The creeping dictatorship of the Left...

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 This site is updated several times a month but is no longer updated daily.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

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

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


31 March, 2015

Indiana blocks anti-Christian bullying

In a victory for religious freedom, earlier today Gov. Mike Pence, R-Ind., signed into law the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This is good policy that protects the fundamental freedom of Indiana citizens from unnecessary and unreasonable government coercion.

The Indiana law is based on the 1993 federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act—a law that has served the American people well for more than 20 years. Passed with 97 votes in the Senate and by unanimous voice vote in the House, the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act was signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton. This federal law prohibits substantial government burdens on religious exercise unless the government can show a compelling interest in burdening religious liberty and does so through the least restrictive means.

No one has the right to have the government force a particular minister to marry them, or a certain photographer to capture the first kiss or a baker to bake the wedding cake.

These protections for religious freedom, like the one passed in Indiana, provide a commonsense way to balance the fundamental right to religious liberty with compelling government interests. The federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act protects against federal government violations of religious liberty, and state Religious Freedom Restoration Acts protect against state violations.

By passing its Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Indiana joins the 19 other states that have implemented such laws. Eleven additional states have religious liberty protections that state courts have interpreted to provide a similar level of protection. These commonsense laws place the onus on the government to justify its actions in burdening the free exercise of religion.

Responding to critics of the bill, who wrongly characterized the religious freedom protections, Pence stated in a press release following the signing:

"For more than twenty years, the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act has never undermined our nation’s anti-discrimination laws, and it will not in Indiana".

He added:

"Faith and religion are important values to millions of Hoosiers and with the passage of this legislation, we ensure that Indiana will continue to be a place where we respect freedom of religion and make certain that government action will always be subject to the highest level of scrutiny that respects the religious beliefs of every Hoosier of every faith."

The Indiana law, like all state Religious Freedom Restoration Acts, prevents government discrimination against religious free exercise. Religious Freedom Restoration Acts simply provide a way to balance religious liberty with compelling government interests.

There are now numerous cases of photographers, florists, cake makers and farmers being forced to participate in celebrating same-sex weddings in violation of their belief that marriage is the union of a man and a woman. These are citizens who have no problem serving gays and lesbians but do object to celebrating same-sex weddings.

Religious liberty isn’t an absolute right. Religious liberty doesn’t always trump. Religious liberty is balanced with concerns for a compelling state interest that’s being pursued in the least-restrictive means possible.

But it isn’t clear that forcing every photographer and every baker and every florist to help celebrate same-sex weddings is advancing a compelling state interest in the least-restrictive way possible. Protecting religious liberty and the rights of conscience doesn’t infringe on anyone’s sexual freedoms.

No one has the right to have the government force a particular minister to marry them, or a certain photographer to capture the first kiss or a baker to bake the wedding cake. Declining to perform these services doesn’t violate anyone’s sexual freedoms. Some citizens may conclude that they cannot in good conscience participate in a same-sex ceremony, from priests and pastors to bakers and florists. The government should not force them to choose between their religious beliefs and their livelihood.

Of course, religious liberty isn’t just about the marriage debate. Just last year, the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act protected the Green family and the Hahn family—owners of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood—from government coercion at the federal level. Protecting this fundamental freedom has benefited many Americans during the last two decades, including those of minority faiths.

As Jasjit Singh, executive director of the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, explained:

"RFRA [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] means myself, my brothers, my sisters, my mom, my dad, we can all participate in American life in the way we had dreamed and really the way it is promised as written out in the Constitution. We have an opportunity to get jobs and to fully integrate within American society without having to sacrifice or compromise any part of our religious identity".

And earlier this year, in a 9-0 ruling the U.S. Supreme Court held that a similar federal religious liberty law protected a Muslim inmate’s right to grow a short beard.


34K Black and Latino Churches Cut Ties With Presbyterian USA After Same-Sex Marriage Approval

A coalition of 34,000 black churches has cut its ties with Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) in the wake of its recent vote to approve same-sex marriage.

In a statement at Charisma News, Rev. Anthony Evans, president of the National Black Church Initiative (NBCI), wrote that PCUSA’s “arbitrary change of Holy Scripture is a flagrantly pretentious and illegitimate maneuver by a body that has no authority whatsoever to alter holy text.”

After endorsing same-sex marriage last June, PCUSA voted earlier this month to revise its constitutional language defining marriage to include a “commitment between two people.” The church became the largest Protestant group to formally recognize same-sex marriage as a Christian institution and to permit same-sex weddings in its congregations.

Writing on behalf of NBCI, which is comprised of 15 denominations and 15.7 million African-Americans and Latinos, Evans continued:

    "NBCI and its membership base are simply standing on the Word of God within the mind of Christ. We urge our brothers and sisters of the PCUSA to repent and be restored to fellowship.

    PCUSA’s manipulation represents a universal sin against the entire church and its members. With this action, PCUSA can no longer base its teachings on 2,000 years of Christian scripture and tradition, and call itself a Christian entity in the body of Christ.  It has forsaken its right by this single wrong act.

    Apostle Paul warns us about this when he declared in Galatians 1:8 that there are those who will preach another gospel.

    For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. … For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

    No church has the right to change the Word of God. By voting to redefine marriage PCUSA automatically forfeits Christ’s saving grace. There is always redemption in the body of Christ through confession of faith and adhering to Holy Scripture.

    In this case, PCUSA deliberately voted to change the Word of God and the interpretation of holy marriage between one man and one woman. This is why we must break fellowship with them and urge the entire Christendom to do so as well".

In a statement to Breitbart News, Bishop Janice Hollis, Senior Pastor of Progressive Believers Ministries and Presiding Prelate of the Covenant International Fellowship, said:

    "As I read Rev. Evan’s position statement on the Presbyterian Church USA regarding Same-Sex Marriage, his strength to speak his convictions according to Scriptures is well noted. I highly respect anyone with courage to espouse what he or she believes, especially in leadership. Unfortunately, we live in a period where many pastors, bishops and Christians in general are too preoccupied with their public image before the world, and its secular values, and have become ineffective to reach the lost because very little know what they stand for.

    Simply being too afraid to take a public stand on any social issues as a representative of the Church, which within itself is a travesty and has created a vacuum. The ambiguity has led and is leading many astray as humanity is seeking to do the right thing and make the right decision amidst varying opinions and positions. However, as “Believers” the FINAL authority is always, and will always be the word of GOD. That didn’t change.

    The gray area for many Christians is how they will be perceived – it is our privilege and endowment given by God to adhere to his word without apology. And yes, we still love our brethren who believe otherwise but we are not ashamed of the Gospel that teaches us how to fulfill the word in the earth.

    It is easy to see the spin the media will craft regarding Rev. Evan’s position; however, there is no plot to divide the faithful – Christians too, must freely exercise our God-given right to “choose” God’s plan for the family, without legislative or decisive schemes from the religious community. I commend Rev. Evans, regardless who disagrees. God has the final say, but we all have to say something about what we believe and not live in hiding. We must share our faith and when we don’t, we lose ground to our spiritual enemy that comes to devour and destroy. Our responsibility is to the share the good news and the life changing power of the gospel to uplift and empower.

    WE, as Believers of marriage between “one man and one woman,” are not hostile or antiquated; we don’t hold grudges against those who have flip-flopped in their doctrine; we have simply made a conscious decision to adhere as best of our ability to the faith delivered unto us to uphold what GOD said about marriage. “Every man shall have his own wife and every wife shall have her own husband.” There isn’t any hidden code in this… why the conundrum exists surrounding this issue is a waste. “GOD cannot retract his principles,” otherwise they weren’t principles from the genesis if humanity can change the value or strength of what they represent. Principles are solid; God is unwavering just as much as he loves and is inclusive".

In 2012, the Philadelphia-based Hollis joined Rev. Bill Owens, president of the Coalition of African-American Pastors (CAAP), at a press conference to condemn President Obama’s support of same-sex marriage.

“I just think this is a travesty in terms of the position that our Commander-in-Chief has taken on a global scale and I’m really proud that Dr. Owens has started this particular mandate to call order to where we have disorder in the highest office in the land,” Hollis said.

“The president needs to know that he has demonstrated such a dereliction of duty simply because he touted himself as a great, broad thinker, a person who could have a conversation with anyone, but yet… selectively he has chosen to overlook this intellectual body of black leaders, and we take grave offense to that,” she continued. “And he needs to know that he does not have a pass, as Dr. Owens has earlier stated, and we will hold him to the fire because at some point you’ve got to make it known what you stand for… and we know that this particular position is a political one, and we are offended.”

Owens and his group have called for the impeachment of Attorney General Eric Holder on the basis that he violated his oath of office by “attempting to impose same-sex ‘marriage’ throughout the nation.”

CAAP was also highly critical of Obama’s comparison of the same-sex marriage movement to that for civil rights during the president’s remarks at the 50th anniversary of the “Bloody Sunday” march in Selma, Alabama.

“President Obama is a disgrace to the black community,” Owens said. “He is rewriting history. We didn’t suffer and die for gay marriage. We marched for opportunity, equality, justice, freedom from oppression. We are the true heirs of the civil rights movement. We have a new movement to reclaim the ‘real’ civil rights movement.”

“The LGBT community hijacked our movement, a movement they know nothing about,” Owens asserted. “President Obama is delusional to compare our struggle with the struggle for marriage equality. Gays have not had fire hoses or dogs unleashed at them. They have not been hung from trees or denied basic human rights.”

“President Obama didn’t march,” Owens continued. “He has benefited from those of us who did march, but for President Obama to say we marched so that gays would have the right to marry today, is a disgrace and a lie.”

Last week, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who recently instructed Alabama’s state probate judges not to issue same-sex marriage licenses according to a federal court’s ruling, joined CAAP and other conservative leaders to defend the Texas constitutional ban against same-sex marriage. Moore and CAAP have also called for U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan to recuse themselves from the same-sex marriage case that is currently before the high court, since both justices have officiated at same-sex weddings and, according to Owens, have demonstrated “lack of impartiality.”


Archbishops' anger as British supermarkets snub Easter eggs featuring Jesus in favour of Darth Vader

Supermarkets have been accused of pursuing an ‘anti- Christian agenda’ after refusing to sell Easter eggs with a religious message.

Some of Britain’s biggest stores are celebrating the most profound event in the Church calendar by offering treats featuring everything from Darth Vader to Postman Pat – but turned down products that mention Jesus.

One chain even asked ‘what has Easter got to do with the Church?’, according to the makers of The Real Easter Egg, which features Christian crosses on the box and contain a leaflet telling the story of the Resurrection.

Now Archbishop of York John Sentamu has stepped in – urging Sainsbury’s, Asda and the Co-op to stock the charity eggs – while former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey said he was ‘saddened’ by the three supermarket giants’ decision.

Lord Carey said: ‘The rest are rubbish. These Easter eggs that have nothing to do with Easter, all they are trying to do is get more money out of people. They have no meaning. I think it shows ignorance on the part of these supermarkets.

‘By not offering an alternative to secular Easter eggs they are really undermining the real message of Easter. It saddens me because we are living in a land that is completely losing contact with its religious roots and is out of touch with the Christian message.’

David Marshall, the head of the Meaningful Chocolate Company, said the supermarkets appeared biased against its ‘proven seller’. He said: ‘We do wonder at times if there is an anti-Christian agenda from some of our supermarkets who just keep turning it down. It is as if some feel Christianity is politically incorrect or the Easter story, which mentions Jesus, might put people off.

‘One buyer asked us what Easter had got to do with the Church, while another simply said, “I don’t think this is a credible product” and asked us to leave.’

The Warrington-based firm has spent five years trying to persuade stores to sell its £4 Christian-themed eggs, which were launched in 2010 with the backing of Archbishop Sentamu.

At first the supermarkets refused, but two years ago, Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and the Co-Op bowed to pressure and agreed.

But this year Sainsbury’s and the Co-op have dropped the eggs, blaming poor sales, while Asda has never stocked them. However, the Meaningful Chocolate Company say a million eggs have been sold over the past five years.

Archbishop Sentamu, who has lamented ignorance about Easter after learning that a third of children thought it marked the birthday of the Easter bunny, said yesterday: ‘With a million Real Easter Eggs sold I am delighted that Morrisons, Tesco and Waitrose have met the challenge. I call on Sainsbury’s, Asda, and the Co-operative to give their customers the same choice.’

Sainsbury’s said their decision was based on ‘the popularity of ranges in previous years’, with the Co-op also citing ‘poor sales of the Real Easter Egg in previous years’. Asda said it had not been approached this year, a claim disputed by the Meaningful Chocolate Company.


Rev. Graham: ‘Don’t Shut Up!’ – ‘Homosexuality is Wrong’ & Abortion is ‘A Sin Against God, It’s Murder’

While many Christian pastors are afraid to preach against homosexuality and abortion because some people in the pews complain, claiming their child is gay or abortion is a choice, the pastors must not shut up, said Rev. Franklin Graham, emphasizing that the sole guide is the Bible, which teaches that homosexual behavior “is wrong” and that abortion is “murder.”

Rev. Graham, 62, also stressed that pastors and the church must not shrink from teaching young people moral truth because most of the schools and colleges teach that immorality, such as homosexuality and abortion, is “okay.”

“Don’t you shut up!” Rev. Graham told attendees at The Awakening 2015: Rebuilding the Wall in Orlando, Fla.  “It [abortion] is a sin against God, it’s murder,” he said.  “And today, young people in the church don’t know that homosexuality is wrong. Because pastors aren’t speaking about it.”

“And they [young people] go to school and the teachers in the school tell them that it’s okay,” he said. “That it’s all right. That God made them that way. That’s the way they are. And it’s a choice. That’s what they’re teaching. So young people today, in the church, don’t get it in the church – they believe this is okay. ‘What’s wrong with you guys being against this stuff? It’s all right.’”

“And they believe it because they hear it at school,” said Rev. Graham.  “But they don’t really hear it in the church. I’m just saying, in the church we have a voice. And people want to know, how do we navigate? See this right here? (He holds up a Bible.) This is the way we navigate. It’s the Word of God, and we preach the Word of God cover to cover.”

Commenting further on homosexuality, Rev. Graham said, “A lot of pastors have quit preaching against homosexuality.  You know why?  Because they are afraid that there may be some man or some woman in the congregation whose son or daughter is gay.”

“And so you speak against homosexuality and all of a sudden that person in the church is saying, ‘Wait a second, my son or my daughter, and listen, God made him that way and God loves him and for you to preach against them,’” said the reverend.

“Then, all of a sudden, that couple or that individual they begin to go to other people and all of a sudden you’ve got this yack, yack, yack going,” he said.  “Then all of a sudden there’s a whole group of people coming to the pastor going yack, yack, yack, yack.”

He continued, “Then the pastor is saying to himself, ‘You know what, I’m just up here by myself swinging and now I’ve got the church turning against me, I’ll just shut up.’  Don’t shut up! You don’t shut up!”

“And if the people are coming up to you going yack, yack, yack and they want to run you out of the church, let them run you out of the church,” said Rev. Graham.  “Go to another church – let them have that [first] church. God will bless you and He’ll honor you, if you speak up and tell the truth.”

“Abortion. The same thing,” said Rev. Graham.  “Pastors are, ‘I don’t want to talk about that because there might be some lady out there and, you know, if I talk about abortion she’s going to get upset.’ Next thing you know, here she comes yack, yack, yack.  Then also here comes another person and another person. Now I’ve got a little committee of these yack, yack, yacks coming. And life is just short and I just don’t need this headache, so I’m just going to shut up.”

“Don’t you shut up!” he said.  “It [abortion] is a sin against God, it’s murder.”

Franklin Graham is the son of world-renowned evangelist Billy Graham, who is now 96 and retired at his family home in Montreat, N.C. Over the last 55 years, it is estimated that Billy Graham’s preaching reached 2.2 billion people worldwide through radio, television, and public rallies.



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

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

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


30 March, 2015

Shockingly, military pushing back on lifting transgender ban for active duty

The case of convicted traitor Chelsea Manning continues to create ripples of discontent in the American military as the discussion of transgender individuals serving on active duty is batted around in Washington. New Defense Secretary Ash Carter raised some eyebrows recently when he suggested that the current ban on such persons serving might need to be lifted. While they’re not going public with their complaints at this time, the AP reports that some senior commanders are none too pleased with the idea.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter has gotten pushback from senior military leaders on whether the Pentagon should lift its ban on transgender people serving in the armed forces, according to U.S. officials familiar with the discussions.

Carter initially told troops in Afghanistan that he was open-minded when asked if the Defense Department was planning to remove one of the last gender- or sexuality-based barriers to military service. But defense officials said members of his top brass told Carter that they had serious reservations.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
Things get complicated enough when you’re talking about a man dressed as a woman using the female locker room at the local gym. But in the military – particularly for units deployed in a combat zone or in the cramped confines of a surface ship or submarine – there are a host of other considerations which turn this into a nightmare for the leadership. And we’re not just talking about which bathroom they will use or which showers they head to. There are questions about appropriate medical care. Will the military have to provide hormone therapy or even surgery for everyone “in transition” while they serve? And how might they impact their ability to carry out the mission?

And while they are busy assuring the “rights” of the transgender service member, what about the concerns of the rest of the troops? Women in particular face enough unique challenges in their military service as it is. What if they don’t feel comfortable sharing the shower with somebody with, shall we say, the opposite plumbing even if his name is Martha? Maintaining unit cohesion is a challenge under the best of times, so it’s not terribly surprising that some of the commanders are already pushing back against tossing yet another fly in the ointment.

This is not a question of discrimination, and those attempting to create some sort of parallel to racially integrating the military are being disingenuous. This is just an added hassle that the military doesn’t need and it’s not going to end well if they continue down this path


Can Family Breakdown in Low-Education America Be Reversed? Maybe

Our kids, at least many of them, are not doing very well. The reason, writes Harvard professor Robert Putnam in his just-published “Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis,” is the “two-tier pattern of family structure” that emerged in the 1970s and 1980s and continues to prevail today.

Starting in the late 1960s, rates of divorce, unmarried births and single parenthood rose sharply among all segments of society. About a decade later, they fell and leveled off among the college-educated, who almost entirely raise their kids in Ozzie-and-Harriet style families today (except that Mom usually works outside the home).

Among the bottom third of Americans in education and income, however, the negative trend accelerated. In 1965, Daniel Patrick Moynihan was alarmed that 26 percent of black births were to unmarried children. The rate is about twice that for the least educated third of Americans of all races today.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Charles Murray’s 2012 book “Coming Apart” describes the same phenomenon among white Americans. Curiously, Putnam refers only glancingly to Murray’s work. But Putnam agrees with Murray (perhaps grudgingly) that this is bad for the kids involved.

They’re careful to concede that single parents have a hard job and that some do well at it. But the data says those are the exception rather than the rule. On average and by a wide margin, children raised in such households do worse in school, have more trouble with the law and make less money and gain less satisfaction in life than those from the stable families of the upper third.

Putnam is troubled by the resulting inequality and lack of upward mobility. He begins “Our Kids” in Port Clinton, Ohio, where he grew up in the 1950s in a community unequal in income, but egalitarian in manners and mores. Since then, Port Clinton’s factory jobs have mostly disappeared and the town seems riven between the gleaming condominiums on the now-clean waters of Lake Erie and gritty neighborhoods where many kids grow up in disorderly homes.

With a corps of researchers, Putnam fanned out across the country and found similar trends from fast-growing Bend, Oregon, to the down-at-the-heels Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. He tells the stories and quotes the words – often heart-wrenching, sometimes heart-warming – of specific kids identified by first names.

“America’s poor kids do belong to us and we to them,” he concludes. “They are our kids.” The nation as a whole has to do something to help them. But what?

Send them money is one answer. But as the Manhattan Institute’s Scott Winship points out, low-level wages and incomes, taking into account proper inflation measures and fringe benefits, have not fallen over the last 40 years. Food and clothing has become less expensive (thanks, Wal-Mart) and most households classified as poor have smartphones, microwaves and big-screen TVs that did not exist in the 1960s.

Like Sen. Mike Lee and other reform conservatives, Putnam would increase the Earned Income Tax Credit and expand the child tax credit. Marginal help. He hails the bipartisan support for reducing incarceration for minor offenses and helping ex-convicts. And let’s, he says, eliminate pay-for-play fees for extracurricular activities.

Other proposals sound unavailing, like moving low-education households to more upscale suburbs; Section 8 housing subsidies already do that. And Putnam’s faith that child care centers and mandatory pre-school can make a difference haven’t been supported by research, except for two experiments more than 40 years ago whose results haven’t been replicated.

Putnam doubts the chances of “a reversal of long-established trends in private norms,” though they’re common in history: The gin-soaked mobs of 18th-century London became the orderly Victorian masses. Like most high-education Americans, he doesn’t want to denounce people for breaking old moral rules even when that hurts their kids.

The libertarian Murray doubts that government can do much. But he thinks that high-education elites, with their strong family structures, can. They need to “preach what they practice.” Bloomberg’s Megan McArdle, agreeing, nominates Hollywood for a lead role. Midcentury America’s universal media – radio, movies, television – celebrated the old rules.

There are signs this is happening. Teenage birth and violent crime rates have been falling. Younger millennials may be learning delayed gratification and self-restraint. Maybe, as they grow older, divorce and single parenthood will become less common, too. Few kids in broken homes will read “Our Kids or Coming Apart.” But they already know the story.


Today’s new racialists are still judging people on the colour of their skin

Today marks 50 years since the 1965 civil-rights marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, were completed. The marchers did not let beatings and tear gas from state troopers, murders of their fellow activists, and opposition from the Alabama governor stop them. Their defiant efforts led, in August that year, to the passing of the Voting Rights Act, a landmark achievement for the movement.

On 25 March, on the steps of the state capitol in Montgomery, Martin Luther King gave a speech that has become known as his ‘How long, not long’ speech. In this powerful and moving address, King presented his hope for the future: ‘We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience. And that will be a day not of the white man, not of the black man. That will be the day of man as man.’

Fifty years on, we all pay homage to King and the civil-rights activists of Selma and Montgomery. But many who invoke King’s name promote ideas that are diametrically opposed to the universalist philosophy that informed King’s work, and for which he and others gave their lives. We are witnessing today a renewed emphasis on racial thinking and social distinctions – the racialisation of society – which is exactly what the civil rights movement sought to transcend. In the name of being ‘race sensitive’, ‘protecting people of colour’ or raising awareness of ‘white privilege’, the new politically correct racialists are actually destroying King’s dream.

The motivating beliefs of the civil rights movement of the 1960s are far more positive and humanistic than what is being advocated today. Consider the following contrasts between then and now.

1) From overcoming race to promoting racial thinking and division

‘I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.’ This is perhaps Martin Luther King’s most famous line, from his ‘I have a dream’ speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963. And it was not just a view held by King himself; his words summed up the movement’s aim to surmount racial differences. A common sign held up at civil-rights protests read ‘I am a man’ – a straightforward demand to be treated the same as others in society.

Fast forward to today, and we are all encouraged to think about race, all the time. Coinciding with the Selma anniversary, Starbucks launched its initiative to have its baristas write ‘Race Together’ on coffee cups and encourage conversations about race with customers. It was widely mocked (one tweeted that he’ll have a Malcolm Xpresso). Few, however, noted the irony of a ‘let’s all talk about race’ campaign at the very moment we were meant to be commemorating a movement that was opposed to dividing us up into races. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz believes we need to have a ‘conversation’ about race, but where has he been? The US has spent the past year discussing race constantly, from Ferguson to Oklahoma frat boys singing an n-word song.

And it is not just that more people are viewing society, and talking about it, in racial terms; new race activists are actively promoting separation on the basis of race. In December, white students at the University of Missouri were told they were not welcome at a Ferguson ‘die-in’ protest. A protest leader read out a ‘white privilege’ checklist, citing whites’ putative advantages. Similarly, Ferguson-related protest organisers told ‘white folks’ at the University of Massachusetts that they should not make the ‘hands up’ gesture, to avoid ‘centering’ themselves in a narrative that was not theirs to tell. This compares unfavorably with the civil rights movement, where white people were generally welcomed and played a leading role.

In late February, the principal of a high school in a Chicago suburb held an assembly for black students only, to discuss ‘black lives matter’. Half a century after the civil rights movement tore down segregation in the South, we’re seeing conscious segregation being gradually re-constructed.

2) From the denial of civil rights to ‘microaggressions’

The civil-rights activists were up against state-sanctioned discrimination, as well as widespread prejudice in society. Discrimination was backed by laws (for example, laws that permitted segregation in schooling, such as those struck down by the Supreme Court in Brown vs Board of Education 1954), and enforced by the authorities. Black people were denied equal voting, housing rights and other rights. In response to their campaigns, they faced violence from both the state and racist citizens.

Today, racism is more likely to be discussed in terms of an individual’s thoughts, as a state of mind, rather than as an issue of social and economic structures. It is less a top-down denial of rights by the state or other institutions, than it is a failure by people to speak and behave in a prescribed manner. Racism, it is argued, has moved from overt hatred to ‘microaggressions’ – unintended, insensitive remarks. Claims of microaggressions are especially rampant on campus. In a 2013 case at the University of California at Los Angeles, post-graduate students accused a professor of racial microaggressions for correcting grammar in their term papers, among other slights; the professor was fired. In this world, any distinction between a true act of racism and a faux pas is lost. While yesterday’s civil-rights campaigners confronted police and were denied the vote (real macroaggressions), today’s activists are wounded by offending words or glances.

3) From struggling for equality to therapy and etiquette

In her perceptive book Race Experts, Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn identified the trend of positioning race as an issue of therapy and etiquette, rather than justice or equality. She noted that diversity training in business, multicultural education in schools, and other therapeutic interventions were pushing society towards new codes of conduct. This was a far cry from the marches and mobilisations of the 1960s; indeed, Lasch-Quinn says the new experts ‘hijacked’ the civil-rights revolution.

Lasch-Quinn’s book was published in 2001, and this trend since then has only become more ingrained. Many of New York’s elite private schools now engage in ‘white privilege’ training sessions. Wealthy white students are taught that their freedom from worrying about microaggressions is a privilege in and of itself. An often-used textbook cites flesh-coloured band-aids that match their skin tone as one of the many perks of whiteness. Students are discouraged from discussing their expensive vacations around poorer students of colour. In ‘white privilege’ training, whites who do not confess their racism are deemed ‘in denial’.

These ‘white privilege’ training sessions have more in common with therapy than education. They encourage students to see the world in racial terms, force students into identity boxes and create heightened sensitivities around race. In New York’s private schools, white students learn that they are richer and better off than the average black student across the city – which must come as a shock. As John McWhorter says, students are meant to learn that ‘Living While White constitutes a form of racism in itself’. But, as he points out, it is hard to see what liberal guilt does to improve the lives of black people.

It is safe to say that the civil-rights leaders of the past would have found all of this foreign. King and the other National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) leaders were known to oppose any emphasis on racial identity, which they believed threatened the focus on social and economic goals. But, as Lasch-Quinn notes, you could say the new racial etiquette is actually reminiscent of old South. ‘The unspoken, invisible list of sensitivities that all enlightened whites are expected to master’, she writes, ‘evokes the same kind of racially differentiated codes that suffused the segregation era, even while it turns them on its head’.

4) From targeting the authorities to blaming the masses

In its struggle to change laws and policies, the civil rights movement challenged politicians and others in authority. Despite attacks from the Ku Klux Klan and other white citizens, the movement did not drift from its focus on challenging the powers-that-be. This emphasis on the top-down leadership contrasts with today’s prevalent view that the real problem lies with the entrenched bigotry of middle America.

The day after the death of Michael Brown, department of justice (DOJ) officials arrived in Ferguson. The DOJ then organised meetings on ‘white privilege’ among residents. Federal officials talked about underlying prejudice that whites may not perceive, and broke the attendees into small groups to discuss topics like ‘How does white privilege impact race relations in our community?’. Imagine that: there is a police shooting, and the federal government’s first reaction is that the local white people must be made aware of their racism. It is not surprising that the meetings, which were ‘designed to ease tension’, led to people becoming ‘angry and screaming’.

The nationwide protests following the Ferguson incident also betrayed a tendency on the part of anti-racist campaigners to aim their sharpest criticisms at everyday white people. So-called #blackbrunch demonstrators have disrupted brunch meals, which they consider ‘white spaces’, and harangue diners with tales of police brutality. In November, protesters shut down a freeway in San Diego during morning rush hour, which pissed-off commuters trying to get to work. Shouting ‘hands up, don’t shop’, protesters in Minneapolis and elsewhere went to Wal-Mart on ‘Black Friday’ to condemn workers for both racism and buying goods.

5) From the optimism of America’s promise to the pessimism of ‘white supremacy’

Finally, the civil-rights movement was optimistic about the possibility of progress. This optimism is lacking from today’s race advocates. Despite the horrors of slavery and Jim Crow in the years since independence, King and the movement looked to the promise of universal rights held out by American democracy, as established by its Enlightenment-inspired founders. ‘When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence’, said King at the Lincoln Memorial, ‘they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the “unalienable rights” of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.’

In contrast, today’s promoters of racial difference view America as inherently and irredeemably racist. To them, American history is one long, neverending story of ‘white supremacy’, and the only thing worth knowing about the founders is that they owned slaves. In their eyes, the anniversary of Selma is an occasion to highlight how little things have since changed. But, in doing so, the race advocates minimise the tremendous accomplishments of the civil-rights movement in knocking down legal and social barriers, and express a deep pessimism about the future. Indeed, their whole message is about assigning people to rigid racial categories, which has the effect of increasing divisions in society and making things worse.

The new racialists might claim to be the inheritors of the civil-rights tradition, but the truth is they are imposters. They will denounce anyone who dares to espouse King’s vision of a colour-blind world of real equality, and anyone who believes that people should be judged by the ‘content of their character’. It is they who are ‘in denial’ – in denial that they represent everything the civil-rights movement fought against, in denial that they are its gravediggers.

Those who wish to live up to the ideals of the civil rights movement, and honour the courage of its heroes, can start by challenging the new racialism and revitalising the case for universalism and freedom for all.


‘Racist’ cupcakes banned from French pastry shop: Court orders removal of dark chocolate figures with pink lips

A bakery in the French Riviera has been banned from displaying cupcakes of a naked man and woman made out of dark chocolate - because they were inciting 'racial hatred'.

The 'God' and Goddess' cakes, which topped with the chocolate figures of a naked, plump man and woman with pink lips and protruding genitalia, were deemed offensive by a French court after a complaint by a shocked resident.

A judge concluded that treats - sold in a 'boulangerie' in the town of Grasse, NIce - showed 'two people of colour in grotesque and obscene attitudes', adding they violate 'human dignity, especially that of the African people or people of African descent.'

The administrative court in Nice ruled while the patisserie can still bake and sell the cakes - which have been made to order for the last 15 years - it said the town's mayor must ensure that the offending pastries were removed from the shop window.  For every day they were still on show, the town faced a fine of €500 (£360).

The court said it found no 'malicious will' on the part of the baker, but also ordered the town to pay a fine of €1,000 (£730) to the Representative Council of Black Association  (CRAN), which joined the calls for the cupcakes to be banned.

President of CRAN Louis George-Tin said he was 'delighted' with the ruling, made on Thursday, adding it was a warning to the rest of France.

Before the court hearing he told The Local the cakes were 'pure and simple racism; and denounced it as a 'obscene slave trade caricatures that tap into the tradition of colonial racism'.

'We are in a country where the word equality is part of the constitution, which means it doesn’t allow for racism. Does he think these treats adhere to the values of the French Republic?' he said.

“We must fight this kind of racism. I cannot imagine what would be said (rightly) if an African baker decided to represent Jesus Christ or the Virgin Mary in a similar way.'



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

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

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


29 March, 2015

Junk food available in British hospitals: Critics say presence of Burger King, Costa Coffee and Greggs amounts to 'negligence'

Fast food places are usually the only place in a hospital environment where people can feel normal -- something that is greatly appreciated and which is certainly a psychological boon.  But the obesity warriors don't really care about people

More than 100 NHS hospitals in Britain contain fast food outlets, shocking new figures have revealed.

Critics argue the presence of Burger King, Costa Coffee and Greggs around sick patients goes as far as being negligent - and is simply adding to the soaring obesity crisis.

There are 128 outlets in British hospitals selling junk food, plus a further 32 branches of WHSmith, which sells confectionery - often at a discounted price.

The fast food branches include two Burger Kings, six Subways and one Greggs, an investigation by The Sun revealed.  There are also dozens of coffee shops selling calorie-laden food and drink - with 27 Starbucks and 92 Costas.

This is in addition to all the smaller, independent retailers in hospitals selling junk food. 

The news comes as figures from Public Health England show that in Britain, 64 per cent of adults are either overweight or obese.  

And experts estimate treating obesity and the associated health problems costs the NHS around £6 billion every year - or five per cent of the entire NHS budget. It spends a further £10billion on diabetes.

To make matters worse, some of the UK's major hospitals have more than one outlet selling junk food.

Addenbrooke's in Cambridge operates a food court with a Burger King, Costa Coffee, Starbucks and pizzeria, while and University Hospital Southampton Foundation trust also hosts a Burger King and a Costa Coffee shop.

Earlier this month it was reported that the Greggs bakery based in an NHS hospital is the fast-food chain's second busiest outlet in Britain.

The counter at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton is often so busy selling steak bakes, bacon rolls and pizzas that ropes have to be used to separate queues of hungry customers which can reach 20 people deep.

The Sun investigation found customers could buy four sausage rolls for £2.40, each which contained 25g fat. The total recommended daily amount of fat is 75g for women and 90g for men.  Those with a sweet tooth could buy three sugar and fat laiden doughnuts for £1.

The hospital trust has joined forces with Wolverhampton Council to tackle the obesity crisis locally.

But Mr Loughton said banning the chain from the site would not solve anything.

He said: 'People say "ban the fast-food places" but I don't think that will ever work. We have to change people's mentality regarding the food they eat.'

In Devon, hospital chiefs have told staff not to allow deliveries from a new Pizza Hut - despite it being built in their own multi-storey car park.

The move was revealed a month after the chain opened just 100 yards from the walls of Derriford Hospital in Plymouth.

Staff were instructed to tell patients they could not order from the fast food restaurant, with bosses steering them towards 'healthier' sandwiches in the hospital's smoothie bar instead.

And a hospital in Surrey has came under fire when it emerged it had paid £24,000 to close a Burger King branch inside its own walls.

Croydon University Hospital had hosted the fast food chain in its entrance for 14 years, sparking the ire of health campaigners.

It finally managed to close the outlet - which was next to posters promoting healthy eating - in 2011 and replace it with a Costa Coffee branch.

But in order to terminate the contract it had to pay £24,000 to Compass UK, the company operating the fast food franchise.

Croydon Health Service admitted the 'world had changed' since it signed the original deal in 1997.


Why a wise man would never marry

If it ends in divorce, the courts have no regard for the man at all

A millionaire building tycoon says he has been left 'homeless' by a divorce ruling he says handed 80% of the family property to his ex-wife.

Construction magnate David Stocker, 61, was used to living the high life during his marriage to former wife Avril, 62.

They had a five-bedroom home in West London valued at £1million, a £100,000 yacht and a £500,000 villa in Spain.

But he told an Appeal Court hearing that his life of luxury is over and he is now unable to get back on the London property ladder because of the couple's divorce.

After the hearing she denied feeling like a winner, saying: 'When you get divorced, you become poor.'

He said a divorce court ruling left his ex-wife with property worth £1.8million - more than seven times his own £250,000 share.

Mr Stocker argued that the division of assets was 'unfair', especially as his former wife has no children to care for.

Despite his pleas, senior judge Mr Justice Blake told him he must accept his new lot, finding there was nothing legally wrong with the original ruling.

The court heard a family judge had handed four-fifths of the £2million-plus family assets to his ex-wife after their 15-year marriage ended in 2011. The divorce ruling came in 2013.

Mr Stocker said he had been obliged to sell his boat - which he valued at £100,000 - and to hand over the keys to the former matrimonial home in Ruislip, north-west London.

The building boss, whose business is based in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, was also told to split the Spanish villa - which he valued at more than £500,000 - with his ex-wife.

Mr Stocker, representing himself in court, told Mr Justice Blake he was baffled by the decision, saying: 'We have got no kids - why is it not 50/50?'

He told the judge: 'My wife got a £1m house in Ruislip, half a villa that's worth hundreds of thousands more. My wife got £1.8m in property and I'm left with £250,000.

'I'm entitled to a home under human rights. I told the judge throughout the case that all I wanted was a home out of it,' he went on.

He said he was no longer fielding a barrister in the divorce battle, which has been running for four years, because 'I ran out of money'.

'The assets have 80% gone her way. All I'm asking for is a home,' he added.

Mr Justice Blake however told Mr Stocker that he had no hope of overturning the divorce ruling and would have to accept his reduced circumstances.

'Unfortunately, as happens so often in this type of litigation, everything here has the appearance of an applicant who refuses to have a sense of finality', he said.

'This court doesn't sit as a re-hearing court. You don't just come here and say, "Can we start all over again please?".

The judge concluded: 'The husband argues that the division of the marital assets was unfair and disproportionate.

'This was a case in which there were no children to be taken into account, the husband contends that a 50/50 split would have been appropriate.

'But none of the matters he raises constitutes a basis for appeal which has any prospect of success.'

Mr Stocker vowed to fight on as he left court.

Mrs Stocker, who attended the hearing and sat at the back of the court throughout, said later that she didn't feel like she had come out of the marriage a winner.

'When you get divorced, you become poor... the only people who have won out of all this are the lawyers,' she said.

She added that she and her ex-husband had known each other since the early 1980s, having met at a squash club, and married in 1994.

Defending her payout, she said she had worked hard during the marriage to make the family construction company a success.

'I'm an intelligent person and I've got a masters degree from a good business school,' she added.

Of her high-flying former life whilst married to Mr Stocker, she said: 'We had a very good lifestyle. People used to say to me 'You've got everything.''

'It's very sad. We had a long relationship, but all relationships are fraught. I'm very philosophical now, but it was a very hurtful time.'


Christian baker accused of making customer 'feel like a lesser person' because he refused to make pro-gay marriage cake

A Christian baker who refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan has begun a court battle over equality laws.

Belfast-based Ashers Bakery refused to make a cake featuring an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto 'Support Gay Marriage'.

Northern Ireland's Equality Commission is now supporting a legal action against the family-run bakery on behalf of gay rights activist Gareth Lee, whose order was declined.

Mr Lee told a court today he was left 'shocked' and in 'disbelief' when one of the owners of the bakery, Karen McArthur, rang him and told him she would not be processing the order he had already paid for.

'It made me feel I'm not worthy, a lesser person and to me that was wrong,' he said.

Opening the case, Robin Allen QC, representing Mr Lee, said the baker's objection on religious grounds was not lawful.

He said baking a cake did not mean the bakers supported any message the cake might carry and compared the baking of a cake to a postman delivering a letter or a printer printing a poster.

'A postman taking a letter to the door or a printer carrying out a printing job - nobody would say that involved promoting or support,' he said. 'It's simply a functional relationship, a working relationship.'

The lawyer also noted the publicity around the case and highlighted that politicians, church figures, bloggers and others had expressed opinions on the matter.

But the barrister insisted the case must be judged on the facts alone, saying: 'Law must not be determined by those who shout loudest.'

Mr Allen QC said he was not in court to challenge the McArthur family's faith and highlighted that the proposed design would not have had an Ashers logo on it.

The case is being heard at Belfast County Court by district judge Isobel Brownlie.

The case has sharply divided public opinion in Northern Ireland and beyond.

In the wake of the bakery's refusal to provide the service last May, the commission, a state-funded watchdog body, took on the case on behalf of Mr Lee.

Initially, the commission asked the bakery to acknowledge that it had breached legislation and offer 'modest' damages to the customer.  When Ashers, which is owned by the McArthur family, refused, the commission proceeded with the legal action.

Outlining his view of the facts, Mr Allen said Mr Lee had used the bakery in Royal Avenue in Belfast city centre 'regularly' before the incident.

He said his client had seen a leaflet in the shop advertising a service whereby images could be printed in edible icing on a cake.  He said there was nothing on the leaflet which suggested a limitation on the service due to 'religious scruples'.

The barrister told the court that the order was accepted by Ashers director Karen McArthur and Mr Lee paid for it in full.  'A contract was therefore concluded,' he said.

Mr Allen said that, over the next few days, Mrs McArthur expressed concern about the requested cake design with her daughter-in-law, Amy, and the matter was then discussed with her son, Daniel.

After that Mr Lee was informed that his order would not be processed due to the family's religious views, said the lawyer.

Mr Allen said if companies were allowed to break contracts with individuals then 'the law is worth nothing'.  He added: 'The rule of law says there shall be no discrimination in the commercial sphere.'

The barrister insisted that Ashers was not an 'explicitly religious' business and referred to an interview Daniel McArthur gave to a newspaper in which he claimed the majority of his 60-plus workforce were unaware of his family's faith.

Mr Allen stressed the importance of anti-discrimination legislation in Northern Ireland, given its history of sectarian strife.

Daniel and Amy McArthur sat on one side of an almost packed courtroom, with Mr Lee watching from the other side.

The Ashers case has prompted the Democratic Unionist Party to propose a law change at Stormont that would provide an 'equality clause' which would essentially enable businesses to refuse to provide certain services on religious grounds.

Mr McArthur has previously said: Mr McArthur has previously insisting that Christians should be able to apply their beliefs to the day-to-day running of their businesses.

He said: 'I would like the outcome of this to be that any Christians running a business could be allowed to follow their Christian beliefs and principles in the day-to-day running of the business and that they are allowed to make decisions based on that.'


Father who believed he had the right to smack his two children has them taken into care by social workers

Probably a Muslim

A father who believed he had the right to smack his young children has had them taken into care by social workers.

The parent, from Rotherham, told officials that he thought his children benefited from being smacked.

He said that he hit his children on the bottom, legs and arms, using his hand, but that the red marks 'did not last long'.

But a judge has now ruled that his 'entrenched' views were harmful to their children.

The man has now had his third child, a six-month-old girl, taken into care by Rotherham Council officials.

It comes after his middle child, now aged three, was also taken into care. It is not clear whether the man's eldest child is in care, although there have also been care proceedings issued in relation to that child.

Handing down the judgement at the High Court, Judge Sarah Wright said she made the decision because there was no prospect of the father ever changing his 'domineering behaviour'.

She added that the children's mother could not protect the youngsters from her partner's need to have 'total control' over his family.

She said: 'It was clear to me that she cannot separate herself from the father and from his entrenched views.  'Sadly, she has put him before her children. She refused to accept any view or opinion that is not his.  'She singularly fails to appreciate the risk that he poses to any child in his care'.

During the hearing, it emerged that the man's son, now aged three, had been removed from the family home when he was just a few months old.   Since then, he has been cared for by his 'quiet, considered and thoughtful' maternal uncle.

The judgement also revealed that care proceedings had taken place for another child, during which a family judge criticised the man's 'rigid and inflexible thinking'.

The court said the man was not prepared to 'settle for a shade of grey', but saw everything in black and white.

He also insisted on his right to smack his children, believing he had done 'nothing wrong', the judgement said.

It added that both parents had been 'uncooperative and obstructive' with professionals.

During the latest hearing, it emerged that, when the mother fell pregnant again, she tried to conceal her pregnancy so they would not flag up on social services' radar.

Despite the mother arranging to give birth at a hospital in a different area, their attempt to conceal the birth failed. The little girl - known as E - was then taken from them under a police protection order. 

Explaining her reasons for concealing her pregnancy with E, the mother said she feared she would be put under pressure to have an abortion.

She also insisted there was no basis for social workers' concerns, saying: 'There is no reason why we are here'.

Whilst agreeing he could be 'slightly dogmatic', she said he had never been violent or aggressive, the judgement said.

But the court ruled that the mother had 'aligned herself' with the father and said she was 'totally convinced' that he posed no risk to the children.

It added that the father 'must feel in control' and was capable of rude, uncompromising and hostile behaviour in his determination to get his own way.  'There is also very little prospect of the father accepting the need to change', said the judge.

Despite the parents' objections, Judge Wright ruled that E's welfare demanded that she also be looked after by her uncle and his partner, alongside her older brother. 



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

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

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


27 March, 2015

Multiculturalist accused of raping ten year old girl and making her pregnant

Darrick Guider, of Milwaukee, the largest city in the State of Wisconsin, is charged with first-degree sexual assault of a child under the age of 12. If convicted of raping the girl, he faces a maximum of 60 years in jail.

According to Milwaukee Police Department’s criminal statement about the first-degree sexual assault of the 10-year-old, the child moved into a relative’s home where Guider lived in June 2014, Fox6Now reported.

The 10-year-old girl told police that “one night, shortly after she moved into this home, she was watching television upstairs in a room. She was lying on the bed when the defendant came in. The defendant told her that ‘this is how [you] make money.’”
Milwaukee Police allege that the girl “tried to get her (relative’s) attention by screaming, but the defendant put his hand over her mouth.”

Guider then allegedly assaulted the girl.

The complaint says the victim “recalls various instances” where Guider attempted to have sex with her. The complaint also says the victim told her relative in December that Guider had been “messing with her.” The relative did not believe the victim.

In January, Milwaukee Police state that the relative took the girl to a paediatrician who said she should immediately take the girl to Milwaukee Children’s Hospital.

The relative did not act on the advice.

This month, another relative noticed the girl “appeared pregnant.” and the 10-year-old was taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital where it was confirmed the girl was indeed pregnant.

Her baby was expected “at the end of May or the beginning of June.”


Navy Becomes Career Destroyer

The Navy wouldn’t think of using outdated equipment – but it sure doesn’t mind using outdated policies. Lt. Commander Wes Modder is living proof of that. The long-time chaplain could very well lose his career because his commanding officer is resorting to “obsolete” regulations to punish him. That bombshell came courtesy of Liberty Institute, which was stunned to find that Captain J.R. Fahs was refusing to apply the Defense Department’s new religious liberty laws to Chaplain Modder’s case. “Navy officials appear to be rebelling against the new DOD regulations and thumbing their nose at Congress and the Secretary of Defense. That is totally unacceptable.”

When Chaplain Modder was hauled before representatives of the military’s Equal Opportunity board for holding biblical views on marriage and sexuality, the meeting shouldn’t have ended with Modder cleaning out his office. Under the DOD’s new law, chaplains are “never required to compromise the standards of their religious organization.” Yet that is exactly what the Navy is demanding of the Chaplain, whose own assistant secretly combed through paperwork, “privileged conversations,” and counseling files to report him.

“I didn’t know he was unhappy,” Chaplain Modder told me on Friday’s “Washington Watch.” “I did not know that he was 'married’ (to his gay partner) and trying to adopt a child. I didn’t know any of that… he never indicated that he was unhappy. On December 6, he came in with some command Equal Opportunity representatives and decided to file charges against me. And that was shocking. I felt betrayed, I felt dishonored and disrespected.”

Explaining that he and the young Naval Officer had several genuine and heartfelt conversations about marriage, Modder said he was totally blindsided. “My entire ministry is based on care…I will work with anybody in my office. It’s not based on lifestyle.” The culture has changed, he pointed out, “Navy culture has changed, and Navy policy has changed… but God’s word has not changed. The government wants me to change… But in private counseling sessions, when people are looking for a biblical response, as I am a Christian minister, ordained in the Assemblies of God Church… that’s not going to change.”

Michael Berry, Modder’s attorney, shared my astonishment that the Navy would intentionally assign a homosexual man to work in the office of a Bible-believing chaplain. If the military will investigate Modder, why not this young man, who may have very well violated confidentiality or privacy rules in his religious witch hunt? Clearly, he had an agenda, and somehow that it has superseded this chaplain’s constitutional rights. Today, we learned that the U.S. Navy has taken its punishment of Chaplain Modder a step further by banning him from even attending a sailor’s memorial service.


How the Left Wins the War of Ideas

Imagine that you were in a long war only to discover that the enemy had secretly destroyed your most potent weapons. Sad to say, this is what has happened to those now defending America's values, the values that have made the US a world power and an economic colossus. It is not as if our adversaries have stolen anything physical. Rather, they have rendered the defense of our core beliefs publicly unspeakable, a short step from making them unthinkable. And worse, like death by carbon monoxide, we barely notice the carnage.

The key is how the Left has made expressing these time-honored values tantamount to insensitivity, and in today's Politically Correct world, "offensiveness" is the most egregious sin. To exaggerate only slightly, a public figure confessing to pedophilia is safer than if he were apprehended using the N-word in his private e-mails. Recall the Sony executives caught opining that President Obama prefers films about blacks-the CEO immediately resigned and made a pilgrimage to the Reverend Al Sharpton for absolution. "The Founding Fathers" once brought to mind great patriots who created the Constitution; today, thanks to the Left's relentless propaganda, "Founding Fathers" probably conjures up images of rich white male slave-holders conniving to exploit women and minorities.  
This transformation is often subtle. Just attend a political rally and watch the audience if the speaker begins insisting that the US, like any sovereign nation, has the right to use immigration policy to shape its demography. Guaranteed, even if everyone agrees with this sensible, long-standing policy, listeners grow nervous, fidgety and uncomfortable. Some will worry that such "controversial" ideas should not be voiced in public or, if expressed, cloaked in mushiness to lest some MSNBC commentators or Hispanic activist shout racism. No doubt, the speaker's advisors would have beforehand counseled avoiding the topic altogether-who needs the mass media outrage? The Left has strangled the once Motherhood and Apple Pie argument in the cradle.

Examples of such preemptive destruction abound so defenders of traditional virtues must solder on with fewer and fewer ideas to make their case. When did you last hear a candidate invoke the following once time-honored terms:

Merit, as in the sentence "In today's hyper-competitive world, admission to top universities should only be on merit, not skin color or gender."

Yes, perfectly sensible but rest assured, the speaker will be accused of sabotaging social justice, turning back the clock to the pre-Civil Rights era and advancing white privilege. Upholders of merit thus embrace self-induced paralysis and easily fall back to mindlessly celebrating diversity. 

Work ethic. What could possibly make "work ethic" an insensitive term? According to Political Correctness, calling for a stronger work ethic suggests that some Americans may be deficient in this virtue and "being lazy" is just a code word for public welfare recipients, particularly African Americans. Those praising a "strong work ethic" will immediately be condemned for blaming the victim and ignoring the evils of capitalism and rampant racial discrimination. Never doubt that millions of the unemployed and those on the dole are daily dying to find work. Recall the outrage when Mitt Romney noted that 47% of Americans were happily dependent on government?   

Personal Responsibility. Imagine the uproar if a presidential candidate announced that parents, not government, had a personal responsibility for raising their children and should avoid state-funded daycare, government-supplied meals and similar policies inimical to parenting? To the contemporary Left this former truism is a war on poor children since "everybody knows" that it impossible to successfully raise a child without billions from a nurturing Uncle Sam.

Obey the law. Expressing this virtue seems absolutely safe, but you would be wrong. Even the slightest allusion to crime is "controversial" since, according to the PC faith, "everybody knows" that crime is a racially-tinged code word and to suggest that youngsters should admire crime- fighters, e.g., Batman, not thugs killed by the police, disrespects a culture. Everybody should be free to choose his own "heroes" and anything else is cultural imperialism.   

Thrift How can calling for thrift possibly be offensive? Surely saving money and shunning needless consumerism is a proven pathway out of poverty and what could be wrong with that? Again, this is offensiveness by implication given that thrift is more prevalent among certain groups than others and in today's non-judgmental world, what gives anybody the right to condemn so-called frivolous consumption? After all, economic freedom permits the poor to buy expensive cell phone plans they can ill afford, so a savvy candidate will just avoid linking being a spendthrift to poverty, no matter how solid the advice.

Thick skinned. Picture an office-seeker who explained that society inherently entails daily minor misunderstandings, small criticisms, inadvertent insults, harassments and other trivial hurtfulness and making a big deal out of these frictions subverts civil society. Moreover, trying to eliminate every possible hurtfulness with speech codes and legal fatwas only invites totalitarianism .In other words, America must move beyond the victimhood mentality. Unfortunately, this message disrespects those who define their very being as an eternal victim and implies that their victimhood in a ruse.

And the list of "offensive" words grows by the day. In an interview an African American reporter for the New York Times informed me that the word "colorblind" when said by a white expressed hostility toward blacks. Woe to candidates who even mention "the traditional two-parent family." That would clearly be exclusionary and even hateful.

In today's PC world, only a kamikaze presidential contender would say, "America must return to personal responsibility not government dependency, be a nation of savers not debt-ridden manic shoppers, a self-reliant people who refuse to turn every imagined insult into a federal case who teach their children that criminals are not heroes. And, absent these virtues, America will slide into a struggling Third World Nanny state." 
This speech once would have once brought thunderous applause. Today, by contrast, it would be deemed a collection of insulting gaffs, an invitation to ridicule and a political suicide note.  The PC chorus would be deafening: hateful, insensitive, offensive, extremist, out-of-touch, a war on the poor, an affront to the victims of capitalism and racism. And, regardless of who gave the speech, it would be condemned as a throwback to the bad old days when a bunch of those rich white slaveholders wrote the Constitution.

Obviously, winning the war must begin with taking back our vocabulary. Any volunteers?


Thief who has burgled 200 homes walks free from court after British judge sends him on a victim empathy course instead of prison

A serial thief who admitted committing more than 200 burglaries in just two years has avoided jail and been ordered to attend a ‘victim empathy course’, it was revealed today.

Tomas Drungelas, 33, of Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, was spared a prison sentence - despite victims telling the judge that they would ‘be angry’ if he was treated leniently.

The Lithuanian criminal broke into and burgled 202 homes in the Hertfordshire area between 2013 and 2014 to fund his addiction to alcohol and gambling, St Albans Crown Court was told.

But Judge Andrew Bright QC said that he would spare Drungelas jail and send him on a locally-run rehabilitation course called Choices and Consequences, or the ‘C2 Programme’.

He also said Drungelas would be tagged for 36 months, under curfew between 9pm and 6am and must complete 200 hours of unpaid work.

Drungelas was also ordered to go on the victim empathy course as well as attend alcohol and gambling ‘intervention programmes’.

The judge said: ‘The victims of some of the burglaries you have committed have contacted me and expressed their anger if you were to be treated leniently.

‘Under normal circumstances you would face five or six years in prison for the offences you have committed, and many people will say that this is not the way to deal with a prolific burglar.

He added: ‘Some may say that this is a let off, but it is not, because if you break any of the conditions or reoffend you will find yourself back in this court and you will serve the full sentence for the crimes you have admitted to, which could be five or six years in prison.’

The C2 Programme is run by Hertfordshire Constabulary in partnership with the probation service, ‘under the direction’ of Judge Bright.

It aims to turn around the lives of ‘prolific offenders’ to offer them a ‘realistic opportunity to break free from the cycle of crime’. In its first year 31 criminals took part, confessing to 1,800 crimes.



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

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

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


26 March, 2015

My Privilege Isn’t White

“White privilege” is all the rage . . . on college campuses. But is there anything substantive to the notion?

As long as some folks view individuals as nothing more than their race, I suppose one can accrue a few advantages simply by being part of the largest racial group.

Moreover, as I explained at length in my Sunday column at Townhall.com, numerous government policies do indeed hit minorities harder.

The War on Drugs has ravaged the black community much more than the white community, for example. This may result more from the higher poverty rates for minorities than to race alone: Police and prosecutors are more likely to arrest and harshly prosecute the poor for no better reason than that the poor are less able to defend themselves, legally or politically.

That’s wrong. We very much need major reforms of unaccountable police power and abusive prosecutors as well as end the drug war.

But getting back to that trendy “white privilege” — it misses a big source of “unfair” advantage.

I’m white, but my privilege mostly isn’t. Of my many advantages, my skin pigmentation nowhere near tops the list.

