been in trouble with the law was interrogated for more than seven hours without a lawyer, family member or food. Detectives bullied, cajoled and lied to him about failed the testing. It's a classic recipe for a false confession and undue process. The coercive interrogation ended with Deskovic in a fetal position under the polygraph table.

Despondent, Deskovic attempted suicide twice before trial. In January 1991, he was "convicted by jury of 1st degree rape and 2nd degree murder, despite DNA results showing that he was not the source of semen in the victim's rape kit." Deskovic told Westchester Magazine: "It just didn't seem real. It was like I was observing it from the outside. I felt I was in Fantasyland."

Maintaining his innocence from the start, the sensitive high schooler who grew up behind bars earned an associate's degree and appealed to anyone on the outside who would listen. After multiple rejections, the Innocence Project took up his case and won postconviction DNA testing that identified the real rapist and killer: a man named Stephen Cunningham.

Injustice compounded injustice: While Deskovic was paying the price for the guilty man's sins, Cunningham was on the loose in 1993, committing a second murder. The victim was Patricia Morrison, his girlfriend's sister. He was in prison for that tragically preventable crime when new forensic testing methods yielded a hit in a state DNA database of convicted felons and Cunningham confessed to killing Correa.

In 2006, Deskovic was freed and won a judicial determination of actual innocence. He received an apology from an assistant district attorney, along with multimillion-dollar civil suit awards from New York state, Westchester County, Peekskill and Putnam County. Transitioning to life as a free man was not easy, but Deskovic has not wasted a single moment of it as an exoneree. On a whirlwind quest to prevent and undo miscarriages of justice like the one he suffered, he has earned a bachelor's degree, a master's from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and now a law degree (making the dean's list the last four semesters of a hectic year).

While in law school, he traveled to Armenia and Argentina to give wrongful conviction presentations, played an instrumental role in prosecutorial misconduct reform in New York state, gave dozens of radio, TV and documentary interviews (including one for my 2017 program called "Railroaded: Surviving Wrongful Convictions"), started the Deskovic Foundation for Justice (which has helped exonerate seven people), and taught multiple classes on criminal justice to judges and police academies.

Phew! Is there a bucket list that can match this one?

It's Deskovic's unique willingness to reach out to law enforcement and enlighten them, instead of to demonize them, that makes him an invaluable leader in criminal justice reform. Lt. Michael Devine of the Bergen County Law and Public Safety Institute was so impressed with Deskovic's presentations to corrections recruits that he successfully requested that the exoneree become a certified instructor for the New Jersey Police Training Commission.

Dr. Kevin J. Barrett, a 32-year veteran of the Englewood, New Jersey, Police Department and chair of the criminal justice department at Rockland Community College, says his students were "mesmerized" by Deskovic's presentation and "will carry the lessons they learned from Mr. Deskovic for the next 25 years of their careers. He has a much needed story to tell."

And the rest of this story has only just begun.

Deskovic will take the bar exam in eight weeks. His foundation just helped win retrial scheduled in September for Andrew Krivak, a man wrongfully convicted of the rape and murder of a 12-year-old girl in Putnam County, N.Y. in 1997. No physical evidence connected Krivak or his co-defendant Anthony DiPippo to the victim or the crime scene. The prosecution relied on a fake polygraph exam administered by the same official involved in Deskovic's wrongful conviction. (I told you Hollywood couldn't make this up!)

DiPippo, exonerated in 2016 after three trials and 20 years in prison, attended Deskovic's graduation with hundreds of others. He hailed his friend as "the future of the grass-roots innocence movement."

I agree, which is why I have lent my time, heart, and financial support to the Deskovic Foundation and hope you will, too. You can find out more about this tireless human being at




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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


7 June, 2019

Facebook Excuses Won't Work in 2019 as More Conservatives Are Banned on Social Media
By Diamond & Silk

Facebook’s excuses for banning conservatives are so 2018. With the latest scandalous round of conservative expulsions from the social media giant and other platforms, circa 2019, Americans can no longer accept Mark Zuckerberg’s explanations for banning conservatives online.

In our own case, when Facebook banned some of our posts in 2017, calling us “unsafe,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg told senators it was just “an error in enforcement."

At the time, far-left, Trump-hating "reporters” rushed out to call us liars, saying basically that the popularity of our social media pages “debunked” the idea that Big Tech is censoring Trump supporters and conservatives.

That lame argument won’t be enough to excuse the way Facebook, Twitter, and the rest of the Silicon Valley liberal oligopoly have been acting lately, though. There’s nothing “debunked” about this latest round of censorship.

Last week, Facebook took down a whole wishlist of pages representing some of the Democrats’ top targets and scapegoats, even threatening to ban regular users who share content from those accounts. Facebook can swear up and down that it’s about “stopping hate” or “fake news” or whatever, but we know the real reason: more free speech on social media is bad for Democrats.

Even banning Louis Farrakhan, the Jew-hating “minister” and chum of Barack Obama and Keith Ellison, serves the Democrat Party’s interests. He was becoming too much of a problem for Democrats every time Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube banned conservatives. People could just say “what about Farrakhan calling Jewish people ‘termites?’” and we were once again reminded about that inconvenient history of prominent Democrats inviting Farrakhan’s hateful butt to hang out.

Somehow, Facebook even got the liberal media to call Farrakhan a “far-right” leader. He has been a hero of leftist radicals for 45 years for preaching about white people being devils. It’s like they expect us to believe that Farrakhan was a MAGA hat-wearing Trump supporter, even after the co-founder of the anti-Trump hate group known as the “Women’s March” called him “the greatest of all time."

Give us a break!

Twitter is getting in on the action, too, snuffing out a clearly labeled parody account with around 85,000 followers that poked fun at socialist Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the grounds that it was "fake."

Twitter used its data collection to identify the owner — an orthodox Jewish man named Mike Morrison — and handed him a permanent ban, not just of his AOC parody account, but of his 50,000-follower personal account, as well.

It just goes to show that if you make Democrats look silly on social media, their friends in Silicon Valley will be sure to put a stop to it.

Meanwhile, some jerk Democrat state representative in Philadelphia is using Twitter to mock and harass an old lady and some underage girls who were peacefully praying and respectfully protesting outside a planned parenthood clinic in his district. State Representative Brian Sims offered to pay his supporters to identify the anti-abortion activists so they can get more hate. Sims is still allowed on the platform, even though Twitter has a very specific rule against "targeted harassment."

Why? Because Sims is a Democrat, and the women he targeted for harassment are pro-life Christians.

Big Tech’s support for the liberal agenda is not just a one-way street, of course.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler and Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Mazie Hirono have both gone out of their way to defend Big Tech censorship lately, for instance. Is it any wonder, therefore, that Nadler’s top corporate donor is Google’s parent company Alphabet, or that both he and Hirono take big bucks from Facebook?

In response to the latest batch of bans, Democrat Senator Ron Wyden took steps to defend Big Tech, anticipating that Republicans will try to take corrective action against the social media companies. The easiest way conservatives could get a little protection from all this censorship is by revising Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a special set of privileges for internet companies.

As President Trump pointed out just the other day, "Social Media & Fake News Media, together with their partner, the Democrat Party, have no idea the problems they are causing for themselves."

Wyden helped write the Communications Decency Act 23 years ago. Now he’s claiming it’s all about allowing Facebook to "weed out hate."

Really, Senator? Because when you got the chance to explain why you wrote the law, in its preamble, you didn’t say a word about "hate.” What you did say is that “interactive online services” should get special protections because they “offer a forum for a true diversity of political discourse."

But as soon as prominent conservatives start suggesting that maybe the law should be changed because Facebook clearly hasn’t been living up to its end of the deal, suddenly that "diversity of political discourse” stuff is forgotten in favor of “weeding out hate."

Did we mention that Wyden gets ten of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Facebook and Alphabet, too?

The anti-conservative censorship that Big Tech practices on behalf of its Democratic bedfellows is no "error.” The only “error” they made was in being so blatant about it. It’s no longer 2018, and Big Tech’s outdated excuses won’t work on the American people anymore.


BSA Leaders and Demos Ignore Homosexual Predators

In returning abusers to leadership positions, BSA failed boys and their families

The Boy Scouts of America, at the national level, has certainly fumbled past policies regarding abusers. As we have written plainly, BSA’s current policies regarding homosexual Scout leaders are PC absurdity. But it’s interesting to note that the latest Democrat inquiry into Scouts, and the letter of apology from the chief Scout executive, do not dare mention the fact that BSA now affirms homosexual leaders of Boy Scout units.

California Democrat Rep. Jackie Speier is leading a probe into abuse claims against the BSA, and a striking letter from BSA Chief Executive Michael B. Surbaugh walks back previous denials about reinstating leaders suspected of abuse. “When I sent my response to your November 20, 2018 letter, I believed in good faith, and with deeply felt conviction, that BSA would never have knowingly allowed a sexual predator to work with youth,” he wrote to Speier. “Since then, I have learned that my response was incorrect. I have reviewed information that now makes clear to me that decades ago BSA did, in at least some instances, allow individuals to return to Scouting even after credible accusations of sexual abuse. I am devastated that this ever occurred. On behalf of BSA, I sincerely apologize to the individuals affected by this practice.”

Furthermore, emphasizing the disconnect between local Scouting organizations and the national BSA board, area Scout executives were told nothing about these letters to Congress.

Mark Alexander is the father of two Eagle Scouts, and an executive Scout council board member who was a Scout leader for 15 years. He has strongly objected to the BSA’s politically correct policy of welcoming homosexual leaders. Regarding the BSA’s acknowledgement of prior homosexual predation by Scout leaders, Alexander notes, “The the absurd current PC policy of affirming homosexual Scout leaders is in obvious conflict with the past history of homosexual leader predation on boys. That conflict is the 600 pound gorilla in the room, yet neither the Democrats investigating the BSA abuses nor the inept BSA national leadership dare acknowledge it.”


