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

The creeping dictatorship of the Left...

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 This site is updated several times a month but is no longer updated daily.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

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

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


31 May, 2015

Religion and morality

As regular readers here will probably be aware, I am an atheist who is sympathetic to Christianity. I regard the Bible as a great source of wisdom and I endeavour to apply its precepts in my life. I do that because every time I do the Christian thing I get a reward. Christian teachings work for me even though I don't accept the metaphysical attachments of such teaching. Christians would probably say that Christian teachings work for me because God is looking after me but in my view Christian teachings simply embody correct assumptions about human nature and how to behave socially in a constructive way.

So I happily read a lot that is written by Christians. Not being a Leftist, the happiness of others does not diminish my happiness. The happiness of others makes me happy and I rejoice in the inspiration and comfort that Christianity and prayer gives to its adherents. I am moved by faith even though I have none. It helps people.

So I am well aware of the common Christian claim that Christianity is what keeps America civilized: Without Christianity, behaviour would deteriorate and become "red in tooth and claw". I don't think that claim is wholly true though anybody who has attended an evangelical church will be aware that some people who have lived a foolish and destructive life testify that Christian conversion has turned their life around. I do think that happens.

But I don't think there is a NEED for Christianity for a society to be civilized. Razib Khan looks at the evidence for that claim below but I would like to add something to what he says. I would like to point to the evidence from Australia. Australia's church attendance rates are among the lowest in the world and in continuing decline. And most of those who do go to church are elderly. So is life in Australia nasty brutish and short?

Far from it. Australia seems to me more civilized than the USA. The constant American scrabble for money, for a start, has only the faintest echo here. Some decades back, when a million dollars really bought you something, Australia had, proportionately, the world's highest number of half-millionaires. Once they got to have half a million dollars, many Australians gave up work and just went golfing. Leisure has a much higher priority in Australia. And I don't need to mention that gun deaths in Australia are the tiniest fraction of the American figure. Life in Australia is much safer than in the USA.

So Australia is a very relaxed place where most people are pleasant and friendly to one another. American visitors often remark on how friendly Australians are. And you don't have to press "1" for English, either.

I could go on to analyse why Australia is better off than the USA but that is a big essay in itself so let me simply point out that standards of behaviour are at least no worse than in the USA despite our negligible rate of churchgoing.

Most Australians do believe in the existence of a creator but they are very doubtful about whether the churches know anything about him. For historical reasons many Australians do have a nominal religious identity. In the days when you had to put down your religion on forms, my late father would always put himself down as "C of E" (to my mother's amusement), but in all the time I knew him he never once set foot in a church. And he was a real gentleman too, despite his lowly occupation (lumberjack).

So most Australians are aware of the Ten Commandments and have some respect for them, but they don't regard them as binding. Far more influential are Australia's own five secular commandments. I discuss them here

I reproduce Razib's comments on religion and morality below"

Probably the biggest blind spot on the cultural Right in the United States is the "family values" Uber Alles stance. As documented over 15 years ago in The Nurture Assumption shared family environment, basically your parents' non-genetic influence, is relatively minor in affecting behavioral life outcomes (this is not to say that the issues aren't subtle, but a simple projection from family home to individual outcomes is not viable).

But there's another major confusion when it comes to the religious Right in particular, and that concerns the origins of morality and ethics. Most people are probably aware of the Josh Duggar fiasco at this point. If you aren't, Google it. There isn't much to say that hasn't been said, but this post from his father-in-law has been raising eyebrows:

".It is a mercy of God that he restrains the evil of mankind otherwise we would have destroyed ourselves long ago. Many times it is simply lack of opportunity or fear of consequences that keep us from falling into grievous sin even though our fallen hearts would love to indulge the flesh. We should not be shocked that this occurred in the Duggar's home, we should rather be thankful to God if we have been spared such, and pray that he would keep us and our children from falling."

This attitude is entirely unsurprising to me, I've heard it many times from evangelical Christians. The theory is that without religion, and particularly their religion, they would be "a rapin' and murderin'". Why? Because that's what people do without God. Believe it or not, I have never believed in God, nor have I raped and murdered (or molested). Nor do I think that raping and murdering would be enjoyable. Nor do I think that the evangelical Christians who proudly declaim that without their savior they would rape or murder with abandon would actually rape or murder.

This idea that without religion there is no morality is very widespread in the subculture, to the point of being an implicit background assumption that informs reactions to many events in concert with the idea of original sin and fundamental human depravity (thank you St. Augustine and John Calvin!). I have a socially liberal friend from an evangelical background, who is still somewhat associated with that movement, who confided in me that to did look forward to debauchery in a post-Christian life on some occasions. I had to convince him that even if he was not religious life was not likely to change much for him in the sex department unless he shifted his standards somewhat. Without God all things are not possible, believe it or not.

The fundamental misunderstanding here is actually one of intellectual history. Many evangelical Protestants in particular envisage the world before the revelation of God to Abraham, but sometime after the Fall, as a Hobbesian one of "all-against-all." This is not limited to evangelical Christians. Many Muslims also conceive of the pre-Islamic jahiliyya in Arabia as one of pagan darkness and debauchery. The root misunderstanding is conceiving of morality and ethics as a historical human invention, as opposed to formalizations of deep cognitive intuitions and social-cultural adaptations.

Broadly, I agree with Peter Turchin that the origin of modern organized religions has its ultimate roots in the social and institutional needs of pan-ethnic imperial systems during the Axial Age. The synthesis of a supernatural Weltanschauung with the nascent enterprise of philosophy and the older intuitions of tribalism allowed for the emergence of the multi-textured phenomenon which we now term organized religion. Religion co-opted and promoted morality, but it did not invent it. The Israelites put in their Lord God's mouth their own morality that was existent before his invention! Prior to the development of organized religion it seems likely that the connection between supernatural agency and morality was more tenuous and conditional (and even then, the angry and jealous petulant Yahweh of the Hebrew Bible has plenty of glimmers of the amoral gods of yore).

That is why even with the diminishing of organized religion in the modern West there has not been a correlated rise in crimes such as murder. The connection between ethical monotheism and ethics is not nearly as necessary as the religious would have you believe. The chart at the top does not prove at all that irreligion leads to decrease in crime (on the contrary, there is modest evidence that religious involvement results in mild prosocial tendencies when you control for confounds). But, it does show starkly that over the last 25 years in the United States there has been a simultaneous decrease in violent crime, and, a massive wave of secularization. This contradicts a model which proposes that religion and ethical behavior are necessarily and deterministically associated.

So no, in the case of Josh Duggar it isn't a matter of "there, but for the grace of God, go I." I'll let others psychoanalyze his behavior, but it isn't a normal human impulse which has to be constrained by the teachings of religion. If religion has to teach you not to molest your sisters you've got a problem, son! And it has nothing to do with your soul.


False rape claims in Britain

Dr. Max Pemberton

Several years ago, I was falsely accused of sexually assaulting a female patient while I was looking after her in the Accident and Emergency department of the hospital where I was working.

It was utterly ludicrous for a number of reasons, not least because she was handcuffed to two policemen the entire time she was in the department, and also because she was under uninterrupted CCTV surveillance that showed I didn’t so much as touch her. Oh, and also I’m gay.

Even though I knew the accusation was false, it really shook me. The woman was very emotionally disturbed — indeed, that was why she’d been brought to A&E.

What upset me was that I had worked particularly hard, staying well after my shift ended, to make sure she was OK. I’d tried to stand up for her with the police and felt I’d done my very best for her.

I was particularly wounded to think that, despite this, she had lied in such a cruel way. It seemed all my efforts to connect with a troubled patient had been in vain.

But then I spoke to a colleague — a doctor who is also a psychotherapist — and he suggested it was the very connection we had formed that had made my accuser say what she had.

She was unconsciously targeting all the anger and hatred she felt against the world at the one person she’d fleetingly felt close to — me.

My colleague also suggested that, because there were witnesses, the woman had deliberately chosen someone she knew would ultimately be exonerated.

It made me feel slightly better but it still took several stressful months for the police to interview everyone and review the CCTV.

Given all the publicity surrounding the historic sex abuse scandals, it’s inevitable these, too, will attract people making untrue accusations. But it’s wrong to think the only motive will be malice or a cynical desire for compensation. Often, as with my accuser, there will be a more deep-seated, emotional reason.

In these cases, claims of ‘abuse’ and ‘rape’ are being used to communicate desperate, overwhelming distress, a sense of loss of control and autonomy.

These are words with enormous cultural weight, and immediately convey a degree of psychological trauma it may otherwise be difficult for the person to express. Quite literally, they are saying: ‘I feel violated.’ And they think the only way they’ll be listened to is by giving their pain the most dramatic label possible.

There’s no doubt this shows how damaged and in need of help they are. But that’s no comfort for the victims of their claims.

My own experience has made me think carefully about the issue of anonymity for accused men. And I’m now convinced rape and sexual assault should be treated differently from other crimes, because false accusations can destroy lives. It seems only fair that suspects should be afforded anonymity until convicted. The argument against this is that publicising the man’s name allows other victims to come forward, but that’s sloppy justice.

Each case should stand on its own, and if the man is convicted, then other victims can respond and he can be tried for these crimes as well.

There’s a delicate balance between ensuring women feel confident in coming forward and protecting the innocent.


Jewish woman wins £16,000 payout from car firm hire that turned her down for a job because she can't work on Saturdays

Why can't the firm hire the employees that suit it best? It's a business, not a charity

A Jewish woman has won a £16,000 payout from a travel agent that rejected her for a job because she is unable to work on Saturdays.

Aurelie Fhima, 23, sent her CV to Travel Jigsaw in Manchester and secured an interview. But her application was turned down when it revealed she observes Shabbat – the Jewish day of rest which lasts from sundown on Friday until sunset on Saturday - and prevents work of any kind.

Bosses at Travel Jigsaw sent her a letter after the interview in May last year which said: 'After careful consideration we cannot offer you a position at this time. We are still looking for people who are flexible enough to work Saturdays.'

Ms Fhima, from Salford, asked the car firm hire to review its decision. But when it refused she launched legal action – claiming indirect discrimination on grounds of religion.

Employment tribunal judges found in her favour – awarding almost £8,000 for loss of earnings, £7,500 for injury to feelings and £1,200 in fees.

The 23-year-old told MailOnline: 'It was unfair and they didn't look at my situation. They (Travel Jigsaw) could have accommodated me and tried to work round it but they said it was too complicated. They could have helped me out but chose not to.

'It is a 24 hour operation that is open seven days a week and I said I would be willing to work every Sunday instead. I also said I could change shifts with somebody. 'I also said I could work from 5pm to midnight on Saturdays in the winter as Sabbath lasts until nightfall on the Saturday.

'I tried to accommodate them as much as I could. I understand it is a business, but I said I could change shifts and work round it. But they said I was not flexible and were not prepared to play around with the hours.'

She added: 'I have now found a job working in a very small company with four members of staff. When I told them I couldn't work on Saturdays, they said it wasn't a problem. 'So how can a big company that employs thousands of people say that it was too complicated?'

Kevin McKenna, head of employment at Kuits Solicitors who were acting on Ms Fhima's behalf, said: 'This case serves as an important reminder to employers of the obligations they have to job applicants – not just their employees. It also shows that many large employers still fail to understand the law surrounding discrimination.'

At the tribunal, the firm claimed French-speaking Ms Fhima lied about her ability to work Saturdays during the phone conversation and confessed to the lie during the face-to-face interview.

Ms Fhima denied this and said the way the company acted was 'devastating'.

A spokesman for the business said: 'The company is extremely disappointed with the judgement in this case that was brought by an unsuccessful job applicant, and in the way in which the case was presented to the tribunal.

'Travel Jigsaw employs an extremely diverse workforce with colleagues representing 65 nationalities.'


Another perverted multicultural doctor

A vulnerable patient ‘swept off her feet’ by a predatory accident and emergency doctor today revealed how she still has nightmares about their sexual role playing almost two years later.

Dr Curtis Sonny, who has now been struck off following the month-long illicit affair, started seeing the 37-year-old mother after she visited a hospital in Grimsby, Lincolnshire.

The 47-year-old doctor would turn up at her home with a 'special' bottle of dark rum and cigarettes - and they would have sex.

But today, the woman told MailOnline: ‘I didn’t consider it a relationship at all. I knew it was wrong but he was very persuasive and said he was a friend - and that he could “fix me”.

Sonny, who labelled the allegations a fantasy, now lives in his native Trinidad and was not at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service fitness to practise hearing on Wednesday - which found him guilty of misconduct.

The panel heard that in September 2013 the woman attended the Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital where Sonny worked, after falling from a kitchen stool while drinking Bacardi.

She was taken by ambulance wearing a pink mouse onesie with a tail, hood and ears.

Sonny gave her an Indian head massage and complimented her on her hair. She claimed he told her at a later date that he had to sit down after the massage physically aroused him.

But he also took her mobile phone number – writing it on the back of a form at the hospital, she claimed - and the pair then exchanged texts and Facebook messages.

Later they carried out a sexual role-play game in which Sonny would be the ‘daddy’ to the patient's ‘baby girl’ - and, when he wanted to meet for sex, ask her: 'Fancy a rum and fag?'

She told MailOnline: ‘The last occasion was when we did the role play, “daddy - baby girl”. It totally freaked me out as it seemed too true and real as if he had done it before - saying the stereotypical things like, “this is our secret”, “don’t tell mummy”, etc.’

The patient - who has a degenerative spinal condition and was described as Patient A in the hearing - added: ‘I’m still not over it... I have nightmares about the last time, the role play thing.

She said: ‘It was totally one-way - I had no feelings for him at all. He actually made me feel nervous, which is why I put him off so many times and only let my guard down after I had consumed alcohol.

‘Whilst in A&E and the first phone call I was flattered by his attention, after that I knew what he was doing was wrong and didn’t trust him. I also saw on his Facebook page that there were a lot of comments from women which made me suspicious of if he was doing it to other patients.

‘He also told me conflicting stories - such as he was going away, then he wasn’t, that he had a girlfriend, then he didn’t, then he did but hadn’t seen her six weeks. I was concerned about my sexual health in the end, which is why I told my nurse.’

Sonny visited her home on at least three occasions. However, when she told a nurse about the contact between them, the doctor claimed his lover was ‘living in her own fantasy world’.

But, finding him guilty of misconduct, the panel condemned Sonny - who was saved in the woman’s phone as ‘Dr Sonny head massage’- for his ‘abhorrent and sexual motivated’ behaviour.

Sonny did not attend the hearings - due to what he claimed were ‘financial constraints’.

Chairman Lisa Smith said: ‘It is clear that Dr Sonny abused his position and the trust that Patient A placed in him for his own gratification, putting his interests before those of a vulnerable patient.

‘The panel considers his behaviour was predatory and abhorrent. Not only did Dr Sonny pursue a sexual relationship with a patient but his actions in doing so were premeditated, deliberate and repeated.

‘Patient A was vulnerable in many different respects. Dr Sonny recognised that in A&E and later exploited the fact that she was flattered and pleased by his attention to her.

‘He specifically exploited her vulnerabilities by contacting her late at night, asking if she had consumed alcohol and, when informed that she had, visiting her home with the purpose of engaging in sexual intercourse with her. This sexual intercourse was unprotected, further risking Patient A's health.’

A spokesman for the hospital said the doctor had been dismissed early last year.

The patient added: ‘To any other patient who may find themselves in this position, tell someone, tell someone who can report on your behalf. There is an amazing network of professionals that can help you in every 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 May, 2015

Another false claim of sexual assault in Britain

Such claims pop up all the time in Britain

A former aide to the Duke of Edinburgh has been cleared of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl.

A jury took just 40 minutes to clear Benjamin Herman, 80, who was accused of grooming the schoolgirl while he worked at Buckingham Palace in the 1970s.

Mr Herman was a major in the Royal Marines at the time but was on secondment as an equerry, or personal assistant, to Prince Philip.

The prosecution told Blackfriars Crown Court he had ‘taken advantage’ of the girl, who was lonely and craving adult attention.

The woman, now 54, said he once drove her to Buckingham Palace.

Edmund Gritt, prosecuting, said that the grandfather had ‘taken advantage’ of the young girl, who was lonely and bullied and craving adult attention.

He kissed her ‘passionately’, groped her and made her attempted to make her carry out sexual acts on him when she was between the ages of 11 and 14, he told the court.

‘Between 1971 and 1974, he held the post of equerry to the Queen’s husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh,’ Mr Gritt told the court during the trial.

‘He managed the Duke of Edinburgh’s official diary and accompanying him on official business. His office was in Buckingham Palace.

The woman, now 54, came forward in the wake of a 2012 Savile documentary exposing the former presenter as one of Britain’s most prolific paedophiles.

The prosecution denied that she had ‘latched on’ to the Savile story and said she could describe his house and family had told friends and colleagues about the abuse before the broadcast.

Asked why the Savile revelations had prompted her to go to police, she said: ‘I was very upset. I felt I couldn’t suppress it any longer.’

The prosecution told Blackfriars Crown Court (pictured) he had ‘taken advantage’ of the girl, who was lonely +3
The prosecution told Blackfriars Crown Court (pictured) he had ‘taken advantage’ of the girl, who was lonely

Asked why she hadn’t gone to the police earlier, she said: ‘I made up my mind that I would never speak about it. I felt ashamed, I felt guilty, I felt dirty. I’ll take my dirty little secret to my grave, I thought.’

The woman said he told her about his job and said that he often looked after Prince Edward and Prince Andrew and played football with them.

Herman ‘emphatically denied’ the allegations. He claims that his work as equerry kept him out of the house all day, that it was not possible to drive to Buckingham Palace forecourt and that he had never even met the alleged victim.

His barrister, Nerida Harford-Bell, confirmed that he had been found not guilty after just 40 minutes of jury deliberation.

Yesterday he was cleared of three counts of indecent assault on a girl under 13 and one count of indecency towards a child between 1972 and 1974.


The Borg of the Middle East: ISIS wants to transform everything in its path to a single structure, with itself at the center

ISIS has conquered Syria’s spectacular Roman Empire city of Palmyra, a UNESCO World Heritage site long known affectionately as the “bride of the desert,” and in all likelihood is gearing up to demolish it. We know this because they’ve done it before. ISIS used hammers, bulldozers, and explosives to destroy the ancient Iraqi cities of Hatra and Nimrud near Mosul, and they did it on video.

“These ruins that are behind me,” said an ISIS vandal on YouTube, “they are idols and statues that people in the past used to worship instead of Allah. The Prophet Muhammad took down idols with his bare hands when he went into Mecca. We were ordered by our prophet to take down idols and destroy them, and the companions of the prophet did this after this time, when they conquered countries.”

Muslims have ruled this part of the world for more than 1,000 years. All this time, they’ve been unbothered by the fact that Palmyra, Hatra, and Nimrud include pagan monuments, temples, statues, and inscriptions that predate Islam. Only now are these places doomed to annihilation. ISIS is more belligerently Philistine than any group that has inhabited the region for a millennium. The only modern analogue is the Taliban’s destruction of the ancient Buddhist statues at Bamiyan with anti-aircraft guns, artillery shells and dynamite in March 2001, mere months before their al-Qaida pals attacked New York City and Washington.

This attitude toward history harks back less to the seventh century than to the twentieth, when Pol Pot reset the calendar to Year Zero after the Khmer Rouge seized power in Cambodia, and when Mao Zedong’s Chinese Cultural Revolution murdered millions in the war against everything “old.”

Maamoun Adbulkarim, Syria’s antiquities chief, told Reuters that the army carted hundreds of ancient statues away to safety, but of course the giant Roman columns and the museum itself aren’t going anywhere except, perhaps, underneath the jaws of ISIS bulldozers. “This is the entire world’s battle,” he said.

That’s how bad things are in Syria now. The mass-murderers, war criminals, sectarian gangsters, and state sponsors of international terrorism in Bashar al-Assad’s Arab Socialist Baath Party regime can plausibly tout themselves as the defenders of civilization. In this particular case and in this particular place, they’re right.

Palmyra is more than 2,000 years old. It began as a humble caravan stop in the second century B.C., but Rome eventually annexed it and turned it into a dazzling and prosperous metropolis. Lying in an oasis in modern-day Homs Governate, during Rome’s time it served as a crucial hub linking Europe to Persia, India, and China.

The ruins sprawl over a vast area, preserved in the desert, away from the dense and overbuilt coastal areas of modern Syria, Lebanon, and Israel. Unlike most Roman ruin sites, this one includes nearly intact buildings, some of them enormous. The architectural style is a delightful blend of Roman, Greek, and Persian. Some of the standing columns bear inscriptions in Greek and Aramaic. It’s a magnificent place, the Levantine melting pot at its finest, a startlingly beautiful crossroads where the East meets the West, where everything and everybody is blended.

But now it has been overtaken by a totalitarian death cult that uses mass murder and heavy weapons and machinery to transform everything and everyone into a single block-like structure, with itself at the center. ISIS is the Borg of the Middle East.

UNESCO is asking for an international effort to safeguard its World Heritage site, but who is going to step up do it?

The Syrians can’t. They just ran away. The Iraqis can’t defend their own cities, let alone somebody else’s. The Jordanians might be willing if they could project enough power abroad, but they can’t. The Israelis are theoretically capable, but the costs of yet another military intervention in an Arab morass would be catastrophic. The Turks could pull it off, but they’re more worried about Syria’s Kurdish population than ISIS and would rather see ISIS victorious if they had to pick one or the other. The Russians? Vladimir Putin will never ride to the rescue of any “civilization” that isn’t his own.

That leaves the United States. We’re the only real hope. Except that we aren’t.

We could send in ground troops to protect Palmyra. The city is part of our heritage (sort of), since the city once belonged to the Roman Empire, and we’ve done this sort of thing in the past. George Clooney’s film The Monuments Men, released in early 2014, dramatized efforts by a small American army unit during World War II to protect buildings, bridges, and fine art before the Nazis could destroy them. “You can wipe out an entire generation,” says Frank Stokes, played by Clooney, “you can burn their homes to the ground, but somehow they’ll find a way back. But if you destroy their history and destroy their achievements, it’s as if they never existed. That’s what Hitler wants, and that’s exactly what we’re fighting for.”

That was then. The United States Army occupied much of Europe. If Americans already occupied Syria, of course we’d protect Palmyra. But we will likely never occupy Syria. The 82nd Airborne could parachute in and hold the city for a while, but they’d be surrounded by ISIS on one side and the Assads and Hezbollah on the other. They’d also be cut off logistically. And how long would they stay there—until the war is over? Until ISIS is a spent force? That could take more than a decade.

So yes, the United States could go in and rescue Palmyra, but the odds that that will happen are negligible. President Barack Obama campaigned on ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, not getting sucked into these sorts of quagmires. On this issue, at least, he’s backed by the majority of Americans in both political parties.

Inaction has costs, however. Aside from the hundreds of thousands of people who have already been killed, a psychopathic terrorist state that will likely be with us indefinitely is rising in the desert and gearing up to broadcast its destruction of the most beautiful real estate for hundreds of miles in any direction.

“The world does not care about us,” a resident told CNN. “All they are interested in is the stones of ancient Palmyra.” That isn’t actually true. The rest of the world has grown numb to the staggering body counts over there, but Palmyra was supposed to outlive us all. And now it probably won’t.

There’s something else, too. Armies willing to commit cultural genocide are always willing to commit genocide against humans. ISIS thinks that it’s following the Prophet’s example. It’s also following that of Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, and Mao.


Nasty Lesbian falsely accuses Christian preacher

And the British police believe her

A Christian street preacher revealed today how he was arrested and held in a cell for 11 hours after a lesbian falsely accused him of homophobia.

Rob Hughes, 38, was speaking in Basildon, Essex, when the woman said she was ‘gay and proud’ and he should ‘get down off your pedestal, you judgmental **** - homophobia is not in this town’.

However Mr Hughes - who had a voice recording of all he had said while preaching for 20 minutes that day - had not referenced homosexuality.

But Mr Hughes, of of Tooting, south-west London, was arrested after police said they had received a complaint from a member of the public that he had used homophobic and offensive language.

Mr Hughes said: 'I was taken to the police station, processed, mugshot, fingerprints, DNA, the whole works. I was in a cell for about 11 hours, and then my solicitor finally arrived.

'I was interviewed by the police, they asked me a number of questions - "why were you out", "what were you saying", "did you say what the people said" - I said "no", of course. I was polite and courteous.

'I did say that “you have my dictaphone in your possession, you can listen to the recording, the audio, if you like”. They dismissed that. Not sure why, but I just continued with the interview, finished the questions.’

He was then told shortly after the end of the interview in September 2013 that he would be released and no further action would be taken against him due to insufficient evidence.

Mr Hughes has now received £2,500 and a contribution towards his legal fees for wrongful arrest, false imprisonment and breach of his human rights in an out-of-court settlement, according to his representatives.

He added: 'The whole experience left me feeling that street preachers - it's now a case of being presumed guilty until found innocent, which is really the wrong way round.

'Christians should be gracious in the midst of persecution, but at the same time we have a right to submit a legal defence.’

His case was supported by the Christian Legal Centre, whose founder Andrea Minichiello Williams said: ‘These cases are further examples of situations where the freedom of Christian preachers is restricted, when what they are saying is entirely lawful. ‘In Mr Hughes's case, he was not even talking about sexuality and yet was targeted by a member of the public who tried to shut him down.

‘The police officer involved with Mr Geuter's case wanted him not to preach the words of Jesus after one complaint was made about him expressing his opinion about the destruction of marriage by the government.’

An Essex Police spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment from MailOnline today.

Cardiff-born Mr Hughes moved to South Africa aged seven and became a Christian three years later. He returned to Britain in 1997 and now works with street evangelism group Operation 513.


Black Leftist hatred of a conservative black

Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Cynthia Tucker criticized Dr. Ben Carson for his conservative political and religious views, referring to the retired pediatric neurosurgeon and 2016 presidential candidate as “the GOP’s latest black mascot, a court jester, a minstrel show.”

Carson, who was raised in a poor, single-parent household in inner-city Detroit, became the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland at age 33. He made medical history when he became the first surgeon to successfully separate conjoined twins attached at the head.

He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by former President George W. Bush in 2008, founded the Carson Scholars Fund, which awards scholarships to academically gifted students who contribute to their communities, and is a New York Times-bestselling author.

Claiming to speak for the black community, Tucker said that Carson’s non-politically correct views on homosexuality, evolution and religion threaten to eclipse his many accomplishments, and that because of his conservative views he “stands to lose his place as one of the nation’s most admired men.”

Tucker condemned Carson’s “right-wing intolerance and know-nothingism” earlier this month in her column for Uexpress, describing him as “a political novice who is happily ignorant of policy, both foreign and domestic, and contemptuous of religious pluralism and personal liberties.”

Carson “stood as stark repudiation of invidious stereotypes about black intellectual capacity,” Tucker wrote in her column. “But the good doctor’s forays into Republican presidential politics threatens to become his epitaph to overshadow - perhaps even to overwhelm - his academic and surgical accomplishments.”

Black talk show host and author Tavis Smiley also blasted Carson in an appearance on “The O’Reilly Factor” last week. “He’s a black bull in a Republican china shop,” Smiley said. “And if he’s not careful, he is going to do himself irreparable damage.”

However, host Bill O’Reilly commented that Tucker’s criticism is primarily a result of Carson’s condemnation of Obamacare, which Carson has compared to slavery, noting that “it is making all of us subservient to the government.”

Booker T. Washington and other pioneering black leaders “would never have countenanced such nonsense,” Tucker wrote.



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

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

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


28 May, 2015

"Women's spaces"

If you Google "women's space" you will find examples from all sorts of times and places of feminists demanding such spaces. They want man-free zones, where they can escape from the "patriarchy"

Such demands are more evidence of how egocentric radical feminists and Leftists generally are. If any other demographic category made such demands, that would be roundly condemned as segregation, apartheid, discrimination etc. "Segregation is good if we do it but bad if anybody else does it" is the implicit message.

It is not however an explicit message. My son reports that when he was recently on the campus of the University of Queensland -- of which he and I are both graduates -- he was approached by some young women who were handing out small gifts to anyone who signed a petition demanding a women's space on that campus.

He agreed to sign their petition, saying, "I think any group should have the right to exclude people they don't like". This utterance was greeted with horror, his signature was rejected and he did not get his gift. He was describing plainly what they wanted but they could not admit that -- in the best traditions of Leftist denialism. They no doubt thought of themselves as enemies of "discrimination".

And we can see how deeply entrenched the hypocrisy and dishonesty is when we reflect that feminists have a long history of opposing men's spaces. For over a hundred years all Australian towns had a men's space -- the public bar of a local hotel. Women were not allowed there. There was a separate "Ladies' lounge" where women drank.

Feminists have completely destroyed that. Women are now allowed in all bars, sometimes by force of law. I remember the process well. The big watering hole for UQ students was always "The Regatta", a large and imposing hotel on the way back into town from the university. And it too once denied women admittance to its public bar. So what did feminists do? They barged in anyway and chained themselves to various objects to make it difficult to remove them. They did so until the rule excluding them was abandoned.

And the efforts of women to have the membership of various gentlemen's clubs "opened up" are well known. Most such clubs have succumbed. That men might enjoy a place where they are free from women is not considered. But a place where women are free from men is just fine, righteous even.

So how does this ethical black hole arise? It arises from the general lack of principles among Leftists. Leftists are sub-clinical psychopaths. In pursuit of their hates, Leftists can turn around and march in opposite directions at the drop of a hat.

The classic example of that was the wharfies (dockers, longshoremen) during WWII. Nazism and Communism were always sibling rivals and outside Germany, dock workers were systematically Communist sympathizers. Not a few were actual members of the local Communist party. So when Hitler and Stalin jointly invaded the long-suffering Poles, dock workers did all they could to hinder the war effort against the Nazi/Soviet alliance. But when Hitler turned on his ally and invaded Russia, the dock workers, particularly in America, suddenly ceased their obstruction of the war effort. It was their hate that guided them, not any high principle. Stalin hated "the rich" and so did they -- so they were consistent only in supporting him.