Whatever success I’ve enjoyed derives mostly from this: I was reared by two parents who supported me, nurtured me, corrected me and cared about me every day from before I was born to now.

No government program, no amount of money, can best that gift.

The most critical element in the success of black and brown and yellow and peach and white kids is not a politician who cares, but a parent — or, better yet, two — providing a nurturing environment, including tough love.

We could all use more of the “unfair” advantage that parents provide.


Overweight Leftist bully blames BRITAIN for terrorism

Ed Miliband was tonight facing growing calls to condemn the Labour peer John Prescott of claims Britain is to blame for radicalising young Muslims into joining ISIS.

The former deputy prime minister said the country should 'face up to the fact' that it had somehow pushed already devout youngsters into the throngs of extremism.

He added if he was a young Muslim in Britain today, he too 'could be radicalised' because of 'injustice' in Gaza and US drone strikes in Syria.

His comments were met with fury by MPs today.

Home Affairs Select Committee member Michael Ellis said the Labour leadership needed to criticise the remarks immediately.

Former minister Tim Loughton said Mr Prescott was playing into the hands of ISIS and ‘acting as an apologist for terror’.

Fellow Conservative MP Conor Burns said Mr Prescott's view was 'half-baked, ill thought-out and sensationalist'.

In his weekly column for the Sunday Mirror, Lord Prescott, who last week said Tony Blair's 'bloody crusades' in Iraq had contributed to terrorism, said: 'Isn't it time we faced up to the fact we've played a huge part in making them want to leave Britain and take up arms in a foreign land?'

He was referring to a handful of youngsters to have fled the country to join ISIS extremists abroad. Last week three teenage boys were stopped trying to enter the country at the Turkish border.  A High Court judge banned another group of youngsters from travelling overseas amid fears they were planning to wage jihad.

Rather than blame 'Trojan horse schools', at which he claimed there was 'no proof' of radicalisation, Lord Prescott said of the impressionable teens: 'It wasn't just JIhadi John who radicalised them.'

'If I was a young Muslim watching the social injustice in Gaza where 2,000 people died in a matter of weeks from Israeli bombings, the displacement of millions of people in Syria and the U.S. using drone missiles.... I'm sure I could be radicalised too.'

 John Prescott now appears to be acting as an apologist for terror
Home Affairs Select Committee member Tim Loughton
Mr Ellis, a long-standing member of the respected Home Affairs Select Committee, told MailOnline:

‘We must stand up for our values and defeat extremism – not by apologising but by challenging ideologies which seek to destroy peace and co-operation.

‘John Prescott should focus on that an Ed Miliband should immediately condone these remarks and be clear that these views cannot be justified.’

Mr Loughton said the remarks as ‘extremely dangerous’, adding: ‘John Prescott now appears to be acting as an apologist for terror.

‘I hope Ed Miliband will distance himself from this comments at a time when we need to do everything possible to dissuade young Muslims listening to the poisoned voices of those who try to glamourise a case which characterises itself by murderous barbarism.

‘John Prescott only helps to play into the hands of those who wish to destroy our society and everything that we hold dear.’

Follow Conservative backbencher Mr Burns claimed it was 'one last attempt to make himself relevant'.

‘It is deeply irresponsible for anyone in public life to be suggesting that those who wish to go abroad to make common cause with people who are slaughtering Christians, murdering gay people and whose vowed intent is the elimination of western Liberal democracy.

'To put any of that at the door of the policy of Her Majesty’s government is despicable.

‘People like Prescott would probably want nothing more than for it to blow up between the Jews and the Palestinians. It’s very damaging.’

His comments were also slammed by members of the Muslim community.

'John Prescott an apologist for terrorism, you could have mistakened (sic) him for Asim Qureshi for I'm Cage,' wrote one user calling himself Shaykh Zahir Mahmood.


Dangerous daffodils etc. The top 10 health and safety myths revealed

Among the most ridiculous situations to be prohibited under the guise of health and safety were council parks staff ordering the small wooden canes that protect daffodil bulbs to be removed from the flower bed.

This was because a member of the public complained someone could be hurt should they fall over onto the flowers.

The Health and Safety Executive's Myth Busters Challenge Panel refuted it was a health and safety issue, stating in its decision that 'the request from the park's department to remove the canes is completely disproportionate to the minor hazards presented by them'.

In another equally absurd scenario, a chippie refused to allow a customer to use his salt and vinegar shakers to apply their preferred amount to their meal, as the chippie couldn't be sure the individual's hands were clean.

The panel ruled this problem could be easily solved by providing a separate shakers for customers, or salt and vinegar sachets.

And a third case involved the first nightclub in Britain to ban selfie sticks.

Although the panel said the ban was entirely reasonable - it was unfortunate the club's management used the smokescreen of health and safety to do so.

More than 600 people approached the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) Myth Busters Challenge Panel in its first three years after being told ‘health and safety’ stopped them from doing something.

Work and Pensions Minister, Lord Freud said: 'People have had enough of bizarre health and safety excuses.

'The HSE’s myth busters panel is quashing these ridiculous excuses and making sure people know it isn’t the law standing in their way.

'For too long businesses have been consumed by red tape and confusion, often feeling they needed to go beyond the requirements of the law, but it’s never been easier to understand the rules and make the right choice, without diluting protection for workers.'


Pork Crackling not on the menu at a restaurant because it might splash the chef

Prams banned from a children’s centre for health and safety reasons

Dangerous daffodils removed from a village green

Custard pie fight at a local event cancelled because of health and safety

Chippy not allowing customers to put salt and vinegar on their fish and chips

Ban on playing with conkers and yo-yos, using skipping ropes, and climbing trees

Selfie sticks banned in a nightclub

Sheep and cow droppings in a field stopping a scout group camping

School production cancelled because lighting operator had not attended ladder training course

Office ban on paperclips


Yes, we should abolish workplace race laws

Anti-discrimination laws heighten racial sensitivity and destroy meritocracy

What did UKIP leader Nigel Farage say to prompt the following responses: ‘pretty appalling’ (prime minister David Cameron); ‘irresponsible’ (deputy prime minister Nick Clegg); ‘wrong, divisive and dangerous’ (Labour Party leader Ed Miliband); ‘one of the most shocking things I have ever heard’ (Labour’s justice spokesman Sadiq Khan); and something ‘that Goebbels [the Nazi minister of propaganda] would be proud of’ (Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi)?

Had Farage taken leave of his senses and suddenly declared his support for the Islamic State? No, not quite. He had merely claimed it was time to scrap the UK’s race-discrimination laws. And what should have been the cue for a serious debate about workplace race-discrimination laws was snuffed out within hours, with even the usually robust Farage appearing to backtrack.

The irony, no doubt lost on the political establishment that sought to silence any debate about race-discrimination laws, is that Farage made the comments in a documentary, to be shown on Channel 4 this Thursday, called Things We Won’t Say About Race (That Are True). So, the first point from the documentary’s title has already been established before the programme is even aired: there are some things that we won’t (or can’t) say about race, such as race-discrimination laws should be scrapped.

As for things we won’t say about race that are true, it’s often the case that truth is the first casualty of unthinking censure. And when that censure is expressed by the likes of Cameron, Clegg and Miliband, then it is just possible that Farage’s argument to scrap race-discrimination laws hit upon an important truth.

In the interests of developing the debate that Farage tried to start, here’s my three-point argument for scrapping race-discrimination laws: (1) anti-racism is about promoting equality of opportunity (for all races); (2) today’s race-discrimination laws promote equality of outcome; and (3), equality of outcome is the enemy of a meritocratic workplace



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

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

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


25 March, 2015

Top violator of women's rights around the world? It's Israel says UN

The U.N. sends itself up again.  Why is the USA still a member of this ratbag outfit?

Guess who is the number one violator of women’s rights in the world today?  Israel.  Violating the rights of Palestinian women.

At least that is the view of the UN’s top women’s rights body, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).  CSW ends its annual meeting on Friday, March 20 by condemning only one of the 193 UN member states for violating women’s rights – Israel.

Not Syria. Where government forces routinely employ rape and other sexual violence and torture against women as a tactic of war. Where in 2014 the Assad regime starved, tortured and killed at least 24,000 civilians, and three million people – mostly women and children – are refugees.

In fact, not only is there no possibility that the UN Commission on the Status of Women will criticize Iran, Iran is an elected member of CSW.  Sudan – whose president has been indicted for genocide and crimes against humanity – is currently a CSW Vice-Chair.

Not Saudi Arabia. Where women are physically punished if not wearing compulsory clothing, are almost entirely excluded from political life, cannot drive, cannot travel without a male relative, receive half the inheritance of their brothers, and where their testimony counts for half that of a man’s.

Not Sudan.  Where domestic violence is not prohibited.  There is no minimum age for “consensual” sex.  The legal age of marriage for girls is ten. 88% of women under 50 have undergone female genital mutilation. And women are denied equal rights in marriage, inheritance and divorce.

Not Iran. Where every woman who registered as a presidential candidate in the last election was disqualified.  “Adultery” is punishable by death by stoning.  Women who fight back against rapists and kill their attackers are executed. The constitution bars female judges. And women must obtain the consent of their husbands to work outside the home.

In fact, not only is there no possibility that the UN Commission on the Status of Women will criticize Iran, Iran is an elected member of CSW.  Sudan – whose president has been indicted for genocide and crimes against humanity – is currently a CSW Vice-Chair.

The 2015 CSW resolution on Israel will repeat, as it does every year, that “the Israeli occupation remains the major obstacle for Palestinian women with regard to their advancement, self-reliance and integration in the development of their society…”

Not Palestinian men.  Not religious edicts and traditions. Not a culture of violence. Not an educational system steeped in rejection of peaceful coexistence and of tolerance.

Instead, the fault for a UN statistic like this one – an average of 17% of Palestinian women are in the labor force as compared to 70% of Palestinian men – lies with the Jewish scapegoat.

That fact comes from one of only nine official documents produced by the UN for the 2015 annual CSW meeting.  Eight were procedural or general in nature, and one was entitled:  “Situation of and assistance to Palestinian women.”

By comparison, there was no report on Chinese women and girls, half a billion people without elementary civil and political rights, who still face the prospect of forced abortion and sterilization.

There was no report on women in Somalia, where female genital mutilation is ubiquitous, sexual violence is rampant, and women are systematically subordinate to men.

There was no report on women in Yemen, where the penal code goes easy on the killers of women for “immodest” or “defiant” behavior, there is no minimum age for “marriage,” and women have no equal rights to property, employment, credit, pay, education, or housing.

And the women’s rights scene is not the only liberal sham at the UN.

The UN’s top human rights body, the Human Rights Council (HRC), will wrap up a major session next week by adopting a minimum of four times as many resolutions slamming Israel than any other country on earth.

Condemnations of Israel will include a resolution demanding Israel immediately give back the Golan Heights to Syria – the place where Syrians run from their own government for life-saving Israeli medical care.

Tallying all the resolutions and decisions condemning a specific state over the history of the Human Rights Council, one-third has been directed at Israel alone.

Remember Ukraine? In the past year, there have been at least 5,500 confirmed killed – with recent reports from Germany suggesting the total may be as high as 50,000 dead – in addition to a million people displaced.  But the score is 67 Council resolutions and decisions attacking Israel and zero on Russia. 

So who is calling the shots at the Council? A closer look at its members reveals human rights luminaries like Qatar – that bankrolls the terrorist organization Hamas – along with China, Pakistan, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

It is impossible to add this all up and conclude that the UN’s treatment of Israel is anything but wildly discriminatory. In the twisted language of UN rights, the means is the verbiage of equality, while the end game is prejudice.

The Obama administration has an answer to this dilemma. Vote against the resolutions, while paying the fees to run the bodies that adopt them. Join and legitimize the institution, while consoling the delegitimized that it feels their pain.

As Secretary Kerry told the Council on March 2, 2015: “President Obama and I support the HRC…” and “the HRC’s obsession with Israel actually risks undermining the credibility of the entire organization.”  “Risks undermining” – as opposed to “has grossly undermined already.”

This attitude towards the UN’s demonization of Israel foreshadows the administration’s Israel policy in the days ahead – a policy unaffected by Israeli election results.

The Palestinians will continue to use the UN and the International Criminal Court to attempt to accomplish with lethal politics what they have never been able to do with lethal force.  And President Obama will hold open the door.


Courts remind EEOC again: Background checks don’t equal racism

The Museum of Questionable Medical Devices displays dozens of “amazingly useless gadgets,” including such oddities as the Battle Creek Vibratory Chair, which shook patients violently to increase oxygen flow, and the Cosmos Bag, a radioactive cloth sack designed to cure arthritic joints with radium-laced water.

Modern medicine would easily identify these devices as absurd and unworkable. A clever pitch man claiming professional credentials can make something up and sell it to a gullible audience, willing to try anything to get the desired result.  

Trying anything to get the desired result, however, is not a good strategy for engineering social change through litigation, as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was recently reminded (again) by a federal Court of Appeals.  

In EEOC v Freeman, the commission once again relied on the statistical analysis of an industrial psychologist to try to prove that an event planning company discriminated against black male job applicants when it ran credit and criminal background checks.

On Feb. 20, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the statistical case presented by the EEOC was “rife with analytical errors,” “completely unreliable,” and contained a “mind-boggling number of errors and unexplained discrepancies.”  The Fourth Circuit judges tossed the EEOC’s case, just as the Sixth Circuit did in 2014, when the EEOC relied on the same expert whose report was rejected for containing the same types of fatal flaws.

For years, the EEOC has doggedly pursued litigation against companies whose background check procedures it deemed too expansive and discriminatory. The EEOC’s strategy relies on the observation that, under certain circumstances, the use of criminal background and credit checks as a pre-hiring screen tends to eliminate minority applicants in disproportionate numbers.  The EEOC claims that this violates Title VII.

But wait a minute.  Just because your arthritis got better doesn’t mean it was because of the Cosmos Bag.  Correlation and causation are not the same thing.  

Statistical data show that a higher proportion of minorities have criminal records than non-minorities.  The NAACP reports that African Americans and Hispanics makeup 58 percent of prisoners, despite making up only a quarter of the general population.  There are undoubtedly a variety of factors that influence those numbers, but employers who perform routine background checks on prospective hires have no control over whom police arrest, governments prosecute, or juries convict.  If there is injustice in the justice system, employers performing background checks are not the ones to blame.

The reason that criminal background checks reveal more convictions for minorities is because more minorities have been convicted, not because employers who run pre-hire background checks are engaging in unlawful discrimination. 

The EEOC’s insurmountable hurdle, therefore, is proving race discrimination, which the agency must do through statistics.  If a criminal background check were racist, it would have to screen out minorities in a higher proportion than the rate at which minorities have been convicted of crimes.  

To date, the EEOC’s efforts to prove disparate impact through statistics have had roughly the same level of success as the Battle Creek Vibratory Chair. 

Last year, the Sixth Circuit called the EEOC’s statistical case against an employer “a homemade methodology, crafted by a witness with no particular expertise to craft it, administered by persons with no particular expertise to administer it, tested by no one, and accepted only by the witness himself.”  The commission then used the same expert again – with the same result.

If the EEOC’s theory were statistically supportable, it would not be so hard for the EEOC to find statistical support.  Yet, as Judge Roger Titus wrote when dismissing the EEOC’s case at the trial court level, the commission’s race discrimination argument is a “theory in search of facts to support it.”  Court after court has panned the EEOC’s approach.

The goal of promoting employment for qualified, rehabilitated individuals with criminal records is a worthwhile one.  The EEOC, however, has no statutory mandate allowing it to pursue that goal.  Strong-arming companies by filing unprovable disparate impact lawsuits is not the best model for engineering social change.

Fortunately, there is a better way.  States like Georgia have enacted laws that allow reformed ex-offenders to obtain a certificate of rehabilitation.  Employers who hire these ex-offenders receive immunity against negligent hire claims.

The Georgia program addresses head-on the worthwhile goal of promoting employment for rehabilitated ex-offenders and does so in a way that provides critical legal safeguards for employers. This carrot-based approach provides ex-offenders a path for re-entry into mainstream society, while giving employers the legal protection they need so they can reasonably take a chance on giving someone a second chance.

That is a much more common sense approach than the EEOC’s discredited statistical gadgetry.

In 2002, the Museum of Questionable Medical Devices closed, and its collection was donated to the Science Museum of Minnesota, where curiosity seekers can still hook themselves up to a phrenology machine that measures intelligence and morality based on the size of bumps on the head.

It remains to be seen whether the Fourth Circuit’s recent decision will prompt the EEOC to change its much-maligned approach to background checks.  If the EEOC is finally ready to retire its repeatedly discredited expert statistical papers, the museum is accepting donations.


When state trumps church

By Anthony Furey

“Ignorant” has got to be one of the most misused words today. An ignorant person is someone who is uninformed, missing some key information.  Not someone who holds an opinion that you don’t share.

Are the people who support banning the niqab during citizenship oaths ignorant? For some, sure. It could be a knee-jerk position they’ve latched onto without much reflection. But – memo to the politically correct! – it’s also possible to oppose the niqab from an informed and educated position.

I’ve read the Qur’an multiple times. I’ve done the crash course in Islamic history and jurisprudence. I routinely chat with Muslims, both supremacists and liberal. Heck, I even watched Lawrence of Arabia as a kid.

So when I argue that wearing the niqab is a pretty bad choice to make and that the government is completely right to insist women remove it during citizenship oaths, I’m not saying that out of ignorance.

It’s actually the sad faux-feminists out there aligning themselves with a religion that has misogyny bred in the bone who are the ignorant ones.

The more I study religion, the more I don’t like it. This goes particularly for Islam, the religion that demands absolute submission (hey, that’s more or less what the name means).

We heathens can’t tell you how the universe was created or what the meaning of life is. But that doesn’t in turn mean the many dodgy claims made by religions are automatically correct.

I highly doubt a god actually told ancestors of my Jewish friends to take a knife to their genitals. I don’t believe Jesus’ mom never had sex nor do I believe it’s possible to turn water into wine. (Although if that last one does turn out to be true, I’ll return to the Roman Catholic Church in a heartbeat, jaw open, head tilted back.)

And I most certainly don’t believe that Muhammad was visited by an angel – while alone in the desert without any witnesses! How convenient! – and received the final revelation of god.

That over a billion people disagree is immaterial. Truth is not determined by mob rule.

The above is simply to illustrate that it’s permissible to view religion with knitted eyebrows. It’s okay to have disdain for one or all of them.

If we can passionately bicker over which hockey team sucks more, we certainly can and should do it for something of greater geopolitical consequence as religion.

Yet too many politically correct posers in the West think this shouldn’t be the case. In a speech last week, Justin Trudeau put the vice grip on free thought by accusing critics of Islam of “stoking anxiety and fomenting fear.”

Western society routinely makes degrading jokes about Christians. Anti-Semitism abounds (with friends like these…). Nobody gets too freaked out about this.

But somehow Islam – the one lacking a critical culture, the least self-reflecting, least humorous and therefore most troublesome monotheism – is treated like a victim when exposed to legitimate criticism.

It’s pathetic to see the social media misfits hash-tagging away their #dresscodePM antics – facetiously acting like the prime minister wants to approve all public female clothing choices because he doesn’t want the niqab worn during citizenship oaths.

Okay, we get it. You don’t like Harper. But do you have to embarrass yourself by deliberately misunderstanding the issue and, in turn, siding with the theocrats?

This is not about how women dress at all. It’s about how some people destructively believe random religious edicts should be able to dictate civic procedure in a non-theocracy.

The niqab conversation is a sectarian issue. It’s a religious choice – a choice one should be free to make when out and about in a free society. It’s dictatorial to tell people how to dress in public and outright burqa bans are wrong.

But the rules change when you go from walking about on the street to interacting with the state in an important civic matter. Your primary identity in these interactions is not, for example, as a Muslim woman. It’s as a citizen.

It would be lovely if religious and civic responsibility never came into conflict. But evidently they sometimes do. And in the civic sphere, civic duties come first.

It’s deeply troubling that an aspiring citizen would attempt to assert the superiority of her religion over the state while fulfilling her first civic responsibility.

Why is Harper the one being called intolerant? It’s these new Canadians who are being intolerant of a country gracious enough to extend them citizenship.

Any serious country must assert that a citizen’s religious duties come second to their civic responsibilities. If not, it’s not a country anymore. It’s just a land of appeasement begging to be walked all over.

And what happens when two groups with equally earnest but contradictory claims to special treatment come into conflict? That’s when we realize what a joke accommodation has become.

It’s not ignorant to argue this. It’s not sexist. It’s about understanding the sanctity of civic life.


Stop Smearing Critics of Islam as Islamophobes

Branding everything a "phobia" stifles meaningful debate

The UK-based Islamic Human Rights Commission has disgusted everyone who owns a moral compass by giving its international “Islamophobe of the Year Award” to Charlie Hebdo.

Yep, that’s right—not content that the editors and cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo have already been summarily executed for the “crime” of Islamophobia, the IHRC now wants to posthumously insult them, metaphorically branding their corpses with the i-word so that everyone remembers what scumbags they were.

The IHRC, a charity founded in 1997 to research, study, and bleat about anyone who is less than fawning about Islam, initiated the Annual Islamophobia Awards in 2003. The winners are, of course, not actually anti-Muslim bigots, but simply people who have had the temerity to criticize some aspect of Islamic faith or culture.

So Ayaan Hirsi Ali has won one for failing to show sufficient respect to the religion that ruined her childhood. How dare she! Tony Blair was awarded one as well, proving that even painfully PC politicians who go around quoting the Koran and saying what a wonderful religion Islam is can still find themselves labelled haters.

And now, eclipsing even those previous undeserving winners, Charlie Hebdo has been dishonored with an award. On March 7, exactly two months after the massacre—nice—the IHRC christened that mag the worst of the international Islamophobes. No one from the magazine was available to pick up the award, of course, since many of its writers are now dead.

The IHRC’s labelling of freshly-killed satirists is like a post-mortem justification for the massacre itself, a reminder of the “crimes” these people committed prior to being shot at their desks. In fact, it’s merely a less bloody version of the Islamic State’s habit of hanging a placard around the neck of some poor bloke about to be crucified or pushed off a building: a reminder of the wickedness done by these individuals who are being, or have been, executed.

It isn’t surprising that the IHRC’s giggling at the dead of Charlie Hebdo has been met with outrage. But now we need to go further. We need to reject, not only the grisly handing of an Islamophobia award to dead cartoonists, but also the very idea of Islamophobia—the word itself, the notion that to criticize or mock Islam is to be disordered and therefore in need of reprimanding or a cure.

We live in an era of phobias. They are apparently spreading like a ravenous blob, turning more and more human minds black with prejudice. Today, it isn’t only fear of spiders, clowns, or open spaces that is branded a phobia—so are certain ways of thinking, certain beliefs, moral viewpoints that fall outside the mainstream.

Islam is protected from ridicule not only by the slur of Islamophobia, but also through accusations of “hijabphobia” against anyone who criticizes the veil, and “shariaphobia,” which is used to brand as sickly those who think Western democratic nations should have one, universal law applicable to everyone rather than different courts for different folks.

One Muslim writer describes hijabphobia as an “irrational fear" that has “crept into the subconscious of the unsuspecting all over the world.” So you might think your dislike of the veil is motored by secular, liberal concern for the treatment of women as frail sexual creatures who must always be hidden, but actually you're sick; you've been infected by a fear of the Other.

Shariaphobia is, according to one dictionary, “fear or hatred of sharia law.” The heated debate about the introduction of a sharia tribunal in Texas has led to accusations of shariaphobia. A writer for the Texan paper the Star-Telegram said commentators’ criticisms of the tribunal show that “shariaphobia is back.” So even the suggestion that we should have one law for all—a pretty standard Enlightenment idea—is now rebranded a weird, dark fear.

The purpose of all these utterly invented phobias is to delegitimize moral criticism of Islam by depicting it as irrational, fuelled by fearful thoughts that the mass media probably implanted in your unwitting brain. It’s like an informal, non-legal enforcement of strictures against blasphemy. Whereas the Inquisition branded disbelievers as morally disordered “deniers,” today’s intolerant protectors of Islam brand critics of that religion as morally disordered “phobes.” In Europe, a hotbed of phobia-policing, people have actually been arrested, convicted, and fined for the crime of “Islamophobia”—a direct echo of the Inquisition’s trial and punishment of those who, in retrospect, we should probably call Bibliophobes.

It isn’t only Islam and its sympathizers who use the phobe label to chill legitimate moral debate. Everyone’s at it.

Gay-rights activists have become way too fond of using the word “homophobe,” not only to attack actual anti-gay bigots but also to slam people who simply oppose gay marriage, for religious reasons, or who aren’t in love with every aspect of the gay lifestyle. Here, too, legit moral viewpoints are reimagined as irrational fears and in the process demonized. Homosexuality was once treated as a mental illness; now criticism of homosexuality is described, in the words of psychiatrist and writer Martin Kantor, as an “emotional disorder.”

Heaven help anyone who criticizes any aspect of transgender politics. Question the idea that boys who identify as girls should be allowed to use the girls’ toilets at school and you’re a transphobe. Wonder out loud if gender is at least partly biological and you're a transphobe. Accidentally call Chelsea Manning Bradley Manning and you’re the most foul, irrational, phobic creature in Christendom.

There’s also biphobia, lesbophobia, whorephobia (used against feminists who, wrongly in my view, want to outlaw prostitution), fatphobia, ecophobia (for people who aren’t eco-friendly and, what’s more, think green politics is a crock), and on it goes.

What we’re witnessing is the pathologizing of dissent, the treatment of edgy or just eccentric ideas as illnesses requiring silencing or even treatment. It’s a cynical attempt by certain groups and their media cheerleaders to opt-out of the battle of ideas by branding their opponents as irrational, and therefore not worthy of engagement.

Pathologizing moral thought has long been the favored tactic of the most authoritarian regimes. Think of the Soviet Union dumping dissenters in lunatic asylums. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, O’Brien, the torturer in Room 101, offers to cure Winston Smith of his anti-authority outlook: “You are mentally deranged," he tells him. “Shall I tell you why we have brought you here? To cure you! To make you sane!”

The 21st-century West is rife with O’Briens, keen to cure us of our phobias. We should respond by challenging the phobia-accusers to ditch the name-calling and instead take part in real, honest, moral debate.



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

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

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


24 March, 2015

I am outraged

I was brought up as a Presbyterian and, culturally, I guess I still am one.  I even still read Presbyterian publications at times. So the lily-livered report below from one such publication is deeply disappointing to me.

The report is from the head of the Presbyterian church in Queensland, Australia, and his report is of a meeting with  local Muslim leaders. So did the meeting express any concern at all about the large-scale and grievous attacks on Christians in Muslim lands? 

Such attacks were not mentioned at all. We read that the meeting was "to express concern about the violence that has been perpetrated against some Muslims simply because they are Muslims". 

And in the press release we find out what the "violence" was: "recent negative sentiments expressed toward Muslims and especially Muslim women".  So rape, torture and death of thousands of Christians fades into insignificance compared with a few harsh words about Muslims! 

I am flabbergasted.  The man quotes the Bible but he is a Pharisee, a hypocrite, an abomination and a "whited sepulchre".

Has he not read: "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (Matt. 25:40).  Christ had great concern for every one of his followers but the Rt. Rev. Phil Case apparently does not.

He was only one of the church leaders at the meeting but he voices no disquiet about its reprehensible proceedings.

Heads of Churches meeting with members of Queensland Islamic council

By Rt. Rev. Phil Case (Moderator of the Presbyterian church in Queensland)

I attended the Heads of Churches meeting on the 20th October. We met with the Brisbane leaders of the Islamic community.

Some might ask why we would meet with them when our faiths are so different. This was not a meeting about the content of our respective faiths, but a meeting to express concern about the violence that has been perpetrated against some Muslims simply because they are Muslims. It was a meeting to support the Freedom of Religion we enjoy in Australia.

I think it was Evelyn Beatrice Hall biographer of Voltaire who wrote “I disapprove of what you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”

If we do not speak out against these actions pertaining to people because of their religion, how can we speak out when we are acted against because of our Christian faith? We do not share beliefs with the Islamic Community, but we do share our humanity with them. Our Lord has commanded us to love our neighbour, and to love our enemies.

Speaking out in defence of their right to live in peace as law abiding citizens is doing just this. Aggression toward people arises from fear; fear of that which is different, fear of that which we do not know and understand.

It would be good if we as Christians could take the time to get to know our Islamic neighbours and show them love at the appropriate level. How can we expect them to listen to us if we will not listen to them and take the time to get to know them?

Not only is this an opportunity to live out the commands of our Lord to love our neighbour, but it is an opportunity to share the Gospel with people who desperately need it. God has brought these people to our shores, but the tragedy is that most of these people have no more contact with Christians than they would if they still lived in their Islamic homeland.

They hear no more of the Gospel and know no more of Christianity than those in countries where Christians are not free to share the Gospel. In 1 Peter 3:15-16 we read "...in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience..."

If Christ is Lord, we are to be prepared to give an answer to those who ask about our faith and hope. But no one is going to ask about our hope if we never bother to meet and get to know anyone.

Note also, that we are to do it with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience. We are always to act with care and respect for those we speak to. It is interesting that this is Peter’s command to those who may be afraid of persecution (see verse 14).

We are not to be afraid. We are not to fear anything because our Lord is in control. Let us take the opportunity while it is day to do good to all men and to share the Gospel.

I encourage all Christians to learn not just about the beliefs of Islam, but also to get to know some people who practise Islam. Our common humanity ensures we have much in common with them.

Many of their concerns are our concerns. They are having open days at mosques and are open to invitations to events that we might hold at our churches. This is a golden opportunity to build peace and share the Gospel as the Lord permits.

It will take time and effort to build relationships in which questions can be asked and answered, but let’s not miss out.

Media Release:

Heads of Churches meeting with members of Queensland Islamic Council

by Rt Rev Phil Case

On Monday 20 October, the Heads of Christian Churches met with members of the Islamic Council of Queensland to consider ways of strengthening relations between the Christian and Islamic communities in the State that promote respect and harmony.

The meeting was precipitated by the concern over the recent negative sentiments expressed toward Muslims and especially Muslim women.

The meeting abhorred such actions, and called upon all Queenslanders to respect the right of all Australians to enjoy Freedom of Religion, and seeks to promote ways in which understanding and tolerance between people of different faiths can be increased.

Churches represented included the Anglican, Roman Catholic, Uniting, Congregational Federation of Australian and New Zealand, Australian Christian Churches, Presbyterian Church of Queensland and the Wesleyan Methodist Church of Australia.

As well as members of the Queensland Islamic Council there were also representatives of the Council of Imams, Crescents of Brisbane and AMARAH in attendance.

Topics discussed included supporting freedom of religious practices and ideas within the Australian community; showing dignity to all people regardless of their beliefs and ways of life; and speaking with a united voice to government and politicians on topics of mutual concern.

As well it was agreed to support initiatives such as the open mosque days, organising forums to educate the wider community about Islam


Phil's email is moderator@pcq.org.au should you wish to give him your comments

Nazi policy from some hypocritical Australian luvvies

The theatrical world is generally very Leftist.  Fantasy is their trade

A Sydney theatre has refused a young Jewish theatre group’s request to use its venue in an alleged act of discrimination.

The Jewish group, Hillel is a not-for-profit educational and cultural organisation which aims to ‘inspire university-aged young adults to engage with Jewish life’ and become future leaders.

The group are planning a series of performances about survivors of the holocaust and were in search of a venue.

When Hillel made an application to perform at The Red Rattler Theatre in Sydney’s inner west, they were shocked at the email they received in response.

‘Our policy does not support colonialism/Zionism. Therefore we do not host groups that support the colonisation and occupation of Palestine,’ the Marrickville Theatre group responded curtly.

Members of the youth group could not believe that they were being rejected, allegedly due to their religious beliefs.

Assistant director Shailee Mendelvich was confounded when she received the rejection email from The Red Rattler Theatre group.

‘I was shocked and disappointed because I believe that denying a Jewish group the right to make a commercial booking is clearly racial discrimination and, in this case, Antisemitism,’ Ms Mendelvich told Daily Mail Australia

Ms Mendelvich was particularly troubled by the rejection as The Red Rattler Theatre are also a not-for-profit, artist-run company which purports to have ‘community at heart’.

On their website, the Red Rattler claim that the theatre ‘was set up as a space where racism, homophobia, transphobia and sexism are not welcome on stage, in the audience, at the door, and at the bar.’

‘We ask you to join us in efforts to make this space welcoming, stimulating, and happiness producing to people regardless of their ethnicity, sexuality or gender.’

Hillel believes that the decision to reject a Jewish theatre group contradicts the company’s ethos.

‘I hope that people working in community service and the not-for-profit sector can acknowledge the common ground we share, especially for events that encourage honest and open creative expression for important cultural or social issues.’

The event series, called ‘Moth’, is a performance evening to ‘encourage people to express themselves in a creative way’.

The upcoming event aims to ‘unpack what it means to be the third generation of holocaust survivors.'

The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive Vic Alhadeff have written to the theatre to express his concern that Hillel have been discriminated ‘based on conflicts taking place far from Australia.’

Mr Alhadeff sent the letter on March 13 and has placed several calls with The Red Rattler but is yet to receive a response.

‘It is disappointing that a theatre group (The Red Rattler Theatre company) let politics get in the way of policies, as they claim their ethos is about equality and acceptance,' Mr Alhadeff told Daily Mail Australia.

Mr Alhadeff also reiterated that the group are apolitical and the purpose of the performance would be to explore the impact of the holocaust on modern generations, rather than engaging with the issue of the occupation of Palestine.

‘These young people have been the subject of discrimination because of an overseas conflict whilst conducting a play which had nothing whatsoever to do with any conflict overseas,' he said.

‘Their focus was on exploring the lessons future generations can learn from the holocaust survivors.’

‘The Jewish community in Australia are Australians. This is very disappointing as we need to be able to embrace difference and focus on the shared values we have as Australians.'

The Hillel theatre group continue to search for a venue for their performance and are looking forward to the series, which will include the spoken word, poetry, acoustic instrumental performances and rap.

Daily Mail Australia attempted to contact The Red Rattler Theatre Company for comment but did not receive any reply.


Britons smugly boast of Magna Carta... while all it stands for is being trampled

This country is now in the grip of a permanent inquisition into the past. It can never really end, or find out the truth, because there is no objective test of it.

Many of those being investigated are dead. The only effect of it is to discredit and undermine what is left of our institutions, from Parliament to the police.

Do people have any idea how much our civilisation depends on trust, or of what will happen when it is gone?

But it is even worse than that. As we boast of our supposed respect for Magna Carta and national liberty, we are trampling on them.

I suspect that many in politics and the media, like me, are worried by this. But they fear to say anything because they can feel the hot breath of the mob on their necks.

The moment you say that Geoffrey Dickens was a buffoon with a poor grasp of facts, that his ‘dossier’ on child abuse might not have amounted to very much, and was lost for that reason, some basement-dweller hunched in the sickly glow of his computer screen will start muttering ‘What’s he got to hide?’ and ‘Perhaps he was one of them’.

From such accusations there is no escape, especially in an age when bemedalled field marshals in their 90s can have their homes searched by officious gendarmes. The word ‘police’ can really no longer be applied to this bureaucratic, continental-style militia of paramilitary social workers, jangling with weapons, loaded with powers they aren’t fit to wield, and almost wholly bereft of common sense.

The quiet collapse of English liberty, and the shortage of people willing to defend it against the braying demands of ‘security’, has left us all powerless against the state. If Lord Bramall is not safe from this sort of treatment, nobody is.

I must stress here that I have no opinions at all on the guilt or innocence of anyone accused of such crimes. I am morally and legally bound to presume that they are innocent, unless and until their guilt is proved.

That presumption, far more than a near-useless vote or a ‘Human Rights’ Act, is the single most important defence we have against tyranny. Once it has gone, in practice, the state may at any time invade your home, seize your possessions, lock you up for ever and melt the key, simply because it does not like you. And it can invent reasons to do so, which a gullible media will unquestioningly accept.

Any judge of spirit, faced with the behaviour of police and prosecutors in modern Britain, really ought to throw out all such cases because it is impossible for those accused to have a fair trial.

Everyone will have seen on TV the processions of grim-jawed gendarmes in white forensic suits carting away computers, houses surrounded with cars and vans with flashing lights, the hovering helicopters, the self-righteous officers enjoying their fame as they trawl for ‘victims’ and promising such persons – as they have no right to do – that ‘You will be believed. We will support you’.

It is no part of a policeman’s job to believe either the accused or the accusers. Imagine how you would feel if the police told alleged burglars awaiting trial, and denying their guilt, that ‘you will be believed’. It is their job, and that of the courts, to assemble a case and seek to prove it before an impartial jury.

Over many years, those protections have been salami-sliced away. The innocent have never been at more risk of ruin. But at the same time, the police and the courts have almost completely failed to deter or control actual crime, much of which now goes unrecorded, unprosecuted and unpunished.

Our system is so upside-down and back-to-front that you can now be cautioned for rape, or be let out on bail after being convicted of crimes as grievous as manslaughter; yet in the late evening of your years, full of honour, having risked your life for your country and having done great service to the state, you can be publicly smeared by some jack-in-office.

The place where our demolished liberty once stood has been cleared of all traces, and rolled flat. In such conditions, we merely await the construction of the new totalitarian state in which our children will have to live.


On the neurotically fragile always-offended nudniks

In 21st Century America, hypersensitive people are going out of their way to make their imagined oppressors or assailants feel miserable, and the hypersensitive are acting like bullies and inflicting acts of aggression and suffering against innocent others as well.

But why are so many people so thin-skinned nowadays? It seems to be such a world-wide phenomenon now. A lot of people have to be very careful with what they say and they have to censor themselves around others.

But such socially pathological tiptoeing, intolerance and outright censorship has made its way up to academia and the court system. 30 years ago, we didn’t have to deal with this stuff, and could more or less freely just say what we wanted in social situations, and not fear being ostracized, or worse.

On college campuses, conservative speakers are either shouted down or just banned from campus entirely. That’s nothing new, of course. But more recently, some college campuses are issuing letters urging “civility.” To them, unfortunately, being “civil” means being politically correct. Frankly, the new “civility” really is the stifling of diversity and free expression.

Some colleges are banning the utterances of certain words or phrases, such as the word “freshman” at Elon University. As the College Fix notes, the reason Elon is replacing the word “freshman” with “first year” is because, according to the university’s director of “Inclusive Community Well-Being,” the word “freshman” may imply a hierarchy and may refer to some students as younger and less experienced, and could cause the younger students to be targeted for sexual violence. (I am Not. Making. This. Up.)

So “freshman” implies the younger students, but that word’s replacement, “first year,” does not?

And also according to the College Fix, now forbidden at the University of Michigan includes the words “crazy,” “insane,” “retarded,” “gay,” “tranny,” “gypped,” “illegal alien,” “fag,” “ghetto,” “raghead,” and the phrases “I want to die” and “that test raped me.”

Huh? “I want to die”? (Tell that to Roseanne Roseannadanna.)

And “That test raped me”? I’ve never even heard that before. Who the hell would even say that? Hmm, I wonder if the parents who are paying such insane tuition rates for this crazy stuff might feel a little gypped now? Ya think?

Apparently, if someone uses the word “rape” in such a nonchalant or insensitive manner, such an utterance trivializes that act of sexual violence, and for those who happened to have been victims they feel re-traumatized when hearing certain words and phrases. Such language “triggers” terrible, painful emotions and fear. This has been happening to non-victims as well. But many people are just neurotically over-sensitive now, in my view.

Just what is it with the thin-skinned people now that their merely hearing someone happening to say certain words or phrases — not directed at them, mind you, just happening to be spoken — causes someone to be re-traumatized? If that’s the case, then it is they who may need some further counseling to resolve some issues that they may have, rather than censoring, silencing and stifling someone else’s mere verbal expression, regardless how silly, immature or rude such an expression might be.

I’m sorry if I sound extremely insensitive here, but, seriously, we really have to pussyfoot around and censor ourselves verbally these days, just to protect the overly-sensitive feelings of someone whose fragile being may be harmed emotionally in some way.

In fact, that situation has become so absurd that a male college student, who happened to resemble a rape victim’s assailant, was actually banned from campus and prevented from getting to his classes, and so on. Need I add any further comment to that? (I think not.)

But I wonder how many people who have not been the victims of sexual assault are nevertheless joining in and saying that they, too, feel traumatized by others’ utterances of certain words or phrases? Or are the younger generations now being so indoctrinated to believe that they feel traumatized because that’s the “correct” or socially acceptable reaction that they should be having? Just asking.

And it isn’t just college campuses or the government schools engaging in so much censorship absurdity. As I mentioned, it’s the culture in general.

A similar phenomenon occurs when the subject of Israel is brought up. Nowadays in the modern, developed, advanced age of 21st Century discourse, it is very difficult to express any kind of criticism of Israel, the Israeli government or its military’s aggressions against Gaza or settlers’ intrusions in the West Bank, without being accused of anti-Semitism or being labeled “self-hating Jew”.

And we see this intolerance of critical thinking and of questioning the official government-approved narrative in today’s politicians who dare not criticize U.S. government foreign policy when it comes to Israel.

In fact, just recently members of Congress fell over themselves trying to get close to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as though they were seeing the Beatles singing on Capitol Hill. And obviously they feared some kind of terrible consequences had they not vigorously applauded Netanyahu’s every word and sentence, regardless of how ridiculous some of his statements were. Sen. Rand Paul even received very negative feedback from the neocons he has been trying to court because of his tepid, unenthusiastic clapping.

And in New York last Fall activists organized a censorship campaign and protests against the production of the opera, The Death of Klinghoffer, as I had predicted months earlier that there would be. It is unlikely that most of the protesters had ever seen the opera, but that didn’t matter to them. It contains material referring to the Palestinian hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro, the murder of a Jewish American passenger, and themes pertaining to the Palestinians’ grievances, which to some people meant that it was “anti-Semitic” and an example of “Jew-hatred,” which “glorified terrorism.” However, one orthodox Jew who saw the performance said it was not anti-Semitic, and others stated that it did not glorify terrorism. But the ones who were ignorant about the opera, but seemed to not tolerate different points of view on Israel, wanted to make fools of themselves and display their ignorance anyway.

And this intolerance of Israel’s critics or of any form of speech that could refer to something that might not be parroting the official pro-Israel narrative has also reached the college campuses.

For her campaign for the student government’s senate, University of California Berkeley student Sumayyah Din used the hashtag “#DINTIFADA,” a combination of her last name and the word “intifada,” which refers to “uprising,” “rebellion,” or civil disobedience.

But after her Facebook post, some campus pro-Israel groups claimed that “#dintifada” was offensive, and they felt “triggered” and “terrorized,” and some began to imply that her campaign was promoting terrorism, violence and the murders of innocent Jewish children.

Mondoweiss notes that StandWithUs, a pro-Israel organization, had a Facebook post which erroneously described Ms. Din as “anti-Israel,” referring to her use of the word “intifada” without mentioning her combining it with her name, “Din,” and the Mondoweiss post notes that some of the comments included, “Those terrorists must be eradicated,” “she is a terrorist,” and “Someone should eliminate her from the Earth.”

That despite that she actually promotes peace and tolerance, and that one of her campaign issues pertains to police reform, the militarization of the local police and campus police having military-grade weapons.

You see, like some leftist organizations such as Media Matters and the Southern Poverty Law Center who spend time searching for some slight manner of speech from which to feel offended, terrorized or traumatized, there also exist groups on the other side who do the same thing. Some activists taking things out of context, omitting certain facts and slandering are typical tactics used to delegitimize their ideological opponents. So really with StandWithUs and other activist groups it was yet another case of ignorance and anti-Muslim, anti-Arab prejudice. No surprise there.

But sadly, when it comes to Israel most people get their information from mainstream news media who merely repeat government propaganda. This is why we have an entire U.S. Congress acting like fools when Netanyahu appears and why ignoramuses stand outside protesting an opera performance calling it “anti-Semitic” when it isn’t anti-Semitic.

So, I’m sure that I myself will be accused of being insensitive, but because of society’s ultra-sensitivity on Jewish matters, we really have to pussyfoot around to spare others of being “triggered,” and so forth, even though most had never experienced concentration camps, gulags or pogroms. And this phenomenon is mainly with Jewish subjects, but especially regarding Israel. For example, I don’t hear Chinese people complaining about feeling offended or “triggered” if someone might make a reference to Mao who murdered many more millions than Hitler. I didn’t hear complaints from Chinese-Americans when conservatives referred to Barack Obama as “Maobama.” Crickets, in fact.

But we’re just not allowed to say anything negative or critical, not about Jews or Jewish matters, but specifically about Israel. And that is because, in my view, many people have this mystical view of Israel and based mainly on Biblical scriptures, as I wrote in my article last year on Israel and Zionism.

And I really find it hard to believe that actual grown-ups are offended by, or terrorized by a use of the word “intifada” — and frankly, I find it offensive that 535 so-called grown-ups in Congress can applaud and cheer wildly and act like fools for a political hack like Benjamin Netanyahu. This whole “Stop making me feel bad” political correctness and censorship seems like it’s one hell of a racket, if you ask me.



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

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

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


23 March, 2015

African Immigrant Doctor Accused Molesting Over 31 Patients–MSM Calls Him “Charlotte Doctor"

Below are some of the headlines in the story of Dr. Fidelis Edosomwan (above) alleged sex criminal.

NC. doctor accused of sexually assaulting 31 people
CMPD: Charlotte doctor faces 16 additional sex offense charges
CMPD: 31 victims claim doctor sexually assaulted them
North Carolina Doctor Accused of Sexually Abusing 31 Patients
Police: Charlotte doctor accused in sexual assault of 31 patients
NC doctor accused of sexually assaulting patients to appear before
Local doctor charged with sexual assault to appear before judge

I’ll give you the some details from the New York Daily News version:

North Carolina doctor accused of sexually assaulting at least 31 people, cops say, By David Boroff, New York Daily News, March 20, 2015

A North Carolina doctor sexually assaulted at least 31 people, authorities say.

Dr. Fidelis Edosomwan turned himself into police on Thursday after he was charged with 16 counts of sexual battery and 16 counts of sex offense.

The Charlotte doctor had been busted in late January for the sexual assault of two patients.

According to the initial arrest warrants obtained by WBTV, Dr. Edosomwan exposed his private parts during the examinations of the victims. He also “lifted the (second) victim’s shirt and bra and then rubbed her breast during a medical exam without the victim’s consent,” according to the warrants. [More]

Now, what I want to know is, why do they think of Dr. Edosomwan (full name Dr. Fidelis Iguodala Uwensuyi-Edosomwan) as a “North Carolina” doctor, a “Charlotte” doctor, or if you’re a local Charlotte news provider, a “Local” doctor? Is he, in fact, an American doctor at all?

The answer is “Of course not.” Dr. Edosomwan is an African doctor, who happens to be practicing in America.

Although he did his Residency in Internal Medicine at   “Historically” black Howard University, his original training as a doctor was at the University of Benin Faculty of Medicine, Class of 1987. [Dr. Fidelis Uwensuyi-Edosomwan, Internist in Charlotte, NC US News Doctor Finder, no date]

That makes him an “African doctor”, a “Beninese doctor”, or an “immigrant doctor” for headline purposes, doesn’t it? Well, no.

You see, while I can find out that Dr. Edosomwan hails from Benin with the click of a mouse, none of the MSM sources have that information. A Google search for “Edosomwan and Benin” turns up none of the over 3000 stories about Fidelis Edosomwan in the news, it only shows news about other Edosomwans in Benin, where it must be a fairly common name.

So if I can find that out with the click of a mouse, what’s the Daily News’s excuse? Their computers don’t have mice?


The vicious RSPCA again

Give your donations to local animal shelters.  The RSPCA will just waste it on Leftist politics

A high-profile RSPCA prosecution of the renowned Cattistock Hunt in Dorset has spectacularly collapsed amid claims that the hunt was the victim of a politically inspired campaign, funded by a mystery backer.

The Cattistock's joint master Will Bryer has accused the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals – which brought the prosecution – of co-ordinating a campaign of harassment and surveillance over more than three years, in a failed attempt to prove the hunt had broken the law.

He also claimed a wealthy anti-hunting businessman intent on landing a 'prize scalp' had bankrolled surveillance of him, his employees and hunt followers, saying: 'We believe the campaign is funded by a Dorset-based company.

Hunt saboteurs at our meets this year were all wearing T-shirts advertising the firm. We don't believe that to be a coincidence but a statement.'

The animal rights organisation, which has been criticised for spending £22.5 million pursuing animal welfare prosecutions last year, formally withdrew its case on Friday – after admitting it had no realistic chance of a conviction.

Mr Bryer, whose joint master of the Cattistock is one of the richest women in Britain, the Honourable Mrs Charlotte Townshend, claimed the campaign had been 'focused and sophisticated'.

He went on to say: 'Despite the endless footage taken of us by so-called covert investigators, this is the only time anyone associated with the Cattistock has ever faced a charge and now it has been dropped.

'I'm afraid the time has long passed when we thought these people were seriously interested in the law. As far as we are concerned, this is just another way of attacking people who participate in hunting.'

Yesterday, the pro-hunting Countryside Alliance said the RSPCA was at a crossroads, and would have to decide whether to continue to bring what it described as 'malicious' cases or 'embrace sanity and change tactics'.

Mr Bryer's solicitor, Jamie Foster, claimed that the case had been flawed from the start. He explained: 'There is video footage of my client laying legal trails before and after the alleged breach of the hunting ban which was not disclosed to us by the RSPCA.'

He said the laying of a trail, or a scent which the hounds can track rather than chasing a live animal, showed that the Cattistock had behaved responsibly, not recklessly as the prosecution claimed.

Cattistock chairman Robert Atkinson said: 'We are very pleased that common sense has prevailed and the case has been dropped. The hunt and all its staff, in particular Will as master, make every effort to hunt within the law and be seen to do so. We are glad that our stance has been so demonstrably and categorically vindicated by the court.'

The RSPCA has the power to bring its own prosecutions rather than rely on the police or the Crown Prosecution Service. However last October, a report commissioned by the charity recommended abandoning the policy and leaving the job to the CPS, which has more expertise.

Last year, The Mail on Sunday reported that the RSPCA had spent £22.5 million on prosecutions in two years, and had been obliged to take out an overdraft facility with its bank, Coutts, for the first time in its 190-year history.

Discussing the dropped prosecution yesterday, an RSPCA spokesman said: 'We have not at any stage been made aware of a trail being laid or of any alleged footage of such a trail being laid. But having considered all the evidence now available, we concluded there no longer remains a realistic prospect of securing a conviction.'

Addressing the Cattistock's claim that the RSPCA had mounted a campaign of surveillance, he said: 'This is an outrageous slur and completely untrue. We did not monitor this hunt. The RSPCA does not monitor any hunts.'

He went on to reject the claim that the prosecution had been effectively paid for by a wealthy backer, insisting: 'This prosecution was funded by the RSPCA.'

Philip Mansbridge, the UK director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare – which shot the disputed footage and provided it to the RSPCA – said: 'We are very disappointed that the case has been dropped. We do understand the reasons and the difficulties in getting these cases through the courts. But we stand by our evidence completely; this case was dropped, not lost.'

He went on to say: 'We have now reached the reluctant conclusion that having tried everything under the current judicial system, we now need to make changes to strengthen the Hunting Act. Time and time again, hunts flout the law and escape prosecution by using the false alibi that they were trail hunting. The pro-hunt lobby continually drag out cases and waste public and charity funds.'


Another devastating false rape accusation in Britain

They seem to come at a rate of roughly once a month on average

A businessman who spent three weeks in jail after falsely being accused of rape by a woman he met on the internet is suing the police for malicious prosecution and wrongful imprisonment.

Kayode Modupe-Ojo, a former boyfriend of David Beckham’s sister Joanne, said his reputation has been destroyed and he lost his business because police failed to investigate properly the woman’s fictitious allegations – including that he possessed firearms – or the glaring inconsistencies in her story.

The 28-year-old former spa owner was arrested at his home in Cheshire shortly after spending two days with the woman.

His accuser gave a harrowing but entirely false account of being tied up and moved around the north-east of England against her will, after a sexual encounter turned terrifyingly violent.

Mr Modupe-Ojo, who has lived in Britain since the age of three, was dragged from his bed by the police, handcuffed and questioned for three days without legal representation before being charged with multiple counts of rape and kidnapping.

On the basis of the woman’s lies, Durham Police declared he was ‘a danger to women’ and he was remanded in jail for three weeks.

Last week the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee called for people accused of sexual offences to be given anonymity. Mr Modupe-Ojo’s lawyer has referred the case to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Paul Schofield, of Farleys Solicitors, said: ‘It illustrates the flaws of a legal system that names and shames those accused of sex crimes, without giving them any protection when the accusations turn out to be untrue.

'Even though it was obvious in court that the woman lied and lied, she is still protected by the legal system because no criminal charges have so far been brought against her.

'As things stands she has a lifetime anonymity while my client remains tainted by the abhorrent stigma of a rape charge. It’s also clearly a case that would not have gone to trial if the police had done their jobs correctly. It was as if they couldn’t be bothered.’

Mr Modupe-Ojo was acquitted when his trial at Newcastle Crown Court collapsed last year due to glaring discrepancies in the prosecution case.

But he said that by then the damage had already been done. ‘The judge directed the jury to acquit me, but my reputation was left in tatters,’ he says. ‘There are people out there who think, “no smoke without fire”.

‘It is grossly unfair that my details have been in the media, while my accuser gets away without a blemish to her name. Rape is one of the most repulsive crimes there is.

‘A false claim not only ruins the lives of innocent men, but it damages their families. I did nothing wrong and yet this case almost destroyed me.’

He is supporting the demands of Tory MPs Mark Pritchard and Nigel Evans – both cleared after being falsely accused of rape – that the accused also remain anonymous, unless convicted.

What Mr Modupe-Ojo describes as ‘the most terrifying period’ in his life began in August 2013 when he responded to a ‘friend request’ on Facebook from a beautiful blonde woman he had never met before. The law prevents us from naming her even though the court found her allegations to be entirely false.

He says: ‘She was very attractive. We texted and Skyped each other before meeting. She was the driving force behind our meeting and I was flattered by her attention.’

During their time together Mr Modupe-Ojo took the woman to restaurants, a club and they stayed in two hotels which she booked and paid for. He also drove her home to pack an overnight bag and spent 30 minutes talking with her mother.

‘My accuser was alone in her room upstairs and could have used her phone to call for help if I had been the mad rapist she made me out to be,’ he added. ‘I told all of this to the police questioning me.

'I also gave them the passwords to my phone and laptop so they could check the correspondence between us.’

He still has text messages she sent after they parted. There were also numerous CCTV images of the pair cuddling, kissing and holding hands.

‘There was ample CCTV evidence and witnesses to prove she was all over me in public, but the police didn’t seem to be interested in proving my innocence. They seemed convinced they had their man,’ he says.

‘When the female officer told me I would be remanded because I was a danger to women and a flight risk, my legs buckled. I had done nothing wrong, yet I was facing a lengthy prison sentence if found guilty.’

Further charges for firearms offences and a threat to kill were dropped because no weapon was found in his flat.

Once Mr Modupe-Ojo’s case came to trial, alarming discrepancies emerged. The accuser claimed she had known her attacker for years. Yet in her opening message on Facebook, she admitted they’d never met.

She said she had been tied up and moved around against her will. Yet it emerged she texted her boyfriend to tell him she was OK.

‘She told the court I had stolen her phone and written the text,’ Mr Modupe-Ojo says. ‘But this fell apart when it was revealed she had also texted her friend to say happy birthday and called her mum while we were together.’