'Woke Christians' Offended by Prayer for President

Since its founding, the United States has prized the freedom of religion and explicitly protected it from government interference. However, that freedom was never intended to mean that government was to be free from religious influence or people of faith. This reality is seen in the fact that all of America's presidents have claimed a religious faith and have been members of a Christian church. That also goes for the vast majority of members of Congress throughout our history. To put it bluntly, our nation has had a long history of religiously minded individuals being involved in government at all levels.

Yet quite a stir was created after President Donald Trump unexpectedly turned up at a large nondenominational Christian church in the DC suburb of McLean, Virginia, and asked for prayer on Sunday. The pastor, David Platt, a relatively well-known Christian leader in Evangelical circles, was caught off guard but quickly obliged. He offered an appropriate nonpartisan prayer — the kind of prayer Christians have been praying for political leaders since it was first commanded in Scripture some 2,000 years ago.

Much of the controversy may be blamed on the current hyper-partisan American culture. With Trump vilified daily by the Leftmedia to the point of being seen even by some Evangelicals as "the problem in the world today," it's not surprising that a pastoral prayer over the president would be considered "the wrong thing to do."

Platt, evidently feeling negative blowback over his decision to pray over Trump, sought to explain and defend his decision in an open letter. Platt rightly pointed to 1 Timothy 2, noting that Christians are commanded to pray for political leaders, irrespective of how righteous or unrighteous these leaders may be. (Many scholars believe Nero, a major persecutor of Christians, was emperor of Rome when the Apostle Paul wrote 1 Timothy.)

Platt then writes, "I wanted to share all of this with you in part because I know that some within our church, for a variety of valid reasons, are hurt that I made this decision. This weighs heavy on my heart." Here's where we see the problem. Platt gives a pass to those Christians who harbor an attitude of such self-righteousness that it would "hurt" them to see their pastor publicly pray for a sinner like Trump.

Leave it to an atheist to get this more correct than Platt. Hot Air's Allahpundit writes, "I'm just a simple unfrozen atheist caveman, unqualified to tell Christians how to practice their faith, but I can tell you this: In 12 years of Catholic schooling, not once was it intimated to me that it might be wrong to pray for someone. The very idea of it shocks me even now, decades later. Prayer is never wrong. If anything, it's more righteous when offered for the wicked, that God might turn their hearts and redeem them. ... What are the anti-Trump congregants of this church learning about their faith to make them feel 'hurt' that the pastor would pray for someone whom they deem wicked? And what is the pastor of this church teaching to make them believe it's 'valid' to feel that way?"

Clearly, Democrats and the Left would love nothing more than to divide the Evangelical world over politics. Christian leaders hoping to avoid catering to one political party over another are finding it increasingly difficult, as seemingly everything has become a political issue. This is what happens when God is diminished and the state begins to take the place of God in people's lives.


No doubt Australian Christian footballer was fired by Qantas, says Mark Latham

Biffo seems to have the goods on this.  The Qantas chief is after all an outspoken homosexual

One Nation NSW leader Mark Latham has accused Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce and other corporate sponsors of Rugby Australia of forcing Israel Folau’s sacking in comments under parliamentary privilege this morning.

Mr Latham says that Qantas’s views on Mr Folau’s comments on homosexuals going to hell on a social media post resulted in Rugby Australia fearing lost sponsorship revenue and forcing Mr Folau’s departure.

He read from a witness statement by Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle from the Folau hearing which mentioned her concern at losing Qantas’s sponsorship because of Mr Folau’s comments.

Qantas provided a comment from Mr Joyce on the issue last month where he said: “We don’t sponsor something to get involved in controversy. That’s not part of the deal. We expect our partners to take the appropriate action. It’s their issue, they have to deal with it.”

Quoting Ms Castle this morning, Mr Latham said: “I calculated … at least $10 million of annual sponsorship revenue … was at significantly greater risk as a result of Mr Folau’s conduct.”

Mr Latham added: “The head of Rugby Australia is putting a commercial value on the religious freedom of Israel Folau. “That just shows the fix was in. Qantas knew Folau was going to get punted.

“Ms Castle was acting as the slave of [Alan] Joyce within her organisation. “She knew what he wanted without even a direct conversation with him.”

Mr Latham said: “75 years ago today young men from across the free world stormed the beaches of Normandy … to fight for the freedom of all mankind”.

“How in 2019 are so many Australians worried about the loss of religious freedom?” Mr Latham said. “How in 2019 do we look at Israel Folau and wonder how a football player and resident of NSW has lost his job?

“We’re fighting dictatorial corporations who purchase … control of sporting codes. “These big corporate chiefs preach diversity . . but they’re trying to impose uniformity.”

Mr Latham quoted Ms Castle’s written evidence which said days before Folau’s post Rugby Australia had commenced commercial negotiations with Qantas on further sponsorship.” She said corporate partners including Qantas had approached her at a meeting to “express their concerns”.

Mr Latham rose later and said “There’s no doubt Israel Folau was sacked by Qantas.”

He asked Labor members of the Legislative Council whether they wanted to support Qantas, or the worker in Israel Folau.

Mr Latham said it was outrageous Mr Folau had been sacked for comments he made well away from his workplace and it was not like he had made them in a post-match interview.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


6 June, 2019

Filmmakers Try to Browbeat Georgia
So let them do all their work in high-tax CA.  That would be amusing

It wouldn’t be Hollywood if there weren’t drama. And in this game of chicken between Georgia and the titans of Tinsel Town, there’s more of it every day.

It was all very theatrical when Netflix, Disney, WarnerMedia, and Sony Pictures started shaking their fists at pro-life states and made hollow threats about canceling productions. For most conservatives, it was a familiar scene. The entertainment industry has been using the same script since North Carolina’s HB 2, when celebrities climbed on their moral high horses to brow beat voters who believe in privacy. Now their empty bluster is directed at the South, where governors are signing abortion bans into law faster than liberals can yell, “Cut!”

This week, Disney CEO Bob Iger trotted out the same old non-committal soundbites. They would be reevaluating their projects, he promised. “We are watching it very carefully,” he reassured his allies. But as well as Iger and others are delivering their lines, their performance isn’t getting rave reviews from an important corner — their actual film crews.

“None of us voted for this,” said one key grip in Georgia, “and we shouldn’t have to suffer because of what the politicians decided.” A fight is brewing, others agreed, if their companies pull up stakes and move out.

BuzzFeed interviewed scores of frustrated people on location in the South — some of whom are starting campaigns of their own. Callie Moore, a camera assistant who works for Starz, is launching a “Stay and Fight in Georgia” initiative. “I generally don’t agree that boycotting is the right call to make a real difference here,” Moore argued. “I think the film industry brings so much to the state of Georgia, economically and diversity-wise, and I think it does so much good for the state. The least we can do is fight back and try to keep it here.”

“It’s ultimately hurting more people than it is going to do any justice,” one person fumed. “It’s not going to affect the politicians and the actors. They’re still going to keep going to work in other places like they always have. But… it’s going to destroy us.” Even liberals like former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams are using the hashtag #Consequences to remind the industry that its bravado would mean “lost jobs for carpenters, hair dressers, food workers & 100s of small businesses grown right here.”

Georgia legislators, on the other hand, are probably tired of rolling out the red carpet to people who use them for their tax climate, only to turn around and shame them for the values that make it possible. “Disney is free to do what they please, but their stated intent is highly hypocritical,” Stephen Kent points out in the Washington Examiner. “When Hollywood’s moral values collide with dollars it’s usually no contest.” After all, he argues, there didn’t seem to be even a whiff of this outrage when Iger shook on his sweet deals overseas.

“There’s a deep display of insincerity going on anytime Hollywood studios begin boycotts of conservative states for abortion restrictions. Disney just completed production of Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker, and before that was The Last Jedi, which featured memorable scenes shot in Croatia and Bolivia. In Croatia, abortion is restricted after 10 weeks. In Bolivia, it is entirely illegal. And yet, no Disney boycott.”

Not to mention, the Wall Street Journal points out, Iger’s obvious double standard in Asia. “More than a few Americans may also notice the contradiction that Disney is more worried about filming in a U.S. state that has passed a law democratically than it is operating its theme park and hawking its films in China, which uses facial-recognition software to monitor its population and has a million Uighurs in re-education camps…”

There will be more legislators like the one in California, trying to push more studios over the hump by dangling tax breaks in front of anyone with the hutzpah to leave pro-life states. Move to a place like ours that has a better appreciation for killing babies, the bill seems to say! It’s a nice try, but whatever modest incentives California can offer will still be offset by the state’s suffocating regulations and higher costs.

In the meantime, if Iger is so disgusted by unborn children, maybe Georgians shouldn’t wait for him to leave. Maybe they should force him out altogether. Obviously, Disney’s brand of “making dreams come true” is a bygone era. “Making the Left’s agenda a reality” is more like it. Threatening the people of Georgia because they simply want to allow children to be born speaks volumes of Iger’s new Disney.

In the end, though, these executives still see the world through dollars. That’s why these CEOs’ posturing never amounts to anything. It’s all an act. And by Hollywood standards, not a very good one.


Why Liberals Fear the State Department’s Review of the Nature of Human Rights

“Every human law has just so much of the nature of law as is derived from the law of nature,” Thomas Aquinas wrote. “But if at any point it deflects from the law of nature, it is no longer a law but a perversion of the law.”

Aquinas’s observation that human law either ratifies natural law or perverts it is a good North Star in promoting human rights around the world.

Now that the State Department is looking to form an advisory panel to ponder whether the debate on human rights has departed from these principles, however, progressive groups are running around crying foul.

The panel, officially to be called the State Department Commission on Unalienable Rights, “will provide fresh thinking about human rights discourse where such discourse has departed from our nation’s founding principles of natural law and natural rights.”