But be that as it may, what is clearly going on among the radical feminists is an inability to empathize -- an ability to see everything only in the light of what they want. They have no principles and no honour or ethics of any kind. What they want defines righteous and nothing else matters. They are moral imbeciles. Their hate and anger is so strong that it blinds them to all else, even to basic decency and fairness.

Why do some women get that way? In the universities these days they are taught that. Barely articulate cries of feminist rage pass as education these days. In the society at large, however, feminism can be a temporary refuge from a bad experiece -- a relationship breakup usually. Such a refuge is usually abandoned after a time -- for a man. Lifelong feminism however can result from some physical difference -- abnormal hormone levels usually -- but it is more likely to be a convenient way to express the woman's Leftism, her hatred of the society about her generally.

It is sick

An unpleasant but important lesson

He forced the do-gooders to face facts: People eat animals, always have and always will. We have evolved that way. There are of course some vegetarians but they have to be quite careful to get a healthy diet

Outraged listeners are calling for a boycott of a talk radio station after a presenter bludgeoned a baby rabbit to death on air.

Asger Juhl hit the nine-week-old fluffy black rabbit, named Allan, over the head with a bicycle pump despite protests from animal rights campaigners in the studio.

Juhl, a presenter on Danish station Radio24syv, then took the animal home where he and his children cooked and ate it.

He claimed he was exposing the ‘hypocrisy’ surrounding meat-eating. Juhl, 34, killed the rabbit after debating animal welfare with Danish reality TV star and animal rights activist Linse Kessler on Monday.

She had tried to grab Allan and chased Juhl around the studio before being asked to leave.

Afterwards she posted a video on Facebook criticising Juhl’s actions. Miss Kessler said she thought she could have wrested the animal from him but feared it would die a more painful death if she grabbed it.

Juhl said he had been shown how to dispatch Allan humanely by a keeper at Aalborg Zoo who kills several baby rabbits each week to feed to the snakes.

‘They use an iron stick. I didn’t have an iron stick – so I used a bicycle pump,’ he said.

He and his children, aged six and eight, skinned the dead rabbit and made a stew for dinner.

‘Many people in Denmark are frustrated about us killing the rabbit but at the same time they are having meat for dinner,’ he said. ‘They are not taking into account that you are supposed to kill an animal before you eat meat. Let me ask you a question: Why would it be wrong to kill an animal and then eat it?’

Danish DJ describes moments leading up to rabbit's on-air death

Yesterday, there were growing calls for a boycott of Copenhagen-based Radio24syv over Juhl’s ‘disgusting’ behaviour.

One person wrote on social media: ‘You could probably easily have had the debate on air without having to kill an animal.’

Andother added: ‘Maybe somebody should hit you on the head with a pump, see if that provokes a debate.’

Others described the incident as a ‘brutal publicity stunt’.

The RSPCA said it would have investigated had the ‘shocking’ events taken place in England or Wales. A spokesman added: ‘The use of an animal in this way is completely unacceptable.’

The radio station defended the incident, saying it wanted to highlight cruelty in the farming industry and hypocrisy over animal welfare.

‘We didn’t do it for the sake of entertainment,’ it said. ‘Thousands of animals die each day so that people can eat them.’

It claimed that Allan had enjoyed a good life, unlike many of the animals which end up on the meat counter, and was killed in a humane manner.

Juhl later explained why he used a bicycle pump to kill the innocent rabbit. The 34-year-old said: 'I was very humane. I discussed this with people at the zoo before I did it'

Radio24syv added that it wanted to put more focus on ‘one of the world’s most industrialised agriculture sectors’.

It said that Allan was killed ‘in a sound manner’ and ‘did not suffer any harm’.

It added: ‘Our rabbit has had a good life, as a contrast to the way our industrialised agriculture treats animals every day.

‘Animals that end up in the meat counter, where most of us without any great reflection buy slaughtered animals, who have had a terrible life.’

MailOnline readers expressed their outrage on the website last night. Korotki from Devon wrote: ‘He should lose his job, and be prosecuted for animal cruelty.

‘I don’t care what his “justification” might allegedly be, the facts speak for themselves and this idiot’s killed an animal by brutal means as a publicity stunt.’

Chandelier from London said: ‘I understand that he wanted to make a point but doing it in this way is rather barbaric. Poor rabbit.’ And Dirk Bruere from Bedford wrote: ‘There is a vast difference between being beaten to death with an “iron stick” and a bicycle pump.

‘The former is quick and the latter slow and cruel.’

Last year there was outcry in Denmark after a baby giraffe called Marius was killed and dissected in front of children at Copenhagen Zoo, before being fed to the lions.


Prospective U.S. ‘Free Trade’ Partner Prohibits Catholic Paper from Using ‘Allah'

In Malaysia, one of 11 nations President Obama is seeking to bring into his “Trans-Pacific Partnership” free-trade zone with the United States, the government has prohibited a Catholic newspaper from using the word “Allah,” says the U.S. State Department.

“Allah,” the Arabic word for God, was adopted by the Malay language.

In Malaysia, as the New York Times explained in an article last November, the government has gone so far as to restrict its use in the Bible.

“According to a series of government orders and rulings by Malaysia’s Islamic councils, the word for God in the Malay language—‘Allah’--is reserved for Muslims,” the Times reported. “Malay-language Bibles are banned everywhere except inside churches. State regulations ban a list of words, including Allah, in any non-Muslim context."

The State Department’s Malaysia 2013 International Religious Freedom Report, published in July 2014, elaborated on Malaysia's treatment of Christians who use the word “Allah.”

“The Publications and Quranic Text Control Division of the Ministry of Home Affairs supervised the publication of religious texts, and restricted the use of the words Allah (God), baitullah (house of God), Kaabah (location toward which Muslims pray) and salat (prayer) to Muslim groups only, asserting that these words were the sole jurisdiction of the Muslim community,” said the State Department’s 2013 report.

“In a long running controversy stemming from the government’s ban on the use of the word ‘Allah’ by non-Muslims in Malay-language Bibles and other Christian publications, on October 14, the court of appeal overturned a 2009 decision by the High Court of Kuala Lumpur and upheld the government’s decision that the Catholic Herald cannot use the word ‘Allah’ to refer to God in its Malay language edition,” said the State Department.

“The court of appeal held that: the use of ‘Allah’ by non-Muslims would create confusion among Muslims; the word ‘Allah’ is not ‘an integral part’ of the Christian faith; and the use of the word ‘Allah’ in the Malay version of the Herald would potentially harm public order and safety,” said the State Department.

“Following the ruling, the attorney general emphasized that the court of appeal’s decision was confined to the publication of the Malay-language text of the Herald,” said the State Department. “Deputy Home Minister Junaidi Jaafar reportedly stated the ruling was meant for the weekly publication of the Herald only and would not affect other Christian publications or the Malay-language version of the Bible, the Al-Kitab, used widely in Sabah and Sarawak. The Catholic Church planned to file an appeal against the verdict in the Federal Court.”

This January, the Federal Court, Malaysia’s highest tribunal, rejected the Catholic Church’s appeal and upheld the ban on using “Allah” in the Malay-language Catholic newspaper.

Father Lawrence Andrew, the editor of the newspaper, was quoted by Agence France Presse as saying he believed this was just the start of what the Malaysian government would do.

"This is only the beginning," said Father Andrew. "I wouldn't be surprised if they come along and say 'don't use it (Allah) in your services.'"

In 2013, according to the State Department report, Malaysian authorities also targeted an Evangelical Christian organization for using the word “Allah” on their Facebook page.

“In May a former Selangor state lawmaker filed a police complaint against the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship of Malaysia (NECF), accusing them of attempting to convert Malays to Christianity through Facebook,” said the State Department. “In response, JAIS [Selangor Islamic Religious Department] began an investigation into NECF’s use of the word ‘Allah’ on their Facebook site.

“In January the Pahang mufti, appointed by the State Islamic Authority, declared that non-Muslims were prohibited from using the word ‘Allah’ and 34 other words associated with Islam,” said the State Department. “He told reporters that non-Muslims were barred from using the words in statements, speeches, publications, or in any broadcast as it could ‘mislead’ and affect the faith of Muslims. He said that doing so would violate the law, which, with a conviction, carries a fine up to RM 5,000 ($1,526) and/or imprisonment up to two years.”

Although the Obama administration has classified the draft text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Congressional Research Service has published a report that indicates its basic purpose is to eliminate tariff and nontariff barriers to trade between its would-be members. In addition to the United States and Malaysia, these include Vietnam, Brunei, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Canada, Chile, Mexico and Peru.

“With over 20 chapters under negotiation, the TPP partners envision the agreement to be ‘comprehensive and high-standard,’ in that they seek to eliminate tariffs and nontariff barriers to trade in goods, services, and agriculture, and to establish or expand rules on a wide range of issues including intellectual property rights, foreign direct investment, and other trade-related issues,” says the CRS report.

Last week, the Republican-controlled Senate passed a bill to give the president “trade-promotion authority”—also known as “fast-track” power. This would allow the president to send his 12-nation trade deal to Congress for approval not as a treaty—which would require a two-thirds vote of all senators present—but as unamendable legislation needing a simple majority in both houses.

After the Senate passed the fast-track bill, Speaker John Boehner vowed to try to push it through the Republican-controlled House.

“This is a no-brainer,” said Boehner.

In 2014, according to the Census Bureau, U.S. producers sold $13.1 billion in goods to Malaysia and Malaysian producers sold $30.4 billion in goods to the U.S., resulting in a $17.3 billion U.S. trade deficit with Malaysia.


Conservative blogger silenced

He was censored for making things up but by that criterion a lot of Leftists should be silenced too. Hillary Clinton, for instance. Report below from an unsympathetic source

THE world’s most notorious troll has been banned from Twitter six years after he joined, but his social media silencing is unlikely to last.

Charles Johnson, a journalist and “debunker of frauds” from California, is known for his openly racist, homophobic and misogynistic remarks.

He has blamed the Amtrak train derailment on homosexuality, verbally attacked alleged rape victims and described black people as intellectually inferior to white.

On Sunday, the 26-year-old was finally removed from Twitter after he requested donations to “take out” the civil rights activist DeRay McKesson, who has been outspoken on the Ferguson riots. When he set up new accounts, @citizentrolling and @freechucknow, the social network also removed them.

Chuck is now raising money on his far-right website GotNews.com to have himself reinstated following this “censorship”. But his previous threats of legal action have never led to anything, with a website dedicated to the many times he has planned to sue for libel.

On May 13, after the Amtrak crash, Chuck posted about engineer Brandon Bostian: “Gays have a higher rate of mental illness than do straights. You decide if engineer’s homosexuality is worth noting.” He has also claimed that President Obama was gay.

The conservative blogger has been removed from Twitter several times before. He was previously temporarily suspended after posting photos of a woman he claimed had been exposed to Ebola.

He also wrongly accused two New York Times reporters of revealing the address of the police officer involved in the Ferguson shooting, and claimed victim Michael Brown was “obsessed with violence”. The reporters were forced to flee their homes after threats of robbery and rape.

The New York Times observed that Chuck represented the “toxic” side of citizen journalism, although the same profile noted that he has had some success — exposing foreign policy analyst Elizabeth O’Bagy’s conflicts of interest and fudged academic credentials.

More often, he has sown hatred, fear and inaccurate information.

He wrongly claimed another NYT reporter had posed for Playgirl and incorrectly said Senator Cory Booker did not live in Newark when he served as the city’s mayor.

Last year, he drew attention for flawed reporting on the Mississippi Senate Republican Primary. He then hit the headlines when he correctly cast doubt on a controversial Rolling Stone article about rape on the University of Virginia campus. The article was found to be riddled with journalistic errors, but the conservative blogger then published a Facebook photo of a woman at an anti-rape rally, who he claimed was the accuser. It was the wrong person.

On another occasion, the New York Times reported, he offered money for photos of Senator Thad Cochran’s wife in her nursing home bed. He also contributed to a completely fabricated story in the Daily Caller about New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez allegedly soliciting prostitutes in the Dominican Republic, Gawker reported.

Despite his mistakes, Chuck sees himself as an unbiased, independent truth-teller.

His ban appears to have been made possible under new Twitter guidelines on what constitutes a threat, but there’s little to stop him sharing his message with his 25,000 followers in other ways. He has also vowed to do a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything).



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 May, 2015

Political correctness is making kids fat

You read that right. Warm, fuzzy well-intentioned yet poorly thought-out politically correct ideas are making our children obese. Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.

The percentage of children 6–11 years old in the United States who were obese increased from 7 percent in 1980 to nearly 18 percent in 2012. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents 12–19 years old who were obese increased from 5 percent to nearly 21 percent over the same period.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overweight and obesity are the result of “caloric imbalance” — too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed. Kids today aren’t active enough to burn off the calories.

The 1980 statistics are from an era when elementary school gym class consisted of intense physical activities like basketball, rope climbing and an old favorite, dodgeball. As was the case in math, English or science, some kids were more gifted than others in physical education. Some excelled in the various forms of exercise and some did not, but every child participated. Everyone got a workout. In short, it was healthy.

As a youngster, I was competitive in the traditional sports, but didn’t have great arm strength. When we first started doing pull-ups in gym, my total was … zero. But after a couple of classes where the girls could witness our strength or lack thereof, some of the other boys and I found it in us to manage a few. Never underestimate the power of incentive.

Learning the concept of incentive and working toward goals is a big part of sports anyway. Understanding the importance of teamwork, measuring your own improvement and feeling good about being in shape are all benefits of athletics, even if it’s only in gym class.

At least those were the lessons until political correctness began to kick in. Many of the traditional sports have been removed from gym classes and are now considered “too competitive.” It is said they might harm the self esteem of the less athletic students.

Physical education classes today often consist of classroom/textbook type learning about the importance of exercise rather than actual exercise itself.

Every kid gets a trophy today simply for participating in Little League, Pee Wee Basketball or other organized sports. Gone are the days when you actually had to win in order to earn a trophy. Just showing up is enough. Gone is the incentive to excel. Winning or losing? It doesn’t matter. Why practice? Why improve? Just give me my trophy.

Ironically, at the same time that we’ve watered down PE classes and children’s athletics in an effort to assure that no kid sprains his self esteem, First lady Michelle Obama is pushing kale and cutting brownies from school lunch programs everywhere. The lunch changes and the loss of actual exercise are competing politically correct agendas. Who wins in this PC battle?

If you check out the number of fat kids, it’s obvious the easy trophies and PE classes with more pencils than balls are winning. The PC agenda is making our kids obese.


David Starkey takes a swipe at the thin lady: Historian tells Mrs Clooney to 'shut up', claiming Human Rights Act has gone too far

A man with dangerous spectacles

David Starkey has taken a swipe at George Clooney's lawyer wife, telling her to 'shut up' and accusing her of working in a 'human rights industry'.

Amal Clooney, 37, is a respected barrister specialising in human rights and international law.

But Dr Starkey, 70, said judges and lawyers have hijacked the European Convention on Human Rights and expanded it beyond the purpose proposed by Winston Churchill after the Second World War.

The result has been a society where people are too concerned about their human rights and do not think enough about their duties to society, he claimed.

The balance between the two, dating back 800 years to Magna Carta, has been thrown off-kilter said Dr Starkey, who recently published Magna Carta: The True Story Behind The Charter.

He said it could be restored if 'the Amal Clooneys and Shami Chakrabartis would shut up', also referring to the director of human rights campaign group Liberty.

Mrs Clooney may have shot into the public eye when she married her actor husband in a lavish Italian ceremony last year, but she has forged a notable career as an international human rights lawyer.

Among her previous roles she served as an adviser to Kofi Annan in his role as a United Nations special adviser for Syria.

She also represented WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in his extradition proceedings.

The Oxford graduate completed her Masters of Law at New York University and worked in the city at the firm Sullivan & Cromwell.

She returned to London in 2010, joining Doughty Street Chambers as a barrister.

Mrs Clooney has since lectured on international criminal law at SOAS (University of London), The New School in New York City, The Hague Academy of International Law, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


The Decline of Christian America

"This is a Christian nation," said the Supreme Court in 1892.

"America was born a Christian nation," echoed Woodrow Wilson. Harry Truman affirmed it: "This is a Christian nation."

But in 2009, Barack Hussein Obama begged to differ: "We do not consider ourselves a Christian nation."

Comes now a Pew Research Center survey that reveals the United States is de-Christianizing at an accelerated rate.

Whereas 86 percent of Americans in 1990 identified as Christians, by 2007, that was down to 78 percent. Today only 7 in 10 say they are Christians. But the percentage of those describing themselves as atheists, agnostics or nonbelievers has risen to 23. That exceeds the Catholic population and is only slightly below evangelicals.

Those in the mainline Protestant churches -- Presbyterians, Lutherans, Methodists, Episcopalians -- have plummeted from 50 percent of the U.S. population in 1958 to 14 percent today. By accommodating the social revolution of the 1960s to stay relevant, mainline churches appear to have made themselves irrelevant to America's young.

The decline in Christian identity is greatest among the young. While 85 percent of Americans born before 1945 still call themselves Christians, only 57 percent of those born after 1980 do.

If we want to see our future, we should probably look to Europe, where Catholic Ireland just voted in a landslide to legalize same-sex marriage and where cathedrals and churches are being turned into tourist attractions and museums and even bars and restaurants.

What are the causes of a de-Christianized America?

High among them is the Supreme Court, which, since the Earl Warren era began, purged Christianity from all public schools and the public square -- and has been met with a puzzling lack of resistance from Middle America to the secularist revolution being imposed upon it.

Second, an anti-Christian elite captured the cultural heights -- the arts, elite universities, popular culture, the media -- and began, through movies, books and magazines, an assault on Christian beliefs and morality.

Third was the social revolution of the 1960s, which began with the arrival of the baby boomers on campus in 1964. Five years on, Woodstock Nation was wallowing in the mud, listening to Country Joe & the Fish.

The counterculture of the '60s would be used as a foil to build 49-state landslides for Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, but then the '60s views and values were embraced by the elites and came to dominate the culture in the time of Bill and Hillary Clinton. Given his baggage, "Slick Willy" of Yoknapatawpha County would have been a comic figure in the 1950s. Today he is the Democratic Party's beau ideal of a statesman.

Many churches came out to meet the cultural revolution halfway. The results were irrelevance and scandal -- too many Elmer Gantrys in televangelist pulpits and too many predators in priestly cassocks.

What are the consequences of a de-Christianized America and West? Si monumentum requiris, circumspice. (If you would seek its monuments, look around you.)

Half of marriages end in divorce. Fewer children are being born, and of these, over 40 percent are out of wedlock. Record drug use rates and dropout rates and soaring crime rates that have declined only because we have an incarceration rate that rivals South Africa's.

Despite astonishing advances in medicine, we have far more and far more varied and deadly STDs.

As Christianity dies, individualism, materialism and hedonism replace it. "Selfies" could be the name for the generation for whom Easter Sunday long ago took a back seat to Super Bowl Sunday. More than a million abortions a year, assisted suicide and euthanasia are seen as the milestones of social progress in the new America.

"Panem et circenses," bread and circuses, were what the late Roman Empire was all about. With us, it is sex, drugs and rock, with variations on all three.

Historically, as the faith dies, the culture and civilization to which it gave birth die, and then the people die. And a new tribe with its own gods comes to occupy the emptying land.

On the old and new continents, it is the native-born of European ancestry who are de-Christianizing, aging and dying. And the nations they created are the ones depopulating.

To occupy Rome, the barbarians came from the east and north. To occupy the West, they are coming from the south. And like the Romans of the fourth century, we seem paralyzed and powerless to stop them.

Christianity was the founding faith of the West. That faith and the moral code and culture it produced once united this disparate and diverse nation and civilization.

As Christianity fades away and the moral code and culture it generated recede into irrelevance, what will hold us together?

Economically, we are dependent on foreigners for the necessities of our national life. Our politics are poisonous. Our racial divisions, once ameliorated by shared belief in the same God and Bible, are rawer than they were in the 1950s.

As for equality, diversity and global democracy, who will march and die for that?

Historian Arnold Toynbee said it well: "Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder."


Where Are All The Gay Marriages?

Ireland has just had a national referendum that passed a constitutional amendment to legalize gay marriage. Same sex couples can already get married in 36 states, and next month the Supreme Court is likely to recognize a right to gay marriage under the Constitution. It seems that gay marriage has already become as traditional as apple pie. And a disclosure, I support gay marriage as a basic legal right, and I recommend to my fellow conservatives to graciously accept that it will probably soon be the law of the land.

And yet, where are all the gay marriages? You would think from the massive PR campaign of the last few years that millions of gay couples were just pining away to get hitched and settle down in a cozy little house with a white picket fence. Well, so far the promised flood of gay marriage licenses has turned out to be not much more than a trickle.

There are now 380,000 married gay couples in America. Out of an estimated adult gay population of 12.5 million, that’s a marriage rate of 6%. That’s not negligible, but far less than a fervent embrace of a right that LGBT activists, liberals and other social engineers assured us was something that most gay people ardently desired.

In reality, the cause of gay marriage was always more of a political objective and a fund raising tool. If you even casually survey broader gay culture and society, you will observe that cruises and cruising, fashion and being fabulous are the main focuses of most gay people. Gay marriage became a rallying cry not so much because it was something a majority of gay people urgently wanted, but because it was something available to straight people but not to gay people. Call it the politics of envy more than a crusade for human rights.

And for some gay people, it is less about marriage per se than it is about weddings. If you take a cursory glance through any gay magazine or website (and I advise doing so with one eye and prepared to quickly avert your attention if you are in the least bit squeamish) you would conclude that very often the gay definition of “wedding” is essentially “a fabulously gay party” (forgive the - intentional - pun). Gay people love to dress up, and on what occasion do people get more dressed up for than a wedding? Of course there’s also lots of gaiety all around, with lavish decor, great dance music, and lots of fancy cakes. And a predictably liberal and boring churchperson there to officiate the ceremony with a lot of blathering about the beautiful rainbow of diversity and so forth.

But as I said, we conservatives need to start accepting the new legal and political realities. A rear guard campaign opposing the fact that gay marriage is here will not be a winning issue in 2016, and President Hillary should be a sobering enough thought. And yes, some people have perfectly justifiable religious and moral objections to same-sex marriages. But then the Republic has so far survived cultural calamities like The Village People and their anthem YMCA, it will almost certainly survive gay marriage as well.



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 May, 2015

UK: Another Surveillance Law: One More Step towards the Big Brother State

By Sean Gabb

At the beginning of April 2012, the BBC and a couple of newspapers reported that the British Government was considering a new surveillance law. This would allow it to monitor the telephone calls, text messages, e-mails and website visits of everyone in the United Kingdom. There was a flurry of debate about civil rights and the need to protect us all against terrorists. There was a side argument between those who said the law was required by the European Union, and those who said it would be in breach of European Union law. Since then, the various debates have gone quiet. Possibly, the Ministers have decided to drop the matter. More likely, the initial leak was to soften us up for something less ambitious to be announced in the Queen’s Speech. The Ministers will say they have “listened” to our concerns – and will use the lesser measure they had in mind all the time as a precedent for moving to the full measure in later stages. This being so, whether greater or lesser, another step will have been taken to a Big Brother police state.

In common with other civil libertarians, I have been arguing for thirty years that Britain is heading towards a police state. There are two main reasons why we were, until recently, ignored. The first is the residual inability to believe that a police state could emerge here. England is the land of the common law and habeas corpus and trial by jury, of freedom of speech and religious toleration, of accountable and representative government, of privacy and individualism. We have enjoyed these things, at least in outline, since the middle ages. We taught them to the rest of the world. The doctrines known as classical liberalism are, however abstract their statement can often be, a meditation on English history. That eight hundred years of development – and perhaps longer, if we look beyond the Conquest – could be swept aside in one or two generations is hard to conceive.

The second reason is that a police state is commonly defined by its extreme manifestations. We have no obvious secret police in this country, nor any counterpart of the Soviet and national socialist concentration camps. Children are not given medals for informing on their parents, and we can make jokes about our rulers. Oh, nasty things are beginning to happen. Last year, for example, Mark Duggan was dragged by the police from a taxi in London and shot to death. In general, the police are increasingly partial to killing members of the public – sometimes at random. Or there has been the arrest and prosecution of Emma West, for being rude to the other passengers on a South London tram. But these events are still exceptional. If you want to define a police state by South American or East European practice, Britain is not a police state.

However, a police state is less about enforcement than control. Its function is to make a ruling class irresistible when robbing and oppressing, or when imposing its utopian fantasies. If people can be made to obey without being clubbed to death in a police cell, why bother with violence? There is no British Gestapo or KGB or Stasi, because our own police state rests on a foundation of changes of investigatory and criminal procedure and of omnipresent surveillance. When people know that they are being watched in all that they do, and when they know that stepping over some invisible line will put them to great inconvenience and expense, they will change their behaviour and their attitudes to authority. It is not illegal to buy most kinds of pornography. It is not illegal to buy a bottle of whisky every day, or two hundred cigarettes a week. It is not illegal to join a group that works for the mass-conversion of the white population to Islam, or to join the British National Party. But how many people will decide not to do these things if the details are being logged against their names in a central database? After all, being a known consumer of pornography may bring the police to the door when a child goes missing from down the road. Smoking and drinking may compromise the right to NHS treatment, or to adopt children, or even to continue looking after their own without supervision and preaching by the authorities. Membership of disapproved organisations may bring all manner of quiet persecutions.

When watched in this way, people will be more inclined to conform to whatever may be the current preferences of those in authority. Moreover, many will be inclined to show cheerfully willing – after all, a state able to persecute is also able to reward. Perhaps, when it has become enough of a habit, cheerful obedience will even ripen to love of the authorities. After all, resistance to oppression has always been less common than loyalty to the oppressors. When Stalin died, it was not only from prudence that millions in Russia broke down and wept in public. Possibly much of the grief when Kim Jong Il died the other month was also genuine. Show most people a stick, and beat them with it, and their response will eventually be to kiss it.

And this is what makes the logging of our electronic communications so important. It is a central component in the apparatus of surveillance and control. Of course, the Ministers and the general authorities will never admit that this is its purpose. They insist on its need so we can all be kept safe from terrorists and other criminals. They tell us that no ordinary people will be affected – that those with nothing to hide have nothing to fear. Well, this argument should by now be seen with the contempt it deserves. We all have something to hide, even if it is not presently against the law. And the argument has been used again and again. How often have we been told that a deviation from the old constitutional norms is needed in the face of some exceptional danger, and that the new powers will only be used against that danger? How often have the new powers been immediately used to spy on and control ordinary people?

Well, there was the Drug Trafficking Offences Act 1986. This made it possible for criminal proceeds to be confiscated after conviction, and by reversing the burden of proof, so that the defence had to argue that any assets in question were not the proceeds of crime. Enoch Powell denounced this in the Commons as a gross breach of our due process rights. The Ministers in the Thatcher Government replied that the evils of drug trafficking were so great, they justified a specific departure from due process that would never be allowed to form a precedent. This “specific departure” was made general in the Criminal justice Act 1988, and was eventually widened and consolidated into the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 – a law that abolishes financial privacy for everyone but the rich, and that enables something like the American civil asset forfeiture.

Or there was the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. This law to enable snooping, for any purpose, by any public authority, was brought in amid promises that it was needed for the fight against serious crime, and that it would never be used for normal crime investigation. The Act is mostly used by local authorities to check whether people are recycling their waste as demanded, or to check whether parents really are living in the catchment areas they put on school allocation forms.

Or there was the Extradition Act 2003. This made it possible for British citizens to be deported to face trial in the United States for actions committed in the United Kingdom that may not have been offences under British law. We were assured by the Home Secretary that this was needed for the fight against terrorism and “serious international crime.” Look at these uses of the Act:

Giles Darby, David Bermingham and Gary Mulgrew (the “NatWest Three”) extradited on charges of fraud committed in the United Kingdom

Babar Ahmad – awaiting extradition on charges of running web sites supporting the Chechen and Afghan insurgencies, without having left the United Kingdom

Ian Norris – eventually extradited on charges of price fixing that were not currently illegal in the United Kingdom
Richard O'Dwyer – facing extradition on charges of copyright infringement

Christopher Tappin – extradited on charges of breaching American sanctions against Iran, though the alleged offence was committed in the United Kingdom, and though he was entrapped by American officials who swore that no law was being broken

Even in the case of Abu Hamza – no doubt a very wicked man – the charge was only of conspiracy. If we add to all this a discussion of how the European arrest warrants have been used in practice, we see that the Extradition Act has been less about protecting us from global terrorists and Bond villains, than about exposing British citizens and residents to arbitrary deportation to foreign countries, usually with lower standards of justice than our own, and often for acts that are not criminal offences here.

This is how every law allegedly made to protect us from terrorism and serious crime has been used in practice. This is why we should be so suspicious of the new electronic surveillance proposals.

But, even if the authorities are acting this time in good faith, the proposals ought still to be resisted. Our British police state is extraordinarily careless about the data it collects. This is always being lost or stolen. In 2007 alone, the Department of Work and Pensions lost the personal details of 45,000 claimants; a London education authority lost the personal details of 160,000 children; HM Revenue and Customs lost the personal details of 25 million families who were claiming child benefit; The Driving Standards Agency lost the personal details of three million candidate drivers. Even if it does not hand them over to despotic foreign governments, or sell them to multinational corporations, can the British State be trusted to keep our electronic communications secret? How unlikely is it that a database of our credit card purchases will not be left on a memory stick in a pole dancing club?

But let us join this theme of incompetence to the main subject of a police state. I have admitted there is much that distinguishes us from really nasty places like East Germany. But one of these points of difference is that the East German police state at least kept people from being robbed in their homes or beaten up in the street. Whatever the price in human rights, the East German police state gave people a country in which they could feel safe. Our own situation is best described as “anarcho-tyranny.” People who urinate in bus shelters, or dig up and steal copper wiring from the National Grid, or make life hell for their neighbours, or may be involved in real terrorist offences, are not prosecuted, or are defended by an army of human rights lawyers at our expense.