Incredibly, the police did not examine the outgoing texts or calls from her mobile. By the time the judge instructed the jury to acquit him, his name had been reported, his bank accounts frozen on order of the police, and he’d lost his salon.

‘I lost everything,’ he says bitterly. ‘I was even evicted from the gated community where I lived after women residents complained about living with a potential rapist.’

But what hurts him most is that the stigma of being a rapist still follows him ‘like a bad smell’. It is the key factor – along with his financial losses – in his decision to sue the police. ‘I want it made clear I did nothing wrong and I was the real victim.’

A spokesman for Durham Police confirmed there was ongoing correspondence but made no further comment.


The Prince of Wales is currently in the United States

And SteynOnline reader Mike Shull swung by to catch his act in Louisville

Prince Charles was in my hometown of Louisville, Kentucky today. About an hour ago, he stopped by our downtown Cathedral, where I occasionally attend Mass, to give a brief speech. This is only 2 blocks from my office, so after a late lunch I walked over to see his arrival.

As a reader of your work, I had in mind your past comparisons between the British Royal Family's entourage and that of the president and other politicians. I nonetheless still amazed at the modesty of Charles' cohort.

The attached picture shows the moment he stepped from the car. And the car was not even a limousine. The entire motorcade consisted of only two police cars, Charles' towncar, and one additional vehicle. The other (empty) police cars visible across the street are not there for the prince. They are parked there every day because City Hall is just down the block.

As you can see from the picture:

1. they did not even close the street off for his arrival, not even for a few seconds. Motorists are still going by on the left.
His car stopping there made no more disruption to traffic that a pizza delivery guy or UPS driver parking on the curb for 30 seconds to make a delivery.

2. the sidewalk is not roped off at all.

3. there were no "advance guard" or phalanx of other cop cars that preceded him that simply are off camera. What you see is really all there was.

And the men who look like Secret Service there are actually just church parishioners who were helping direct what little traffic was there. I attended the Vice Presidential debate between Biden and Ryan in 2012 at Center College here in Kentucky. There were at least 50 police cars, maybe 100, and several "decoy" type black Chevy Suburbans for Joe Biden.

You are correct that the monarchy America rejected years ago is now practically Joe Lunchbox compared with the grandiose, prima donna treatment demanded by our elected "public servants".

Putting aside the fact that the President's 40-car motorcade is nothing to do with security - as we see everywhere from the Secret Service hookers in Cartagena to the vast entourage required to get Obama to Mandela's funeral only to stand him three feet away from a violent schizophrenic convicted of "necklacking"; and putting aside the ever more absurd impositions on the citizenry, such as maintaining the street's closure for hours after the Presidential procession has passed so that pregnant women and injured persons are not allowed to cross the thoroughfare to get to the hospital on the other side; and putting aside that I strongly dislike the Prince of Wales and regard his Grand Thoughts on "climate change" as witless and inappropriate; putting all that to one side for the moment:

One of the advantages of monarchy in a democratic age is that it comes with a built-in grievance factor: There's always a certain percentage of the people that is chippily resentful of even the most footling expenditure on the Royal Family's so-called pampered parasites - as a casual glance at the papers in Her Majesty's realms will reveal. So a prince or royal duchess can't go around closing streets and draining police manpower because some republican pol on the make will be all over the news whinging about it. That's very healthy, and one consequence of it is the entourage you saw in Louisville this week. HRH The Prince of Wales is the heir to the thrones of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Barbados, Tuvalu, Belize, Papua New Guinea, etc, etc, but when he travels to Kentucky he takes only what he needs.

By the way, that's also way cooler - as my daughter pointed out when she and I saw the Queen in Glasgow in her Diamond Jubilee year. HM and the Duke upfront, and one car behind. And that handful of guys are on their game. Whereas, with a 40-car motorcade, only the Cartagena hookers are on the game.

But the bigger point is that a 40-car motorcade leads to a 40-car motorcade political culture - with a ruling class on the inside of the perimeter, and the rest of the schlubs on the outside. They don't live where you live. They drive through it, and you glimpse them through the glass darkly as you wait for the royal procession to pass and daily life to resume.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has been entouraged to the hilt for almost a quarter-century, is a near parodic example of the entitlement this breeds. What length do you think the motorcade's going to be by the end of her reign?



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

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

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


22 March, 2015

Multicultural wife murderer

There seems to be a lot of that

A father-of-four brutally murdered his wife of 17 years in their kitchen before calmly heading off to work, a court heard.

Pharmacist Imran Sharif had dropped the couple's children at their schools before going home and slitting his wife Raheela Imran's throat.

Leaving her dead on the kitchen floor, the 'violent and dangerous' 44-year-old changed out of his bloodstained clothes and hid them under the driver's seat of his car.

He then stashed the murder weapon - which was never found - and went to work.

Paramedics were called to the end-of-terrace home in Hillersdon, Slough on the afternoon of October 20 after Raheela's brother made the gruesome discovery of her body.

He had gone round to the house after family members became concerned and found the front door ajar.

A post mortem examination found the mother-of-four died as a result of a wound to the neck.

Sharif was arrested later that day before being charged with murder on October 23.

He had originally denied killing his 45-year-old spouse, but later confessed to a friend and fellow prisoner while he was being held in custody at HMP Bullingdon.

Detective Chief Inspector Mike Lynch said: 'I am glad that Sharif has accepted responsibility for what he did and admitted that he took his wife's life.

'This has been an incredibly difficult time for Raheela's family and friends as they try to come to terms with their loss and although it may offer them little comfort, I hope that Sharif's guilty plea will be of some help as they begin to rebuild their family's lives.'

Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service, said Raheela's life had been 'brought to a premature end.'

Mr Foster said: 'Having been charged with his wife's murder and while on remand at Bullingdon Prison, Sharif confided in another prisoner, who he had known for about 12 years and admitted killing his wife.  'He is clearly an extremely violent and dangerous man.

'This case represents a tragedy for the family of Raheela. Her children, family and friends have been devastated by her untimely death.

'We have worked closely with Thames Valley Police since this investigation was launched and as a result of the hard work and diligence of the prosecution team, a just outcome has been achieved.

'We know that nothing will bring Raheela back to her children, family and friends, but we hope that today's conviction brings them at least a small sense that justice has been done. Our thoughts are very much with them all at this time.'

Sharif pleaded guilty to the attack at Reading Crown Court, which happened on October 20 last year in Slough, Berkshire and was remanded for sentencing on May 5.

The family were originally from Pakistan but had lived in Slough for 12 years before the tragedy. 


Daughter of lesbians opposes homosexual marriage

A WOMAN raised by two lesbians has come out against gay marriage and defended Dolce & Gabbana’s views on traditional families.

Heather Barwick’s mum left her father when her daughter was two or three and moved in with a woman she was in love with.

Barwick says her dad “wasn’t a great guy, and after her mum left him “he didn’t bother coming around anymore.”

While she says she feels very much like a “daughter of the gay community”, she says she has changed her view on gay marriage and doesn’t believe it should be allowed.

“I’m writing to you because I’m letting myself out of the closet: I don’t support gay marriage. But it might not be for the reasons that you think. It’s not because you’re gay. I love you, so much. It’s because of the nature of the same-sex relationship itself,” she said.

“Same-sex marriage and parenting withholds either a mother or father from a child while telling him or her that it doesn’t matter. That it’s all the same. But it’s not.

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

“Growing up, and even into my 20s, I supported and advocated for gay marriage. It’s only with some time and distance from my childhood that I’m able to reflect on my experiences and recognise the long-term consequences that same-sex parenting had on me,” she said.

“It’s only now, as I watch my children loving and being loved by their father each day, that I can see the beauty and wisdom in traditional marriage and parenting.”

“I’m not gay, but the relationship that was modelled before me was a woman loving a woman. So I’ve struggled as an adult figuring out how to be in a relationship with my husband,” she said. “It really wasn’t until I came to Christ that I felt that burden lifted off of me. And I’m not bitter. I’m not angry,’ she said. ‘I forgive my dad.”

Barwick then pleads with the gay community not to misinterpret her opposition to gay parenting as homophobia.

“This isn’t about hate at all. I know you understand the pain of a label that doesn’t fit and the pain of a label that is used to malign or silence you. And I know that you really have been hated and that you really have been hurt. I was there, at the marches, when they held up signs that said, “God hates fags” and “AIDS cures homosexuality.”

I cried and turned hot with anger right there in the street with you. But that’s not me,” she said. “I know this is a hard conversation. But we need to talk about it. If anyone can talk about hard things, it’s us. You taught me that.”

Barwick has also signed a letter by a handful of children raised by gay and lesbian parents who have supported comments by designers Dolce & Gabbana where they espoused the need for “traditional families”.

“We want to thank you for giving voice to something that we learned by experience: Every human being has a mother and a father, and to cut either from a child’s life is to rob the child of dignity, humanity, and equality,” the six of them wrote. “You have given us great inspiration as all six of us prepare to submit letters to the US Supreme Court against gay marriage.”


Feminists, we need to talk about consent

Too many campaigners now treat women as the fairer, incapable sex

Last month, UK barrister David Osborne courted controversy by suggesting that men accused of rape should not be prosecuted if the woman in question was drunk. Osborne was subsequently invited on to ITV’s This Morning to debate the issue with Sunday Mirror editor, Alison Phillips. On the show he had a difficult time defending his somewhat backward views, which included the assertion that women send out the wrong signals by dressing provocatively.

Of course everybody took to Twitter to declare their self-righteous outrage at Osborne’s comments. Under the hashtag #debateconsent came boring truisms like: ‘Things that don’t cause rape: short skirts, alcohol, low-cut tops. Things that cause rape: Rapists. It’s quite simple.’ All of which is generally accepted by most people today. Contrary to the contemporary diktat of rape-culture-obsessed feminists, Osborne’s views are not popular.

However, as much as I fear the inevitable denunciations of ‘rape apologist’, I believe that there is an important debate to be had on consent. As a feminist, I believe that contemporary ideas around consent – that it must be enthusiastic or soberly given – are concerning.

Firstly, the thought of a potential lover persistently trying to gauge my level of enthusiasm (Are you sure? How about now? Is this okay? Can I get that in writing?) makes me never want to have sex again. But that’s just me.

The more important point I want to make here is that the idea that only a woman can be vulnerable in those situations is deeply troubling. Now I know, of course, that men are generally physically stronger than women, and that sometimes men coerce women into having sex with them through physical violence or through the threat of physical violence. That is rape.

However, the idea that a woman cannot be truly consenting if she is under the influence of alcohol, or if she is not showing adequate enthusiasm, implies that men are somehow mentally stronger than women; that they are more capable of controlling their inhibitions; that they are more capable of taking responsibility for their actions.

Take, for example, a situation where a woman (not necessarily me) is drinking alcohol at home with a male friend. The woman wakes up in bed with said male friend. All the signs indicate that they had sex, but she has no recollection of the event. She regrets it, mainly because she feels awkward – they are friends and there are other people involved who won’t be happy about the situation.

There is no way she would have had sex with him if there had been no alcohol involved. However, it quickly becomes obvious that the man in question also has little memory of the event. He, too, regrets it, for the same reasons. They both agree not to speak of it again and move on with their lives, remaining friends. It was essentially a non-incident.

Is the woman now to assume that she was raped because she was too inebriated to consent properly? Should this awkward memory, which she was quite happy to forget, be rewritten as a traumatic, life-defining event?

You can only answer yes to those questions if you believe that women have less self-control than men; that women cannot be expected to take responsibility for their actions, because only men can be responsible; that men have a duty to protect and look after women in that kind of situation. As a feminist, I firmly reject all of those beliefs.

Throughout history, the subjection of women has taken a unique and peculiar form. In the Victorian era, for instance, at the same time that women were being oppressed, they were also, in many ways, venerated. Women were denied many rights, but it was believed that they should be provided for and kept out of harm’s way. The reasoning behind this was that women were believed to be like children: not only are they physically weak but they also possess naive and vulnerable minds. Hence they were the fairer sex.

I see disturbing parallels between contemporary ideas around consent and the Victorian idea of a woman as somebody who needs to be wrapped up in cotton wool. Women are just as capable as men (or, if you like, men are just as incapable as women) of being able to consent to sex in any situation. If they are not, then perhaps they are not as capable as men in other regards, too.

Perhaps they shouldn’t be able to vote because they won’t be able to do so responsibly. Perhaps they shouldn’t be able to own property or even leave the house on their own and unprotected.
Unless feminists are willing to assert that women are just as much agents as men, then any argument for equality they wish to make stands on shaky ground.


Back to firing squads? Thank death-penalty foes

by Jeff Jacoby

FOR A NATION that almost never puts murderers to death — there were 14,196 homicides in 2013, but only 39 executions — Americans spend an awful lot of time debating whether and how to do it.

The Utah legislature last week passed a bill reinstating the firing squad to execute death row inmates, as a back-up in case lethal-injection drugs aren't available. It was in Utah five years ago that the last death by firing squad in the United States took place, when Ronnie Lee Gardner paid with his life for the courthouse murder of attorney Michael Burdell in 1985. Utah's governor hasn't said yet if he will sign the bill into law — but his isn't the only state grappling with the question of how capital punishment should be carried out.

In Wyoming, a proposal to restore the firing squad won initial approval earlier this year, though the state's legislative session expired before the law could be finalized. The Alabama House voted last week to revive the electric chair if lethal injection becomes untenable; in 2014, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed a comparable measure passed overwhelmingly by lawmakers in Nashville. And in Oklahoma, the House and Senate have approved a return to the gas chamber, using inert nitrogen gas to induce death painlessly.

This quest for substitutes to lethal injection is the result of a determined campaign by death-penalty opponents to keep pharmaceutical companies from selling the drugs used in executions to state prison systems. But it's one thing, it turns out, to impede the use of a specific method of executing murderers — even a method that had widely been regarded as the most humane alternative to electrocution or hanging. It's something quite different, something much more difficult, to overturn the longstanding American consensus that in the most terrible cases of murder, killers should pay with their lives.

Until a few years ago, lethal injection had gained broad acceptance as the safest, least brutal means of putting a murderer to death. Of the 1,403 executions carried out in the United States since 1976, more than 85 percent were by this method. The standard injection protocol used sodium thiopental or pentobarbital, powerful barbiturates frequently used to put down suffering animals and in cases of assisted suicide.

But the last American manufacturer of the drug halted production in 2011, and a European embargo on exporting the needed drugs for use in executions made it impossible to get the drugs from overseas. Some states, forced to improvise as their inventory dwindled, turned to unnamed compounding pharmacies, or they formulated new and largely untested lethal-injection protocols. In some instances, such as the bungled execution of Oklahoma murderer-rapist Clayton Lockett last year, the results have been gruesome and disturbing.

Perversely, death-penalty foes have succeeded only in making lethal injections less safe. "In pushing for outright abolition of capital punishment, we have undermined the countervailing effort to make it as clean and painless as possible," acknowledged Boer Deng and Dahlia Lithwick in an essay in Slate shortly after the Lockett fiasco. The upshot: "What was, until pretty recently, a fairly standard national method of lethal injection has been driven underground and into the dark by efforts in both the United States and Europe to end capital punishment altogether."

If anything, the prospects for lethal injection are even dimmer now. Ohio has postponed all executions for the rest of the year, in order to give authorities time to find new drugs. Pennsylvania and South Carolina have depleted their supplies of pentobarbital, the primary lethal-injection drug. Even Texas, the state with the most experience in administering the death penalty, is about to run dry.

But while lethal injection may become unworkable, strong support for the death penalty endures.

Behind the legislation in Utah, Tennessee, Oklahoma and other states to authorize other execution methods as alternatives to lethal injection is not a primitive hankering to kill, but a civilized commitment to justice. However unfashionable it may be in some precincts to say so, most Americans intuitively understand that the death penalty is not only lawful but enlightened. Everyone knows that few murderers will ever face execution. But that no murderer should ever face execution? That would be intolerable.

Society's attitude toward evil is revealed in how it penalizes those who commit evil. For greater crime there must be greater punishment; with the very worst punishment, death, reserved for the very worst crime: cruel and premeditated murder. There are some offenses so monstrous that those who perpetrate them forfeit their right to live. Justice requires a death penalty, even if we must debate how best to carry it out.



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

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

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


20 March, 2015

Multicultural torturer in Britain

A serial rapist who called himself 'the Ripper' was caught after he attacked a woman in a home-made 'torture chamber'.

Duwayne Henry selected his victims using an online escort agency and lured them to his flat in Hackney, east London, where they were threatened with knives and repeatedly raped.

Police found a knives, a circular saw and a hedge trimmer laid out on the floor of his bedroom when they searched his home.

Officers believe he intended to use these weapons on his final victim, but was interrupted by a passer-by who heard her screams.

Henry was jailed for life with a minimum sentence of 12 and a half years at Blackfriars Crown Court yesterday.

The 34-year-old targeted at least three prostitutes during his 14-month spree, believing their trade meant they were less likely to report his crimes, police said.

In the first known assault, which took place in early 2013, Henry repeatedly raped his victim in a brutal three-hour attack before taking a photo of the woman's driving licence.

He told her he would use the details to find her and kill her if she went to the police.

In the second known attack, in April 2013, Henry gagged the victim with duct-tape before and raped her at knife-point. He then forced her to wash his bedsheets before raping her again on the floor.

His final attack took place in February 2014, when Henry booked an escort to meet him outside the flats where he lived.  He held a knife to his victim's eye and led her to his bedroom, described by police as a 'torture chamber', where he had laid out a circular saw, seven knives and a hedge trimmer. One of these items was plugged into the mains.

As soon as she entered the room, Henry held a knife to the woman's eye. He pushed her over and told her she was going to die. The woman was gagged, tied up, and raped.

The rapist was interrupted when a man, alerted by the woman's screams, appeared in the doorway of Henry's bedroom. He untied the woman, who phoned the police.

The victim later told officers that Henry threatened her and said: 'I'm invisible, I'm the Ripper'.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police found one victim's phone in his flat and managed to track down a second victim.

The mystery 'good Samaritan' has never been identified, despite a police appeal last year.

Detective Inspector Tony Lynes said: 'Henry's attacks were thoroughly planned.  'He controlled the environment where the attacks took place, avoiding the risk of being disturbed.

'Luckily he did not take into account the courage of his victims or the tenacity of the detectives investigating this case and I am pleased that today he can look forward to a substantial prison sentence.

'The crimes Henry has been convicted of today are appalling but I can't be certain that there aren't more victims out there.'

On sentencing, the Judge John Hillen said: 'You are a serial rapist. The terror you instilled in your victims, by use of weapons and words used and restraints do not bear imagining.

'Your crimes are at the highest end of wickedness and are disturbing for the public.  'You present a danger to women and present a significant risk of serious harm to the public.'


Israelis go with a firm leader

Obama's indifference to Israeli security concerns clarified matters for voters.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears to have won a handsome election victory following a grueling campaign, complete with foreign government money, including indirectly from the U.S. State Department, going to his opponents.

In order to win, Netanyahu is held now to have reneged on his 2009 in-principle, hedged commitment to reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority (PA) encompassing a Palestinian state. This is actually untrue.

Largely unreported is Netanyahu's explanation, in which he stated clearly that, under prevailing conditions, establishing a Palestinian state is a folly. This was not a blanket retraction; it was a statement of current geostrategic realities.

Those realities including the following: Mahmoud Abbas' PA is not only aligned with the barbarous Hamas movement, but also continues to incite hatred and murder of Israelis. Only last week, the PA dedicated a monument in Ramallah to honor Dalal Mughrabi, the leader of the Fatah terrorists who perpetrated the 1978 Coastal Road Massacre, in which 37 Israeli civilians were slain.

President Obama's indifference to Israeli security concerns also clarified matters for the Israeli electorate. In last year's Gaza war, Israelis saw a U.S. president who attempted to foist upon Israel Hamas-compliant Qatari cease-fire terms, before Israel destroyed the Hamas terror tunnels and their rockets; who delayed resupply to Israel of Hellfire missiles; and who even imposed a temporary, unnecessary ban on flights to Israel.

Not for nothing did an October Smith Research poll find that 53% of Israelis regarded President Obama as more pro-Palestinian, while only 16% regarded him as more pro-Israel. Indeed, repeated polls have shown that Israeli voters don't trust President Obama.

Israelis also saw a U.S. president who ignores their concern over allowing Iran to become a nuclear threshold state. Accordingly, they went with the leader who spoke, not of offering concessions to the PA, but of standing firm on Israeli security. The author of Netanyahu's victory in large part, ironically, is Barack Obama.


Clarkson's real crime? He represents everything the Left hates yet is HUGELY successful

When BBC executives suspended Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson last week, I doubt they had any idea how toxic the issue would turn out to be for the Corporation.

The truth is, they were driven by disdain and even vengeance, and these are dangerous guides in any under-taking. Whether or not he is guilty of the charge against him - that he biffed a BBC producer - he has a right to be treated fairly as a long-standing servant of the broadcaster.

The BBC’s first mistake was to pull the next two episodes of Top Gear. This was bound to irritate its millions of fans, who had every reason to expect that, whatever differences might have arisen between Clarkson and the BBC, the programmes would be shown as advertised.

This petulant ploy has served only to show how popular Clarkson is. A programme about the Red Arrows shown in the same slot last Sunday attracted only 1.3 million viewers compared with Top Gear’s normal audience of around 5.5 million.

In the meantime, while the Corporation’s investigation into what sounds like a pretty straightforward incident drags on, nearly one million people have signed an online petition calling for the presenter to be reinstated.

The BBC finally lost the plot when someone described as ‘one of the most senior Corporation executives’ told the Mail on Sunday that Clarkson was in need of ‘rehab’, and outrageously compared him with the sex monster Jimmy Savile.

Oisin Tymon, the young producer allegedly hit by Clarkson, was said by this executive to be under pressure in a ‘Savilesque’ way.

He added that the manner in which the Top Gear host had been defended by ‘high-level politicians’ recalled the arguments once made by such people on behalf of Jimmy Savile.

This comparison of Clarkson with Savile - which, unsurprisingly, has inflamed the petrolhead - is as unhinged as it is malicious. While the BBC is conducting its supposedly even-handed investigation (and why on earth need it take so long?) one of its executives is blackening his name.

Suspicion first fell on the former Labour minister James Purnell, who has found a £295,000-a-year berth at the BBC as its so-called head of strategy. (Shouldn’t that be the Director-General’s job?) However, Mr Purnell and the BBC have categorically denied that it was him.

Another suspect was Danny Cohen, BBC Director of Programmes, who is known to disapprove of Clarkson. Some say he is too circumspect to talk in such a way.  This is the same Danny Cohen who, as Controller of BBC1 in 2011, proposed a tribute to Savile despite rumours of his proclivities circulating at the BBC.

Maybe it was another senior executive, or someone further down the food chain, who spoke to the Mail on Sunday, repeating what he or she believed was executive orthodoxy. It doesn’t greatly matter. What is important is that someone at the BBC has been prejudicing the outcome of a supposedly neutral investigation by abusing Clarkson.

As it happens, the star is far from being my cup of tea. He often appears loud-mouthed, crude and philistine. I confess I occasionally watch his macho programme, which I suppose makes me a bit of a hypocrite.

But it doesn’t really matter what I think. The point is that Clarkson is fabulously popular. Internationally, Top Gear is the most successful programme the BBC has ever made, earning it tens of millions of pounds a year.


U.S. Presbyterians abandon the Bible

They're the church of the Devil

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has expanded its definition of marriage to include a “commitment between two people,” recognizing gay marriage as Christian in the church constitution after decades of debate over same-sex relationships.

The redefinition was endorsed last year by the church General Assembly, or top legislative body, but required approval from a majority of the Louisville, Kentucky-based denomination’s 171 regional districts, or presbyteries. The critical 86th “yes” vote came Tuesday night from the Presbytery of the Palisades in New Jersey.

“So many families headed by LGBTQ couples have been waiting for decades to enter this space created for their families within their church communities,” said the Rev. Robin White, a leader of More Light Presbyterians, which advocates for gay acceptance.

After all regional bodies finish voting and top Presbyterian leaders officially accept the results, the change will take effect June 21. The denomination has nearly 1.8 million members and about 10,000 congregations and is now the largest Protestant group to authorize gay weddings churchwide.

Last year, Presbyterians allowed ministers to preside at gay weddings if local church leaders approved in the states where same-sex unions were legally recognized. The new wording for the church Book of Order extends that authorization to every congregation and reads, “Marriage involves a unique commitment between two people, traditionally a man and a woman, to love and support each other for the rest of their lives.”

The amendment includes a provision that no clergy would be compelled to preside at a gay marriage or host such a ceremony on church property. So far, 41 presbyteries have rejected the redefinition and the vote in one presbytery was tied, according to a tally by the Covenant Network of Presbyterians, which advocates for gays in the church and also works to keep Presbyterians united despite theological differences.

In statements Tuesday, church officers urged “mutual forbearance” amid disagreements over the amendment. “We hope that such ‘up/down’ voting does not mark the end, but the continuation of our desire to live in community,” the two top General Assembly officials said.

Between 2011, when the Presbyterians authorized gay ordination, and 2013, the latest year for which figures are available, 428 of the denomination’s churches left for more conservative denominations or dissolved, though some theological conservatives have remained as they decide how to move forward. The losses helped pave the way for approval of gay marriage, since many opponents had left the church.

Carmen Fowler LaBerge, president of the conservative Presbyterian Lay Committee, said the new definition was a repudiation of the Bible and approved “what God does not bless.” She urged Presbyterians to protest by redirecting donations away from the national church until the original marriage definition is restored.

The Rev. Paul Detterman, national director of The Fellowship Community, a network of conservative Presbyterian churches that have stayed with the denomination, said his organization will “remain faithfully engaged in conversation” with those of different views in the church. He said the Fellowship’s opposition to the amendment is not intended to be anti-gay but aims to uphold the traditional Bible view of marriage.

Although several Protestant denominations have taken significant steps toward recognizing same-sex relationships, only one other major Christian group has endorsed gay marriage churchwide.

In 2005, the 1.1 million-member United Church of Christ became the first major Protestant denomination to back same-sex marriage, urging its individual congregations to develop wedding policies that don’t discriminate against couples because of gender.

The Episcopal Church, which blazed a trail in 2003 by electing the first openly gay Anglican bishop, Gene Robinson, does not have a formal position on gay marriage, but allows bishops to decide whether their priests can officiate at the ceremonies. Episcopalians will take up gay marriage at a national meeting in June.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which eliminated barriers to gay ordination in 2009, takes a similar approach, allowing some discretion by clergy and congregations to officiate at same-sex ceremonies without formally recognizing same-sex marriage as a denomination.

The United Methodist Church, the second-largest Protestant denomination in the U.S., bars “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” from ordination and prohibits gay weddings. Many Methodist clergy have been performing gay marriages as a protest of church policy.

The Rev. Brian Ellison, executive director of Covenant Network of Presbyterians, said he recognized there will be disagreement about the new marriage definition.

“We’re very committed to helping the church continue working through this issue,” he said.



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

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

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


19 March, 2015

Multicultural girlfriend murderer

A father-of-five who used a hockey stick to bludgeon his former girlfriend to death in front of their children has been sentenced to life in prison.

Oral Bryan, 44, hit Nicola McKenzie, the mother of their two children, over the head with the stick 'like an axe' during a furious row.

Miss McKenzie, 37, suffered horrific brain injuries and never regained consciousness, dying two days later in hospital.

The row erupted in Moss Side, Manchester, on September 17 last year when Miss McKenzie spotted a car belonging to Bryan's new partner outside his home.

She confronted the woman, who called Bryan, and he returned to intervene.

As the two women squared up to one another, Bryan got a hockey stick from his house and cracked it over Miss McKenzie's head as she shouted: 'These are your kids, go on, show them what you're like.' 

The fatal blow, witnessed by the couple's two children, daughter Teja, 12, and son Amahri, eight, as well as Bryan's three other children, shattered Miss McKenzie's skull and left her lying unconscious in the street.

As she lay dying with blood pouring from the head wound, Bryan picked up Miss McKenzie to check for signs of life before casually dumping her back down on the pavement and running off.

Bryan initially fled the scene, but contacted police a short time later and was arrested.

He claimed Miss McKenzie had attacked him with a knife and he struck the fatal blow accidentally in self-defence, but no knife was recovered at the scene. 

He was found guilty of murder at an earlier hearing.

Diana Ellis, QC, defending, said her client was 'fully aware' of the impact of his actions, adding: 'No one wishes more that the clock could turned back.'

Sentencing Bryan to a minimum of 20 years at Manchester Crown Court today, Judge Michael Henshall said: 'Nicola McKenzie was a young woman in the prime of her life and the mother of two children of who you are the father.

'The effects of the events on that day in front of those children is almost uncountable.'

After the case, senior investigating officer Duncan Thorpe of Greater Manchester Police said: 'This was a tragic incident where the life of a woman was sadly cut short in brutal fashion by a man she was once close to.

'Oral David Bryan showed absolutely no concern about his victim and the only intention in his mind when he retrieved the hockey stick from his house was to cause serious harm.

'His lack of concern was further exemplified when he fled the scene to try and save himself rather than get medical attention for Nicola.

'I know the sentence passed here today won't bring her back or even begin to make up for their loss but I hope it will offer Nicola's family some closure and my thoughts are with them.'

Miss McKenzie's mother Veronica Fiddler, 62, a care worker said: 'Nicola was quiet and lovely and kind. She was completely dedicated to her children. She hardly ever went out without them, they were her life. She was a very, very good mother and that is how everybody knew her. The children are going to miss her very greatly.

'Myself and her father were there by her bedside when they turned off the life support machine. The whole community is in shock, she was very well-known.' 


Australian Prime Minister promises Islamist crackdown

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott said today the government would soon crack down on radical Islamist groups in Australia preaching hatred against others in the community.

In an interview with The Australian on Sky News, Mr Abbott also stood by the government’s proposed universities and age-pension reforms, defended his doubts on funding remote indigenous communities and said the government’s resolution rather than opinion polls mattered most.

The Prime Minister told Paul Kelly and Greg Sheridan of The Australian that many Muslim leaders internationally were speaking out against jihadist movements such as Islamic State.

Questioned about some local activities of the radical group Hizb ut-Tahrir that are currently legal, Mr Abbott said the government intended to crack down on hate preachers, “not next week … but shortly’’.

Asked if he would resign if government polling support did not improve after last month’s unsuccessful leadership spill motion, Mr Abbott said: “I’m determined we will not be in that position.”

He said voters did not want a return to the “musical chairs’’ of the previous Labor prime ministers but agreed he and ministers could choose their words better.


Meet the 19th Century American Who Warned About Big Government, Religious Liberty Assaults

2015 marks a milestone in American history. One hundred and fifty years ago, Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant and ended the Civil War. Shortly thereafter, Orestes Augustus Brownson (1803-1876), a prominent journalist and philosopher, published “The American Republic,” an erudite defense of the Federal Constitution.

As noted in our Heritage Foundation “First Principles” essay, today a fresh reading of Brownson’s masterwork can give Americans a deeper understanding of their precious civic birthright, the unique federal order that guarantees their personal and political freedom.

Prophetically, Brownson warned that the greatest future threats to the Republic were internal. He called upon his fellow Americans to oppose the relentless centralization of power in Washington; a transformation fueled by a new secular ideology—“humanitarian democracy”—that would war against all prescriptions and traditions, as well as state and local powers, in the name of equality, and seek to crush all genuine diversity, individual distinctions, and subordinate even personal conscience itself on the altar of a fully secularized, and thus absolute, state.

The Founders’ genius was in devising a constitutional order that recognized the truth of man’s individuality, his flourishing in freedom, and the sacredness of his person, particularly in his relationship to God: “The American constitution is not founded on political atheism, but recognizes the rights of man, and therefore, the rights of God.”

Today, when Americans of all religious faiths have just cause to fear government assaults on religious liberty, the wisdom of Brownson—a devout Catholic—is a bounteous benefit for all. Protect the sacred, he warned, from the profane and thus preserve the moral order: “If they [government officials] could subject religion to the secular order, or completely secularize the church, they would reduce themselves to the secular order alone, and deprive themselves of all aid from religion. To secularize religion is to nullify it.”

While a journalist, urgently writing on contemporary topics in his Quarterly Review, many of his opinions, right or wrong, were exclusively relevant to his own time. However, Brownson also developed a sophisticated and consistent philosophical conservatism that imparted a timeless quality to his observations. Those hard hitting commentaries are strikingly relevant to contemporary America. For example:

On immigrants’ duty to assimilate: “It is not attachment to American soil, or sympathy with the American nationality, spirit, genius, or institutions, that brings the great mass of foreigners to our shores. No doubt we derive great advantages from them, but the motive that brings them is not advantage to us or service to our country. They come solely from motives of personal advantage to themselves; to gain a living, to acquire a wealth, or to enjoy a freedom denied them in their own country, or believed to be more easily obtained or better secured here than elsewhere. The country, therefore, does not and cannot feel that it is bound either in justice or in charity to yield up its nationality to them, or to suffer the stream of its national life to be diverted from its original course to accommodate their manners, tastes or prejudices…If I from motives of hospitality open my doors to the stranger, and admit him to the bosom of my family, I have the right to expect him to conform to my domestic arrangements, and not to undertake to censure or interfere with them.”

On crony capitalism: “Louis XI was not weaker against Charles the Bold than is Congress against the Pennsylvania Central Railroad and its connections, or the Union Pacific, built at the expense of the government itself. The great feudal lords had souls, railroad corporations have none.”

On fiscal irresponsibility and debt: ‘The journalists tell us that the country is rich, and we count our millionaires by the thousands, if not by hundreds of thousands; and yet, if called upon suddenly to pay its debts or to redeem its bonds of every sort, it would be found to be hopelessly insolvent, and the reputed wealth of the millionaires would vanish in smoke. Our present wealth is chiefly in evidences of debt, that is, created by mortgages on the future.”

On Communism’s false promises: “Communism, if it could be carried out, would not…as the communists dream, secure to all the advantages of wealth, but would result in the reduction of all to the most abject poverty—the very thing which they are ready to commit any crime or sacrilege in order to escape.”
The Civil War was a terrible trial for millions—Brownson himself lost two sons—but the calm courage of the American people prepared them for world leadership:

“With larger armies on foot than Napoleon ever commanded, with their line of battle stretching from ocean to ocean, across the whole breadth of the continent, they never, during four long years of alternate victories and defeats—and both unprecedently bloody—or a moment lost their equanimity, or appeared less calm, collected and tranquil, than in ordinary times of peace…Their success proves to all that what, prior to the war, was treated as American arrogance or self-conceit, was only the outspoken confidence in their destiny as a providential people, conscious that to them is reserved the hegemony of the world.”

That “hegemony” was moral, not militaristic. Rather it was the success, for the entire world to witness, of America’s providential mission to secure the greatest degree of human liberty under law; a unique experiment in self-government realized through the ingenious Federal Constitution, the priceless gift of America’s Founders. This was a recurrent theme in Brownson’s writings. It was a theme that, over a century later, President Ronald Reagan also expressed in his vision of America as a “Shining City on a Hill.” Brownson’s name recognition may be low, but his ideas and insights have endured.


Marxism or Decadence? The Cause of Western Weakness

By Fjordman

I sometimes am criticized for being too focused on the left-wing of the political spectrum and ignoring the problems caused by right-wing parties. First of all, the line of separation between what constitutes “Left” and “Right” in politics now tends to become blurred. And second of all, only a fool believes that everybody on one side is always right, and everybody on the other side is always wrong. I have been consistent in pointing out that the European Union, which I loathe, cannot be explained simply as a one-sided Leftist endeavor. It also contains elements of Big Business interests, political corruption and the general desire of politicians and bureaucrats to rid themselves of the restrictions imposed on them by a democratic society.

At the time I write this, the conservative German chancellor Angela Merkel continues to push for the implementation of the awful EU Constitution, and I just read a column by a free-market activist who champions continued mass-immigration, including from Muslim countries, because his ideological convictions lead him to conclude that free migration is always good and beneficial.

It is also true that not all those who undermine Western civilization through support for Multiculturalism and mass immigration do so out of a hidden political agenda. Some do it out of plain stupidity and vanity. “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s most open-minded of them all?” It’s a beauty contest for bored, Western intellectuals who use immigrants as a mirror to reflect their own inflated egos, a sport where they can nurse their vanity in the mistaken belief that denigrating your own cultural heritage is a sign of goodness and lack of prejudice.

I suspect that part of the craziness on display now stems from feelings of guilt because of affluence. I hear so many of these open border activists talk about “solidarity,” but in reality it’s all about me, me, me. They don’t show much solidarity with their own children and grandchildren who are going to inherit the Balkanized nightmare they leave behind. It’s all about making them feel good about themselves right now, without regard for future consequences of their actions. So their “solidarity” is really an extreme form of egotism and holier-than-thou self-exaltation. Besides, many of them have lived sheltered lives for so long that they honestly don’t understand that something bad can ever happen to them. They’ve never had to fight for their freedom or their prosperity, which had been ensured by others.

So yes, there is a component of decadence, materialism, hedonism and nihilism without any specific ideological agenda at work here. But still, even if I try to be as objective as possible, it is difficult to avoid seeing that a disproportionate amount of our problems come from political left-wingers and that elements of it are indeed ideological. Besides, it is sometimes difficult to define where decadence ends and cultural Marxism begins. The Marxist-inspired “revolution” of the 1960s and 70s, which both at the time and in hindsight has been viewed as a watershed in Western history, was staged by people who had enjoyed unprecedented economic growth throughout their entire lives.

I can see no connection between Islamic terrorism and poverty, but maybe there is a connection between wealth and politically correct nonsense. Western Europe has enjoyed decades of affluence and welfare state boredom, and is crazier than any civilization before it in history, even paying its own enemies to colonize it and thinking happy thoughts about cultural diversity as it is being wiped out. Is cultural Marxism caused by boredom, which is again caused by affluence created by capitalism? It would be sort of ironic if that is the case.

To quote The True Believer by Eric Hoffer:

Eric Hoffer“The poor on the borderline of starvation live purposeful lives. To be engaged in a desperate struggle for food and shelter is to be wholly free from a sense of futility. The goals are concrete and immediate. Every meal is a fulfillment; to go to sleep on a full stomach is a triumph; and every windfall a miracle. What need could they have for ‘an inspiring super individual goal which could give meaning and dignity to their lives?’ They are immune to the appeal of a mass movement.”

And later Hoffer points out that “There is perhaps no more reliable indicator of a society’s ripeness for a mass movement than the prevalence of unrelieved boredom. In almost all the descriptions of the periods preceding the rise of mass movements there is reference to vast ennui; and in their earliest stages mass movements are more likely to find sympathizers and support among the bored than among the exploited and oppressed.”
- - - - - - - - - -
In The Weekly Standard, Michel Gurfinkiel notes that indeed, there are intellectuals “who relish the prospect of a new French Revolution, and welcome the suburban rioters as its spearhead. Nothing is more revealing, in this respect, than the success of a feverish political novel, Supplément au Roman National (A Sequel to the National Narrative), by 28-year-old author Jean-ric Boulin. Published two months ago, it forecasts a ‘social and racial’ revolution in France in 2007. First a wave of suicide bombings in Paris. Then martial law. Then, finally, the great rebellion of the French poor: the native underclass, the Arabs, and the blacks, who unite under the green flag of Islam and the tricolor of France and march on Paris — as a sort of Commune in reverse. Boulin gallantly supports such an outcome.”

The French RevolutionThere is, admittedly, something special about France and their love of revolts and mayhem. The French still haven’t recovered from their great Revolution of 1789. It is strange that a modern nation can celebrate as their national day the birth of a bloody upheaval which paved the way for mass-murder and authoritarian rule. But the fascination with Islamic movements is far from limited to France. It is partly based on hatred of the West and a belief that the world must be “liberated” from Western civilization, which is the cause of global injustice.

Elin BrodinNorwegian author Elin Brodin wrote an essay entitled “Western values are the worst.” According to her, “Modern Westerners are the most bigoted, self-righteous and deaf-blind creatures that have ever walked the earth’s crust. This goes for the left-wing and the feminists just as much as for everybody else. We really have to change our attitudes, not just our clothes, because now the question is whether this civilization should be transformed or fall. Because the West neither can nor should endure in its present form.”

City on FireIf you want to see a really nasty example of the hatred against Western civilization on display, here’s a link from Danish blog Uriasposten. Thyra Hilden and Pio Diaz projected video images of flames onto 1,000 square-metre glass screens in a museum in the central Danish town of Aarhus. The “art” exhibition was called “City on Fire – Burning the roots of western culture.” The artists assured us that “It is not actual fire that destroys actual buildings – but the idea of fire that destroys the historical and ideological roots of Western culture.” Part of their vision was “to create an aesthetic image of the deconstruction of the cultural roots of the Western world,” because as they said, Western culture was “very aggressive,” while Islamic culture has been far less so.

Bruce Thornton writes about Robert Conquest’s book Reflections on a Ravaged Century. especially his chapter on Soviet Myths and the Western Mind:

“As Conquest documents, many Western intellectuals and academics were delusional about the reality of the communist threat. For a host of reasons — a quasi-religious faith in utopian socialism, neurotic hatred of their own culture, vulnerability to an ideology that dressed itself in scientific garb, an adolescent romance with revolution, and sheer ignorance of the facts — many professors, pundits, politicians, and religious leaders refused to believe that Soviet leaders meant what they said about revolution and subversion.” Because of this, “throughout the Cold War, the Western resolve to resist Soviet expansionism was undercut by ‘peace’ movements, nuclear disarmament movements, calls for détente and ‘dialogue,’ and claims of moral equivalence between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.”

According to Thornton, other parallels between Cold War Sovietophiles and today’s rationalizers for Jihad present themselves. The academic establishment for most of the Cold War “was predisposed to leftist ideology.”

Arne TreholtUnfortunately, the Soviet-appeasers never had to endure the consequences of their actions. In Norway, I heard recently several left-wingers state that Arne Treholt, a senior diplomat who was convicted of high treason in the 1980s for spying for the Soviet Union, was actually a misunderstood hero who wanted “dialogue” with the Communists. A former member of the Labor Party, he was reprieved by the Labor government in 1992. He has always claimed his innocence, but admitted later that he was both careless and negligent and “drifted into some questionable areas” when he turned over confidential state documents to Soviet representatives and accepted money for them in return.

Ban the Bomb!When US President Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980, after Jimmy Carter had made a mockery out of the presidency and his inaction contributed to the success of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979, the massive Soviet military machinery placed medium-range SS-20 nuclear missiles to intimidate Western Europe and split NATO. They also encouraged massive demonstrations and campaigns within the West for unilateral Western disarmament. Yet Reagan chose to up the ante by deploying new U.S. nuclear missiles in Europe. He denounced the Soviet Union as the “Evil Empire” and engaged the Soviets in a military build-up that bankrupted their fragile economy. Reagan, who dared to challenge blackmail from one of the most brutal regimes in human history, was reviled and ridiculed by the leftist intelligentsia, and is still hated even a generation after the Cold War ended. Yet a man such as Mr. Treholt, who appeased the same regime, is viewed in positive terms.

Sadly, conservatives demsontrated negligence after the Cold War. We never properly denounced Marxism as an ideology as well as discredited those individuals who had supported it, the way it was done with Fascism after WW2. That was a mistake. We had a massive fifth column of left-wingers during the Cold War who sapped our strength and appeased our enemies. These very same groups have been allowed to continue their work uninterrupted, and went straight from appeasing Soviet Communism to appeasing Islamic Jihad.

The Seventh WarThe book The Seventh War, by Israeli journalists Avi Yisacharov and Amos Harel, is based on interviews with Hamas Islamic terrorist leaders in Gaza and Israeli prisons. Hamas leaders told them clearly: “It was the Israeli left and your peace camp that ultimately encouraged us to continue with our suicide attacks. We tried, through our attacks, to create fragmentation and dissention within Israeli society, and the left-wing’s reaction was proof that this was indeed the right approach.”

The West and Westerners in general are treated as the “global oppressive class” by our Marxist-inspired academic elites. From historical experience, in Socialist societies, those deemed a part of the “oppressive class” have at best been deprived of their property, at worst been physically eliminated. Western Leftists really believe their own rhetoric about the West being the cause of most of the problems of the world, and want to “liberate” the planet by bringing down the oppressive class, aka the West.

We could go into long debates as to whether this is compatible with the doctrines of classical Marxism, since most Islamic and Third World nations are far from industrialized. It is true that Karl Marx initially stated that capitalism was a necessary transitional stage for Socialism. Most Socialists before WW1 believed that the Marxist revolution would start in Germany, precisely because it was a more advanced capitalist and industrialized economy. But Lenin decided to start in Russia after the opportunity provided by the first revolution in 1917, despite the fact that it was far from a developed capitalist economy at that point. Marxist strategies have thus changed considerably during the past century. By far the one element that has remained most consistent is the tendency to view society primarily in economic terms, through the prism of groups exploiting other groups. In general, Marxist tools for analysis have survived far better than their practical solutions and are still influential.

Karl MarxIt is, in my view, impossible to understand Multiculturalism without taking into account this profound influence of Marxist thinking. Marxism states that culture is only of minor or secondary importance, while the primary moving factor is the struggle between the oppressed and the oppressors. This leads to treating cultural differences as insignificant, and thus the conclusion that major differences in performance between groups are caused by poverty and exploitation. This is exactly the picture we are presented by our media as the source of the difficulties in the Islamic world.

Moreover, the very idea that it is ok to stage massive and risky social experiments involving millions of people is one that was passed on from Marxism to Multiculturalism. As Friedrich von Hayek warned: “We must shed the illusion that we can deliberately ‘create the future of mankind.’ This is the final conclusion of the forty years which I have now devoted to the study of these problems.”

Antonio GramsciThe Frankfurt school of cultural Marxism, with such thinkers as Antonio Gramsci and Georg Lukacs, aimed at overthrowing capitalist rule by undermining the hegemonic culture. According to Gramsci, the Socialist revolution, which failed to spread following the Russian Revolution in 1917, could never take place until people were liberated from Western culture, and particularly from their “Christian soul.” As Lukacs said in 1919, “Who will save us from Western Civilization?” This could be done through breaking down traditional Judeo-Christian morality and family patterns and undermining the established institutions from within. In 2007, we can see clearly that this strategy has been quite successful in Western media and academia, which are not only neutral or lukewarm in defending our civilization, but are in many cases actively aiding our enemies. The irony is that most Westerners have never heard of Gramsci, yet ideas similar to his have had a huge impact on their lives.

In Scandinavia, it is a well-documented fact that journalists are much more left-leaning than the general populace. In France during the Muslim riots in 2005, several journalists stated openly that they downplayed the problems caused by immigrants in order not to boost the support for “right-wing parties,” and in Britain, leading figures from the BBC readily admitted that they actively champion Multiculturalism in their coverage. Even British Prime Minister Tony Blair, himself from the Labour Party, complained in the January 2007 issue of Foreign Affairs magazine about relations with Muslims that “many in Western countries listen to the propaganda of the extremists and accept it. (And to give credit where it is due, the extremists play our own media with a shrewdness that would be the envy of many a political party.)”

Daniel Pipes notes that “Significant elements in several Western countries – especially the United States, Great Britain, and Israel – believe their own governments to be repositories of evil, and see terrorism as just punishment for past sins. This ‘we have met the enemy and he is us’ attitude replaces an effective response with appeasement, including a readiness to give up traditions and achievements. Osama bin Laden celebrates by name such leftists as Robert Fisk and William Blum. Self-hating Westerners have an out-sized importance due to their prominent role as shapers of opinion in universities, the media, religious institutions, and the arts. They serve as the Islamists’ auxiliary mujahideen.”

Pipes warns that “Pacifism, self-hatred and complacency are lengthening the war against radical Islam and causing undue casualties. Only after absorbing catastrophic human and property losses will left-leaning Westerners likely overcome this triple affliction and confront the true scope of the threat. The civilized world will likely then prevail, but belatedly and at a higher cost than need have been. Should Islamists get smart and avoid mass destruction, but instead stick to the lawful, political, non-violent route, and should their movement remain vital, it is difficult to see what will stop them.”

In short: You know you live in a Western country when the media is cheering for your enemies, when your schools and universities teach your children that your civilization is evil and when your politicians think it’s a sign of “extremism” if you want to protect your nation’s borders.

Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir once said that “Peace will come when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us.” Perhaps we will win this struggle for liberty only when Western left-wingers decide that love their children more than they hate Western civilization. If they have children in the first place, that is.



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

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

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


18 March, 2015

At last! A man who dares to tell the truth about race: Ex-race tsar says silencing of debate has done devastating harm to Britain

Britain is silencing debate on race issues by ‘intimidating’ those who dare to ask questions, according to the former equalities watchdog.

In a devastating critique of a culture of misguided political correctness, Trevor Phillips said far too many people felt unable to speak their minds because they feared being branded racist.

The former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission said that people would have to become ‘more ready to offend each other’ as the price of free speech.

In a hard-hitting article ahead of a TV documentary on race issues to be aired later this week, Mr Phillips attacked the ‘racket’ of multiculturalism which took root under Tony Blair’s government. He said:

The inability to discuss racial issues contributed to child grooming scandals in cities such as Rotherham and Rochdale, because authorities ‘turned a blind eye’;

Silence on racial issues led to the failure to take action to save Victoria Climbie;

A film commissioned to warn young people of the dangers of grooming was suppressed because it featured an Asian perpetrator abusing white girls;

He was accused of being ‘fatuous’ by senior New Labour figures when he warned of the dangers of multiculturalism;

Multiculturalism has become a ‘racket’ in many parts of the country, with self-styled community leaders battling for funds which prop up their authority and entrench segregation.

Mr Phillips was for a decade the chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality and its successor, the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

However, in the same TV documentary Tony Blair refused to admit that his decision to open the doors to EU migration in 2004 was a mistake.

The former prime minister said the influx would have ‘happened anyway’ and it ‘made sense at the time’ to open our borders when France and Germany kept their controls.

Last night MPs welcomed the comments from Trevor Phillips, a man who was once at the pinnacle of the politically-correct establishment

Philip Hollobone, Conservative MP for Kettering, said: ‘For once, Trevor Phillips is right. Political correctness has acted as a huge deterrent to people speaking their mind on the important issues of the day.

'The vast majority of people in Britain are not racist, but they are concerned about immigration and about crimes committed by certain sections of the community.’

Philip Davies, the Tory MP for Shipley, said: ‘I’m always grateful when a sinner repents. Some of us have been castigated for years for speaking out, and I hope the tide is turning even among those who upheld political correctness in the past.’

In his article, Mr Phillips listed a range of areas where he suggested political correct ideas and multiculturalism had made things worse.

He put the failure of people to speak out down to fact that the ‘modern secular sin of being a racist, or its religious cousin an anti-semite or Islamophobe, is by far the worst crime of which you can be accused’.

Mr Phillips is a former television executive who became a Labour politician and then a front man for Tony Blair’s government as it tried to deal with ethnic and religious tensions.

However he dropped his ambitions for a political career and became head of the Commission for Racial Equality in 2003 and went on to the EHRC.

He was a central figure in the retreat from multiculturalism – the left-wing doctrine which encouraged migrants to keep their own culture rather than integrate into British ways.

After the 2005 London bombings he warned the country was ‘sleepwalking towards segregation’.

He earned £112,000 a year for a three-and-a-half day week at the EHRC, stepping down in 2012.

In his interview with the Channel 4 documentary, Things We Can’t Say About Race That Are True, Mr Blair insisted he was prepared to argue in favour of immigration.

Hundreds of thousands of Eastern Europeans came here because his government opted not to impose transitional controls 11 years ago.

The foreign secretary at the time, Jack Straw, has since conceded the policy was a ‘spectacular mistake’, while Ed Miliband has also said the party ‘got it wrong’ on immigration.

Last year former Labour home secretary David Blunkett warned of increasing public fears about immigration. Tory MP Mr Davies said: ‘Tony Blair must be the only person in the country who does not think it was a mistake.’


Sen. Rand Paul: ‘You Can Be a Minority Because You’re an Evangelical Christian’

Speaking at Bowie State University in Bowie, Md., on Friday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said one can be a minority because of their skin color or their “ideology,” adding that “you can also be a minority because you’re an evangelical Christian.”

“You can be a minority because of the shade of your skin, or you can be a minority because of the shade of your ideology. You can be a minority because you’re African American or Hispanic, but you can also be a minority because you’re an evangelical Christian,” Paul said told the audience at the oldest historically black university.

He was speaking about the importance of the Bill of Rights to protect “the least popular,” saying it’s not necessarily for the prom queen or quarterback – although it will apply to them too. “I think we have to pay more attention to the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights is there to protect all of us,” Paul said.

“Those who are popular among you will always do fine. It’s for the least popular among you. It’s for those who might have unorthodox ideas. It’s precisely for minorities,” Paul said.

Paul said there are “all kinds of reasons that you can have minority opinions that need to be protected.” He described an example of where the Bill of Rights was not considered in protecting the rights of the unpopular – specifically, American terrorist suspects detained indefinitely in Guantanamo Bay without a trial.

“We have something now in America called indefinite detention. This means that an American citizen can be indefinitely placed in prison and sent to Guantanamo Bay forever without a trial, and I had this debate with another senator on the floor, and I said, ‘Really? You can send an American citizen to Guantanamo Bay with no trial forever?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, if they’re dangerous,’” Paul recounted.

Paul said it “begs the question” of “who gets to decide who’s dangerous and who’s not dangerous, and who should be afraid of this.”

“Anybody think that you might want to be afraid if you’re Jewish? Have people ever seen any kind of animus towards the Jewish people? Anybody ever think there was any animus towards African Americans in our country? Anybody ever think there’s been an animus towards any kind of minority in our country ought to be concerned about incarceration without a trial?” Paul asked.

Paul said he doesn’t think President Barack Obama will “round up people” based on race. A provision of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) first signed into law in 2012 allows the military to indefinitely detain individuals without trial, and remained on the books last year. Obama signed the 2014 NDAA into law at the end of 2013.

“I don’t think he will do that, and that’s what he said when he signed the legislation. He said, ‘I’m a good man, and I will never do this.’ I’m not questioning whether the president’s a good man. I’m questioning whether you want a law on the book that requires our leaders to be good people,” Paul added.


Britain's disgusting RSPCA again

Reminscent of PETA

As porcine pensioners go, Mr Pig had life sorted. He had his own landscaped island, a river to hurl himself into when the fancy took him, a muddy beach on which to wallow, two cosy wooden homes lined with straw and sawdust, dozens of ducks and geese to harass and an endless supply of lovingly steamed vegetables.  Not forgetting, of course, the daily company of his owner, or ‘Dad’, Bob Skinner.

‘He was a good pig and I loved him. I’d sit with him every evening and chat to him. He was my only companion, my best friend. He knew everything about me,’ says Bob, 63.

‘The worst thing God got wrong is he never fixed it for animals to chat back. But I understand animals. So I could feel what Mr Pig was feeling, know what he was thinking.’

Sadly, no longer.  Today, Mr Pig’s two homes are empty. His island is quiet. The ducks are waddling about without fear. Because Mr Pig was carted off by the RSPCA — who had been tipped off that he looked unwell by Environmental Agency staff working in the area. Then, as the Mail reported last week, they held him in a compound for two days, and secretly killed him. Without telling Bob.

What’s worse, they accused Bob of animal cruelty and applied to court to have him barred from keeping animals in the future.

Last week, after months of anguish, Bob was cleared by magistrates in Bournemouth of malicious intent. They refused to ban him from keeping animals and gave him a conditional discharge on the basis he paid the RPSCA’s prosecution costs.

Today, with Britain’s best-loved animal charity accused of bullying tactics and turning into a political pressure group, Bob feels vindicated, but remains heartbroken.