It is a much-needed corrective to what has taken place for several years. To be fair to the liberals, they do have much to fear.

The entire edifice the left has built in the United States and abroad is based on a foundation of laws and policies that depart from defensible ideas about the natural rights of humans. Instead, we have been promoting compulsions that trample these rights.

America decided at its very beginning that the individual has unalienable rights to free speech, freedom of conscience, self-defense, private property (which is the physical manifestation of our labor), and so on.

Good governments secure these universal rights, while bad governments abridge them.

Our founding documents say that these are God-given rights, a statement that nobody from Aquinas to John Locke to Thomas Jefferson (who wrote those words into the Declaration of Independence) would have found controversial. One does not need to have faith, however, to understand that these are universal axioms that precede the creation of government.

We can observe in our own human nature, for example, what Leo Strauss—one of the 20tth century’s leading proponents of the theory of natural rights—called “the equality of all men in regard to the right of self-preservation.”

We don’t need government—or the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), for that matter—to tell us that each of us would fight to prevent our murder. The right to liberty and property are really extensions of our survival instinct.

There is a debate within conservative circles at the moment as to whether rights regarding freedom from government interference are truly universal or, just like rights regarding freedom from want, they are the product of tradition and cultural values.

Strauss has Aquinas clarifying the matter this way: “the axioms from which the more specific rules of natural right are derived are universally valid and immutable; what are mutable only are the more specific rules.”

In other words, cultural habits tend to produce governments that put a premium on the defense of universal natural rights, and others that do not.

The United States and other freedom-loving nations have the responsibility to criticize those governments that quash the universal rights to religious conscience, to life, to property, etc.

These nations also have an obligation to stay out of each other’s internal debates over the size of the welfare state, for example. Ditto for such issues as abortion, same-sex marriage, or identity group rights, about which we ourselves continue to have a robust debate.

The promotion of these cultural values would undermine real universal rights. As The Heritage Foundation’s Emilie Kao and Grace Melton write, in a warning about United Nations mischief-making, “creating new rights based on membership in special identity groups corrodes principles of equality and universality.”

 “The freedom to live according to one’s conscience is integral to the flourishing of all human rights,” Kao and Melton add, yet Europe and the U.S. provide “numerous cases” of “non-discrimination laws being used to force individuals to endorse a new sexual orthodoxy by supporting same-sex relations or same-sex marriage, under threat of economic punishment.”

Progressives may have a problem with these issues being considered at the State Department; no one else should.


Twitter Users Dumbed Down

The social-media platform tends toward less-informed rather than more-informed users.

A recently published study performed by a team of Italian researchers concluded that using Twitter negatively impacts an individual’s cognitive abilities. Surprise!

Gian Paolo Barbetta, professor of economic policy at Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan and the study’s lead author, explained, “It’s quite detrimental. I can’t say whether something is changing in the mind, but I can say that something is definitely changing in the behavior and the performance.”

The Washington Post reports the researchers found that “using Twitter reduced performance on [an understanding and comprehension] test by about 25 to 40 percent of a standard deviation from the average result, as the paper explains. Jeff Hancock, the found director of the Stanford Social Media Lab, described these as ‘pretty big effects.’” The Post further noted, “The decline was sharpest among high-achieving students, including women, those born in Italy and those who had scored higher on a baseline test. This find, the paper notes, bolsters the conclusion that blogs and social networking sites actively impair performance, rather than simply failing to augment learning.”

Karen North, a professor at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, observed, “It’s the same problem that we have with the level of political discussion. People get 280 characters, and it’s not enough. Without the full background, you’re more likely to be led astray.”

Twitter responded by noting that it’s not in the business of making people smarter.

That may be the understatement of the year, especially when Twitter is suspending people like Erick Erickson for having the “audacity” to poke fun at Elizabeth Warren. He tweeted, “Elizabeth Warren set to introduce the Wrecking American Prosperity Under Marxism, or WAMPUM Act, wherein she gives everything away for free.” For that, he was suspended for “violating our rules against hateful conduct.” It would have been more honest to say that Twitter’s too dumb to understand what he meant.


Drag Queen Events Targeting Children Canceled at Licking and Delaware County Libraries

In the past 3 weeks, two drag queen events at Ohio public libraries for children have been canceled. The events, which were designed to teach children how to become drag queens, were canceled after community activists, pastors, and elected officials spoke out for common sense.

Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, Larry Householder led the way, sending a strong letter to the Licking County Public Library.

“When I was first informed our public libraries were being used to teach teenage boys how to become drag queens, I thought it was a joke,” Householder wrote. “But the joke is apparently on the taxpayers, who fund our libraries. This is a stunningly bizarre breach of the public trust. And it must stop.”

“Speaker Householder said what every Ohioan knows is true in their heart – drag queen training events have no place at our public libraries,” said Aaron Baer, President of Citizens for Community Values. “We need to let children be children, and not try to sexualize them. You don’t need to be a Bible-believing Christian to recognize that “Drag Queen Story Hours” are not something our taxpayer dollars should be promoting to kids.”

Since speaking out for our children, the attacks against Speaker Householder’s courageous stand have mounted. We need to support and thank him for standing up for our children and taxpayer dollars!

Via email


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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


5 June, 2019

Could Genetic Engineering end racism?

There is a rather lightweight article here which asks the above question but arrives at no clear conclusion. Jay Feierman [jay.feierman84@gmail.com] comments below:

"Racism" did not exist until a few hundred years ago. Before that, almost no humans saw anyone of any different race. Racism is a kind of in-group favoritism, which is a requirement for eusociality. It is eusociality that made us who we are. Eusocial species are the most successful species on earth. There are only three eusocial vertebrates and we are one of them. Eusociality requires multiple generations to live together, defense of a home territory, usually containing food stuffs and juveniles, cooperative care of the young and specialization of labor. In loose eusociality, specialization of labor is sufficient. In strict eusociality, there has to be non-breeding "worker" specialists.. We have been there (i.e., strict eusociality) before (see Laura Betzig's chapter in the forthcoming The Evolution of Religion book) and we are heading there again.

Without in-group favoritism, we as a species would not be what we are today. The first in-group favoritism was to genetic kin, then came tribalism and today nationalism. However, even within nationalism there is in-group favoritism evidenced by some people's devotion to particular sports teams or one's loyalty to the company in which one works, which is competing with similar companies for market share. And let's not forget different religious in-group breeding populations competing for market share within multi-cultural industrialized societies.  Who can forget Europe's Thirty Year War (Protestants versus Catholics) or the Sunni/Shia conflicts today, not to mention Islam against all non-Muslims.

One cannot eliminate racism without eliminating in-group favoritism. Most so called "races" (really genetic clines) see themselves as special. That's especially true for Chinese, Japanese and Ashkenazim even after the diaspora. I suspect that Sub-Saharan Africans also think they are special based on their superiority in most types of athletic competitions. What would the American NFL or NBA be without the amazing sports skills of the Sub-Saharan African American athletes.

Racism is also just a temporary blip in human history. In 1,000 years all the people of the world will all be tan and speak the same language.  Then, we will find other things to divide us. Religion used to divide us in the western industrialized and wealthy democracies. Today, that no longer occurs because of secularism. I could not tell you the religion of anyone living in my neighborhood except my next door neighbor, who I know is a Protestant minister. So when religion ceases to divide us, politics takes over. Today, the USA has not been as divided politically since the Civil War more than 150 years ago. A liberal university student is not going to be a close friend with a conservative university student (as rare as they may be) and certainly the two will not be romantic or intimate with one another.

The human pattern is to form groups that divide and then compete with one another. It has worked so far to get us to where we are today.. And yes, there are problems in that to have winners, one also has to have losers. I'm personally willing to accept that to keep us on the trajectory responsible for our phenomenal success as a species.

Email from Jay R. Feierman, M.D., jay.feierman84@gmail.com

AG Barr’s DOJ Preparing Anti-Trust Investigation Of Google For Targeting Conservatives

Anti-discrimination legislation is the key to taming the media giants

The U.S. Justice Department is preparing an investigation of Alphabet Inc’s Google to determine whether the tech giant broke antitrust law in operating its sprawling online businesses, two sources familiar with the matter said.

Officials from the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division and Federal Trade Commission, which both enforce antitrust law, met in recent weeks to give Justice jurisdiction over Google, said the sources, who sought anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record.

The potential investigation represents the latest attack on a tech company by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, who has accused social media companies and Google of suppressing conservative voices on their platforms online.

One source said the potential investigation, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, focused on accusations that Google gave preference to its own businesses in searches.

A spokesman for the Justice Department said he could not confirm or deny that an investigation was being considered. Google declined comment.

Early in 2013, the FTC closed a long-running investigation of Google, giving it a slap on the wrist. Under FTC pressure, Google agreed to end the practice of “scraping” reviews and other data from rivals’ websites for its own products, and to let advertisers export data to independently assess campaigns.

Google’s search, YouTube, reviews, maps and other businesses, which are largely free to consumers but financed through advertising, have catapulted it from a start-up to one of the world’s richest companies in just two decades.

Along the way, it has made enemies in both the tech world, who have complained to law enforcers about its market dominance, and in Washington, where lawmakers have complained about issues from its alleged political bias to its plans for China.

TripAdvisor chief executive and co-founder Stephen Kaufer welcomed news that Google could face Justice Department antitrust scrutiny.

“TripAdvisor remains concerned about Google’s practices in the United States, the EU and throughout the world,” Kaufer said in a statement.

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has pushed for action to break up Google, as well as other big tech companies. Senator Kamala Harris, who is also running for president on the Democratic ticket, has agreed.

“This is very big news, and overdue,” Sen. Josh Hawley, a Republican Google critic, said on Twitter, regarding the investigation.


SCOTUS Rejects Trans Bathroom Case

The Supreme Court rejected a case regarding school policy in a district which allows transgender students to use bathrooms of their choice.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court denied cert to Doe v. Boyertown Area School District, a case concerning a gender identity bathroom and locker room policy at a Pennsylvania high school.