The police state never touches them. Instead, the rest of us get our post opened by town hall snoops, who think we are trying to get our children into a better school. A man gets an ASBO for standing alone beside the Cenotaph and reciting the names of our war dead in Iraq. A student gets arrested for suggesting a police horse might be gay. Christian evangelists get arrested for quoting some of the less charitable verses from the Bible about homosexuals.

I suggest, given all the available evidence, that this county is ruled at best by some very stupid and incompetent people. At worst it is ruled by people who say they need a police state because they want to fight crime and terrorism, but in fact need fears of crime and terrorism because they want a police state. Whatever the case, they should not be given the right to gather and store details of our electronic communications.


HRA: giving democracy a hammering

Britain's Human Rights Act (HRA) is wrong for several reasons, but principally because it enables political issues (prisoner enfranchisement, assisted suicide, welfare reform, etc) to be treated as legal ones. In a democracy, political issues should be the sole responsibility of elected representatives who make laws after engaging with the public. Legal issues should be the sole responsibility of judges who give judgements after hearing submissions from lawyers about the law. The big political picture, informed by contested values and beliefs, should be the preserve of politicians; the detail, informed by settled laws, is for judges. Putting it simply, it is for parliament to make the law and judges to interpret and apply it.

In the name of democracy, the HRA should be repealed, not replaced. This would return the UK’s constitution to how it was before October 2000, when the HRA came into force, a time when the UK had a reasonable record, viewed in the historical context, of respecting liberty and democracy. The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which is overseen by the Strasbourg European Court of Human Rights, dates back to 1950. Its impact on politics was negligible for several decades, but the Strasbourg court has now become so meddlesome that the UK should withdraw from it.

It is against these benchmarks, of repealing the HRA without replacement and withdrawing from the ECHR, that the current Tory proposals on human rights should be measured. These are the only reforms that are capable of confining judges to the legal sphere and making it possible for the political sphere to be re-energised with some big-picture, value-led aspirations and policies. However, by the benchmarks of repeal and withdrawal, the Tories’ proposals don’t just fall short - they are actually proposing to re-energise and bolster the human-rights project.

When the Conservatives launched their human-rights policy proposals last October, it was clear that they remained committed to the rights culture. The policy document was called Protecting Human Rights in the UK, and it described the ECHR as ‘an entirely sensible statement of the principles which should underpin any modern democratic nation’. The centrepiece of the Tory proposals was to be a new ‘British Bill of Rights and Responsibilities’ aimed at ‘deliver[ing] a coherent and comprehensive human-rights regime in Britain’. Indeed, this commitment to legislate for rights and responsibilities means that the human-rights culture will probably be extended under the Tory proposals.

The Tory election manifesto pledged that the next Conservative government would ‘scrap the Human Rights Act and introduce a British Bill of Rights’. The key objective of Tory policy on human rights is to ‘break the formal link between British courts and the ECHR’ so as to ‘make our own Supreme Court the ultimate arbiter of human-rights matters in the UK’. It’s the ‘E’ of ECHR that troubles the Tories, rather than the ‘HR’ bit of it. So long as human rights are administered by a court sitting in London, rather than Strasbourg, the Tories’ Eurosceptical demands will have been satisfied.

As for the tweaking of human rights, the October document proposed ‘to seek to limit the reach of human-rights cases to the UK so that British armed forces overseas are not subject to persistent human-rights claims’. The only specific reform mentioned in the manifesto is that the new British Bill of Rights would ‘stop terrorists and other serious foreign criminals who pose a threat to our society from using spurious human-rights arguments to prevent deportation’. And, as if to stress the timidity of the reforms, the manifesto stated that the Tories wanted to ‘restore common sense’ to human rights and that they would ‘remain faithful to the basic principles of human rights, which we signed up to in the original ECHR’.

Broadly speaking, the Tory proposals amount to this: it may become a little harder for British armed forces overseas to be sued; it may become a little easier for any future Abu Qatadas to be deported; and, in the name of common sense, convicted prisoners will not be enfranchised. In reality, what the Tories now call ‘Labour’s Human Rights Act 1998’ – omitting to mention that it was passed with the Tories’ support – will be replaced with the Tories’ British Bill of Rights. What is proposed is an expanded human-rights package that addresses broadly similar rights, with some responsibilities grafted on to them that will be branded with a new nationalistic name.

Given how tarnished human rights have become in recent years, the human-rights lobby might have supported the Tory proposals to rebrand human rights. But it isn’t supporting the Tory proposals. In fact, the human-rights lobby’s response to the Tories’ plan to publish a draft bill within 100 days, with Michael Gove driving it through as the new justice secretary, has been to put itself on a war footing.

The big guns took to the Guardian to warn of the dire implications of human-rights reform: barrister and new Labour MP Keir Starmer was so stirred by the prospect of the HRA repeal that he penned ‘some myth-busting’ arguments in support of the HRA; barrister Philippe Sands warned that the Tories’ plans were ‘clearly untenable’; and commentator Will Hutton claimed the Bill of Rights was ‘code for uninhibited Tory power unchallenged by “foreign” courts’, a desire for power being ‘driven solely by prejudice and low politics’.

The Guardian’s scouts went on reconnaissance missions to Northern Ireland, Scotland and Hull, reporting back that the Tory proposals were doomed to fail. In Scotland, the Scottish National Party (SNP) has threatened to block any change in human-rights law, which is written into the Scottish devolution settlement. In Northern Ireland, it seems unlikely that the Irish government would agree to tweak the human-rights provisions arising from the Good Friday agreement. And, from Hull, the Guardian’s scouts discovered a quote from the Eurosceptic MP David Davis saying that he might oppose his own government on human-rights reform. It is beginning to look as if even an English and Welsh Bill of Rights is unlikely.

Back on the battlefield, Liberty set up a ‘Save our Human Rights Act’ campaign; Amnesty International set up a similarly named version called ‘Save the Human Rights Act’; and the website RightsInfo urged its supporters to ‘get busy’, saying ‘the fight begins now’.

But it was left to Cambridge law lecturer Dr Mark Elliott to unveil the pro-HRA lobby’s big bazooka: the House of Lords. After noting that the Tories were outnumbered three-to-one in the Lords, Elliott peddled the idea that the ‘Human Rights Act is such a fundamental piece of constitutional legislation that it would be constitutionally negligent of the House of Lords — which has increasingly cast itself in the role of guardian of constitutional values — to wave through its repeal’. The launching of this big bazooka would be entirely consistent with Elliott’s notion of a ‘non-majoritarian form of democracy’, with which he hoped to rally the troops on the basis that losing a General Election doesn’t matter because their lordships have the wisdom to realise that the HRA is beyond repeal.

There is something incongruous about the Tory proposals to rebrand human-rights laws and the war-footing response of the human-rights lobby. It’s best understood by recognising the totemic nature of the HRA to the human-rights lobby, in comparison to its absence of popularity outside those elite circles. Most human-rights lobbyists are lawyers, academics and campaigners. But although these people are good at writing newspaper columns, good at tweeting and good at finding legal and undemocratic reasons to block any reform of human-rights laws, they are small in number.

Moreover, the human-rights lobby finds it difficult to connect with popular consciousness. Its project is comparable to the attempts of the Labour opposition in recent years to patronise people by presenting them as in need of state handouts and state support. This project ended in electoral defeat on 7 May. The project of the human-rights lobby is essentially the same, but with a legal twist. The human-rights lobby sees ordinary people as weak and vulnerable and in need of lawyers and campaigners to provide them with a voice.

Keir Starmer captured the essence of the human-rights project when he claimed that ‘the HRA has heralded a new approach to the protection of the most vulnerable in our society, including child victims of trafficking, women subject to domestic and sexual violence, those with disabilities and victims of crime. After many years of struggling to be heard, these individuals now have not only a voice, but a right to be protected.’

As the Labour Party comes to terms with its election defeat, its spokesmen are now discussing how it can connect with the aspirations of working people. Nevertheless, it cannot avoid seeing people as either vulnerable or victims. It’s this mentality that the human-rights lobby similarly cannot shake off because, once people are seen as aspirational, robust and resourceful, they have no need for a human-rights lobbyist to patronise them. Aspirational citizens can take their place in society without the need for people like Starmer – whether in the Labour Party, the legal profession, academia or campaigning groups – either to protect them or give them a voice.

The Tories have far more in common with their critics in the human-rights lobby than either cares to recognise. Both are committed to shackling the political sphere with human-rights laws, overseen by judges and lawyers. We should repeal the HRA, withdraw from the ECHR, and start a proper political conversation about the big-picture issues that could truly engage the people as aspirational, robust and resourceful citizens.


Dutch cabinet backs ban on Islamic veil in schools, hospitals and public transport

The Netherlands have approved a partial ban on wearing an Islamic face-covering veil out in public.

Dutch Muslims could be fined up to almost £300 if caught wearing a burqa and niqab in certain places after The Hague backed the ban on Friday.

It does not apply to anyone wearing one on the street but veils will not be allowed in schools, hospitals and public transport.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the government were only introducing the bill 'in specific situations where it is essential for people to be seen' or for security reasons.

He added that it did not have any religious background but was to aid communication.

'Face-covering clothing will in future not be accepted in education and healthcare institutions, government buildings and on public transport,' the government said in a statement after the cabinet backed Interior Minister Ronald Plasterk's bill.

Between 100 and 500 Muslim women are currently thought to wear the burqa in the Netherlands, according to state broadcaster NOS.

A previous bill from Rutte's last government - which would have seen a full ban of the burqa even on the street - will now be withdrawn.

The government said it 'sees no reason for a general ban that would apply to all public places.'

It said that with this latest draft law, the government had 'tried to find a balance between people's freedom to wear the clothes they want and the importance of mutual and recognisable communication.'

The bill must now been sent to Netherland's Council of State to be debated.

France introduced a ban on women wearing the burqa in 2010, which was backed by the European Court of Human Rights last year.

Judges rejected claims the ban breached religious freedom and said it encouraged citizens to 'live together'.

Under the ban, women caught wearing full-face veils in public spaces can be fined up to 150 euros.

Belgium brought in a similar ban in 2011 which declared both the burqa and niqab 'incompatible' with the rule of law.

Now several other European countries appear to be considering introducing their own bans.


Animal rights nut aiming at top office in the RSPCA wants to 'phase out' pet ownership

An animal rights radical standing for election to the national council of the RSPCA has called for all pets to be neutered.

John Bryant, a veteran campaigner, said he wants pet ownership to be 'phased out' and all breeding ended.

Mr Bryant is one of a number of radicals hoping to be elected to the council of RSPCA trustees, in a vote held this month.

The charity's 22,000 members will vote to fill five of 25 seats on the council. Of the eight candidates, five has a history of radical views on animal rights.

The RSPCA has been criticised in the past for pursuing a 'political' agenda, including prosecuting fox hunts rather than focusing on animal welfare.

Television cook and rural campaigner Clarissa Dickson Wright called in 2013 for people to stop donating to the charity until it ended 'threatening policies'.

Countryside campaigners last night warned that the upcoming elections may spell an acceleration of a radical agenda.

Mr Bryant is one of the more radical of the candidates, who wants pet ownership phased out in the coming years.

In his 1982 book Fettered Kingdoms, he compared pet keeping to slavery, writing: 'Let us allow the dog to disappear from our brick and concrete jungles — from the leather nooses and chains by which we enslave it.

'The cat, like the dog, must disappear. We should cut the domestic cat free ... The right of every single fish to live out its life as nature intended is an animal rights issue.'

Mr Bryant, a 'humane' pest controller who has previously served twice on the RSPCA council, told the Daily Mail that his views had changed little in the last three decades.

'My views in 1982 have been tempered, a bit, but they are still the same essentially,' he said.

'Some people say I want to take all animals out into the middle of nowhere and let them go. That is rubbish, of course.

'I have two dogs myself, I have never been without pets.

'I think it is the duty of anyone who is involved in animal rights, if they are able, to take animals out of kennels and pens.'

But Mr Bryant, who was previously chief officer of the League Against Cruel Sports, added: 'The human race has been a disaster for the animal kingdoms of the planet. Animals have been enslaved and they have been dominated by the human race.

'If I was king of the world I would say that all domestic pets should be neutered. The overpopulation of pets in this country is a disgrace.

'I was talking about releasing animals from the shackles of human control, not in a literal sense of letting them go, but neutering them, taking care of the ones we have got, and starting to deal with the massive overpopulation problem that is dominating animal welfare.'

The winners of the election will become trustees of the charity with responsibility for its leadership, direction and the use of its £125 million-a-year income.

Also standing for election are Dr Dan Lyons and Angela Roberts who run the Centre for Animals and Social Justice in Sheffield.

Their think tank is working on research into 'democratic theory and practice in relation to the representation of animals' interests'.

Their proposals include having seats in parliaments for representatives who will solely act on the behalf of animals.

In his election statement, Dr Lyons describes hunting as 'institutionalised sadism that has no place in a civilised society'.

Peta Watson-Smith, a vegan, compared the farming industry to the Nazi holocaust. Speaking to The Times [must credit], she said: 'I don't think people always appreciate what is the holocaust going on behind closed doors. You talk about the Jews.'

Tim Bonner, director of campaigns at the Countryside Alliance, said that the RSPCA had started to rebuild its reputation and finances by trying to focus on core animal welfare issues.

He told The Times: 'It would be a significant backward step to elect on to its council people determined to return the society to an extremist agenda.'

A spokesman for the RSPCA said: 'The RSPCA's Council comprises up to 25 members elected to serve as charity trustees.

'Council members are elected by the votes of the whole RSPCA membership and serve for three years, retiring on a rotational basis.

'This year there are eight candidates for five seats. The candidates are responsible for their own election addresses and the views and opinions they express are clearly their own.

'It is for the RSPCA's membership to decide which candidates are best suited to serve on the Council and to fulfil the role of a charity trustee.'

The results of the election will be announced at the RSPCA's AGM next month.



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 May, 2015

Multicultural Poisoner in Britain

A cleaner who was angry with a worker for walking in on the canteen while she was there took revenge on him by spraying toxic chemicals over his sandwiches.

Sharon Edwards was cleaning the kitchen in an office building when she was disturbed by Mohammed Omar Islam, who wanted to put his lunch in the communal fridge.

When he left the room again, she muttered 'mind how you go' and then sprayed telephone cleaning fluid and air freshener over his food.

Islam later noticed a smell of chemicals coming from his sandwich, and spat them out after a single bite because of the disgusting taste of the air freshener.

Edwards, 44, from Aston in Birmingham, today pleaded guilty at Birmingham Crown Court to administering a poison with the intent to injure, aggrieve or annoy.

The cleaner, described as a 'decent and hard-working woman' by her lawyer, was given a 26-week suspended jail sentence.

Joanne Barker, prosecuting, said both Edwards and her victim were working at an office block in Hagley Road, Birmingham on February 16 when the incident happened.

'Mr Islam entered the canteen to put his food in the fridge and the defendant was inside cleaning,' she said. 'Ms Edwards was clearly unhappy with him entering the area as she tried to clean and, in fairness to her, had put a chair against the door.

'There was a verbal altercation - Mr Islam told the defendant she was rude, and put his food in the fridge and left.' Ms Barker added: 'But as he left, the defendant muttered something along the lines of "watch how you go".

'Ms Edwards then opened the fridge door and opened the lunch-box with Mr Islam's food inside, and sprayed it several times.'

At lunchtime, Mr Islam, a customer service worker, collected his food but noticed 'a strong chemical smell' coming from his sandwiches, Ms Barker said.

He passed the food around colleagues for them to inspect then took 'a small bite', which he immediately spat out.

The Selsafe telephone sanitiser had a label on the bottle saying, 'Warning: Harmful. May cause lung damage, if swallowed.'

Mr Islam went to hospital after vomiting, but did not suffer any long-term effects.

Edwards was identified thanks to CCTV footage and confessed as soon as she was arrested, telling police she did not intend to hurt Mr Islam.

Her barrister Henry Spooner described the affair as 'unfortunate and foolish', adding: 'This incident occurred from what she perceived, at the time, as his arrogant and in-her-face behaviour.

'He accused her of being rude, and she, him. Whatever the truth - and maybe they're both right - it didn't excuse her complete overreaction to that.

He added his client had been 'very angry' and accepted she 'behaved in a way that was totally inappropriate for what was, when all is said and done, a very trivial incident indeed''

Judge Francis Laird QC said: 'That spiteful moment and the potential consequences, had he consumed all the food, make this a serious offence which crosses the custody threshold.'


The equality tyranny of the ‘gay cake’ judgment

“Equality as an aim in itself through government action is doomed not merely to defeat but to totalitarianism.” So observed the Archbishop of Canterbury earlier this year at the Trinity Institute symposium ‘Creating the Common Good’. His context was wealth creation and disparity, and the needs and means of redistribution. But his principle holds for the extremist pursuit of all equality: as a political vision and civil imperative, it inclines toward totalitarian injustice because it denies liberty to difference.

The court ruling in the case of the ‘gay cake’ against the McArthur family and Ashers Bakery is really quite astonishing (if not at all surprising). It appears that by refusing to make a cake with a political slogan agitating for a change in the law of Northern Ireland to permit same-sex marriage, Ashers Bakery discriminated against Gareth Lee by on the grounds of his sexual orientation, despite the fact that they would have declined an order to make such a cake for a heterosexual. And so, once again, we see gay ‘hurt feelings’ targeting a Christian business, and a court ruling which diminishes religious liberty and freedom of conscience.

Ashers’ decision was never about the Gareth Lee’s sexuality (if the McArthurs ever knew it: can’t heterosexuals order pro-same-sex-marriage cakes? Isn’t it possible to be gay and opposed to the redefinition of marriage? Can’t those inclined to same-sex attraction choose to marry a person of the opposite gender?): it was about a political slogan which offended against their Christian beliefs. Are businesses now to be compelled to produce materials or convey messages which are incompatible with their owners’ deeply and reasonably held beliefs?

Peter Lynas, a former barrister and Northern Ireland director of Evangelical Alliance (and guest writer on this very matter), commented:

“This judgment will cause great concern for all those in business. It turns out the customer is always right and businesses have no discretion in deciding which goods and services to produce. The law rightly protects people from discrimination, but it has now extended that protection to ideas. While it’s absolutely vital to keep this case in perspective, this ruling will come as a shock to the vast majority of people who, polling shows, supported Ashers. While the case will hopefully be appealed, that will lead to a prolonged period of uncertainty and nervousness among business owners. It will no doubt lead to further calls to change the law.”

It is important to note that the McArthurs discriminated not only on the grounds of sexual orientation, but also on the basis of religion and political opinion. Presiding District Judge Brownlie was very clear on this in her ruling (which merits reading very carefully in its entirety). As Peter Lynas further observes:

“With respect to religion, a law designed to protect the belief of the customer or employee had been extended and used against a business owner. Mr Lee’s beliefs were not relevant to the decision not to produce the cake – they were and remain unknown. To extend the law to include the religious beliefs of the supplier is we believe a significant change in the law that will have wider implications. It seems that religion has been effectively banished from the commercial sphere. Even the right to freedom of religion under the European Convention of Human Rights could not save the McArthurs.”

“It is important to remember there was no mention of political opinion in the original letter of claim. The Equality Commission, which supports same-sex marriage and is by definition a political organisation, added this ground later. Will it now regulate which political opinions are allowed under equality law and which are unacceptable?”

And this is the very crux of the matter. We are dealing with ‘protected characteristics’ and political campaigns which agitate for a change in the law. What are the limits of these? If a gay man asks a Christian baker to make him a cake iced with the slogan ‘Abolish the Gay Age of Consent’, is the Christian baker now obliged by statute to become complicit in the propagation of pederasty? If a Christian man asks a Muslim printer to produce leaflets declaring ‘Jesus is Lord; Mohammed is a false prophet’, is the Muslim obliged by statute to become complicit in blasphemy?

How can it be, as District Judge Brownlie decrees, that the exercising of the Christian conscience must be restricted to ‘religious institutions’? How, then, is the Christian supposed to ‘walk in the spirit‘ (Gal 5:16) or ‘worship in spirit and in truth‘ (Jn 4:24)? Is our worshipping to be confined to Sunday church? Is our walking to be restricted by the walls of a ‘religious institution’?

If Joseph & Son had their carpenter’s shop not in first-century Nazareth but 21st-century Belfast, would they be obliged by statute to produce a wooden sign saying: ‘Support Gay Marriage’? If so, isn’t it clear that the law must now be changed so that people may not be coerced into supporting political causes to enact laws which offend against the religious conscience? The @HolyVote campaign is embryonic, but if there is to be no reasonable accommodation of religious belief, we are indeed being increasingly subject to a statist totalitarian equality.


Christian-owned bakery found to have discriminated against gay marriage will now only make cakes for 'birthday and baby-related celebrations'

The Christian-owned bakery which was found to have discriminated against a gay man has announced it is limiting its services - and will only bake birthday and baby cakes.

Ashers Baking Company will only provide birthday and baby-related celebration cakes, according to the firm's general manager.

Daniel McArthur said: 'Due to the recent legal developments we have decided to limit our celebration cake range to certain birthday and baby-related celebration cakes while we consider our policy and talk with our lawyers.'

The decision comes after a judge at Belfast County Court ruled that Ashers had acted unlawfully by declining an order from gay rights activist Gareth Lee last year.

Mr Lee, a member of the LGBT advocacy group Queer Space, wanted a cake featuring Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie with the slogan Support Gay Marriage.

It had been ordered for a private function in Bangor, County Down, to mark International Anti Homophobia Day last May.

Mr Lee, who paid in full when placing the order at Ashers' Belfast branch, said he was left feeling like a 'lesser person' when he was told his request could not be fulfilled.

The publicly funded Northern Ireland Equality Commission - which has a statutory duty to monitor the region's anti-discrimination laws - brought the legal action on his behalf.

Ashers, which is owned by the McArthur family, employs almost 80 people across six branches and delivers throughout the UK and Ireland.

The family said they opposed same sex marriage on religious grounds and could not produce the cake with a message that was contrary to their deeply held Christian beliefs.

In her judgement delivered on Tuesday District Judge Isobel Brownlie found the bakers had discriminated against Mr Lee on grounds of his sexual orientation and his political beliefs.

Ashers was ordered to pay agreed damages of £500.

Mr McArthur said the firm's website was being re-worked to reflect the changes. He added: 'The department represents a small part of the business and no jobs will be impacted.'

The high profile case has divided public opinion in Belfast and beyond.

Throughout the case, the McArthurs, who are considering an appeal, were supported by the Christian Institute which paid their defence costs.


Why I love 'hate speech'

By Mallory Millett, sister of the deranged feminist Kate Millet

I love Pamela Geller. I have known and loved her for years. She is a great American! If only everyone who has the honor of calling himself American could grow courage like hers we would be un-terrorizable as a nation. Pamela gets that we are at war and stands as an example for those of us who have lost our way.

Many of you under fifty have been educated by the whackerino indoctrinators crowding reality out of our High Schools and Universities. These liars and fantasists are so busy obliterating, truncating or revising history (when they're not entirely ignoring it), that our true history has drifted out the window like so much smoke wafting in the wind. As a consequence there are few Americans left to say, "Hey, whoa, that's not the way it goes...that's not the way it is"; especially when it comes to our Constitution.

The First Amendment is in the Constitution because not one scintilla of it could be taken for granted; it's an anomaly which needed to be boldly, emphatically, unequivocally stated due to it's being nonexistent in all of the places from which we ran to reach sanctuary on this continent. There seems to be some grand misunderstanding that human rights or free speech has ever existed anywhere else

But, the thing is...it didn't!

Forget about Greece. I'm talking post-ancient.

The first time such rights came to be was the English Magna Carta, which mildly inspired such thinking. (Remember, many in 16th Century England lost their heads over "thought crimes.") It was America which took rights from that document and others and greatly elaborated on them. For this reason, the First Amendment needed to be drawn out most carefully so as not to be misconstrued.

The entire point is that we have freedom of thought which flowers into freedom of speech. Otherwise, if my speech can be curbed then so may my thought be curbed and then, of necessity, we will have "thought police." America is where one comes to escape "thought police" who, to this day, predominate in the world.

Millions have died over this exact amendment. And here's the kicker: the whole point is to cover detestable speech, the most hateful speech. There would be no reason for its formation, were it just to cover acceptable speech. It had to be put in there first and laid out meticulously as all the other freedoms are dependent upon it.

Jonah Goldberg says, "She (Pamela) is contending that in America people are allowed to say offensive things (i..e. hate speech) without risking execution. I am at a loss as to why anyone would disagree with that".

I wholeheartedly stand behind that along with Judith Miller and Alan Dershowitz. As Jeanine Piro says, "The First Amendment is "an ABSOLUTE". This is contrary to Leftists, who would re conform our culture of liberty to please the tastes of savage, knife-wielding hordes. According to a report, one-half of Democrats and one-third of Republicans want to ban "hate-speech". Whaaaa? Let’s just get rid of our sacred free thought amendment?

Has everyone forgotten Nazis are allowed to march in Skokie? The KKK has the right of assembly and, by the way, Broadway just hauled in millions and many awards ridiculing, mocking and mercilessly pillorying The Book of Mormon. If we harbored constraints against such stuff Don Rickles would have been separated from his head before we knew of him (wouldn’t you love to hear his riff on this?)

What is this new idea being put out by that wrecking-ball throng of teachers that anything is all right except hate speech! Hate speech is the most protected speech. We're at liberty to spew hate-speech at anyone or anything.

Except the Muslims? ...because they are threatening to murder us because we object to their murdering us? You are kidding me! We are free to object to whatever we wish and to hate whomever we wish. Because some primitives are holding a knife to our throats we should just throw it in and say, "Aw, shucks, guys, we never really meant free-free?

The smartest thing to get rid of these clowns and their love of menace would be regularly to hold a "Mohammad cartoon contest" in every town in the USA with every newspaper and outlet publishing them. They will either go away and show themselves so we can dispatch them; or develop an ability to laugh at themselves and their shibboleths like every other person living in this motley nation. We've had the foul-mouthed "Book of Mormon", the infamous piss-Christ, the Polish jokes, the Irishmen jokes, the Jewish and Catholic jokes. It's an all-inclusive culture. Everyone and everything is fair game in America.

We should become a nation of Pamela Gellers. "Je sius Pamela Geller" needs to be our battle cry just as "Je suis Charlie Hebdo" came out of Paris in the same fashion as the Danes in WWII, who, to the one, put on The Star of David to stymie the Nazis. Oops! I forgot history's been erased from our mind-screens. Look it up. Denmark, WWII, Star of David. Google it, millennials.

Pamela sussed these beasts out of the woodwork. They were here and planning horrific violence. Let us drag the "lone wolves" and “terror-cells” who have come to invade and butcher us out into the open so we can weed them from our garden.

They came to kill and got killed. Perfect!

Pamela saved each life of those they would have massacred in whichever mall, theatre, school, hospital, church or gathering they had in their sights. These men were planning a big hit like the ones in Australia or Paris; the bazaars, mosques and schools where they've wreaked havoc on their fellow Muslims. Never forget: they are murdering Muslims by the hundreds of thousands. But Pamela brilliantly provoked them and voila! they showed themselves. She deserves a medal.

That's well-executed warfare.

Where are the men? Where are the Christians? Where are the Jews? Where are the sane non-homicidal Muslims about whom we hear? The war is upon us now and we have no choice but to win. Who, in this nation, is ready to face losing to these cutthroats? They are already secreted among us. Daily, hourly, we are being infiltrated...Ann Arbor, Florida, Minnesota, Idaho, the more innocent the place the better for entrenchment.

To win we must become inventive and clever like Pamela.

We need to stand shoulder to shoulder with her just as the Obamaless heads of state marched shoulder to shoulder through Paris. And anyway, this has nothing to do with speech. These radicals are here for the express purpose of murdering every one of us at random regardless of who we are, what we have done or what we say!

What has happened to Americans? You listened to the liberals for forty years and now you have Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore and the radical jihadists. Oh, yeah, you liberals, you "free thinkers" who never saw provocative art you didn't worship...you now have the gall to denounce Pamela? Yeah, we want you governing us as we face marauders...we want to stand shoulder to shoulder through the Revolutionary, Civil, and WWs I & II with such as you?

An Imam, in defending the fatwa on Pamela, had the gall to say, "You have to know that when you say such things there will be consequences!" Pamela exploded, "Not in America, sir! There are no punishing consequences for speech here." She was forced to talk over his incessant shrieking to be heard. "I am an American, sir, and, in America, you don't threaten my life over something I say." The Imam was covering her words because the very idea of such freedom makes him hysterical. He can't stop chattering as it's unbearably threatening to him. Terrorists are terrified people.

There is only one thing we tolerant Americans absolutely will not tolerate and that is the startling intolerance of these religious radicals. We are in the throes of a great war, perhaps one of the last great wars on Earth and we must win it at all costs...but never at the cost of our consciences, standards or souls.

We, every man and woman, must be ready to rise to the occasion, well-armed, to defend our dear land. We got relaxed; brain-washed by fools in our Universities and Media which opened up voluminous vacuums and, of course, the rapacious invaders have arrived. It's a simple law of physics: "Nature abhors a vacuum." Nothing new! Millennia old! Are we really so ignorant as to insist on turning a blind eye to this monstrous assault? We owe it to everyone who’s given life or limb in preserving this exact same liberty to close ranks against our predators.

The other day a Japanese statesman was quoted as saying that the thing the Japanese most feared about America throughout WWII was that so many individuals were armed. They said they believed they could never conquer a country where every citizen was armed and ready. Nuff 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.


24 May, 2015

It takes a woman .... to scratch another woman's eyes out

Feminists prattle on about the "sisterhood" -- but it just ain't so. Women can be as destructive to other women as they are supportive to their female friends.

I first became aware of that many years ago when I was married to an exceptionally bright woman. I was reading an article about Margaret Thatcher that excoriated Margaret from head to toe -- from shoes to hair. I remarked to my wife what an amazingly savage article it was. She replied: "Probably written by another woman". I checked the byline. She was right.