He eulogises about Mr Pig (who at 20 is believed to have been the world’s oldest rare breed kunekune pig) at every opportunity.

‘He was a good pig but as ugly as sin — you couldn’t get any uglier. And he was a grumpy old sod and smelly and naughty as hell — always stealing food and smashing down fences. But I really loved him.’

Their bond, if unusual, appears genuine. Despite Mr Pig’s appalling personal hygiene, Bob spent hours hugging and tickling him at home in Corfe Mullen, Dorset.

He bought special eye-washes and bathed his pink piggy eyes. He steamed Mr Pig’s vegetables because his teeth were wonky. And, in the summer, Bob would often sit and eat steamed vegetables with him.  ‘Happy days!’ he says.

So when, last autumn, Mr Pig seemed under par and developed what looked like a nasty sore on his face, Bob was worried. ‘He was struggling. I could just see that life was a bit of a pain. So I got my friend Dave over. He’s a slaughterman, not a vet, but knows all there is to know about pigs.’

Dave diagnosed an abscess, told Bob to bathe it regularly and keep a close eye. ‘I knew his days were numbered, but he was still eating and trotting about. His time wasn’t quite up yet,’ says Bob.

Sadly, the RSPCA officials felt otherwise. On that fateful November day, Bob returned home to find a notice pinned to the gate saying ‘something along the lines of: ‘Please phone this number, we’ve got your pig.’

‘I was put through to a call centre. A call centre?’ he almost yells. ‘It’s a charity, not British Gas!’

When he finally got through, he was told the relevant officer only worked until 4pm. Finally, after two days of missed calls (on both sides), the officer paid another house-visit.  ‘It was very strange, like a formal interview,’ says Bob. ‘He kept asking all these accusatory questions.’

Until suddenly, about halfway through, he dropped the bombshell. Mr Pig had already been euthanised.

Bob goes all pink just recounting it. ‘I had to rush up to my sitting room and cry my eyes out.

‘Why didn’t they wait to speak to me? Why would you do that if you’re a charity — a charity that people give money to so they can do good work?

‘Who taught this man to be Adolf Hitler — because that’s how I feel he’s behaved.’ To compound matters, Bob faced the court case. ‘I couldn’t understand it. I love animals!’

It is the latest in a worrying line of similar prosecutions. Last year, the RSPCA were accused of bullying when a cat called Claude was put down without his owners’ consent after RSPCA officers declared him too thin and matted.

Elsewhere, Diane and Dean Webb had their 33 show cats and kittens taken away after charity officers raided their home in Barrow upon Trent, Derbyshire, and prosecuted them for neglecting the animals — charges a judge rejected.

Bob has adored animals since he was a boy and for 30 years he ran Dorset’s largest pet shop, routinely paying owners over the odds for animals he felt were in danger, and until recently kept thousands of butterflies, ducks, geese, black swans, dogs and, of course, Mr Pig.

His relationship with Mr Pig began when it was chosen as a Christmas present by Bob’s then young daughter, Kimberley. ‘I learned a long time ago the trick with women is to get them what they want,’ says Bob. ‘No point trying to be brave or clever.’

At six weeks old, Mr Pig was furry, toothy and barely a foot long.

For the first three months, he lived in the room beneath the first floor sitting room in Bob’s £1 million grade II-listed home.

The smell was overwhelming. ‘He was smelly, but Kim really loved him, even when she hugged him and he’d wee on her posh school uniform.’

So Bob built a sty and Mr Pig moved in. Along with a distraught Kim — although she could only bear the stench for one night.

Soon after, Bob built another sty, and gave the precious piggy his own 1.6-acre island, which he accessed through the garden, past a row of plastic toadstools and across the River Stour on a little bridge.

And that’s how he lived for nearly 20 years — eating sweet potatoes, chasing geese, stealing eggs, raiding barbecues and entertaining the hundreds of guests who stayed in Bob’s holiday cottage over the years.

Bob cared for Mr Pig deeply.  When he got fat, Bob put him on a diet. ‘I thought: “I’m going to come home one day and you’ll be dead from a heart attack you bugger and then there’ll only be me left.” ’

At one stage, when Bob thought Mr Pig was lonely — ‘like any man, he’d wander round and round his island looking for a female’ — he bought a sow in for company.

But she was younger and friskier and smashed down a fence in her excitement to embrace him. ‘He was terrified,’ says Bob. ‘He just wanted a bit of company, nothing racy. He was just like me — I’d rather a cup of tea these days. So that marriage didn’t work.’

Neither did Bob’s. Seven years ago, Bob’s wife Davina left him. ‘Suddenly, me and Mr Pig, we were both abandoned. He didn’t like my ex-wife and the feeling was mutual. When she left with our girls, Mr Pig and I only had each other — so we became best friends.’

Which all sounds a touch melodramatic, but Bob claims he saw Mr Pig as his link to his suddenly estranged daughters Kimberley and older sister Kirsten. ‘I’ve not seen them for years, but I know how much they loved him. So I loved him, too.’

Talking of love, Bob has enjoyed little luck lately. There was a short period of internet dating, which he describes as ‘Not good’.

And, briefly, a girlfriend called Hazel, who bought Mr Pig strawberries. ‘But I’m like Mr Pig, I’m not easy to live with,’ he says. ‘I don’t like women moving my things.  ‘And I get a bit engrossed when I’m doing my carpentry.’

Bob is a highly skilled carpenter by trade and has single-handedly renovated the mill house. He works on the wooden interiors of super yachts and makes exquisite furniture.

Back in the Seventies, he sold Elton John a coffee table for £7,000. ‘He’d seen the one I’d done for Tom Jones and wanted one with a hidden drawer.’ Elton later sold it for £14,000.  ‘That was a bit cheeky. It’s not as if he needed the money.’

Bob is also, by his own account, ‘an annoyingly good cook. I think it puts women off’.

But mostly he liked ‘just sitting quietly with Mr Pig’. Today, staring at the empty sties, thoughts of his final days still haunt Bob. ‘His little world was small. He’d never been off the property before. He must have been thinking: “Where’s Dad? Has he abandoned me?”  ‘It was the most appallingly distressing end to his life.’

Sadly, the furore is still not quite over. Bob wants to bring Mr Pig’s body home. But the RSPCA have said that, by law, he must wait 21 days. ‘I’m angry and I just want my pig back,’ he says. ‘It will be really sad when he returns, but at least then he’ll be home.’

There will be a cremation, followed by the burial of the ashes beneath a specially commissioned gravestone in the garden plus a plaque in the house: ‘Mr Pig lived here. The longest living pig.’  ‘It’s only what he deserves.’

Bob denies he allowed Mr Pig to suffer unnecessarily. ‘Absolute bloody rubbish. I’m not a bad person.’ In fact, he had everything planned — the moment Mr Pig was incapable of trotting across the bridge, he would say a proper goodbye and Dave the slaughterman would be asked to ‘sort him out’.  ‘But he wasn’t ready. There was nothing wrong with him, other than the fact he was old, like me.’

What Bob didn’t know, until after the RSPCA’s vets had carried out a biopsy, was that despite his perkiness, Mr Pig had cancer.

‘I thought it was an abscess. But it still wasn’t his time. Is that what will happen to us all — sorry Bob, you’re old, so time’s up. But we won’t tell your family for a couple of days because we only work ten till four.’

It has clearly been a difficult week. He dearly wants to honour Mr Pig — and for the RSPCA ‘to start acting like human beings and stop prosecuting innocent animal lovers’.

But most of all, he wants his daughters to get back in touch.

Today, the mill house is up for sale. Bob isn’t sure where he’ll go next but, as he puts it: ‘There’s no point being at home now. I’ve got nobody to talk to about my day any more. Nobody to console me. ‘Life is just so much poorer without Mr Pig.’


Hollywood Targets the Catholic Priest

On March 4, on the nation's most religion-mocking channel, Comedy Central, the late-night game show "@Midnight" featured the comedian Neal Brennan. Host Chris Hardwick asked a question about confession, to which Brennan responded, "Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned, I went to Catholic school growing up. While I was never molested, I did f—— a few priests."

The Catholic League points out this isn't original for Brennan. On the premiere of his own standup show on Comedy Central, which aired Jan. 19, 2014, Brennan commented that he went to Catholic school for 12 years. "No, I didn't get molested, I f——- a few priests, but I didn't get molested."

The Fox comedy "The Mindy Project" on March 10 featured a priest played by ... Stephen Colbert. Colbert's priest was a man who turned away from a very sinful past, which is certainly possible. A turn from moral degradation to holiness might even be inspiring. Not so with this one. This priest began his sermon by boasting he'd had sex with 275 women and had used "crazy drugs." He chest-thumped about this at a funeral Mass.

Colbert's priest was the usual Catholic nightmare, all about punishing, even excommunicating believers for using birth control and having premarital sex. "Trust me," he sermonized, "these little sins are just a straight a path to hellfire as all that really cool stuff I used to do."

Then there was the Feb. 26 season finale of the ABC drama "How To Get Away with Murder." A priest was accused of murdering another priest. The guilty priest told the defense team he killed an older priest in his parish by pounding his skull in with a blunt golden object — the thurible, which holds the incense used in the Mass. They showed one of the show's law-student characters insisting, "Not all priests are pedophiles," with another shooting back, "Since when?"

The priest who was killed had confessed to abusing a teenage boy who later hung himself. The plot is not just offensive. It's dishonest. After a decade-plus of reform by the Catholic Church — including an order to priests to break the seal of confession to report child abuse — the priest still says, "I thought about breaking the sacrament, reporting what he told me, but I know they'd just transfer him."

TV producers insist their stories "reflect reality, claiming even they're "ripped from the headlines." Well, there are other religious traditions that collide with human frailty.

In recent weeks, newspapers have reported some eye-opening stories: the Washington rabbi who admitted to taping a large number of married women getting naked in the ritual bath called a mikvah; the female Episcopalian bishop in Baltimore with a history of drunk driving who struck and killed a bicyclist; and a Chicago imam charged with a pattern of sexual abuse of women and girls.

There will be no Hollywood plot lines based on these headlines. Tinseltown tradition suggests these real-life plots just aren't "real" enough — which is to say, interesting enough — for television. Were these offenses committed by Catholic priests, it would be a different story altogether. They are in the Hollywood bull's-eye at all times



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

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

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


17 March, 2015

Multicultural baby rapist

Clearly psychopathic

A paedophile chemist has been jailed for 15 years after footage of his rape of a two-year-old girl left a female judge close to tears. Jeremy Oketch, 30, filmed his sickening abuse of the toddler on a camcorder in 2013 and 2014.

He was caught after a horrified girlfriend who suspected he was being unfaithful found the images on his computer.

Jeremy Oketch was described as 'utterly devoid of any conscience' after a raping a two-year-old girl. Judge Hilary Manley struggled to contain her emotion after watching the 'extremely graphic' video of his attack

At Manchester Crown Court on Thursday, Judge Hilary Manley adjourned the case for two hours whilst she viewed the 55 minute footage in her chambers.

The 48-year old judge returned to court looking pale and at first struggled to get her words out.  She said: 'It is of such an extremely graphic nature. It was essential to watch the footage myself.

'Only on watching, one can see clearly what has occurred and what the full criminality is and no description in a statement can do it justice.'

Oketch, of Whalley Range, Manchester, pleaded guilty to assault by penetration, two counts of rape and one count of sexual assault of a child under the age of 13.

Jailing Oketch this week, Judge Manley told him: '[The footage] is lengthy, horrific and graphic.

'You present as a plausible and educated individual and you exploited that to your advantage. There is little evidence of remorse.

'You can provide little or no reason for why you committed these offences. You have a deeply unnatural, twisted and obsessive sexual interest in very young children.'

The girl's foster mother had previously told the court the girl now suffers 'extended periods of crying and screaming'.

Oketch will be on licence for eight years after his release from jail and was also ordered to sign the Sex Offender's Register for life.

Speaking after his sentencing, Det Ch Insp Colin Larkin of Greater Manchester Police said: 'Having had to watch these videos, they are without doubt some of the most harrowing, sickening images you could ever see.

'Anyone would share our revulsion over these wicked acts being committed upon such a young child.

'The judge said the footage was exceptionally disturbing, horrific, graphic and grotesque and that nobody, not a member of the public, a police officer or a judge should ever have to watch such material. I can only echo those views.

'I cannot even begin to comprehend what would possess a man to commit such vile, repulsive acts upon an innocent two-year-old girl who could neither understand what was happening, nor fight back nor even tell anyone what had happened.

'Filming the abuse proves Oketch pre-planned what he was going to do to that little girl. This man is utterly devoid of any conscience.

'Make no mistake, Oketch deserves every second he will spend in jail. I hope the length of his sentence, in some small way, gives those who know this little girl some semblance of justice seeing this dangerous man behind bars for such a long time.

'We will continue to offer support to everyone who knows and cares for this little girl for as long as they need it.'


A 'fifth column' of some Muslims 'hate us and want to kill us', says Farage

Muslim clerics are not slow to condemn the West, and Muslims have certainly killed Britons in the name of their religion, so why is Farage not allowed to mention it?

Nigel Farage was today condemned as an attention seeker for calling for race discrimination laws to be scrapped and claiming some Muslims in Britain 'hate us and want to kill us'.

The Ukip leader became embroiled in a race row after first suggesting in a TV interview that laws against discrimination should be scrapped, before trying to claim that he never discussed race at all.

He claimed public concern was fuelled by migrant group who want to 'change who we are and what we are'.

David Cameron said the remarks were 'deeply concerning' and Labour accused Mr Farage of wanting to go back to the days when firms put up signs saying 'no blacks, no dogs, no Irish'.

In a Channel 4 documentary, Mr Farage claimed concern over preventing racial discrimination in employment 'would probably have been valid' 40 years ago and he would get rid of 'much of' existing legislation.

He also described some Muslims in Britain as a 'fifth column living within our country, who hate us and want to kill us'.

Setting out the case for scrapping race laws, Mr Farage said: 'I think the situation that we now have, where an employer is not allowed to choose between a British-born person and somebody from Poland, is a ludicrous state of affairs.

'I think that we have taken our relationship with Europe to a level that, frankly, has gone against common sense, and certainly against self-interest.

'I would argue that the law does need changing, and that if an employer wishes to choose, or you can use the word 'discriminate' if you want to, but wishes to choose to employ a British-born person, they should be allowed to do so.

'I think you should be able to choose on the basis of nationality, yes. I do.'

He added: 'If we'd sat here 40 years ago, having this conversation, your point [on the need for anti-discrimination laws] would probably have been valid. I don't think it is today.'

Mr Farage was speaking in an interview with ex-equalities watchdog chief Trevor Phillips for a Channel 4 documentary, Things We Won't Say About Race That Are True, due to be broadcast next week.

He claimed the rise of British-born Islamist extremists going to fight with ISIS in Syria had fuelled an 'uptick' in public concern.

He added: 'I think perhaps one of the reasons the polls show an increasing level of concern is because people do see a fifth column living within our country, who hate us and want to kill us. So don't be surprised if there isn't a slight increase in people's worries and concerns.

'You know, when you've got British, when you've got people, born and bred in Cardiff, with British passports, going out to fight for Isil, don't be surprised if there isn't an uptick in concern. There has been an uptick in concern, but does it make us a prejudiced people? No.'

'There is an especial problem with some of the people who've come here and who are of the Muslim religion who don't want to become part of our culture.

'So there is no previous experience, in our history, of a migrant group that comes to Britain, that fundamentally wants to change who we are and what we are. That is, I think, above everything else, what people are really concerned about.'

The remarks sparked a furious row, with political opponents accusing the Ukip leader of fuelling racial tensions.

A Ukip spokesperson said: 'We don't think there's anything controversial in what Nigel has said, at least not [for] the vast majority of the country.' 

Mr Farage later claimed his comments had been taken out of context. He said in a statement: 'My comments to Trevor Phillips were lauding the progress of race relations and equality in this country. Britain's media should be proud of this fact instead of trying to do it down.

'Ukip is the only party that is suggesting that Britain's employers should be free to employ British workers, regardless of creed or colour. It wasn't that long ago that the Labour Party called for 'British jobs for British workers'.

'And I suggest the real racists in our society are those who hear me say `British' and think `white'. I'm the only leader arguing for Britain's employers to favour British workers, no matter what their colour.

'And I must say, given the unemployment rates amongst young people, I'm now the only party leader standing up for them, black, white, or otherwise.'


Embittered old Tory politiciasn who never made it to the top attacks a true conservative


Nigel Farage says he wants to scrap the laws designed to protect ethnic minorities from discrimination. This is inflammatory politics with unpredictable consequences for racial harmony in our towns and cities.

I have an advantage over the Ukip leader. I can clearly remember what the UK was like before we introduced the Race Relations Act – and it was another country.

Let me demonstrate.

In the early 1960s, I owned a small hotel in London’s Notting Hill. One day, an extremely presentable black gentleman walked in and asked for a room. We were fully booked.

I told him not to worry because I knew a hotel 100 yards up the road. I called them and established that they had a vacancy. But when I walked up there with my hopeful guest, they opened the door and said: ‘Sorry, we’re full.’ That was London in the 1960s – a world in which companies openly specified ‘no coloureds’ when they advertised for workers.

I was first elected as a Member of Parliament in 1966. Two years later, the Labour Government put forward its race relations legislation.  Because of my experiences, I was not prepared to oppose it, and I was gratified when Edward Heath told the Conservative Party to support it.

Among the 40 Tory MPs who, shamefully, did try to stop the Act from reaching the statute book was Enoch Powell, who signalled his opposition with one of the most incendiary lines in modern political history: ‘As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see “the River Tiber foaming with much blood”.’

Powell was a more intelligent politician than Farage, but had the same irresponsible instinct – to mix up race relations with immigration. Of course the Government is right to exercise control of the level of immigration, but it is one of this country’s proudest claims that there should be no prejudice on grounds of colour, class or creed.

Powell failed to persuade the Conservative Party to resist the Act, but the indelible impact of those three words – ‘rivers of blood’ – created an atmosphere the like of which I have never experienced before or since: The meat porters of Smithfield in their blood-soaked overalls marched in his support.

I was the first Conservative MP to come out and condemn his words. Nearly 50 years later, I would argue that the single most conspicuous quality of modern British society is the sense of fairness, equality and decency which pervades most walks of life. What better refutation of that Powell-ite prophesy can you ask than a Boris Johnson victory as a Conservative Mayor of London, with its huge ethnic-British minorities.

Yes there are extremists, as there always have been: look at Oswald Mosley in the 1930s. And there have always been divides: Protestant versus Catholic, even Lancastrians versus Yorkshiremen. All over the world you can find these tribal conflicts, such as the clash between the Sunnis and the Shias in the Middle East, and the conflict in Nigeria.

It is a very human instinct, but it has to be seen for what it is – prejudice.

Farage’s words followed a now-familiar pattern. He came up with a ridiculous, headline-generating statement, then claimed not to have said what the recording of the interview clearly revealed. He did the same thing over privatising the NHS, his ‘Wag Tax’ on handbags, and his abandonment of the migration cap.

It is too easy for people to remember the original statement and ignore the later denials. His more extreme supporters can add a nod and a wink on the doorstep.

His message reaches the people he wants to win over. But this time he’s playing with fire.

The Government is wrestling with the enormously difficult issues of immigration, and rightly so, but Ministers know that the fabric of our society depends upon the immigrant community that helps sustain it.

Neither the health service, the transport infrastructure, nor our social services could provide the standards we have come to expect and demand were it not for the fact that there are huge numbers of people from all over the world who are filling the jobs.

We are host to a bewildering number of overseas companies creating jobs, investment and wealth. Just let the word get out that their key employees have to be replaced by our citizens – often less qualified or experienced – and the inward flow of people will head for our competitors.

Yes, we have to seek control of our borders but Farage’s plan is nothing to do with frontiers.

It is utterly unacceptable that a qualified person from overseas who is legitimately in this country, and the most qualified and committed candidate for the job, should be turned down for a position because they are not British. This would totally discredit the selection process. [Heseltine is being too clever here.  Farage is only arguing that employers should have a choice -- not that governments should impose bans on foreigners].

There is another difference between now and Farage’s lost golden world.  In the 1960s, the immigrant community was unfamiliar with the workings of this country, perhaps apprehensive of their new home environment.

That is no longer the case. Today, at every level in society, they are confident, aware of their rights, equal before the law and sensitive to the first sign of someone wishing to abuse that.

The Farage view is forged out of the tensions and the frustrations of the past years of recession. Exactly the same process can be seen across Europe: In France we have the Le Pen dynasty, in Germany we have the Pegida movement, in Holland we have Geert Wilders, all of whom are also toxically conflating immigration and racism. And not just that. Within the subject of immigration itself, the issue of Europe has also become interwoven.

Throughout my long career, I have consistently maintained that Britain’s self-interest is inseparable from that of our European allies. I believe that the thousand years of armed conflict which ravaged the continent of Europe, including the UK, has indisputedly been contained within the shared sovereignty of modern Europe.

I accept this is controversial, and particularly so within my own party, but I cannot understand how people who share my pride in the great traditions of this country can possibly believe that their world would be improved by supporting a party with minimum prospects of achieving power but the maximum prospect of diverting votes away from the Conservatives.

If they respond to the sinister subtext to Farage’s words, they will, as David Cameron says, find that they wake up on May 8 with Ed Miliband in Downing Street.


Farage: ‘I’m taking on the establishment, and they hate me for it’

'They’re not proper people.’ Pint in one hand, fag in the other, Nigel Farage is passing withering judgement on the political class. ‘They don’t pass the Farage Test’, he says of Cameron, Clegg and Miliband. The Farage Test? Warming to his theme, his voice rising an octave, he explains. ‘I judge everybody by two simple criteria. Number one: would I employ them? And number two: would I want to have a drink with them? To pass the Farage Test, you only have to pass one of those.

There are lots of people I’ve employed over the years who I wouldn’t choose to have a drink with, and there are lots of people who are completely useless but rather nice to have a bit of a jolly with. But this mob don’t pass either.’ Then, after eviscerating Them, calling into question their employability and drinkability, wondering out loud if they’re even ‘proper people’, he lets out what I think we should call the Farage Laugh: a deep and hearty, nicotine-stained guffaw at the world: ‘HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.’

I don’t know if I’d pass the Farage Test, but the UKIP leader has agreed to have a drink with me. We’re at a pub in a small street in central London — outside, natch, for smoking purposes — with a pap lurking behind a parked van, clearly unable to believe his luck that he might get a shot of Farage drinking and smoking and laughing.

We’re interrupted every five minutes by passers-by who want to shake Farage’s hand or get a selfie with him. (‘Go to UKIP dot org and become a member. Bloody well do it!’, he tells one young fan.)

It’s chilly but sunny; Farage is making light work of his pint; he still has a little make-up on from a by-all-accounts barnstorming appearance on ITV’s Loose Women; and he’s ready, he says, to speak his mind. ‘Interviewing me over a drink — always far better. HA HA HA HA HA HA.’

One thing on the Farage Mind is the total out-of-touchness of his opponents in the upcoming General Election: the three main political parties. ‘They’re over-advised. They’re scared. They view the whole operation of politics as playing safe, as if criticism is a bad thing.’ And more fundamentally they’re the ‘wrong sort of people’, he says, to be doing a job that involves engaging the public and speaking to ordinary people. ‘Lack of breadth of life experience. They’ve not had the knocks.’

He adds one rider, ‘which is that David Cameron had a son who was ill and died’. ‘But if you take that out, if you examine the lives of these boys, it’s been seamless. My life, by contrast, has been marked by regular disasters and stupidities. I’ve had some dramatic failures, and I think that probably puts my feet a bit more firmly on the ground and it means I can speak to anybody. I honestly believe I am the most classless person you will ever meet.’

His ability to ‘speak to anybody’ is on full display today. Everyone who irritates the hell out of me by interrupting the interview to press the Farage flesh is engaged with directly and honestly. ‘I’m doing fine, whatever the buggers might say!’, he says to one man who asks how things are going.

Farage is intrigued by the inability of the other party leaders to do what he does, to be normal, to engage the electorate in real, everyday language. Cameron has to boast about once having eaten a Cornish pasty in Leeds in a desperate bid to connect with the throng, while poor old Miliband can’t even eat a bacon sarnie without making a tit of himself and reportedly seeks expert advice on how to do that terrifying thing of Talking To People.

Farage puts this colossal disconnect between the political class and the public down both to the political leaders’ seamless, knocks-free lives and also to the professionalisation of politics — the way politics has become the domain of an increasingly narrow, bubbled strata of society.

‘As the seven per cent that go to public schools dominate politics, the media, the arts, sport, every aspect of our life in this country, [we’ve] almost reached a situation where the only time these guys have met a working-class man or woman is if they are driving the car. And they can’t even be nice to them then’, he says.

He saves his most stinging class-based barbs for the Tories. ‘The Conservative Party is as upper class today as it has ever been. Over the past hundred years, the upper classes had more connection to their fellow man than they have today. And I’ll tell you why. Firstly, those that were from the landed classes may have been selfish financially, over the corn laws or whatever it was, but they ran their estates themselves. They actually knew the lads that cut the hay and looked after the horses. And then we had two world wars, which brought the whole class system together. Up until the late 1980s you had senior Tory politicians from posh backgrounds who could talk to the lads doing the scaffolding. They can’t do that now.’

It isn’t only the aloof, not-proper-people of the New Conservatives, New Labour and the Lame Lib Dems who fail the Farage Test: his strongest ire is aimed at another group that has of late become a major player in British politics, a key pillar of establishment thinking — the media. He’s cutting. ‘The media have now become a bigger problem than the politicians. We talk about the Westminster Village in politics, [but] forget it — the media village is even tighter, even narrower, even more inward-looking, and even less in touch with their own potential readership and with the country.’

Ouch. But Farage’s barely disguised fury with the media is understandable. It’s hard to remember in recent years any other person or thing being the recipient of as much samey, uniform media bashing as Farage. Even ‘Jihadi John’ has been the subject of some sympathetic editorials — ‘Us brutes made him like this!’ — but not ‘Nasty Nige’. From the newspaper of record, The Times, to the favoured newspaper of the new elites, the Guardian, and in pretty much every shade of commentary in between, Farage is bogeyman du jour, potential destroyer of Europe and repressor of Romanians. The anti-Farage hysteria reached its crescendo with Channel 4’s mockumentary UKIP: The First 100 Days, which provided a better insight into the cut-off, swirling, masses-fearing minds of TV execs and the newspaper hacks who cheer them than it did into UKIP’s policies or potential. Now Farage is firing back.

‘I’ve watched over three years, as UKIP has grown, the incredulity from journalists, incapable of fathoming why UKIP’s doing so well — they’re literally incapable.’ The media are even more unable to read the public mood than politicians are, he says, because they’re so beholden to ‘the narrow tribalism’ of ‘binary politics’.

Why do they stick to this binary-politics script? Because it brings them rewards, he says. ‘Peerages, knighthoods — such patronage is dished out to the press on a scale that no other private-sector industry gets. I know [senior politicians] get an OBE or a knighthood, and if you’re a soldier you have a very good chance. And we understand that, because these are public servants. Private-sector rewards, however, are few and far between — but not if you’re a newspaper editor.’ The media, all shades, are now part of the establishment, he says.

Farage’s diagnosis of an increasingly influential but utterly unworldly, public-allergic media feels true. The more that politics has become bereft of any serious ideas or big-thinking policy, and the more that politicians have become bereft of the means or know-how for speaking to the public directly, the more the media have moved in to fill a gap, becoming, increasingly, the facilitator of politics, and even the shaper of the political agenda. The media now act, says Farage, like the guardians of ‘what is considered right-thinking’, and this is why they hate him with such rash feeling — his thoughts, his ideas, his politics are, by their judgment, un-right thinking, and thus must be shouted, or better still shut, down.

‘All through the civilisation of human beings, people form establishments’, he says: ‘An interwoven network that actually has a very big generational context, in that it hands on down. And we are challenging the establishment — we are challenging their very thought; we are challenging the very basis upon which they exist and operate. And there is nobody in history who has taken on the establishment and has not received the kind of treatment I am getting.’

He even accuses the media of creating a hostile working environment for UKIP people. The party’s door-steppers regularly face harassment and even threats, he tells me — and ‘this sort of violence and intimidation is one of the untold stories of the hatred that certain sections of the media have whipped up. There is now a group of people out there who, to be fair, probably weren’t UKIP supporters anyway, and who have had their own prejudices reinforced by the media and have been convinced that UKIP is a dangerous organisation.’

Some scoff at Farage’s claims to be anti-establishment. After all, he himself was privately educated, and he worked as a broker in the City before becoming a founding member of UKIP in 1993, an MEP in 1999, and eventually UKIP leader in 2006. And yet the anti-Farage fury, the media loathing for this man, does suggest he has rattled someone or something powerful. It’s hard to recall a time when the establishment closed ranks as firmly as it has done behind bashing UKIP, branded ‘fruitcakes and loonies’ by the leader of the Tory Party and as ‘racist’ by pretty much everyone who reads the Guardian.

Nigel might have his Farage Test — the political and media classes have the Anti-Farage Test, now judging an individual’s fitness for polite society by whether he or she is a Farage-hater (if you are, you’re in; if you aren’t, you’re a racist son-of-a-bitch). Farage-bashing is the great unifier in these otherwise screwed-up, amorphous political times, uniting everyone from Tory leaders to student radicals (some campuses No-Platform UKIP), from edgy comedians to edge-free Times leader-writers, from bland Nick Clegg to the remnants of the 1970s anti-fascist movement.

And it’s entirely out of proportion to UKIP’s policies. It can’t be explained entirely by UKIP’s opposition to the EU, given that there are also left-wing trade unionists who hate Brussels. It can’t be because UKIP wants a ban on unskilled workers coming to Blighty, given that the Labour government did the exact same thing in 2006, when it smacked a seven-year ban on unskilled workers from Romania and Bulgaria, thus turning them into the second-class citizens of Europe.

(spiked disagrees with UKIP’s position on immigration, for the same reason we disagree with the other parties’ position on it: it’s illiberal and avoids discussing the need for more industry and growth in Western European countries in favour of carrying out a Malthusian-style headcount of new arrivals and their predicted impact on our resources.)

No, it’s something else about UKIP that gets the goat of the great and good — it’s a vibe, an attitude, a reluctance to stick to the ‘binary politics’ script, and a sometimes unprofessional and fruitily worded stab at some of the sacred cows of modern politics. ‘It’s because we challenge the consensus’, says Farage.

Consensus, and the breaking of it, and the blowback you get as a consequence, comes up again and again in our chat. And there’s no doubt that Farage is off-message, sometimes gloriously so, on a lot of what passes for mainstream, unquestioned political thought in modern Britain. Take climate change. What politician these days would admit to laughing about the polar bears? Farage would. ‘My boys, who were spoonfed climate change all through school, used to think it was hilarious when I ranted at the Six O’Clock News about that bloody iceberg and that bloody polar bear HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.’

He declares himself ‘agnostic on climate change’. ‘I haven’t got a clue whether climate change is being driven by carbon-dioxide emissions.’ But he does think that shutting down industry in response to climate change, and shutting down debate about climate change, are very bad ideas indeed. ‘We are a nation that produces 1.8 per cent of global carbon dioxide, so I do not get closing down our aluminium smelters, most of our steel production, and now our refining industry, and all that production being moved to India, and therefore the steel-based products made in India then having to be shipped back to Britain! This to me makes no sense at all.’

The politics of environmentalism is utterly hostile to progress, he says. ‘If Natalie Bennett won the election, we’d all be living in caves’, he says with a chortle. ‘[This politics] is very regressive. There is nothing progressive in terms of the evolution of society or living standards in what these people stand for. And the whole thing is based on a fallacy: that our fossil fuels are going to run out and therefore we have to adapt the way we live. Actually, the shale-gas [revolution] has shown over the past decade that we are finding more and more of this stuff.’ As for the idea that we should stop digging for coal or shale or uranium and instead turn to renewable energy — ‘I think wind energy is the biggest collective economic insanity I’ve seen in my entire life. I’ve never seen anything more stupid, more illogical, or more irrational.’

Here, Farage is kicking against one of the key planks of 21st-century consensus politics: the idea of planetary vulnerability and human hubris. And he gets massive flak for it. ‘[Climate change] is like a religion’, he says. ‘And you’re demonised if you question it. Ostracised completely. Johnny Ball. Think Of A Number. Brilliant man. He compares the amount of CO2 we produce in the whole atmosphere to a ping-pong ball in the Albert Hall, and he is completely ostracised for years.

We’re almost back to Galileo. Whether it’s Galileo or Darwin, you challenge consensus, whether it’s in science, whether it’s in politics, and you are demonised for doing it.’ He remembers, in 2006, being on a Sunday morning TV show and being branded a ‘DENIER! DENIER!’ (his emphasis) after he raised issues with climate-change orthodoxy. ‘I thought I was attending the Salem witch trials. Quite extraordinary.’

Or take the nanny state, or the nudge industry, or the public-health lobby — whatever it’s being called these days. Here, too, Farage rips up a firmly established script. He says UKIP would allow pubs to choose to allow their patrons to smoke and would prevent minimum pricing on alcohol.

‘It’s the modern puritanism’, he says of the bossy new politics of lifestyle micromanagement. ‘It’s about controlling people. It is the same paternalistic agenda from the great and the good, who think they know better than ordinary folk what is good for them.’ He says he wants smoking restrictions and other booze-demonising policies kicked out of pubs for the simple reason that the freer a pub is, the better it is. ‘Every pub is a parliament’, he says. ‘It’s in pubs where you discuss who the England football manager should be, who you’re gonna vote for in the General Election, just how useless is your local councillor, what you think about the Archbishop of Canterbury. Pubs are essential parts of communities, essential places to meet and debate.’

And the overregulation of pub life has stored up a lot of social problems in 21st-century Britain, he reckons. We have a ‘drink problem with our youth’, he says, ‘boys and girls, intelligent youngsters, who go out on Friday nights with the intention of getting hammered… I actually think that if they were all drinking in pubs, there [would be] a degree of regulation. It doesn’t just come from the bar, but from everyone. “Hang on, son, calm down.”’

What he’s really worried about here is how regulation can hamper everyday community interaction — in this case the informal check that one generation of drinkers has always kept on the next generation of drinkers — and I think he makes a good point. But this argument, too, is a consensus-breaker, a flipped finger at the now widely embraced, rarely ridiculed ‘politics of behaviour’, as Labour unashamedly calls it. And so again Farage is demonised, branded uncaring, an unhealthy, smoke-happy, booze-promoting blot on the body Britain. A Bad Role Model.

Or take Ukraine. Farage is the only mainstream politician to have challenged the idea that the nasty war there is the handiwork of an Empire-dreaming Vladimir Putin. Farage’s big concern is with ‘the territorial ambitions of the European Union and NATO’, which, he tells me, ‘do not comprehend the mindset of Russia, which feels deeply threatened by this behaviour’: ‘If you poke the Russian bear with a stick, don’t be surprised if the bear reacts.’

He has no time for the celebration of the protesters in Maidan Square in Kiev, who, with the backing of Angela Merkel and John Kerry, toppled the Yanukovych government in 2014, precipitating the war. ‘I think the bringing down of an albeit corrupt but legitimately elected leader of Ukraine by people in that square waving EU flags… was disgusting’, he says firmly, and angrily. It was anti-democratic, he insists, and he isn’t wrong. Yet here, too, he’s been demonised, branded a Putin sympathiser, because once again he failed to read from the samey script of the political and media establishment.

‘I’ve been met with general horror’, he says. ‘See? We have consensus politics today, on everything. Everyone agrees on everything.’

Or take free speech on campus. Everyone from Cameron, who wants to keep Islamo-extremists out of universities, to Cameron-hating students, who want to No Platform the far right, agrees on the need for censorship in the academy. Farage doesn’t. ‘I do not believe in the suppression of open debate. If I was to say to you that radical Muslim extremists should not be allowed to preach at the Oxford Union, I would join the Peter Hain camp, which said Nick Griffin or Marine Le Pen should not be allowed to address the Oxford Union. That is moronic. The whole point about proper, open debate is that you allow it to happen.’

Why? Because it’s the best way to combat bad ideas, he tells me. ‘The best example in my lifetime was the appearance of Nick Griffin [at the Oxford Union and on TV], when the left thought he would poison the whole country — no, he looked a bloody idiot. I canvassed a few weeks later around the pubs of Oldham, even in some BNP pubs in Oldham, and the general view in the pubs was that he wasn’t much cop our bloke, was he?’

Listening to Farage, I don’t hear a racist or a fruitcake or a loon. Actually, I hear someone who says things that aren’t a million miles away from what Old Labour used to say. (During our drink, Farage favourably quotes both Tony Benn, on patriotism, and Michael Foot, on democracy.) Indeed, one of Farage’s staff later tells me that many in UKIP think the party has more in common with Old Labour than it does with either New Labour or the New Conservatives. Standing up for industrial growth; challenging greens’ implicit undermining of living standards; defending freedom of speech on campus; singing the praises of free and open public houses; saying we should leave people alone to enjoy a smoke; questioning whether every problem in Europe is really down to Russia… there’s often a leftish feel to Farage’s arguments. That the left in particular hate him reveals, I think, more about how the left has changed, and how it has abandoned some of its core ideals, than it does about any innate hatefulness on the part of Farage.

The mainstream media and chattering-class fury with Farage is really a story of the terrifying narrowing of the political sphere in Britain in recent years. Concrete consensuses have emerged on everything from the environment (endangered) to economic growth (not a great idea), from the spread of the welfare state (unquestionably brilliant) to the policing of personal lifestyle (all good). And a vast battery of insults, often pathological, have arisen to chastise anyone who pricks any of these consensus views.

Question the environment thing and you’re a DENIER. Wonder if Western democracy is superior to Islamist radicalism and you’re ISLAMOPHOBIC. Challenge the smoking ban and you’re PRO-CANCER. The things it is acceptable to think and say shrink all the time, and the parameters of thought and opinion are tightly policed by the media, the Twittersphere and politicians themselves. Farage is feared, across the board, because he stands, often self-consciously, outside the bland, ideology-free, human-suspicious moral and political agenda now promoted by all sides in British politics and the media.

Should you vote UKIP? That’s entirely up to you. It couldn’t be any worse than a vote for the warmongering, liberties-destroying, recession-starting Labour Party, or the Libya-killing, economy-choking Tory Party, or the illiberal and undemocratic Liberal Democrats. But more pointedly, a few more consensus-kickers in British politics, whether they’re of a right-wing or left-wing hue, would be no bad thing, no bad thing at all. ‘One more drink’, says Farage. ‘A half. A swift half. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.’



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

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

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


16 March, 2015

Those wicked male/female stereotypes

This is an anecdote of no real importance but stories tend to be more impressive than statistics so I thought I might share it.

I was in Target recently buying some inessentials and, when I went to pay, found myself in line behind a mother and her pretty little blondie daughter, aged about four.  The girl was carrying a box of Star Wars Lego, which mildly surprised me.  Star Wars is more a boy thing as far as I can see.  So when she turned around and looked in my direction, I asked her, "Do you like Star Wars?".  She smiled and said, "No. It's for my brother". 

So my stereotyped view about the different things that boys and girls like was perfectly correct!  As Gordon Allport said decades ago, stereotypes have "a kernel of truth". Feminists eat your heart out!

Lego is amazing stuff.  Most families with children or grandchildren seem to have buckets of it.  It must be a major boost to Denmark's terms of trade.  I greatly liked my Meccano set (Erector set) when I was a kid but Lego is a lot easier to use.

A related story:  I think most people would expect trains to be a boy thing but I happen to know two pretty little girls who are great enthusiasts for trains and train sets.  They can "play trains" with one another for hours.  So does the stereotype fall down there?

No.  As one of their insightful mothers explained to me, it is all about "Thomas the Tank Engine".  The Thomas stories humanize  trains and give them very recognizable faces and emotional lives.  So the girls concerned see and like that side of Thomas and tend to generalize that to all trains.  The Rev. Awdry wrote well.  His imagination became one of Britain's great cultural exports. Below is a picture of one of the little girls enjoying a real train  -- while holding a toy train.  That is pretty trainy!.

Paying to Pray?

A funny thing happened in the South Florida city of Lake Worth. It appears the local government has given churches the idea they must pay a fee to exercise their constitutionally protected right to worship as they please. In fact, in a move that smacks of totalitarianism, one particular church was singled out for “observation” by a hoodie-wearing code enforcement officer who compiled an official Case Narrative that reads like a bad detective novel.

In the city’s crosshairs is a Southern Baptist institution known as the Common Ground Church. The church owns and operates a coffee house in the downtown area, and for the last three months it has used it to hold weekly worship services. Previously the congregation rented space at other facilities in the area.

Common Ground Pastor Mike Olive spoke with Fox News' Todd Starnes and told him problems began arising last month following an encounter with City Commissioner Andy Amoroso. “After we opened up the coffee bar and started doing services, I heard that he told people we were anti-gay,” Olive told Starnes. “So I went to his shop to ask him about that.” Despite Olive’s insistence that his church is all about loving God and loving people, and that his message to the gay community “is the same as it is to the straight community,” Amoroso remained unconvinced, warning the pastor that he’d “better not have a church down there.”

Amoroso may have a personal axe to grind. According to the Keep the Faith News website, Amoroso runs a newsstand and a gay-pornography business in Lake Worth. Shortly after Olive and Amoroso’s meeting, an “anonymous complaint” was lodged, precipitating the compliance officer’s visit last month.

That city-code enforcement officer is Gerard A. Coscia, who spent two Sundays in a row watching Common Ground Church hold services at the Common Ground Coffee House. The coffee house has a business license and rents space to the church. On Feb. 8, Coscia secretly filmed the service. The following Sunday he came back, handed Olive’s associate pastor his business card – and told him the church has one week to vacate the building.

As his report indicates, Coscia brought his inner author and CIA wannabe tendencies to the task, first noting that he “peered into 12. S J St., a store front with the name ‘Coffee Bar’ written on it and noticed nothing out of the ordinary for a coffee shop.” But the stakeout got interesting when 30-45 people arrived by cars, on bicycles and on foot and Coscia “started to hear music coming from inside the Coffee Bar.”

Soon after that, Coscia hit pay dirt. “I walked back to the Coffee Bar and was able to visualize, in my opinion what appeared to be a ministry in progress,” the report states. “There was the following going on inside the Coffee Bar: Someone speaking from a podium. A [sic] overhead TV or projection with scripture verse on it. Rows of people sitting in chairs on both sides like a gathering setting. People holding what appeared to be bibles or religious books as one had a cross on it.”

And like a good detective, Coscia compiled his “critical” evidence. “I was able to capture on my city phone a video which will be attached to this case file for future court presentation.”

Coscia further revealed he conducted a Google search, discovering that the church actually existed at the address he investigated, that Olive was a preacher, and that there was a calendar of service times. Coscia’s ultimate analysis? “I inspected the property and found the following violations: Business rental property found without a current City of Lake Worth Business license, specifically to operate as a church, or a house of Worship.” As for the aforementioned evidence, it will be “placed into the master case file for future Court presentation.”

Lake Worth community sustainability director William Waters insisted the city had nothing against the church and was merely responding to the aforementioned complaint.

“We had a complaint that a gathering of people was taking place there in the form of a church,” he said. “We investigated that and determined that, yes, there were people gathered there.” Waters further insisted the city “couldn’t give preferential treatment to churches versus other businesses.”

A church thus becomes a business, and Waters explained that every business in the community received letters regarding permits and fees. Joan Abell, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, confirmed that reality, producing a letter from the city warning, “[I]t shall be unlawful for any person or business, directly or indirectly, to engage in or conduct any business profession or occupation in the city, without first making an application for, and having obtained a city of Lake Worth business license.”

Abell was upset. “We’ve been there 99 years and we’ve never had to have a license,” she told the Lake Worth Tribune. “Where do you all of a sudden say the church has to have a license to gather and pray?”

First Baptist Church is another local church that has paid nearly $500 in inspection and use of occupancy fees. Local CBS affiliate Channel 12 asked Council member Christopher McVoy if that payment amounted to a tax. “I can’t tell you the exact answer on that. It’s not a business tax, but there will be a fee involved,” he replied. Other towns in the area charge churches fees, but those fees are for fire inspections.

After this story became national news, the city backtracked, denying claims it had threatened anyone. “This is entirely a big misunderstanding,” said Mayor Pam Triolo. “The city’s intention is not to penalize churches in any way, shape or form. No, there’s no fee to pray.”

The report by Coscia and the letter sent to Abell say otherwise.

Adding to the city’s woes is attorney Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, a law firm specializing in religious liberty. He sent a letter to City Manager Michael Bornstein, explaining that churches are not businesses and don’t need licenses to operate, that the city’s own laws exempt churches regardless, and that even the occupational licenses and taxes they are now attempting to collect “are an exclusive prerogative of the Florida legislature.” He asks the city to stop collecting business fees, refund those they have collected, and provide written assurance of both.

“Government employees are public servants and prohibited by the Constitution from inhibiting religious freedom,” he explains.

Nevertheless, the city insists the congregation still needs a use and occupancy certificate for “safety purposes” separate from the one for the coffee bar. And according to Liberty Counsel lawyer Richard Mast, the city warned Common Ground Church against “possible overcrowding” even though they haven’t provided the 2,500 sq. ft. coffee shop with a maximum occupancy number. They have also cautioned them about potential violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, despite the reality the coffee bar is already in compliance – and that the regulation doesn’t apply to churches.

The Patriot Post spoke with Olive, who remains optimistic about his future in the city despite local blogger Wes Blackman taking him to task for a “ridiculous non-story,” one “giving our little City a black eye on the national stage.”

“We’re not mad at the city,” Olive explained. “I live here. I work here. We love the city and when people ask me why we’re giving the city a black eye, I tell them were not. The city has a black eye and we want be the ‘ice’ that brings healing to Lake Worth.”

Such healing may be temporary. Oliver also revealed that “police have told us we can’t hand out Gospel tracts because it violates Lake Worth’s panhandling law, which is one of the most aggressive in Palm Beach County.” Handing out what Christians believe is the word of God constitutes panhandling? You’ve got another “misunderstanding” to address, Mayor Triolo.


UK Official Pilloried for Asking Imams to Reject Extremism

"Doublespeak" involves manipulating language to deliberately disguise or distort words and their meaning. It is a subterfuge a speaker utilizes to leave a listener confused. In the U.K., Muslim advocates have perfected it to an art form.

Author Soeren Kern monitors Islamic-related news stories in the U.K. on a monthly basis. His report for January includes mention of an action taken by the U.K. government that caused quite a stir among Muslim activists.

Some background is needed to put what happened into context.

Following the January 7 th Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris, a poll disturbingly revealed 27% of British Muslims believed the attack justified as victims had insulted Islam.

Domestic imams, such as hate-monger Anjem Choudary, quickly promoted this justification saying that same day:  "In an increasingly unstable and insecure world, the potential consequences of insulting the Messenger Muhammad are known to Muslims and non-Muslims alike...So why in this case did the French government allow the magazine Charlie Hebdo to continue to provoke Muslims, thereby placing the sanctity of its citizens at risk?"

In a later interview, Choudary praised the attackers, adding: "May Allah accept (the attackers) in Paradise."

Clearly, such outrageous public Muslim support in Britain for the Paris attack concerned the U.K. government. Seeking to address this, U.K. Communities Secretary Eric Pickles distributed a letter to over 1,000 imams across the country. He sought their assistance in fighting extremism, requesting they discuss with their followers the compatibility of being both Muslim and British.

The letter was written in terms that should not have offended a rational mind, especially in view of a very vocal Muslim community supporting violence. Pickles' letter stated in part:

        "We must show our young people, who may be targeted, that extremists have nothing to offer them. We must show them that there are other ways to express disagreement: that their right to do so is dependent on the very freedoms that extremists seek to destroy. We must show them the multitude of statements of condemnation from British Muslims; show them these men of hate have no place in our mosques or any place of worship, and that they do not speak for Muslims in Britain or anywhere in the world...

        "You, as faith leaders, are in a unique position in our society. You have a precious opportunity, and an important responsibility: in explaining and demonstrating how faith in Islam can be part of British identity..."

As responses from the Muslim community came in, the Secretary found himself in a real pickle-accused of being Islamophobic.

One Muslim leader said he could not understand-despite a clear Koranic mandate for violence-if Pickles was "really suggesting...that Muslims are detached from mainstream society."

Demands were made Pickles apologize.

The Secretary's carefully worded letter was simply a call for imams to downplay extremism. Their response was predictable-at least to those of us who understand how Muslim advocates play the game. It was predictable because what Pickles was asking involved changing the unchangeable.

Many of Islam's basic tenets conflict with British culture and law. But most disturbing is that, when such conflict results in human rights abuses under U.K. law, they go unchallenged by authorities, fearing they be called Islamophobic.

Such is seen in regards to the crime of child sexual exploitation.

Kern cited findings in the August 2014 Alexis Jay report that noted, in the town of Rotherham, hundreds of new cases had emerged of child sexual exploitation. Muslim gangs orchestrated most of the crimes, but political correctness concerns swayed authorities from taking action, lest the Islamophobia flag be raised.

Additionally, Female Genital Mutilation, despite being a crime in the U.K., is known to be prevalent as numerous victims have sought medical care afterwards. Hundreds of new cases have emerged this year.

Despite Muslim prayers being inherently bigoted towards non-Muslims against whom Allah sanctions death for offending him, those challenging Islam's violent tenets are Islamophobic.

For non-Muslims, the lesson to be taken away from radical Islamists' message is simple: Accept Islam's violence and die anyway.


The gender pay gap is a myth – so why do so many buy it?

There’s an ironic paternalism to the anti-pay gap campaign

The gender pay gap is having a moment. Crusading politicians, emoting celebrities and campaigners in search of a cause have turned the entirely spurious differences in the pay-packets of men and women into an ongoing public discussion.

UK deputy prime minister and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg is banking on the gender pay gap preventing his post-election slide into obscurity; he is pushing for new legislation to make it mandatory for large companies to report wage differentials. Clegg’s posturing, which was timed to coincide with International Women’s Day, comes on the back of UN research suggesting that, globally, the gender pay gap will take 70 years to close. Meanwhile, Hollywood luvvie Patricia Arquette used the Oscars to highlight the suffering of poorly paid actresses. These news stories come against an ever-present glossy backdrop of awareness raising - in Britain, Grazia magazine and The Sunday Times both launched campaigns for equal pay.

Handwringing over the gender pay gap seems to guarantee media coverage for the dullest public figures and this news-as-campaign generates hashtags and page clicks. Interest in this one issue has become obsessive, and it’s not difficult to see why. When it comes to demonstrating your feminist credentials, railing against the gender pay gap is a pretty safe bet. It is the one issue today that provides feminists with a semblance of legitimacy for their grievances.

Unlike f-bomb-dropping children and t-shirt-wearing politicians, the inherent inequity of paying men more than women is something everyone can get behind. When Clegg claims, ‘It simply cannot be acceptable that women on average still receive a smaller pay packet than men’, he simultaneously manages to assume the moral high ground and tap into the consensus. Clegg’s on to a winner because no one with any shred of credibility argues that men should be paid more simply for being men.

Unfortunately for the campaigners, this means there’s little evidence to support the existence of a gender pay gap. As I’ve written before on spiked, for British women under the age of 45, when employment type and hours worked are taken into account, the pay gap is non-existent. In fact, young women today earn more than men for part-time work. The current obsession with the gender pay gap bears only a passing relationship to reality. The same papers that report without comment the latest outburst of celebrity angst, or start up their own campaigns, also happily publish stories showing that the gender pay gap has shrunk to a record low. In the past few months, stories have focused on how the gender pay gap has narrowed as young women out-earn men, and mothers’ pay has risen faster than fathers’.

It is only meaningful to talk about a gender pay gap today if the weasel words ‘on average’ are included to temper any conclusions drawn. When the total earned by all men is compared with the total earned by all women, there are indeed disparities. In part, this simply reflects history; people nearing retirement age today entered the labour market in an era when fewer women went to university and when it was neither so acceptable nor so practically easy for women to work full-time once they had started a family. But it also points to the fact that men traditionally opted for higher-paid jobs and were more likely to work full-time than women.

Even today, when women have children, many decide to return to work part-time, not to apply for promotion with all the extra work it might entail, or not to clock up the extra hours needed to qualify for a bonus. For the ever-increasing number of women who do pursue full-time work, things have never looked so good. For decades now, girls have outperformed boys at school and gone to university in greater numbers. As a result, they’re securing a bigger share of better-paid jobs. However eye-wateringly expensive they might be, nurseries and out-of-school clubs have also proliferated in recent years, making it easier for parents to contemplate combining work with children.

The more discussion about the gender pay gap becomes divorced from this not-so-new reality, the more it is women’s autonomy that is called into question. Campaigners assume girls lack information about the link between qualifications, careers and earnings. The argument goes that when girls are told that studying science leads to better-paid jobs in areas such as engineering, they’ll ditch the soft subjects and stop becoming teachers and secretaries. If girls continue to make the ‘wrong’ choices, it is because their ability to choose is illusory and they’ve been conditioned by a childhood of pink dresses, princess costumes and toy tea-sets into thinking caring is feminine and earning is not. The assumption is that women are not making a considered and rational choice to enter a lower-paid career, or to work part-time when they have children; rather, this is what they’ve been pressured into accepting.

It is of course true that people don’t always make decisions in circumstances of their own choosing. Women – and, more importantly, families – make complex personal decisions that usually involve an element of compromise between what people want to do and what’s practically possible. But to argue that women are either making the wrong choices, or are not really free to choose at all, is degrading. It is frankly patronising to suggest that women are irrational beings who have been duped by fashion and films, and need feminists to show them the error of their ways.

Decrying the fact that women earn less than men may be morally beyond reproach and a good way for people to demonstrate their feminist credentials. But when a like-for-like pay gap no longer exists, and an ‘on average’ pay gap is largely down to the choices women make, then it is the ability of women to make these choices and the assumption of female autonomy that is being challenged by the pay-gap campaigners. In the interests of women, we urgently need to ditch this irrational obsession with the gender pay gap.



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

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

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


15 March, 2015

Hysterical BBC meltdown over political correctness

The report below does not mention pc but since Clarkson is undoubtedly the most "incorrect" man on British TV, it is not hard to read between the lines.  And his political incorrectness is a large part of his great popularity.  Why else would a show about cars attract a mass audience? 

It was always a wonder that Clarkson's show was aired by the BBC but they needed its enormous popularity to make their ratings look good.  They must, however, have been seething for a long time and now it has exploded, even though Clarkson has the PM on his side. 

The report below is both amazing in its vitriol and amazing as an attempt to prejudice a formal enquiry.  If the enquiry were fully judicial, such an attempt would lead to legal sanctions against the attacker


The BBC launched an astonishing attack on Jeremy Clarkson yesterday, comparing him to sex offender Jimmy Savile and urging him to check into rehab.

Blaming the now notorious ‘fracas’ with a Top Gear producer on ‘personal issues’, one of the most senior Corporation executives said Clarkson was ‘self-destructing’ and needed help.

Most controversially, the TV chief, who has been directly involved in the fallout from the incident, likened Clarkson’s supporters – including the Prime Minister – to those who turned a blind eye to Savile’s appalling crimes. Last night, friends of the

54-year-old presenter expressed disbelief that the BBC should make such explosive claims before its internal investigation into the controversy has even begun.

‘I am in total shock that someone at the BBC would attack their own talent and deliberately smear Jeremy,’ said Perry McCarthy, who was Top Gear’s mysterious test driver The Stig.

The broadside came as further details of the alleged assault on producer Oisin Tymon emerged.

One report claimed Clarkson split Tymon’s lip with a punch, leaving him needing hospital treatment. Other sources told this newspaper that Clarkson had not been drinking – and that the row was not entirely about the lack of a hot meal at the end of a day’s filming.