In declining to take up the case, The Supreme Court let stand the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit’s decision, which dismissed the concerns of students who did not wish to share intimate spaces with members of the opposite sex.

As long as this policy remains in place, the problems with the policy remain too. High school girls like Alexis Lightcap will continue to have to share women’s spaces with biological males.

“I don’t want a man in the bathroom with me. I’m already uncomfortable in my body, trying to grow up,” said Lightcap.  “I have a thirteen-year-old sister who goes to this school. I don’t want her going into a bathroom where a male is allowed to just walk in there.”

“I wish that the school had protected my privacy somehow. It felt like a specific group of people were protected while the greater population was not,” Lightcap said.

Policies like the one at Boyertown Area School District leaves girls vulnerable to emotional trauma–or worse. At a school in Decatur, Georgia, a gender identity bathroom policy similar to the one at Boyertown enabled a boy who identifies as gender fluid to sexually assault a kindergarten girl.

Girls deserve to feel safe and have privacy in women’s only spaces.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg understood this. When she penned the majority opinion requiring Virginia Military Institute to admit women, she stipulated that VMI would need to “afford members of each sex privacy from the other sex in living arrangements.”

Why? As she wrote in an op-ed at The Washington Post while she was a law professor at Columbia, “Separate places to disrobe, sleep, perform personal bodily functions are permitted, in some situations required, by regard for individual privacy. Individual privacy, a right of constitutional dimension, is appropriately harmonized with the equality principle.”

Privacy and equality are not mutually exclusive. In fact, upholding the former is essential to preserving the latter—especially for women.

The #MeToo movement is a prescient reminder that women still face unique social challenges. Taking away women’s privacy from the male form and the male gaze directly by forcing them to share spaces with males is a step backwards in the fight for equality.

This problem is not going anywhere. As Ginsburg pointed out in her VMI opinion, “[p]hysical differences between the sexes are enduring,” and quoting Ballard v. United States, “[t]he two sexes are not fungible.”

The difference between the sexes is here to stay; so too are the problems with gender identity policies like the one at Boyertown.

Everyone deserves privacy and safety in private facilities. However, one-size-fits-all policies like Boyertown’s fail to take into account the very real needs of countless girls.

Better solutions exist. In the absence of a Supreme Court decision, it is on school administrators to find them.


No Border Wall, but This Will Have to Do for 1 Texas City

LAREDO, Texas—Pulling up in an SUV outside the 10-foot-tall fence at Laredo College, Narcizo Ramos recalls the problems the school used to have with unwanted visitors.

“I actually came to this college as a student,” Ramos, a special operations supervisor for the U.S. Border Patrol, told The Daily Signal. “I can tell you, this little fence that seems like it’s small—before that, you would actually see illegal immigrants and drug mules running through the school campus.

“And you would see Border Patrol agents and you would see campus police chasing them,” Ramos added.

The local college, with an enrollment of 12,000 students, finally had enough, said Ramos, a Border Patrol veteran of 19 years.

“It became such a nuisance to the college that they said, ‘We’ll erect our own fence,’” Ramos, 41, recalled. “It is actually pretty tall. It served its purpose. It did push the traffic they were seeing around it.”

Border Patrol officials and other advocates for a security wall along the southern border contend that although it wouldn’t stop illegal immigrants, it would slow them down and force them to cross the border in areas where they can be captured more easily.

Laredo, a city of 250,000, is a densely populated urban area along the southwest border that has no sections of wall to block entry by illegal immigrants who cross the Rio Grande River.

“We have no wall at all,” Joel Martinez, the Border Patrol deputy chief for the Laredo sector, told The Daily Signal during an interview at U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Laredo station.

“We have maybe one or 1.2 miles of aesthetic wall that surrounds the [college] here, which is right on the river banks. But it’s exactly that; it’s just aesthetics,” Martinez added.

“It’s not a security wall at all, in no form or fashion. But no, we have no infrastructure here at all, whatsoever, unlike the rest of the border.”

The college erected the barrier around the school in 2007, according to the Border Patrol.

“It has served a purpose for them, to keep the movement of aliens limited through their college,” another Border Patrol special operations supervisor, Rafael Garza, told The Daily Signal as he stood outside the 10-foot barrier.

Some Laredo residents, as well as activists, have put up significant resistance to construction of a border wall in Laredo.

Laredo College’s security fence was a collaboration between the city government, the school, and the Border Patrol.

The office of Rep. Henry Cuellar, R-Texas, refers to the structure as 1 mile of fencing in a fact sheet about border barriers in Texas. The project began in 2005 under the college’s president at the time, Ramón Dovalina, according to news reports.

Laredo College’s media relations office, reached Wednesday by phone and email, did not provide an immediate comment for this report. Sandy Lugo, a public relations specialist, said the appropriate spokespersons were out of town.

The school’s 200-acre main campus is near the bank of the Rio Grande, a high traffic area for illegal border crossings.

The Border Patrol has captured 24,000 illegal immigrants in Laredo since October 2018, the beginning of the federal fiscal year. The daily catch varies between 120 and 150.

Laredo College, established in 1947, initially was known as Laredo Junior College. It became Laredo Community College in 1993, before adopting the current name in 2018.

The main campus used to be a military base, set up in 1849 to protect Laredo’s frontier. First known as Camp Crawford, it was renamed Fort McIntosh in honor of Civil War soldier who fought for the Confederacy, Lt. Col. James McIntosh.

The Fort McIntosh campus kept its historical origins. The college established a 60-acre campus in south Laredo in 2004 that features more contemporary architecture, according to the school’s website.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


4 June, 2019

According to the British Army, it’s extremist to be a patriot

The British Army thinks soldiers who love their nation are suspect. How utterly bizarre

According to the British Army it is extremist to be patriotic. In a startling confirmation that political correctness is no longer the sole preserve of woke students and Corbyn-loving trustafarians and now has virtually every institution in the land in its deathly, censorious grip, the army – the actual army – has decreed that loving one’s nation too much is a sign of a warped, diseased mind. When soldiers – the people expected to give their lives to defend the nation – are being instructed that fondness for your nation is an iffy attribute, you know modern Britain is in serious moral trouble.

The ‘patriotism as extremism’ decree came in an internal army document on the giveaway signs for right-wing extremism. Army chiefs are told to look out for certain ‘indicators and warnings’ that an individual soldier might be leaning towards an ‘extreme right-wing’ outlook. These indicators include referring to oneself as a ‘patriot’, becoming ‘increasingly angry’ about ‘perceived injustices and threats to so-called “national identity”’, using the word ‘Islamofascism’, and describing political correctness as a ‘left-wing or communist plot’.

What is bizarre, if not outright perverse, about these indicators of ‘right-wing extremism’ is that just a few years ago such outlooks would have been seen as essential attributes for every aspiring soldier. Patriotism? Surely that’s a necessary moral and political principle for the young men and women expected to risk life and limb in defence of the country? Feeling angry about threats to national identity? Surely that, too, is a pretty good emotion for defenders of the nation to feel? If the people we encourage to take up arms against the nation’s enemies are not allowed to feel strongly about threats to national identity, what is the point of having an army at all?

As for labelling the use of phrases like ‘Islamofascism’ or ‘PC is a left-wing plot’ as warning signs of right-wing extremism, that is just a transparent and deeply sinister attempt to thought-police soldiers and punish them for holding certain views. Views, it should be noted, that a great many people hold. I’m not a fan of the term ‘Islamofacism’ and I think it’s far too simplistic to refer to the culture of PC as a ‘communist plot’, but many good, normal people do refer to Islamist terrorists’ mass slaughter of their fellow citizens as a form of fascism and do believe that PC is the handiwork of left-wing cliques. There’s nothing wrong with these views. They certainly aren’t proof that someone is descending into a skinhead-style nutty extremism.

The idea that using the word ‘Islamofascism’ makes you a bit of a fascist is possibly the most striking thing about the army’s mad list of indicators. One of the most serious threats to Britain’s national security at the moment is extreme Islamist terrorism. Hundreds of British citizens have been killed both at home and abroad by Islamist terrorists in recent years. Many British soldiers are among the dead. To pathologise and demonise soldiers’ strong feelings about the Islamist terrorist threat – so that any squaddie who says something like ‘fuck these Islamofascists’ can be reported to his superiors for extremist speech – strikes me as utterly self-defeating and a sign of the moral rot afflicting Britain’s political and military institutions. Although maybe talking about the moral rot of the elites is an indicator of extremism, too?

There is nothing extreme or evil in love for one’s nation. There is nothing wrong with calling oneself a patriot. There is nothing bad in wanting to stand up for a sense of national identity. Many people feel these things. And soldiers are trained to feel these things. An army that views patriotism as dangerous and standing up for Britain as suspect is an army that will soon be incapable of defending the country from external threats.


British police recruit rejected because he was a white heterosexual male joins force which discriminated against him

A university graduate will finally get to "follow in his father's footsteps" as he joins the same police force which rejected him for being a white heterosexual man

Matthew Furlong, 25, is expected to take up his position with Cheshire Police almost two years after he first applied to join but was rejected as the force was running a diversity drive.

Cheshire Constabulary, in which Mr Furlong’s father is a serving detective inspector, was found guilty of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, race and sex following an employment tribunal earlier this year. 

A settlement has now been reached and Mr Furlong will be joining as a student officer in September, his lawyers said.

At the time of his tribunal victory, Mr Furlong had said: “My dad has served more than 20 years with Cheshire Police and I had always wanted to follow in his footsteps, ever since school. Not just anywhere but in the place I grew up.”

He said that his experience had “completely shattered my confidence in the police force recruitment system” and noted that if he had “lied on my interview form and said I was bisexual” then he would have got the job.