Below we have another example of the phenomenon. Katie Hopkins is actually amusing in her vitriol but she can be quite unfair. And we see that below. She is very scathing about a perfectly attractive woman whom she seems to have taken a dislike to.

Kelly Brook

Katie Hopkins

Katie Hopkins has taken yet another swipe at Kelly Brook. Writing in her weekly column for The Sun, the Celebrity Big Brother runner-up pointed out that Kelly had been seen 'hobnobbing with the rich, famous and exceptionally thin' in Cannes.

'Given that she is none of those things, I am guessing she is there to give a sense of scale - like using a coin near a small insect,' she added.

This is only the most recent vitriol that Hopkins has unleashed on poor Kelly.

In a New Years 'saints and sinners' roundup in December last year, Katie put the former Big Breakfast host in the latter category of being a 'chubber'.

'I think she does look like a chubber. I get the whole boobs thing - she's got amazing boobs - but the rest of it? No. And there isn't anything between the ears,' she wrote in New magazine. 'If you looked through you could see the other side of her head,' she said.

Kelly is just the latest celebrity that the acid-tongued Katie has made an enemy of, after attacking everyone from Denise Welch and Danny Dyer to Chloe Madeley. Last week, she used her column to brand Charlotte Church a 'fat, Welsh Russell Brand'.

[The bibulous Welsh singer Charlotte Church has taken part in far-Left demonstrations, as has addled "comedian" Russell Brand -- so the deeply wounding part of that description was, of course, "fat"]


Another multicultural sex attacker in Britain

An illegal immigrant who should have been kicked out of the country has been jailed for 16 years for three sex attacks on lone women.

Lamin Touray, 36, forced one of his victims to the ground and attempted to rape her in a car park after following her home from a Christmas party in Leeds, West Yorkshire.

He also sexually assaulted another woman in the entrance to her flat after following her home in the Leeds area and carried out a smiliar sex assault on a student in Newport, south Wales in 2009.

The Gambian national, who gave a false name and date of birth after he was arrested over the latest attack in December 2013, has now been handed a 12-year prison sentence with an extended licence of four years.

The judge at Leeds Crown Court imposed the extended licence because Touray 'posed a serious risk of committing offences against women in the future.' It means he will spend a total of 16 years behind bars.

It came after he admitted attempted rape, two offences of sexual assault and attempting to pervert the course of justice at yesterday's hearing.

Touray had originally been granted temporary permission to enter the UK to attend a relative's wedding but failed to return to Africa and was living in the country illegally.

He was detained after following a young student home following a Christmas night out in the early hours of December 2013 and attempting to rape her.

The court heard how a CCTV operator was so concerned after spotting Touray following the woman that he abandoned his post and ran to the scene in a bid to help her.

The attack came just two days after he sexually assaulted a woman outside her flat in the same area of Leeds, and four years after he targeted a young woman in south Wales.

Sentencing Touray, Judge Neil Clark told him: 'You present a significant risk because you are a man who will randomly attack females who are strangers to you.'

The judge said he had no powers to order Touray's deportation upon completion of the sentence but requested that his sentencing remarks be passed to the parole board and the Home Office.

He added: 'You are entirely detrimental to the public good in this country.'

Judge Clark also praised the 'remarkable bravery' of all three of Touray's victims in their efforts to fight him off.

Each one was also prepared to attend the court to give evidence, which resulted in Touray entering the guilty pleas.

The judge said: 'It is quite refreshing to see that there are young women in this country as brave and resilient as that.'

After the case, detective superintendent Jon Morgan, from West Yorkshire Police, said: 'Touray is a predatory sex offender who targeted women walking alone in Leeds city centre and put them through frightening ordeals. He is clearly someone who presents a very real danger to women.

'He was brought to justice through a combination of excellent detective work, forensic science and information from the public generated by appeals in the media.

'We hope the significant sentence he has received will provide some degree of comfort to the victims and some reassurance to the wider community.'


Another damaging false rape claim

Reality-deprived feminists commonly claim that there are no false rape claims.

A former Britain's Got Talent finalist has told how he lost out on a £1million record deal when an ex-girlfriend falsely accused him of as sault.

Singer Adam Chandler, 30, from Kent, was on the brink of stardom when his swing band Jack Pack wowed Simon Cowell and his fellow judges.

An hour after appearing in the TV talent show final last year he found out his former partner Amy Evans had gone to police accusing him of assault.

She claimed Adam had hit her during a row five months earlier and he was charged with assault before being cleared by a jury in just 20 minutes.

But the case came at a cost as his band mates threw him out of the group and replaced him with another member.

Despite losing out to boy band Collabro in the 2014 series, Jack Pack have signed with Simon Cowell's record label SyCo and are due to release their first album.

Speaking for the first time since being cleared in March, Adam, who also goes by the last name of Diplock, said he is 'gutted'.

He said: 'It is gutting to think that someone else is now taking my place, a position I had earned and had spent nearly 20 years crafting my trade to achieve.

'I know it is tempting to feel bitter. Of course it hurts. I was accused of being a woman beater and I knew I never did what I was accused of.

'I was genuinely petrified about being in a court and I found the whole thing surreal and a very lonely place to be.'

Despite his ordeal Adam, from Maidstone, Kent, says he feels no anger towards his former partner. He added: 'I'm not that kind of person. I never want revenge. 'Life is too short to store up resentment and anger. It happened. I have just had to deal with it.'

He admits he still finds it hard to see his former band without him, considering how much of himself he'd given to achieving the dream the group now live.

'The band have their first album out soon, but I don't think I will buy a copy,' said Adam. 'It is still a little raw but I wish them every success.'

Since leaving Jack Pack, the singer has formed a new band, with whom he performs at weddings and corporate functions.


EU to decide on military action against traffickers as European Council boss admits it needs a migrant policy of 'sending them back'

The EU cannot welcome all migrants fleeing to its shores and will have to work out a new return policy to tackle the problem, European Council president Donald Tusk has said.

'I am realistic and I think that first of all we have to work out a new return policy, which would be a policy of sending them back,' he said in an interview in Polska The Times on Monday.

'In a responsible manner we can talk about welcoming only a defined group of immigrants. Those who say let's open the door widely are cynical since they know it is not possible.'

A series of disasters in the Mediterranean in which hundreds of migrants from North Africa have drowned after attempting to cross the sea in overcrowded and unsafe vessels has sharpened international focus on the issue of migration into Europe.

The European Commission is planning to legislate before the end of the year to ensure the burden of housing immigrants is shared across the bloc, according to binding quotas based on criteria such as economic health and population.

His comments come a day after the EU's foreign policy chief pushed for a naval mission in the Mediterranean to target Libyans smuggling people to Europe.

The European Union ultimately wants to capture smugglers and destroy their boats off the Libyan coast to help it tackle the rising number of migrants fleeing war and poverty in North Africa, but many EU countries want United Nations authorisation to act.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said EU foreign and defence ministers 'will be taking the decision to establish the operation at sea to dismantle the criminal networks that are smuggling people in the Mediterranean'.

'Once we adopt a decision today, it will be more urgent and clear for the (U.N.) Security Council,' she told reporters.



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 May, 2015

Sleepy multicultural doctor in Britain

Except for his ethnicity, he would have been given the boot ages ago. He clearly should not be on a ward

A doctor who fell asleep during a meeting held to discuss the death of a youngster on a children's hospital ward was also caught napping three times in one night shift, it has been claimed.

Dr Chinedu Bosah, 39, faces disciplinary action after apparently falling asleep on five occasions while working at the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.

The second year junior doctor also faces questions about his performance after shocked colleagues reported his alleged lack of 'basic medical knowledge', the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester heard.

The tribunal heard yesterday how Dr Bosah first fell asleep at work between September 2012 and December 2012 and was caught nodding off in various places on the children's unit including the seminar room and the parents' room.

He is also accused of falling asleep in a meeting with a panel of medics as they held a debrief about the treatment of a child who died while on the paediatric unit.

On one occasion when confronted, he claimed that he was tired because he had been 'studying for exams' but was found sleeping on the job again within a week and fell asleep three times during a night shift on December 22, 2012 it was claimed.

Dr Bosah, who was training in paediatrics, also took unauthorised breaks and days off work and was often difficult to contact, the tribunal heard.

He allegedly shocked senior doctors with his lack of medical knowledge - on one occasion offering to send a baby suffering with jaundice home when it was clear the infant required treatment.

On another occasion he left a medical student to administer oxygen to a newborn baby, even though it required a special 'technique' not taught to students.

Dr Bosah was called into various meetings about his performance and was offered help with his e-portfolio – a case file he had to complete as part of his training plan as required by medical and health care organisations. However, he refused help from senior colleagues telling them he was 'doing well with it'.

He later failed a number of Royal College of Paediatric and Child Health exams and was sacked from the training programme in February last year.

He admitted a catalogue of failings during his training but denies charges of ordering incorrect blood tests for patients and refutes claims his basic medical knowledge was inadequate for a doctor of his experience.

Between September 2012 and July 2013, Dr Bosah also attended training programmes on a 'rotation' at the University Hospital of North Durham and another hospital in the north east of England.

Representing the General Medical Council, Robin Kitching said: 'Things didn't go well from the outset of that rotation.

'It's fair to say the discipline of paediatrics was not something Dr Bosah was suited to and that played a part in his poor performance during the relevant period. But his problems weren't just restricted to paediatrics, the issues were more wide-ranging than that.

'He seemed to be blind to the fact things were going as badly as they were despite all the meetings that took place. For someone struggling as badly as him, he failed to appreciate he was in real difficulty and the problems were not being resolved.

'Every training course will have doctors who struggle and the nature of the courses is to identify doctors who are struggling and to offer them help to ensure they improve. These are issues which ought to be ironed out at a local stage. Despite best efforts, he was simply unable to improve his performance.'

Mr Kitching also said highlighted the meeting about a child's death in which Dr Bosah fell asleep. He told the tribunal: 'The nature of the meeting is a review held in the wake of the death of a child. 'There is no suggestion Dr Bosah played any particular role in the care of the child and no suggestion he or anyone else failed to treat the child appropriately, but these are important departmental meetings.

'Dr Jonathan Wylie noticed he had fallen asleep during the meeting and spoke to him about his behaviour. Dr Bosah said he had been studying for exams, which is something all trainees have to do.

'He also fell asleep three times during one overnight shift. This was behaviour reported to Dr Wylie by another witness, Mrs Sarah Brooks, a senior nurse often in charge of the neo-natal unit.

'While in charge she found Dr Bosah asleep on various occasions during the same shift. She was concerned and asked if anything was wrong that made him not sleep through the day.

'She was worried why he was sleeping so much she reported it to the consultant. He had slept in various places on the unit including the seminar room and the parents' room. It was pointed out to him at the time that this was inappropriate.'

Mr Kitching also told the tribunal how Dr Bosah left a newborn baby in the care of a medical student while he contacted his supervisor during a shift on November 9, 2012.

He said: 'He left a student to administer positive and expiratory pressure. It is admitted by the doctor and demonstrates poor judgement and a lack of knowledge or skill on the part of the doctor. 'He admitted it at the time and acknowledged he ought not to have left a baby with a medical student.

'He went to contact his supervisor and that suggests he didn't know the process involved more than merely holding the mask on the face. It is particularly technical.'

Dr Bosah is also accused of not knowing how to administer pressurised air to twins born at 29 weeks gestation.

The tribunal also heard how he was required to attend at least 70 per cent of teaching sessions but attended none of a possible seven.

Dr Bosah has admitted not responding to the efforts of the Trainee Support Services to assist him following a referral in June 2013, where he declined to attend a problem solving workshop, declined to attend Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and declined help with his e-portfolio.

He has admitted taking unauthorised absences from work on July 17, 2013 and November 27, 28 and 29 of the same year and accepts he failed the first part of his Royal College of Paediatric and Child Health exams on six separate occasions.

However, he denies that he failed to perform as a trainee because he was unable to carry out baby checks in a reasonable amount of time, was unable to formulate adequate management plans for the complex patients, his patient handovers were inadequate and the information he provided to colleagues about patients was sometimes contradictory.


The Battle of Indiana and the Promise of Battles to Come

The dust is clearing from the Twitter and Facebook battlefields, the people of Indiana are out from under the white-hot glare of the national media, and both sides are taking stock. Who won the Battle of Indiana? Who lost? What’s next for religious liberty in America?

While conservative pessimists looked at Indiana, watched its politicians immediately compromise, and saw defeat, a closer look shows something else: a cultural stalemate. Nobody truly won in Indiana. From the grassroots to the intellectual elite, conservatives are girding themselves for the long war, and a long war it will be.

Four truths are emerging: First, the battle is not between gay rights and religious liberty—although religious liberty is certainly at stake—but between the sexual revolution and Christianity itself. This means that Christians are faced not with allegedly “minor” or “insignificant” theological changes to gain leftist acceptance, but with wholesale changes to the historical doctrines of the church.

Second, not a single orthodox denomination is making or even contemplating such changes. This means that tens of millions of Americans will remain—indefinitely—opposed to the continued expansion of the sexual revolution.

Third, rather than going quietly, cultural conservatism is showing increasing strength at the grassroots—opposing leftist campaigns at the ground level, bypassing politics to support those most embattled by radical hate campaigns.

And fourth, the conservative grassroots and conservative public intellectuals are united—from Ross Douthat at his lonely perch at the New York Times to the pages of National Review and the Weekly Standard, from First Things to the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, there is no wavering among America’s most influential conservative writers and thinkers.

In short, if the cultural Left is hoping to dominate the culture—and feels strong in its coastal bastions—it is overreaching, extending beyond the limits of its power. It is exposing itself to embarrassing cultural defeats and succeeding mainly in hardening conservative resolve. In the fight over religious freedom, the Left will not prevail.

* * *

First, a bit of history. The battle of Indiana began when Indiana’s legislature passed a version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), an act that provided, simply enough, that any state action that substantially burdens religious exercise is lawful only if it is the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling governmental interest. In other words—as Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner recently tweeted—when you can, you should avoid compelling people to act against their consciences.

This legal standard was common enough. In fact, it’s the same general legal standard in the federal RFRA and in similar RFRAs in 19 other states. There were, however, two differences from the norm. First, the statute explicitly allowed for-profit businesses to assert religious liberty rights (something the Supreme Court allowed Hobby Lobby to do in its challenge, under the federal RFRA, to the Obamacare contraception mandate). Second, the statute allowed a religious individual to utilize RFRA in defense against a lawsuit brought by a private party. In other words, if a person believed that his religious liberty could be substantially burdened by a court order resulting from private litigation, that person could assert that the court order would be lawful only if it met the RFRA test.

Neither provision is particularly groundbreaking. The Supreme Court allowed Hobby Lobby and other closely-held private, for-profit corporations to assert RFRA claims. Additionally, multiple federal circuits provide for the use of federal RFRA as a defense against a private right of action.

Moreover, RFRA and the compelling interest standard more broadly have long existed in American law. The compelling interest standard was not something invented by Congress when it passed RFRA in 1993. RFRA was passed to restore religious liberty to the same level of protection it received prior to the Supreme Court’s controversial decision in Employment Division v. Smith (1990), which rejected decades of precedent to hold essentially that religious liberty claims are inferior to rules of general applicability. Smith caused a bipartisan outcry, and Congress moved quickly to overturn the decision, passing RFRA with overwhelming majorities. President Clinton proudly signed it into law.

Conservatives saw Smith as a threat to the constitutional order, a dangerous derogation of our nation’s “first liberty.” Liberals saw Smith as a threat to smaller, minority religions. The dispute in the case arose over the use of peyote, a hallucinogenic drug, in Native American religious rituals. It’s safe to say that there was no sense at the time that RFRA was a threat to civil liberties or civil rights. Indeed, RFRA was seen as necessary—again, by liberals and conservatives alike—to protect civil rights.

There was good reason for this belief. For decades, the compelling interest standard in religious liberty claims had existed side-by-side with the explosive growth of nondiscrimination laws, and religious liberty claims had never been successfully used to strike down nondiscrimination statutes. In fact, in Newman v. Piggie Park Enterprises (1968), the pre-Smith Supreme Court called a business owner’s argument that he had a free exercise right to deny service to black customers “patently frivolous.”

This comes as no surprise to religious liberty attorneys who actually read the law and know how it operates in real-life litigation. It’s a historical fact that religious liberty claims did not protect or legally enable Jim Crow. The Civil Rights Acts were passed and prospered under the pre-Smith religious liberty regime.

Regardless, the sexual revolution marches on and the Left’s definition of “civil rights” has expanded—not only does it prohibit class-based discrimination in places of public accommodation, it now requires conscription into the revolution itself.

For example, it’s no longer enough for employees to have access to low-cost contraceptives and abortifacients. It’s the Obama administration’s position that employers must provide them free of charge. It’s no longer enough for bakers, florists, and photographers to provide service to everyone, regardless of sexual orientation. They must participate in and facilitate any kind of action or ceremony their customers desire—no matter how offensive to their beliefs—so long as those ceremonies further the ideals of the sexual revolutionaries.

So, when Indiana passed its RFRA, the bipartisan consensus of years past was gone—long gone. The mainstream media exploded. Twitter exploded. Major corporations like Apple and Cummins—and Wal-Mart, when similar legislation passed the Arkansas legislature—condemned RFRA. The NCAA followed suit. Deep-blue city governments, including those whose states had RFRA laws on the books for years, banned official travel to Indiana.

When reporters went searching for an Indiana business—anywhere in the state—that wouldn’t cater a gay wedding, it found Memories Pizza, a small-town pizza joint that had never been asked to cater a gay wedding, but whose owner answered that if it was, it couldn’t participate. An avalanche of hate, including alleged death threats, caused the owners temporarily to close their doors.

Critics disingenuously raised the specter of Jim Crow, recalled memories of the old South, and otherwise claimed that gay people were about to be sent to the back of the bus. Facts didn’t matter. Legal precedents didn’t matter. All that mattered was the thought that someone, somewhere, might try to raise RFRA as a defense for refusing to participate in a gay wedding.

Under pressure from activists and the national media, Indiana modified its law to state that it could not authorize a provider to deny services to anyone on the basis of multiple protected criteria, including race, sex, and sexual orientation. The “Indiana fix” soon led to a different “Arkansas fix.” Both fixes mollified the media and most gay rights activists, infuriated many conservatives—who saw them as cowardly—and placated the major corporations. The battle was over.

The battle may be over, but the war rages on. While many conservatives saw the quick capitulations by Indiana and Arkansas politicians and despaired (just as leftist activists exulted), the reality was far more complex and the presumed leftist victory far less clear. In reality, the battle lines are drawn, and there is little or no reason to believe that either side will triumph anytime soon.

Browbeating Christians into submission is not a new tactic, and it is a tactic that has largely failed in the abortion arena—despite the existence of legal doctrines that are dramatically skewed against the pro-life movement. Yet the pro-life movement is as strong as it has ever been, and political outcomes are finally starting to reflect that strength, with jurisdiction after jurisdiction passing ever-stronger pro-life laws.


A totally "incorrect" diet that works perfectly well
The food freaks wouldn't believe this but there have also been previous examples of obsessional people surviving quite well on extremely narrow diets. Where are the 5 veg a day we are all supposed to "need"?

Many of us enjoy beans on toast as a simple and comforting dinner. But Gary Watkinson eats three plates of the snack a day, and claims he has never eaten anything else. And despite his bizarre addiction, doctors have told the 25-year-old he is perfectly healthy.

Mr Watkinson, from Huddersfield, said: 'Ever since I can remember, from when I was a kid, I have only eaten beans, toast and chips.

'My mum used to give me plates of other food for me to try and I would just throw it on the floor. I would only eat beans.'

* He doesn't eat any fruit or vegetables, or any other kind of carbohydrates or cereal.*

'I get up in the morning and have beans on toast for breakfast, then again for lunch and dinner,' he said. 'I don't even have cheese on it. When I tell people they can't believe it.'

He became worried about his restricted diet after reading a story about a girl who died aged 22 from eating a similar diet. But booked a medical check-up with a doctor, and was told he was in good health.

He said: 'They took my blood sample but it all came back healthy. 'They told me I was fine. I'm actually quite slim and only weigh 11 stone.'

According to the NHS, three heaped tablespoons of baked beans counts as one of the five portions of fruit and vegetables the Government recommends eating every day as part of a healthy diet.

Baked beans contain around 164 calories per half a can and contain protein and fibre as well as calcium, potassium and some iron.

Nutritionists said high levels of fibre in the beans means he will not be constipated, which can lead to ill health and cancer.

They also contain enough fat to provide him with energy, although his levels are likely to be low.

'I don't know why I won't eat anything else, I just never have and can't stomach the thought of other foods. 'When I socialise with my mates and they all order pizza, I don't take part. They can't understand it.'

The only time he has ever eaten another food group in his life is when he went travelling in Indonesia, and was forced to eat chips.

He said: 'When you go abroad, beans just aren't on the menu. So when I go travelling I just eat chips. 'If I go into a fish and chip shop I always carry about £30 worth of cash on me so they don't think I'm just a tramp ordering chips on their own. 'If I'm in a restaurant too, that's all I'll eat.'


Stalinist British social workers again

Their Marxist social work education makes them hate normal families

Relaxing at their lovely family home this week, Victoria Seymour cuddles her daughters Georgia and Grace as though she will never let them out of her sight.

Life is beginning to get back to normal for the family after a nightmare ordeal in which — after a throwaway remark from Georgia at school — social workers seized the girls, put them in foster homes and threatened never to let them return to their parents.

The two children had been told off by Victoria for squabbling in the kitchen. She ordered them to stay indoors for the weekend, with no computer games or TV.

Faced with this dreary prospect, Georgia, the eldest, complained to her primary school teacher that she was ‘frightened’ to go home.

As 38-year-old Victoria explained to the Mail this week: ‘Georgia concocted the story to try to avoid a boring Saturday and Sunday. Without even checking the truth with me, the social workers just stepped in and tore our family apart on the word of a naughty child.’

Victoria and her husband Alan found themselves being investigated for emotionally and physically abusing the girls, then aged 11 and nine, by child protection staff, health workers and even the police, after they had returned from their home in Australia to care for Alan’s mother in England.

It was only after a three-month battle that the couple won the girls back and then fled to Australia. There’s one thing of which they are certain: they will never again set foot in Britain, where they were both born.

The Seymours have begun legal action against Bridport social services in Dorset for breaching their human rights and causing their children mental anguish.

During their stay here, they came within a whisker of losing their beloved girls. This couple are speaking out because they want to warn other families what could happen to them.

Forcibly seizing children for adoption — which is what the Seymours were told was on the cards for Georgia and Grace — is unheard of in other countries.

England and Wales stand alone in Europe in their readiness to take away children without their parents’ consent.

A damning Council of Europe report on child protection, published last month, warned: ‘England and Wales are unique in placing so many children for adoption, in particular in the young age group which is “popular” in its adoption market.’

It said 80 per cent of babies and under-fives ‘forcibly taken’ from their families by social workers are never returned, but are adopted by ‘strangers’.

Olga Borzova, a Russian member of the council’s social affairs committee, who wrote the report after a fact-finding visit, criticised the number of children removed from parents in Britain, including those from foreign families visiting or working here.

The numbers have provoked protests to the Government and to Sir James Munby, the head of the family courts, from ambassadors and government representatives of 34 countries, including Russia, Nigeria, Latvia, India and the Czech Republic.

In France, the Senate (the upper house of parliament) has approved a change in the Republic’s law to stop French children here being removed for adoption.

The legislation says: ‘Children of French families living abroad must be returned to France... in particular to avoid forced adoption without permission of the biological parents. This type of situation exists in particular in the UK.’

Slovakia’s Ministry of Justice is threatening to take the UK to the European Court of Human Rights after at least 30 of its young citizens — including babies — were taken from their mothers.

And the Latvian government has written in protest to the leader of the House of Commons because in the past three years, 136 Latvian children living here have been ‘illegally or forcibly’ adopted by British families.

In response to the international furore, Sir James has said judges and social workers must not ‘seize control’ of foreign children and their future must be decided by courts in their own country.

But his words have a hollow ring for the Seymours, who so nearly lost their daughters within weeks of arriving in England.

Alan, 58, emigrated down under with his parents in 1967. While on holiday in the UK in 2006, he met Victoria, who had two daughters — Georgia and Grace. The couple married in 2010 and settled in Canberra, where the girls enjoyed — as their parents say ruefully — all of life’s so-called ‘essentials’, including iPads and their own computers.

They admit their daughters were spoiled, precocious and, though intelligent, academically lazy. ‘Both spent far too much time at school socialising and being disruptive in class,’ says Alan.

The family’s terrifying brush with social services came after Alan’s father, who retired back to Britain, died suddenly on Christmas Day 2011, aged 81.

Alan’s ailing mother was left in shock and unable to look after herself at her home in Salwayash, near Bridport. Alan felt he had a duty to step in. He resigned as an account manager in Australia, and the family travelled back to Britain the following year.

They moved into his mother’s four-bedroom house and, in the autumn of 2012, the girls started at Bridport primary school. There were problems from the start.

The children found themselves struggling to cope at school because the system was different to Australia. The girls say they were bullied by other pupils over their accents and soon began to resist going to school.

Alan’s mother was also unhappy with what Victoria and Alan call the ‘invasion of her home by two young, vibrant, energetic and extremely vocal girls’.

It was not a perfect situation for any family. Meanwhile, short of money, Alan and Victoria were trying to set up a business as freight-forwarding agents.

The girls were missing their friends and their laissez-faire Australian lifestyle. And then, only a few weeks after the start of term, social services in Bridport began to take an interest.

‘Our youngest, Grace, said something at school about it being “torture” at home,’ says Alan. ‘The next thing, a social worker was on the phone to Victoria and, at a meeting later that day, threatened to take not just Grace, but both our girls away if necessary.’

Of course, there are always two sides to any story and the social worker — having been alerted by the school — must have been alarmed that a nine-year-old child had made such a remark.

The Seymours see it differently. ‘We kept asking ourselves: “How can a servant of the state act in such an aggressive, offensive, invasive and draconian manner on the uncorroborated word of a disorientated small girl?”’ says Alan.

Yet as a result of the couple’s honesty, Victoria was ordered to attend a series of ‘Child in Need’ meetings with both girls to have her parenting skills assessed by Bridport children’s services.

She was warned by social workers that if she did not turn up or was deemed to be ‘unco-operative’, the state had powers to take the girls into care and put them up for adoption.

When the meetings did not materialise on three occasions because social workers failed to arrive, had not been briefed or were on holiday, the Seymours dared to hope their nightmare had passed and would prove to be just a hiccup in their lives.

But they could not have been more wrong. The girls were increasingly unhappy and disruptive in class. At home, the Seymours were also battling with their behaviour. Less than a year after the family had arrived from Australia, in early June 2013, Georgia started the social services’ ball rolling again when she told a teacher she was ‘too frightened to go home’.

The night before, she and her sister had been warned they would be grounded the following weekend without TV or computers. ‘We think the threat of being grounded was the catalyst,’ says Alan. ‘Normally we would tick them off and the whole incident would be forgotten within an hour.

‘Because they had been squabbling loudly in the kitchen, we had said they should stay in and spend the weekend helping us clean the house.’

To the horror of Victoria and Alan, immediately after Georgia’s unfortunate remark, the girls were marched out of school and sent to a foster home.

A fortnight later, there was a conference called by Bridport social services, which decided they would be placed under a care protection order.

A report afterwards stated: ‘We are of the view that while there was no specific injury to either of the children, there are clearly issues around child safety according to statements made by the girls.’

Frustrated and upset, Alan and Victoria wrote to Bridport children’s services saying they wanted the girls returned to them ‘within 24 hours’. The response was ‘swift and merciless’, they say. Social workers successfully applied for an emergency protection order, formalising the fostering arrangement at the local court.

During the rest of the summer, the girls were moved from one foster placement to another, and were begging, in phone calls, to come home.

‘Our girls had come to realise that life in foster care is stricter than at home, with even more restrictions on tidiness, access to TV and standards of behaviour,’ says Victoria.

Allowed only occasional weekend visits to their parents, the girls were saying they were frightened at the foster homes. Twice, they had bruises on their faces and bodies, which social workers insisted was because they had been fighting each other. The girls told an entirely different story to their parents.

In an email to social workers, the Seymours said that younger daughter Grace was ‘petrified at night and crying until she vomited’, while the only reaction from her foster mother was to ‘bang on the door and tell her to be quiet’.

The email added: ‘Grace says she feels very sad, lonely and missed not having one of us to come in and cuddle her.’

Alan and Victoria hired a lawyer, bombarded Bridport social workers with emails, and put up a determined fight.

Their solicitor was so worried the children would never be returned that he privately advised the family to escape to France, taking Georgia and Grace with them, when they next made a weekend visit.

However, the family had another plan — they had decided to escape Britain and return to their home in Australia, taking the girls and Alan’s mother, too.

But then something dramatic happened. The couple had just told the girls and social workers they had bought flight tickets back to Canberra when Victoria received a phone call from Bridport social services’ department.

It was from a senior social worker asking if the girls could be returned to their parents that very afternoon between 5pm and 6pm. The care protection order was about to be lifted — without any apology or explanation. At 5.08pm that day in September, Victoria sent Alan, who was at work, a text message saying simply: ‘They are home.’

Within a week, the whole family had left for Canberra, leaving the house and their pet dogs behind.

Last night, Dorset County Council, which oversees Bridport children’s services, said of the Seymour family’s experience: ‘We do not comment on individual cases. ‘The council always considers the best interests of the child and any decision is carefully scrutinised through the proper legal processes.’

Today, Alan says from Australia: ‘We admit we were very lucky compared with other families living in or visiting your country.

‘We fear the vast majority of children taken by social services never get back to their birth families again.

‘Until very recently, Victoria was reluctant to allow the girls out on their own for fear of losing them again if British social workers turned up out of the blue. ‘She would drive them to school and pick them up, even though it is less than a mile away.

‘Victoria constantly checked on the children, at various times of the day and night, to reassure her they were still safe and had not been snatched.’