But the most astonishing development came during a wide-ranging official briefing given to The Mail on Sunday by a senior BBC figure.

The executive likened 36-year-old Tymon’s position to that of Savile’s victims, who feared they would not be believed while he was alive.

‘The pressure this guy [Tymon] is under is so Savilesque in a way,’ he said, adding that Clarkson’s support from high-level politicians recalled the way Savile was once defended. ‘If you look at what David Cameron says or what [former Culture and Media Secretary] Maria Miller says and you swap Clarkson for Savile, you get this: David Cameron is effectively saying that Savile’s a real talent, Maria Miller saying Savile will be Savile.’

The comparison will inevitably anger Savile’s victims. Conservative MP Conor Burns, who sits on the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, said that ‘it is not just patently absurd, it’s also deeply offensive to Jeremy Clarkson and those innocent people who were horribly abused by Savile’.

The BBC executive also said that attempts to suggest the ‘fracas’ was part of a wider battle between Clarkson and Danny Cohen, the BBC’s powerful director of television, were misleading.

Clarkson is said to have a difficult relationship with Cohen, who told him that he was on a final warning after a string of controversies.

‘People keep saying that this is a case of Danny Cohen v Jeremy Clarkson. It is not,’ said the executive. ‘This is Jeremy Clarkson v Jeremy Clarkson…

‘Jeremy is self-destructing. Danny is not the person who is driving this, it is Jeremy.’

Referring to the Top Gear host’s much-publicised split from his wife Frances after 21 years, the BBC chief added: ‘It is common knowledge he has personal issues; we have all read about them.

‘If I was advising him I would take one of two options. Do what he is doing now and continue to try to play it down – or I would go into rehab and show the world I am trying to change.

‘The BBC has stood by him before when he has been in hot water… But this is more serious.’

As the row intensified, sources in the Clarkson camp gave The Mail on Sunday what they say is the most definitive account yet of the events leading to the hotel incident.

Contrary to what has been widely reported, they insisted the presenter had not been drinking beforehand – although co-presenter James May downed a bottle of white wine.

Neither did Clarkson explode with anger at the hotel just because he couldn’t have an expensive steak.

‘Yes, it is true that there was no supper but he was angry because they didn’t have enough producers during the day and it made filming extremely difficult,’ said one source. Others close to the star – who has been suspended by the BBC – accurately predicted the Corporation would cast him as a man careering ‘off the rails’.

Even so, the depth of the attack, and the personal nature of the comments, will surprise many – especially as, until now, the Corporation has been careful to limit its comments ahead of the inquiry.

The executive’s comments drew a furious reaction from Clarkson supporters. Perry McCarthy added: ‘This will be a nightmare for Jeremy and he will feel deeply concerned that someone at the Corporation has spoken his name in the same sentence as that disgusting creature Jimmy Savile.

‘It is ill-conceived, as was the decision to suspend him and take Top Gear off the air. Jeremy is a brilliant broadcaster and a fantastic guy.

‘It’s atrocious that these idiots at the BBC are paid so much money but run it about as well as a three-year-old child.’

Clarkson, May and Richard Hammond had been filming in Surrey all day before the incident. They left at just after 6pm for a two-and-half-hour helicopter flight to the luxury Simonstone Hall hotel in the Yorkshire Dales.

On board, May drank a bottle of wine, but Clarkson drank nothing as he had to work on a script later that evening.

Filming had been fraught because of the shortage of producers and Clarkson was tired, annoyed and hungry, having had nothing to eat all day, the sources say. And it was against this background, that they arrived at the hotel to be told there was no hot supper. What happened next will have to be established by the BBC’s inquiry.

It is not thought that Clarkson will dispute ranting at Tymon. But he is already said to deny calling him a ‘lazy Irish ****’.

One account will claim the presenter went nose-to-nose with Tymon and said: ‘You’ll be on the dole tomorrow. ‘I’m going to make sure you will not have a job.’

The executive who briefed The Mail on Sunday said: ‘ [Tymon] could be in hospital because of this. ‘He is watching it all play out. Jeremy is a bit more used to it. I don’t think Jeremy has got the most to lose.  ‘He has got the money to see him out through his days if he needs to. The other guy [Tymon] is just a jobbing producer.’

Insiders say the BBC – which holds the rights to the lucrative Top Gear format – is prepared to continue making the show even if it means getting a new presenter or presenters.

They say other shows, such as Have I Got News For You, survived the departure of a host and there was no reason Top Gear could not do the same.

Sources said the BBC remained the best place for a fearless motoring programme, because it was not beholden to advertisers.

Yesterday Clarkson looked downcast as he left his West London apartment. He declined to comment but told journalists: ‘You must be freezing.’

The BBC disciplinary panel will be led by Ken MacQuarrie, the head of BBC Scotland, who carried out the investigation into Newsnight’s false exposé of Lord McAlpine.

Clarkson started the disciplinary process himself when he told his bosses at the BBC about the row. Meanwhile, a petition to reinstate Clarkson has gathered more than 870,000 signatures.

The Prime Minister appeared to lend his support when he described Clarkson as a ‘friend’ and ‘huge talent’, adding that he hoped the situation could be resolved so his children would not be left ‘heartbroken’.

Clarkson is scheduled to appear alongside May and Hammond at four live shows in Norway later this month. All three presenters’ contracts expire three days after the Norway gigs.

The last three episodes of the series have been put on hold. Tonight’s show has been replaced with a documentary about the Red Arrows. [Worthy but boring]


A small grumble about place-names

I have been grumbling about this for a while. Why do we misname foreign places?  Why do we call Beograd Belgrade, Wien Vienna, Roma Rome and -- horror of horrors -- why do we call the historic Italian seaport of Livorno "Leghorn"?  That one always gets me. 

None of those names are hard to say for anyone used to English phonetics only. And Nederland is easy to say too. But we insist on calling it Holland, or in our better moments "The Netherlands".  At least the latter is an accurate translation, I guess.  But to refer to the Nederlanders as "Dutch" is certainly "insensitive", to use the language of political correctness. The Dutch ("Deutsch") are in fact the Germans and there have been a few  "issues" between the Germans and the Nederlanders -- a small famine here and there -- that sort of thing.

Some renaming I can understand.  Muenchen contains a nasty German guttural so "Munich" is understandable. And mispronouncing Paris is sort of defensible too.  The Parisians pronounce it as "Paree" but why should we take any notice if that?  The fact that Paris is the most visited overseas city for the English doesn't count, of course. The English quite like their train rides between St. Pancras and the Gare du Nord but you mustn't take too much notice of those "Frogs" at the other end.

But the misnaming that has been bothering me lately is the renaming of Steiermark, a beautiful part of Austria's large Alpine region -- and much beloved of the still remembered Archduke Johann.  Why do we have to call it "Styria"?  How ugly!  And how needless.  There is nothing hard to pronounce in the original name.  If we can say Denmark, we can say Steiermark. Pronouncing it according to English rules won't get you the exact German pronunciation but it will be a lot better than "Styria".   Yes. I know that the name "Styria" is somehow derived from the city of Steyr (famous for its assault rifles) but Steyr lies OUTSIDE Steiermark.

Of course the English are not alone in renaming foreign parts.  Italians for instance refer to Paris as "Parigi".  I have no idea why.  An Italian can say "Paree" with perfect ease.

And we do make an effort with our own "difficult" place names.  You don't pronounce the "c" in Tucson, for instance.  And no Englishman pronounces "Worcester" as it is spelled.  He will always say "Wooster" -- and "Gloster" for Gloucester.  And Australian place names are at least as difficult as English ones -- mainly because many of them have Aboriginal origins.  Woolloongabba, where I live, is not pronounced well South of the Queensland border, for instance.  And you more or less have to live there to pronounce Mungindi correctly.

I could go on for many pages yet -- talking about Firenze, Modena, Sovietskaya Rossiya etc. -- but I guess we will just have to soldier on,  pronouncing the place names of half the world incorrectly -- JR.

Too white. Too male. And too damned British. No wonder the Beeb wants shot of Clarkson

A compulsively Leftist Cohen (There are a lot of them) wants to fire a top BBC talent  -- because that talent is prone to political incorrectness.  That the talent concerned would be snapped up by commercial TV (Rupert Murdoch anyone?) doesn't matter to him.  It won't cost him anything


Has Desperate Dan finally got his man? BBC television chief Danny Cohen appears determined to go down in history as The Man Who Sacked Jeremy Clarkson.

If he succeeds he’ll be the toast of fashionable Shoreditch salons, a folk hero to the Guardianistas and all those who despise Top Gear for being too white, too male and, frankly, too damned British.

The Lilliputian Lefties who infest the BBC see Clarkson as an embarrassment — a racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic caveman, who shouldn’t be given house room by a ‘liberal’ publicly funded broadcaster.

Certainly, Cohen has made no secret of his contempt for Clarkson and this week seized his chance to suspend him over a ‘fracas’ on location, during which the presenter is alleged to have punched producer Oisin Tymon.

Cohen has also pulled the remaining three episodes of the programme while an ‘investigation’ is carried out by the BBC’s human resources department.

What’s to investigate? My understanding is that the facts are not in dispute and Tymon hasn’t made an official complaint. Clarkson denies punching him, but admits there was ‘contact’ and has apologised profusely.


Tymon is a long-standing and much-valued member of the Top Gear team and there is said to be no bad blood between him and the show’s star. Tempers were frayed after a difficult day’s filming, resulting in what James May calls a ‘dust-up’.

It’s the kind of thing which happens when people are living under pressure in each other’s pockets. Dressing room fisticuffs are not unknown among rock stars or on rugby tours. Normally what happens on tour stays on tour.

Because Clarkson is forced to live his life under a microscope, the incident inevitably came to Cohen’s attention, presenting him with an irresistible opportunity to dispose of his bête noire once and for all. (Can you still say bête noire at the BBC?)

Clarkson was already on a ‘final warning’ following a series of so-called ‘gaffes’, most of them confected.

He was forced by Cohen to make a grovelling public apology after being accused of using the N-word while reciting the nursery rhyme Eeny Meeny Miny Moe to compare two indistinguishable cars.

I watched the clip a dozen times and at best it was inconclusive. Halfway through the second line, he deliberately avoids dropping the N-bomb. More to the point, on Clarkson’s own instructions, it was never broadcast — precisely to avoid another bout of artificial outrage.

That didn’t stop someone at the BBC retrieving the footage from the cutting room floor and passing it to the Daily Mirror in an attempt to discredit him.

Instead of supporting Clarkson, Cohen deliberately humiliated him. I wondered at the time why he didn’t just tell Cohen to get lost and walk away? It’s not as if he needs the money and rival broadcasters would fall over each other to snap him up.

This is where I declare an interest. As regular readers are well aware, Jeremy is an old friend of mine. I’ve seen him rise from a young presenter on a niche motoring show to become one of the biggest television stars . . . in the wurrld.

Although he has more money than he could ever have imagined, his fortune could have been far larger had he accepted offers from the commercial sector.

When the rest of the Top Gear presenters jumped ship to Channel 5 fifteen years ago, Clarkson stayed put. His main concern was securing for his producer and old schoolfriend Andy Wilman a proper salary and a piece of the action.

Together, they reinvented the format, turning the show into a global phenomenon bringing in around £50 million a year for the BBC.

And make no mistake, this is Clarkson and Wilman’s triumph. BBC executives simply bask in the reflected glory. So you’d expect the show and its star presenter to be handled with more respect.

Despite his disdainful treatment by Cohen, Clarkson still wants to stay at the BBC — even though he gives every impression of hating it.

What he loves is the institution itself, the ‘Auntie’ we all grew up with. It gave him his first break in TV back in 1988.

What he hates is the cult of managerialism; the naked political posturing; unwanted interference from over-promoted non-entities, constantly carping, buck-passing and covering their own backsides.

He’s also fiercely loyal to his Top Gear team, who travel the world together. The reason he complied with Cohen’s order to apologise over the ridiculous N-word furore was because he felt an obligation towards his staff to keep the show going and them in work.

So it’s no surprise that he was appalled at the lack of backing from Cohen when the Top Gear crew were viciously attacked in Argentina recently and had to flee for their lives.

The only thing that seemed to bother the BBC bigwigs was whether Clarkson had set out to provoke the Argentinians by driving a car with a number-plate intended deliberately to remind them of Britain’s victory in the Falklands War.


Who knows? I haven’t asked, but I wouldn’t put it past him. Jeremy would admit he can be his own worst enemy. He shouldn’t take to Twitter after a few drinks and he was foolish to accept the advice of lawyers who told him to seek a super-injunction to cover up an extra-marital affair.

He’s capable of being gratuitously offensive, but so what? Funny how the Lefties at the BBC were quick to proclaim ‘Je Suis Charlie’ after a French magazine offended Muslims, but never declare themselves ‘Je Suis Jeremy’ whenever he upsets someone.

Clarkson doesn’t hide himself away, despite the controversy and constant attention from the public. He can’t use a toilet without someone shoving a mobile phone in his face or demanding to have their picture taken with him. And he has paid a physical and emotional price for his gruelling globe-trotting schedule.

Most poignantly, it cost him his marriage to Francie. Goodness knows what he’s going to do if he ever loses his looks.

So why does he do it? He’s nothing left to prove. Yet he ploughs on, writing weekly newspaper columns and touring in Top Gear Live arena shows as well the day job: Top Gear itself.

Michael Parkinson once told me that all the great stars he’d met had one thing in common. Talent, obviously. But primarily they worked harder than everyone else.

Clarkson combines enormous talent and hard work. Plus, he’s easily bored. The self-inflicted pressures upon him are enormous, so it’s no wonder that occasionally he can become consumed by madness.


But take away the madness and the genius might disappear, too. He has repaid the BBC in spades for his early break and is responsible for their most successful show ever. Yet the Director of Television treats him like a leper, while rolling out the red carpet for repulsive Russell Brand, who brought genuine disgrace on the BBC.

Cohen’s decision to pull the remaining Top Gear episodes will mean wasting hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of pounds of licence-payers’ money already spent on filmed sequences. It will also incur massive compensation claims from foreign broadcasters.

He couldn’t get away with that if he was a director of a commercial organisation, answerable to shareholders. And what about the millions of viewers being deprived of their favourite Sunday night show?

Cohen cares more about pandering to the political prejudices and petty jealousies of his Left-wing peer group in those Shoreditch salons. And that means securing his place in history as The Man Who Sacked Jeremy Clarkson.

For now, we shall just have to await the verdict of the BBC’s investigation. Let’s hope it doesn’t end in Jeremy being fired, although no one could blame him if he did decide to walk away.

If the viewers were ever to be asked who was most valuable to the BBC, Clarkson or the Director of Television, there would be only one winner. And it wouldn’t be Desperate Dan.


Incorrect to remember a defeat?

Australians commemorate one of their military defeats every year  -- ANZAC day.  They must be more mature than the French

It was the clash that finally lifted the threat of Napoleon’s imperial ambitions from Europe and brought peace after decades of war.  The Battle of Waterloo also marked a new era for France, freed from the yoke of Bonaparte tyranny.

But it seems that the French don’t see it that way, even after 200 years. The defeat of Napoleon’s army outside a Belgian town by Britain, Prussia and allies from Northern Europe still appears to be something of a sore point.

In an extraordinary intervention, France has blocked plans for a two euro coin to commemorate Wellington’s 1815 victory over Napoleon.  President Francois Hollande claimed the Belgian project would be a ‘symbol that is negative’ and undermine eurozone unity.

Now the Belgians have scrapped plans to have the commemorative coin produced next month to avoid a diplomatic row.

Hollande’s government argued the battle was still a bad memory for the French people. A Brussels source said: ‘Belgium have withdrawn the project because it would not be in their interest to cause upset to the French.’ Last night British politicians said France’s reaction to the coin – and Belgium’s subsequent cave-in – was ‘absurd’.

Peter Bone, Conservative MP for Wellingborough, said: ‘I know the euro is a useless currency but I didn’t know that the French still could not cope with the fact they were defeated.

'It is absurd, I would have thought the French would have been quite keen to have got rid of an emperor. The French should grow up a bit.’

MP Philip Davies added: ‘It shows how thin skinned and small minded the French are, how desperate Hollande is politically and how weak the Belgians are. What a shower.’

A draft design of the coin was submitted to the Council of the European Union by Belgium in February this year.

It was expected to go into production next month but France objected to the coin last week, claiming in a letter to the Council of Europe that producing the coin would ‘risk… engendering unfavourable reactions in France’.

The Battle of Waterloo on June 18, 1815, stopped the advance of Napoleon and sent him into exile for a second and final time.

In the one day of fighting there were around 55,000 either killed, wounded, or missing in action. However, the battle ushered in more than 50 years of peace.

While the proposed design of the coin has not been revealed, it is understood to have featured a battle scene. The UK has issued a £5 coin to mark the bicentenary.


A Legacy of Racial Grievance

Another shooting has taken place in Ferguson, Missouri – and this time, two police officers were the victims. The violence should not come as a surprise, given the ugly tone set by the nation’s top law enforcement officer, Attorney General Eric Holder.

The most divisive attorney general since Richard Nixon’s John Mitchell, Holder has fanned the flames of racial grievance for much of his tenure. In his early days in office, he called America “a nation of cowards” on racial issues. Last week, his target was the Ferguson Police Department. Holder promised, “We are prepared to use all the power that we have … to ensure that the situation changes there.” No, he didn’t intend for someone to try to kill two police officers by shooting them in the face. But by portraying the police department as racist to the core, he contributed to the culture of vengeance that led to the shooting.

There is no doubt that the Ferguson Police Department has major problems and needs reform. As the 105-page Justice Department report issued last week documents, city officials have seen the police department largely as a cash cow: “The City budgets for sizeable increases in municipal fines and fees each year, exhorts police and court staff to deliver those revenue increases, and closely monitors whether those increases are achieved.”

The main sources of those revenues are criminal and civil fines. The policy encourages police to make more traffic stops, conduct more searches, issue more tickets and make more arrests and the courts to issue more warrants and fines to drive up revenues. It’s a lousy policy – but one not unique to Ferguson. If the Justice Department were truly serious about changing the abuses more broadly, it would have conducted a larger study that looked at similar patterns in other localities – including largely white tourist towns, where traffic tickets are often a huge source of revenue.

But Holder isn’t interested in the insatiable appetite of government for more revenues. He came to Ferguson in search of racism – and of course, he found it. It was predestined from the moment President Barack Obama announced he was sending Holder to Ferguson to investigate the shooting of Michael Brown last August.

Perhaps the greatest irony of the Justice Department’s investigation is that it cleared the Ferguson police officer who shot Brown, Darren Wilson, of any wrongdoing in Brown’s death. Obama, Holder and many of the liberal media were quick to suspect that Wilson, who is white, shot Brown because he was black. For months after the shooting, protesters around the country adopted the mantra “hands up, don’t shoot” to describe Brown’s actions before he was fatally shot by Wilson. Now the Justice Department’s investigation has concluded that nothing of the sort happened. According to all available forensic evidence and credible witnesses, Brown attacked the police officer and was in the process of charging toward him when Wilson fired the fatal shots.

Racism wasn’t responsible for Michael Brown’s death. Brown’s own behavior precipitated his unfortunate end.

Blaming racism for every statistical disparity that exists between whites and blacks – from education to income and poverty to crime – gets us no further in solving the problems that exist for many black Americans. Nor does it get us closer to wiping out the racial prejudices that do, unfortunately, still exist among a minority of the American population. But those prejudices – examples of which were found by the Justice Department among police officers in Ferguson – are not unique to whites. In every study of racial attitudes among Americans, whites are no likelier to harbor prejudices against people of other races than are blacks, Hispanics or Asians.

Eric Holder will leave office as early as next week if the Senate confirms Loretta Lynch to be his successor. It will be none too soon. A man who could have done much to improve race relations will instead leave behind a sorry legacy of inflaming racial tensions when the nation most needed a healer.



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

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

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


13 March, 2015

An axe-wielding multiculturalist

Two shop workers managed to wrestle an axe-wielding armed raider as he attempted to rob a London convenience store.

Errol Woodger, 28, threatened one staff member behind the counter of the convenience store in Greenwich, south east London on October 13, last.

Woodger raced behind the counter and punched his victim. He then lashed out several times with his axe in a bid to force the man to open up the till.

The 28-year-old criminal waved the axe at a second man, believed to be a customer, before returning his attention to the man behind the till.

After 22 seconds, a second employee approached the scene was threatened by Woodger, who had a hooded top tightly secured around his head.

A few seconds later, the first employee manages to grab the end of the axe and Woodger panics and tries to flee.

The second worker races to the hatch at the end of the counter and tackles the raider. Both shop workers wrestle with Woodger, forcing him to the ground, narrowly avoiding a display of wine bottles.

During the assault, Woodger kicked the man behind the counter several time and lashed out at the cash register with the axe in an effort to smash it open.

Police arrived at the St Nicholas convenience store in Greenwich to find Woodger being pinned to the ground by the two shop assistants.

The men, who are both in their late 30s, were treated at the scene for minor injuries.

Woodger was later jailed for four years at Woolwich Crown Court  late last month for attempted robbery and possession of an offensive weapon.

Detective Constable Laura Hills of Greenwich CID said: 'This was a vicious attempt to rob the store and I would like to commend the victims for their extreme bravery in tackling and apprehending a man armed with an axe until police arrived. 'Greenwich will be a safer place with Woodger behind bars.'


Psychology Today No Longer Accepting Ads for Gay Conversion Therapy

It's true that the therapy has low rates of success but so does psychoanalysis.  Are they banning psychoanalysis too?

 Psychology Today announced last week that it will no longer accept ads from therapists who offer “conversion therapy” or “reparative therapy” to gays who want to leave the homosexual lifestyle.  The magazine has also deleted any medical practitioners who provide such treatment from its professional listings.

“Psychology Today does not endorse or publish ads for reparative therapy in print, online or in professionals’ profiles,” Charles Frank, who runs the magazine’s Therapy Directory, said in a March 3 statement.

“The Therapy Directory has removed the individual whose profile included a discussion of conversion therapy. We have informed all Directory professionals that those whose profiles offer conversion therapy will be delisted.”

The announcement came less than four hours after Frank emailed The Huffington Post saying that “we take care not to sit in judgment of others by allowing or denying individual participation” in the directory.

On February 23, Fred Sainz, vice president of communications and marketing for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a gay rights group, wrote a letter to the magazine’s CEO and publisher stating that “by offering a venue for these medically debunked practices, Psychology Today is lending them a veneer of credibility – propping up a fraudulent industry that takes advantage of vulnerable individuals, including children and families….

“These practices are based on the false idea that being LGBT is a mental illness than needs to be cured, an ideal that has been rejected by every major mental health group for decades,” Sainz wrote.

Gay conversion therapy for minors has been banned in New Jersey, California and the District of Columbia. A bill outlawing it passed the Colorado House on Monday.

The HRC letter specifically mentioned a therapist in California who provides gay conversion therapy as part of his practice.

“On February 14, 2015, HRC became aware that licensed Marriage & Family Therapist Thomas Schmierer was advertising conversion therapy services through the Psychology Today website,” the letter stated.

“Mr. Schmierer is based in California and the group therapy sessions offered are based in Riverside, California. While California law makes clear that these practices may not be offered to minors, the advertisement does not clarify that minors may not participate in the advertised sessions,” the letter said.

But Schmierer says he has broken no laws and has had “a lot of success” treating patients with unwanted same-sex attraction.

“What I’m doing is legal,” he told CNSNews.com in an email. “I have a state license to do it. I basically sit in a room with my clients and I talk and listen, mostly listen. I care for my client’s with a fatherly love. They feel that love and ultimately feel loved and lovable. This process is transformational. 

“I have a lot of success in treating those with unwanted same-sex attraction (SSA). At this point in my career, I actually expect my therapy to work as long as the client is willing to put in the work.

“Most of my clients with unwanted same-sex attraction (SSA) desire to be married to a woman and to have children with her. They want to decrease their same-sex feelings and increase their opposite-sex feelings. I accept my clients as they are. I don’t tell them what they should or should not believe. I affirm them,” Schmierer said.

“Psychology Today and the so-called Human Rights Campaign (HRC) do not accept my clients for who they are as individuals with unwanted same-sex attraction. They seem to want to rigidly force my clients to change so that they will hold the same beliefs as them, that one must embrace one’s homosexuality.

“I can’t do that. I’m not that rigid. I respect freedom and individuality too much,” Schmierer told CNSNews.com.

Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX) is urging the magazine to reconsider its decision, citing studies of twins on three continents that found that most identical co-twins did not share their siblings’ same-sex attractions.

“If an identical twin has same-sex attraction, the chances the co-twin has it are only about 11 percent for men and 14 percent for women. Because they have identical DNA, it ought to be 100 percent,” said Dr. Neil Whitehead, a biochemist and statistician from New Zealand.

“The predominant things that create homosexuality in one identical twin and not in the other have to be post-birth factors... Sexual orientation is not set in concrete,” he said.

“We are deeply disappointed that Psychology Today’s leadership chose to cave to the pressure of the pro-homosexual lobby rather than continue to offer individuals access to information that can help them in their journey towards overcoming unwanted same-sex attraction and gender confusion,” PFOX’s executive director, Regina Griggs, said in a statement.

“PFOX supports the right of every person to obtain the type of help that best meets their personal needs, and this includes the right to talk therapy. We urge Psychology Today to reconsider its decision and support the opportunity for individuals to access the help they decide is best for them.”

In a July 2013 oped published in USA Today, Nicholas Cummings, a former president of the American Psychological Association (APA) who sponsored the APA’s 1975 resolution that declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder, wrote that “contending that all same-sex attraction is immutable is a distortion of reality.

“Attempting to characterize all sexual reorientation therapy as ‘unethical’ violates patient choice and gives an outside party a veto over patients’ goals for their own treatment. A political agenda shouldn’t prevent gays and lesbians who desire to change from making their own decisions,” Cummings wrote.


The U.S. navy says Christian chaplains must not teach the Bible

If you think chaplains have some of the safest jobs in the military, think again. Men of the cloth are under some of the heaviest fire – and it’s coming from their own side! In the Navy, the message is clear: get on board with political correctness or lose your job. Like most Christians, Lt. Commander Wes Modder knew the military was changing. But he didn’t know how much until the battle landed on his doorstep. For years, Modder had served some of the most elite fighting forces in the military: Navy SEALs.

I say “had,” because the 19-year veteran has been stripped of his duties for sharing the good news he was hired to share. In a stunning turn of events, the chaplain was sabotaged by one of his own men, who secretly gathered enough information on Modder’s beliefs and private counseling sessions to file a formal complaint. Believe it or not, he was targeted by his own assistant – who Modder didn’t realize was gay. Looking back, the chaplain says the young officer asked a lot of questions about homosexuality, which Modder answered as most would expect: in accordance with the Bible’s teachings.

The mask finally slipped in December, when representatives with the Equal Opportunity office served Modder with papers accusing him of “discrimination.” Captain Jon Fahs – who five months earlier praised Modder as the “best of the best” – now insists that he “failed to show tolerance and respect.” Worse, he didn’t have a chance to defend himself. Almost immediately, the dad of four was relieved of his duties and told to clean out his office.

He was guilty before proven innocent. And of what? Fulfilling his job description? Modder’s attorney, Michael Berry, doesn’t deny that Chaplain Modder exercised his faith. It was, after all, his primary role! “To be clear,” Berry told Fox News’s Todd Starnes, “Chaplain Modder does not dispute that during private, one-on-one pastoral care and counseling sessions, he expressed his sincerely held religious beliefs that: sexual acts outside of marriage are contrary to biblical teaching.”

Shocked but not shaken, Modder says that he’ll push back. (Hear the story in his own words here.) “Every fiber in my being wants to run away from this – but if I do, I’m not being obedient to the Lord. I need to stand up for righteousness… It’s going to be hard for me, but it’s what God has called me to do.” Chaplain Modder knows that this isn’t just about him – but every service member who deserves the right to enjoy the religious liberty they’re fighting for. “Anytime somebody wants to live their faith out – there are people who say that is offensive,” Berry explained. But when a chaplain can’t speak on the tenets of his faith, what’s left to say? Why bother having chaplains at all?

Unfortunately, these are the consequences of the radical social policies President Obama has forced on the military. Now we have Bibles being tossed from Navy lodges, cadets ordered to erase Scripture from personal white boards, and chaplains hauled before boards of inquiry. It isn’t supposed to be this way – and it doesn’t have to be this way – if Americans who love their freedoms and their country will stand up and speak out! Click over to our petition to the Secretary of the Navy and Defense Secretary Ash Carter and demand Chaplain Modder’s reinstatement!


Believe it or not, people actually like  eating fatty food and smoking

Public information campaigns and nutritional labelling are good at informing people about what’s healthy and what isn’t, but don’t seem to have much impact on what they actually eat. That’s what a comprehensive review of 121 ‘healthy eating’ policies found, and I think it should make us rethink more heavy-handed policies to do with unhealthy food, tobacco and alcohol.

There are benefits as well as costs to every activity that public health groups want to discourage. We know there are benefits because people do them freely. But we know there are costs as well, like living a shorter and less healthy life.

The liberal view is that each person’s cost-benefit calculation is different, because they enjoy and dislike things differently. In this view there’s no case for stopping people from doing things unless they don’t actually have the information they need to make a judgement. We should want to make people’s lives better as they themselves understand ‘better’, not according to a single measure we’ve decided on, like lifespan.

So telling people that sugar makes them fatter may be a good policy, if they didn’t already know that. And policies that do that do seem to make people more informed. But what’s interesting is the impact they have on people’s diets – usually not much, and sometimes an unexpected one.

For example, a 2008 study found that people who used nutrition labels had big increases in fiber and iron intake, but no change to their total fat, saturated fat or cholesterol intake. The UK’s ‘five a day’ campaign about fruit and veg was very successful at getting people to think about eating more fruit and veg, but increased people’s intake by an average of 0.3 portions a day (which was not viewed as being a very good improvement). 44 studies of similar campaigns in the US and EU have shown about the same size effect.

To some people that might make it look like we need to do more. To me it looks as if people view the costs of changing their diet to something less enjoyable or convenient as being quite important, and are willing to forgo some level of health to avoid that.

Maybe this tells us something about cigarette regulation too – there is some evidence that smokers actually overestimate the risk of smoking and some that they underestimate it. If they do overestimate the risks, we’re ‘informing’ people so much that it’s become misleading.

It would be fair to respond to this that people have no real way of doing a proper cost-benefit analysis about eating sugary foods or smoking, but because the state can’t measure the benefits – that is, the pleasure – it is just as limited.

The fact that people do change their habits about iron and fibre, but not fats, suggests that they aren’t ignorant, they just don’t want to eat less fat! If that’s the case and we’re working to improve people’s lives on their terms, there is no case at all for more heavy-handed policies like taxes, ingredients restrictions and advertising bans.



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

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

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


12 March, 2015

More garbage from the United Nations

"Conservatives" stand in the way of equality between the sexes?  For an African woman like Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka to criticize ANYBODY for inequality is rich.  Inequality between the sexes is extreme in Africa.  As a broad generalization, African men sit around while women do the work.  And getting your clitoris cut off with a piece of broken glass is not terribly equal either.  Those who live in glass houses ...

Twenty years after a landmark U.N. conference on promoting gender equality, the head of the agency known as U.N. Women said Monday that a growing “conservative and extremist resistance” to equality between the sexes needs to be understood and confronted.

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka called the problem “one of the new dangers” in the way of efforts to pursue the goal of global gender equality.

Neither she, nor a major report prepared for the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) meeting she was addressing in New York, identified radical Islamic ideology as a leading factor, although surveys have found Muslim nations fare worst in gender equality rankings.

Mlambo-Ngcuka said the phenomenon was evident in ways like “ongoing attacks on girls’ education, women’s public participation and women’s control over their bodies.”

The report before the CSW meeting, submitted by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, also referred to the issue, but was equally vague about the types of countries and communities where it is most commonly seen.

“Extremism and conservatism are on the rise, manifested in diverse forms across different contexts,” it said, adding that examples include “tolerating or even promoting violence against women and limiting women’s and girls’ autonomy and engagement in the public sphere.”

Twenty years after the U.N. World Conference on Women in Beijing pledged to achieve gender equality by 2005, U.N. member states over the next two weeks are deliberating on how successful attempts to reach that goal have, in fact, been.

Hillary Clinton, who as first lady spoke in Beijing in 1995, is scheduled to address the event on Tuesday.

The report acknowledged progress in some areas, including legislative initiatives removing discrimination, higher rates of school enrollment and parliamentary representation for women, and some declines in the rate of child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM).

But violence against girls and women, it said, “persists at alarmingly high levels, in many forms, in public and private spaces.”

In several areas Ban’s report touched on problems that are common in Islamic contexts, where radical interpretations of religious texts, teachings by extremist clergy, the actions of jihadist groups and implementation of shari’a impact on women’s rights and freedoms. But it stopped short of identifying Islam as a factor:

--In advancing the agenda of women and security, “such emerging threats as the rise of violent extremism,” had limited and even set back progress.

--Many countries have legal systems that include “statutory, customary and/or religious law, which often do not work together to uphold the human rights of women.”

--Women human rights defenders face “stigmatization and ostracism by extremist and conservative groups, community leaders, families and communities who consider them to be challenging traditional notions of family and gender roles in the society and threatening religion, honor or culture through their work.”

Gap widest in Islamic countries

Every year the World Economic Forum (WEF) evaluates countries of the world for its “Global Gender Gap” report, which measures gaps between women and men in the areas of political empowerment, economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, and health and survival.

In 2014, 19 of the 20 countries with the lowest scores across those four areas were majority Islamic nations.

Worst was Yemen, followed by Pakistan, Chad, Syria, Mali, Iran, Cote d’Ivoire, Lebanon, Jordan, Morocco, Guinea, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Oman, Algeria, Turkey, Bahrain and Tunisia. The only non-Muslim state in the bottom 20 was Ethiopia, ranked 16th from the bottom, between Oman and Algeria.

A similar pattern was recorded in previous years’ surveys, when about 17 of the bottom 20 were Islamic states.

In two specific serious problem areas identified in the U.N. report – FGM and child marriage – Islamic countries are also disproportionately represented.

According to 2013 U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) data, FGM rates are highest in Somalia (estimated 98 percent prevalence), Djibouti (93), Egypt (91), Guinea (96), Mali (89), Eritrea (89), Sierra Leone (88) and Sudan (88).

With the exception of Eritrea, all are members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the bloc of Muslim-majority nations.

Ban’s new report states that while rates of child marriage have declined since the Beijing conference, in 2014 some 700 million girls were married before the age of 18, and 250 million were married under 15.

According to the “Girls Not Brides” campaign, the child marriage problem cuts across religions and cultures. Nonetheless, 10 of the 20 countries with the highest rates of marriage under the age of 18 are OIC states, including four of the top five (Niger, Chad, Bangladesh and Mali).

The OIC disputes that there is any link between Islam and practices like FGM and child marriage.

In a statement delivered during a CSW session in 2013, the Islamic bloc described FGM as a “cultural” practice that is “disguised as part of religious tradition.”

It also said that “child marriage, violence against women as well as other negative acts perpetuated are often misidentified as being part of Islamic tradition, whereas they are part of the local tradition and we should raise awareness at the local level to de-link these practices from religion.”

At that same 2013 CSW session, Egypt – then under a Muslim Brotherhood government – led a push to reject a draft declaration on violence against women, warning that it would “be the final step in the intellectual and cultural invasion of Muslim countries, eliminating the moral specificity that helps preserve cohesion of Islamic societies.”


The 'Disparate Impact' Racket

The U.S. Department of Justice issued two reports last week, both growing out of the Ferguson, Missouri shooting of Michael Brown. The first report, about “the shooting death of Michael Brown by Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson” ought to be read by every American.

It says in plain English what facts have been established by an autopsy on Michael Brown’s body – by three different pathologists, including one representing the family of Michael Brown – by DNA examination of officer Darren Wilson’s gun and police vehicle, by examination of the pattern of blood stains on the street where Brown died and by a medical report on officer Wilson, from the hospital where he went for treatment.

The bottom line is that all this hard evidence, and more, show what a complete lie was behind all the stories of Michael Brown being shot in the back or being shot while raising his hands in surrender. Yet that lie was repeated, and dramatized in demonstrations and riots from coast to coast, as well as in the media and even in the halls of Congress.

The other Justice Department report, issued the same day – “Investigation of the Ferguson Police Department” – was a complete contrast. Sweeping assumptions take the place of facts, and misleading statistics are thrown around recklessly. This second report is worth reading, just to get a sense of the contrast with the first.

According to the second report, law enforcement in Ferguson has a “disparate impact” on blacks and is “motivated” by “discriminatory intent.”

“Disparate impact” statistics have for decades been used, in many different contexts, to claim that discrimination was the reason why different groups are not equally represented as employees or in desirable positions or – as in this case – in undesirable positions as people arrested or fined.

Like many other uses of “disparate impact” statistics, the Justice Department’s evidence against the Ferguson police department consists of numbers showing that the percentage of people stopped by police or fined in court is larger than the percentage of blacks in the local population.

The implicit assumption is that such statistics about particular outcomes would normally reflect the percentage of people in the population. But, no matter how plausible this might seem on the surface, it is seldom found in real life, and those who use that standard are seldom, if ever, asked to produce hard evidence that it is factually correct, as distinct from politically correct.

Blacks are far more statistically “over-represented” among basketball stars in the NBA than among people stopped by police in Ferguson. Hispanics are similarly far more “over-represented” among baseball stars than in the general population. Asian Americans are likewise far more “over-represented” among students at leading engineering schools like M.I.T. and Cal Tech than in the population as a whole.

None of this is peculiar to the United States. You can find innumerable examples of such group disparities in countries around the world and throughout recorded history.

In 1802, for example, czarist Russia established a university in Estonia. For most of the 19th century, members of one ethnic group provided more of the students – and a majority of the professors – than any other. This was neither the local majority (Estonians) nor the national majority (Russians), but Germans.

An international study of the ethnic makeup of military forces around the world found that “militaries fall far short of mirroring, even roughly, the multi-ethnic societies” from which they come.

Even with things whose outcomes are not in human hands, “disparate impact” is common. Men are struck by lightning several times as often as women. Most of the tornadoes in the entire world occur in the middle of the United States.

Since the population of Ferguson is 67 percent black, the greatest possible “over-representation” of blacks among those stopped by police or fined by courts is 50 percent. That would not make the top 100 disparities in the United States or the top 1,000 in the world.


Should Pro-Life Organizations Be Forced to Hire Pro-Choice Employees?

Conservatives are urging Congress to overrule two pieces of legislation that could force religious and pro-life employers in the nation’s capital to do business in ways that go against their beliefs.

The first bill in question, called the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act (RHNDA), seeks to protect individuals from being discriminated against by an employer based on their reproductive health decision-making.

Because the language, as written, provides no exemption for religious or political groups, conservatives argue that it could force employers in the District of Columbia to hire employees regardless of their stance on abortion and religious freedom.

Originally, the bill also required all employers to provide coverage of abortion, but the D.C. Council is in the process of passing a solution that would add a emergency exemption for religious and moral objections.

Conservative groups argue the proposed emergency exemption—which would only last 225 days—is insufficient. They also say pro-life and religious organizations should be free to make employment decisions in accordance with their beliefs and central mission.

“We can’t exist if our purpose is to advocate for a pro-life position and we’re living under a regime which is telling us you can’t structure yourself as an organization and hire people to advocate for these issues,” Travis Weber, an attorney and Director of Family Research Council’s Center for Religious Liberty, told The Daily Signal. “It’s very controlling and it brings to mind an oppressive government monitoring of groups’ purposes.”

In addition to Family Research Council, Washington D.C. is home to some of the largest pro-life and faith-based organizations in the world, including The Susan B. Anthony List, March for Life, and the Archdiocese of Washington.

Conservatives argue this would infringe on the ability of private schools to operate according to their religious beliefs by forcing them to support a student-led gay pride parade despite the school’s stance on homosexuality, for example.

“Religiously-affiliated schools are not only obligated by their religion, but also permitted by the Constitution to freely teach and act according to their faith,” said Michael Scott, Director of the D.C. Catholic Conference, in a written response to the proposal.

But supporters, including Tommy Wells, D-Ward 6, who authored the legislation, argue that discriminating against gay and lesbian people “has no place in the District of Columbia.”

“A law that would allow such discrimination, including of transgender people, must be rejected. I’m proud to say this bill will do that,” Wells said during an Oct. 15 hearing of the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety.

On Dec. 2, former D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, a Democrat, warned that the legislation “raises serious concern under the Constitution and under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA).” He wrote:

If the Council wishes to adopt this Bill or similar legislation, it should clarify the Human Rights Act’s existing exemption for religious and political organizations to ensure that the exemption protects the religious and political liberty interests that the First Amendment and RFRA are designed to secure.

Yet, the newly-elected mayor of D.C., Muriel Bowser, also a Democrat, moved forward with the bills, submitting them to Congress late Friday night for review.

The Constitution grants Congress authority to overrule D.C. legislation with the support of both chambers and the president’s signature.  Congress now has 30 legislative days to pass a Resolution of Disapproval, which, if signed by the president, would overturn the legislation in question.  It is unclear whether President Obama would veto a Resolution of Disapproval, should one reach his desk.  If Congress does not act, the law will go into effect.

In addition to passing a Resolution of Disapproval, Congress has the authority to attach riders to annual appropriations bills, which would prevent taxpayer money from being used to execute the legislation.  The tactic was recently used to stop D.C. from legalizing marijuana.

Both The Heritage Foundation, which is the parent organization of The Daily Signal, and its lobbying arm Heritage Action are urging Congress to address the issue promptly.

“Congress should do this because no governmental entity should force a citizen to promote or pay for abortion, or violate their beliefs that men and women are made for each other in marriage and that sexual relations are reserved for such a union,” wrote Ryan T. Anderson and Sarah Torre, two of Heritage’s leading experts in religion and civil society. “These policies will saddle religious organizations and employers with a choice between complying with coercive laws that force them to violate their religious beliefs and organizational missions and staying true to their beliefs in defiance of unjust laws.”

Weber said if the current legislation under review moves forward, organizations like the Family Research Council could find themselves in a difficult situation.

“No organization can live up to its purpose and fulfill its mission when that mission is contradictory to a law imposing such coverage and terms on the organization,” Weber said.


Israel Critic and Hamas Defender Named As Obama's New Mideast Coordinator

Three days after Israel’s prime minister stood before Congress questioning the wisdom of a key Obama administration foreign policy initiative, National Security Adviser Susan Rice on Friday named as head of her Mideast desk an official who has stoked controversy with past criticisms of Israel and by meeting with Hamas terrorists.

Robert Malley, who has been serving as NSC senior director for Iran, Iraq, Syria and the Gulf states, is set to succeed Philip Gordon as special assistant to the president and White House coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf region.

“There could be no better successor to Phil than Rob Malley, who is already one of my most trusted advisers and ideally placed to provide a seamless transition,” Rice said in a statement.

“One of our country’s most respected experts on the Middle East, since February 2014 Rob has played a critical role in forming our policy on Iran, Iraq, Syria, and the Gulf.  I look forward to working with him in his new role.”

Malley was serving as an informal Mideast adviser to the Obama presidential campaign in 2008 when it was reported he had held meetings with Hamas, a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization.

At the time Malley held a top Mideast post at the International Crisis Group (ICG) think tank, and he explained that in that position he met with “all kinds of people.”

That didn’t stop the campaign from cutting ties with him, however. The Times of London on May 10, 2008 quoted Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt as saying, “Rob Malley has, like hundreds of other experts, provided informal advice to the campaign in the past. He has no formal role in the campaign and he will not play any role in the future.”

Malley worked at the ICG as head of its Middle East program until early last year, when he took up the NSC post he has held until now. The promotion announced by Rice takes effect on April 6.

For some supporters of Israel, the concerns about Malley go back to an earlier stint in government, when he served as special assistant to President Clinton for Arab-Israeli affairs from 1998-2001, and was involved in the 2000 Camp David peace talks.

At those talks, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak made an unprecedented offer to the Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat of the Gaza Strip, around 95 percent of the West Bank, and parts of Jerusalem. The Temple Mount would remain under Israeli sovereignty, but the Palestinians would keep “custodianship.” Arafat balked, and the marathon talks ended in failure.

A year later, Malley published an assessment of the talks, challenging the general view that Arafat’s intransigence was largely to blame for the outcome. He said it was a “myth” that Israel’s offer had met most if not all of the Palestinians’ legitimate aspirations, and a “myth” that the P.A. had made no concessions.

After Hamas won legislative elections in the P.A. self-rule areas in 2006, Malley wrote that the victory could help the Palestinian terrorist group’s political transformation.

“If dealt with wisely, the Islamists’ victory could present an opportunity for the United States to promote its core interests without betraying its core principles,” he argued.

“The more Hamas exercises government responsibility, the less it is likely to revert to violence.”

In the event the U.S. and its Mideast “Quartet” partners laid down criteria for Hamas to have a political role – it must recognize Israel’s right to exist, renounce violence, and adhere to previous agreements signed between Israeli and P.A. leaders.

Hamas refused to comply – as it does to this day – and amid violent clashes with Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction, it seized control of the Gaza Strip the following year.

‘So much misinformation about’ Hamas

Interviewed as part of a pro-Palestinian filmmaker’s 2010 documentary, Cultures of Resistance,  Malley said it was a mistake to think of groups like Hamas and Hezbollah only “in terms of their terrorist violence dimension.”

“They’re social political movements, probably the most rooted movements in their respective societies.”

Hamas, he said, “has deep loyalty, it has a charity organization, a social branch – it’s not something you could defeat militarily either.”

“There’s so much misinformation about them,” Malley continued. “I speak to them, my colleagues speak to them. Now we may disagree with them, but they have their own rationale.”

“None of them are crazies,” he said. “They may do things that we consider belong to a different realm of rationality, but within their own system, it’s often very logical.”



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

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

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


11 March, 2015

Must everything be computerized?

I heartily agree with James Delingpole below.  Computers are being used in ways that make it HARDER to do things.  I no longer drive to places where I encounter computerized parking meters.  I just go where there is free car parking.  And I am no novice.  I have been working with computers since 1967 -- JR

When I was growing up, one of my favourite TV programmes was Tomorrow’s World — a show about the marvellous new high-tech gadgets destined to make our futures so much easier and more fun.

If there was ever a specific episode dedicated to the joys of the cashless society, I’m sure it would have got me every bit as excited as the ones about the pocket calculator, the personal stereo and that wondrous replacement for vinyl records (so robust, according to the Tomorrow’s World presenter, that you could even spread jam on it without making it unplayable) called a compact disc.

What, after all, could there possibly be not to like about a world where all your payments were processed electronically?

No more shrapnel weighing down your pockets. No more dirty coinage, which thousands of grubby fingers had touched before you. No more of those tatty banknotes which always seemed to fly out of your pockets whenever you pulled out your hankie.

Instead, all transactions would be conducted cleanly, swiftly and invisibly via things called ‘Credits’ — or perhaps ‘Creds’ for short — just like the ones Judge Dredd used in my favourite comic 2000AD.

Well, now that future is very nearly upon us — but I’m not at all convinced that it works.

The rot started a few years ago when it suddenly became impossible to use coins in our last surviving telephone boxes.

Next, London bus chiefs decided we could no longer pay for our journey in cash (‘legal tender’ as it used to be known). Passengers now can use only prepaid tickets or Oyster travelcards, contactless payment cards or concessionary tickets. This can make life very difficult for visitors to the city or vulnerable people who might be stranded late at night without the necessary pre-paid cards for transport.

Now, Brighton and Hove council has joined the war on real money by phasing out all its coin-operated parking ticket machines. Inevitably, other councils will soon follow.

Yes, I know we’re supposed to get excited about this new cashless world, but I’m not sure many of us are. In fact, for most of us, I suspect, the downsides far outweigh the benefits.

For me, the moment when the scales fell from my eyes came a while back in London, when I first tried using one of those cashless parking systems like the one they’re now trying to inflict on Brighton and Hove.

Simply finding a free space in the centre of the traffic-clogged capital is tricky enough. So you can imagine my frustration when, having at last eased my car into a precious spot, I then discovered I was unable to stay there.

Instead of a traditional coin-operated meter, the parking space simply gave me a phone number to call so that I could register my vehicle and then begin the laborious process of paying.

The experience was incredibly tedious, fiddly and time-consuming — rendered even more awkward by the fact that instead of typing in the details on my phone, I had to speak them into it.

The experience of using the parking system was incredibly tedious, fiddly and time-consuming    +3
The experience of using the parking system was incredibly tedious, fiddly and time-consuming

But the voice-recognition software at the other end of the line seemed incapable of understanding my English. (Maybe it was designed for Americans?)

So, the result was that I found myself standing by my car, unable to move (for fear of pouncing traffic wardens), increasingly late for my appointment, repeatedly, desperately enunciating my car number to an unsympathetic, utterly useless computer.

At least in the old days, when you had a real human being at the other end of the phone, you could eventually make yourself understood. But with a machine, there’s no room for negotiation, discussion or any kind of human sympathy.

If the software is flawed or the system is down, that’s you completely stuffed: yes, you may be more than eager to pay no matter how much for the right to stay in the space you’ve found — but when computer says ‘no’ you’re doomed.

And if it’s difficult enough for me, I’m pretty techno-illiterate but do at least know how to use an iPhone, imagine how much worse it is for the older generation, some of whom don’t have a mobile phone.

If they’re anything like my 80-something father-in-law, it will mean quite simply that they can no longer use a London (or a Brighton and Hove) parking space.

Which is most unfair for someone who has been used to driving freely in and out of London all his life. Now, thanks to the benefits of a technology which was supposed to make life easier, he has had his freedom arbitrarily snatched from him.

Another big worry with these new cashless parking tickets — again, especially for the elderly — is that you can never be 100 per cent sure whether or not you’re safely registered, or if you’re going to be ticketed or overcharged.

What, for example, if you accidentally typed in the wrong code number for your parking space and end up with a fine because your car wasn’t where the warden had been told the payment was made for?

What if — as happened to someone earlier this year — you mistakenly type in the location code of their parking bay as the number of hours of your stay and, instead of paying £15.30, you end up being billed for £5,340?

You might have guessed — but the council where this happened was . . . Brighton and Hove! Yes, you can probably get your money back in the end, as this driver did. But who in their right mind wants to go through the rigmarole of trying to negotiate a local council’s labyrinthine appeal system?

The whole point of these systems is that they seem to be designed to make the appeals process as unappealing as possible. That way, they get to keep more drivers’ money, which is, of course, what all of this is really about.

In what Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has called ‘daylight robbery’, many councils make millions from parking fees. Top of the list is the London borough of Westminster which now receives more from parking fees than council tax. (In 2013-14, it made £51.03 million.)

Even Green-controlled Brighton council isn’t doing badly out of the cars it professes to loathe: together with Hove, its revenues from motorists amounted to £18.09 million last year. All of this, of course, is merely a foretaste of the misery we can expect to experience as the cashless economy becomes more fully embedded in our culture.

You can see why the authorities are so keen to impose it on us: it cuts staffing costs and increases profits. It makes it easier to glean information on us via our credit card details and phone records. It vastly reduces the opportunities for tax evasion as it puts an end to the cash-in-hand black economy.

What’s much less obvious, though, is what exactly is in it for us. Do we really want to live in a world where, instead of a granny slipping a crisp £10 note into her granddaughter’s birthday card, she has to obtain a book token or iTunes gift card?

Must we say goodbye to the era when you could negotiate down the price of a second-hand car by offering a bundle of notes?

Surely, there must remain at least a few areas of life where our every purchase isn’t scrutinised by the taxman and snooped on by the authorities: what we paid, say, for a few old plates and some collectible postcards down at the car boot sale?

And it’s not — whatever Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls might say — that we’re all trying to use cash-in-hand to cheat Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs out of its rightful share of the economy.

Rather it’s that we’ve grown up using cash (starting from when we got our first pocket money) and we find it comfortingly familiar, convenient and somehow much more meaningful and real than its electronic equivalents.

Spend £1,000 on credit and it feels almost imaginary (which is probably why so many of us are so deeply in debt). Spend £1,000 in cash and there’s an inbuilt reality check: to lay out that much hard-earned cash you must want what you’re buying really badly.

One other thing cash does — and it’s why I think we’re going to miss it so much — is that it binds us to other human beings. Whether in the form of coins or banknotes, it’s something we can exchange with one another as a physical symbol of our transactions.

We use it in the same way all our ancestors have done, since time immemorial. And now the dictators of the State want to snatch it away from us. Is it any wonder we’re so resistant?


Sound fiscal management beats infrastructure

MARTIN HUTCHINSON is being very iconoclastic

The Indian budget on February 28 slackened the much needed effort to move that country’s fisc towards balance in order to spend more on infrastructure. It was accordingly much praised by the Keynesian media worldwide. While the Lord knows infrastructure is much needed in impoverished India, and its cost there is presumably not as bloated as in the West, this choice still betrays a misguided sense of priorities. Budget deficits suck resources from the private sector to the public sector and leave the private sector impoverished and feeble. A drastic cutback of the public sector, especially in its regulatory aspects, would do much more for the Indian economy than even the most attractive “stimulus” infrastructure spending. A fortiori, that is true for rich economies such as Japan and the United States where infrastructure is already adequate.

Public choice theory quickly shows us why large infrastructure projects may be highly economically damaging. Politicians don’t have to pay for them, yet get the glory of opening them and in some cases getting major projects named after them. Generations untold, for example, have a better opinion of the economically disastrous President Herbert Hoover by contemplating the sublime Hoover Dam (which by losing re-election in 1932 Hoover himself was unable to open). Built at a time when infrastructure projects were still moderately efficiently constructed, it has provided massive amounts of electricity to the western United States for 80 years. It thus epitomizes the case for infrastructure spending, although it should strictly be named the Coolidge Dam, construction having been authorized by Hoover’s modest and effective predecessor in 1928.

The British High Speed Rail 2 project is a classic example of the bloated infrastructure genre. Its economic benefits are modest at best, cutting around 30 minutes off the journey time from London to Manchester, yet its cost is estimated at an astronomical 43 billion pounds ($65 billion), even at the doubtless over-optimistic figures of its sponsoring government department. It will doubtless project great glory on the next prime minister but three at its opening in 2027 (it’s not clear why David Cameron favors it, since he’s most unlikely to attend the opening, except as a second-tier geriatric guest in the background.)

To see why this is a bad idea, consider the original railway line from London to Manchester, which took the form of three separate projects, the London to Birmingham Railway, the Grand Junction Railway and the original 1830 Liverpool to Manchester Railway. Both the later projects were approved by Parliament in 1833, and construction was begun on both later that year. The London to Birmingham was opened in September, 1838, while the Grand Junction had opened a year earlier in July 1837. The three lines merged in 1846, and the combine, including numerous branch lines and the Crewe construction facilities, a total of 535 miles of track, was capitalized a few years later, according to an 1853 “Shareholders’ Key” at 31 million pounds, being 21 million of equity and 10 million of debt – a sum equivalent to about $5 billion today (and at that time the largest capitalization of any company in Britain.)

Note the difference in planning and construction efficiency from today. In spite of the far less efficient construction methods used, the London/Manchester railway complex was built in less than 5 years for a cost of less than $5 billion equivalent – the “Shareholders’ Key” gives a cost for the three original lines of 12.4 million pounds, equivalent to about $1.9 billion today. A functionally equivalent railway today is expected to take 12 years to build – beyond the 6 years’ planning already taken – and to cost about 30 times as much, in real terms.

This is not solely because today’s railway is built through built-up areas – the areas concerned were already heavily populated in 1830. It’s partly due to the lower intrinsic efficiency of public sector projects against private sector enterprises, but above all it’s the result of the insane costs of bureaucracy and regulation that are added to large infrastructure projects in today’s world.