Mr Furlong's lawyers said it was the first reported case of its kind in the UK, after the employment tribunal ruled the constabulary used positive action - where employers take steps to recruit certain groups of people with different characteristics - but in a discriminatory way.

Jennifer Ainscough, an employment lawyer at Slater and Gordon, said: "Positive action is an incredibly important tool to aid diversity in the workforce but this case is a reminder that it must be applied correctly to ensure that employers still recruit candidates based on merit above all else.”

Cheshire Constabulary Deputy Chief Constable Julie Cooke said that the processes had been put in place “with the best of intentions”. She added: "We accept the findings of the tribunal and have looked very carefully at our entire recruitment practice.”


When Did Our Government Decide It Could Tell Patients What To Feel?

By: Dr. Dovid Schwartz

Everyone’s afraid. I’ve been a licensed psychotherapist now for more than half a century — in hospitals, clinics, and private practice. I know how much so many of us are driven, not just by our dreams and hopes and abilities, but by the things we are afraid of.

My patients come to see me because they are struggling with fears, of one kind or another. Feeling enslaved to something stronger than themselves, they want to be free.

Some struggle with their sexuality, or with same-sex attraction. They want to move past those feelings; they ask for my help. So I listen. I make some suggestions, which they are free to embrace or ignore.

Before 1973, when the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders, no one objected if people — of their own volition — asked a therapist to help them overcome feelings they didn’t want.

In 1986, for example, the most revered Torah leader of our community, the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, wrote to a young man struggling with these very issues, encouraging him that “You surely know that there are doctors and psychiatrists who treat [this], and have been successful in many cases. I know a number of cases of people who had this problem but eventually overcame it, married and raised a family … the problem is controllable, for if it were beyond human control, HaShem [the Lord] would not have made it a sin.”

But things have changed, with the rise of LGBT activists whose agenda requires not only acceptance of such behavior, but society’s full-on endorsement of it.

Last year, the New York City Council adopted an ordinance making it illegal for therapists like me to provide our services to people uncomfortable with their same-sex attractions, or confused about their gender identity.

Understand: The law says therapists are perfectly welcome — even encouraged — to help a patient who wants to explore, develop, or come to peace with homosexual or transgender feelings. But if we offer professional assistance, at their request, to people who want to reduce same-sex attraction or embrace their biological sex, and if city officials find out about it, we can be fined thousands of dollars.

In other words, it’s legal in New York City to help someone who wants to identify as homosexual or transgender. But it’s illegal to help someone who doesn’t want to embrace those desires.

The ordinance is actually calculated to increase fears. Not only among therapists who can’t afford the financial penalties (or bad publicity), but also among our patients.

People come to therapists to confide deeply personal things they would never tell anyone else — sometimes, things they’ve never even admitted out loud to themselves.

But my patients trust our conversations to be private, and depend on me to keep these discussions in strictest confidence. That trust is absolutely essential to their healing and ability to move through and beyond the issues they’re struggling with.

All of that changes, once they begin to fear that their government might demand to pry into our conversations. That fear could keep them from seeking help at all, even though they’re suffering from real psychological and emotional problems. But New York officials apparently prefer that people live with their fears and confusions, if that’s what it takes for activists to know our city is politically correct.

I trust my patients. People warn me that someone might feign a problem, just to get me in trouble. That’s a risk I’m willing to take, to help my patients. But, sadly, not all of my colleagues feel that way. Some are telling patients who express these homosexual and transgender concerns, “There’s nothing I can do — you’ll just have to live with this.”

What a terrible thing to tell anyone: There is no hope. No one can help you.

After 53 years of offering the best help I can to people struggling with everything from crippling addiction to family problems, I cannot bring myself to turn away people who ask for my assistance — even if city officials want me to do so.

That’s why I am working with Alliance Defending Freedom. They’re helping me file a federal lawsuit against the city of New York for violating my freedom of speech… and infringing not only on my own religious faith, but on that of my patients as well.

Raised as a secular Jew, I embraced the Orthodox faith as a young man. My faith frames my life. I live in the heart of an Orthodox Jewish community; most of my patients share my religious beliefs and convictions. In discouraging them from seeking help, I’m effectively directing them to live in disobedience to the Torah and its teaching. I will not do that.

All of us are part of a community. For those communities to be healthy and function well, we must be able to trust each other. We can’t simply tell those who are struggling to get over it… that a changing culture doesn’t allow them to ask questions, or seek answers, or reach out for help.

That’s cruel. It’s intolerant. But more than that, for me — it’s a violation of my profession, my constitutional rights, and my deepest personal beliefs. And of the lifelong responsibility I’ve had to assist those who seek my help. They come to me with their fears. I will not send them away with more.


Living on the dole

Yesterday, in response to calls to raise Australian unemployment payments by $75 a week I wrote briefly:

In my youth I lived on the dole for a time.  It was then  £2/7/6 pw., if that notation means anything to anybody these days. Equal to $70.00 these days. I lived well and even saved money on it.  But I spent nothing on beer and cigarettes and I ate exclusively at home.  I could even afford an egg or two with my breakfast porridge.  Eggs, porridge and milk are very cheap to this day and form a very solid  foundation for a day's nourishment. And you can generally get day-old bread for a song. Good for toast. I don't think it is hard at all if one is not spoilt by uncompromising expectations

My comments that in my youth I lived on an unemployment dole of $70.00 pw evoked some incredulity. The current dole in Australia is $200 more than that. Why the difference?

For a start, I initially gave the actual dole I received: £2/7/6.  I then used the Reserve Bank's online calculator to translate £2/7/6 in 1960 to current dollars.  And $70 was the answer.  The Reserve bank calculator was based on official price indices so is a very scholarly figure which makes allowances for just about anything  that might distort the answers that it gives.  So I think we might have to live with the fact that I really did live on that little.

So how?  A revealing part of the answer is that before I went on the dole I had a job as a junior clerk -- in which I was paid around £6 pw So ALL young sprouts at that time had to live on very little by modern standards.  I was 17 in 1960.

Note the age factor.  As a junior I did not get the full dole.  The full dole was the equivalent of about $100 pw in terms of current purchasing power. But it's still not much, is it?

So how come?  I am afraid the explanation is pretty simple.  We ALL were a lot poorer 60 years ago.  The vast influence of international capitalism has been incredibly enriching for us all over time.  Back in 1960 we did have a lot of the things that people now do but we had to work a lot longer for them.  We did for instance have motor cars but only the well-off had new ones. My father never had a new car in his life.

Eating out was almost unknown but most people could afford a square meal at home at dinner time.  But it was a VERY square meal. Day after day, month after month and year after year it consisted of the same thing: Meat and 3 veg.  Australia has great herds of beef cattle so even working class people could often afford steak a lot of the time but when that failed there were always sausages or minced beef. And it was amazing what you could do with mince. The 3 veg. that came with the meat ALWAYS included some form of potatoes (usually boiled) plus a selection of boiled beans, cabbage and carrots. If you were a bit fancy you might get cauliflower. 

So EVERYBODY lived very economically in those days. They had to.  But there were also people who were really poor -- people who spent half their money on beer and cigarettes mainly.  They had to live the way I did: feeding themselves mainly off milk, porridge, eggs and day-old bread with plum jam on it.  Day-old bread was generally available for half price or less and made very good toast.  And you bought plum jam in big tins to keep the price down. Most houses had a substantial backyard where you could grow most of your fruit and vegetables if you were thrifty.

Food aside, unemployment was less than 2%.  You could get on a steam train and go interstate to visit family and friends at vacation time. There was always the family car for local trips. The newspapers had lots of interesting news, particularly from overseas. You could hear all the latest songs on the radio. The ladies could buy pretty dresses occasionally and even in small towns there were several bars where one could drink cold beer after a hard day's work.  What else is there?  So it wasn't too bad, all told. And there was a lot less obesity!

What I have writen above is a very abbreviated account  of working class life in Australia in 1960 but I think it still has the lesson in it that unemployed people today have lots of scope to cut back rather than raiding the taxpayer for money that will keep them in the style that they aspire to.

And there are some unwise people for whom no dole would ever be enough.  There is a story here of a "struggling" Sydney single mother who spends two thirds of her dole on rent.  And where does she live?  On Sydney's prestigious and very expensive North Shore.  And she feels hard done by! I lived in a small Queensland farming town when I was on the dole. For people with "expectations", that would not do at all at all, of course


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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


3 June, 2019

The SPLC Is Not Just Trying to Silence Alliance Defending Freedom  – It’s Trying to Silence You

It’s been a year since Amazon removed Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) from its AmazonSmile program, which allows customers to choose a non-profit group to receive a percentage of any Amazon purchase.

It didn’t take us long to find out why.

Amazon pointed to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which labels ADF as a “hate group” simply for holding beliefs shared by millions of Christians across the world.

These are beliefs that you likely share: Marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Life is sacred from conception until natural death. God created man in His image – male and female.

But the SPLC has decided that these beliefs are no longer welcome in the public square. And it has directed its powerful allies and considerable resources – its assets are more than $500 million – toward silencing anyone who holds these beliefs.

Since then, the attacks have only intensified.

Microsoft used the SPLC’s “hate” label to cut off our ability to buy software at non-profit pricing. This adds more than $100,000 to our annual costs.

In Arizona, a secularist organization attacked ADF in newspaper editorials, billboard ads, and proposed legislation over our ability to sponsor a specialty license plate that proclaims our national motto: “In God We Trust.”
Members of the mainstream media parrot the SPLC’s false talking points.

For several months, opponents attacked ADF with vicious and dishonest billboards in Times Square.
But that’s not all.

ADF team members have also paid the price for the SPLC’s false charges.

They have been harassed online, disowned by their alma maters, and shouted down in public places. Some have had to be escorted by security officers when they speak on college campuses. One team member walked out of church to find her car window shot out days after arguing on behalf of our client Jack Phillips at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Those with ties to ADF – allied attorneys, Blackstone Fellows, and even highly qualified judicial nominees – have been doxxed and dragged through the mud in the media.