Finally, he adds: ‘We believe the only reason we got back the girls is because we fought the social workers every step of the 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.


21 May, 2015

Old age makes a realist out of a far Leftist

A move from Left to right is normal as people progress through life and find out there are no simple answers -- but it normally happens long before age 80. Good at any age, however. And he's spot-on in this case

I recall back in the 1980s that you could always count on Duke political scientist and “Sovietologist” Jerry Hough to take the wrong line on everything. Reagan was a dunce, the Soviets are normal folks just like us, détente is dandy, the arms buildup is bad—the whole catechism. You wondered sometimes whether he was on the Soviets’ payroll.

So it is with some delight to see this octogenarian grandee of liberalism get into all kinds of trouble for writing to the New York Times to criticize one of their post-Baltimore editorials. Here’s what he wrote to the Times, in full:

"This editorial is what is wrong. The Democrats are an alliance of Westchester and Harlem, of Montgomery County and intercity Baltimore. Westchester and Montgomery get a Citigroup asset stimulus policy that triples the market. The blacks get a decline in wages after inflation.

But the blacks get symbolic recognition in an utterly incompetent mayor who handled this so badly from beginning to end that her resignation would be demanded if she were white. The blacks get awful editorials like this that tell them to feel sorry for themselves.

In 1965 the Asians were discriminated against as least as badly as blacks. That was reflected in the word “colored.” The racism against what even Eleanor Roosevelt called the yellow races was at least as bad.

So where are the editorials that say racism doomed the Asian-Americans. They didn’t feel sorry for themselves, but worked doubly hard.

I am a professor at Duke University. Every Asian student has a very simple old American first name that symbolizes their desire for integration. Virtually every black has a strange new name that symbolizes their lack of desire for integration. The amount of Asian-white dating is enormous and so surely will be the intermarriage. Black-white dating is almost non-existent because of the ostracism by blacks of anyone who dates a white.

It was appropriate that a Chinese design won the competition for the Martin Luther King state. King helped them overcome. The blacks followed Malcolm X.

Cue all hell breaking loose at Duke! Hate speech! Hough is a racist! Fire him! (He’s already on a long-planned leave, but who can doubt this will transition into “retirement”?)

Duke University issued a statement, naturally:

“The comments were noxious, offensive, and have no place in civil discourse,” said Duke Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Affairs Michael Schoenfeld. “Duke University has a deeply-held commitment to inclusiveness grounded in respect for all, and we encourage our community to speak out when they feel that those ideals are challenged or undermined, as they were in this case.”

Just curious: has the Duke administration ever apologized or censured the “Gang of 88” racist professors who judged the Duke lacrosse team guilty without any facts merely because of their pale skin color? Or perhaps not issuing a statement was part of the financial settlement Duke had to make with the wrongly charged players. (Heh.)

Hough is not backing down, sending a follow up comment to a local TV station:

“Martin Luther King was my hero and I was a big proponent of all the measures taken at the time, including Affirmative Action. But the degree of integration is not what I expected, and it is time to ask why and to change our approach. I am, of course, strongly against the toleration of racial discrimination. I do not know what racial intolerance means in modern code words and hesitate to comment on that specific comment.

“The issue is whether my comments were largely accurate. In writing me, no one has said I was wrong, just racist. The question is whether I was right or what the nuanced story is since anything in a paragraph is too simple.

“I am strongly against the obsession with “sensitivity.” The more we have emphasized sensitivity in recent years, the worse race relations have become. I think that is not an accident. I know that the 60 years since the Montgomery bus boycott is a long time, and things must be changed. The Japanese and other Asians did not obsess with the concentration camps and the fact they were linked with blacks as “colored.” They pushed ahead and achieved. Coach K did not obsess with all the Polish jokes about Polish stupidity. He pushed ahead and achieved. And by his achievement and visibility, he has played a huge role in destroying stereotypes about Poles. Many blacks have done that too, but no one says they have done as well on the average as the Asians. In my opinion, the time has come to stop talking incessantly about race relations in general terms as the President and activists have advocated, but talk about how the Asians and Poles got ahead—and to copy their approach. I don’t see why that is insensitive or racist.”

This isn’t going to go down well. So liberals are about to eat up another one of their own.

Remember: when leftists say they want a “conversation about race,” they mean—you shut up and confess your white guilt. Oh, and raise taxes.

SOURCE. See details of the backlash against Prof. Hough here

Multicultural Corrections Officers Accused of Looting Store During Baltimore Riots

Two female Baltimore corrections officers were caught on tape last month allegedly looting a 7-Eleven store during the riots, according to a CBS affiliate.

According to police, they reviewed the surveillance footage after receiving a tip and saw Tamika Cobb and Kendra Richard leaving with merchandise while the store was closed.

"Our Intelligence and Investigative Division did an outstanding job, immediately following up on this tip," said Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services Secretary Stephen T. Moyer. "We will not allow the vast majority of our employees who are honest and hardworking to be tainted by the actions of a few."

The pair - who were assigned to a downtown Baltimore Division of Correction facility - have been suspended without pay and charged with theft and burglary.


America's favorite guy to hate: George Zimmerman

The name George Zimmerman has been one of the most well-known names in American media outlets. Since his acquittal in 2012 in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, he has been caught up again and again in the news. Since his not "guilty verdict", he has had had three separate girlfriends accuse him of abusive behavior (one even claiming he smashed an iPad in a fit of anger), he has been caught up in a road-rage incident with a man named Matthew Apperson, and now, most recently, he has been shot at. George Zimmerman's attacker in the recent event, the same Apperson as the road rage incident, has since been arrested and is in custody with several serious charges pending. So far, the legal system has yet to find any evidence of this man doing anything wrong in ANY of the previously mentioned events.

This has not stopped the court of public opinion from finding him to be a criminal who always sleezes his way out of trouble. Is this what American justice has come to today? Trials be damned and courts need not intervene, the people know all they need to know. The people have already found him guilty of being a racist, murdering, abusive little troll who deserves to be the victim of whatever some vigilante wants to do to him.

The most recent incident has ignited the Twitter world with an entire hashtag #WhenIHeardZimmermanGotShot posting over 12000 tags and his name being mentioned closed to 300,000 times. In the vast majority of cases, people lamented that Zimmerman wasn't a blood splatter on the pavement of Lake Mary, Florida. People celebrate his attacker, and feel a sense of poetic justice in anything awful that happens to the man. This is the new America, unfortunately. A white-man (though even that is in question) has been dubbed a racist by the mainstream media and thus he is no longer deserving of due process and protection under the law.

Has vigilante justice made a come back? Can we expect more lynching by anti-racist mobs? Why don't we just take Zimmerman out to a sycamore tree and string him up? The behavior of the media and twitterverse is shameful at best. It shows not only a bias that 21st Century public opinion has on those dubbed "racist", it also shines a light into a bigger problem of a lack of faith in the American people towards our justice system.


The decline of manners

SOME Twitter users have been up in arms over this normal looking photo, but what is it that’s got them worked up? Can you spot the problem?

The Mirror reports that the photo isn’t some kind of optical illusion. But as some users noted, the man is allowing the woman to walk on the wrong side of the sidewalk — the side closest to the road.

“I’m sure half of you guys don’t even know what’s wrong with this picture. Smh (shake my head),” Twitter user ibi said on the original post.

Many were utterly clueless as to what the issue was, but many, such as Denzell Lowery saw it straight away.

“He should switch sides with her and hold her hand,” he commented. “I think it’s just the ‘gentleman thing’ to do. just like opening doors. some women may not like that, but it doesn’t change,” another 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.


20 May, 2015

Some fruit of "There's no such thing as right and wrong

Leftists constantly preach that there's no such thing as right and wrong and also deny that there are differences between men and women. Why would anyone be surprised that their students act on that gospel? The loss of traditional standards of male/female behaviour has been replaced by zero standards -- just waffle

Having fulfilled her dream of a place at Oxford to study law, Claire Foster couldn’t wait to get started. But within just weeks, the straight-A student found that while the academic opportunities on offer could not be faulted, there was a deeply worrying undercurrent to student life.

Browsing a newsletter produced by male undergraduates at her college, the 18-year-old was shocked to find it filled with detailed stories of sexual encounters between second year students and female freshers.

In one, a student described in deeply derogatory terms how he had slept with one young woman while she was menstruating.

Worse was to come at the end of Claire’s first year when the undergraduates posed for a set of college photographs. After the formal shot had been taken, the students were invited to take part in a more light-hearted picture.

For this ‘fun’ photo, a group of the second year male students stripped naked. Two then posed at the very front of the group, one on all fours, simulating a sex act. ‘You would have thought that would have caused all sorts of outrage,’ said Claire (whose name the Mail has changed to protect her anonymity). ‘But in fact it was put on sale alongside the formal one, in a frame with the college name and crest at the top.’

Uneasy about this ‘laddish’ culture, Claire spent more time working and less socialising.

The following year, as a second year student, she was renting a house with fellow undergraduates. Claire claims that one Saturday lunchtime, while alone at home, a male student visiting the shared house — an aquaintance from her college — came into her room and raped her.

Initially stunned into silence by what had happened, a week passed before she reported the alleged attack to their college.

But far from supporting her, she says the college authorities’ failure to help her deal with the matter was as traumatic as the rape itself. Claire developed severe depression and ended up having to move to another college after the university refused to take any action against her alleged rapist when he denied the allegations.

‘I have spoken to several people who have had similar experiences with the university,’ she says. ‘They simply want to brush these things under the carpet so that no one finds out what really goes on there.’

Of course there are two sides to every story, and university authorities are clearly placed in an invidious position when confronted by completely contradictory testimony. But Claire’s claims cannot be dismissed lightly.

Last week, former Oxford student Elizabeth Ramey, 29, waived her anonymity to bring a case in the High Court challenging the university’s policy on how it deals with cases of rape and serious sexual assault.

Like Claire, Miss Ramey claims she was raped by a fellow student, then badly let down by the university’s internal disciplinary process.

Instead of any action being taken against the man, he was simply warned that in future he should be more careful ‘about putting himself in situations with female students which are open to misinterpretation’.

Although the judge declined permission for judicial review of the policy, the case will undoubtedly fuel concerns about what is going on at Oxford.

This week, it emerged that the principal of Margaret Thatcher’s old college had warned that female students there were facing an unprecedented barrage of ‘excessively harassing and intimidating behaviour’.

Her warning was prompted by numerous reports of groping at college parties, rape jokes being overheard in communal areas and students being coerced into sexual activity.

In an email to undergraduates, Dr Alice Prochaska, the head of Somerville College, wrote: ‘Rape is not a joke, as those who have been victims of it could tell you.

‘Any level of sexual harassment is also not a joke; it is not acceptable that members of the college and their friends should be made to feel uncomfortable and disrespected here.’

According to the National Union of Students, women in full-time education are now more likely to experience sexual violence than those from any other social group.

Surveys by the NUS have found that one in seven female students have been the victim of serious sexual or serious physical assault, while more than a third of female students have faced unwelcome sexual advances.

At the same time, there is a growing acknowledgment that a culture of misogynistic ‘laddish’ behaviour has also taken root on campuses. Oxford, Cambridge and other top British universities are far from exempt from these goings-on.

In 2013, an Oxford college rugby club was banned from competing and its leaders dismissed after an email entitled ‘Free Pussy’ was sent out, encouraging players to pick a fresher and spike her drink for a social challenge.

In the same year, members of a drinking society at St Hugh’s College were branded ‘repugnant and sexist’ for organising a pub crawl in which girls dressed as foxes in short skirts had to ‘evade mauling’ from male students dressed as ‘Huntsmen’ in red jackets.

Earlier this year, another college publication sparked outrage after printing a joke about punching women during sex. The quote — ‘No I haven’t punched a girl during sex, but never say never’ — was highlighted at the top of a page.

A high-profile example of a student cleared of a rape allegation is the case of Ben Sullivan. The then president of the Oxford Union was arrested last year on suspicion of rape and attempted rape. Having spent six weeks on police bail, the case against Mr Sullivan was dropped. He was told that he will face no further action.

While it emerged earlier this year that one of his alleged victims, a fellow student, has exercised her right to request a review of the decision by the Crown Prosecution Service not to prosecute, he has never been charged and those closest to him continue to insist he was falsely accused.

But even allowing for the boisterous humour long familiar at universities, and the feminist student groups who challenge it, concern over a rise in sexual harassment is growing.

Experts say it is impossible to say how many sexual assaults are committed at British universities, as in most cases they won’t be reported — not to the police or to university authorities, and not even to family and friends.

This is because of a belief that even if they do make a formal complaint, nothing will be done; a belief that is reinforced by the notoriously low conviction rates.

As for Claire, having switched college and taken a year out to recover from her ordeal, she left the university with a 2:1 and is now doing well in her chosen career.

An Oxford spokesman said: 'Oxford University absolutely condemns any form of abuse, harassment or inappropriate behaviour by any members of its community.

'We take allegations incredibly seriously: college and university staff are committed to supporting students who have experienced harassment or abuse in every way they can.

The new policy and procedure on harassment was designed precisely to ensure students feel supported in pursuing complaints in a safe environment.'


Anti-terror: the perversion of tolerance

The announcement by prime minister David Cameron today that a new counter-extremism bill is to form part of the Queen’s Speech on 27 May, providing the authorities with new powers to tackle terrorism, confirms that, as early as the first week of his new government, all pretence at inspiring and engaging has been set aside in favour of legislating and coercing.

When home secretary Theresa May told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that she wanted to ‘bring people together to ensure we are living together as one society’, she omitted to say that this ‘bringing together’ is to be made mandatory, with severe penalties for those who will not comply with what the authorities define as British values.

The window for free speech has now been firmly shut just a few months after so many political leaders walked in supposed solidarity for murdered cartoonists in France. Yet, it was only just over 200 years ago that the very British poet William Wordsworth, observing the spirit of liberty that had just been unleashed in France, exclaimed: ‘Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, but to be young was very heaven!’

Today, we face the twilight of freedom, and to be young is to be cowed and scrutinised, as the government implicitly reveals that it has given up on trying to understand the reasons why growing numbers of youths are disengaged from society, leading at the margins to the vexatious violence of a small minority. Interception and incarceration are to be the bold new vision for the future of Britain.

Most strikingly of all, the BBC reports that May will tell the National Security Council that the government will empower institutions to ‘challenge bigotry and ignorance’. Lest we forget, it was only five years ago that the previous PM, Gordon Brown, castigated a traditional Labour voter as a bigot. And, presumably, old-fashioned Church of England adherents opposed to gay marriage on principled religious grounds will also face the need to be re-programmed under Cameron’s new regime, just as much as the many who don’t know their Sunni from their Shia?

Cameron states that for too long ‘we have been a passively tolerant society’ and is presumably ‘pumped-up’ at the possibility of actively changing this image. But, in truth, Britain has strayed a long way from the Enlightenment conceptualisation of tolerance, which advocated robust engagement with others over matters of principle while recognising and accepting the need to live side-by-side.

In recent years, British society has become not tolerant but indifferent to the mores of others, preferring to turn a blind eye to outlooks and activities deemed not too threatening. You can believe anything you like, so long as you don’t believe in it too much, has been the unstated outlook of the authorities. Now, Cameron seeks to shift gear from passive indifference to active authoritarianism.

Of course, deep down, neither Cameron, May nor any other person in power truly believes that this approach can work. At best, it is a form of containment. And, as the security services know full-well, there can be no security solutions to social problems. Their capacity is already fully stretched monitoring the active few. Presumably, then, our ignorance is to be challenged by local authority-led training workshops?

What this will achieve, though, is to mandate bad faith across society. The government legislates to be seen to be Doing Something. Institutions and individuals will act and speak accordingly – to be seen to be in compliance. No wonder so many voted Tory without telling the pollsters; to say what you really think is no longer a constituent of British values.

Meanwhile, a generation of young people in search of purpose and meaning in their lives, looking for something to believe in, will find this in all manner of bizarre and, sadly, occasionally twisted avenues. It is not ideas on the internet that radicalise. To presume so is to view people as mindless sponges. Rather, it is the gaping hole at the heart of where real values ought to be that these young people actively seek to fill – a hole best exemplified through the recent election, where no party sought to provide any strategic or principled vision for society.

Sadly, it really is through the prism of an authoritarian form of child protection that the government now views the populace, and especially the young. Successive heads of MI5 have alluded to how these people are ‘vulnerable’ and ‘groomed’ online by vicious malcontents. While feeding off and into contemporary anxieties and fears of paedophiles, this formulation also presents the next generation (who, oddly it would seem, manage to get to Syria quite easily) as lacking any agency, autonomy and – inadvertently perhaps – accountability for their actions.

A far more useful approach would have been to challenge the therapeutic culture that has now infected our education system – a culture where children are taught from kindergarten on that their feelings are sacrosanct and that having their personal beliefs challenged is a form of offence. It is a culture that has spread right through society leading to a situation where the impulse to ban ideas and activities that some find unacceptable has become the mainstream solution. In his announcement today, Cameron has shown that the government now best exemplifies this new and dangerous trend.


Ex-Muslim: Koran Revealed a Religion I Did Not Like

GOTHENBURG, Sweden -- Mona Walter is on a mission. Her mission is for more Muslims to know what is in the Koran. She says if more Muslims knew what was in the Koran, more would leave Islam.

Walter came to Sweden from Somalia as a war refugee when she was 19. She says she was excited about joining a modern European nation with equal rights for women. But as a young Muslim woman, that was not the Sweden she encountered.

A Real Introduction to Islam

It was in Sweden that she first experienced radical Islam on a daily basis.

"I discovered Islam first in Sweden. In Somalia, you're just a Muslim, without knowing the Koran. But then you come to Sweden and you go to mosque and there is the Koran, so you have to cover yourself and you have to be a good Muslim."

Walter says she grew up in Somalia never having read the Koran.

"I didn't know what I was a part of. I didn't know who Mohammed was. I didn't know who Allah was. So, when I found out, I was upset. I was sad and I was disappointed," she recalled.

And it was in Sweden that Walters says she discovered Allah is a god who hates, and that Islam is not a religion of peace.

"It's about hating and killing those who disagree with Islam. It's about conquering. Mohammed, he was immoral. He was a bloodthirsty man. He was terrible man, and Muslims can read that in his biography -- what he did to Jews, how he raped women, how he killed people. I mean, he killed everyone who didn't agree with him," she explained.

Discouraged, Walter left Islam and became an atheist, until one day a family member encouraged her to read the Bible. She still remembers the first time she read Matthew 5:44, where Jesus said to "love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."

Christianity, a New Perspective

"It was very strange for me to 'love your enemy,' because in Islam it is 'kill your enemy.' 'Kill your enemy and anyone who refuses Islam.' But Jesus Christ was all about love and peace and forgiveness and tolerance, and for some reason, I needed that," she said.

She went to see Pastor Fouad Rasho of Angered Alliance Church, a Syrian immigrant who ministers to former Muslims in Sweden.

"She started to believe and she came to me. And that was the beginning of her trusting," he said.

When she accepted Christ, Walter said she felt "so happy" and "filled with joy."

Walter says the Lord gave her a burden for Muslims who still do not know the truth about Islam. And she began to study the Koran, and began copying verses from the Koran and handing them out on the street to Muslim women.

Rescuing Muslims with Truth

"Sometimes they listen and sometimes they become very upset, and I tell them, 'You know your husband has a right to beat you if you don't obey him?' And they say 'No, It does not say that.' 'Yes, it does say that.' I thought if I tell them about Muhammed and about the Koran and about this god of Islam who hates, who kills, who discriminates against women, maybe they will have a choice and leave," she explained.

But in politically correct Sweden, Walter has come under attack for simply repeating what is in the Koran.

"I've been called an 'Islamophobe,' and yeah [they tell me], 'You've been bought,' 'You're a house nigger,' and stuff like that, terrible things, " she said.

She has also been called a racist. Walter warns that Islamic radicalism is a serious threat in Sweden, and says Swedish society should care more about women trapped in Islam.

"[Swedes] will think, 'Oh, we're in Sweden; we have freedom of religion,' but Muslim women don't have freedom of religion. They live under the law of Allah, not under Swedish law. So they will suppose everyone has freedom of religion. We don't have freedom of religion. It's not for Muslim women. It's for everyone else," Walter argued.

Walter lives under death threats and sometimes travels with police protection. She wanted to show us Muslim areas around Gothenburg, but had to first dress as a Muslim. She believes if she were to show her face, she would be attacked.

"I can never go to those areas just being me, flesh and blood Mona. I would never get out of there alive," she said.

"I mean, Muslims are normally good people like everyone else," she continued. "But then when they read the Koran, then they become a killing machine."

"This so-called ISIS or el Shabab or Boko Haram, they're not like extremists. They're not fanatical. They're just good Muslims, good Muslims who follow the teachings of Islam. The prophet Mohammed, he did that. They're doing what he did," she explained.

Walter now uses videos and speaking appearances to spread her message. And she says she won't stop, even though her life is in danger.


How the Illiberal Left Uses Silencing Tactics

In March 2014, pioneering Internet company Mozilla announced the appointment of co-founder Brendan Eich as CEO. That same day, a Twitter mob exploded with criticism of Eich. Gay rights supporters were angry about a 6-year-old donation of $1,000 to the “Yes on 8” campaign, which sought to ban same-sex marriage in California in 2008.

It’s OK to be angry about Eich’s donation. Screaming for Eich’s head on a pike for his failure to conform to Mozilla’s majority view on same-sex marriage is not.

Liberals are supposed to believe in protecting minority views, even when they disapprove of those views.

Instead an online mob of presumably “liberal” people tweeted about Eich’s donation, many calling him a bigot and homophobe for supporting Prop 8. Remember, this proposition passed the same year Senator Barack Obama sat in Rick Warren’s church to explain his religious based opposition to same-sex marriage. Eich took the time to address the criticisms.

On his blog he wrote, “I am committed to ensuring that Mozilla is, and will remain, a place that includes and supports everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, age, race, ethnicity, economic status, or religion.”

Such assurances proved inadequate, however. Almost 70,000 people signed a petition organized at Credo Action, a progressive social change organization, telling Eich to renounce his beliefs or resign as Mozilla’s CEO. They accused him of “advocat[ing] for inequality and hate” and ordered Mozilla to fire him if he refused to resign.

Finally, just over a week after his appointment, Mozilla announced that Eich would be stepping down as CEO. “While painful,” wrote Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker, “the events of the last week show exactly why we need the Web. So all of us can engage freely in the tough conversations we need to make the world better.”

It’s not necessary to support Eich’s donation to recognize something deeply disturbing occurred here. Pushing someone out of his job for dissenting on an issue that has nothing to do with the mission of the company and then portraying the purge as a “free” conversation that boosted humanity is creepily Orwellian.

The writer Andrew Sullivan—who is gay and was one of the earliest public advocates of same-sex marriage—wrote at the time of Eich’s ouster, “When people’s lives and careers are subject to litmus tests, and fired if they do not publicly renounce what may well be their sincere conviction, we have crossed a line. This is McCarthyism applied by civil actors. This is the definition of intolerance.”

Sullivan correctly acknowledged that Mozilla had not violated any laws in punishing Eich for his opposition to same-sex marriage and that they had the right to take the actions they did. But that didn’t make what they did consistent with the liberal values Mozilla claimed to embrace.

Liberals are supposed to believe in protecting minority views, even when they disapprove of those views.

In discussion of the controversy on ABC’s “This Week,” Democratic strategist Donna Brazile concurred with Sullivan, saying, “We have to be very careful that we are not practicing a new McCarthyism.”

Yet, this is exactly what the illiberal left is regularly doing right under everyone’s noses. They don’t have the force of the government behind them (though some would like it in the form of “hate speech” laws), but they don’t need it.

Because of the outsized influence this crowd enjoys in today’s culture—along with the ubiquity and reach of social media—reputations and livelihoods can be destroyed with the push of a button.

Because many of the silencing tactics employed by the illiberal left do not involve the government though some do, particularly at public universities—the illiberal left will often claim they are not infringing on anybody’s right to free speech. This willfully misses the point.

Freedom requires more than the “structures” of freedom such as a liberal Constitution and a just legal system. It requires the “spirit” of freedom, which is passed from generation to generation.

This insight, which comes from the 18th century philosopher Montesquieu, was famously applied to the United States by Alexis de Tocqueville in his book “Democracy in America,” in which he observed that America owes its freedom not so much to the law as to the “habits of the heart” of freedom-loving American citizens.

The illiberal left is eradicating these “habits of the heart” so Americans won’t even remember what it was like to be able to speak freely without fear of retaliation from a silencing mob or a few disgruntled lefties.

“Mankind ought to have a rational assurance that all objections have been satisfactorily answered; and how are they to be answered if that which requires to be answered is not spoken?” asked British philosopher John Stuart Mill in “On Liberty.” “Or how can the answer be known to be satisfactory, if the objectors have no opportunity of showing that it is unsatisfactory?”

The more success the illiberal left has in terrorizing people who express dissenting views, the fewer objections there will be. Most people understandably just want to do their jobs and support their families. Given the choice between being shunned by their peers or losing their job for a personal view, they will almost always choose silence over confrontation.

Because of this, society should always err on the side of respecting people’s right to determine their own beliefs and express them without fear of official or unofficial retribution. Debate and persuasion should be the reflexive response to disagreement and even harmful propositions, not an authoritarian impulse to silence. It should be so not only because it is just, but because no society can flourish without the clash of ideas.

Harvard psychology professor and bestselling author Steven Pinker invoked the critical role free speech plays in a democratic system in a 2014 speech. We acquire knowledge through a “process that Karl Popper called conjecture and refutation,” said Pinker. “We come up with ideas about the nature of reality, and test them against that reality, allowing the world to falsify the mistaken ones. The ‘conjecture’ part of this formula, of course, presupposes the exercise of free speech. We offer conjectures without any prior assurance they are correct. It is only by bruiting ideas and seeing which ones withstand attempts to refute them that we acquire knowledge.”

The illiberal left seeks to short-circuit this process. They don’t want to defend their views, nor do they want to allow forums for other people to present views that are at odds with the conclusions they have drawn on an array of issues. Sometimes, the mere suggestion of holding a debate is cast as an offense.

Environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said in a September 2014 interview of those who deny climate change, “I wish that there were a law you could punish them under.”

Pinker singled out university campuses for their hostility to free speech, likening them to the worst authoritarian regimes in history. “It may seem outlandish to link American campus freedom—which by historical and global standards is still admirably high—to the world’s brutal regimes,” Pinker said.

“But I’m here to tell you that the connection is not that far-fetched. This morning I woke up in Oslo, after having addressed the Oslo Freedom Forum, a kind of TED for political dissidents. I met people who escaped from North Korea by walking across the Gobi Desert in winter; people who were jailed for a single tweet; people whose families were thrown in prison because of their own political activity. These stories put the relatively minor restrictions on campus speech in perspective.

But the American commitment to unfettered speech, unrivaled even by our democratic allies in Europe, stands as a beacon of inspiration to the world’s dissidents, one of the few features of the American brand that still commands global admiration. At least one speaker at the Forum singled out speech codes and other restrictions on expression in the United States as a worrisome development.”

The behavior of the illiberal left flies in the face of decades of jurisprudence forged by liberal Supreme Court justices who argued for an expansive view of the First Amendment and treated free speech as a precious commodity to be guarded jealously. “Those who won our independence believed … that freedom to think as you will and to speak as you think are means indispensable to the discovery and spread of political truth,” wrote Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis in 1927. “The path of safety lies in the opportunity to discuss freely supposed grievances and proposed remedies; and that the fitting remedy for evil counsels is good ones.” This does not become less true outside of Uncle Sam’s shadow.

Supreme Court Justice William Brennan Jr.—a liberal lion known for his outspoken progressive views—was perhaps the strongest First Amendment advocate of the modern era. Appointed in 1956, Brennan participated in 252 free speech cases during his 34-year tenure on the Court. In 88 percent of these cases, Brennan sided with the free speech claim. In New York Times v. Sullivan, likely Brennan’s most well-known free speech opinion, he wrote: “We consider this case against the background of a profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open … ”

The illiberal left does not share this commitment. Their burgeoning philosophy in favor of government power to curtail freedom of thought, speech, and conscience is troubling. Environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr.—a graduate of one of the nation’s most elite law schools, the University of Virginia—said in a September 2014 interview of those who deny climate change, “I wish that there were a law you could punish them under.”

Accusing the libertarian Koch brothers of “treason” for disagreeing with his view of climate change, he said they should be “at the Hague with all the other war criminals.” He asked rhetorically, “Do I think the Koch brothers should be tried for reckless endangerment? Absolutely, that is a criminal offense and they ought to be serving time for it.” Kennedy’s penchant for arguing for state action against those who do not share his view of climate change is not new. In 2007, he said in a speech at Live Earth that politicians who are “corporate toadies for companies like Exxon and Southern Company” had committed treason and needed to be treated as traitors. In 2009, he deemed certain coal companies “criminal enterprises” and declared that one company’s CEO “should be in jail … for all of eternity.”

In a 2014 speech, Floyd Abrams, one of the nation’s top First Amendment scholars, himself a lifelong liberal, noted, “It stuns me how many people—educated people, including scholars—seem to believe that the First Amendment should be interpreted as nothing but an extension and embodiment of their generally liberal political views.”

He told me in an interview, “It is accurate to say that … conservative jurists have moved strongly in the direction of more First Amendment protection and liberal jurists have moved markedly in the other direction.” Abrams founded the Floyd Abrams Institute for Freedom of Expression at Yale Law School and noted that of the liberal legal scholars who come to his center, most view the First Amendment as an impediment to progressive policy goals. He says, “Their definition of liberalism is so imbued with their devotion to egalitarianism that they are willing to pay some First Amendment prices to get there.”

Cornell Law School professor Steven H. Shiffrin is a leading scholar of the First Amendment and co-author of a widely used First Amendment casebook. He is also an evangelist for the new progressive view of the First Amendment. Shiffrin gave a 2014 lecture called “The Dark Side of the First Amendment” in which he proclaimed, “The First Amendment is at odds with human dignity” and complained that racist speech was protected despite “its undermining of racial equality.”