You can do the same calculation in respect of the proposed tunnel under the Hudson River recently killed by New Jersey governor Chris Christie versus the functionally identical Holland Tunnel opened in 1927, and come to the inexorable conclusion: In today’s world, at least in wealthy “developed” countries, large public sector projects cost at least ten times what they should cost, or (in real terms) would have cost a century ago.

The economic implication is thus clear: if infrastructure costs ten times as much as it should, because of regulatory, environmental and bureaucratic cost inflation, then the world should stop building infrastructure altogether unless its need is so painfully obvious that it can be built and funded by the private sector.

Such a moratorium on new infrastructure projects is a perfectly economically viable strategy for a reformist government. If an Interstate (say) becomes so overcrowded that traffic jams abound, then a private sector toll road will be highly profitable, without the government intervening at all. That toll road will be subject to regulatory and environmental nonsense, but it will at least avoid the political process and absurdities such as the 1931 Davis-Bacon Act requiring “prevailing wages” to be paid on federally funded or assisted public works contracts, which in practice imposes union featherbedding on such contracts.

As the infrastructure deteriorated, public demand would build up for infrastructure spending, which a wise government would resist, while undertaking studies identifying all the cost bloating factors that have caused infrastructure costs to soar, and introducing legislation eliminating as many as possible of those costs. Eventually the cost of infrastructure would be reduced to no more than twice its inflation-adjusted 1900 level, at which point public works could recommence.

Overpriced infrastructure is especially pernicious because of its effect on budgets. Politicians can convince themselves, if nobody else, that infrastructure boondoggles are really “investments” and therefore should not count in budget calculations. The result is that public debt soars uncontrollably, while the overpriced infrastructure makes losses (however it is priced, and especially if its use is not priced at all) and hence does nothing whatever to offset the cost of the debt raised to fund it. Eventually, the result is bankruptcy, either of the polity concerned or even (in the case of Greece, whose infrastructure boondoggles were mostly funded by the EU) of the larger entity funding the waste.

Japan is the cause celebre for infrastructure waste. Ever since the boom ended in 1990, the Japanese government has tried to stimulate the economy by endless Keynesian programs of “stimulus” infrastructure spending. By 2000, Japanese infrastructure spending had reached 6.5% of GDP, twice the level of France, the next most profligate country. Junichiro Koizumi brought it down, and went some way to solving Japan’s fiscal problem, but his successors, including notably Shinzo Abe since 2012, have reverted to infrastructure spending stimulus. For example Japan’s transport infrastructure spending alone in 2008-10 averaged 30% higher than the OECD average as a percentage of GDP, 38% higher than the OECD average, 50% higher than the United States (even in those years of the Obama stimulus) 70% higher than Germany and 25% higher than even France. Since Japan is a geographically compact country that has in the last two decades hopelessly over-“invested” in infrastructure, its current overspending is especially egregious.

In India, with its abundance of low-cost labor, it is of course possible that public sector infrastructure suffers less from the sort of cost bloat that blights Western programs, but knowing what we do about Indian levels of corruption it has to be said that such a claim is barely credible. We do know that in 2012 the country spent 4.7% of GDP on infrastructure, less than China but more than almost all rich countries. We also know that the Indian public sector deficit, including the central government and the states, peaked at close to 10% of GDP in 2013, and is probably running at 6% of GDP in 2015-16 (the Federal deficit is forecast at 3.9% of GDP.)

India’s two greatest economic needs are to scythe back the “permit raj” that has made investment in that country such a problematic process and to reduce the public sector’s drain on the country’s resources, which will cause trouble in the next global credit crunch, due soon. Infrastructure spending, such as the 100,000 km of new roads proposed in last week’s budget, should not be expanded until these objectives have been met. It is simply not a priority.

The wealthy world’s budgets are all in some difficulty, disguised by nearly a decade of pathological interest rate conditions, with fatuous “stimulus” programs in many countries never having been properly reversed. Given the excessive cost of infrastructure in rich countries, and the need to control public spending, it would be sensible to allow a few bridges to fall down, while forcing the vested interests surrounding infrastructure provision to disgorge their ill-gotten gains and return its costs towards nineteenth century levels.

Public infrastructure provision has failed. It needs to be eliminated, and provision made for the private sector to step in, at much lower cost, where there is a need.


Tony Abbott: Australians 'sick of being lectured to' by United Nations, after report finds anti-torture breach

United Nations special rapporteurs are regular producers of anti-Western rubbish

Australians are "sick of being lectured to by the United Nations", Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said after a report found Australia's treatment of asylum seekers breaches an international anti-torture convention.

Mr Abbott's criticism of the UN follows his attack last month of Australian Human Rights Commission President Gillian Triggs, in which he called the report she commissioned on children in detention a "political stitch-up".

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has rejected a report from the UN that says Australia has breached its obligations on the anti-torture convention.

The United Nations report, by the UN's special rapporteur on torture, finds Australia is violating the rights of asylum seekers on multiple fronts under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Special rapporteur on torture Juan Mendez found the detention of children, escalating violence in offshore processing centres, and the detention and proposed deportation of two groups of Sri Lankan and Tamil asylum seekers were in breach of Australia's international obligations.

The report, which will be tabled at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday, has been rejected outright by the government.

In extraordinary comments on Monday afternoon, Mr Abbott attacked the UN and said its representatives would "have a lot more credibility if they were to give some credit to the Australian government" for stopping boat arrivals.

"I really think Australians are sick of being lectured to by the United Nations, particularly, particularly given that we have stopped the boats, and by stopping the boats, we have ended the deaths at sea," Mr Abbott said.

"The most humanitarian, the most decent, the most compassionate thing you can do is stop these boats because hundreds, we think about 1200 in fact, drowned at sea during the flourishing of the people smuggling trade under the former government."

Mr Abbott said the best thing the government could do to "uphold the universal decencies of mankind" was to stop boat arrivals. "And that's exactly what we've done," he said.

"I think the UN's representatives would have a lot more credibility if they were to give some credit to the Australian government for what we've been able to achieve in this area."

Last month, the government made a series of personal attacks on Professor Triggs, the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission – Australia's human rights watchdog.

Mr Abbott branded a commission report on children in detention that revealed alarmingly high rates of sexual and physical abuse a "transparent stitch-up" and Attorney-General George Brandis said he had asked Professor Triggs to resign.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said on Monday the government "rejects the views of the special rapporteur that the treatment of illegal maritime arrivals in detention breaches international conventions".

"Australia is meeting all its international obligations and with other regional nations provides a range of services to people who have attempted to enter Australia illegally," Mr Dutton said.

Mr Mendez says in his report that the Abbott government had failed to adequately address concerns raised under the convention about four specific incidents.

Among the concerns raised was that escalating violence on Manus Island, and the "intimidation and ill-treatment of two asylum seekers" who gave statements about last year's violent clash at the centre was in breach of the convention.

The report also finds that recent changes to the Maritime Powers Act to give the government the power to detain asylum seekers at sea and return them violated the convention.

Mr Abbott said on Monday that the needs of all asylum seekers on Manus Island "for food, for clothing, for shelter, for safety are being more than met".

"The conditions on Manus Island are reasonable under all the circumstances. All of the basic needs of the people on Manus Island are being met and, as I said, I think the UN would be much better served by giving credit to the Australian government for what has been achieved in terms of stopping the boats," Mr Abbott said.

As a result of the government's failure to "sufficiently" answer questions, Mr Mendez concludes in his report that "the government fails to fully and expeditiously cooperate" with the Human Rights Council's mandate.

He said Australia was not complying with its international legal obligations to promptly investigate and prosecute acts of torture or cruel or degrading treatment.

Labor said on Monday the Prime Minister was "absurd" for attacking a globally respected organisation for not giving more credit to his government.

"Instead of launching a cheap attack on the report's author – Tony Abbott should be providing an assurance that all the processing facilities Australia funds are run in a safe, humane and proper manner," Labor's immigration spokesman Richard Marles said.

"A critical part of that is ensuring Australian-funded facilities process people's refugee claims without delay."

Human Rights Law Centre director of legal advocacy Daniel Webb said the report made it clear Australia's policies and actions were in breach of international law.

"The government always assures the Australian people that it complies with its international human rights obligations. But here we have the United Nations once again, in very clear terms , telling the government that Australia's asylum seeker policies are in breach of international law," Mr Webb said.

"Australia signed up to the Convention Against Torture 30 years ago. We did so because as a nation we agreed with the important minimum standards of treatment it guaranteed. Yet here we are 30 years on, knowingly breaching those standards and causing serious damage to our reputation."

Human rights lawyer Greg Barns says he is working with Tasmanian independent MP Andrew Wilkie on seeking that the International Criminal Court launch an investigation into crimes against humanity by members of the Abbott government in relation to the treatment of asylum seekers.


'Britain's white jihadi' a teen from Australia

A westerner pictured alongside Islamic State group fighters and dubbed by media as "Britain's white jihadi" is in fact a teenager from Australia who converted to Islam, a report said Monday.

A picture of the meek-looking youth, holding a rifle and sitting in between two jihadists with a black IS flag in the background, emerged on Twitter in late December.

At the time the militant group, which has run rampant through swathes of Iraq and Syria, hailed his recruitment as "a major coup" with the British media dubbing him "Britain's white jihadi".

Doubts about the authenticity of the picture subsequently emerged after a blogger claimed he had fabricated the image to hoax the British press.

But Australia's Fairfax Media said the photograph had now been positively identified by friends of the teenager and members of two mosques in Melbourne.

It identified him as a former high-achieving 18-year-old student called Jake, declining to reveal his full name at the request of a family member.

He was described as a maths whiz who attended the Craigieburn Secondary College in Melbourne but dropped out in the middle of last year after converting to Islam and buying a one-way ticket to Istanbul en route to Iraq and Syria.

His identification came after Australia stopped two teenage brothers at Sydney airport believed to be heading to the Middle East to fight, amid growing concern in Western countries over young people joining jihadist groups.

That case followed three British schoolgirls leaving their London homes to join IS in Syria in February.

"He used to come here when we had a big lecture," Abu Zaid, a committee member of the Hume Islamic Youth Centre in Coolaroo, told Fairfax Media of Jake.

"He was a very quiet guy, he stuck to himself. We weren't close to him. I didn't see any of the people (getting) close to him."

The newspaper said the youth now goes by the Islamic names Abdur Raheem or Abu Abdullah.

It said that two months after his disappearance, he contacted his family to tell them he was in Iraq training for a "martyrdom mission" with a suicide vest.

He later called again to say he was "too scared to do it and he prefers being a soldier" and was planning to travel to Syria.

Around 140 Australians have travelled to fight with IS and other terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq, with another 150 supporting them at home, the government has said.

Former immigration minister Scott Morrison said the case showed indoctrination was happening in unexpected places.

"It's very hard to make assumptions on who's going to fall prey to the death cult," he said of IS, adding that the government needed "every available tool to stop people joining the fight overseas".



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

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

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


10 March, 2015

Multiculturalists who used the names of more than 200 dead children to launder profits from attempted £1m VAT fraud jailed for more than 16 years

Even if they are not much good for anything else, multiculturalists often seem to work hard at fraud

Three fraudsters who used the names of more than 200 dead children to launder profits from an attempted £1m VAT fraud have been jailed for more than 16 years.

Saheed Oyeneye, 35, Rasaq Omotunde, 38, and Oluwakemi Adesaogun, 38, all from south east London, set up hundreds of bogus online HMRC accounts to ‘get rich quick’ off the public purse.

The Nigerian-born adopted false identities of hundreds of unsuspecting victims, mirroring the tactic employed by the assassin in The Day of the Jackal, as part of his plot to shoot French president Charles de Gaulle.

In a scenario similar to that of the Frederick Forsyth novel, the trio men stole the identities of more than 200 dead British babies, before using their names to bombard the government with tax repayment applications.

They also adopted the identities of sports personalities, including cricketers and rugby union stars, by scouring the internet for their personal details and cobbling together a fake profile.

The three men also targeted thousands of members of the public as they attempted to swindle £1m, Southwark Crown Court was told.

In total, the gang managed to pocket around £250,000, which was banked across hundreds of accounts which had been set up under false names.

But the trio were rumbled early on by HMRC and did not pay out more than three-quarters of the money.

When their homes were searched, investigators discovered the personal details of more than 200 dead children were stored on computers, the court heard.

Oyeneye, from Hither Green, Omotunde, from Sydenham and Adesaogun, from Woolwich, all pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud.

Today, Judge Stephen Robbins jailed Oyeneye for five and a half years, Omotunde for six years and Adesaogun for five years.

After the sentencing, Christopher Gill, Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation, HMRC, said: ‘This trio thought they were running a high-tech and sophisticated fraud using a series of addresses and internet cafes to set up accounts using stolen data.

‘They bombarded the system with applications for tax repayments from these fake accounts, in the hope of getting rich quick.

‘These fraudsters thought the anonymity of the internet would protect them.'  He added: 'This case demonstrates that we can and will track down and prosecute those who attack our online systems.

‘This was nothing but a common repayment fraud attempt which our systems quickly identified as bogus. HMRC shuts down the vast majority of bogus repayment applications.’

The trio will face confiscation proceedings at a later date but most of the money has already vanished.


Pansy British firemen

Firemen refused to risk their safety by rescuing a cat that had been stuck in a tree for six days – so two young men stepped in to save the day.

The pair climbed about 50ft to bring down Spot from a leylandii in Stroud, Gloucestershire, after firefighters said the branches were too thin to support their weight.

Several attempts were made to lure her down and the fire service visited the scene twice, after the RSPCA was called. 

Gloucestershire’s deputy chief fire officer, Andy Hermiston, said: 'This is the second time we were called out because a cat was stuck 50ft up a tree. The first time, a month ago, the cat managed to get down itself.

'On both occasions, we quickly discovered that the branches at the top of the tree where the cat was stuck were too thin to support the weight of a firefighter.

'While rescuing animals is an important part of our work, it cannot be at the risk of our firefighter's safety.

'Although the service cannot condone members of the public putting themselves at risk we're pleased the cat has been safely returned to its owner and that the young people involved were not injured whilst carrying out the rescue.

Spot's owner Sarah Mills was relieved and eager to thank the rescuers, who climbed the adjacent trees with torches at around 8pm, and plucked the tortoiseshell to safety.

'I would like to thank them, I don't know who they are,' she said, adding that she will be keeping Spot indoors and will take her to a vet for a check-up. 'She is a bit thinner but I think she will be OK.'


A very privileged apologist for evil

The grand residence, complete with picturesque porch, gable and verandah, is situated on an exclusive private development in the Surrey suburbs.

You arrive at the £700,000 property, set over three stunning floors, via a tree-lined avenue in immaculate contoured grounds that include tennis courts, nature trails and cycle paths.

This affluent enclave on the outskirts of London could be a film set or a location for a designer fashion shoot. It is here — in the splendour of the aforementioned house (the biggest and most expensive in the close) — that Asim Qureshi leads a very middle-class existence.

Bearded Qureshi, chief mouthpiece for Muslim ‘human rights’ group Cage, introduced himself and his poisonous organisation to the world in that now infamous press conference last week after Jihadi John, the butcher who beheaded Western hostages, was finally identified as Mohammed Emwazi from West London.

Cage research director Qureshi, who has advocated the creation of a medieval Islamic Caliphate in the UK, defended the IS executioner, calling him a ‘beautiful, gentle young man’.

But the gap between the rhetoric and the reality of his privileged lifestyle, which allows him to luxuriate in the trappings of infidel decadence, might surprise even Qureshi’s most fanatical supporters.

Qureshi married into money. Wife Samira — born in Britain to Pakistani parents — is from the fabulously wealthy Ahmed dynasty. The Ahmeds ran a cash-and-carry empire in South Wales, supplying restaurants and takeaways from Cardiff to Swansea. The business had a turnover in excess of £100 million when it was sold last year.

Asim Qureshi, who has two young sons, has benefited from this gilded family connection. The marital home was purchased by his wife (and sister-in-law); it is in their names, not his. The sisters own a second house, worth just under £500,000, a few miles away.

Their late father Bashir, who founded the cash-and-carry enterprise after arriving on these shores from Pakistan with just £5 in his pocket more than 40 years ago, epitomised the vast majority of decent, hard-working Muslims who have contributed so much to the nation. But the opposite is true of Qureshi and Cage.

In an interview with U.S. researchers four years ago, Qureshi admitted he did not feel ‘any kind of obligation or sense of thankfulness’ towards the country of his birth, the country that welcomed his parents from Pakistan in the Seventies, the country that subsidised his education at a leading public school.

Instead, he devotes his life to Cage, an organisation which, in the words of one commentator, is now ‘part of a closely connected network of extremists relentlessly — and successfully — lying to young British Muslims that they are hated and persecuted by their fellow citizens in order to make them supporters of terror’.

This narrative culminated in Qureshi’s preposterous claim last week that harassment by MI5 was responsible for turning Mohammed Emwazi into Jihadi John.

Cage has an active ‘outreach’ programme in British mosques, community groups and campuses. Note the use of the word ‘outreach’, as if those spreading Cage’s message were social workers or health professionals, not zealots indoctrinating students with lectures about jihad (holy war).

Shamefully, the group continues to be treated as a credible partner by organisations such as Amnesty and enjoys the patronage of the wider liberal establishment. Qureshi represents Cage on the organisation Rights Watch (UK), where he is a trustee. Rights Watch provides ‘support and services to anyone whose human rights are violated as a result of conflict’.

Qureshi excelled at cricket and played squash at county level but underachieved academically because, by his own admission, he was a ‘very, very, very lazy student’, who spent much of his teenage years listening to gangster rappers such as Tupac Shakur.

He managed to scrape into London Guildhall University to study law, where he ‘started to choose an Islamic identity for myself’. This coincided with the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers in New York in 2001.

 Asim Qureshi sparked further outrage after repeatedly refusing to condemn the stoning women on the BBC's This Week programme     +8
Asim Qureshi sparked further outrage after repeatedly refusing to condemn the stoning women on the BBC's This Week programme

‘I do not like using the word radicalise,’ Qureshi told researchers from Columbia, ‘because I do not think being radical is a bad thing, but I was effectively radicalised by Guantanamo [the U.S. detention facility in Cuba where terror suspects are held without trial].

‘When I saw the images from Guantanamo it really hit a nerve because we have grown up with a certain conception that the Western world provides justice but unfortunately what I saw was the world’s leading superpower effectively send the message to the rest of the world that behaviour like this [ignoring due legal process] is acceptable.’

In the holidays, Qureshi visited the West Bank and spent three weeks touring Taliban and Afghan refugee camps in northern Pakistan. ‘They [the Taliban] made mistakes, yes, like all human beings do,’ he declared. ‘Should they be shipped off to Guantanamo and abused and tortured because of it? No, I don’t think so.’

Cage has been sustained with private cash donations from Muslims and support from organisations such as the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, which has made three grants to it totalling £305,000 since 2007, and The Roddick Foundation, a charity set up by the late Body Shop founder Dame Anita Roddick, which gave Cage £35,000 a year in the financial years ending March 2012 and 2013, and £25,000 a year in the financial years ending March 2010 and 2011.

But yesterday both organisations agreed to withdraw funding. It is understood officials at the Charity Commission threatened to launch a statutory inquiry into both groups unless they did so.

The Charity Commission had already launched an investigation into whether Cage’s funders had ensured that their money was used for purposes in line with their objectives.

Many of the terrorist prisoners on Qureshi’s and Cage’s files turn out to have been convicted, not by kangaroo courts, but by juries in properly constituted trials.

In the eyes of many, both Asim Qureshi and Cage have questions to answer, not just about their ‘relationship’ with Jihadi John, but also about the poisonous anti-British propaganda they are spreading against the country that so welcomed them.


BBC defends all-white cast for Australian history series

The first fleet was British (though there were a couple of black convicts) so picturing them as white is accurate.  They did of course have some contact with Aborigines but on only a very small scale

A new seven-part BBC drama series about the arrival of the first fleet in Sydney has drawn big TV audiences in the UK, despite the surprising decision not to include any indigenous cast members.

Banished, filmed partly in Sydney and starring David Wenham as Governor Arthur Phillip, won its timeslot on Thursday with 3.4 million viewers on BBC Two.

However, the series, which is plainly aimed at an English audience, will not screen here until a date yet to be decided in June.

Co-producer Jimmy McGovern has defended the decision to omit indigenous people from the series.

"It is difficult to exaggerate how important is it to get the portrayal of indigenous Australians right," he said. "In recent years I have been fortunate enough to work with a group of aboriginal people as story editor on Redfern Now, a contemporary urban drama.

"The time-frame in Banished is very short – something just over two weeks – and there is not sufficient time to develop and do justice to indigenous characters. Hopefully if there's another series there would be time to collaborate and get any representation right."

Banished, which also stars Russell Tovey (Being Human), MyAnna Buring (Ripper Street) and Ryan Corr (Wolf Creek 2), was filmed on location at Manly Dam and in Sydney's Royal National Park, with the interiors shot in Manchester.

Described as being "loosely inspired" by the events of 1788, Wenham said he was initially cautious about issues of historical accuracy in the series.

"I was concerned about it at first but having reading the script I'm actually surprised how much of it that is supposedly fiction in the script did in fact exist," he says. "Some of those characters that I thought were fictional did exist. "It's not taking huge liberties at all."

Co-producer Sita Williams also insisted that Banished has no pretensions to strict historical accuracy.  "This is our 1788," she says, "...it isn't a historical drama, this is a drama inspired by the arrival of the first fleet in 1788."

So far, the series has received only mixed reviews from British critics



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

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

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


9 March, 2015

HMS Pinafore and the British class system

I have always been a classical music devotee but now that I am in my 8th decade I have been watching a fair bit of light opera, mainly Viennese operetta and England's Gilbert & Sullivan.  And I enjoy it greatly. 

All light opera seems to be about obstacles on the road to romance but W.S. Gilbert also includes some rather biting social commentary within his madcap humor.  Perhaps sadly, however, the commentary is on the Britain of his day so most people these days probably miss a lot of the satire. 

For instance who today has heard of Garnet Wolseley, the 1st Viscount Wolseley?  Yet in the late 19th century when Gilbert wrote, Wolseley was the most distinguished British soldier and military leader of his day.  He was renowned for his intelligence and efficiency and served with distinction and bravery in many of Britain's 19th century wars -- wars which are now mostly forgotten.  And a reader has suggested to me (pursuant to an earlier post on G&S) with some cogency that the "modern major general" in "Pirates of Penzance" is mockery of the ultra-efficient Wolseley.

But the target of Gilbert's satire in "Pinafore" is impossible to miss.  The obstacle to true love there is the British class system.  To this day, you CANNOT understand Britain without a grasp of the class system.  Yet the odd thing is that it is almost never publicly discussed. How are you to find out about it if no-one will tell you about it?  I found out about it almost by osmosis.  From childhood on I read untold numbers of British books.  So I lived to a considerable extent in a British mental world.

And that world and the world outside my window were very different. In books I read about sea-birds such as whimbrels and snipes and other acclaimed birds such as skylarks and nightingales, whereas my environment in tropical Australia included deadly snakes such as Taipans and colorful fruit that would send you blind of you ate it (Finger Cherries).  Not to mention huge crocodiles and sharks that could eat you and jellyfish that could sting you to death when you went swimming.  It was a long way from the daffodils of England.

And the books I read in my early life were mostly written before WWII so were also rather alien in some of the social attitudes expressed.  Even in my early teens I remember being struck by the expression: "That's very white of you", where "white" was an expression of appreciation that meant something along the lines of civilized, kind and generous.  Such an expression would be toweringly politically incorrect these days but back then it was common enough. It was an expression of racial pride and reflected an adverse judgment of the morals and ethics of darker races.

But in the last two or three decades, some bold British writers have written explicitly about their class system, the social anthropologist, Kate Fox, most notably.  And Fox lays it all bare down to the tiniest detail.  As I wrote a couple of years ago:

"I have recently been reading Kate Fox's book on the English so passed on a few things that she had reminded me of. "Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour" is, I think,  the funniest book I have ever read.  It repeatedly has me in tears of laughter.  As an Australian who knows the English well, I can recognize the truth of her observations without being embarrassed by them.  And there is one sentence from her book that sums up the English well: "Everything is embarrassing"." There is an update of her observations here.

And such is the genius of W.S. Gilbert that, in his madcap and exaggerated way, he too makes the English class system seem hilarious.

Thankfully, the class system in Britain today is less blatant  than it was in Gilbert's day. But that is no thanks to Britain's various Labour party governments of the postwar era.  Leftists, of course, all have a mania about equality, though some pigs are more equal than others, naturally (to quote Orwell).  And successive British Leftist governments (mostly run by people from privileged backgrounds) have vowed to tear down class barriers in pursuit of equality.

And in the typical Leftist way, they have achieved exactly the opposite of that objective.  One could argue that their actions were a deliberate strategy designed to preserve their own privileged stations in life but, although I don't dismiss that thought, it seems to me to be mainly just another example of Leftist stupidity. 

Leftist stupidity is a special class of stupidity. The people concerned are mostly not stupid in general but they have a character defect (mostly arrogance) that makes them impatient with complexity and unwilling to study it.  So they repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot;  They fail to attain their objectives.  The world IS complex so a simplistic approach to it CANNOT work.

The big British Labour Party blunder from the point of view of  someone who genuinely values greater equality was the attack on "Grammar" schools. Britain once had many such schools.  They were taxpayer-funded ("State") schools that were run on lines very similar to Britain's famous and excellent "Public" (meaning private) schools such as Eton, Harrow and many others.  Mainly because of the cost, only about 7% of Britons complete the schooling of their teenage years in private schools, so the availability of schools of private school standard that were "free" to the user did open up a path to social mobility for many bright children from poor families. And many of the leading figures in British life to this day are products of a Grammar School education.

Access to a State Grammar school was via the "11 Plus" examination.  It was an academic ability test heavily loaded with IQ.  Pupils sat the exam at age 11 to determine their educational path through their teenage years.  Probably correctly, only the brightest quarter of the population were deemed able to cope with the demands of the sort of education that had long prevailed in Britain's private schools.

And the Grammar schools were a great success in enabling social mobility.  A Grammar school education was rightly regarded as close to a private school education in excellence and, even though they came from impoverished backgrounds, Grammar school graduates had almost the same easy path through life that had always characterized graduates from the great private schools.  Many Grammar school graduates made it to Britain's leading universities, Oxford and Cambridge.  Grammar schools were the main path upwards for able people from humble backgrounds. Equality of opportunity for the whole English population was greatly enhanced by them.

So what objection could there be to that?  There was a BIG objection: the recognition in the form of the "11 Plus" exam that some people are brighter than others.  That offended greatly against the "equality" mania of the Left.  So except for some local pockets of resistance, the Labour party ABOLISHED the State-funded Grammar schools. 

In the name of equality they abolished the main means of achieving more equality.  How perverse is that? Only a Leftist could see it as reasonable.  But even Leftist parties have to make some show of rationality, so how did they justify their destructive policy?  They said that they were going to bring ALL schools up to Grammar school standard.  It sounded good but was of course impossible.  Certainly, nothing like it has ever been achieved in the many years since.

When Tony Blair first gained office as Labour party Prime Minister he said his three top priorities were education, education and education -- and he vowed to increase social mobility through his policies.  What his government actually did was to dumb down both State school education and the exams used to assess it.  So for 13 years the apparent educational attainments among English children soared.  But it was one big fraud.  A good education became virtually unattainable for many British children and so social mobility in fact FELL under Blair. 

So the British class structure is now more extreme in its exclusivity than it was 50 years ago.  England is now a place where the young people are mostly poorly educated in all senses and where the 7% of the population who went to private schools run just about everything in the country and dominate in all avenues of attainment.  Even Britain's successful athletes in the most recent Summer Olympic games were disproportionately from private school backgrounds.

W.S. Gilbert would find the underlying class structure of England today not greatly different from the late  19th century structure that he satirized.  And the hypocrisy about it that he so vividly noted  is still there too -- JR.

Dr. Ben Carson: "Being Gay Is a Choice"

I think for some people it's not much of a choice and for some it is.  The point however is legal rights for homosexual couples --  and civil unions would seem to confer such rights without calling the union a marriage. 

An interesting arrangement that has been suggested in Australia is to distinguish between "Marriage" and "Homosexual Marriage".  The wedding certificates would be otherwise identical but would be headed in either one of those two ways, as the situation requires. 

In theory that should satisy everyone but in fact Australian homosexuals are apparently aghast at the possibility.  It shows that the whole issue is respect.  Homosexuals want their unions given the same respect as a normal marriage.  I doubt that that will ever be widely achieved, no matter how much bullying is used to pursue it

And to the extent that respect is the main aim, I think lascivious Mardi Gras parades are probably on balance counter-productive.  They rather clearly proclaim deviance.

There is also an issue over homosexual proselytism.  There is a lot of that about these days, particularly in the schools.  Homosexuality is presented as admirable and "cool".  I see no justification for governments taking any interest in what happens between consenting adults in their bedrooms but promoting an unhealthy lifestyle seems to me to be irresponsible and wrong. Just the very high incidence of partner abuse among homosexual couples should be enough reason for it not to be officially encouraged -- JR 

“A lot of people who go into prison, go into prison straight, and when they come out, they’re gay. So did something happen while they were in there?” Carson said, who has said marriage should be between a man and a woman.

CNN host Chris Cuomo countered Carson’s statement, saying: “Most people never go to prison, and you know there’s a whole theory of dominance.”

“Wait a minute. I said a lot of people who go in come out [gay]. Are you denying that that’s true?” Carson asked.

“I am not denying that that’s true, but I am denying that that’s as a basis of understanding homosexuality,” Cuomo responded.

“If in fact that is the case, then it obviously thwarts what you just said,” Carson said.

“A lot of people go into jail as a drug addict, and they come out as a criminal. Does that mean that all drug addicts are criminals?” Cuomo asked.

Carson said the issue of gay marriage is one of legal rights in cases of property and visitation.

“Here’s what’s important: Why do gay people want to get married? Because they want to have various rights – property rights, visitation rights,” he said.

“They want their commitment to count just like mine and my wife’s,” Cuomo said.

“Why can’t any two human beings--I don’t care what their sexual orientation is--why can’t they have the legal right to do those things?” Carson asked.

“That’s what they’re fighting for,” Cuomo said.

“Okay, that does not require changing the definition of marriage,” Carson said.

“But it would require covering that union as you do others, which is called marriage in our society,” Cuomo said.

“I don’t think so,” Carson responded.

Earlier in the interview, Cuomo asked: “One issue: same-sex marriage. You have equal protection. It’s working its way through the courts. The decisions are getting more and more uniform, but then you have people of faith who say, ‘Marriage is ours. God says it is a man and a woman. The Bible says, my faith says…’ Which one wins with Dr. Carson?”

“Here’s what I would do. I would do what the Constitution says. Constitution says: civil issue of that nature should be determined at the state level. Why does it say that? Because the judicial system at the state level has to answer to the people,” Carson responded.

“What if people of the state vote for a law 100 to 0 that winds up infringing on the rights of a minority, like happened very often with slavery, like many would argue is happening now with people who are gay?” CNN host Chris Cuomo asked.

“And our Constitution was followed, and we corrected those things,” Carson said.

“And isn’t that what’s happening right now? Same-sex marriage is being corrected as a form of violation of equal protection,” Cuomo said.

Carson said that comparison is invalid, “because people have no control over their race, for instance,” but they “absolutely” have control over their sexuality.


We were wrong to try to ban racism out of existence, says former British equality chief

A former equality chief has branded his years working to stamp out racial discrimination as 'utterly wrong'.  Writer and broadcaster Trevor Phillips said efforts made under the Blair government turned anti-racism into an 'ugly new doctrine'.

Mr Phillips is the former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission and has waged a 30-year campaign to tackle issues around discrimination and equality.

In an upcoming Channel 4 documentary, called Things We Won't Say About Race That Are True, he says attempts to stop prejudice instead encouraged abuse and endangered lives as well as contributed to the rise of parties like Ukip.

In the 75-minute documentary, he delves into Britain's racial tensions and stereotypes as well as hostilities towards immigrants.

He explains: 'It was my job to to make sure that different racial and religious groups got on.  'Campaigners like me seriously believed that if we could prevent people expressing prejudiced ideas then eventually they would stop thinking them.  'But now I'm convinced we were utterly wrong.'

Mr Phillips, a Labour party member, says anti-racism began with good intentions but turned into 'thought control'.

He says the London 2005 bombing by British Muslims, forced him to do rethink his views.

Now, he insists that only a willingness to talk more openly about race, despite risk of causing offence, will help those in need.

In the documentary, which airs on March 19, Mr Phillips asks Nigel Farage whether attempts to embrace diversity have led to the rise of Ukip.

He also also talks to Tony Blair about how the work begun by New Labour in support of diversity and equality can be revived.

Former England footballer Les Ferdinand will also feature in the documentary to highlight racial issues in the sport.

And former home secretary Jack Straw, who is also interviewed, tells Mr Phillips that many MPs are wary of expressing their views for fear of being branded racist.

But Mr Phillips insists people should be free to use racial stereotypes, such as that many Jews are rich or that black people are more likely to be convicted for robbery, because they are true.

Explaining the issue, he said: 'The dividing lines of race, religion and culture are probably the most dangerous flashpoints in Britain today, but they're also the ones we find hardest to talk about in public.

'This film points to ways in which we can say what's on our minds without being accused of being bigots.' 

Channel 4 head of specialist factual David Glover, who commissioned the documentary, said: 'This film contains some very uncomfortable facts about race.

'Trevor Phillips now strongly believes that it's important to get them out there, so ultimately we can understand and tackle them.

'Trevor is arguably the best-qualified person in the country to examine these issues,' he continued.

'What's fascinating is that having thought so deeply about them, he now has a very different approach to the subject than he used to.'


The incorrectness of recreational hunting

A 'sexy' Czech hunter who was criticised after posting sickening selfies with her big game trophies has ignored calls to stop - and uploaded a video showing how to cook zebra.

Michaela Fialova travels all over the world to hunt and regularly posts pictures on Facebook of herself with the dead animals.

She has been slammed for the photos and a campaign was even launched to close down the 27-year-old's page and ban her from entering Africa.

But the brunette has caused further outrage after continuing to gloat about fresh kills including giraffe and zebra.

Ms Fialova, who has been hunting since she was 13 years old, has already travelled to Slovakia and Hungary this year, where she shot boar, capercaillie and muflon.

She is currently in South Africa and has already posted pictures of herself with a giraffe, hyena and water buck.

The brunette, who is from Litomerice, Czech Republic, spends the rest of her time working as a personal trainer, kick-boxer and guide for other hunters in Africa and Europe.

She wrote on her page earlier this year: 'Have you ever dreamed of hunting in Africa but always thought you couldn't afford it?

'For the price of a good Elk or Red stag, you can go to Africa and take a few animals for the same price and have memories that will last a lifetime.'

Ms Fialova is sometimes snapped brandishing the trophies alongside female friends, but in one is seen kissing an ex-boyfriend while holding a monkey.

She gains most of her ammunition and clothing through sponsoring. Her page has already gained more than 20,500 'likes'.

Her antics have resulted in an online petition on website change.org titled 'Ban Michaela Michaelka Fialova from Africa and shut down her Facebook page promoting trophy hunting as being a glamorous thing to do'.

It was created by Alice Harding, from Dartmouth, England, who described hunting as 'despicable'.  She said: 'It's repulsive to glorify trophy hunting and sadistic practices such as bow hunting and posing with dead bodies of animals as if hunting is an appealing and desirable thing to do.  'Killing animals for fun is just plain wrong and must be stopped.'

But despite criticism Ms Fialova, who refers to those against hunting as 'antis', wrote on Facebook on February 24: 'Hey antis, do you really think this will stop me? I WILL NEVER STOP HUNTING.'

And in a video posted at the beginning of March, she explained: 'The difference between this meat and your meat is your meat is usually from slaughterhouses.  'The animal has a right to live a proper life and until its end it doesn't know about being hunted' (sic).

The petition was started on February 18 and has been signed by nearly 6,000 supporters. 



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

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

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


8 March, 2015

Hating modernity, hating the Jews: a reckoning with Heidegger

The Green/Left love the old Nazi navel-gazer

The eternally recurring Heidegger controversy always misses the point. There is no doubt he was a Nazi. There is no doubt he was an unapologetic anti-Semite, right to the last. He was ‘a small man’, lamented George Steiner. But the point at issue, the point that we must grapple with, is the relationship between his anti-Semitism and the thought that has entranced so many.

Because make no mistake, Heidegger is one of the most compelling and formidable thinkers of the twentieth century. In Being and Time he offered nothing less than a philosophical refutation of philosophy, and, more than that, he offered a vision of what it is to be, of how we come to know the world, of how it comes to appear and mean something to us (in short, we come to know the world not through the contemplation of a world apart from us. Rather, we come to know it through our dealings with it, through the way we use things, through our everyday praxis). But he offered something else, too, something that was to resonate so profoundly with successive generations of intellectuals in Europe and elsewhere. He offered a critique – a critique of modernity, of Western civilisation. He not only showed how we come to think about and use the world around us – he condemned how we come to think about and use the world around us.

For Heidegger, Western civilisation, from Plato and Aristotle onwards, has forgotten the question of being, the Seinsfrage. ‘The being for whom being is a question’, as he put it in Being and Time, has taken to accepting easy answers. Why? Because we have inherited this metaphysical idea that man is a rational animal, a zoon politikon, and, as such, we have tended to view the world instrumentally, as something which we can know and use for our ends. Man is assumed to be the measure of all things. And as humanity has ‘grown up both into and in a traditional way of interpreting itself’, with each generation advancing the course of Western metaphysics, extending this way of seeing and using the world, so we have lost ourselves, have forgotten to ask what it is to be. The modern age is merely the latest, most dangerous instalment in this history of ontological forgetfulness. Technological and instrumental, rational and calculating, the modern way is assumed to be the only way.

Even our language has been reduced ‘to being an instrument of domination over beings’, as Heidegger put it in the Letter on Humanism (1946). Heidegger continued this criticism of humanist instrumentalism in The Question Concerning Technology: ‘[We put] to nature the unreasonable demand that it supply energy which can be extracted and stored as such.’ We no longer let beings be - we enslave everything to our ends. And that, argues Heidegger, goes for other humans, too. We are ‘subservient’ to ‘enframing’ - subservient, that is, to the rational, technological, calculating imperatives of modernity. We have become, like all other beings, a mere means for rational, technological, calculating ends. ‘“Life” is a business’, notes Heidegger in Being and Time, ‘whether or not it covers its costs’.

And this is where the Schwarze Hefte are revealing. Heidegger’s anti-Semitism is not incidental to his critique of modernity and the instrumental reason which is destined to hold us in its thrall. It is essential. For Heidegger, Jews, alongside Bolsheviks, are the agents of modernity, and, as such, they are the harbingers of our destruction, the ‘type of humanity’ that has assumed ‘the world-historical “task” of uprooting all beings from Being’. Jews, he continues, belong to ‘the metaphysics of the West’. They have helped to spread both ‘empty rationality’ and ‘a capacity for calculation’, and they are intent on realising ‘a rootless, homogeneous, technological mass society’.

What the Schwarze Hefte show, then, is that Heidegger’s anti-Semitism was entwined with his anti-modernity. His critique of the modern world, which was so attractive to so many, always went hand in hand with his critique of the Jews, which has proved discomfiting for so many. But his anti-Semitism can’t be ignored. Only when this association is grasped, only when Heidegger’s identification of Jewry with everything that he loathes about the modern world – its rootlessness, its instrumentalism, and, yes, its human-centredness – becomes clear, does his initially shocking suggestion that the Jews effectively brought the Holocaust on themselves make sense. If the systematic extermination of Jewry is presented as the logical endpoint of humanity’s rootless, technological, calculative trajectory (our ‘destiny’), then the Jews, as the agents of rootless, technological calculative rationality, are indeed the architects of their own downfall.

It’s a revealing moment for those accustomed today to rehearsing platitudes about how meaningless, unfulfilling and destructive the modern world is. Environmentalists and avowed lefties love to spew out sub-Heideggerian theses on the irrational rationality of economic development, of people’s duped immersion in an unsustainable way of life, and of our impending climate-driven comeuppance.

But is there not another echo of Heidegger’s thought in that strange, obsessive antipathy towards Israel which is so prevalent among the right-on and left-leaning? If there’s a stench of anti-modernity among too many of today’s self-styled radicals, is there not also a whiff of that peculiar brand of Heidegger-style anti-Semitism, too? Strangely enough, then, the Heidegger case sheds light on a contemporary species of anti-Semitism. It’s not the biological version, in which certain races are deemed superior to others. It’s not even the ‘Jews control the world’ one, although that persists.

No, it’s the sense that at some level, Jews, in the form of Israel, embody modernity, embody, that is, the very things – the cruel rationality, the uprootedness, the technological ambition, the comfort with capitalism – that so many just love to loathe. Hating Jews, then, still goes hand in hand with an intense disillusionment with modernity.

Heidegger’s champions are right. He needs to be read today regardless of the revelations in black. But he needs to be read, not because he is right, but because his thinking is, in a sense, our thinking. He needs to be read because his profound rejection of modernity has proved too resonant to be ignored. He needs to be read because his stripe of anti-Semitism is in the process of being rehabilitated. He needs to be read because he needs to be reckoned with.


UK: Vote Labour, get press censorship

John Cleese was not joking last week when he compared journalists to murderers at a rally in Westminster where, as reported on spiked, ‘the hysteria and intolerance of Hacked Off were on full display’.

Even worse than the ranting of the former funny man was the contribution to that rally of Labour’s deputy leader, Harriet Harman, who nobody could ever accuse of cracking a joke. Harman’s speech gave the official stamp of Labour Party approval to the hysteria and intolerance of the press-bashing lobby.

Harman assured the select group of Hacked Off supporters gathered in Westminster that if Labour wins the UK General Election in May, it will not hesitate to impose the full system of state-backed regulation of the press proposed in Lord Justice Leveson’s report. ‘We are absolutely committed to what Leveson proposed and we do not think that business as usual is acceptable’, declared Harman. What is more, she insisted, winning the election would give Labour a mandate to ‘follow through on Leveson’.

Such is the degraded state of our democracy when it comes to a vital issue such as the freedom of the press. Labour Party leaders can make private plans for what they will do to the press after the election – to be discussed in passing with a handful of Hacked Off celebrities and lobbyists, but not seriously with the electorate. Then, after the election is over, they plan to claim a mandate to ‘follow through’ and dump on press freedom.

Lord Justice Leveson might not be dirtying his hands by standing for election in May. But it is clear that the unelected, unaccountable lord justice will be the eminence gris behind a Labour government, having already effectively written the party’s plans to turn the ‘colourful’ UK press grey. A quick reminder, then, of some of the ‘Leveson principles’ to which Labour now claims to subscribe. Key proposals in the 2,000-page report of the Leveson Inquiry, published in November 2012 and designed to sanitise the entire ‘culture, ethics and practice’ of the media, include:

— A state-backed ‘independent’ regulator, underpinned by the power of the law, to police and punish the unruly press — rewriting the editors’ code, issuing fines of up to £1million — and reward tame, well-behaved newspapers with a health-and-safety style ‘kite mark’ of official approval. Leveson wants this regulatory system to be overseen by Ofcom, the quango stuffed with government appointees that makes sure the BBC remains the Bland Broadcasting Corporation.

— A complainants’ charter, under which the new state-backed arbitrator would hear complaints not only from individuals alleging press mistreatment, but from ‘representative groups’ and third parties who don’t like something/anything they have seen or read. The members of the great and good on the panel would have the power to order the publication of a correction or apology, and to determine how and where it is printed. Look forward to future front pages edited by judges.

— A more secret state, where the police could not give the media off-the-record briefings and the press would be barred from naming arrested suspects. (These proposals have largely been implemented already in a post-Leveson environment where the police have been far keener on hacking reporters’ phone records and arresting tabloid journalists than letting the press know what they’re up to.)

— The further criminalisation of investigative journalism. Leveson proposes tightening the 1998 Data Protection Act to give journalists less protection and jail those who break the new rules for up to two years, and amending the 1984 Police and Criminal Evidence Act to remove the ‘journalistic exemption’ for material that has been ‘stolen’ — which would mean most information leaked by whistleblowers — and let the police or even the Financial Services Authority go into newspaper offices and seize it.

— The Fox-in-Charge-Of-the-Chicken Coop Act. Leveson proposes a law to ‘guarantee media freedom’ by, err, giving the government the right to intervene in media affairs ‘insofar as it is for a legitimate purpose and is necessary in a democratic society’. That’s all right, then; the state can interfere with the freedom of the press only when the authorities decide it is ‘for a legitimate purpose’. What could possibly go wrong?

This is apparently what you can expect to get if you vote for a Labour government. Just don’t necessarily expect them to spell it out before the election.

Just now it might seem as if the struggle over the future of press freedom in the UK has been suspended, if not ended. As a high-profile political issue it has certainly been kicked into the long grass since the press refused to sign up to a regulator recognised by Royal Charter — the deal that was stitched up between the political parties and Hacked Off in 2013. Yet there are snakes lurking in that long grass, getting ready to strike after May.

The Hacked Off elitists have been lobbying in their usual behind-closed-doors fashion to get the political parties to sign up to a tougher state-backed system. Last August, the tabloid-bashing group’s new executive director, the snobbish jobbing journalist Joan Smith, smugly observed in an interview that the state of press regulation ‘might be in a very different position’ after the General Election. If the press has not bent the knee to regulation by Royal Charter, she said, ‘we would then expect that to trigger a failure report to the government saying the Royal Charter has been set up and the newspaper industry has basically stuck two fingers up against it’. At which point a fully fledged Leveson Law would be expected to follow.

To that end, Smith assured the Press Gazette, the Hugh Grant-fronted lobby group was twisting UK politicians’ arms to make a manifesto commitment to creating a regulator backed by the state. She was sure that the Lib Dems were already signed up, and that Labour ‘are sympathetic, but we’d like more of a commitment about what’s actually going to go in the manifesto’. Hacked Off, she wanted to assure them all, will ‘keep going until we see quite dramatic improvements in sections of the press’. In other words, until the press submits to meeting the standards set for it by Ms Smith and Mr Grant.

Labour, the traditional top-down party of state socialism turned managerial machine, has never been a friend of press freedom and seems the natural ally of the Hacked Off clique. Harman’s previous insistence that her party is ‘not the political wing of Hacked Off’ prompted thoughts that the deputy leader doth protest too much. On the other side of that alliance, Hacked Off seems relatively unmoved by current revelations of widespread phone-hacking by the Labour-supporting Mirror newspapers, certainly compared to its feather-spitting hysteria over lesser offences by the despised, New Labour-deserting Murdoch press.

There is no need to imagine that the Conservatives are the freedom-friendly alternative to Labour and the Lib Dems (despite the presence of chief whip Michael Gove, the one politician to tell the Leveson Inquiry that press freedom was not in the gift of the good lord justice). The Conservatives are no more of a positive alternative to Labour than IPSO, the ‘tough’ regulator set up by the newspaper industry, is better than the system of regulation-by-Royal Charter. Both IPSO and the Tories have publicly swallowed the ‘Leveson principles’.

It was Tory prime minister David Cameron, after all, who set up the Leveson Inquiry/inquisition in 2011, haughtily announcing that, while it’s all well and good for the press to speak truth to power, ‘it is equally vital that those in power can tell truth to the press’. Cameron’s Tories were party, along with the Labour and Lib Dem leaders, to the late-night deal with Hacked Off that agreed the Royal Charter two years ago — the first system of state-backed press regulation in Britain since 1695.

However, this sorry tale should give serious pause to anybody with an ounce of feeling for freedom of speech and of the press who still imagines there might be a reason for voting Labour as the more progressive/radical/liberating alternative. You have been warned by no less an authority than the Labour Party’s once-and-possibly-future deputy prime minister: Vote Labour, get Lord Justice Leveson. (Or whatever version of his proposals Ms Harman and Labour leader Ed Miliband might ultimately have the nerve to implement.)

The fool formerly known as Basil Fawlty might have risked ridicule by comparing journalists to murderers. But it was the Right Honourable Harriet Harman QC MP who pledged in all po-faced seriousness that a Labour government would carry out Judge Leveson’s death sentence on press freedom.

It would be better by far if all this could be brought out into the open and the freedom of speech and of the press turned into election issues. Any politician out there willing to, in the horrified words of Hacked Off, ‘basically stick two fingers up’ to the Royal Charter, state-backed regulation of the press and all of the stultifying ‘Leveson principles’ would get my vote.


'Fight the Jewish scum!' Shocking anti-Semitism on streets of BRITAIN as Jewish journalist is spat at, abused and even stalked

With as many as 45 per cent of British Jews fearing they 'may not have a future in Britain', according to a survey by the Campaign Against Antisemitism - and following an experiment by Israeli Zvika Klein on the streets of Paris, British journalist Jonathan Kalmus decided to test the levels of prejudice in two British cities with shocking results. Volunteers in Copenhagen and Rome also suffered some abuse, as well as welcoming reactions, while Jewish journalists in Stockholm and Berlin walked for hours without incident.

'You Jew' was the anti-Semitic scream which came from a passing car. My shaken wife tried to explain it away to my seven-year-old daughter as a very large sneeze. They were simply playing in a local park in Manchester a few weeks ago when the incident ripped through what should have been a peaceful and wholesome time for any mother and child.

'Fight the Jewish scum' and 'Jew, Jew, Jew... Run', were the more vicious threats hurled at me in the past few days, however, when I decided to secretly film and find out whether 'Jew-hatred' really is alive and kicking on British streets.

The answer to that question is a resounding and heart-sinking yes.

I took the inspiration from the viral videos of Israeli journalist Zvika Klein, who filmed himself being threatened on the streets of Paris, and Muslim Hamdy Mahisen, who filmed himself getting abuse in Milan.

Zvika walked in Paris for 10 hours, Hamdy in Milan for five. It took me just one minute. One minute of walking one single, busy major street in Manchester before abuse was flung at me.

In 25 minutes on that one single street in Longsight, I was spat at by one man and called 'a Jew' multiple times by passers by, even by a young boy walking with his father. 

I was just walking in the street testing the effect of being clearly identifiable as a Jew by wearing a small traditional Jewish head covering called a kippah.

David Cameron today hit out at the 'shocking' discrimination filmed in Manchester and Bradford.

The Prime Minister, speaking to MailOnline, said: ‘There are no excuses for the shocking anti-Semitism revealed in this report.

‘The idea that Jewish people feel unsafe again in Europe strikes at the heart of everything we stand for.

‘We must fight anti-Semitism with everything we have got and make sure Britain remains a country that our Jewish communities are proud to call home.’

Labour leader Ed Miliband told MailOnline: ‘Any act of anti-Semitism on our streets brings shame on those who demonstrate hatred and intolerance towards each other.

‘We need to renew our vigilance and ensure every family of every faith can be secure in our country.

‘We must defend loud and clear and with defiance and determination the values we believe in: tolerance, diversity, freedom of speech and freedom of faith.’

A spokesman for the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said: 'Many who are visibly Jewish do suffer this kind of abuse and anti-Semitism and figures from the Community Security Trust (CST) indicate that these kinds of incidents are on the increase.'

However, a spokesman for the CST revealed even it was shocked by the number of comments in the time.

‘The fact incidents like this take place of that nature still takes place does not surprise us. The frequency with which they took place – he experience 10 in an hour’s walking – that is worrying,' the spokesman said.

'It suggest lots of these types of incidents maybe going unreported.’

In Bradford the situation was more shameful. It took 13 minutes, during which I was stalked by a man who repeatedly took pictures of me. He followed me on foot for five minutes and thirty seconds according to my footage.

There was a shout of 'you Jew' at me as I crossed the road to Bradford City Park. Minutes later a man turned his head and yelled 'fight the Jewish scum' just behind my back.

Some time later three youths shouted at me across a street repeatedly, 'You're a Jew, not a Muslim...Jew, Jew, Jew run!'

I was prepared to walk for hours and expected to get nothing on camera. On Manchester's curry mile, a haven of mixed cultures and skin colour, it took two-and-half-minutes for a young lad on a bike to ride up to me and shout, 'You're a Jew' in my face. I was left speechless that anti-Semitism is so obvious.

In total, between the two cities I suffered a series of anti-Semitic hate incidents, more than those in Zvika Klein's video and achieved in one-tenth of the time here in Britain. What a horrible reality.

Why did I pick Bradford? For a simple reason. Last summer during the height of another Gaza conflict between Israel and Palestinians, 5,000 people, predominantly young Muslim men, gathered for a mass rally in Bradford City Park. The city's MP, George Galloway, spoke while flanked by two butch men wearing T-shirts emblazoned 'Palestine's army you are not alone'.

Mr Galloway has repeated on many, many occasions that his message and political struggle is with Israel and Israelis, not Jews. Despite that, statistics show that bringing the Middle East's struggles onto the streets of Britain has a direct effect on how people treat Jews.

No one could accuse me of targeting Muslim neighbourhoods to provoke a reaction. This was the centre of an ordinary English city and I was minding my own business.

No one could accuse me of wearing something provocative or political. A Jewish person or any peaceful person walking in a British street anywhere, let alone a city centre, should be welcome.


Google’s fact checking scheme: A war on truth

Google to become final arbiter of “facts”?

Google recently published a research paper proposing that the world’s largest search engine change its ranking algorithms to dampen sites with a high number of “false facts”. The paper specifically uses the example of Barack Obama’s nationality, and New Scientist uses the specific example of “anti-vaccination sites”,  leading some to speculate this is an effort to target “conspiracy theories” and alternative news.

It’s a worthy concern. Facebook not long ago launched a feature to do just that. When people don’t like a story that’s getting around, they can report it as false, and Facebook will dampen that link, no matter who shares it. I’m going to speak anecdotally about my own experience here for a moment, but I hope you’ll come to see the bigger picture.

For those of us who make enemies on social media, this presents a pretty serious problem, because Facebook does not check these reports, at least not thoroughly. I have been banned from Facebook dozens of times, and usually it is because somebody reported something I posted as containing nudity, violence, or racism, where none existed. Those reports are made by ideological rivals for ideological purposes, and my voice is repeatedly and severely diminished as a result.

Whether the issue at hand is Facebook’s reporting system, or Google’s fact checking, those of us with unpopular ideas are going to be contradicting the vast majority of people out there, and a system that punishes us for doing so is troubling to say the least.

For me, Facebook is my top referrer for traffic to this website, Google is my second. I imagine that I’m not alone in this. Algorithm changes of any sort damage my business and my voice, and they happen more frequently than you might imagine if you don’t monitor these things. Were the standard for relevancy to change to credibility, and to be measured by “how many people agree with him” I would essentially be erased from the Internet. That might sound like a good idea to some people, but I’m not the one you need to be concerned about.

What I do here, for better or for worse, is start conversations. This works out pretty well in the present paradigm where the primary ranking indicator is popularity in terms of who is linking to and talking about you. I’ve long said that there is no such thing as bad press, in part because all “bad press” does is drive up your relevancy on search engines and social media. I certainly prefer people say nice things about me, but I prefer them to say bad things, than to say nothing at all.

This doesn’t always work out so well on a system like Reddit, where there is a reputation system that includes a downvote. There are coalitions of people on the web who hate me so viciously that they will do anything to damage my reputation and diminish my distribution.

One such coalition exists on Reddit, and downvotes anything posted there from this website, without even reading the content. The fact that it comes from my domain is enough. This has caused Redditers to delete posts from this website, because the downvotes on my content damage their reputation on Reddit. Other times it causes the content to become labeled as controversial, and the competition between upvotes and downvotes causes the content to appear more popular, driving a great deal of traffic to this website. In large part, it just depends on who gets to it first, but it has almost nothing to do with the quality, much less the factual accuracy, of the content in question. Point being, agreement has no bearing on quality or accuracy.