This is now how the SPLC spends its vast resources and power – harassing peaceful, conservative organizations and people simply because it disagrees with our beliefs.

It’s a far cry from the good work that the SPLC used to do, combatting truly despicable groups such as the Ku Klux Klan. Since then, the SPLC has devolved into a far-left propaganda machine that raises money by labeling legitimate groups as “haters.” Even recent revelations that the SPLC suffers from an internal culture of sexual harassment and racial discrimination hasn’t seemed to slow it down in its campaign to silence those with whom it disagrees.

But the “hate” label doesn’t just impact us here at ADF. It impacts you.

ADF is the largest and most effective legal organization in the world dedicated to the defense of religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family. We advocate for the right of all people to freely live out their faith. And we do so at the highest levels – winning nine Supreme Court cases since 2011.

When we defend clients such as Jack Phillips and Barronelle Stutzman, we are defending the right of all people to live and work consistently with their beliefs.

When we win for free speech on college campuses, that secures that right for everyone on campus – and gives future generations a better understanding of what it means to peacefully interact with opposing viewpoints.

Ultimately, when we defend religious freedom and free speech, we are defending you.

In all of this, ADF is motivated by this principle found in 1 Corinthians 13: “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. [Love] always protects…”

We strive to uphold the truth and to protect freedom for everyone – not just for our clients or for ourselves, but for all Americans. In all our work, we seek to cultivate a society defined by respect and tolerance for different views, the free exchange of ideas, and robust debate and dialogue.

But if the SPLC had its way, we wouldn’t be defending that freedom for anyone.


Democrat Louisiana Governor Signs Abortion Ban: ‘I Have Been True to My Word and Beliefs’

On Thursday, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards (D) bucked party lines and signed SB 184, a bill banning most abortions in the state.

In a press release, the state's Democrat governor said that, by signing the pro-life bill into law, he is remaining true to both his word and beliefs:

“In 2015, I ran for governor as a pro-life candidate after serving as a pro-life legislator for eight years. As governor, I have been true to my word and beliefs on this issue.”

Edwards’ position on abortion is a deeply personal one. When his wife was pregnant with their first child, doctors found that the child had spina bifida and encouraged the couple to abort. They refused and now that daughter, Samantha, is almost 30 and lives a normal life as a school counselor.

Donna Edwards, John’s wife, said of their daughter in a 2015 campaign ad: “I was devastated – but, John Bel never flinched. He said, ‘No, no; we’re going to love this baby no matter what.’”

The bill outlaws abortion once a fetus’s heartbeat can be detected, at approximately six weeks of pregnancy. It includes exceptions only if the mother’s health is at “serious risk” and does not provide exceptions for rape, incest or other extreme circumstances.

Democrats have vowed to oppose all such pro-life legislation. “When Republicans are taking away women’s rights at every step, it’s on the Democrats to show that we are the party that will protect women. When we fail to do that, we make it absolutely hopeless for women around the country,” Democratic consultant Rebecca Katz said of the bill.

Edwards faces re-election in November of this year. His two major Republican opponents, Eddie Rispone and Ralph Abraham have tried to connect him to the increasingly pro-abortion politics of the national Democratic Party, even though the number abortions in Louisiana has declined with Edwards in office.


Illinois House Passes Sweeping Pro-Abortion Bill, Would Allow Partial-Birth Abortion

The Illinois House of Representatives passed the Reproductive Health Act by a margin of 65-40 on Tuesday, legislation that could dramatically expand abortion access. The bill now moves to the Illinois Senate, where Democrats hold a 40-19 advantage over Republicans.

Six Illinois House Democrats voted against the measure and another four Democrats voted "present." The governor has indicated he will sign the legislation into law, if it passes in the Senate.

As reported by the Chicago Tribune, the bill eliminates spousal consent, waiting periods, and criminal penalties for abortion doctors. The bill (SB25) also overturns Illinois’ partial-birth abortion ban – partial-birth abortion is currently illegal at the federal level with an exception for the life of the mother.

In addition, the legislation, as explained by the ACLU of Illinois, requires private health insurance companies to provide coverage for abortion.

The Reproductive Health Act would ensure “that every individual has a fundamental right to make autonomous decisions about one's own reproductive health. Provides that every individual who becomes pregnant has a fundamental right to continue the pregnancy and give birth or to have an abortion, and to make autonomous decisions about how to exercise that right.”

It further provides “that a fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent rights under the law, of this State.”

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D), who has declared that Illinois “will be the most progressive state in the nation when it comes to guaranteeing women’s reproductive rights,” has expressed his willingness to sign the Act into law should it pass in the Illinois Senate.

“With reproductive health care under attack across the country, we must do everything we can to protect women’s rights in Illinois,” Pritzker said in a statement.

The Thomas More Society, a conservative legal group, strongly opposes the bill, stating last week that, “The Reproductive Health Act is an extreme bill that would basically enshrine abortion as a positive good in Illinois law.” The legal group has not yet decided whether it will challenge any of the bill’s provisions.

The passage of this bill in the Illinois House of Representatives comes as the 2019 legislative season has seen 16 states introduce “heartbeat bills,” the most polarizing of these being in Alabama and Georgia. Chicago Representative Kelly Cassidy (D-Ill.), a leading proponent of the bill, has painted this bill as a response to the pro-life movement’s recent legislative gains.

“Today, Illinois says we are better than this war on women. Illinois says we trust women. Please join me in saying that loud and clear: ‘We trust women,’” the representative said.

Illinois has now joined Nevada, New York, and Vermont in introducing bills that shore-up access to abortion.


Australia: 'It's not a new start - it's degrading': Calls to raise Centrelink unemployment payments by $75 a week as jobseekers say they can't find work - but some don't agree

In my youth I lived on the dole for a time.  It was then  £2/7/6 pw., if that notation means anything to anybody these days. I lived well and even saved money on it.  But I spent nothing on beer and cigarettes and I ate exclusively at home.  I could even afford an egg or two with my breakfast porridge.  Eggs, porridge and milk are very cheap to this day and form a very solid  foundation for a day's nourishment. And you can generally get day-old bread for a song. Good for toast. I don't think it is hard at all if one is not spoilt by uncompromising expectations

There are renewed calls to increase Newstart unemployment benefits by $75 a week as many job seekers remain unemployed for years - but not everyone agrees.

Melbourne grandmother Caryn Hearsch, 62, has been unemployed for 10 years despite applying for over 750 jobs. 

'Newstart - who came up with that word? It's not a new start, trust me, it is not. It's degrading,' she told A Current Affair.

She is on the Newstart allowance of $40 a day - which has not changed for 25 years.

'It's like you apply for these jobs, and within a day or two, you get an email saying, "oh, we're really sorry but you're not the preferred candidate",' Ms Hearsch said. 'And it just gets really depressing and frustrating.'

Ms Hearsch relies on a friend to give her bread and milk since she barely has money for food after spending her allowance on bills and her mortgage.

The grandmother is not eligible for the aged pension for another four years and is eager to work in the meantime. 

An online poll of over 33,000 Australians revealed that 67 per cent of people support a $75 raise to the allowance. 

'It’s highly competitive job market out there. So just telling someone "get a job" is simply cruel and insensitive,' a Sydney man said.  'Try living on Newstart when your getting older but not old enough for age pension,' a grandmother said.

'The highest number of those that are on Newstart are over the age of 40 and many would love to be working. Age is one of the biggest problems with gaining work.'

The poll also revealed that 33 per cent of people oppose a raise to Newstart. 'No, go get a job. Raise the payment for families,' a Brisbane mother said. 'I just don’t agree if our taxes rise because of this,' a Melbourne father said.

'If the government wants to give extra to people on benefits that’s fine but it will impact on everyone else.'

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has stated that he thinks the allowance is fine as it is. 'We have one of the best safety nets, if not the best, of anywhere in the world in our country,' he said.  

The Greens have a policy to increase the allowance by $75 a week while Labor has supported increasing the allowance by an undisclosed amount.

The Project was recently branded 'shameful and nasty' for a segment about living on Newstart which depicted a welfare recipient splurging $16 on avocado toast.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


2 June, 2019

Patriotism has a big win in India

Now a worldwide trend?

When Narendra Modi won office in 2014, it was referred to as the Modi Wave. What happened in India's general elections this year can only be described as a Modi Tsunami. Mr Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won a second term with an increased majority.

That has stunned political commentators who were expecting a reduced majority or a minority and Coalition government.

Instead, the BJP won about six times the number of seats as India's main opposition party, the Indian National Congress, even winning districts where it has never held sway before. It's a thumping mandate.

It's also a tidal wave of populism, trumping policy. Mr Modi spent his campaign giving fierce, theatrical speeches and his team has dominated the narrative on social media, where most Indians get their news and information.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi failed to make an impression in the physical or digital world, with critics calling him lacklustre.  His routing was so complete he even lost his seat in Uttar Pradesh state to a former TV actress who ran for the BJP.

While Mr Gandhi appeals to parts of India's established elite and intellectual classes, Mr Modi has the common touch. He sold himself as a man from a poor background who was strong and loud enough to defend India against the world. He calls himself 'Chowkidar', which translates to something akin to a watchman or security guard.

Perhaps the nation's faith in 'Modi the Protector' is best summed up by a woman who danced at celebrations at BJP offices in New Delhi. "We as women and housewives need a strong husband to protect the family. Likewise, Narendra Modi is only leader who can protect India," she said.

Mr Modi's government has failed to protect India from disastrous unemployment levels, the highest in 45 years, according to government data leaked to the press earlier this year. While the economy is growing, millions are out of work despite Mr Modi's 2014 pledges to create jobs, reform taxation and boost India's manufacturing sector.

In a country where agriculture employs more than half of the entire workforce, farmers are suffering from low prices and crippling debts.