University of Chicago Law School professor Eric Posner expressed a similar contempt for free speech when he wrote in Slate, “For the left, the [First] amendment today is like a dear old uncle who enacted heroic deeds in his youth but on occasion says embarrassing things about taboo subjects in his decline.” The time had come to put the nutty uncle back in the attic. Posner was writing in the wake of the riots in the Middle East attributed to a YouTube video. He expressed dismay that the U.S. government was prevented by U.S. law “from restricting the distribution of a video that causes violence abroad and damages America’s reputation.” As he wrote, “The rest of the world—and not just Muslims—see no sense in the First Amendment.”

Posner and Shiffrin are influential legal scholars and they are not alone in their views. Their intolerance of free speech that leads to what they deem the wrong policy conclusions or offends the wrong people is frankly typical of the illiberal left. Today’s progressive legal policy is less likely to treat the First Amendment as a bulwark against government infringement on the free expression of Americans than a roadblock to a progressive ideological agenda.

“What’s coming up through the pipeline should have everyone who cares about freedom of speech very concerned,” FIRE’s President Greg Lukianoff, a graduate of Stanford Law School, told me in an interview. “I’m afraid that a lot of these more tenuous theories that law schools have come up with—that have grown up on campuses—that allow them to punish speech they dislike, while protecting speech they like are going to have increasing presence on the bench at every level and, I’m afraid, eventually on the Supreme Court.”

The more suppressive view of free speech seems to be gaining currency more broadly, especially among younger Americans. According to the 2013 First Amendment Center annual survey, “This year there was a significant increase in those who claimed that the First Amendment goes too far in protecting individual rights.”

The older you are, the less likely it is that you believe the First Amendment’s protections are too robust. Only 23 percent of people over 60 and 24 percent of those between 46 and 60 hold that sentiment. But an astonishing 47 percent of 18- to 30-year-olds say the First Amendment goes too far, and 44 percent of 31- to 45-year-olds agree.

If younger Americans are that accepting of government interference in speech, then how much more tolerant will they be of unofficial silencing?



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 May, 2015

Three multicultural drug dealers stabbed 'gentle giant' to death in his home

Rishe Campbell

Three teenage drug dealers who stabbed a vulnerable ‘gentle giant’ to death in his home were handed life sentences today.

Warren Ramdeen was murdered in his Northolt flat in west London just days before he was due to be rehoused in a 'savage attack.'

Rishe Campbell, 19, Shomari Mkini, 16, and Idris Abdulle, 17, had each taken a knife to his home on the night of the attack in which the victim was stabbed seven times, a court heard.

His lifeless body was discovered lying on his bed by paramedics five hours later.

Today the teenage killers were all handed life sentences and told they must serve a total minimum sentence of at least 50 years for the brutal murder.

They can be named for the first time today after Judge Anthony Morris QC lifted a court order prohibiting their identification because of their age.

The court heard that Campbell, Mkini and Abdulle had taken advantage of the 31-year-old victim's vulnerability and social isolation, using his home to take drugs, drink alcohol and listen to music.

Tragically, Mr Ramdeen was due to move out of the Racecourse Estate in Northolt, in the week he was killed.

Grieving family members said he ‘hated’ the flat where he was ‘taken advantage of’ by local youths.

When the three teenagers were arrested they all gave different accounts of what happened in the victim’s flat on the night of 3 October last year.

Each defendant blamed one another, but an Old Bailey jury found the trio guilty of murder on 30 March.

Despite being the youngest, Mkini was described as the leader of the three and was handed a life sentence with a minimum term of 17 years.

Campbell was jailed for life with a minimum term of 17 years and Abdulle, who has no previous convictions, was handed a life sentence with a minimum term of 16 years.

Judge Anthony Morris, QC, said: ‘Shortly before 11.15 that night the three defendants murdered Mr Ramdeen by carrying out a savage attack on him in his flat in which stabbed him repeatedly when he was unarmed and unable to defend himself.’

The judge said he was satisfied each had taken a knife to the flat, although they had not initially intended to attack their victim.

‘This was a group attack by three young men armed with knives on an unarmed victim in his own home with a background of Class A drug dealing.’

In a victim impact statement, Mr Ramdeen’s mum, Jacqueline Louison, said: ‘There was a massive void in our lives caused by the cruel and heartless way he was taken away from us.’

Mrs Louison said her son was ‘just about to turn his back on the leeches and users who were destroying him’.

‘He was excited about leaving Churchill Court behind him only to be murdered in the place he hated.’

Mr Ramdeen’s father, Daniel Ramdeen, said: ‘The last conversation I had with him was about a week before his death. ‘He complained to me that young boys kept coming up to the flat to smoke. ‘He said he didn’t want them coming round anymore because it was not helping with his weed smoking, which he wanted to stop. ‘He said he would deal with them because they were young boys.’

In his victim impact statement Mr Ramdeen said Campbell ‘is a nasty piece of work’ and Abdulle ‘needs to be taught a lesson’. He added: ‘I don’s hate the boys, but believe Campbell and Mkini are very dangerous and need to be taken off the street.’

The court heard paramedics arrived at Mr Ramdeen’s flat in Churchill Court in Newmarket Avenue, Northolt, at around 4.15am.

Prosecutor John McGuinness said: ‘The dead body of Warren Ramdeen was lying face down on a mattress. He was covered in blood. It was obvious he had been stabbed a number of times and he had been dead for some hours as his body was already exhibiting signs of rigor mortis.’

There were no eyewitnesses to the killing and all three of the youths gave different accounts.

Mkini, from Harrow, London, who was then aged 15, claimed they went round to Mr Ramdeen’s flat because he let them smoke cannabis there.

He told officers that Campbell stabbed Mr Ramdeen after an argument broke out and Abdulle also had a knife.

Abdulle, of Northolt, London, claimed that the youngest boy pulled out a knife and stabbed Mr Ramdeen during the argument and Campbell also had a knife.

Campbell, of Pinner, Middlesex, first claimed in a prepared statement that he was standing outside the flat chatting to his mother on the phone at the time of the attack and did not know Mr Ramdeen was dead until his arrest.

He then said that Mr Ramdeen attacked him first and the youngest boy intervened by ‘punching’ the victim.

Mkini later threatened him and Abdulle and warned him not to say anything, he said.

Prosecutor John McGuinness QC said: ‘These three accounts simply cannot stand next to each other.

‘Mr Ramdeen was stabbed a number of times with at least two knives.

‘The number of stab wounds and the defensive injuries suggest Warren Ramdeen was the subject of a sustained attack.

‘This wasn’t all down to one person suddenly attacking alone to the complete surprise of the other two. Whoever killed Warren Ramdeen had help. All three of them helped to kill him.’


Britain's stupid health police in action

They're not really stupid. They are just lazy and nasty

The parents of a five-year-old were outraged after being told by the NHS their three stone son was overweight and needed to go to 'fat club.'

Paul and Sarah Hurry had always prided themselves on providing healthy food for their six children.

So the couple were shocked to be told by a nurse that their sporty and active son Max, who at 3ft 6in tall weighs 3st 3lb, was 'fat' as part of the NHS' Child Measurement Programme.

The family were even invited to a healthy lifestyle review to teach them how to feed their children.

Mr Hurry, 47, from Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, said he didn't know whether laugh or feel furious after receiving the letter which he described as 'political correctness gone mad.'

The note from Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust, which was based on the youngster's BMI reading, went onto say that Max's weight could lead to serious health problems such as asthma diabetes.

It even warned it might make him more prone to bullying and having low self-esteem.

But Mr Hurry and wife Sarah disputed any claims their active young boy was anything but healthy.

The father-of-six had confronted the nurse during the initial meeting back in February when she told him Max was overweight.

'I said to her, "look at him - how can you say he is fat? He's clearly not fat.

'She said "well, he is fat because that's what the chart says," and I just thought there's no point in arguing with someone who clearly has no common sense.'

But after laughing off the concerns, they were furious to receive the letter suggesting they should attend a 'fat club.'

'When I first saw it I was not sure whether to be p***** off or laugh it off as some sort of political correctness gone mad. I'm still undecided.'

The couple said they took great care to cook healthy meals for their six children and had never been told any of Max's siblings were overweight.

'They all eat the same food and they all share the same build. To be perfectly honest the only big person in this family is me,' he added.

Mr Hurry said that Max has an older sister, six-year-old Matilda, who is disabled and as a result will only eat salmon, chicken, vegetables and a bit of potato so the whole family would eat the same.

'Every night they have fresh salmon or fresh chicken with some new potatoes and vegetables,' he said.

'Maybe once a week they'll have something less healthy, just to give us a little break - but it will still be something like chicken dippers, not a takeaway or real junk.

The letter from Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust said: 'These results suggest that your child's weight to height ratio, in line with their age and sex, is a concern.

'Excess weight can lead to serious health problems. 'In short this can effect psychological well-being (bullying and low self-esteem), asthma and early onset of diabetes.

'Your GP would like to help and will soon be contacting you to invite your child and family to attend a Healthy Lifestyle Review.'

Mr Hurry is now considering going along to healthy review with his family to challenge the staff about their 'fat' claims. 'I'll say to them, "right, which of these is fat? And what change needs to be made to their diets?" Because none of my children are fat.'

The Trust were unapologetic about the letter and told the Mirror: 'We contact families to let them know if their child is eligible. Unless they tell us they do not wish to be contacted, their GP will invite them to the lifestyle review.'


Edzard Ernst: a scientist in wonderland

Edzard Ernst is today well known in scientific circles as a (now-retired) leading academic debunker of alternative medicine. But as revealed in his new memoir, A Scientist in Wonderland: A Memoir of Searching for Truth and Finding Trouble, he didn’t always seem to be destined for his role as a leading celebrity sceptic. He was raised in postwar Germany, which considered alternative medicine totally normal. He was a jazz-loving boozehound who shared the rebellious outlook of much of a generation that felt its elders were morally compromised by their role in the Third Reich. Originally, he had no particular academic bent and scraped into medical school via a convoluted route.

After finishing medical school, his first job as a doctor was at a homeopathic hospital, which he found a pleasant, if eccentric, posting. Almost accidentally, after a number of clinical and scientific posts, he became a professor at the prestigious medical faculty of the University of Vienna. But after becoming alienated by the university’s culture of backbiting and corruption, he upped sticks and took the seemingly career-suicidal step of taking up the newly created position of chair of complementary medicine at the less-than-prestigious University of Exeter in 1993.

His earlier experiences meant he was not necessarily hostile to complementary (aka alternative) therapy, but while at Exeter he applied his hard-won scientific rigour to this previously under-examined area. His first glimmer of scientific scepticism came while he was studying psychology in the Freudian-influenced and pseudoscientific atmosphere of the 1970s. However, it was his later work as a research scientist that convinced him of the need for scientific honesty in evaluating medical treatments. And while he did discover some things that alternative practitioners might have liked – such as evidence for the safety of acupuncture and the efficacy of some herbal remedies – the vast bulk of his findings suggested that most alternative treatments were no better than placebos. What’s more, he found that some popular alternative treatments were actively dangerous: for instance, the spinal manipulation involved in chiropracty had led to a number of strokes. His book does a good job of giving an overview of his research, as well as underlining the importance of the scientific method more broadly.

But, as Ernst soon found, proponents of alternative medicine were entirely uninterested in evidence. In fact, they were greatly offended that Ernst even examined their claims, rather than uncritically supporting them. Standing up to alternative methods in the 1990s and early 2000s required considerable moral courage; Ernst was exposed to much personal abuse. Science was deeply unfashionable at the time, with public opinion on science characterised by suspicion over BSE and GM crops. It was a far cry from the popularity of Brian Cox, The Big Bang Theory and I Fucking Love Science today.

Ernst’s courage was demonstrated in the uncompromising way he took on his most prominent detractor: Prince Charles. Having enemies in high places is normally a sign that you’re doing something right, and it doesn’t get much higher than the heir to the throne. In his chapter on his confrontations with the prince, Ernst doesn’t pull his punches. He recounts how one particular dispute led to a letter being sent to the vice chancellor of Exeter from Charles’s private secretary. After the incident, Ernst’s working environment at Exeter became increasingly hostile and funding for his research became mysteriously hard to come by.

This was a disgraceful attack on academic freedom and a breach of the Charles’ constitutional role. But, in some ways, it was the actions of the university authorities – in particular the dean of Exeter’s Peninsula Medical School, John Tooke – that were the most shameful. The fact that a feudal relic like Charles is a self-described ‘enemy of the Enlightenment’ shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, but the fact that such senior people in medicine and academia were complicit in Charles’ sabotage of Ernst is a disgrace. The incident reflected a worrying lack of self-confidence, as well as a blasé attitude to medical science, in the higher echelons of the medical profession.

If there is one criticism to make of Ernst’s book, it is the lack of a deeper examination of the hostility towards science at the time, and the spinelessness of the establishment in supporting it. One interesting but underdeveloped connection he draws – one which got him sacked from a journal advisory board by the queen’s own homeopath – is between the irrational, nature-worshipping and unethical practice of medicine in Nazi Germany (an area into which he conducted historical research) and that of today’s alternative-medicine practitioners. More exploration of the continuities of such thinking, and the specifics of today’s anti-Enlightenment feeling, would have been interesting. But perhaps that’s a lot to ask of a memoir.

Today, with the current furore around vaccinations in the US, the campaign against pseudoscience is heating up again. Yet, while Ernst was doing battle with the establishment, the pro-science side in the vaccination debate at times takes on a patronising and hostile attitude towards members of the public – people who simply aren’t yet won over by the science. Ernst’s book is a reminder of the need to have the courage to tell the truth as you understand it, and fight your corner against those in authority, while never losing a compassion for patients and a commitment to winning the debate.


800 years on, why Magna Carta still matters

Not surprisingly, given it was written 800 years ago, there’s much in Magna Carta that sounds alien to our 21st-century ears. From its heartfelt plea for ‘standard measures’ of wine and ale ‘throughout the kingdom’ to its rumination on what should happen to a man’s fortunes should he die while in debt to Jews, the medievalism of the document sings through its 63 clauses. And of course, as many historians point out, it’s a very historically specific document, designed to prevent a brewing civil war between influential rebel barons and a tyrannical king, John. Some sniff that Magna Carta was simply a wartime treaty, merely securing rights for stroppy 13th-century barons rather than for man- (far less woman-) kind.

Yet for all its medieval quirkiness, Magna Carta has a universalist heart that still beats today. It articulates the human desire for freedom so powerfully that some of its clauses sound as relevant, and urgent, to our ears now as they must have done to the barons, abbots and royals who witnessed the king’s sealing of Magna Carta in a field near Windsor on 15 June 1215. Indeed, these clauses would provide the foundation stone of the revolutions and constitutions that shaped the modern, democratic era, not just in Britain but in the US, France, and elsewhere. Even as far afield as China, democracy-seeking dissidents cite this dusty document sealed by an English king 800 years ago.

Consider Clause 38: ‘In future no official shall place a man on trial upon his own unsupported statement, without producing credible witnesses to the truth of it.’ Here, we have one of the earliest, and clearest, articulations of the importance of the rule of law, of letting citizens be, unless it can be proven, credibly, that they have committed an offence. Magna Carta says the arbitrary power of officialdom must be restrained by law. Or consider Clause 39: ‘No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land.’ Here, again, we have a proposal to shackle authority, to limit its ability to interfere with people’s rights or property. Clause 39, which still forms part of English law, is a clarion cry for the right of people (back then only barons, yes) to be ‘let alone’, as American revolutionaries would put it more than 500 years later.

The most important thing about Magna Carta is how it was interpreted, and acted upon, by future generations, particularly by the revolutionaries of the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. If Magna Carta planted the seed of an ideal that would radically reshape human affairs — that sometimes the state must be restrained in order to allow the flourishing of individual life and liberty — it was Magna Carta’s fans in subsequent decades who watered that seed, demanding that this ideal be spread beyond barons to all men, and eventually all people.

So Edward Coke, the 17th-century radical English jurist whose writings on Magna Carta introduced it to a whole new audience and helped give rise to the Habeas Corpus Act of 1679, famously declared: [T]he house of every one is to him as his Castle and Fortress as well for his defence against injury and violence, as for his repose.’ Here, Magna Carta’s promise that no baron should be stripped of his rights or possessions was expanded to ‘every one’, whose ordinary home, said Coke, should be treated in the same way a baron’s castle was once treated: a place to be left alone. The liberal promise of Magna Carta was being spread. The idea of liberty, and privacy, was being expanded.

Also in the 17th century, the Levellers, the most radical movement of the English Civil War, frequently cited Magna Carta, explicitly arguing that its promise of liberty should be enjoyed by all. John Lilburne, the Leveller who fought hard for freedom of speech, described Magna Carta as ‘the Englishman’s legal birthright and inheritance’. Leveller sympathiser Henry Marten cut to the heart of Magna Carta when he described it as ‘brazen wall and impregnable bulwark’ between authority and man, which ‘defends the common liberty of England’. This captures what was so meaningful about Magna Carta to those groups who desired greater freedom: it proposed erecting a ‘brazen wall’ between those with power and those with none, between the authority of a few and the liberty of the many; it restrained the state, acting as an ‘impregnable bulwark’ against its power.

In the eighteenth century, American revolutionaries built their entire new nation on the promises of Magna Carta. In 1761, the Massachusetts-based American revolutionary James Otis gave a fiery speech against Britain’s use of ‘writs of assistance’ in America, which allowed it to access citizens’ homes and their personal records. Such arbitrary interference in people’s lives and effects went against the ideals of Magna Carta, he said. At the sealing of that document in 1215, said Otis, ‘American independence was then and there born’. The Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution, which articulates ‘The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects’, granted to all Magna Carta’s suggestion that people (barons) should not be ‘stripped of [their] rights or possessions’ without good reason.

Further afield, Magna Carta inspired the French revolutionaries of the late 1700s. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen of 1789 states that, ‘No man may be indicted, arrested, or detained except in cases determined by the law’, showing, as one historical account puts it, that Magna Carta’s influence ‘had expanded beyond the English-speaking world by the late 18th century’. Only in France, as in America, all men were to be treated as deserving of the protection of the ‘brazen wall’ of liberty — ‘reflecting how Magna Carta’s provisions had expanded to include everyone instead of only the landed nobility’ (1). In the modern era, Nelson Mandela appealed to Magna Carta when he was on trial in 1964, demanding that South Africa’s Apartheid regime recognise his, and all blacks’, right to be protected against the excessive power of the state. In Tiananmen Square in 1989, some of the pro-democracy dissidents cited Magna Carta. As one account says, ‘They freely quoted passages from the Western pillars of democratic freedoms’, and they stuck on their ‘Democracy Wall’ various historic documents, ‘ranging from Magna Carta to the American Declaration of Independence’ (2).

Those barons who pressured a king to give his seal to a document in an English field 800 years ago could not have imagined the extraordinary impact it would have on human affairs, reshaping not just England but also America and France and even inspiring activists as far afield as Africa and China. This shows that once it had been expressed, the fundamental idea contained with Magna Carta — that restraints are required to limit officialdom’s power — could not be suppressed; the genie could not be forced back in the bottle. More importantly, it shows that freedom must be fought for over and over again. Magna Carta on its own guarantees nothing. How could it? It is merely a piece of paper. Rather, it was the human urge for more liberty, the desire to enjoy choice and freedom and a private life away from the prying eyes and barging elbows of authority, that encouraged future generations to act on Magna Carta, to demand that it be respected and expanded and made into a living, breathing, constitutional reality.

The problem we face today is profound. Firstly, respect for legal rights is in short supply, as evidenced in everything from British governments’ assaults on the right to silence and the ‘double jeopardy’ rule to America’s undermining of the Fourth Amendment through its spying on citizens. And secondly, even worse, the spirit of freedom, the urge within citizens for greater liberty and autonomy, seems weak, too. In short, the two things that guaranteed Magna Carta’s historic, humanity-changing impact — first, the rights it articulated on paper, and second, successive generations’ determination to make those rights real— are waning. And so we are seeing the gains of the Magna Carta era, of the past 800 years of pretty much non-stop struggling for greater liberty, being slowly undermined.

We need a new and serious debate on freedom, on why it’s important and why we need more of it. Magna Carta did not only articulate the rule of law — it also, through its shackling of a divine king in the name of the freedom of non-divine barons, promised a rebalancing of the relationship between the state and the individual, with the former being bound by rules in order to allow the latter to get on with his life as he sees fit. Today, that relationship is being turned around: the sovereignty of the individual seems weak, while the authority of the state, on everything from what we say to how we parent, is growing. Inspired by Magna Carta, and by the many generations who cited it in their fights for freedom, we need to find a way to fortify the ‘brazen wall’, the ‘impregnable bulwark’, between the state and the individual.



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 May, 2015

Multicultural kidnap gang who demanded £30,000 from mother after threatening to cut off her son’s fingers jailed for a total of 63 years

A kidnap gang who blackmailed £30,000 from a torture victim’s mother after threatening to cut off her son’s finger were jailed for a total of 63 years today.

Jack Edjourian was snatched from his flat on Green Lanes, Enfield, before being taken to 27-year-old Courtney Bishop’s ‘stronghold’.

He was burnt, beaten and even had a steel pole inserted into his rectum while kidnappers demanded thousands of pounds from his family, the Old Bailey heard.

Whilst lying on the floor with his head covered, the victim heard one of the gang say: ‘If it’s not here in 20 minutes he loses a finger.’

Edjourian was only released once his mother, Maria Cristofi, paid them £30,000 at a meeting in Norwood Country Park, in south London.

He was taken to Chalk Farm Hospital where he was kept for four days because of the seriousness of his injuries.

Courtney Bishop, Nigel Bishop, 27, Keith Walker, 35, and Christopher White, 29, were found guilty of conspiracy to kidnap on May 5 2013.

They were also each found guilty of conspiracy to burgle, conspiracy to commit false imprisonment, wounding with intent and conspiracy to blackmail.

Judge Christopher Moss QC said: ‘It can’t be said for certain how the victim was selected, but it had all the hallmarks of being gang and drug related. ‘You are all in my judgement members of the gang culture that blights the streets of London and other cities in this country.’

Just two days earlier another man, Ruben Miah, was subjected to a similar ordeal when he was dragged from a cab by two men on a motorbike and bundled into the back of a car. He was taken to a high-rise flat, stripped and his attackers took £800 from his wallet as well as his watch and his earring. Miah was then tied up with belts and wires, a pillow case was put on his head and a sock stuffed into his mouth until he retched.

The men, who on this occasion included Courtney Bishop, White and Alan Smith, 27, hit him and used a steam iron to burn the soles of his feet before pouring boiling water on his feet.

Courtney Bishop, Smith and White were found guilty of conspiracy to kidnap, conspiracy to commit false imprisonment and wounding with intent over the incident. Courtney Bishop and White were also convicted of conspiracy to blackmail and conspiracy to burgle.

Both of the victims refused to come to court to give evidence against their attackers.

Sentencing Courtney Bishop to 24 years, Alan Smith to 11 years and Keith Walker and Nigel Bishop to 14 years each, Judge Moss said: ‘You inflicted the most hideous forms of torture on these victims.’

‘Neither of them appeared in court or assisted the investigation further, no doubt for fear of the consequences of doing so.’

‘Two kidnappings, one a few days after the other - the prosecution contend committed by the same core gang, using the same location to hold the victims,’ said prosecutor Timothy Hunter.

‘Police were able to identify the flat used to hold both victims after Mr Miah described a circular window with a view of Wembley Stadium,’ Hunter continued.

The gang did not react as their sentences were read out, but Nigel Bishop called out ‘Thanks for all your support, I love you all’ to his family in the public gallery. White did not appear in court today, and is due to be sentenced separately next Friday.


The incredible sulk: All week, the Left have been frothing with fury that their fellow Britons could be so wicked and stupid as to vote in the Tories

Nothing better shows their contempt for ordinary people

Just over a week has passed since perhaps the most extraordinary General Election result of modern times, and at last the dust is beginning to settle.

In Westminster, David Cameron’s new all-Conservative government has settled down to business, while a succession of ambitious contenders have set out their stall for the Labour leadership, most of them insisting, not entirely plausibly, that they never agreed with a word Ed Miliband said anyway.

In the real world, most people have simply got on with their lives.

Yet in one strange corner of Britain, the campaign is far from over. This is a world in which we are forever poised on the brink of Socialist conversion, the only obstacles are the Right-wing press and the brainwashed masses, and Ed Miliband was the greatest prime minister we never had.

This is the world of old-fashioned union leaders, liberal Twitterati and Left-wing academics, who have spent the past week in a laughably self-pitying sulk.

For while most commentators, whatever their political allegiances, saw the election as proof that Britain remains at heart a deeply pragmatic, even conservative country, the self-righteous moralists of the bien-pensant Left have drawn a very different conclusion.

Like Mr Miliband, they can’t accept they lost the argument and burn with pious indignation at the supposed stupidity of the ordinary voters who let them down.

Disappointment is, of course, part and parcel of political life. Even so, the reaction in some quarters to the General Election result strikes me as not merely disproportionate, but deluded — if not deranged.

Take, for example, the Anglican canon Giles Fraser, darling of the metropolitan chattering classes. Four years ago, he resigned as chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral in protest at plans to remove forcibly the anti-capitalist protesters who had set up a ‘shanty town’ camp outside, saying he could not support the possibility of ‘violence in the name of the Church’.

‘Right now I feel ashamed to be English,’ began his column for The Guardian last weekend. ‘Ashamed to belong to a country that has clearly identified itself as insular, self-absorbed and apparently caring so little for the most vulnerable people among us.’

From this you might think that Mr Cameron and his colleagues were committed to abolishing the NHS, scrapping foreign aid and slashing welfare to the bone. In fact, the Tories are committed to spending £11 billion a year on foreign aid, £111 billion a year on welfare and an extra £8 billion on the NHS.

You might disagree with some of the Government’s choices. Fair enough. But given the facts, Rev Fraser’s analysis had all the rigour and proportion of a toddler’s tantrum.

Alas, there was worse to come. Even as Guardian readers were weeping into their soya-milk lattes, anarchist protesters were taking to the streets of London, daubing obscenities on — unforgivably — a monument to those brave women who served their country in World War II.

And in Cardiff, the ludicrous figure of the singer Charlotte Church joined a rabble of anti- austerity protesters, carrying a placard that read: ‘I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more’. (By ‘it’, she presumably meant democracy.)

Perhaps the most flagrant example of Left-wing blindness, self-righteousness and sheer intolerance came from the pen of Rebecca Roache, a philosophy lecturer at Royal Holloway, University of London. Writing on Oxford University’s Practical Ethics blog, Dr Roache announced that when she saw the election result, she immediately checked which of her Facebook contacts followed the pages of David Cameron or the Conservative Party on the social networking site, and promptly ‘unfriended’ them.

To support the Conservatives, she explained, ‘is as objectionable as expressing racist, sexist or homophobic views’. In her opinion, such views must be made ‘socially unacceptable’, with ordinary voters deterred from holding them by the chilling fear that Dr Roache might unfriend them on Facebook.

I should perhaps point out that Dr Roache really does exist. I have not made her up, though it is tempting to suggest she must have been invented by a satirist keen to puncture the intellectual bullying and posturing self-importance of the academic Left.

The depressing truth is that views like hers are far from uncommon in those leafy little corners of metropolitan Britain where two or three intellectuals gather to lament the false consciousness of the working classes, who do not know what is good for them and really ought to be guided by their moral superiors.

Among the bohemian Left, with their state-funded salaries and public-sector pensions, the idea that any sane person might vote Conservative, or even hold conservative opinions, is almost unthinkable.

And while you will rarely hear people saying they ‘hate’ the Labour Party, you certainly hear it about the Conservatives — or, as Left-wing activists like to call them, ‘Tory scum’.

The very fact that such terms are bandied around so freely says something very depressing about the state of public debate in this country.

Yet among certain fringe groups — union leaders, comedians, university lecturers — expressions of hatred for the Conservatives and their voters are all too common. ‘I’ve instinctively hated the Tories since birth,’ comedian Charlie Brooker once wrote in (you guessed it) The Guardian.

‘If there was an election tomorrow, and the only two choices were the Nazis or the Tories, I’d vote Tory with an extremely heavy heart.’

It would be easy to dismiss this as exaggerated posturing for melodramatic effect. But the fact is that in some areas of our national life — especially the universities and parts of the media — such views are regarded as mainstream.

One anecdote tells a wider story. A friend who teaches at Cambridge once told me he is afraid to admit to his colleagues that he reads The Times, lest they dismiss him as a brainwashed lackey of Rupert Murdoch. Instead, he pretends to read The Guardian, even though he can’t abide it.

This is not so much an issue of conscious bias as it is a case of what the American writer William H. Whyte once called ‘groupthink’: an intellectual conformity which is all the more insidious because it is so unconscious.

Its precepts are simple and unchanging. Patriotism is evil. Austerity is wicked. To question mass immigration, to praise the British Empire, even to fly the national flag, is tantamount to racism. The state is always benign; private interests are always suspect; individual aspiration is mere selfishness; profit is a dirty word; and there is, of course, no such thing as being too Left-wing.

This is the ideology that dominates Twitter, where actors, comedians and intellectuals have spent the past week frothing with fury that their fellow Britons could have been so wicked as to vote for Mr Cameron.

It hardly needs pointing out, I hope, that this world view is founded on an utter ignorance of British history, a complete disregard for basic economics, a basic lack of faith in democracy, an astonishing intolerance of dissenting opinions and a snobbish disregard for the common man.

Indeed, given the Twitterati’s loathing of Nick Clegg for having gone into coalition with the Tories in 2010, I often wonder how they would have treated Labour’s Clement Attlee, who went into coalition with Winston Churchill in 1940.

Presumably Attlee would have been treated to the same sickening abuse that is thrown at the Conservatives and their supporters today. Still, it is worth remembering one basic fact. For all the sound and fury of the keyboard Socialists, the election proved they are a tiny, unrepresentative and largely powerless minority.