Potential Upside

Rather than paint this as all doom and gloom, I should point out that this could be used for good. We’ll talk about problems with the fact checking algorithm later, but for a moment let’s consider the value of a “truth meter”. Presuming one existed and was accurate, this could be an excellent tool.

The paper proposes a similar model to Google’s “Knowledge Vault”. If you ask Google a question, Google will often give you an answer that doesn’t require you to click through to another site. When I want to check the exchange rate of Bitcoin for example, I search Google for “Bitcoin price” and Google displays the current average from Coinbase.com, updated every three minutes. This is fine with me, because I consider Coinbase to be a reputable source for this data. If I search for “cure for cold” I get some information from the Mayo Clinic on cold remedies. Even though we all know there is no cure for the common cold, this is about as close as we’re going to get to an answer to my question.

There are other reputation metrics on the web right now, and clearly there is nothing wrong with that. Web of Trust for example is a browser plugin with over 131 million downloads. It checks the reputation of the website you’re visiting “based on a unique crowdsourcing approach that collects ratings and reviews from a global community of millions of users who rate and comment on websites based on their personal experiences”. That store with the prices that seem too good to be true? WOT might save you from a frustrating and time consuming battle with identity theft. LazyTruth is a browser plugin that checks if the email you’re reading is some kind of chain letter hoax by comparing it against FactCheck.org and PolitiFact, which are themselves a sort of reputation metric.

If Google wants to get into the fact checking business, they could save me the trouble of installing yet another browser plugin, or searching for topics on fact checking sites, similarly to how they save me the trouble of visiting Coinbase or Mayo Clinic now. That’s a valuable service which a lot of people might appreciate.

Additionally, ranking a site highly just because it is already popular might not be the best way to determine the quality of the content, factual or not. New websites pop up every day, and some method of promoting them over a popular competitor whose quality is in decline might be of great benefit to content producers and consumers alike. Fact checking could be one way of establishing that quality.

Mission Creep

The primary problem as I see it, is that Google, Facebook, and other services we use to get ourselves connected to information have largely served to connect us with the information we want by determining what others have found relevant. This is a very specific task, and changing it to fact checking is a dramatic change in protocol. It is a completely different business model that in no way resembles the service you originally signed up for.

As stated earlier, there are already reputation metrics available for people who want to use them. These are specific services provided by entities who specialize in providing it. If they aren’t doing a good job, you just stop using that service, or go to a competitor. You lose nothing other than their fact checking service by leaving that website.

If Google gets into the fact checking business, and does a bad job, you lose your search engine. If Facebook gets into it and does a bad job, you lose your social network. More importantly since the idea behind these algorithms is to prevent you from seeing the content in the first place, you’ll never actually know if the content is fact or fiction, because you’ll never even see it. When the services that connect us to content start hiding it from us because they disagree with it, we never get the opportunity to find out of the service provider is doing a bad job. If we don’t find out that they are doing a bad job, then we lack the information necessary to make the decision to choose a different service provider.

I would have next to no problem with “Google Truth” or “Facebook Reputation” services. Even if they did a poor job, I could always choose a different service, or compete with them if I saw fit. They might wrongly slander and harm the reputations of good people, but if they did so on a large enough scale, it would in turn damage the reputation of those services.

Take for example, the Southern Poverty Law Center. They smear people as violent racists and sexists and gay bashers all the time, often on very flimsy evidence. This type of institution gains a lot of sway with race baiters and social justice warriors, but they are despised by most conservatives and libertarians. We just make a value judgement on whose word we’re going to accept and move on for the most part.

The SPLC on the other hand isn’t deciding whether or not I see the content of the people they smear. Google and Facebook do. That presents a far more serious problem, which makes me inclined to stop doing business with them.

Chilling Effect

Let us say that Google takes the position that widgets do not cause cancer. Let us also say that some smaller source says that widgets do cause cancer. Now there is a dispute between these two institutions on the factual accuracy of the question.

As a content producer, I see that Google sends me a great deal of traffic. I am dependent on that traffic for my livelihood. I also see that the smaller source provides me with no traffic at all, because they are not a search engine, that is not their function. Should I come to the side of the smaller entity, Google will punish me by pushing my site down in the search results. Potentially not only the article in question, but the entire domain could become discredited and even content Google sees as credible would be pushed down in the rankings, dramatically injuring my business. This makes content producers extraordinarily unlikely to disagree with Google.

Let us say someone does defy Google, and gets their business ruined as a result. Someone else sees that happening. They know that Google is constantly adding new “facts” to their database, and contradicting those facts will punish your search engine placement. A statement they make today, could be deemed false by Google tomorrow. Even if the content producer who Google punished yesterday was factually incorrect, even if he deserved to be erased from the Internet, doing that to him will have a dramatic impact on other well meaning content producers. They will be weary of challenging main stream narratives in general.

Google’s research paper mentioned the “Birther” conspiracy, and this provides a perfect example. Let us pretend that in 2016 there emerged a presidential candidate whose nationality really was in question. Content producers would be inclined not to report on the issue, for fear of being silenced by the world’s largest search engine, a system they rely on to put food on their tables.

New Scientist mentioned “anti-vaccination” sites. Well, if Google were to take the position that vaccines were safe and anybody who said they weren’t was a liar, then the emergence of a dangerous vaccine at some point in the future would not be as widely reported on due to fears of censorship by their biggest driver of traffic and advertising revenue. The real fact on vaccines is that they are not as safe as marijuana, so would pro vaccine sites that say “vaccines are safe” as a blanket statement be flushed? I have a hard time imagining that this would result in anything positive.

In short, Google would not just be driving down the emergence of incorrect information, they would have a dramatic impact on what people said before they said it. That goes contrary to everything we’ve come to enjoy about the Internet as a place for the exchange of ideas, and competition for hearts and minds.

The Myth of Neutrality

As I recently remarked, there is no such thing as neutral. We all have certain biases, and the best that we can hope for is to make those biases known and let people decide for themselves how to interpret data. The FCC cannot make the net “neutral” they can only control it in the way they see fit. There is no such thing as an unbiased news source, because to even say a thing is news is to take a position on an issue. The pages of Wikipedia are fraught with left wing and feminist bias that has been well reported on by many, not the least of which was to label “Cultural Marxism” as a conspiracy theory.

To decide whether or not a thing is true, and to flush the untrue statement to the bottom of search results, necessarily would make Google an arbiter of debates. Google might make some attempt to appear neutral in that, but the biases of their developers would bleed through in some way no matter what. Say a developer implements a fact checking system, sees results he does not agree with, and then alters the fact checking algorithm to fit his world view. If Wikipedia, a system that anybody can edit, will throw cultural Marxism into the conspiracy theory dumpster, then let us not pretend that a more tightly controlled mechanism like Google’s search algorithms won’t be subject to the same biases.

Were Google search results to begin flushing “conspiracy theories” down the toilet on wikipedia standards, just imagine how many conservative and libertarian websites would cease to have a voice on the world’s largest search engine.

Popularity By Any Other Name

Ultimately, Google is incapable of actually being the arbiter of truth. The proposed method of determining the factual accuracy of a given statement is actually just a different measurement of popularity than they currently use. Instead of determining popularity based on how many people are linking to the content, they would judge the popularity based on how many people were saying the same thing, and call that factual accuracy. This itself, is factually inaccurate, as popularity and truth are often worlds apart.

Per the research paper from Google:

    "We propose using Knowledge-Based Trust (KBT) to estimate source trustworthiness as follows. We extract a plurality of facts from many pages using information extraction techniques. We then jointly estimate the correctness of these facts and the accuracy of the sources using inference in a probabilistic model. Inference is an iterative process, since we believe a source is accurate if its facts are correct, and we believe the facts are correct if they are extracted from an accurate source. We leverage the redundancy of information on the web to break the symmetry. Furthermore, we show how to initialize our estimate of the accuracy of sources based on authoritative information, in order to ensure that this iterative process converges to a good solution."

Facts are accurate because they come from a reputable source, and a source is reputable because it is accurate. They determine if it is accurate based on how many people are saying the same thing. This is just another popularity contest using a different yard stick. Instead of judging relevancy based on inbound links, they are determining “accuracy” based on similar thought processes. This of course, is no measure of accuracy at all.

For a great deal of time it was thought that tomatoes were evil. This very popular notion parroted by many of the time, turned out to be complete nonsense. It took awhile for people to figure out that aristocrats were dying of lead poisoning, not tomatoes themselves. Imagine that phenomenon in the age of Google fact checking, any site that said tomatoes were safe, would quickly be flushed to the bottom of the search results.

Think about the hysteria that followed the release of “Reefer Madness” in the 30’s. That nonsense went largely unrefuted, and was in no small part responsible for the countless cages and coffins now filled due to the war on drugs. Challenging those ideas on the Internet is why Washington, Colorado, Alaska, and Washington DC have legalized marijuana in defiance of the federal government, and states like New Hampshire are moving towards decriminalization. Now imagine that trying to take place in an era of Google “fact checking” where to disagree with the notion that marijuana leads to rape and murder, would flush you to the bottom of the search engine rankings.

Trying to pass off popularity, however your measurement is taken, as accuracy is a fundamental flaw in the way human beings think. Our confirmation bias is a huge problem in discussions on all sorts of topics from politics, to economics, to health, and beyond. It is specifically because things like Google and Facebook have operated in the way they operate that we’re able to overcome some portion of that hazard, and the proposal by Google’s researchers would put a huge dent in that progress while competitors struggled to gain market share back with better ranking policies.

That doesn’t just harm businesses or screw up your enjoyment of the Internet. That costs lives, fills prisons, and steers nations to war.



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

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

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


6 March, 2015

Costco accommodated a Muslim employee who refused to work with pork. Now he's suing them for religious discrimination

A former Muslim employee at a Brooklyn, NY Costco refused work with pork, so he was reassigned to gathering carts outside.

Now, he's suing the company for religious discrimination.

Jean Camara told ABC News he was working as a cashier's assistant when pork came across the conveyor belt. He then told his managers he couldn't touch pork or alcohol because his Islamic beliefs forbid him from doing so.

Camara was then reassigned to gathering shopping carts outside, but claims his mangers never told him why he was reassigned.

He also reportedly kept asking to work in the electronics department inside, but was denied because there positions were not available.

This prompted Camara to file a human rights complaint against the company. He was fired 16 days later for insubordinate conduct.

“Just because you have a different belief, that doesn’t give anybody the right to treat you different,” Camara told ABC News.

Camara's attorney, Chauncey Henry, added, “It’s not OK to discriminate against someone for their religion. It isn’t OK. It isn’t OK to treat them differently from others because of what they believe.”

So, according to Henry, should Costco have made Camara continue to work as a cashier's assistant despite the fact he refused to work with pork? Is reassigning him away from a position where he'd work with pork discriminatory?

Or is denying him a position in the electronics department discriminatory?

“I think that as the case progresses in the trial we are in now, I think the facts are going to come out and they’re going to speak for themselves,” Henry said.

I guess we'll see won't we?


Black Christians love Israel

Dr. King was outspoken in his support of Israel and today there is a street named for him in Jerusalem

In April 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. landed in jail in Birmingham, Alabama for violating a local injunction against demonstrations.  Sitting in jail, he learned that local white clergy advised against "outsiders coming in," calling King's activities "unwise and untimely."

In response, King wrote his famous "Letter from a Birmingham Jail."

In the pages-long, handwritten letter, he lays out the logic and theology of his activities. He explains that, like the prophets and apostles, he was compelled "to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my home town."

King concludes saying that "...when these disinherited children of God sat down at lunch counters, they were in reality standing up for what is best in the American dream and for the most sacred values in our Judeo Christian heritage, thereby bringing our nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in the formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence."

We are witnessing today a bizarre role reversal of those events in 1963.

We live in a dangerous world and America has enemies. We must have a clear sense of the nature of these threats so we may act properly.

In this spirit, House Speaker John Boehner has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress to convey his thoughts about the dangers of a nuclear- armed Iran.

But members of the Congressional Black Caucus are protesting, saying they will not attend.

Black members of congress, those allegedly carrying on the civil rights movement that Dr. King led, are now the ones protesting "outsiders coming in" and saying that expression in the pursuit of truth, in our free country, is "unwise and untimely."

The U.S. State Department has listed Iran as a State Sponsor of Terrorism since 1984. Freedom House in Washington, DC designates Iran as an "Unfree" country.

In a new Gallup poll, 77 percent of Americans call development of nuclear weapons by Iran a "critical threat."

All Americans should welcome with enthusiasm the thoughts of the Israeli Prime Minister, who leads a nation that has fought for its survival in the Middle East every single day since its founding.

Black caucus members walking out on the Prime Minister violate the principles of freedom of our nation, for which Dr. King fought.

They also betray the unique relationship of black Christians, and America in general, to the Jewish people and the state of Israel.

In a Pew Research survey in 2013, in answer to the question "Was Israel given to the Jewish people by God?", 40 percent of Jewish Americans said yes, 44 percent of all Americans said yes, and 51 percent of black Protestants said yes.

Dr. King was outspoken in his support of Israel and today there is a street named for him in Jerusalem.

The civil rights movement was animated by imagery from the Book of Exodus in the Old Testament. Historian Taylor Branch's biographic trilogy about Dr. King's movement are called "Parting the Waters", "Pillar of Fire," and "At Canaan's Edge."

The words inscribed on the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia - "Proclaim liberty throughout the land to the inhabitants thereof" - are from the book of Leviticus.

The Black Caucus is out of step with black Christians by not welcoming this visitor bringing the "gospel of freedom" from abroad. They should recognize that welcoming Mr. Netanyahu means, in the words of Dr. King, "standing up for what is best in the American dream and for the most sacred values of our Judeo-Christian heritage."


In Danger: Free Speech

FREEDOM of speech. What is it worth? Without it we can lose everything including our lives. Imagine what life would be like if radical Islam eliminates free speech. You will not be able to express your opinion.

According to Wikipedia the Pakistan Penal Code (295 and 298) prohibits blasphemy against any recognized religion. This includes defaming the Muslims' prophet Muhammad. The penalty ranges from a fine to death.

Danish Palestinian poet, Vahya Hassan, said, "Muslims love to take advantage of free speech. As soon as there is someone saying something critical against Islam, they want to restrict it."

The Charlie Hebdo magazine published a series of satirical cartoons of the prophet Muhammad.   Most, if not all, Muslims consider a picture or cartoon of Muhammad forbidden. An Islamic response to the cartoons was a sentence (fatwa) issued on the lives of the cartoonists and the magazine.  Years later, Islamic gunmen executed the fatwa killing twelve Hedbo cartoonists and its publisher.

Days after the massacre a magazine spokesperson said "We will not give in otherwise all this won't have meant anything." This time, in Pakistan, Islamic groups placed a bounty of $1,000,000 for the lives of Charlie Hebdo magazine's cartoonists.

Throughout the world the actions of millions of Muslims, openly and adamantly, protest the showing of Muhammad cartoons and freedom of speech. In some of these demonstrations violence and deaths of non-Muslims resulted.

"The Seattle Globalist" reported a group of Somali Muslim Americans gathered to demand the resignation of a teacher who showed the cartoons to her teenage students.

In a Dearborn city council meeting a Muslim man proposed implementing Sharia morals patrols and restriction of free speech.

In Iran, immediately following Friday prayers, tens of thousands took to the streets to condemn the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo shouting "Death to France, death to Israel, death to Britain, death to Charlie Hebdo while carrying flags saying "To Hell with Free Speech."

ABC News quoted Iranian lawmaker, Ahmad Tavakoli, who blamed the West for the Charlie Hebdo attack. Addressing Westerners, he shouted, "This is the fruit of your own action." A few days later, with government encouragement, the protests were repeated by tens of thousands in cities and countries around the world.

The following is a list of a few of the areas, around the world, where demonstrations occurred protesting the caricature of Muhammad and thereby objecting to free speech. Afghanistan, Srinagar, Karachi, Pakistan, United Kingdom, Banako, Mali, Niger, Australia, Algeria, Asia and Africa.

The size of demonstrations ranged from hundreds to thousands. The highest estimate reported was by the Russian Interior Minister. He estimated that 800,000 protesters attended the January 19th demonstration against criticism of Muhammad.

Take a moment and Imagine what life would be like if radical Islam succeeds and eliminates free speech. Without free speech they can enforce brutal laws like the Pakistan Penal Code which allows a death verdict. You will not be able to protest and express your opinion nor practice the religion of your choice.

Civilized people, must stop trying to appease people who live by 1500 year old barbaric laws. They demand that we must also live by their Sharia laws.  Appeasement has not worked in the past. There is no realistic way to assume appeasement will work now. If we continue making the same mistakes we will lose everything including our lives.


Are Islam's conservative social values a potential support for conservative political parties?

The writer below thinks that Muslims should be recruitable by Australia's conservative political parties.  He overlooks much, however.  It is true that Muslim values are conservative in some ways but Islam is also a supremacist religion that regards all non-Muslims as inferior and unworthy of support or respect.  It is a hate-based religion.  To anybody with Christian traditions that seems incredible but a reading of the Koran (start at Surah 9) will confirm it.

The ALP is however also a hate-based party, as all Leftist parties are, so Muslim votes for it show where their deep motivations lie. Both the Left and Islam want to "fundamentally transform" (to use Obama's phrase) the countries in which they live. And the gentle values of Christian teaching simply seem weak and foolish to Muslims

During the 2013 election the Australian Broadcasting Corporation commissioned an online poll known as “Vote Compass” where voters were asked their opinion on several hot-button issues in Australian politics. This article uses those published results as a source.

When I ask people where they think the most conservative electorates of Australia are, their answers are usually the same. They are quick to mention electorates like Maranoa in Queensland, good rural voters in the capable hands of my party, the National Party. It is true that on most issues of traditional family and moral values the electorate of Maranoa or ones like it in Australia usually hold firm in respecting the values that have forged us as a nation.

On the issue of gay marriage, Maranoa is the most strongly opposed. On whether Australia should become a Republic, the voters of Maranoa are the most strongly opposed. On another issue of great concern to Australians, whether terminating the life of an unborn child should be less accessible – Maranoa comes in third.

Neighbouring Groom (another stalwart Liberal-National seat) leads the country in voters who reject the notion that a child should be killed for being inconvenient to their mother. You might not guess which electorate holds second place…

I am of course speaking of the Western-Sydney division of Chifley. The seat is named after an icon of the ALP, Ben Chifley (often called the founder of the modern Labor Party) and has been firmly held by the Labor Party since it’s creation in 1969. What the electorate has become famous, or even infamous for in recent years is being the seat of Labor MP Ed Husic, the first Muslim member of Australian Parliament and the first Minister of any Australian Government sworn in on the Quran. I do not consider this a positive or a negative event in our democratic history, merely a reflection of changing times and demographics in this country.

A change that shows what it takes for the Australian Labor Party to field a socially conservative candidate in its modern student-pandering era. A change that shows the heart of Labor conservatism is no longer truly at the hands of Catholic trade unionists behind closed doors, but Muslim voters on the streets and in the houses and businesses of places like Western Sydney.

A quick look at those of the Labor front-bench who voted against their publicity advisor’s wishes (a great crime in Labor circles) and supported traditional marriage in the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd government shows that so called Labor conservatives like Chris Bowen, Tony Burke and Ed Husic are respecting the wishes of their large Muslim constituent bases by supporting causes like the protection of marriage and the unborn. For this small glimmer of hope in the social policy of the Labor government, we have them (this minority of Muslim voters) to thank.

Why is it though, that in these majority Muslim divisions we see the re-election of progressive political parties? Sure, people like Bowen, Burke and Husic respect the wishes of their electorates and support causes relevant to Christian and Muslim families alike – but by voting for the Labor Party, Muslim voters are outright rejecting the national preservation of traditional family and moral values.

I honestly believe that the reason Muslims turn so often to the Labor Party is due to the outright xenophobia produced in the media and by many members (and some MP’s) of the Liberal and National parties towards Muslim-Australians. While the ALP in a shrewd political move races to accept Muslims and cater for them at a political level, it seems that the right of Australian politics does all it can to foster a jingoistic fear of all Muslims as terrorists, unable to integrate with multicultural Australia or even as backward and insular – perhaps so far as morally or religiously bankrupt. In my experience with the Australian Muslim community, nothing could be further from the truth.

The Muslim community I know and have grown to love are caring, devoted family people, a true community and one that by and large respects the religious and moral traditions set forth by the Quran and to a large degree also presented in our own Christian Bible. As seen by the Vote Compass results, Muslim communities reject abortion, gay marriage and euthanasia. They value time with their family, fight to retain their traditions and culture – and most of all love and treasure their religious freedoms and teachings.

I ask you how this is different to the Australian Christian? We should all be devoted to preserving the traditional family unit, fighting for the rights of the unborn and giving everyone the right to worship in peace and respect. This is why I will ask every one of you reading who is a member of a conservative political party – Nationals, Liberals, Katterites or Family First – to find a Muslim, a good-hearted, Australian Muslim connected to his or her community, sit them down for lunch or dinner and by the end of the conversation sign them up to your party.

At a time when half the membership of the Liberal Party would scoff at the idea of regular church attendance or call you an extremist for merely supporting the right to life of a child – we need these committed conservatives and family-people. We need to visit our local mosques like we visit our local churches, to find fast friends in the Muslim community of Australia and to convince them that we (the Coalition or conservatives generally) are not their enemy.

We need to field good, conservative Muslim candidates in electorates like Chifley, McMahon and Watson because there is nothing intrinsically holding Labor to these seats. We need to inspire the new generations of migrant, refugee and minority that we are the party for them, the movement for them. We need to show Muslim-Australians that the Coalition is there to support them in owning a home, starting a business and caring for their family like we did for Italian, Greek, Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees before them, among others.

These candidates will be all you could ask for in a good conservative Liberal. Supportive of a child’s right to life, supportive of traditional marriage, supportive of freedoms of religion and religious expression – and to support the principles of good mainstream Australian moral values.

Within the next ten years, we can see traditional Labor holdouts turn blue as our new members embrace the economic opportunities that the Coalition offers while still maintaining their traditional cultural and religious views and values. We can help turn the tide of a continued shift to the left within our own party ranks with this fresh injection of traditionalism, and most importantly we can fight the ugly head of racism and xenophobia within the conservative movement.

Many people say you only fear what you do not know, so I say to all young conservatives in this nation – go and get to know your local Muslim community, you may well have more in common than you first thought.



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

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

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


5 March, 2015

Useless British social workers again

Harassing middle class families over trivialities is all they are good for. Raping little girls is fine but if you join the wrong political party your kids can be taken off you. I'm neither joking nor exaggerating

More than 300 young people in Oxfordshire were groomed, raped and sometimes forced into 'sex slavery' by gangs over the last 15 years, a damning report will reveal tomorrow.

In a scandal startlingly similar to the one in Rotherham, police and social services will be criticised for failing to protect vulnerable children from sexual abuse.

One gang of Asian men was responsible for abusing and enslaving 50 girls, mainly from Oxford, but the men were also able to sexually torture girls as young as 11 for eight years after a series of missed opportunities to stop them.

Tomorrow the county's safeguarding children's board will publish a review into 15 years of child exploitation, which will be 'brutal' in its condemnation of the authorities.

The victims, who were mainly girls under the age of 16 in the care system, were targeted by men from mainly Asian gangs who raped, tortured and trafficked them for sex between 1999 and 2014.

Some were abused for up to eight years despite asking for help from the authorities, who instead refused to believe them or blamed them.

Their abusers fed them drink and drugs before taking them to graveyards, a B&B and flats rented just for the rape and torture of children.  

According to the Guardian, one 12-year-old girl was taken to a Reading house for a backstreet abortion during a six-year period where she was passed between groups of men who raped her in what she called 'torture sex'.

The plight of the victims was laid bare in 2013 when seven members of a sadistic gang were jailed for a total of 95 years for their 'depraved' and 'evil' abuse of vulnerable girls.

Five gang members were given life sentences and two others were jailed for seven years for 'crimes of the utmost gravity'.

The paedophile network groomed more than 50 vulnerable girls in Oxford between 2004 and 2012 with gifts, alcohol and drugs before subjecting them to extreme physical and sexual violence.

They used knives, meat cleavers and baseball bats to inflict severe pain on the girls for their twisted pleasure.

But a catalogue of opportunities to stop the abuse was missed as early as May 2005.

On numerous occasions girls told police officers, social workers and care staff in children's homes how they were raped or seriously sexually abused – but no charges were brought against the gang.

Three of the girls who gave evidence at the trial were reported missing from residential care on 254 occasions.

And the judge in the case, Judge Peter Rook, said 'police and social services missed tell-tale signs' about the abuse that was taking place.

One social worker had earlier told the trial that 'nine out of ten' people who were meant to be caring for the girls 'knew what was going on'.

Life sentences were handed to Akhtar Dogar, 32, and his brother Anjum, 31, who were both jailed for a minimum of 17 years, Mohammed Karrar, 38, who will serve a minimum of 20 years, his brother Bassam, 33, jailed for a minimum of 15 years and Kamar Jamil, 27, jailed for a minimum of 12 years. Assad Hussain, 32, and Zeeshan Ahmed, 27, were jailed for seven years.

The latest serious case review came weeks after true scale of abuse in Rotherham was revealed, where at least 1,400 girls fell into the clutches of paedophiles, mainly from Pakistani backgrounds.

Whistleblowers who tried to raise concerns lost their jobs, and  police officers often did not seem to believe the girls, their families or those who reported problems, and did not treat them as victims.

One former police officer said: 'They were running scared of the race issue… there is no doubt that in Rotherham, this has been a problem with Pakistani men for years and years. People were scared of being called racist.'

Similar paedophile rings were uncovered in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, and Derby.


I couldn't tell if my girl was more at risk from sex predators or the social workers: Mother of victim of Oxfordshire paedophile gang tells how she begged for help

A mother has told how she questioned her own sanity as she begged social workers and police for years to help stop her daughter from being repeatedly sexually abused.

In the end she feared the girl was at as big a risk from social workers as she was from the gang who groomed her.

The woman would often spend her nights searching the streets of Oxford for her missing daughter because the police and social services would not.

But the victim, who was groomed, drugged and sold into abuse more than 150 times, says social workers saw her as a nuisance and treated her like a piece of meat rather than a child being abused.

Her mother, now in her 60s, adopted her from a life of physical and sexual abuse when the girl was 11. But she struggled to get on at secondary school and was expelled at 12.  She soon fell into the grip of the grooming gang and would regularly go missing.

Yet her mother said social workers were unwilling to acknowledge the problem and help. She said: ‘It was an absolute nightmare. It got me doubting my own sanity. The whole world was turned upside down. Everything that I thought should be happening was not.

‘All of the way along [social workers] were more of a hindrance and a problem than a help. At the time I didn’t know whether she was more at risk with the men or social services.’

The woman, who cannot be named, said she first asked for help in 2004 but social services refused to act because her daughter was not originally from the Oxford area.

Her pleas for help were met with no empathy from ‘robot’ social workers, she said.  ‘She was going missing more and more. When they did decide to get involved all they did was take her into care and send her to outside the county.’

Her daughter was sent to a Devon children’s home, away from her family and friends, where she was trafficked to London to meet strangers for sex. 

But social services told the girl they would take her away from her mother or take her to a secure unit if she did not stop misbehaving, she said.

‘They just couldn’t have cared less. I didn’t feel like we were dealing with human beings. They were cold, they were not interested.  ‘They had no skills in communicating with young people.  ‘They could not begin to understand what was going on with these girls.

‘Along the way we didn’t meet many evil people, just a lot of ignorance, arrogance and complacency.’ Her daughter admitted she was a difficult teenager but social workers had no idea how to deal with her.  ‘They were vile. I was nothing. They didn’t want me in their county. I was a problem.  ‘They said I should never have been adopted when I actually hadn’t done anything wrong – I was the one being let down.

‘They told me I was a nuisance. If they had seen me as a person who was obviously hurting, things would have been a lot different. ‘I was nothing to anyone apart from my mum and a few police officers. Then I saw myself like that. They set me up to fail.

‘All I wanted was for people to prove I was not nothing. They did not want even to remotely try to understand. Not at all.’

‘They should have done their jobs and they weren’t doing their jobs. Even if it was one single sexual assault they should have dealt with that. As soon as a child said no I am fine they just left it.’

The victim also insisted that there were at least another 15 men she could think of who escaped prosecution – along with hundreds of their customers.

She said: ‘If I went to Oxford now I would see hundreds of people that were involved. That’s why I wouldn’t go.’


Jihadi John family's 20 years on benefits: How it's cost taxpayers up to £400k to house fanatic and his relatives

Jihadi John and his asylum-seeking family have milked the British benefits system for 20 years, the Mail can reveal today.

Housing the Islamic State executioner and his relatives in affluent parts of London has cost taxpayers up to £400,000.

One landlord said Mohammed Emwazi’s family were ‘parasites’ and ‘tenants from hell’. Incredibly, they are still believed to be pocketing £40,000 a year in handouts despite there being no sign of them in Britain.

Emwazi’s father Jasem, who has six children, is back in his native Kuwait – the country he claimed he fled fearing for his life.

Westminster City Council is still paying the rent on the family’s £600,000 flat even though the rules say housing benefit should normally be stopped after 13 weeks.

MPs said they were horrified that the child of a family given refugee status, citizenship and benefits had returned the favour by orchestrating the murder of two of its citizens.

‘They are abusing our hospitality,’ said Philip Hollobone. ‘The rules are quite clear. If there has been any abuse of the system here, money should be paid back.

'Mohammed Emwazi’s offences are worse than murder or terrorism. They are an assault on the British way of life.’

David Davies, a fellow Tory MP, said: ‘This is an absolute outrage and a disgrace. We should stop their housing benefit immediately. Mr Emwazi clearly doesn’t need asylum in this country.’

Emwazi’s father Jasem, 51, and his wife Ghaneya brought their family – including Mohammed, then aged six – to Britain in 1994.

The couple successfully argued that because they are ‘Bedoon’ – stateless people denied citizenship by Kuwait – they should be granted asylum. The award of British citizenship allowed the whole family to make regular trips back to Kuwait.


DOJ's Racial Witch Hunt Isn't Over

The Justice Department will soon release its final investigative report on the Ferguson Police Department, and chatter suggests the report will accuse Ferguson police of engaging in sustained discriminatory practices against the black population. Surprise! The report will allegedly also claim these practices led to years of racial animosity in the city, culminating in last summer's shooting of Michael Brown and months of racial unrest.

According to recent data from the Missouri attorney general, blacks accounted for 86% of traffic stops in 2013, but make up 63% of the population. Black drivers were twice as likely to be searched during a stop, yet searches were more likely to turn up contraband with white drivers.

The fines collected from such traffic stops are Ferguson's second largest source of revenue. The Justice Department report goes so far as to suggest that the city uses disproportionate traffic stops against blacks to meet municipal budget shortfalls.

The final report will likely include a list of recommended changes Ferguson will need to implement. Otherwise, the city could face a federal lawsuit to force compliance -- just like the four open lawsuits against cities that have not rolled over. Most cities facing such actions comply with the Justice Department's demands. During Eric Holder's time as attorney general, the DOJ has gone after more than 50 police departments for some form of discrimination or another, often at the behest of the NAACP or the ACLU.

"This is about expanding federal power in the police departments," former DOJ attorney Hans von Spakovsky told The Wall Street Journal. "The lawyers at Justice believe they are the ones who should be promulgating national standards of how cops should behave. And police departments are so afraid of bad publicity that they agree to settle the case with all kinds of rules that Justice wants to impose."

It is within the responsibility of the Justice Department to investigate matters in which discrimination may be taking place, but, when the AG is someone who sees everything through a racial prism like Holder, the potential for trouble escalates. For example, Holder is so motivated by his own racial grievances that he resolutely refuses to address the outrageous number of murders of blacks by other blacks.

FBI statistics from 2012 show that 2,614 whites were killed by other whites that year, and 2,412 blacks were killed by other blacks. If Holder were as concerned about proportionality as he demonstrates when comparing white and blacks, then one would think he would have been troubled by these numbers. As a portion of the population, black-on-black murder remains substantially higher than white-on-white murder. And the FBI numbers for 2012 combined white and Hispanic murder rates, making the disparity even greater than at first glance.

Yet, throughout his tenure at Justice, Holder has maintained his focus on race, letting himself get mixed up with professional race hustlers like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. He has followed their pattern by continually blaming racism and discrimination for the plight of the black community. The actions of his Justice Department confirm Holder's view that blacks are targeted for their skin color, not because of their behavior.

Perhaps that's why Sharpton says, "No other U.S. attorney general has a civil rights record equal to Holder's."

Amy Wax, a former DOJ official teaching at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, wrote, "Contrary to frequently voiced accusations and despite a voluminous literature intent upon demonstrating discrimination at every turn, there is almost no reliable evidence of racial bias in the criminal justice system's handling of ordinary violent and non-violent offenses. Rather, the facts overwhelmingly show that blacks go to prison more often because blacks commit more crimes."

The Justice Department's months of investigating did not bring up enough evidence to charge Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson with civil rights violations in the death of Michael Brown. Similarly, they were not able to pin such charges on George Zimmerman for the death of Trayvon Martin.

In fact, for all of Holder's posturing, all Justice has really been able to accomplish is perpetuating the same problem they claim to be addressing. The pattern of racial indignation set by Sharpton and Co. that has been picked up by Holder's Justice Department has only served to make police less likely to engage in minority neighborhoods. This won't make inner cities less violent, and it won't make lives better for blacks.

Shortly after taking office, Holder accused America of being a nation of "cowards" for not engaging in a frank discussion about race. As he prepares to step down in a few weeks, Holder still has not engaged in that discussion, either. He'd rather place blame and wag his finger because that's what makes headlines and turns out the aggrieved vote. As for the real work that it will take to reduce black-on-black crime and make minority neighborhoods safer, well, apparently that's just not worth his time.



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

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

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


4 March, 2015

Why Are Lawmakers Attacking This Archbishop for Requiring Catholic Teachers to Not Slam Catholicism?

If McDonald’s told its employees that it was unacceptable to diss its fast food as gross, disgusting or unhealthy at either McDonald’s or in a public setting, would it elicit a heated reaction from lawmakers? Probably not.

So why are lawmakers getting involved in a Catholic bishop’s decision to tell diocesan employees he expected them to not publicly object to church teachings?

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone is under fire for adding new clauses to archdiocese’s high school teachers contract that require “Catholic teachers in their professional and public lives uphold Catholic teaching,” according to the diocesan newspaper Catholic San Francisco.

Acknowledging not all teachers are personally Catholic, the archdiocese is pushing that its public and classroom statements and behavior reflect Catholic teaching on matters ranging from abortion to contraception to the Eucharist being the real presence of Jesus Christ.

Enter, after public controversy, California state lawmakers.

Last week, eight California assemblymen and state senators, representing the areas in the archdiocese, sent Cordileone a letter, saying the new clauses “conflict with settled areas of law and foment a discriminatory environment in the communities we serve.” They continued:

Although your position wields discretion over working conditions at schools affiliated with the Catholic Church, the standards within the morality clauses would be illegal for any other [sic] employer. Your proposal goes beyond regulating behavior in the workplace and infringes upon the personal freedoms of your employees.

Let’s remember a few facts.

First, no one has to work for the San Francisco archdiocese. Plenty of people would find the clauses far too restrictive—and they can choose to never work at these Catholic high schools or to quit their current jobs there.

Second, it’s fairly typical for people to want to hire employees who are comfortable with and in agreement with the mission of the person or company—or who at least won’t publicly bash the company line. In his response to the eight lawmakers, Cordileone made that case, writing, “Would you hire a campaign manager who advocates policies contrary to those that you stand for, and who shows disrespect toward you and the Democratic Party in general?” He added:

On the other hand, if you knew a brilliant campaign manager who, although a Republican, was willing to work for you and not speak or act in public contrary to you or your party—would you hire such a person? If your answer to the first question is “no,” and to the second question is “yes,” then we are actually in agreement on the principal point in debate here.

Two of the San Francisco lawmakers, Assemblymen Phil Ting and Kevin Mullin, who assigned the initial letter weren’t happy with Cordileone’s response.

On Monday, they asked the California Assembly Labor and Employment Committee and the Assembly Judiciary Committee to investigate the archdiocese’s actions. In particular, Ting and Mullin questioned the archdiocese’s decision to classify high school teachers as “ministers”—a classification that matters because of the 2012 Supreme Court decision in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Michael Stokes Paulsen, a law professor at the University of St. Thomas, explained in a 2012 Public Discourse article how the Supreme Court decision broadened the definition of ministers:

The principle established by the First Amendment is that a religious group has the “right to shape its own faith and mission through its appointments” and thus has plenary “control over the selection of those who will personify [its] beliefs.” This includes teachers, lay leaders, and persons who perform a mix of religious and seemingly “secular” functions. The right extends to those whom a religious community, operating under its own system of rules, designates as central to its religious mission and identity. The court’s one-word descriptor perhaps says it best: those persons that the community identifies as personifying its religious identity. The court decided only the case before it, but it made clear that the right itself is one of religious community autonomy, broadly understood. It is not a right limited to pastors alone.

It seems clear that the archdiocese has legal precedent to call high school teachers at Catholic schools “ministers.”

This week, however, the archdiocese suggested that it would no longer push for the teachers to be called ministers. The National Catholic Register reported an archdiocesan priest “clarified that while the archbishop is no longer considering the use of the word ‘ministers’ to describe the Catholic teachers, he is now using the word ‘ministry’ instead to define their work.”

Regardless of the legal terms the archdiocese ultimately uses, what’s clear is that it is not unreasonable—or illegal—for a religion to ask teachers in its schools to adhere to certain practices. As written in the Hosanna-Tabor decision:

By forbidding the “establishment of religion” and guaranteeing the “free exercise thereof,” the religion clauses ensured that the new federal government—unlike the English crown—would have no role in filling ecclesiastical offices. The establishment clause prevents the government from appointing ministers, and the free exercise clause prevents it from interfering with the freedom of religious groups to select their own.

Ting, Mullin and the other six lawmakers may vehemently disagree with Cordileone’s decision—and that’s their prerogative. But it should concern all religious or religion-friendly Americans that a religious leader’s decision to ask teachers employed by the religion to refrain from public bashing of that religion has elicited such a strong reaction and a request of a probe from lawmakers.

Religious leaders should be free to make such decisions without worrying about interference from the government.


Decline of the stay at home mother: Just one woman in ten is a full time mother

Only one woman in ten now stays at home to raise a family.  Official figures show the proportion of women who are stay-at-home mothers has dropped by more than a third in the past two decades to a historic low.

But there has been no compensating movement towards staying at home among men. Just over one man in 100 brings up his children full-time.

The findings, published in an Office for National Statistics report, come at a time of continuing controversy over the pressure on mothers to go out to work and warnings over the welfare of children.

Specifically, the figures detail those who give their occupation as ‘looking after family or home’. It does not include unemployed women, who are classed as looking for work.

Last year Chancellor George Osborne published plans to encourage up to half a million more women into work by the start of 2016. He said he wanted to ‘support women who want to work’ by increasing access to child care.

But at the time critics warned that the Government risked ‘stigmatising’ stay-at-home mothers. A childcare voucher scheme worth up to £1,200 to parents will go into operation next month.

The report said the number of adult women who are ‘economically inactive’ – in other words they neither work nor want to work – has dropped fast since 1980.

It said: ‘There are many reasons for economic inactivity, such as study, looking after the family or home, sickness or disability, or not needing to work.

‘However the main reason for the decline in female inactivity rates over the longer period has been a decline in the share of women staying out of work to look after the family or home.’

The report said the proportion of women aged between 16 and 64 who are economically inactive because they are looking after the family or the home was 15.9 per cent in the spring of 1993, but fell by last autumn to 10.1 per cent.

The figures showed the share of adult women who were stay-at-home mothers dropped below 15 per cent in 1995 and had reached 13.5 per cent when Tony Blair entered Downing Street in May 1997.

The proportion of women who are stay-at-home mothers briefly dropped below 10 per cent last summer, and stood at 10.1 per cent at the end of 2014, the report said.

By contrast, the proportion of men who choose to become house-husbands has remained low, despite the encouragement of politicians who believe men should take a larger share of childcare duties.

In the spring of 1993 just 0.6 per cent of men were economically inactive because they were looking after family or home. While the proportion doubled over the next two decades, that still meant that just 1.2 per cent spent their days looking after home or children last year.

The march of women into the labour market follows the increasing importance of education and jobs to girls, and the pressure on women to remain in work to pay ever-higher mortgages and keep up with the cost of living.

But critics accuse successive governments of doing nothing to help those who want to bring up their own children since the decision to tax married couples separately in the late 1980s first left stay-at-home mothers without any support in the tax system.

While working mothers have gained heavily from tax credits, increasing maternity leave, and state-subsidised childcare, those who stay at home with their children have no help from the benefits system.

Laura Perrins, of Mothers At Home Matter, said: ‘It is a reflection of Government policy that women have to look for work when many want to look after their children instead.

‘The Government is only interested in income tax revenue. It has no interest in the wishes of mothers or the welfare of their children.’

Research for the Department for Education last year found more than a third of working mothers would like to give up their jobs and stay at home with their children.

More than two out of three women are now in employment – 68.5 per cent in the last three months of last year, according to the ONS. At the beginning of the 1980s the level of working among women was barely over half.

The percentages mean there are now more than 14million women in work, but only two million are full-time mothers or homemakers.


Discrimination against Christians ‘ignored’ across Europe

Discrimination against Christians is being “ignored” by governments and courts, MPs from across Europe have warned in the wake of a string of cases involving the rights of British workers to wear crosses or discuss their beliefs.

The parliamentary arm of the Council of Europe has issued a formal declaration urging states to recognise the principle of “reasonable accommodation” for the beliefs of traditionalist Christians on issues such as homosexuality for the first time.

The first test of the new call will come as early as this week with the opening of an employment tribunal case involving a London nursery worker who claims she was dismissed for telling a lesbian colleague her beliefs on same-sex marriage.

Sarah Mbuyi denies claims that she harassed the woman, who cannot be named for legal during the conversation in January last year.

She also alleges that she was asked to act against her beliefs by reading stories about same-sex couples to children

Ms Mbuyi is supported in her case by the Christian Legal Centre which has instructed the human rights barrister Paul Diamond to represent her at the tribunal in Watford.

The legal team is planning to cite a new declaration issued through the Council of Europe, the international body which operates the European Court of Human Rights, insisting that Christians are now subject to “intolerance and discrimination” across the continent.

Members of the Council’s Parliamentary Assembly, made up of MPs from national parliaments, passed the resolution in response to a report detailing a series of cases involving British Christians.

They include Gary McFarlane, a former Relate counsellor, and Lillian Ladele, a marriage registrar, who both resisted performing tasks they believed would amount to condoning homosexuality which they believe is against the teaching of the Bible, and Shirley Chaplin, a nurse who was forbidden from wearing a cross at work.

The three challenged their treatment at the European Court of Human Rights but lost. However the court upheld a claim from Nadia Eweida, a BA check-in clerk who was sent home because the small cross she wore contravened the airline’s uniform policy.

“Numerous acts of hostility, violence and vandalism have been recorded in recent years against Christians and their places of worship, but these acts are often overlooked by the national authorities,” the declaration says.

“Expression of faith is sometimes unduly limited by national legislation and policies which do not allow the accommodation of religious beliefs and practices.”

It goes on to urge countries to adopt the principle of “reasonable accommodation” meaning that workers should be able to conscientiously object to tasks which conflict with their beliefs if practically possible.

“The reasonable accommodation of religious beliefs and practices constitutes a pragmatic means of ensuring the effective and full enjoyment of freedom of religion.

“When it is applied in a spirit of tolerance, reasonable accommodation allows all religious groups to live in harmony in the respect and acceptance of their diversity.”

Ms Mbuyi said: “In a Christian country one should be free to explain what Christians believe on issues if asked.

“And in any country, to state the agreed view of the historic Abrahamic Faiths on sexuality should simply be a matter of fact and history, and not taken by anyone, whether employee, or employer as personal or abusive.”

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre said: “This is a straightforward case of an employer not respecting the religious rights and freedoms of an employee and deciding to favour the views of homosexuals over the historic factual teaching of the of the world’s major faiths.

“In court, the panel will also be advised that her employers also required Ms Mbuyi to act in violation of her faith by the promotion of same sex unions to children.

“Ms Mbuyi was dismissed simply for holding and expressing a view on homosexuality, based on her religion, in a conversation.

“Whether or not her employers could lawfully penalise her for holding and expressing such a view is the central issue of this claim.”


"The Jews" as a scapegoat lives on in the form of Israel

When bad things happened that people did not understand, it was customary for many centuries to blame "The Jews" for the problem.  Hating Israel is the modern form of that

by Matti Friedman

I have been writing from and about Israel for most of the past 20 years, since I moved there from Toronto at age 17. During the five and a half years I spent as part of the international press corps as a reporter for the American news agency The Associated Press, between 2006 and 2011, I gradually began to be aware of certain malfunctions in the coverage of the Israel story – recurring omissions, recurring inflations, decisions made according to considerations that were not journalistic but political, all in the context of a story staffed and reported more than any other international story on earth. When I worked in the AP’s Jerusalem bureau, the Israel story was covered by more AP news staff than China, or India, or all of the fifty-odd countries of sub-Saharan Africa combined. This is representative of the industry as a whole.

In early 2009, to give one fairly routine example of an editorial decision of the kind I mean, I was instructed by my superiors to report a second-hand story taken from an Israeli newspaper about offensive T-shirts supposedly worn by Israeli soldiers. We had no confirmation of our own of the story’s veracity, and one doesn’t see much coverage of things US Marines or British infantrymen have tattooed on their chests or arms. And yet T-shirts worn by Israeli soldiers were newsworthy in the eyes of one of the world’s most powerful news organizations. This was because we sought to hint or say outright that Israeli soldiers were war criminals, and every detail supporting that portrayal was to be seized upon. Much of the international press corps covered the T-shirt story. At around the same time, several Israeli soldiers were quoted anonymously in a school newsletter speaking of abuses they had supposedly witnessed while fighting in Gaza; we wrote no fewer than three separate stories about this, although the use of sources whose identity isn’t known to reporters is banned for good reason by the AP’s own in-house rules. This story, too, was very much one that we wanted to tell. By the time the soldiers came forward to say they hadn’t actually witnessed the events they supposedly described, and were trying to make a point to young students about the horrors and moral challenges of warfare, it was, of course, too late.

Also in those same months, in early 2009, two reporters in our bureau obtained details of a peace offer made by the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, to the Palestinians several months before, and deemed by the Palestinians to be insufficient. The offer proposed a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza with a capital in a shared Jerusalem. This should have been one of the year’s biggest stories. But an Israeli peace offer and its rejection by the Palestinians didn’t suit OUR story. The bureau chief ordered both reporters to ignore the Olmert offer, and they did, despite a furious protest from one of them, who later termed this decision “the biggest fiasco I’ve seen in 50 years of journalism.” But it was very much in keeping not only with the practice at the AP, but in the press corps in general. Soldiers’ vile t-shirts were worth a story. Anonymous and unverifiable testimonies of abuses were worth three. A peace proposal from the Israeli prime minister to the Palestinian president was not to be reported at all.

Vandalism of Palestinian property is a story. Neo-Nazi rallies at Palestinian universities or in Palestinian cities are not -- I saw images of such rallies suppressed on more than one occasion. Jewish hatred of Arabs is a story. Arab hatred of Jews is not. Our policy, for example, was not to mention the assertion in the Hamas founding charter that Jews were responsible for engineering both world wars and the Russian and French revolutions, despite the obvious insight this provides into the thinking of one of the most influential actors in the conflict.

100 houses in a West Bank settlement are a story. 100 rockets smuggled into Gaza are not. The Hamas military buildup amid and under the civilian population of Gaza is not a story. But Israeli military action responding to that threat – that is a story, as we all saw this summer. Israel’s responsibility for the deaths of civilians as a result – that’s a story. Hamas’s responsibility for those deaths is not. Any reporter from the international press corps in Israel, whether he or she works for the AP, Reuters, CNN, the BBC, or elsewhere, will recognize the examples I’ve cited here of what is newsworthy and what is not as standard operating procedure.

In my time in the press corps I saw, from the inside, how Israel’s flaws were dissected and magnified, while the flaws of its enemies were purposely erased. I saw how the threats facing Israel were disregarded or even mocked as figments of the Israeli imagination, even as these threats repeatedly materialized. I saw how a fictional image of Israel and of its enemies was manufactured, polished, and propagated to devastating effect by inflating certain details, ignoring others, and presenting the result as an accurate picture of reality. Lest we think this is something that has never happened before, we might remember Orwell’s observation about journalism from the Spanish civil war: “Early in life,” he wrote, “I had noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper, but in Spain, for the first time, I saw newspaper reports which do not bear any relation to the facts, not even the relationship which is implied in an ordinary lie. … I saw, in fact, history being written not in terms of what had happened but of what ought to have happened according to various ‘party lines.’” That was in 1942.

Over time, I came to understand that the malfunctions I was witnessing, and in which I was playing a part, were not limited to the AP. I saw that they were rather part of a broader problem in the way the press functioned, and in how it saw its job. The international press in Israel had become less an observer of the conflict than a player in it. It had moved away from careful explanation and toward a kind of political character assassination on behalf of the side it identified as being right. It valued a kind of ideological uniformity from which you were not allowed to stray. So having begun with limited criticism of certain editorial decisions, I now found myself with a broad critique of the press.

Eventually, however, I realized that even the press wasn’t the whole story. The press was playing a key role in an intellectual phenomenon taking root in the West, but it wasn’t the cause, or not the only cause – it was both blown on a certain course by the prevailing ideological winds, and causing those winds to blow with greater force. Many journalists would like you to believe that the news is created by a kind of algorithm – that it’s a mechanical, even scientific process in which events are inserted, processed, and presented. But of course the news is an imperfect and entirely human affair, the result of interactions between sources, reporters, and editors, all of whom bear the baggage of their background and who reflect, as we all do to some extent, the prejudices of their peers.

In the aftermath of last summer’s Gaza war, and in light of events in Europe in recent months, it should be clear that something deep and toxic is going on. Understanding what that is, it seems to me, will help us understand something important not only about journalism but about the Western mind and the way it sees the world.

What presents itself as political criticism, as analysis, or as journalism, is coming to sound more and more like a new version of a much older complaint – that Jews are troublemakers, a negative force in world events, and that if these people, as a collective, could somehow be made to vanish, we would all be better off. This is, or should be, a cause for alarm, and not only among people sympathetic to Israel or concerned with Jewish affairs. What is in play right now has less to do with the world of politics than with the worlds of psychology and religion, and less to do with Israel than with those condemning Israel.

The occupation of the West Bank, with which I opened, would seem to be at the heart of the story, the root cause, as it were, of the conflict portrayed as the most important on earth. A few words, then, about this occupation.

The occupation was created in the 1967 Mideast war. The occupation is not the conflict, which of course predates the occupation. It is a symptom of the conflict, a conflict that would remain even if the symptom were somehow solved. If we look at the West Bank, the only Palestinian area currently occupied by Israel, and if we include Jerusalem, we see that the conflict in these areas claimed 60 lives last year – Palestinian and Israeli.

An end to this occupation would free Palestinians from Israeli rule, and free Israelis from ruling people who do not wish to be ruled. Observers of the Middle East in 2015 understand, too, that an end to the occupation will create a power vacuum that will be filled, as all power vacuums in the region have been, not by the forces of democracy and modernity, which in our region range from weak to negligible, but by the powerful and ruthless, by the extremists. This is what we’ve learned from the unraveling of the Middle East in recent years. This is what happened in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and Egypt, and before that in Gaza and southern Lebanon. My home in Jerusalem is within an easy day’s drive of both Aleppo and Baghdad. Creating a new playground for these forces will bring the black-masked soldiers of radical Islam within yards of Israeli homes with mortars, rockets, and tunneling implements. Many thousands will die.

Beyond the obvious threat to Palestinian Christians, women, gays, and liberals, who will be the first to suffer, this threatens to render much or all of Israel unlivable, ending the only safe progressive space in the Middle East, the only secure minority refuge in the Middle East, and the only Jewish country on earth. No international investment or guarantees, no Western-backed government or Western-trained military will be able to keep that from happening, as we have just seen in Iraq. The world will greet this outcome with sincere expressions of sympathy. Only several years ago I, like many on the left, might have dismissed this as an apocalyptic scenario. It isn’t. It is the most likely scenario.

People observing this conflict from afar have been led to believe that Israel faces a simple choice between occupation and peace. That choice is fiction. The Palestinian choice, it is said, is between Israeli occupation and an independent democracy. That choice, too, is fiction. Neither side faces a clear choice, or clear outcomes. Here we have a conflict in a region of conflict, with no clear villain, no clear victim, and no clear solution, one of many hundreds or thousands of ethnic, national, and religious disputes on earth.

The only group of people subject to a systematic boycott at present in the Western world is Jews, appearing now under the convenient euphemism “Israelis.” The only country that has its own “apartheid week” on campuses is the Jewish country. Protesters have interfered with the unloading of Israeli shipping on the West Coast of the United States, and there are regular calls for a boycott of anything produced in the Jewish state. No similar tactics are currently employed against any other ethnic group or nationality, no matter how egregious the human rights violations attributed to that group’s country of origin.

Anyone who questions why this is so will be greeted with shouts of “the occupation!”, as if this were explanation enough. It is not. Many who would like to question these phenomena don’t dare, for fear that they will somehow be expressing support for this occupation, which has been inflated from a geopolitical dilemma of modest scope by global standards into the world’s premier violation of human rights.

The human costs of the Middle Eastern adventures of America and Britain in this century have been far higher, and far harder to explain, than anything Israel has ever done. They have involved occupations, and the violence they unleashed continues as I speak here this evening. No one boycotts American or British professors. Turkey is a democracy, and a NATO member, and yet its occupation of northern Cyprus and long conflict with the stateless Kurds – many of whom see themselves as occupied – are viewed with a yawn; there is no “Turkish Apartheid Week.” The world is full of injustice. Billions of people are oppressed. In Congo, 5 million people are dead. The time has come for everyone to admit that the fashionable disgust for Israel among many in the West is not liberal but is selective, disproportionate, and discriminatory.

There are simply too many voices coming from too many places, expressing themselves in too poisonous a way, for us to conclude that this is a narrow criticism of the occupation. It’s time for the people making these charges to look closely at themselves, and for us to look closely at them.

Naming and understanding this sentiment is important, as it is becoming one of the key intellectual trends of our time. We might think of it as the “Cult of the Occupation.” This belief system, for that it what it is, uses the occupation as a way of talking about other things.

As usual with Western religions, the center of this one is in the Holy Land. The dogma posits that the occupation is not a conflict like any other, but that it is the very symbol of conflict: that the minute state inhabited by a persecuted minority in the Middle East is in fact a symbol of the ills of the West – colonialism, nationalism, militarism, and racism. In the recent riots in Ferguson, Missouri, for example, a sign hoisted by marchers linked the unrest between African Americans and the police to Israeli rule over Palestinians.

The cult’s priesthood can be found among the activists, NGO experts, and ideological journalists who have turned coverage of this conflict into a catalogue of Jewish moral failings, as if Israeli society were different from any other group of people on earth, as if Jews deserve to be mocked for having suffered and failed to be perfect as a result.