But Indians believe their Prime Minister has protected them from a far greater danger than economic woe: Pakistan.

When the two countries spiralled towards the brink of war after a terror attack in Kashmir in February, Mr Modi sent warplanes to bomb Pakistan.

Even though there were no casualties — and no proof the bombs hit their targets — Indian nationalism was masterfully stoked by Mr Modi at every turn. In a narrative that echoes the style of US President Donald Trump, Mr Modi reassured that they were "winning".

When Mr Modi declared election victory on Twitter, he didn't even mention his party or portray the election as a contest between two sides. "India wins yet again!" he tweeted.

Mr Modi now heads what is probably the strongest government India has seen since independence in 1947, and can claim one of the strongest mandates ever bestowed on an Indian prime minister.

With so much power in the hands of one man, there will be no room for losers in the world's biggest democracy.


Black is not beautiful in India

The winners of a recent Indian beauty contest were all very "fair", in a country of mostly brown people

The worldwide beauty ideal is Northern European -- and the closer you get to that the more beautiful you are.  All other clains are pissing into the wind.


Political correctness in the arts

It would appear that the infection of identity politics has spread from the creatives to the critics. Praise for Christopher Nolan’s film Dunkirk was offset by those who complained that he had not included a sufficiently diverse cast, in spite of the historical fact that the overwhelming majority of those evacuated were young white men. It seems to me that if your initial reaction to a work as arresting as Dunkirk is to appraise the degree to which its auteur has fulfilled diversity quotas, then you are not well equipped to judge his artistry.

That is not to say that total objectivity is either possible or desirable when it comes to criticism. But the best critics are able to appreciate a piece of work on its own terms, whereas the worst seem to believe that success should be measured on the basis of how closely the artist reflects their own ideological perspective. Consider the reaction in the left-wing press to Morrissey’s new album California Son. The Guardian’s one-star review offers very little insight into the music itself, and might best be paraphrased as ‘I despise Morrissey’s politics’. A critic for the Independent was at least able to admit the quality of the album, but could muster no more than two stars for ‘an old hero who’s broken our hearts’. It is dispiriting to see critical faculties so easily overwhelmed by the intolerance of moral certitude.

Recent examples of this kind of shoddy analysis are myriad. One Guardian critic was so offended by Chris Lilley’s new series Lunatics that he admitted to feeling ‘personally insulted’. There was the BBC article which rated Game of Thrones episodes as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ based on the percentage of female dialogue, seemingly promoting the false correlation of gender representation and artistic merit. A similar approach was taken by the journalist who last week took Quentin Tarantino to task for the number of lines assigned to Margot Robbie’s character in his film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. If this trend is to continue, critics may as well be replaced with computer algorithms producing pie charts instead of reviews.

This kind of philistinism has its origins in academia. Many literary critics have made a name for themselves by scouring canonical texts for evidence of homophobia, sexism and racism. The late Kate Millett, for instance, is best known for her 1970 book Sexual Politics, in which she denounced the likes of DH Lawrence and Norman Mailer for their supposedly sexist and patriarchal tropes. This kind of activism masquerading as criticism has since become mainstream. There’s a good reason why Camille Paglia once described Millett as the woman who ‘made vandalism chic’.

It is peculiar that the very same poststructuralist ideology that produced Roland Barthes’ concept of ‘the death of the author’ should now have spawned a generation of moral detectives who are seemingly obsessed with the behaviour of writers and other artists. Much has been made of Roald Dahl’s anti-Semitism, for instance, but his works remain essential reading for children. As Christopher Hitchens once observed, Dahl’s inherent unpleasantness was probably the very thing that enabled him to produce such twisted classics as The Witches and The Twits in the first place. If we were to consign all works by morally dubious writers to the memory hole, the Western canon would be so flimsy it would hardly be worth reading at all.

The novelist Anatole France once remarked that it is just as well that the heart is naive and the mind is not. If the angels were to write, he opined, they would doubtless produce bad literature. Oscar Wilde put it another way in The Critic as Artist when he noted that ‘all bad poetry springs from genuine feeling’. One need only visit a graveyard to see that he is right; some of the most mawkish epitaphs I’ve ever seen have clearly stemmed from profound sorrow. Critics, in other words, should be grateful that not all artists are decent people.

Good criticism is able to balance the subjectivity of personal temperament with the objectivity of professional experience. To put it another way, a critic who is offended is unlikely to offer much in the way of insight. According to Vyvyan Holland, Wilde’s second son, his father’s novel The Picture of Dorian Gray was universally condemned by critics on the basis that it was ‘prurient, immoral, vicious, coarse, and crude’. When the novel was republished, Wilde added a preface as a form of rebuttal, which should be required reading for all critics today. In it, he explains that vice and virtue are simply ‘materials’ for artists, reminding us that the depiction of immorality is not necessarily an endorsement of such behaviour. Even if it were, why should it matter? ‘There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book’, Wilde proclaims. ‘Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.’

Art in and of itself is a form of criticism; it is the ultimate expression of individuality, the interpretation of life through a singular lens. Just as there is artistry in criticism, there is a critical component to all forms of art. This is why the critic deserves our respect as much as the artist does, but it is also why he or she should be held to account when failing to live up to the high standards of the craft. A critic who is driven primarily by their politics, who is blinded by their own sense of moral superiority, or who cannot temporarily surrender to the worldview of their subject, can barely be said to be a critic at all. And those who fall into this category should not be surprised to hear themselves compared to eunuchs.


Australia: Footballer's faith compelled him to shout a warning: repent

Israel Folau criticised several groups in his Instagram post, but only one of them has complained.  Guess which one.

On April 10, Israel Folau posted on his Instagram account the following message: “Warning: Drunks, Homosexuals, Adulterers, Liars, Fornicators, Thieves, Atheists, Idolators: Hell Awaits You. Repent! Only Jesus Saves.” Next to this big, bold statement was the message: “Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him.”

This eye-catching text was from the Bible, a loose paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 6:9-10: “Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

If someone else had posted this it would almost certainly have slipped under the radar. But Folau was being watched. Partly this is because of his brilliance as a footballer. He holds the record for the most tries scored in Super Rugby. In 2007 he won rugby league’s Dally M Rookie of the Year award for having scored the most tries in his debut year. In that same year he was the all-time youngest international player (he was 18 at the time).

But it looks as though Folau was also being watched for an opportunity to punish him for being a Christian; indeed, for being a blunt defender of the classic, conservative Christian faith.

The attack on Folau provoked an unexpected reaction: many Aussies were unhappy. They flooded open-line radio with calls in support of the right of Folau to hold and express his faith. This support was not limited to the 52.1 per cent of Australians who called themselves Christian in the 2016 census. A bucket load of callers took the line of “I don’t support what he said or the way he said it, but, hey the bloke’s obviously sincere so why is he being bashed up like this?”

Whether articulated or not, the underlying feeling of much of this response was: Australia is a free country. There was a distinct unease about the possibility of losing at least some degree of freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, freedom of belief and freedom of religion in this wide, brown land.

Tone deaf to the electorate Bill Shorten came down on the wrong side of this debate in the election campaign. Ignoring section 116 of the Constitution, which says there shall be no religious test for public office, Shorten demanded to know where Scott Morrison stood on the “gays/hell” issue. This blunder won him no friends (apart from the inner-city crowd, who were already on his side).

For Rugby Australia this is a lose-lose debate. The religious test they applied to Folau’s employment looked so unfair to him that he bypassed their internal appeal process as pointless and announced his intention to test them in the courts. So Rugby Australia now will either lose the court battle or lose its major sponsor. It has already lost its best player.

This is no storm in a tea cup: this is central to Australia’s character as a nation and raises three questions:

 *  Why should there be penalties for defending classical Christianity?

 *  Why do the rights of one group trump all other rights?

 *  What is the actual content of the view he is defending?

Let’s tackle them. First, why should there be penalties for defending classic, conservative Christianity? It’s not as though Christianity is an eccentric, minority belief system. It’s the largest faith on earth with 2.3 billion followers.

Some will say people can believe what they like in private but the views of classic Christianity do not belong in the public arena. The problem is that Jesus ruled out that option when he said: “Everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32-33)

So according to Jesus there is no such thing as private Christianity — there is only whole-of-life Christianity (public and private). Being a Christian means speaking about it. The Christian faith is part of our community and not a private matter.

Some politicians will say, “Well, we have to balance the rights of Christians to speak their faith aloud with the right of homosexuals not to be offended.” But from the words of Jesus it is clear that telling Christians they are not permitted to speak their faith aloud is telling them they are not permitted to be Christian.

Which brings us to the second question: why should the rights of one group trump all other rights? In this case it appears that the right of homosexuals not to be offended trumps the right of Christians to be as Christian as Jesus intended. It is especially interesting to note that Folau included eight groups in his post — none of the others has complained.

Surely the issue is that none of those seven other groups is demanding approval from everyone. On the whole, drunks, adulterers and the rest don’t care whether you approve or disapprove of them.

The homosexual community, however, appears not to be willing to accept disapproval. They may say all they want is tolerance. But that’s looking increasingly like a dishonest claim. They won’t, it seems, settle for anything short of complete approval.

Devout Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, atheists, Christians or Calathumpians don’t expect you to approve of them. They think they’re right, and if you believe differently you’re wrong — and they’re quite happy to debate this with you. But they don’t demand that you be legally compelled to approve of them, and legally silenced and punished if you disapprove.

Which brings us to the third question: what is the actual content of the view Folau is defending? Is it simply a system of morality? Folau lists eight behaviours that with the support of the Bible he says are proscribed — unacceptable to God — so it could certainly look like a question of morality.

In part this is a problem created by the brevity of social media posts, which don’t allow for nuance. But Folau himself is pointing beyond simple moral judgment when he writes that “Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him”.