For there is, of course, another Britain. This is the country that the vast majority of people inhabit — a country very far removed from the gloomy Orwellian dystopia portrayed by Mr Miliband and his admirers, or by those BBC journalists who love to paint our country in the worst possible light.

This is the Britain of the silent majority — a decent, tolerant but quietly conservative bunch, horrified by the antics of the anarchists, scornful of the entreaties of demagogues such as Russell Brand, and much more interested in bread-and-butter issues than in the smug sixth-form pretensions of the former Labour leader and his Oxbridge chums.

What Left-wing intellectuals can never get into their heads is that most people are simply not very interested in party politics. They have much better things to worry about.

Yet it was a mark of Mr Miliband’s utter detachment from social and political reality that he and his allies were sucked into the echo chamber of Twitter, which is inevitably dominated by students, Westminster journalists and jumped-up B-list celebrities who think they’re as clever as the lines that are written for them.

Instead, they should have learned from Tony Blair, whose triumphant campaigns between 1997 and 2005 were based on his appeal to ‘Mondeo man’ and ‘Worcester woman’ — normal, unshowy people with normal, unshowy anxieties and aspirations.

The poet Rudyard Kipling once called them the ‘sons of Martha’ after a Biblical story — the backbone of the nation, the people who in every age ‘take the buffet and cushion the shock’.

But Kipling’s admirer Margaret Thatcher, who learned his poem by heart and won her first election in 1979 with a massive swing among Labour voters and union members, put it slightly differently.

This, she said, was ‘a Britain of thoughtful people — oh, tantalisingly slow to act, yet marvellously determined when they do. It’s their voice which steadies each generation, not by oratory or argument, but by a word here or there, a sudden flash of truth which makes men pause and think and say: “That makes sense to me.” ’

Thoughtful, quiet, pragmatic, cautious — this is the real Britain, a long way from the hysterical stridency of the student union Left.

It is not necessarily a Tory Britain. Sometimes it turns to Labour, as in 1945, when Attlee won a landslide victory not by rhetorical shrillness or class war posturing, but by appealing to the generosity and public-spiritedness of the common man.

But would Attlee, a morally austere, deeply patriotic, cricket-loving man, make it in today’s Labour Party?

Somehow I can’t see him winning an endorsement from its chief paymaster, the hard-Left union chief Len McCluskey, let alone the approval of the preposterous Russell Brand.

Instead, they found their champion in Ed Miliband, whose defining characteristic was his utter inability to understand the silent majority.

And as the past week has shown with unmistakable clarity, this is a failing he shares with countless other liberal intellectuals, who appear to regard their fellow countrymen with horror and hatred.

Future historians will surely be intrigued by the fact that Mr Miliband, who went to a comprehensive school, proved so much less adept at reaching ordinary voters than Mr Cameron, who went to Eton.

Yet the truth is that understanding the common man is less a question of class than one of outlook. When the silent majority looked at Mr Cameron, they saw a dutiful, businesslike family man — a child of privilege, to be sure, but one whose values and ambitions were not so different from their own.

But when they looked at Mr Miliband, they saw a quintessential metropolitan intellectual, intoxicated by his own ideological pretensions, who had absolutely no concept of what life was like outside the Oxbridge and Westminster bubble.


Leftist delusions of grandeur

A vivid demonstration of Leftist egotism

The comic saga of the elusive ‘Edstone’ took another turn last night after it emerged Ed Miliband considered an even more bizarre plan during his doomed Election campaign – carving his party’s pledges on a cliff face.

Party sources have told The Mail on Sunday that only after the ‘Mount Rushmore’ plan had been abandoned it was decided six key promises would be chiselled into the widely mocked stone slab instead.

The revelation came amid claims yesterday that the stone had finally been found abandoned in a south London warehouse.

According to the source, Labour chiefs initially looked at carving the promises at a site such as Cheddar Gorge: ‘The idea was to find somewhere in the country where we could carve the pledges, like a big gorge or cliff where people could see it. But they couldn’t find anybody to do it.’

The idea has echoes of America’s Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.The scuplture, which was completed in 1941, features 60ft likenesses of US presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln on the mountainside.

The source said: ‘They asked someone to allow them to carve the letters on their land. People were very excited about it. The letters would have been huge – same wording as appears on the stone.

‘But the problem was, they couldn’t find a suitable location or anybody to allow it.’

Unlike South Dakota, the UK is short of suitable locations for giant carvings. Two of the most obvious – Cheddar Gorge and the White Cliffs of Dover – are in Conservative constituencies.

The source added: ‘After the discussion, none of us could stop thinking about Ed’s face glaring down, Lincoln-like, from a mountainside.’

When the plan failed, the ‘Edstone’ was arranged as a compromise and unveiled in Hastings the weekend before the General Election.

After it was clear that the stunt had backfired, a truck with a giant claw came to collect the 50-stone slab and it remained hidden for the rest of the campaign.

Yesterday it was claimed that the 8ft 6in stone is being stored at a warehouse on the Westminster industrial estate in Woolwich, south-east London. It was produced by masonry specialists Stone Circle at the company’s factory on the outskirts of Basingstoke, Hampshire.

The company took just one week to order the stone, cut it to size and have Mr Miliband’s Election promises engraved into it.

The typeface and exact wording of the lettering were designed on a 3D graphics computer at the company’s factory, which fed the information into a computerised engraving machine to produce the finished piece.

This newspaper understands that the firm has signed a confidentiality agreement at Labour’s behest and risks a severe financial penalty if it breaches the terms.

One source said the gagging order document was ‘hefty’ and so stringent the company is not allowed even to confirm its existence.

‘It’s almost like the guys behind this whole idea were worried from the start about the negative publicity it could attract,’ one source said.

‘The Edstone is very heavy – about 300kg (47st) – but it is also very brittle,’ said another source last night. ‘All you would have to do is push it over and it would smash into 50 pieces. Then you could just pick them up and shove them in a skip.’


Boozy women: Fruit of feminism

Pushing women to compete with men puts them under stress -- and alcohol is one refuge from that. The author below, Amanda Platell, is a prominent British conservative journalist of Australian origins. She has lamented that a medical condition prevented her from having children

The woman who wrote to me was in her 40s, single, and had given up hope of ever finding a husband and having children. She’d wanted both, but had devoted so much of her life to her high- flying City career that she’d found neither.

On the day she was made partner in her firm, she drank two bottles of champagne to celebrate with her colleagues — and then a third on her own when she got home. That was her rock bottom, and I thought of that lonely, unhappy high-flyer as I read the report this week claiming middle-aged professional women drink to dangerous levels because they’re trying to keep up with their macho male colleagues. They are supposedly driven to drink by a feeling that they have to match the boys chablis for chablis in the workplace, at client lunches and in the pub afterwards.

It’s no surprise to me that the spokesman behind the study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is a man. He described the pressure on women to network and drink as the ‘dark side of equality’.

But only a 57-year-old career woman like myself can truly understand why educated, successful women of a certain age drink so much. I know a lot of them. Just as I know many happy career mums who let their jobs take a back seat while nurturing their kids and supporting their husbands — and they rarely drink to excess.

If the OECD report had done a bit more research, it would actually have found there’s a direct link between middle-class alcoholism among women and being single or divorced.

It’s not professional pressure that stiffens all these women’s wrists as they pull out that cork when they get home at night — it’s loneliness. That’s the real dark side of equality.

Let’s not forget the depressing statistic that 40 per cent of marriages now end in divorce, with a third of decree absolutes arriving on the doorstep before the 20th wedding anniversary.

One in four women over 40 are now childless and they’re mostly career women. Some don’t want kids, some left it too late. Others simply cannot have children and many are just waiting for the perfect man who never turns up.

And no surprises that this places many of these women firmly in the red-alert category of the OECD report; professionals in the 45 to 64 age group who drink dangerously.

It was about this time last year I realised my own ‘social drinking’ had got out of hand. A couple of glasses of wine with lunch, then a couple more with dinner, it was adding up to way more than was healthy.

I wasn’t drinking to dull any pain. I had a boyfriend, a great job, my life was happy — but a little too merry, if you know what I mean.

And it was taking its toll on my body. My weight had slowly crept up and I could no longer disguise my muffin top. Enough.

So I took drastic action and gave up drinking completely for nearly a month. When I restarted, gently, I drank far less, mainly G&Ts with slimline tonic to cut the calories. I could make one drink last all dinner.

Since last August when I did my detox, I’ve lost nearly a stone without doing any more exercise or dieting. It just shows how much we drink without even thinking. I realised the damage I was doing to myself in time, but other career women have paid a heavy price for their success.

It’s not just my friends I observe. When I wrote an article for the Mail last September about the perils of mid-life female drinkers, I was inundated with emails and letters from women.

One came from that unhappy but courageously honest City worker. Another that particularly struck me was from a 55-year-old lawyer who felt so poorly she was sure something was drastically wrong and asked her doctor for a blood test. They found a major problem with her liver. A mother of two teenage children, she had divorced in her 40s, left her dependable but dull husband for someone who duly dumped her, and was now alone with her kids and her career — and a bottle of shiraz each night.

The only thing that marked her out from the majority of the women who contacted me was that she had children still with her. Almost all were mid-life, mid-career and living in lovely homes provided by their fab jobs — yet alone. The message was loud and clear. They didn’t drink because of the pressures of work, but because of the consequences of their careers.

Keeping up with the boys is not about downing bottles of wine at corporate dinners, but drowning the sadness of leaving the office at 10pm with nothing and no one to go home to. Many learned the painful lesson that you can’t take a career to bed, that a job is no comfort on sad days, nor capable of sharing the joy on happy ones. Your cat is no company for brunch on a sunny Sunday. And there was an abiding sense of betrayal from the women who contacted me that we, the post-feminist generation, the glass ceiling breakers, were duped.

With a copy of The Female Eunuch clenched tightly under our shoulder-padded, power-suited armpit, as young women we were told we could have it all — a husband, children, career and happiness ever after. We believed that our personal satisfaction and achievement were what really mattered. But we didn’t look at the fine print.

What life has taught this generation of women drinkers is that if you put career before everything else when starting to scale that shaky ladder of success, you will pay a heavy price. Women were sleepwalking into disaster, disappointment and depression — and they drink to blot it out.

Now, as we look back, perhaps we can see that those of our contemporaries without glittering careers, the ones we professional women sniffed at who preferred to be ‘home-makers’ and work part-time, were often happier with their lot. A bit like my mum.

She has been married for 67 years. A clever woman, she could have held her own in any of the corporate positions I’ve had. Yet she was part of the generation where she accepted that raising her three children and supporting her husband was the most rewarding job she could do.

Mum will be 87 next month, and is now cared for by my dad, who’s soon to be 89. They still live in their own home supported by carers but, more importantly, she has the love and support of her husband, children and adoring grandchildren. She will never be alone.

Mum has been teetotal all her life. She never needed the booze to get through life’s sorrows, including the loss of her firstborn.

Thankfully, there is no solitary life for her in her twilight years, full of regrets in the dark of night. She can sleep soundly and happily in the knowledge she is loved.

It’s only now when I look back at my short marriage that I realise that I’d bought the false feminist agenda hook line and sinker. I didn’t think it mattered that I worked six days a week and never got home before 10pm. To be successful, to achieve my full potential was my right. But I was wrong. Is it any wonder my marriage ended after just four years, when he had an affair with a woman who ‘needed’ him.

He said it was a cry for help, that he loved me but was tired of spending his days and nights alone and living in my shadow. Looking back, I realise I didn’t even cast a shadow in our marriage, as I was never there.

Now I know it’s not all about us, we career women, our jobs and our right to be up there with the big boys, calling and then downing the shots.

No relationship lasts without care for the other, however big your salary or impressive your title. I learned that decades ago, as did many of the women who wrote to me last year. It’s about a balance between love of your job and love of family and friends.

Now if it’s a choice between my man and my boss, I choose the former, and celebrate both over a glass of wine, not a bottle.

And if any of us needed a lesson in what feminism brings you, look to Germaine Greer, author of The Female Eunuch and one of the most strident female voices of the 20th century — aged 76 and living alone.



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 May, 2015

Black American homosexual sentenced to 60 years in prison for recklessly infecting his sexual partners with HIV

A MAN who prosecutors accused of “recklessly infecting” two male sex partners with HIV in Missouri has been sentenced to 60 years in prison, in a judgment that has outraged AIDS activists.

Twenty-three-year-old Michael L Johnson faced felony HIV exposure charges and was also accused of knowingly exposing four others to the virus that causes AIDS over nearly 10 months after being diagnosed as HIV positive in January 2013.

He pleaded not guilty, although two of his sexual partners testified in court that Johnson told them he did not have any sexually transmitted diseases at the time of the encounters.

Fusion reported that a judge will determine whether some of Johnson’s sentences can be served cumulatively, potentially cutting his total prison term down to 30 years.

HIV activists reacted with anger and dismay to the sentencing, saying the laws in Missouri and more than 30 other states criminalise a medical condition, and that they will not kerb the spread of the virus.

The encounters occurred in Johnson’s dorm room and other campus housing at Lindenwood University, a private school in the St Louis suburb of St Charles.

The New York Daily News reported that Johnson used the name ‘Tiger Mandingo’ in his online dating profile and had filmed himself having unsafe sex with his partners. Missouri police found 32 video clips on his laptop showing him having unprotected sex with his partners, the site reported.

“He didn’t just fail to disclose. When he was specifically asked if he was clean ... he lied,” prosecutor Philip Groenweghe told jurors during the trial.

Johnson was a champion wrestler on the college team


BBC under fire after Home Affairs Editor 'compares hate preacher Anjem Choudary to Gandhi and Mandela'

The BBC is under fire after the Home Affairs Editor appeared to compare notorious hate preacher Anjem Choudary to Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.

Following a lengthy report on last night's BBC News at Ten about Choudary's 'radicalising force', Mark Easton appeared to question whether there were similarities between Britain's most famous extremist and two of history's greatest civil rights campaigners.

Referring to Theresa May's pledge to clamp down on extremism, the journalist said Gandhi and Mandela had been seen as extremists and that those stances 'are sometimes needed to challenge very establish values'.

But outraged viewers slammed the comparison as 'disgusting' while campaigners said the 'ludicrous' comments gave credence to Choudary's 'complete rejection' of democracy and tolerance.

Speaking after a 'special report' which gave further airtime to Choudary and his radical views, Mr Easton said: 'It's one thing to ban someone for inciting hatred or violence, but quite another to pass a law that silences anyone who challenges established values.

'I was in Parliament Square today - a statue of Gandhi looking down at me who was jailed for being extremist; Mandela who was jailed for being an extremist.

'History tells us that extreme views are sometimes needed to challenge very established values that people at the time hold so dear.'

Adam Deen, founder and executive director of The Deen Institute, a Muslim debating forum and think-tank, said the journalist was trying to make the point that dissenting views are essential in a democracy.

But he said that Choudary's views 'completely reject' democracy and tolerance - the very values by which Gandhi and Mandela's views were inspired.

Mr Deen said: 'I think the journalist's point is underpinned by the view that dissenting views are important for a democracy and that these voices can highlight areas where a society may have gone wrong.

'Anjem rejects democracy, is very anti non-Muslim and is very much anti-western. So to regard Anjem as a legitimate dissenting voice - and to open up this topic, saying that "maybe we've got it wrong to clamp down on his organisation" - is absurd.'

He added: 'Anjem does not behave in the way that he does because he believes in the value of democracy and freedom of speech. It is because he is an extremist Muslim who believes that 'The Good' can only be derived from scripture.'

A spokesman for the Clarion Project, an organisation that challenges radical Islamism and promotes dialogue, added: 'It is ludicrous to compare Anjem Choudary, who promotes the most extreme form of Sharia law which denies entire segments of the population their basic human rights, to human rights champions such as Gandhi and Mandela.

'Choudary’s challenge of “established values” such as “rule of law, democracy, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of different faith and beliefs” has arguably led to more British citizens joining ISIS or committing acts of terror than any other single individual.'

Viewers also expressed their concern over the comments. One user wrote on Twitter that 'to compare Gandhi with Choudary is not becoming of a respected journalist', while another asked: 'Are you trying to compare the islamist scum in uk to Gandhi and Mandela? If they are your views then they're disgusting?' Another simply said it was a 'silly analogy'.

A spokesman for the Gandhi Foundation added that it was an 'absurd comparison' because Gandhi took a non-violent approach. Mark Hoda, chair of the trustees, said: 'By my understanding, Choudary is someone who advocates hate and violence and justifies terrible acts, so I think it is an absurd comparison.

'Of course, there is an issue of extremism being a relative concept but, even though Gandhi may have been seen as an extremist at a certain time, his philosophy was non-violent.

'He was also accommodating of other views, which is different to Choudary who has a narrow view of Islam.'

Mr Easton raised the topic following a special report by security correspondent Gordon Corera which asked: 'Is preacher Anjem Choudary a radicalising force?'

He studied the question in light of the government's changes to extremism laws which, in a bid to clamp down on radicalisation. could include banning and dispersion orders for those 'undermining British values'.

As part of the report, the corporation - which has already given Choudary airtime on several occasions - filmed Mr Corera meeting with the hate preacher in a café.

Talking about the report back in the studio, Mr Easton said: 'Against a background of hundreds of Muslims heading off to fight and with people like Choudhary whose rhetoric is encouraging them to go, the government thinks this (the new laws) needs to take place.'

Choudary, a trained lawyer, is a figurehead for a proscribed group which calls for Sharia Law to reign in UK. Yesterday, he claimed that Ms May's extremism laws would 'criminalise young people for upholding the values of freedom of religion and expression.'

The 48-year-old said: 'Are you going to start putting Communists in jail because they believe in a different way of life - where is it going to stop? I will continue to speak out against Draconian laws and injustices and snooper's charters.

'They are trying to silence anyone who is opposed to the government's foreign policy. The Conservative government is at war with Islam and Muslims.'

Choudary, who founded the radical Islamic group Al-Muhajiroun 20 years ago which was later banned, is seen as a recruiting sergeant for Britain's radical Muslims.

He was one of nine men held in a series of co-ordinated dawn raids by counter terrorism police in September last year.

All the men were held on suspicion of being a member of, or backing a banned terrorist group and supporting terrorism.


Rolling Stone gang-rape author — still employed

How does Sabrina Rubin Erdely — the author of the thoroughly discredited Rolling Stone gang-rape story — still have a job?

Erdely was not fired for her erroneous story, even after the Columbia Journalism Review released its damning report on the story. But it seems unlikely she could have a future in journalism.

A lawsuit filed by University of Virginia dean Nicole Eramo — who was vilified in the original Rolling Stone as being "indifferent" to sexual assault accusers —really lays into Erdely and her poor journalism. The lawsuit goes into detail about Erdely's past articles and their issues, including two other Rolling Stone articles that the author apparently didn't corroborate.

Erdely's past failure to verify facts could fit the same pattern as the University of Virginia rape story — narrative first and "facts" later.

When Erdely decided to construct her time-tested narrative of a woman's rape followed by an institution's indifference — this time at an American college — she went looking for an alleged victim to fit in to her predetermined story.

Eramo's lawsuit details some of the other victims Erdely spoke to prior to settling on Jackie at U.Va. and their skepticism of Erdely. Erdely initially wanted to set her story at an Ivy League university, but she couldn't find a victim who would fit the story she wanted to write. So she settled for a Southern university with a wealthy, white population.

Early on in her process of finding a victim to fit her narrative, Erdely spoke to Alexandra Brodsky at Yale University. At a recent panel in D.C. discussing campus sexual assault, Brodsky said that she "put [Erdely] in touch with a couple of students who had, like, normal rape stories, and none of them were good enough for her." Brodsky added that it was "unsurprising" to her "that the story [Erdely] eventually decided to publish is one that was, like, literally sensationalized."

Alex Pinkleton, who was interviewed for the Rolling Stone story, said she was skeptical of Erdely during their talks "because it seemed like she was unwilling to listen to anyone besides Jackie." Pinkleton added that "[Erdely] did have an agenda and part of that agenda was showing how monstrous fraternities are and blaming the administration for a lot of these sexual assaults."

Further, Pinkleton said that Erdely kept trying to get her to embellish the sexual assault she had suffered. Erdely wanted her to say that the perpetrator had deliberately gotten her drunk, according to Eramo's lawsuit. "I felt that she wasn't satisfied with my perpetrator as someone who wasn't clearly monstrous ... I didn't like that it seemed like she was looking for a story that had to be at a fraternity," Pinkleton said.

Eramo's lawsuit mentions another U.Va. student who "felt really uncomfortable" after speaking to Erdely because it was clear the Rolling Stone author had an agenda.

When rape victims disputed Erdely's narrative, she responded by marginalizing their claims, according to two U.Va. students. Emily Renda — who says she was raped as a freshmen — and Sara Surface, a student activist, both praised Eramo and believed she was portrayed unfairly by Erdely.

"Shockingly, when confronted with Renda and Surface's statements, Erdely insisted that they were 'confused,' and that their insistence that Dean Eramo was a strong supporter of students and that there was in fact an active activist community at UVA addressing sexual assault prevention and education, was simply 'another aspect of their denialism,'" Eramo's lawsuit says.

There are several possible reasons Erdely has not yet been fired. Publications are often reluctant to give in to outside pressure when it comes to matters of personnel. If Rolling Stone were to fire her, there is at least a possibility that a jury would view it as an admission of wrongdoing, which could bolster Eramo's lawsuit. Then again, prompt firings could have been used to argue for Rolling Stone's lack of malice in portraying Eramo as callous and indifferent.

Whether or not Erdely is fired or eventually resigns, her career in journalism is probably over.


Feminism and Frozen 'Huevos'

Sofia Vergara is the Spanish-accented sexpot on the ABC sitcom "Modern Family." She's also now the center of an unwanted controversy over a "modern family." She's fighting with an ex-fiance over two frozen embryos.

Back in 2013, Vergara granted a TV interview to Dr. Oz to discuss her baby-making plans: "I've been very concerned about fertility and I wanted to take advantage of science, so I froze my huevos." She and her fiance Nick Loeb had no success with a surrogate mother on two embryos, and they made two more before the relationship soured.

The current controversy began when Loeb recently wrote an op-ed for The New York Times publicly asking for his test-tube children, with no expectation of joint custody or child support payments: "When we create embryos for the purpose of life, should we not define them as life, rather than as property?"

Were Loeb not the ex-fiance of one of Hollywood's hottest stars, it's hard to imagine the Times making any space for this pro-life argument. Aside from the Times, the media clearly took sides with the more famous half of this duel. The New York Post carried the coarse headline: "It's time for Nick Loeb to STFU about Sofia's eggs."

That ignores entirely the proposition that the father had anything to do with it.

Then the fight moved to television. Loeb was awarded interviews, but was pounded for daring to publicize this issue. NBC "Today" co-host Hoda Kotb told him he should quit: "You each signed an agreement saying neither of you would bring this embryo to term without the other's consent. I mean, it sort of seems like a dead issue at this point."

So why did the "Today" show invite him for an interview?

On CNN, "New Day" anchor Alisyn Camerota also took a prosecutorial stance. "Not everyone [translation: Alisyn Camerota] believes that embryos are lives. Why do you believe that you've already created a life?" She insisted that if he moved on to a new woman, he wouldn't care about these embryos. The pro-life argument must be a desperate con job.

Both anchors lectured Loeb that "there are people [read: both anchors] though, who question your motives, and who question what you're doing." That's an obvious question, but what about the woman's motives?

And what about the media's motives? What really brought this fight into the news was a two-faced media that claim to sympathize with Vergara, but really wanted to exploit her fame for TV ratings and Internet clicks.

These posing female anchors tried to shame the less-famous half of a celebrity couple as a disposable boy toy and attention hound. If the genders were reversed, you can bet liberals would cry sexism.

Feminism demands that the woman is always right — especially about her career. Vergara has a 23-year-old son from a previous relationship and so it must seem shocking to her media fans that she would surrender to another cycle of parenthood at 42. Why should this one-trick superstar have to make any compromise in her white-hot career right now before it inevitably fades?

No one in the media takes the "ancient family" viewpoint on this mess. Embryos and surrogate mothers in this case weren't based on infertility, but on Vergara's refusal to carry a baby and complicate her hit TV show. Both sides of this mess should have realized that there is no room for "family" in this selfish squabble.



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 May, 2015

Charming multicultural egotist in Britain

A schoolgirl stabbed a fellow pupil in the face with a pencil leaving her drenched in blood after a classroom row, a court heard today.

Lakima William-Thames, 20, allegedly screamed ‘I warned you not to mess with me’, as she attacked two other Lambeth College students.

She grabbed Omawima Benjamin by the hair and stabbed her in the face with a pencil in front of horrified passers-by in Clapham Common, the Old Bailey heard.

When the victim’s pal Abena Boateng tried to intervene, William-Thames grabbed her by the hair and kicked her stomach.

The fight was only broken up when the defendant’s own mother separated the girls.

Miss Benjamin told jurors William-Thames ran up to her in the street after college, grabbed her hair from behind and began battering her face.

‘We were walking towards the station and then I saw her running towards us,’ she added. ‘She grabbed my hair and everything was a bit of a blur at that time. ‘She said something like “I told you not to mess with me”. ‘She grabbed my hair from the back, it was pretty hard and there was a lot of punching and scratching.

‘I was trying to push her away from me. ‘I was so shocked, I didn’t know what was happening I just wanted to get away.’

The 20-year-old added: ‘I had a really bad headache and didn’t know what was happening, then I saw blood on my hands and on my shirt.’

Miss Boateng, 21, said they tried to cross the road to escape from the defendant but there was too much traffic.

‘As she was stabbing she said “I warned you, I warned you”,’ she added. ‘She was punching Omawima’s face with a pencil in her hand. ‘She was holding her head straight so she could stab her face.’

She said when she tried to protect her friend the defendant punched her in the face and kicked her in the stomach.

Prosecutor Richard Hutchings said the attack took place at around lunchtime on April 25 last year, near the Southside college campus in Clapham. The girls had been sent home after a row in class that morning, the court heard.

‘The prosecution allege that the defendant assaulted two of her college classmates after they had all left college for the day,’ Mr Hutchings said. ‘There had been a little bit of a row at the college that morning. ‘After they had left college in Clapham she attacked them in the street.

‘In the course of all this Miss Boateng, who was also there, got caught up in it and was also assaulted.

‘When Miss Boateng tried to intervene to protect her friend, who had just been stabbed in the face with a pencil, the defendant turned on her. ‘She grabbed Miss Boateng’s hair and lashed out by kicking her.

‘The defendant’s mother intervened and broke the defendant apart from Miss Boateng.’

William-Thames claims the other two girls started the fight and she was acting in self defence, the court was told.

The defendant wore black Adidas leggings, a black and white stripy top and a white hoody in the dock.

William-Thames, of Streatham, south west London, denies assault occasioning actual bodily harm and assault by beating.


Shut Pam Geller Up, or We Will All Die

Last week, Fox News' Bill O'Reilly announced that Pamela Geller, the woman who sponsored a draw Muhammad event in Texas, threatened America’s national security. Geller, said O'Reilly, “spurred a violent attack.” He continued, “Insulting the entire Muslim world is stupid. … It does not advance the cause of liberty or get us any closer to defeating the savage jihad.” On the same network, Juan Williams stated that Geller “engaged in gratuitous offensive behavior that led to the deaths of two people.” The New York Times editorialized that Geller “achieved her provocative goal” with her “exercise in bigotry and hatred posing as a blow for freedom.”

Geller, the narrative goes, should never have encouraged people to draw Muhammad because it was “provocative.” To which the answer should be: So what? Women attending school in Afghanistan “provokes” radical Muslims into throwing acid on their faces, but that does not mean that women should not go to school in Afghanistan or be condemned for doing so.

Geller, the narrative goes, made Americans less safe by provoking radical Muslims, as though Muslims have no responsibility to act like decent human beings — as though, faced with the prospect of a cartoon of their prophet, Muslims have no choice but to grab guns and go a-huntin'. But that’s nonsense. What truly spurs radical Muslims into violence is the well-evidenced belief that if they kill enough Muhammad cartoonists, soon people will stop drawing cartoons of Muhammad.

Geller, the narrative goes, was “Islamophobic” in her call for drawings of Muhammad; unlike Charlie Hebdo, Geller was not an equal opportunity offender of all religions, and therefore showed particular animus toward Islam. But failure to equally attack all religions does not make satire of one religion illegitimate — were that the case, The New York Times would have to answer why drawing Muhammad presents deep problems, but running simultaneous ads for the slanderous “Book of Mormon” musical is hunky-dory.

So, why the assault on Geller? The answer is simple: Too many Westerns have bought into the notion that personal responsibility can be jettisoned in favor of judgments about identity. Geller is the problem, in this view, because she is an upper-class Jewish woman from New York City; her rivals are poor Muslims from Phoenix. They are, by the nature of their identities, members of the victim class. She is, by contrast, a member of the victimizing class. Nothing either party can do can change their status in this equation. Therefore, according to Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau, even the Muslims who shot up Charlie Hebdo in France were justified: “Ridiculing the non-privileged is almost never funny — it’s just mean. … By attacking a powerless, disenfranchised minority with crude, vulgar drawings closer to graffiti than cartoons, Charlie wandered into the realm of hate speech.”

How do proponents of this victim/victimizer identity dichotomy determine who falls into which category? They simply look at the socioeconomic status of those involved and make a determination of who is worse off. Thus, black Baltimore rioters were not people acting without any sense of values, but rather victims provoked by injustice from a non-existent white power structure in Baltimore. Before a conflict has even begun, we know who deserves our sympathy.

That calculus leads to more death, more destruction, more chaos. That death, destruction and chaos cannot be laid at the feet of Pamela Geller, but those who continue to perpetuate a narrative in which people who commit evil acts are victims, and those who are their victims are their provocateurs.


The Return of Obama's Hoax-Spreading Bitter Half

By Michelle Malkin

She's baaaaaaaack. And she's maaaaaad.

First lady Michelle Obama delivered the commencement address at Tuskegee University last weekend. She'll do it again at Ohio's Oberlin College — the UC Berkeley of the Midwest, Ground Zero for racial grievance-mongering and fake hate crimes — next week.