Most of my former colleagues in the press corps aren’t full-fledged members of this group. They aren’t true believers. But boycotts of Israel, and only of Israel, which are one of the cult’s most important practices, have significant support in the press, including among editors who were my superiors. Sympathy for Israel’s predicament is highly unpopular in the relevant social circles, and is something to be avoided by anyone wishing to be invited to the right dinner parties, or to be promoted. The cult and its belief system are in control of the narrative, just as the popular kids in a school and those who decide what clothes or music are acceptable. In the social milieu of the reporters, NGO workers, and activists, which is the same social world, these are the correct opinions. This guides the coverage. This explains why the events in Gaza this summer were portrayed not as a complicated war like many others fought in this century, but as a massacre of innocents. And it explains much else.

So prevalent has this kind of thinking become that participating in liberal intellectual life in the West increasingly requires you to subscribe at least outwardly to this dogma, particularly if you’re a Jew and thus suspected of the wrong sympathies. If you’re a Jew from Israel, your participation is increasingly conditional on an abject and public display of self-flagellation. Your participation, indeed, is increasingly unwelcome.

What, exactly, is going on?

Observers of Western history understand that at times of confusion and unhappiness, and of great ideological ferment, negative sentiment tends to coagulate around Jews. Discussions of the great topics of the time often end up as discussions about Jews.

In the late 1800s, for example, French society was riven by the clash between the old France of the church and army, and the new France of liberalism and the rule of law. The French were preoccupied with the question of who is French, and who is not. They were smarting from their military humiliation by the Prussians. All of this sentiment erupted around the figure of a Jew, Alfred Dreyfus, accused of betraying France as a spy for Germany. His accusers knew he was innocent, but that didn’t matter; he was a symbol of everything they wanted to condemn.

To give another example: Germans in the 1920s and ‘30s were preoccupied with their humiliation in the Great War. This became a discussion of Jewish traitors who had stabbed Germany in the back. Germans were preoccupied as well with the woes of their economy – this became a discussion of Jewish wealth, and Jewish bankers.

In the years of the rise of Communism and the Cold War, communists concerned with their ideological opponents talked about Jewish capitalists and cosmopolitans, or Jewish doctors plotting against the state. At the very same time, in capitalist societies threatened by communism, people condemned Jewish Bolsheviks.

This is the face of this recurring obsession. As the journalist Charles Maurras wrote, approvingly, in 1911: “Everything seems impossible, or frighteningly difficult, without the providential arrival of anti-Semitism, through which all things fall into place and are simplified.”

The West today is preoccupied with a feeling of guilt about the use of power. That’s why the Jews, in their state, are now held up in the press and elsewhere as the prime example of the abuse of power. That’s why for so many the global villain, as portrayed in newspapers and on TV, is none other than the Jewish soldier, or the Jewish settler. This is not because the Jewish settler or soldier is responsible for more harm than anyone else on earth – no sane person would make that claim. It is rather because these are the heirs to the Jewish banker or Jewish commissar of the past. It is because when moral failure raises its head in the Western imagination, the head tends to wear a skullcap.

One would expect the growing scale and complexity of the conflict in the Middle East over the past decade to have eclipsed the fixation on Israel in the eyes of the press and other observers. Israel is, after all, a sideshow: The death toll in Syria in less than four years far exceeds the toll in the Israel-Arab conflict in a century. The annual death toll in the West Bank and Jerusalem is a morning in Iraq.

And yet it is precisely in these years that the obsession has grown worse.

This makes little sense, unless we understand that people aren’t fixated on Israel despite everything else going on – but rather because of everything else going on. As Maurras wrote, when you use the Jew as the symbol of what is wrong, “all things fall into place and are simplified.”

The last few decades have brought the West into conflict with the Islamic world. Terrorists have attacked New York, Washington, London, Madrid, and now Paris. America and Britain caused the unraveling of Iraq, and hundreds of thousands of people are dead there. Afghanistan was occupied and thousands of Western soldiers killed, along with countless civilians – but the Taliban are alive and well, undeterred. Ghaddafi was removed, and Libya is no better off. All of this is confusing and discouraging. It causes people to search for answers and explanations, and these are hard to come by. It is in this context that the Cult of the Occupation has caught on. The idea is that the problems in the Middle East have something to do with Jewish arrogance and perfidy, that the sins of one’s own country can be projected upon the Western world’s old blank screen. This is the idea increasingly reflected on campuses, in labor unions, and in the media fixation on Israel. It’s a projection, one whose chief instrument is the press.

As one BBC reporter informed a Jewish interviewee on camera several weeks ago, after a Muslim terrorist murdered four Jewish shoppers at a Paris supermarket, “Many critics of Israel’s policy would suggest that the Palestinians suffered hugely at Jewish hands as well.” Everything, that is, can be linked to the occupation, and Jews can be blamed even for the attacks against them. This isn’t the voice of the perpetrators, but of the enablers. The voice of the enablers is less honest than that of the perpetrators, and more dangerous for being disguised in respectable English. This voice is confident and growing in volume. This is why the year 2015 finds many Jews in Western Europe eyeing their suitcases again.

The Jews of the Middle East are outnumbered by the Arabs of the Middle East 60 to 1, and by the world’s Muslims 200 to 1. Half of the Jews in Israel are there because their families were forced from their homes in the 20th century not by Christians in Europe, but by Muslims in the Middle East. Israel currently has Hezbollah on its northern border, al-Qaeda on its northeastern and southern borders, and Hamas in Gaza. None of these groups seek an end to the occupation, but rather openly wish to destroy Israel. But it is naïve to point out these facts. The facts don’t matter: We are in the world of symbols. In this world, Israel has become a symbol of what is wrong – not Hamas, not Hezbollah, not Great Britain, not America, not Russia.

I believe it’s important to recognize the pathologies at play in order to make sense of things. In this context it’s worth pointing out that I’m hardly the first to identify a problem – Jewish communities like this one, and particularly organizations like Bicom, identified a problem long ago, and have been expending immense efforts to correct it. I wish this wasn’t necessary, and it shouldn’t be necessary, but it undoubtedly is necessary, and becoming more so, and I have great respect for these efforts. Many people, particularly young people, are having trouble maintaining their balance amid this ideological onslaught, which is successfully disguised as journalism or analysis, and is phrased in the language of progressive politics. I would like to help them keep their bearings.

I don’t believe, however, that anyone should make a feeling of persecution the center of their identity, of their Judaism, or of their relationship with Israel. The obsession is a fact, but it isn’t a new fact, and it shouldn’t immobilize us in anger, or force us into a defensive crouch. It shouldn’t make us less willing to seek to improve our situation, to behave with compassion to our neighbors, or to continue building the model society that Israel’s founders had in mind.

I was in Tel Aviv not long ago, on Rothschild Boulevard. The city was humming with life. Signs of prosperity were everywhere, in the renovated Bauhaus buildings, in the clothes, the stores. I watched the people go by: Kids with old bikes and tattoos, businesspeople, men with women, women with women, men with men, all speaking the language of the Bible and Jewish prayer. The summer’s Hamas rockets were already a memory, just a few months old but subsumed in the frantic, irrepressible life of the country. There were cranes everywhere, raising new buildings. There were schoolchildren with oversize knapsacks, and parents with strollers. I heard Arabic, Russian, and French, and the country went about its business with a potent cheer and determination that you miss if all you see are threats and hatred. There have always been threats and hatred, and it has never stopped us. We have enemies, and we have friends. The dogs bark, as the saying goes, and the convoy rolls by.

One of the questions presented to us by the wars of the modern age is what now constitutes victory. In the 21st century, when a battlefield is no longer conquered or lost, when land isn’t changing hands and no one ever surrenders, what does it mean to win?

The answer is that victory is no longer determined on the battlefield. It’s determined in the center, in the society itself. Who has built a better society? Who has provided better lives for people? Where is there the most optimism? Where can the most happy people be found? One report on world happiness ranked Israel as the 11th happiest country on earth. The UK was 22nd.

Israel’s intellectual opponents can rant about the moral failings of the Jews, obscuring their obsession in whatever sophisticated way they choose. The gunmen of Hamas and their allies can stand on heaps of rubble and declare victory. They can fire rockets, and shoot up supermarkets. But if you look at Tel Aviv, or at any thriving neighborhood in Jerusalem, Netanya, Rishon Letzion, or Haifa, you understand that this is victory. This is where we’ve won, and where we win every day.



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

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

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


3 March, 2015

England excels at one thing... hypocrisy

That the English are hypocritical is an old accusation that goes back long before the era of political correctness.  I believe it is correct.  I also believe, however, that it arose from a long tradition of British politeness -- an instinctive desire to be diplomatic and not antagonize people.  It arose from a desire not to hurt people's feelings if at all possible.  That may explain why political correctness is now so powerful in Britain

England gave the world Shakespeare, the steam locomotive, the computer, Isaac Newton and photography.  But when it comes to what the country excels at, Alan Bennett believes there is only one answer. Hypocrisy.

Playwright and author Bennett, who penned The History Boys and Talking Heads, claims that no other country in the world is so adept at saying one thing and doing another.

Bennett made the comments in a BBC Radio 4 broadcast to mark the 50th anniversary of the World at One. As part of the celebrations, 50 public figures have been asked to decide what sets Britain apart from the rest of the world.

The playwright said he had debated choosing Swaledale, in the Yorkshire Dales, medieval churches or even the National Trust for his nomination, but what he really felt England is best at, “better than all the rest” is ‘hypocrisy’

“In England, what we do best is lip service,” he told presenter Martha Kearney. “A substantial minority of our children receive a better education than the rest because of the social situation of the parents.  “Then we wonder why things at the top do not change or society improve. But we know why. It’s because we are hypocrites.”

Bennett said language was a good example of refined hypocrisy where we want to have it both ways. “Words which start off as good and meaningful, terms like environment and energy saving, rapidly lose any credence because converted into political or PR slogans, ending up the clichéd stuff of an estate agents’ brochure. A manual for hypocrisy.”

And warning listeners not to grumble – Bennett held his hands up and said he didn’t exempt himself from these criticisms. “How should I?” he says. “I am English, I am a hypocrite.”

In January the World at One heard nominations from the Prime Minister David Cameron and Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband and other party leaders.

Mr Cameron said Britain could be most proud of its science and its universities, an area where the country was ‘still first class’ and has the potential to ‘solve the problems we face.’

“Whether exploring the first moments of the universe of the genetic code, Britain is great at it,” he said.

Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minster and Liberal Democrat Leader, said Britain excelled at civil rights and the law. He said it was ‘marvellous’ that the UK has ‘settled, quiet habits of liberty.’

Labour leader Ed Miliband said the NHS was Britain’s biggest achievement. “It’s so important we protect it for the future,” he told the programme in January.

UKIPs Nigel Farage said the UK justice system was the envy of the world, while green leader Natalie Bennett said British apples deserved recognition.


British supermarket chain bans customers using the words 'Christ' and 'Jesus Christ' in messages when they are ordering flowers online - but jihad is okay

The words 'Christ' and 'Jesus Christ' have been placed on a list of banned words by Marks & Spencer and cannot be used in gift messages.

Customers buying a bunch of flowers who try to add a free message containing them are prevented from completing their order. An on-screen notification, which pops up if any blocked words are entered, reads: 'Sorry, there's something in your message we can't write.'

'Christ' and 'Jesus Christ' join other banned words including 'f***' and 'gay' - but some terms including jihad, Buddha and Allah are accepted.  'Terrorist' and 'd**k' can also be included in messages.

The policy emerged earlier today after one customer was stopped from buying a £35 bouquet for a funeral because she said in the gift message that it was from a family in 'Christ Church Teddington'.

When Gerardine Stockford, 53, phoned customer services an employee told her that it must be a blocked word, according to The Sunday Times.

Lord Carey, a former Archbishop of Canterbury, was shocked. He said: 'If Christ becomes an offensive word in a Christian land then all of us should be alarmed.'

Despite the supermarket giant being made aware of the issue yesterday, it still has not changed the facility.  A spokesman for Marks & Spencer said: 'An automatic phrase checker is in place to prevent the use and misuse of certain words and it includes hundreds of words of varying nature. 'The words Jesus and Christ are included to prevent their misuse.'


Knock the shine off Shiner

Human rights lawyers smeared British soldiers with false accusations of the torture and murder or innocent Iraqis, a government dossier claims.

A report drawn up on the Prime Minister's orders claims Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) pursued claims against soldiers despite realising the allegations of abuse might have been 'untrue'.

It comes after a public inquiry spent £31million exonerating British soldiers of claims they went they went on a killing and torture spree following a fierce battle in southern Iraq in 2004.

After five years of investigations, the Al-Sweady inquiry in December concluded there were some breaches of the Geneva convention following the battle. But it also ruled allegations of murder and torture were based on 'deliberate lies, reckless speculation and ingrained hostility'.

Now the government is gearing up to sue law firms for millions of pounds in legal costs and calling for the PIL's chief lawyer, Phil Shiner, to be struck off.

The MoD's dossier, seen by at least two Sunday newspapers, accuses PIL and another law firm, Leigh Day, of continuing to pursue the case even after evidence emerged that the allegations may be untrue.

It suggests PIL had doubts about the credibility of its clients' evidence as early as March 2013 but failed to withdraw the allegations for another 12 months, Tim Ross of the Sunday Telegraph reported.

That led investigators to take evidence from around 100 further witnesses, costing taxpayers an extra £780,000, the paper reported the Government's dossier as saying.

It is also alleged that PIL used a local 'agent' to trawl Basra for potential victims, a breach of a ban on solicitors touting for business that brought hundreds of extra claims against the Army.

The Birmingham-based law firm even continued to represent one claimant in a separate judicial review after he admitted to Al-Sweady investigators he had lied about his sister dying on the battlefield, the dossier alleges.

Leigh Day are accused of failing to disclose a key document for six years, according to the Sun on Sunday.

The claims came after the Battle of Danny Boy on May 14 2004, a fierce firefight which erupted when insurgents from the Mahdi Army ambushed a patrol of Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

Their reinforcements, the 1st Battalion of the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment, were also ambushed and after three hours of fighting 28 Iraqi fighters had been killed.

Claims which subsequently emerged that enraged British soldiers had tortured and executed innocent local people in the aftermath of the battle were dismissed by the Al-Sweady inquiry, which was named for an alleged teenage victim.

Former 1st Battalion the Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment corporal Brian Wood has previously told the Daily Mail he felt he and his colleagues who fought in thad 'done the right thing'.

Mr Wood, 34, who was awarded the Military Cross for his role in the battle, according to the paper, said: 'We have been dragged through five years of hell. That in my view is a betrayal of our service.  'We did what we had to do as soldiers and we did the right thing.'

Ann Hoolin, 50, the mother of soldier Scott Hoolin, told the paper her son was 'upset and disturbed' following the inquiry.  'To be accused of wrongdoing in the aftermath of what happened is disgraceful,' she said.

Sir Thayne Forbes, the retired judge who led the Al-Sweady inquiry, did find that there had been instances of ill-treatment during 'tactical questioning' of the detainees at Camp Abu Naji, near Majar-al-Kabir in southern Iraq, on the night of May 14/15.

These included depriving the prisoners of sight, food and sleep, and using threatening interrogation techniques contrary to the Geneva Convention.  It amounted to ill-treatment and fell below the high standard to be expected of the British Army, Sir Thayne said.

After Sir Thayne's report, Public Interest Lawyers insisted the inquiry had been 'legally necessary, morally justified and politically required'.

Responding to a request for comment on the allegations against PIL and Leigh Day, an MoD spokesman told MailOnline: 'The MoD is assisting the Solicitors Regulation Authority, which is investigating issues that came to light as a result of the Al-Sweady Inquiry.'

PIL said last night in a statement seen by the Sunday Telegraph: 'The Al-Sweady inquiry thoroughly investigated the subject of these matters during which no criticisms were made of Public Interest Lawyers or Phil Shiner by the chair.'

'It is not appropriate to comment any further while SRA proceedings are ongoing. 'PIL and Mr Shiner are confident that they have acted in accordance with their professional obligations.'


Muslim Australia:  19-year-old man charged over 'wedding' to 15-year-old

A backyard Islamic marriage between an 18-year-old man and a 15-year-old girl was only discovered when the young bride took herself to a western Sydney hospital believing she had suffered a miscarriage, police allege.

Mustafa Abdel Ghany, 19, was charged on Wednesday with marrying a 15-year-old girl in the backyard of her father's Sydney home in November.

A sheikh allegedly officiated over the ceremony and the couple moved into a granny flat at Abdel Ghany's parents' home in south-west Sydney soon after.

Detectives from the Child Abuse Squad were alerted to the marriage when the 15-year-old attended Bankstown Hospital on January 20 believing she had suffered a miscarriage.

It is the first time the state's Child Abuse Squad has charged a man with marrying an underage girl.

Abdel Ghany was granted strict bail in Bankstown Local Court on Wednesday and ordered not to go near his wife, not to drink alcohol or take drugs and to abide by an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order taken out against him.

His 15-year-old wife, who cannot be identified, had stopped attending high school at the time of her marriage and was not working, police said in documents tendered to the court.

Her parents did not know where she had been living for the past four to five months and had had little contact with her when police spoke to them in January.

When her horrified mother found out about the union, she confronted the couple and was allegedly told by her new son-in-law that he would "finish" her.

"What's done is done. She's my wife. If you want to start a war, I'll finish it," he allegedly told the mother when she questioned why he married her daughter in such a manner.

Police allege that the bride's father, who was present when they married, told police they were simply engaged.

In early February, Abdel Ghany and his parents grew suspicious that his in-laws were speaking to the police.

An intercepted phone call allegedly revealed he planned to harm his bride's parents, police documents state.

In other phone calls, detectives also allegedly heard Abdel Ghany's parents telling him to move his wife's belonging out of the granny flat and into the main house to hide the relationship.

Just days ago, however, Abdel Ghany struck up a relationship with another woman while his young wife was visiting his family in Canberra, police documents state.

"Police allege the accused has stated that he is considering divorcing the victim," the documents state. "The victim is unaware of the extent of the [new] relationship and is hoping that she and the accused will continue to live as husband and wife."

Abdel Ghany, who was 18 at the time of the marriage, denied that the ceremony took place when interviewed by police on Wednesday and has denied having sex with the 15-year-old girl.

A recent report estimated there were around 250 child bride cases across Australia.

NSW police made their first child bride arrest last year.

A 26 year-old man was convicted of several sexual abuse matters after marrying a 12-year-old girl in a backyard ceremony. The imam who oversaw the marriage was also convicted.



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

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

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


2 March, 2015

Former soldier who lost friends in Iraq and Afghanistan wars is refused service in a Scottish pub because of 'offensive' Union Flag shirt

A former soldier who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan claims he was turned away from a pub in Scotland because workers said the union flag on his top was offensive.

Richard Monteith was told he would not be served again in the Black Bull pub in Polmont, Falkirk, unless he turned down the collar of his Hackett Boat Race polo shirt, which exposed a Union Jack , because it was seen as offensive.

The 36-year-old served 17 years with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and lost several friends and colleagues during tours of the Middle East, Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Kosovo.

He said he was upset with the reaction because he had been in the army and had to deal with seeing a lot of friends draped in the flag after dying in service. 

The incident took place last Friday. Mr Monteith said: 'I had a couple of sips of my pint and was told unless I turned my collar down I wouldn't be served again.

'I asked why and they said the Union Jack and red, white and blue colours were offensive.  'When I asked why the woman just laughed and said 'because it is'.

'I just don't see how the flag or even the colours could be so offensive to anybody. 'To say red, white and blue are offensive is laughable. It was really silly comments, to be honest.'

Mr Monteith, now a security consultant, added: 'Being in the army I have carried quite a few friends that are draped in these colours so I find it very offensive.

'I wear it with pride for them, nothing else. It was me who was shocked and deeply offended.'

Mr Monteith refused to react to the statement or turn down his collar and left the pub.  They walked into one across the road and no issues were raised. 

The father-of-two said he had been unable to get a full explanation from the Black Bull since the incident, despite leaving messages for the manager.

A spokesman for the pub said: 'We are carrying out an investigation into the allegation, but cannot comment further until we speak to all of the members of staff who were working on Friday evening.'


Race Is Just a Social Construct, Except …When DNA Solves Crimes

There were no known eyewitnesses to the murder of a young woman and her 3-year-old daughter four years ago. No security cameras caught a figure coming or going.

Nonetheless, the police in Columbia, S.C., last month released a sketch of a possible suspect. Rather than an artist’s rendering based on witness descriptions, the face was generated by a computer relying solely on DNA found at the scene of the crime.

It may be the first time a suspect’s face has been put before the public in this way, but it will not be the last. Investigators are increasingly able to determine the physical characteristics of crime suspects from the DNA they leave behind, providing what could become a powerful new tool for law enforcement.

Already genetic sleuths can determine a suspect’s eye and hair color fairly accurately. It is also possible, or might soon be, to predict skin color, freckling, baldness, hair curliness, tooth shape and age.

Computers may eventually be able to match faces generated from DNA to those in a database of mug shots. Even if it does not immediately find the culprit, the genetic witness, so to speak, can be useful, researchers say.

“That at least narrows down the suspects,” said Susan Walsh, an assistant professor of biology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis who recently won a $1.1 million grant from the Department of Justice to develop such tools.

But forensic DNA phenotyping, as it is called, is also raising concerns. Some scientists question the accuracy of the technology, especially its ability to recreate facial images. Others say use of these techniques could exacerbate racial profiling among law enforcement agencies and infringe on privacy.

“This is another of these areas where the technology is ahead of the popular debate and discussion,” said Erin Murphy, a professor of law at New York University.

DNA, of course, has been used for more than two decades to hunt for suspects or to convict or exonerate people. But until now, that meant matching a suspect’s DNA to that found at the crime scene, or trying to find a match in a government database.

DNA phenotyping is different: an attempt to determine physical traits from genetic material left at the scene when no match is found in the conventional way. …

Gender has long been ascertained from crime scene DNA. About 15 years ago, some police departments began trying to determine the geographic ancestry of suspects, as well, by using tests like the ones consumers order to learn about their genetic heritage.

In 2003, such information helped redirect the search for a serial killer in Louisiana. Police had been looking for a white man based on a witness account and on psychological profiles.

But DNA found at the site of one of the murders indicated the person’s ancestry was 85 percent sub-Saharan African. Eventually, a black man was convicted of the crimes.

Now researchers are closing in on specific physical traits, like eye and hair color.

But I’ve been hearing for 15 years that two individuals of different races are more genetically similar than two individuals of the same race. I’ve read that in comments sections hundreds of times. Could we have been misled?


500 new cases of female genital mutilation in one month are 'just the tip of the iceberg', campaigners warn

Five hundred women and girls living in England have been identified as victims of female genital mutilation in just one month, new figures show.

And campaigners have warned the numbers represent 'just the tip of the iceberg', estimating more than 130,000 women and girls in the country are affected by the issue.

Female genital mutilation (FGM), is a harmful traditional practice that involves the partial or total removal of the female genitalia.

Campaigners told MailOnline today these figures will 'increase significantly' as more women access health care.

The statistics, published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, include data from 126 eligible acute NHS trusts in England.

They reveal 2,242 active cases, where women and girls are currently being treated for FGM, while 499 new cases were identified in January.

Mary Wandia, FGM programme manager at campaign group Equality Now, told MailOnline that FGM is 'child abuse and an extreme human rights violation'.

'Today's figures are just the tip of the iceberg,' she warned. 'We will see these figures increasing significantly as more women access healthcare.

'The figures also show that training of those who come in contact with girls at risk of FGM - and those affected by it - is urgently needed.

'Health, social and education professionals don't have clear pathways and don't always know what to do.

'FGM is child abuse, a human rights violation and an extreme human rights violation.

'We have made huge progress on ensuring a joined-up approach to preventing it in the UK. It is no longer in the shadows and has is clearly on the national agenda.

'We just need to keep working to ensure that the law is properly implemented and that every single girl is protected.'

Ms Wandia said training for medical professionals is 'essential' in helping them recognise those women and girls affected - as well as those at risk.

She said: 'Survivors of FGM urgently need physical, emotional and psychological support.' 

Last year, Home Secretary Theresa May said that in the UK, 137,000 women are living with the consequences of FGM and a 60,000 are at risk.

The figures she cited, from a report from City University London in collaboration with Equality Now, estimated that 10,000 girls aged under 15 who migrated to England and Wales are likely to have undergone FGM.

In July, the Government launched a £1.4 million programme to tackle FGM, with the aim of ending the practice within a generation. 

This included bringing in laws to prosecute parents if they fail to prevent their daughters being cut.

It also requires collecting data about FGM in hospitals in England and training both health professionals and police officers to respond appropriately to cases of FGM.

Ms Wandia said: 'This is not an issue that can be ignored any longer.

'We also found that 60,000 girls born to mothers affected by FGM, lived in England and Wales in 2011.

'African countries like Kenya and Burkina Faso have led the way on ending FGM globally.

'We can end it within this generation but we need to continue to keep up the pressure to ensure governments are held accountable to their obligations.'

Meanwhile the children's charity, the NSPCC, said since setting up FGM dedicated helpline in June 2013, they have received 521 calls from the public and professionals.

Of those, 214 of the cases have been referred to the police and children's services.

John Cameron, head of child protection operations at the NSPCC, said: 'FGM is a live public health issue and it is vital all health professionals are trained to spot the signs of FGM, and that girls who are subjected to this brutal practice get the post-traumatic support they deserve.

'We need to ensure doctors, midwives and other healthcare professionals are working effectively together with children’s services to support and protect FGM victims and their family members.'

The World Health Organisation recognise FGM as a 'violation of the human rights of girls and women'.  'It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women,' the agency said.

'The practice violates a person's rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.'

Today's figures are just the tip of the iceberg. We will see these figures increasing significantly as more women access health care
Mary Wandia, Equality Now
It is estimated that between 100 and 140 million girls and women around the world have undergone genital mutilation.

FGM has been a crime in the UK for 30 years, but there have been no convictions for the practice.


Police Chief Cops Out on Freedom

At the Salt Lake Police Department, the only thing officers are handcuffing is freedom. Like most Americans, Eric Moutsos never dreamed that his faith would cost him his job. But that’s exactly what happened last summer after the long-time policeman asked for a different post at the city’s gay pride event.

He was asked, along with other members of the team, to lead the motorcycle brigade at the very front of the parade. Moutsos said he “felt uncomfortable doing what he considered celebratory circles with other motorcycles leading the parade because of his religious views” and asked to be placed somewhere else at the event. “It is unquestionably my duty as a police officer to protect everyone’s right to hold a parade or other event, but is it also my duty to celebrate everyone’s parade?” For that particular assignment, he explained, “It looks like we and I are in support of this parade. I said I would feel the same way if this was an abortion parade. I would feel the same way if it was a marijuana parade.”

Not once did he refuse to work the parade – yet in the middle of working out a compromise with his boss, he was suspended. The move absolutely blind-sided him. Shocked, the dad of four went home and told his family what happened. Almost immediately, the story broke that an unidentified member of the Salt Lake Police Department had been put on a leave of absence for “discrimination.”

In typical P.C. fashion, Chief Chris Burbank spun the controversy as a story of prejudice and bias. “It has nothing to do with religious freedom – that has to do with the hatred of those individuals and what the parade stands for, which is about unity and coming together,” he told local reporters. Obviously, the chief is too busy policing people’s views to protect them. After six months of absolute turmoil, Moutsos decided to come forward and reveal his identity. As a Mormon – whose church recently threw its support behind the very ordinances that make this kind of persecution possible – Eric wants to turn his oppression into an opportunity.

In an interview with Deseret News, Moutsos said his story should be a warning to every American who thinks same-sex “marriage” and homosexuality won’t affect them. “We can 100 percent disagree and still 100 percent love. I hate that we’re labeled in this way that is so divisive.” Although Moutsos found a job with another police agency, he thinks his most important work is protecting religious liberty. He hasn’t been asked to testify to lawmakers, but he’d like to.

Like Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran, Eric was told to either check his beliefs at the door or get out of public service. If the Mormon Church thinks that throwing its weight behind sexual orientation-gender identity measures like Houston’s will shield people like him, they’re sorely mistaken. How do you protect anyone’s freedom of belief if you give the government another weapon to punish it? All this does is force Christians underground – or worse, into a religious ghetto cut off from the rest of society.

First of all, that’s not what we’re called to do in the church. And secondly, it’s not what our freedoms allow. It’s tough to get the American people to agree on anything – but they agree on that. In FRC’s survey released this week by WPA Opinion, 81% of the country (which as unanimous as it gets in the polling community) agreed that the government should leave people alone to live and work according to their beliefs. If anyone’s ready to lead that parade, we are!



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

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

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


1 March, 2015

It takes a multiculturalist

Student reveals how taxi driver Mohammed Iqbal took her to an isolated woodland and sexually assaulted her... then demanded a £50 fare to take her home

A university student has warned against using unregistered taxis after she fell victim to a predatory cab driver who sexually assaulted.

Lily Wright, 22, from Birmingham, has waived her right to anonymity to share her terrifying ordeal and urge other women not to take unlicensed cabs.

Lily and her friend Jamielee Smalldon had flagged down a taxi, driven by Mohammed Iqbal, a father of three, following a night out in their home city.

But after dropping 21-year-old Jamielee at her house, Iqbal drove Lily to a secluded woodland and sexually assaulted her.  He then drove her home – after he ordered her to pay him £50 for the journey.

Lily said the encounter left her 'paralysed with fear'.  She said: 'After what he'd just done to me, I couldn't believe he had the nerve to charge me.  'I knew it should only cost around £20 and I didn't have the money but I was desperate to get home. So I told him I did.

'As soon as I saw my house I didn't wait for him to stop, I opened the car door and fled. I was running for my life.'

She banged on the front door and her dad Tom Wright, 56, found his terrified daughter on the front step.  Lily said: 'I collapsed into the living room, blaming my lost phone for the reason I was hysterical.'  Her sister Elizabeth, 18, also came downstairs, to see what the noise was about and Lily confessed she had been attacked.

'Elizabeth was shocked but helped me stay calm and we called police. I was exhausted, but I knew I had to remember as much as I could to help them,' Lily said.

'They asked me to change out my jeans and top, and bag them up as evidence. I had to give them my underwear so they could examine it.  'It was so humiliating. The whole process took nearly ten hours. I was so traumatised I almost backed out.

'After the tests I went home. I had a bath, desperate to scrub away the previous night.  'But I knew I had to get this driver off the road or another girl would be his next victim.'

Seven days later Lily received a call with news from the police.  She says: 'They told me they had traced Iqbal, using CCTV footage, and found my phone in his car.'

At Guildford Crown Court in September 2012, Iqbal, then 34, of Reigate, Surrey, pleaded not guilty to two sex attacks – one on Lily and one on another woman in his taxi.

Lily said: 'Taking the stand was horrible. I didn't look at Iqbal but I wanted him to look at me.'

On the last day of the five day trial, Miss Wright received another call from the police.

She said: 'Some DNA evidence had been retrieved from the first victim's underwear.

'The next day police revealed the court had presented the evidence, and my attacker had changed his plea to guilty to two counts of sexual assault and one count of kidnap. I was so relieved I wouldn't have to return to court.'

He was jailed for five and a half years in October 2012.

Lily said: 'I couldn't believe he was a serial offender and wondered how many other girls he planned on attacking.

'I believe women should trust taxi drivers, and take a taxi rather than walking home alone at night.

'But they should book a registered taxi rather than waving one down in the street. You're putting your safety in their hands. And I learnt my lesson the hard way.'


UK: Woman, 20, who cried rape after having sex with two soldiers on night out faces jail after admitting she made up claims

The fat slag herself

A woman who falsely accused two soldiers of attempting to rape her after having sex with them on a drunken night has admitted she made up claims of the attack.

Nicole Richess was too ashamed to tell her boyfriend she had cheated on him with the two men so she lied and said they had forced themselves on her.

The 20-year-old now faces jail after pleading guilty to perverting the course of justice yesterday.

The court heard that Richess had been on a night out with friends in Bournemouth, Dorset, in November 2012, when she bumped into a group of four soldiers.

They went on a bar crawl with the servicemen, who were based locally at the time, and Richess invited the men back to her house, where she later had sex with two of them.

Richess, who was 18 at the time, reported the soldiers after she told her boyfriend and he made her go to the police.

The two men were then questioned by police and faced disciplinary action over the accusations.

The soldiers said the claims had 'left them petrified' and had 'impacted their friends, family and their work'.

Following two weeks of investigations, officers were satisfied Richess had made up the claims and she was arrested for perverting the course of justice on November 26 that year.

A judge warned her that she now faces jail for her 'selfishness and lies'.

Afterwards, the two soldiers told of the impact the false rape allegations have had on their lives and careers. They have already faced disciplinary action over what happened.

The 24-year-old solider, who does not want to be identified, said: 'When the allegation was made I was petrified, I've never been so scared in all my life.

'It didn't just impact on us, it impacted on everyone we knew - friends, family, work. It could have been the end of my life.

'That stigma you have attached to you the whole time is horrible, it affects everything, like relationships. I'm glad it's over and hopefully she will get what she deserves.'

The other man said: 'My family were distraught about the allegations and the worry has been the biggest thing for me.

'It's a big weight of my shoulders that it's done now. I'm just relieved and happy it's over.'

Prosecutor Sophie Stevens said in a statement yesterday: 'Attempting to rape someone is a very serious criminal offence.

'Nicole Richess made false allegations that two soldiers had attempted to rape her because she had been confronted by her boyfriend who had been made aware that she had been unfaithful.

'She maintained her story during the police investigation, which quickly revealed discrepancies in her statement.

'Her selfishness and lies had serious consequences professionally and personally on the two young men, who had to be disciplined according to the Army policy.

'The investigation went on their record and this limited their opportunities to be mobilised abroad.

'Their private lives had been exposed only because Richess could not take responsibility for her actions. We hope that with this conviction, they will be able to move on with their lives.'

'They gave consistent accounts of what they said happened and the police came to the conclusion that what she said was not what happened and she was arrested.

Afterwards Detective Constable Stef Belton, from Dorset Police, said: 'We spent a huge amount of time investigating the original rape allegation but it was clear very early on that there was another offence going on.

'The investigation has taken two years to come to court. The victims of this case have been waiting for that long to have their names cleared so I'm very pleased with the result in court today.

Richess will be sentenced for perverting the course of justice on March 26.


The Wages of Idealism

A white woman who wanted to change the world

by Tracy Abel

I grew up in a suburb of white, middle-class families. My schooling, from elementary school through college, was with people who were also overwhelmingly white and middle class. Like so many others, I was reared to think that “all men are created equal” and that people should be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. Since my ears could hear, I was taught blind faith in color blindness and the virtues of diversity.

My mother is in the medical field and my father worked for the New York City Transit Authority. Both are lifelong Democrats, working people who never had much time to study culture or politics. The only instruction they ever gave me in politics was that the Democratic Party was for the working people and the Republicans were for the rich. My mother taught me never to be judgmental, and to love everyone the same, especially those less fortunate than I. She told me discrimination was wrong and that all people should be treated equally.

I have a bachelor’s degree in sociology. Looking back, all my professors were white and very liberal. College was the first place I ever heard race discussed seriously, and the message was constant: diversity was vitally important and whites were guilty. My fellow students had been brought up just as I had been, so my professors had very fresh meat to feast on. I graduated from college the perfect racial liberal.

Like so many white, middle-class girls from the New York City suburbs, I therefore decided to serve the downtrodden. I knew I could never live well on my salary, but the satisfaction and moral superiority I would enjoy over friends in business would be worth the sacrifice. I would venture into the ghettos, much like an urban Jane Goodall, and protect noble souls from the evils of white privilege and arrogance. I genuinely believed I would be making amends for the terrible acts of my ancestors.

The first job I took as an adult was in the daycare center of a domestic violence shelter on Staten Island, New York. It was part of a network of organizations run by a large charity called Safe Horizon.

This was my first real encounter with blacks and Hispanics. My supervisors were black and Hispanic, the clients were black and Hispanic (I never saw a white woman come in), and I was one of the only white faces in the neighborhood. I felt as though I had to prove to these women and teach their children that white people were not their enemy. I thought that if I could make them see me as a good person and not as a “white person” I could help make the world a better place. I was convinced I had nothing to fear, and that my generosity would certainly be noticed and appreciated.

The women who came in did not have to prove abuse; they just had to show a police report. Later, in conversations with the mothers, I learned that much of the abuse was phony. All they had to do was walk into a precinct and say they had been assaulted. Before I took the job, I could not have imagined that anyone would lie about being abused.

The women could stay rent-free for three months, and then their cases were reevaluated for extension. All they had to do then was seem scared or present some marginally coherent story to get extensions. In some cases, women finagled the system and managed to stay in the shelter for nearly two years. Most got apartments to themselves, though some had private bedrooms but shared a kitchen and living room.

At the daycare center, my job was to take care of the children while the mothers were getting their lives back together. I also helped children get into schools in the neighborhood, as they now lived in a completely new area, and were not supposed to tell anyone where they were for fear the abuser would track them down.

I devoted myself to the children, some of whom, like their mothers, had suffered serious violence. I assumed that these women, who didn’t work, didn’t go to school, and didn’t seem to do much but have lots of children, would be experts in child rearing. Hispanics, especially, who all seem to have large broods and for whom procreation seems to be the center of their lives, would teach Americans new techniques in child care that would be a great lesson for our society.

I was horrified to find that black and Hispanic mothers alike routinely left their children in unchanged diapers until they were covered with feces. They would take children — often younger than 10 — to R-rated, midnight horror movies. They would let children play on busy streets without the slightest concern for their safety. They littered their quarters with pizza boxes, soda cans, filthy clothes, and upturned furniture.

I was shocked but not discouraged. I began spending extra hours after my shift ended, taking care of the children as if they were my own. I would wash their diarrhea-sodden bodies and clean their filthy apartments. I would rock crying, fever-stricken children to sleep while the mothers were out buying malt liquor and cigarettes with their WIC money (Women, Infants, and Children — a food-payments program for poor women with children up to age five), getting ready for a date with whatever ghetto gigolo they were courting that week. I would throw birthday parties for the children and attend school functions because their mothers could not be bothered. This devotion earned me no respect or appreciation. The mothers called me “cracka ass” and “white bitch” while I labored on their behalf.

I did notice racial differences. On the whole, the Hispanics were cleaner and quieter than the blacks. Their standards were below those of the average white, but higher than the average black. Many despised the blacks with whom they were forced into contact. Hispanic mothers were there mostly for free services, and were always looking for the next entitlement. They were intensely proud of their ethnicity, and would explode into anti-white, anti-American anger if they felt slighted in any way — this included being denied a service or being asked to pay for something they thought should be free. They were often inarticulate to the point of being unintelligible, but it was clear that they thought America owed them anything they needed.

Even the more reasonable, friendly clients and staff constantly explained their failures by saying, “The white man keeps me down.” I learned that many blacks and Hispanics sincerely believe this cliché, no matter what their salary or station in life.

I never complained, and did everything with zeal and professionalism. I was nevertheless passed over for promotions and received scant appreciation from clients or staff. In that community, socializing seemed to be the key to popularity and promotions, and hard work seemed to be greeted with disdain. If I designed a new program for the staff, they resented it because it meant they would have to work, which was something they did only when forced.

I got complaints from clients. Some said I was arrogant and behaved as if I thought I was superior to them: “She thinks she betta than us cause she be in college!” The director — a black woman — told me I shouldn’t flaunt my privileged background. Wearing a T-shirt with my college name on it, for example, was considered offensive.

I also got in trouble for expecting people to follow the rules for using the daycare center. All children were welcome from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. for help with homework (management had the good sense to realize that our clients could not or would not do that). Otherwise, they were supposed to look after their own children unless they gave us advance notice and showed proof of an appointment or some other obligation. In fact, the mothers were always trying to “dump” children into daycare so that they could go out with boyfriends. This was a common fraud, but I tried to stick to the guidelines.

Once, after I denied a woman’s last-minute request to take her children, she complained to the director. I was called into the director’s office, where the woman said, “You do not want to take care of my children because you think you are better than us.” Of course, the director took her side, scolded me in front of her, and countermanded my decision. The mother’s fraud worked, and I had to watch her children that day.

I thought our program should teach the women to be better mothers to their children, and not to put them into daycare at every opportunity. After the director disciplined me for following the guidelines and trying to prevent fraud, she accused me of racism and told me, “We are here for the mothers, not the children.”

I went home crying that day, shocked for two reasons. I could not understand how anyone could possibly think I was racist, and I believed that whatever the shelter was for, the needs of the children came first. After almost two years at the shelter, I decided to find a different job, and switched to an administrative office in Manhattan.

Later I got a job at a different charity run by Safe Horizon called “The Streetwork Project.” This was a “drop-in” center in Harlem for “street involved youth” up to age 24. The majority of the clients were local teenagers, most of whom did not work, and who had drug habits that kept them in a state of desperation. They tended to be gang members, prostitutes, and runaways. Streetwork offers shelter, counseling, food, showers, a music room, computer labs, basic medical attention, and even acupuncture and meditation. It also served as an unofficial safe haven for illegal aliens and other criminals hiding from the police.

Safe Horizon and all of its programs are funded by city, state, federal, and private funds. One of my jobs at Streetwork was Coordinator of Data Quality and Reporting, which entailed keeping statistics. Almost every month my supervisor changed my report, increasing the number of clients served, so we would get more funds from backers.

When I interviewed at Streetwork, the supervisor’s very appearance should have been a warning, but years of indoctrination had conditioned me to squelch sensible worries. The man was large, black, dreadlocked, and obviously homosexual. A huge wooden penis sculpture was prominently displayed on his desk. He ended the interview by telling me, “Especially because you are a pretty white girl, you are not going to fit in here at Streetwork until you sleep with somebody here.” I laughed because I thought it was some sort of joke.

The Streetwork motto is “We are a non-judgmental environment.” Yet, every Wednesday all 75 staff members were required to meet in a circle and air their grievances. For eight to ten hours every Wednesday, these mandatory sessions would interrupt our mission to serve children in trouble and force us to play out our personal lives to a crowd of co-workers. More times than not, a black staffer — they were the vast majority — would vent his anger against a white staff member for no apparent reason. It seemed that it was an offense if white people were not sufficiently subservient or reverential to blacks.

The unintentionally offending white person would be made to grovel at the feet — yes, I have seen whites go on their knees before blacks — and apologize for slavery, white privilege, blacks in prison, the poor state of black neighborhoods, AIDS, drugs in their community, etc. Often the white worker was reduced to tears in a desperate attempt to appease the mass of angry black and brown faces. Finally, when the white employee was humiliated enough, and the cathartic cleansing had been achieved, a tentative truce would be called. The angry black employee would be praised and his anger encouraged, while the traumatized, cowering white worker would be put on probation and, through an act of supreme magnanimity, allowed to keep his job. These sessions were supposed to be run by social workers, but often just ran themselves while the social workers watched.

I was required to attend these sessions, and sometimes the spotlight was turned on me. I was never fully and publicly brutalized, but the anti-white sentiment was clearly directed at me as well.

Racial politics were very strict. We were forbidden to observe Columbus Day because Columbus was a “genocidal racist.” Instead, I had to observe Martin Luther King Day and black history month. In fact, I was required to do unpaid, after-hours work on King day.

I saw the only white, heterosexual male employee fired for saying “black people are born to dance,” in a moment of self-deprecation at a bar after work with co-workers. Apparently, a white man didn’t have the right to say anything about race, even if it was flattering. This white man was framed for a robbery and fired. Everyone on the staff knew he was innocent of the robbery, but he was white and proved himself to be a racist by that remark, and to them, that was reason enough to fire him.

Much more HERE  or here

After all that darkness above, let us spend a few minutes looking below at something white people like -- a celebration of the "Salzkammergut" (Austria's Lake district) from the operetta The Whitehorse Inn (Im Weissen Rössl).  The songs are in German but the joy is international. Wait for the final chorale

For those who are interested, there is some background here

And for those who enjoyed the above performance, try this:

("Adieu, mein kleiner Gardeoffizier" recorded at the Schönbrunn palace in Vienna, the home of music)

Nauseating! An odious press conference, apologists for terror and the do-gooders who fund them

Held at an 'art gallery' near London's Euston station, it was one of the most extraordinary and nauseating press conferences of recent times.

It had been convened at 3pm on Thursday by the 'human rights' organisation Cage following the identification of masked killer Jihadi John as the Kuwaiti-born Londoner Mohammed Emwazi.

For three years, the campaign group had been in close contact with and offered support to Emwazi before he left Britain to fight in Syria in 2012.

But rather than express an apology – or even a smidgen of regret – for having failed to turn him away from the path to barbarism, what we witnessed was almost an hour of excuses, accusation and invective against Britain, British society and the British state.

Broadcast live for 52 minutes on the BBC and 58 on Sky News, the men from Cage described Jihadi John as an 'extremely kind' and 'beautiful young man'.

The lachrymose assessment of his character was made by the organisation's 'research director' Asim Qureshi, who spoke uninterrupted for 18 minutes about the iniquities of British policy on the 'war on terror' and the unfair 'harassment' that men such as Jihadi John experience.

The heavily-bearded Qureshi is a very middle-class radical, who lives with his partner in a £500,000 house in suburban Surrey.

In 2006, Qureshi was filmed outside the US embassy in London addressing a rally organised by the extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir.

He said: 'When we see the example of our brothers and sisters fighting in Chechnya, Iraq, Palestine, Kashmir, Afghanistan, then we know where the example lies.

'We know that it is incumbent upon all of us, to support the jihad of our brothers and sisters in these countries when they are facing the oppression of the West. Allahu akbar! Allahu akbar!'

In a subsequent interview with the pro-Putin broadcaster Russia Today, Qureshi supported the imposition of Sharia law, including the stoning to death of adulterers and other brutal capital punishments.

This week, his opening harangue at the press conference was followed by Cage's 'media officer' Cerie Bullivant, a British convert to Islam.

He railed for another eight minutes about the treatment he had received at the hands of the security services 'in very similar circumstances' to those of Emwazi.

Bullivant, a 32-year-old former mental health nurse once married to a Kuwaiti-born woman, went on the run for two months in 2006 after being placed under a control order when it was suspected he was planning to go to Iraq to fight for insurgents.

He was later cleared of breaching the condition by a jury which accepted he had a 'reasonable excuse' for flouting the order because it was making his life miserable.

The civil rights organisation Liberty was sufficiently 'impressed' by his subsequent campaigning to award him a 'human rights young person of the year' award in 2011.

The third member and 'moderator' of the press conference panel was John Rees, a former leading activist of the Socialist Workers' Party.  His position is a good example of how the hard-Left has aligned itself with radical Islam.

Rees is national officer of the Stop the War Coalition and presenter on the Islam Channel, through which he fostered close links with Cage.

The group first appeared in 2003, when it was known as CagePrisoners. It was founded to oppose official Western policy on the 'war on terror' and to stand up for Muslims who were arrested, captured or killed in security operations.

Critics say it was – as we witnessed on Thursday – a sophisticated organisation that knows how to exploit a democratic system which enshrines free speech and human rights in order to support terrorists.

This is not a view, though, taken by two of Britain's largest left-of-centre charitable foundations, which saw CagePrisoners as a human rights cause worth supporting and donating hundreds of thousands of pounds to.

Some £120,000 was given by the Anita Roddick Foundation, which is run by the late Body Shop owner's husband and their children.

Funds from her estimated £100million estate have been given to a range of bodies that 'want to change the world'. This definition would seem to include an organisation that wants Britain to become a medieval caliphate.

A further £305,000 was given to CagePrisoners/Cage over a period of six years by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, a Quaker-run fund set up by the York-based chocolate maker and philanthropist.

Quite why the trustees support such a body is a question for their consciences. Probably, it is also a question for the Charity Commission to look into.

Sources at the Commission believe officials at the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust may have been 'duped' when they agreed to make donations to Cage. One said: 'They were conned after it re-branded itself as a human rights group.'

He said Cage (and its previous entity CagePrisoners) had been well-known to the security services for some years because of its support for terrorists.

Cage has also worked closely with two other UK-based organisations that have reported ties to Islamic extremists – the Cordoba Foundation and the Emirates Centre for Human Rights (ECHR).

Cage came to wider attention in 2006 when Birmingham-born Moazzam Begg joined it as 'outreach director'. He had been arrested in Pakistan in 2002 and spent three years at Guantanamo Bay where he claimed to have been interrogated 300 times.  He admitted having visited terror training camps in Afghanistan but was awarded £1million compensation by the British Government.

After his release without charge, he has since become a columnist for the Guardian.

Through Begg, Cage developed links with the radical preacher and Al Qaeda cheerleader Anwar al-Awlaki and campaigned for his release from detention in Yemen.

He was later killed in an American drone strike. In 2010, Begg also spoke of his desire for a Caliphate-style regime in Britain.

As for Cage, it is a mystery why it has escaped scrutiny for so long. Significantly in 2010, a director of the campaign group Amnesty International was suspended by the organisation for talking out of turn.

Gita Sahgal had criticised its close ties with Cage – which she described as 'jihadis' – and with Begg, who she called 'Britain's most famous supporter of the Taliban'.

Last year Begg was arrested over alleged links to terrorism training and funding in Syria, to which he had previously travelled.  As a result, Cage's bank accounts were frozen after intervention from the Treasury.

Although the charges against Begg were later dropped, it seems from the organisation's website that its accounts are still frozen.

One article posted on its website last year was headed 'British fighters in Syria should not concern us', which undoubtedly could be seen as encouraging or justifying terrorism.

Indeed, the 'human rights' outfit described the first British suicide bomber in Syria, Abdul Waheed Majid, from Crawley, as 'giving his life for a just cause, and it would be shameful of us were we to tarnish him and other Syrian fighters as terrorists for doing that'.

As an eminent former counter terrorism officer says: 'The outlook is very, very gloomy – far worse than it was after 9/11. And it is not helped by organisations such as Cage being basically apologists for slaughter.'



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

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

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


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(Isaiah 62:1)

Political correctness is Fascism pretending to be manners

Political Correctness is as big a threat to free speech as Communism and Fascism. All 3 were/are socialist.

Psychological defence mechanisms such as projection play a large part in Leftist thinking and discourse. So their frantic search for evil in the words and deeds of others is easily understandable. The evil is in themselves. Leftist motivations are fundamentally Fascist. They want to "fundamentally transform" the lives of their fellow citizens, which is as authoritarian as you can get. We saw where it led in Russia and China. The "compassion" that Leftists parade is just a cloak for their ghastly real motivations

I record on this blog many examples of negligent, inefficient and reprehensible behaviour on the part of British police. After 13 years of Labour party rule they have become highly politicized, with values that reflect the demands made on them by the political Left rather than than what the community expects of them. They have become lazy and cowardly and avoid dealing with real crime wherever possible -- preferring instead to harass normal decent people for minor infractions -- particularly offences against political correctness. They are an excellent example of the destruction that can be brought about by Leftist meddling.

I also record on this blog much social worker evil -- particularly British social worker evil. The evil is neither negligent nor random. It follows exactly the pattern you would expect from the Marxist-oriented indoctrination they get in social work school -- where the middle class is seen as the enemy and the underclass is seen as virtuous. So social workers are lightning fast to take children away from normal decent parents on the basis of of minor or imaginary infractions while turning a blind eye to gross child abuse by the underclass

Although I am an atheist, I have great respect for the wisdom of ancient times as collected in the Bible. And the command in Leviticus 20:13 that homosexuals should be put to death makes considerable sense to me. In an era when family values are under constant assault, such a return to the basics could be helpful. Nonetheless, I approve of St. Paul's advice in Romans chapter 1 that it is for God to punish them, not us. In secular terms, homosexuality between consenting adults in private should not be penalized but nor should it be promoted or praised. In Christian terms, "Gay pride" is of the Devil

The homosexuals of Gibeah set in train a series of events which brought down great wrath and destruction on their tribe. The tribe of Benjamin was almost wiped out when it would not disown its homosexuals. Are we seeing a related process in the woes presently being experienced by the amoral Western world? Note that there was one Western country that was not affected by the global financial crisis and subsequently had no debt problems: Australia. In September 2012 the Australian federal parliament considered a bill to implement homosexual marriage. It was rejected by a large majority -- including members from both major political parties

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

Gender is a property of words, not of people. Using it otherwise is just another politically correct distortion -- though not as pernicious as calling racial discrimination "Affirmative action"

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

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

"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" - Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)

So why do Leftists say "There is no such thing as right and wrong" when backed into a rhetorical corner? They say it because that is the predominant conclusion of analytic philosophers. And, as Keynes said: "Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back”

Children are the best thing in life. See also here.

Juergen Habermas, a veteran leftist German philosopher stunned his admirers not long ago by proclaiming, "Christianity, and nothing else, is the ultimate foundation of liberty, conscience, human rights, and democracy, the benchmarks of Western civilization. To this day, we have no other options [than Christianity]. We continue to nourish ourselves from this source. Everything else is postmodern chatter."

Consider two "jokes" below:

Q. "Why are Leftists always standing up for blacks and homosexuals?

A. Because for all three groups their only God is their penis"

Pretty offensive, right? So consider this one:

Q. "Why are evangelical Christians like the Taliban?

A. They are both religious fundamentalists"

The latter "joke" is not a joke at all, of course. It is a comparison routinely touted by Leftists. Both "jokes" are greatly offensive and unfair to the parties targeted but one gets a pass without question while the other would bring great wrath on the head of anyone uttering it. Why? Because political correctness is in fact just Leftist bigotry. Bigotry is unfairly favouring one or more groups of people over others -- usually justified as "truth".

One of my more amusing memories is from the time when the Soviet Union still existed and I was teaching sociology in a major Australian university. On one memorable occasion, we had a representative of the Soviet Womens' organization visit us -- a stout and heavily made-up lady of mature years. When she was ushered into our conference room, she was greeted with something like adulation by the local Marxists. In question time after her talk, however, someone asked her how homosexuals were treated in the USSR. She replied: "We don't have any. That was before the revolution". The consternation and confusion that produced among my Leftist colleagues was hilarious to behold and still lives vividly in my memory. The more things change, the more they remain the same, however. In Sept. 2007 President Ahmadinejad told Columbia university that there are no homosexuals in Iran.

It is widely agreed (with mainly Lesbians dissenting) that boys need their fathers. What needs much wider recognition is that girls need their fathers too. The relationship between a "Daddy's girl" and her father is perhaps the most beautiful human relationship there is. It can help give the girl concerned inner strength for the rest of her life.

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”."

The love of bureaucracy is very Leftist and hence "correct". Who said this? "Account must be taken of every single article, every pound of grain, because what socialism implies above all is keeping account of everything". It was V.I. Lenin

"An objection I hear frequently is: ‘Why should we tolerate intolerance?’ The assumption is that tolerating views that you don’t agree with is like a gift, an act of kindness. It suggests we’re doing people a favour by tolerating their view. My argument is that tolerance is vital to us, to you and I, because it’s actually the presupposition of all our freedoms.

You cannot be free in any meaningful sense unless there is a recognition that we are free to act on our beliefs, we’re free to think what we want and express ourselves freely. Unless we have that freedom, all those other freedoms that we have on paper mean nothing" -- SOURCE

On all my blogs, I express my view of what is important primarily by the readings that I select for posting. I do however on occasions add personal comments in italicized form at the beginning of an article.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age.

I imagine that the the RD is still sending mailouts to my 1950s address!

Germaine Greer is a stupid old Harpy who is notable only for the depth and extent of her hatreds

Even Mahatma Gandhi was profoundly unimpressed by Africans

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"Political Correctness Watch"
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"Marx & Engels in their own words"
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To be continued ....
Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).
Queensland Police -- A barrel with lots of bad apples
Australian Police News
Paralipomena (3)
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"Food & Health Skeptic"
"Eye on Britain"
"Immigration Watch International".
"Leftists as Elitists"
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Obama Watch
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Dissecting Leftism -- Large font site
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Paralipomena (2)
AGL -- A bumbling monster
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