He is drawing attention to the fact that classical Christianity is certainly about judgment, but it is also about sacrifice and forgiveness. For 2000 years Christians have been calling it “good news” because the news that God loves you despite your behaviour and offers forgiveness can only count as very good news, indeed.

This good news Folau is talking about addresses the fact of death. The Christian world view says “people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

The point is that life is a journey and, like every journey, it has an end. It would be intelligent to give some thought to how and where the journey of life might end. You might protest: but we can’t know! It’s not possible to know what death will be like and whether we might survive it, and, if so, what that survival might be like.

Picture it as being like a group of travellers walking down a long country road. They fall into an argument about where the road will end. One of them may claim it ends at a steep cliff face and that’s it. Someone else may suggest it ends at a railway station where a train is waiting to take you back to the beginning so you can do the journey all over again. Yet another may suggest the road of life ends in a garden and, just like Christmas, everyone will get gifts and be happy. Another may argue there are two cities at the end of the road: a comfortable one (“heaven”) and a bleak one (“hell”) and that we can be switched from the bad option to the good option as a free gift because the lord of the road loves the travellers and has paid for the gift.

That is pretty much the state of the debate in the modern world, and that brings us back to Folau’s warning that we should avoid hell.

Cartoonists have had a lot of fun will hell through the years, picturing comic demons in red tights with pitchforks prodding hapless condemned souls into furnaces. However, all the amusing things, or silly things, that have ever been said about hell, or thought about hell, spring from our reluctance to seriously consider death — what it is and what it means.

Here’s a practical definition: death really means separation.

For a start, death is the separation of the mind (or soul if you prefer) from the body. Most human beings who have ever lived, from Plato to now, have believed that the mind (or soul) will survive this separation. If it doesn’t, then that answers our question of destination. But if it does it means we are on the right track in thinking about death as separation.

But there is another separation that counts as death: separation from God. In classical Christianity separation from God is spiritual death. This separation from God shows itself in a wide range of behaviours, including the eight behaviours listed by Folau in his Instagram post, but not limited to those eight. Because, according to the classically Christian world view, we are designed to function plugged in to God; once we are unplugged (separated) we are like an unplugged appliance — we don’t function properly or we don’t function at all.

That’s the danger Folau believed he was warning people against. He thought he was warning his followers that those people who ignore God, choose to be separated from God, are sending a message; are saying to God, “just leave me alone”. The danger is God will take them at their word: they will be cut off from God forever.

That being “cut off” is what hell is. Not the funny cartoons of demons with pitchforks but being cut off, isolated, exiled, expelled, separated. When Jesus himself pronounces judgment on people the words he says are “depart from me”, adding, “I never knew you” (Matthew 7:23).

But as Folau’s short post indicates, there is more to the story. Here’s the completion of those words from the Bible quoted above: “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many” (Hebrews 9:27-28).

There is the offer of God’s love and forgiveness and restoration: switching at life’s end from the bad option (separation, isolation, “hell”) to the good option (connection, community, “heaven”) as a free gift. From the point of view of classical Christianity, Folau saw people in danger and shouted out a warning. In other words, the intention of his message was the exact opposite to how it has been portrayed. And for that Folau is being punished.


That's pretty good theology above. In Matthew 25:46 the word translated as "punishment" is in the original Greek "kolasin" and it simply means "cutting off". It is the word a Greek gardener might use to describe the pruning of a tree. So it would be a superior translation to say that the goats would be cut off and thrown away -- and maybe burnt -- like the unwanted branch of a tree. So, when properly translated, we see that Christ was, as usual, offering the alternatives of life and death, not heaven and hell -- exactly as he does in John 3:16. The sheep get eternal life and the goats get eternal death


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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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(Isaiah 62:1)

A 19th century Democrat political poster below:

Leftist tolerance


JFK knew Leftist dogmatism

-- Geert Wilders

The most beautiful woman in the world? I think she was. Yes: It's Agnetha Fältskog

A beautiful baby is king -- with blue eyes, blond hair and white skin. How incorrect can you get?

Kristina Pimenova, said to be the most beautiful girl in the world. Note blue eyes and blonde hair

Enough said

Islamic terrorism isn’t a perversion of Islam. It’s the implementation of Islam. It is not a religion of the persecuted, but the persecutors. Its theology is violent supremacism.

There really is an actress named Donna Air. She seems a pleasant enough woman, though

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

Some bright spark occasionally decides that Leftism is feminine and conservatism is masculine. That totally misses the point. If true, how come the vote in American presidential elections usually shows something close to a 50/50 split between men and women? And in the 2016 Presidential election, Trump won 53 percent of white women, despite allegations focused on his past treatment of some women.

Political correctness is Fascism pretending to be manners

Political Correctness is as big a threat to free speech as Communism and Fascism. All 3 were/are socialist.

The problem with minorities is not race but culture. For instance, many American black males fit in well with the majority culture. They go to college, work legally for their living, marry and support the mother of their children, go to church, abstain from crime and are considerate towards others. Who could reasonably object to such people? It is people who subscribe to minority cultures -- black, Latino or Muslim -- who can give rise to concern. If antisocial attitudes and/or behaviour become pervasive among a group, however, policies may reasonably devised to deal with that group as a whole

Black lives DON'T matter -- to other blacks. The leading cause of death among young black males is attack by other young black males

Psychological defence mechanisms such as projection play a large part in Leftist thinking and discourse. So their frantic search for evil in the words and deeds of others is easily understandable. The evil is in themselves. Leftist motivations are fundamentally Fascist. They want to "fundamentally transform" the lives of their fellow citizens, which is as authoritarian as you can get. We saw where it led in Russia and China. The "compassion" that Leftists parade is just a cloak for their ghastly real motivations

Occasionally I put up on this blog complaints about the privileged position of homosexuals in today's world. I look forward to the day when the pendulum swings back and homosexuals are treated as equals before the law. To a simple Leftist mind, that makes me "homophobic", even though I have no fear of any kind of homosexuals.

But I thought it might be useful for me to point out a few things. For a start, I am not unwise enough to say that some of my best friends are homosexual. None are, in fact. Though there are two homosexuals in my normal social circle whom I get on well with and whom I think well of.

Of possible relevance: My late sister was a homosexual; I loved Liberace's sense of humour and I thought that Robert Helpmann was marvellous as Don Quixote in the Nureyev ballet of that name.

Bible references on homosexuality: Jude 1:7; 1 Timothy 1:8-11; Mark 10:6-9; 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11; 1 Corinthians 7:2; Leviticus 18:32; Leviticus 20:13

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

Racial differences in temperament: Chinese are more passive even as little babies

The genetics of crime: I have been pointing out for some time the evidence that there is a substantial genetic element in criminality. Some people are born bad. See here, here, here, here (DOI: 10.1111/jcpp.12581) 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”."

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).

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


Although it is a popular traditional chant, the "Kol Nidre" should be abandoned by modern Jewish congregations. It was totally understandable where it originated in the Middle Ages but is morally obnoxious in the modern world and vivid "proof" of all sorts of antisemitic stereotypes

What the Bible says about homosexuality:

"Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind; It is abomination" -- Lev. 18:22

In his great diatribe against the pagan Romans, the apostle Paul included homosexuality among their sins:

"For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature. And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.... Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them" -- Romans 1:26,27,32.

So churches that condone homosexuality are clearly post-Christian

Although I am an atheist, I have great respect for the wisdom of ancient times as collected in the Bible. And its condemnation of homosexuality makes considerable sense to me. In an era when family values are under constant assault, such a return to the basics could be helpful. Nonetheless, I approve of St. Paul's advice in the second chapter of his epistle to the Romans that it is for God to punish them, not us. In secular terms, homosexuality between consenting adults in private should not be penalized but nor should it be promoted or praised. In Christian terms, "Gay pride" is of the Devil

The homosexuals of Gibeah (Judges 19 & 20) set in train a series of events which brought down great wrath and destruction on their tribe. The tribe of Benjamin was almost wiped out when it would not disown its homosexuals. Are we seeing a related process in the woes presently being experienced by the amoral Western world? Note that there was one Western country that was not affected by the global financial crisis and subsequently had no debt problems: Australia. In September 2012 the Australian federal parliament considered a bill to implement homosexual marriage. It was rejected by a large majority -- including members from both major political parties

Religion is deeply human. The recent discoveries at Gobekli Tepe suggest that it was religion not farming that gave birth to civilization. Early civilizations were at any rate all very religious. Atheism is mainly a very modern development and is even now very much a minority opinion

"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" - Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)

I think it's not unreasonable to see Islam as the religion of the Devil. Any religion that loves death or leads to parents rejoicing when their children blow themselves up is surely of the Devil -- however you conceive of the Devil. Whether he is a man in a red suit with horns and a tail, a fallen spirit being, or simply the evil side of human nature hardly matters. In all cases Islam is clearly anti-life and only the Devil or his disciples could rejoice in that.

And there surely could be few lower forms of human behaviour than to give abuse and harm in return for help. The compassionate practices of countries with Christian traditions have led many such countries to give a new home to Muslim refugees and seekers after a better life. It's basic humanity that such kindness should attract gratitude and appreciation. But do Muslims appreciate it? They most commonly show contempt for the countries and societies concerned. That's another sign of Satanic influence.

And how's this for demonic thinking?: "Asian father whose daughter drowned in Dubai sea 'stopped lifeguards from saving her because he didn't want her touched and dishonoured by strange men'

And where Muslims tell us that they love death, the great Christian celebration is of the birth of a baby -- the monogenes theos (only begotten god) as John 1:18 describes it in the original Greek -- Christmas!

No wonder so many Muslims are hostile and angry. They have little companionship from women and not even any companionship from dogs -- which are emotionally important in most other cultures. Dogs are "unclean"

Some advice from Martin Luther: Esto peccator et pecca fortiter, sed fortius fide et gaude in christo qui victor est peccati, mortis et mundi: peccandum est quam diu sic sumus. Vita haec non est habitatio justitiae

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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