Commencement FLOTUS is not the same first lady who shows up on "Ellen" or "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" wearing her pastel cardigan, Chuck Taylors and a megawatt grin. No, this frowny-faced Michelle Obama talks and squawks like Al Sharpton in Jimmy Choo kitten heels. At Tuskegee, FLOTUS traded her affable TV persona for the divisive social justice complainer we all came to know and loathe during her husband's first presidential campaign.

Obama's resurrected bitter half inspired the graduates by complaining about people complaining about her. She complained about the "sting" of "daily slights" throughout her life and her poor, beleaguered husband's. And then she complained. And complained. And complained some more.

She clucked at the "folks" (read: white folks) who allegedly "crossed the street in fear of their safety" at the sight of the Obamas.

She called out unnamed "clerks who kept a close eye on us in all those department stores."

She decried the racist "people at formal events who assumed we were the 'help.'" (Funny, the only time I recall this happening in the Obama White House was when Valerie Jarrett mistook four-star Army Gen. Peter Chiarelli, who is white, for her waiter. But I digress.)

Reaching into her deep well of indignation, Mrs. Obama then assailed "those who have questioned our intelligence, our honesty, even our love of this country."

Let me take out my teeny-weeny bow and play the world's smallest violin at the thought of Mrs. Obama being subjected to the "sting" of impolite questions about her honesty. Using my best slow vibrato: Waw-waw-waw-wawwww.

It's hard to take Mrs. Obama seriously, because she has been caught so brazenly lying about the racial discrimination she supposedly still faces today even as first lady of the United States. When she told the Tuskegee students about being watched "in all those department stores," she neglected to mention that just five months ago, one of her most famous anecdotes of retail racism went up in smoke.

What? You forgot already? Using almost the exact same language in a People magazine interview that she used in her Tuskegee commencement speech, the first lady deplored the "sting" of "racist experiences" that she and her husband allegedly still suffer.

Get her some Calamine lotion STAT!

"Even as the first lady," she bemoaned, "not highly disguised, the only person who came up to me" at a Target store "was a woman who asked me to help her take something off a shelf." Remember: ABC News reported that Mrs. Obama claimed such "incidents are 'the regular course of life' for African Americans and a 'challenge' for the country to overcome."

The anecdote turned out to be a tall tale — with the emphasis on "tall." The reason the 5-foot-11 first lady was asked to get detergent off the Target shelf was that her vertically challenged fellow shopper couldn't reach it. How do we know this? Because Mrs. Obama said so herself in a radically different version of the Target story she told David Letterman three years ago.

"I reached up, 'cause she was short, and I reached up, pulled it down," the first lady described with that megawatt grin, and the shopper said, "Well, you didn't have to make it look so easy." Far from psychologically debilitated by any racial "sting," Mrs. Obama told Letterman, "I felt so good" helping out the short woman.

I don't care what color you are: This arrogant exercise of first lady privilege — invoking false stories to stoke racial hostility and score political points — is patently offensive. There's enough demagoguery in the public square. The Aspen ski-vacationing, haute couture-wearing, Hollywood elite-chumming first lady's delusional discrimination fables are fuel on a raging fire her husband has failed to alleviate with billions of dollars of government "investments," programs, summits and photo-ops.

It is especially irresponsible of Mrs. Obama to be spreading her cultural gasoline on college campuses, where the excesses of identity politics and multiculturalism continue to poison young minds.

Don't like suffering the "daily slights" of questions about your honesty? Stop lying.


A worthy Prince

For years, The Guardian newspaper has been trying to get its hands on ten letters written by Prince Charles to Labour ministers in 2004 and 2005. They have practically achieved the status of holy writ.

The anti-monarchist newspaper was apparently convinced that the Prince had behaved unconstitutionally and possibly disgracefully in bending the ears of elected politicians and putting undue pressure on them.

Judges ruled in favour of publication under the Freedom of Information Act, but were overruled in 2012 by the then Attorney General, Dominic Grieve.

Providing endless employment to myriad lawyers — the Government’s costs alone amounted to £400,000 — the matter wound its way through the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, which ruled that the letters must be published. And yesterday they finally saw the light of day.

Shock horror? Far from it. These so-called ‘black spider memos’ are generally about as controversial as back copies of The Beano. There is nothing in them of which the Prince of Wales need feel ashamed, though a handful of republicans will inevitably try to make hay.

The man that emerges is one already familiar to us — someone who cares deeply about a wide range of subjects, many of which might slip below the radar of ministers, and is impressively knowledgeable about all of them.

For the most part, he is concerned with bread-and-butter issues. To the then Prime Minister Tony Blair he writes on two occasions about agricultural matters and the plight of farmers. In a second letter, he is strongly in favour of a badger cull, believing that the animals pass on bovine tuberculosis to cattle.

Though some may find such views hard to swallow, they are widespread in the countryside, and in any event the Blair government ignored his advice.

Less provocatively, perhaps, Environment Minister Elliot Morley is taxed in another letter with the Prince’s worry that over-fishing of the Patagonian Toothfish is putting the albatross (which feeds on it) at risk.

Charles Clarke, then Education Secretary, is treated to a lecture about the importance of nutritious school food, while his successor, Ruth Kelly, is asked in another letter by the Prince whether she might attend a summer school organised by one of his charities. (She couldn’t.)

Missives to other ministers incorporate anxieties about the need to preserve a superannuated gaol in North Ireland, and a similar request in respect of two Antarctic huts built by the explorers Scott and Shackleton. He is fond of bringing the activities of his charities to the notice of ministers.

There is one bombshell — though one that is wholly to the Prince’s credit. In a letter to Mr Blair, dated September 8, 2004, he mentions the shortcomings of the Lynx helicopter in Iraq in ‘high temperatures’, which had been brought to his notice.

He adds that the replacement to the Lynx had been subject to delays, and expresses his fear — also shared by this newspaper at the time — that ‘this is just one more example of where our Armed Forces are being asked to do an extremely challenging job (particularly in Iraq) without the necessary resources’.

Mr Blair freely concedes the ‘limitations’ of the helicopter in his reply to the Prince — something he did not do at the time in public, despite concerns raised in Parliament and parts of the media. Isn’t this pretty shameful of the Labour PM?

Without doubt, the Prince was acting in the public interest by drawing the matter to Mr Blair’s attention. Whether he achieved anything may be questioned, but he showed himself more in tune with the needs of the armed services than the Labour government appeared to be.

All in all, I don’t believe that a single letter might reasonably be thought to exert undue pressure on an elected representative. They are always polite, sometimes extravagantly so, and the Prince never tries to pull rank.

I must confess that, slightly to my surprise, I found myself feeling grateful that we have an heir to the throne who is prepared to bring worthy and virtuous causes to the notice of those in power. Even his critics could not argue that he ever makes a request which might be thought self-interested or personally grasping.

So, I’m afraid that if The Guardian hoped to discredit him, it has signally failed. On the basis of these letters, he is a public-spirited Prince who takes a commendable and detailed interest in the lives of ordinary people, who are his future subjects.

The question is why the Government and Prince Charles himself fought so hard to prevent the publication of letters which generally reflect well on him. Especially baffling was the response of Dominic Grieve in 2012.

The Attorney General (he has since been sacked) stated that the ten letters could not be published because they might ‘seriously damage’ Charles’s future role as king, being ‘in many cases particularly frank’. Publication would have ‘potentially undermined [the Prince’s] position of political neutrality’.

Such a view can’t be plausibly maintained in the light of what the ‘black spider memos’ actually say. What could Mr Grieve have meant? Unless he was referring to other correspondence of which he is aware and the public isn’t, his political judgment appears bizarre.

Prince Charles’s own spirited opposition to the publication of these missives is easier to understand. He maintains that it would be more difficult to write candid letters, and receive equally candid replies, if recipients knew they would end up in the public domain.

In this judgment he was wrong. Two years ago, I argued in these pages that these letters should be published, and having read them I am more certain than ever that I was right, not least because they show the Prince in a generally favourable light.

But the strongest reason in favour of publication is that if he seeks to offer advice to ministers, albeit on subjects that usually rank pretty low in terms of people’s priorities, he should be in favour of transparency.

What the letters reveal is that while he has a bee in his bonnet on all manner of subjects, there is little or no evidence of ministers having caved in under pressure. But there is proof of a concerned, inquiring and active mind trying to operate in the public interest.

It emerged yesterday that the Prince has been writing letters to ministers since the age of 16, if not before, and it will take a lot to stop him now. He is still to be found in his study late at night as he scratches away in black ink.

As a result of a law passed in the dying days of the last Labour government in 2010, correspondence involving the monarch or heir to the throne cannot be made public for 20 years, or five years after the writer’s death, whichever is longer.

So we won’t be seeing any more of his countless memos, and we must make up our minds on the basis of these ten as to whether they are a good thing or not. I would unhesitatingly say that they are.

But this habit of bombarding ministers with ideas must surely stop when the Prince of Wales becomes king — if not before. As the Queen has shown, the monarch should stand above public debate for fear of dividing her subjects on any issue. We may guess, but we do not know, what she thinks about anything.

One day, the heir to the throne will have to set aside his typewriter and scratchy old pen. But, on the whole, we should be glad that we have a caring — if occasionally slightly eccentric — and committed Prince.



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

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

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


14 May, 2015

The United States Has Become a Dictatorship of Double Standards

Even as I write this, I can feel the Overton Window [range of acceptable policies] shifting. Let the record show that when a death squad descended on Pamela Geller’s event in Texas with the aim of killing Geller for speaking freely, the “mainstream” response was to provide the death squad with golden parachutes of sophistry and moral equivalence. It was the finest of East Coast intellectual output.

I’ve lost count of how many sophistic articles have been published so far, but surely one of the most egregious came from Noah Feldman, JD, PhD, at Bloomberg View. In opening paragraphs so glib they seem to have oozed out of some used car salesman’s Brylcreemed pompadour, Feldman writes:

"It’s easy to be distracted by the condemnation of the crime, which should be absolute. No verbal provocation can justify killing. But it’s also easy to be distracted by the First Amendment".

Why do people write this kind of thing? What compels someone to consider a case of attempted terrorist murder, arising from the “provocation” of cartoons, and then devote all his forensic acumen to saying, essentially, “Hey! Look over there!”

I wrote last week that the enemies of free speech are slowly nudging their target into the identity-politics framework. In this worldview, there are Oppressors and the Oppressed, and the roles are irreversible. It’s all narrative: the interlocking assumptions that determine how people interpret real-world events. The identity-politics framework sees American society (all of Western civilization, in fact) as a structure, a machine expertly tuned to produce benefits only for the Oppressor. Some people always win; some always lose. Thus Geller is the real aggressor, even when she’s being shot at. The death squad was merely reacting to overwhelming forces within the structure.

This is the basic logic behind most of our contemporary debate, such as it is, on everything from free speech to immigration to race riots to voter ID laws. There are hard and soft versions of it. Some people come right out and say that the Oppressed should use violence against their Oppressors. This group is often very theoretical, using the unwieldy concepts and jargon they learned in their cultural studies courses. You see them at places like (of course) Salon and The Nation and the post-Peretz New Republic.

Others channel their narrative in a softer, mealy mouthed way, usually with the well practiced preamble “I believe in X, but…,” X being some bedrock value of our country. This latter group is less explicit about their assumptions, probably because they don’t know they have them. You’ll find these people at the more “mainstream” media outlets.

Whether they’re “hards” or “softs”—we could use the old Thatcherite terminology of “wets” and “dries” if you want—the people who argue this way have particular beliefs about power in our country. This is why charging them with hypocrisy never works. After incidents like the Geller event, many conservatives go straight to work documenting the double standard. We’re not allowed to draw Mohammed, the alleged prophet of Islam, but others are allowed to depict Jesus submerged in urine. These articles are necessary, but you’ll have noticed they don’t move the apologist crowd even one inch.

There’s a reason for this. In the identity-politics framework, double standards are necessary and justified. They are a way of balancing the unequal power distribution in the United States. (Trust me that I hate writing sentences with phrases like that.) Just as affirmative action is supposed to correct structural injustice in the economy, gagging people is necessary to stop the “oppression” of designated victim groups. Think of the new obsession with “trigger warnings” and “safe places” on university campuses. This crowd sees free speech as one more tool of power in the Oppressor’s handy box.

Something else is going on here, however, regarding Geller’s treatment in the media. I think Ace of Ace of Spades HQ, America’s oncologist, has found the heart of it all:

"Oh? We’re criticizing Ms. Gellar, a woman who was just the subject of a jihadi assassination attempt and who may well be a marked woman for the rest of her life, on niggling matters of tone and style?"

And we need to do this now? We need to trot out the smug and absolutely unexamined, absolutely thoughtless vanities of Upper Middle Class Respectability and attack Ms. Gellar for not doing it in quite the way we would have, even as, in all likelihood, she scrambles to find long-term security to protect her life?

For drawing a cartoon?

This has been stewing in me since yesterday. It’s not just that the left is questioning Ms. Gellar in this; that much I expected.

It’s that so much of the right is rushing to join them, and thereby Signal that they have Value per the norms established by the leftist politico-media consensus.

I can’t quote the whole thing, so I’ll settle for this other bit:

This is about class. This is all about class.

This is about, specifically, the careerist, cowardly, go-along-to-get-along mores of the Upper Middle Class, the class of people whose parents were all college educated, and of course are college educated themselves; the class that dominates our thought-transmitting institutions (because non-college educated people are more of less shut out of this industry).

It is a class which is deathly afraid of social stigma, and lives in class-based fear being grouped with the wrong people, and which is more interested in Career, quite frankly, than in the actual tradecraft of that Career, which is clarity of thought and clarity of expression.

Thus, our institutions of thought propagation are dominated by the very people who can be easily cowed by the Social Justice Warriors, and who will, therefore, adjust their speech in order to not run afoul of the thoughtless — and frequently lunatic — thugs of the censorious left.

I nodded vigorously while reading this, before realizing that I, too, had lobbed a criticism of Geller during my first commentary on the terrorist attack. A proponent of the unfashionable Voltairean approach to free speech, I value defending someone with whom I disagree. But it is easy to turn disagreement into a kind of value signalling. I think Ace has captured perfectly the reason for our country’s putrefaction in so many intellectual fields, including almost all of academia (excepting the hardest of the hard sciences) and most of the media.

There is—- I am quite serious about this—- a genuine terror running through these fields: the constant fear of annoying the gatekeepers of outrage in this country. As political views become more closely linked to employability, the fear has only grown more potent.

It is why we have become a dictatorship of double standards.


Police Lives Matter

Sometimes cops protect and serve, and sometimes they need to be protected and served. A rookie Oklahoma City police officer found that to be true while pursuing a robbery suspect on foot. After becoming separated from his partner, Officer Adam Eller struggled with one of the suspects, who snatched Eller’s baton and beat him with it. An armed citizen came to the rescue, however, drawing his firearm, warning the assailant to stop, and holding him until police backup arrived. Eller likely owes his life to this good guy with a gun.

Two Hattiesburg, Mississippi, officers weren’t so fortunate. Officers Benjamin Deen, 34 with a wife and two kids, and Liquori Tate, a 25-year-old rookie, were conducting what they thought was a routine traffic stop when the vehicle occupants opened fire, wounding the officers. Both later died at a local hospital, the first deaths for the Hattiesburg Police in three decades.

We note these cases together for two reasons: First, the assailants in both cases were black, while two of the three officers were white. Profiling doesn’t happen without reason. Second, black lives matter, but so do police lives. Officers are human and capable of doing wrong, but they put their lives on the line for their communities, too.


Destroying the Family to Achieve Utopia

Marxism lives

For decades, progressives have embraced radical egalitarianism, a concept demanding the elimination of all differences in sex, race and class, and all the “inequality” such differences inevitably produce. Freedom and individuality would be completely crushed in the attempt to equalize outcomes, irrespective of vast differences in talent, ambition, physical attributes, etc. But leftists consider that a reasonable tradeoff to achieve their dream socialist utopia. They completely ignore the historical wreckage and the millions of deaths that have accompanied every attempt to make such concepts as sloth and ambition, or talent and a lack thereof, completely interchangeable in every “workers' paradise” where it was attempted.

Enter the latest promoters of egalitarian insanity: University of Warwick professor Adam Swift and his partner, University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Harry Brighouse. In an article published by the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC), Swift and Brighouse bemoan the inequality that arises from the difference between good parents and bad ones. In 2014, their musings produced a book, “Family Values: The Ethics of Family-Child Relationships,” in which the duo attempt to explain “why a child’s interest in autonomy severely limits parents' right to shape their children’s values, and why parents have no fundamental right to confer wealth or advantage on their children.”

Speaking with the ABC, Swift reveals his infatuation with equality of outcome. “I had done some work on social mobility and the evidence is overwhelmingly that the reason why children born to different families have very different chances in life is because of what happens in those families,” he declares. He was especially concerned with unequal outcomes that attend families who live in better surroundings, whose children go to better schools, and whose parents get more involved with their children’s activities.

Swift’s solution to such an “intractable” problem? “One way philosophers might think about solving the social justice problem would be by simply abolishing the family,” he posits. “If the family is this source of unfairness in society then it looks plausible to think that if we abolished the family there would be a more level playing field.”

Perhaps the social justice problem might be better served by eliminating crackpot philosophers. Yet even Swift recognizes the impracticality of family elimination. “Nearly everyone who has thought about this would conclude that it is a really bad idea to be raised by state institutions, unless something has gone wrong,” he concedes. Nonetheless, he still feels compelled to single out certain “undesirable” variables that contribute to the disparities between families he and Brighouse find problematic. “Private schooling cannot be justified by appeal to these familial relationship goods,” Swift insists. “It’s just not the case that in order for a family to realize these intimate, loving, authoritative, affectionate, love-based relationships you need to be able to send your child to an elite private school.”

He has even greater disdain for … bedtime stories. “The evidence shows that the difference between those who get bedtime stories and those who don’t — the difference in their life chances — is bigger than the difference between those who get elite private schooling and those that don’t,” Swift complains. And while he remains adamant about the elimination of private schools, he realizes eliminating bedtime stories is a bridge too far, admitting, “We could prevent elite private schooling without any real hit to healthy family relationships, whereas if we say that you can’t read bedtime stories to your kids because it’s not fair that some kids get them and others don’t, then that would be too big a hit at the core of family life.”

Still he offers a caveat. “I don’t think parents reading their children bedtime stories should constantly have in their minds the way that they are unfairly disadvantaging other people’s children,” he says, though he argues, “I think they should have that thought occasionally.” In other words, one should feel a certain amount of guilt for being a better parent than someone else.

What about the plethora of seemingly unquantifiable inequalities that define the difference between families? The professors developed a test based on what they call “familial relationship goods” that contribute to flourishing families. Yet both professors believe the aforementioned private schooling, along with inheritance and other methods of conferring aspects of economic advantage, are morally and ethically unacceptable.

They also disdain parental authority, insisting that while it makes sense to parent one’s biological offspring there is no inherent right to do so. To them, the biological origins that form the heart of people’s identities are a largely unnecessary “social and cultural construction” and one “could imagine societies in which the parent-child relationship could go really well even without there being this biological link.” Even the idea of two parents is anachronistic. “Nothing in our theory assumes two parents: there might be two, there might be three, and there might be four,” Swift asserts, echoing the refrain of Hillary “It Takes a Village” Clinton and her equally detestable statist ambitions.

What to make of such “forward” thinking? Reminding people what animates it — and why it is doomed to fail. The urge to make everyone equal in every way possible is nothing new, nor is the historical wreckage of gulags, re-education camps, purges and wholesale slaughter that has arisen out of every attempt to do so. Yet in their monumental hubris, progressives look at what inevitably produces the equality of misery, and reach only one conclusion: Such failure occurred because the wrong people were in charge.

And therein lies the ultimate contradiction: There is no such thing as radical egalitarianism with people in charge. Maintaining such a society would be impossible absent an army of enforcers cracking down on anyone daring to be better than anyone else. The egalitarians have always insisted such an army would be needed only on a temporary basis. But history has demonstrated that an inner circle of party apparatchiks keeping everyone else in line has invariably rewarded itself quite richly for engaging in such “noble” efforts, even as they have never made the effort to disband.

And why is equality of misery inevitable? Because the elimination of incentives that produce inequality — of excellence — ensures everyone will do the barest minimum to maintain their place in the unalterable status quo required by their overlords.

“Swift and Brighouse are philosophically inching their way to a novel accommodation for a weathered institution ever more in need of a rationale for existing,” the ABC article states. No, they are not. They are attempting to undermine the foremost “weathered institution” that stands between Liberty and tyranny. And no amount of pseudo-intellectualism that attends such “inching” should obscure reality: These two and their philosophical soul mates are monsters.


Ben Carson: ‘A Lot of People…Afraid to Say What They Really Mean’ for Fear of IRS Audit

Former neurosurgeon and GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson told “Fox News Sunday” that some people are afraid to speak against the Obama administration for fear of an audit from the Internal Revenue Service.

“There are a lot of people in our society who are afraid to say what they really mean, because they may get an IRS audit, people will call them names, their jobs may be interfered with. This is not what America was supposed to be,” said Carson.

As CNSNews.com previously reported, the IRS has admitted that between May 2010 and May 2012, certain conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status were inappropriately subjected to heightened scrutiny, which resulted in months-long and even years-long delays.

“One of things you say you're learning is not to be so inflammatory in the language that you use, but I want to ask you about some remarks you've made that you say that you stand by. You have compared our government today to Nazi Germany. Do you really believe that?” host Chris Wallace asked.

“Well, a lot of people like to say that. But what I said is that in Nazi Germany, most of those people didn't believe in what Hitler was doing, but did they say anything? They did not. That's what allowed people to progress to that point. We need to be willing to stand up and speak up for what we believe,” Carson said.

“But people oppose Barack Obama all the time,” said Wallace. Carson replied that some people are afraid to oppose the president for fear of an IRS audit, among other things.

When asked to explain his statement that Obamacare is “the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery,” and that “it is in a way…slavery,” Carson said, “You have to understand what I'm talking about. You know, ObamaCare fundamentally changes the relationship between the people and the government.

“The government is supposed to respond to the will of the people, not dictate to the people what they are doing, and with this program, we're allowing that whole paradigm to be switched around,” 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.


13 May, 2015

The other Miliband gets it right: People don't like the politics of hate

Red Ed is brainless. Ancient old Marxist class-war stuff was all he could think of. It used to be said that Margaret Thatcher's greatest asset was the British Labour party. They were so far away from normality in their little cloud of hate that they were unelectable. Red Ed went back to that, making him David Cameron's greatest asset

David Miliband tonight ripped into his brother's leadership of the Labour Party in his first interview since last week's disastrous election defeat.

The former foreign secretary said Ed, like Gordon Brown before him, looked like he wanted to take the country 'backwards' and said the election result proved people 'did not want what was being offered'.

He said his younger brother, who resigned as Labour leader on Friday morning, had failed to appeal to the aspirational middle classes and had instead tried to 'divide' the country into the rich and poor.

Mr Miliband's intervention comes after his brother guided Labour to its worst election defeat in almost 30 years – finishing 99 seats behind the Conservatives, with 26 fewer MPs than even Gordon Brown managed in 2010.

Speaking to the BBC in New York - where he works as the head of the refugee charity International Rescue - David said: ‘This election was devastating for the Labour party and every Labour supporter. It’s the result everyone always fears.

‘I think there is absolutely no point in blaming the electorate. Any suggestion that they didn’t "get it" is wrong. They didn’t want what was being offered,

‘I think in both 2010 and in 2015, Gordon and then Ed, allowed themselves to be portrayed as moving backwards from the principles of aspiration and inclusion which are at the absolute heart of any successful progressive political projects.’

His remarks go further than last week, when he posted a short message on Twitter hinting at the scale of the challenge faced by the party in the wake of last week's electoral drubbing.

The former MP for South Shields said the party needed 'deep and honest thinking' about how to repair the damage of his brother Ed's defeat.

But speaking today David – who was beaten by his younger brother to the leadership five years ago - said Labour had abandoned middle class voters who gave Tony Blair his three election victories.

He said: ‘The fundamental principles of an aspirational and inclusive politics is about middle class, working class and upper class.’

The former foreign secretary said Labour needed to ‘embrace people rather than divide them’, adding: ‘We failed to do that in 2010 and in 2015.’

Mr Miliband said he was ‘clearly not a candidate in this leadership election’ because he was not an MP, but said he was now free to contribute more to UK politics because there would no longer be a ‘soap opera’ around his relationship with his brother.

David, who has repeatedly left open the possibility of returning to frontline politics, is the latest in a series of New Labour big beasts to publicly denounce the party's election campaign, after Tony Blair, Peter Mandelson and Alan Johnson warned lurching to the left will not put the party back in power.

Mr Darling said Labour was now in its worst position for more than 20 years after going into the election without an economic policy.

The former Chancellor, who stood down at the election, tore into the strategy of Ed Miliband and Ed Balls, claiming they pretended New Labour 'didn't do any good in 13 years, which is absolute rubbish'.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: 'We were not convincing. We did not have an economic policy. We didn't repudiate the criticisms the Tories were making of when we were in government.

'They were occasions when we almost said we didn't do any good in 13 years, which is absolute rubbish.

'You've got to have confidence about what you did in the past just as the courage to admit where you got things wrong - but we just didn't look compelling and convincing.'

Mr Miliband's entire pitch to voters has been shredded by senior Labour figures in recent days, claiming he was too left-wing, anti-aspiration and too keen to turn his back on Mr Blair, who won three elections.

After publicly backing the former leader during the campaign, his critics have been out in force over the weekend.

Lord Mandelson said Mr Miliband's left-wing, anti-business stance left the party facing a crisis as bad as the dark days of the Eighties when it was humiliated at the polls.

Asked what had been missing from Labour's pitch, the former business secretary said scathingly: 'An economic policy.'

He also condemned Mr Miliband's efforts to differentiate between what he called 'predator' capitalists and 'producer' businesses as 'completely useless'.

He insisted Mr Miliband had made a terrible mistake when he disowned the New Labour agenda which won the party three straight elections.

Mr Blair insisted Labour had to shift direction to show it stood for 'ambition and aspiration'.

Former deputy PM Lord Prescott condemned a 'bloody disastrous' result. 'We fought a presidential-type election based on computers, charts, focus groups and even the American language – 'Hell yes'? Hell no!' Lord Prescott said, ridiculing Mr Miliband's remark about his readiness to enter No10.

A string of other Blairites – including former ministers Lord Reid, Lord Hutton, Alan Milburn, Ben Bradshaw and Pat McFadden – demanded a fundamental rethink. Former health secretary Mr Milburn said: 'This has been a horror show – and it's been a horror show since 2007, not just since 2010. Let us be clear where the root of all this lies.

'You don't ditch your own record, you defend it. You demonstrate economic competence, focus as much on wealth creation as you do on wealth distribution and you build a coalition of support in the country and don't just appeal to your core vote.'

Labour's woes deepened even further today after the Apprentice star Lord Sugar announced that he was quitting the party because of the its 'negative business policies'.

The peer said he had found himself 'losing confidence in the party' under Ed Miliband and had decided before the election that he was going to leave.

In a statement this morning, Lord Sugar claimed the party had abandoned the pro-business stance it had taken under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

He said he had been brought into the party by the former Prime Minister Gordon Brown 'during an era where true enterprise was being supported by the party'.

Lord Sugar said he did not want to 'stick the boot in' to the party but said it had been shifting back to its 'Old Labour' position which had seen it lose election after election throughout the 1980s.


Another multicultural rapist in Britain

A British soldier raped two women and sexually assaulted another while telling one victim: ‘I can do what I want,’ a court heard.

Lance Corporal Lee Busano, 28, overpowered a 29-year- old student in her home after she tried to rebuff his sexual advances.

As she pleaded for him to stop the attack, it was alleged, he likened her to ‘a stripper’.

The court heard that after raping his first victim, physical training inspector Busano laughed at her and then went for a workout at a gym.

Just days later the soldier allegedly attacked another woman, sitting on her and headbutting her in the face a number of times, causing cuts to her nose.

The jury was told the soldier then raped her while telling her: ‘I can do what I want.’

He is accused of sexually assaulting a third woman months later. He climbed on top of her and put his hands up her shorts, dragging her back when she tried to escape, the court heard.

Busano, who is based at Weeton Army Barracks in Lancashire, appeared in the dock at Preston Crown Court wearing his full army uniform. He denied two counts of rape and one of sexual assault.

Timothy Ashmole, prosecuting, told the jury that Busano had raped the first woman in March last year. He said the soldier was able to control his victims ‘not only physically, but verbally and emotionally’.

The court heard the first attack took place when Busano turned up at the woman’s house, she let him in and he tried to kiss her.

Mr Ashmole said: ‘She rebuffed his advances. She made it quite clear she was in a relationship. Not content with what he was hearing, he made his way up the stairs to the bedroom.

‘He tried to kiss her, once again she spurned his advances.’ The court was told Busano then pulled down her knickers as she repeatedly told him to stop, saying: ‘I don’t want to do this.’

Mr Ashmole told the court: ‘She maintained and meant no. The defendant should have stopped. She continued to tell him to stop.

‘She was by this stage physically struggling against him – you see he is a strong, tall, well-built young man.

‘She did at one stage try to strangle him to get him off her and even managed to headbutt him. She said to him, “It’s rape if you do this”.’ In video evidence, the student told the court: ‘I had a dress on. He said I looked like a stripper. He was laughing and joking, quite hyper. He didn’t seem to have had a drink.

‘He was pushing me down, pulling my dress up. I said, “I don’t want to do this”. He is a lot stronger than me. ‘I kept saying, “No means no”. He was trying to push himself on me. I tried to strangle him.

‘I really tried to squeeze as much as I could … I headbutted him. He just laughed, he thinks it’s funny. I was crying as well. I said, “It’s rape if you do this. If you keep trying to do this it’s rape.”’

She added that she had been prescribed diazepam after the attack and told the court: ‘I wish I had killed him when I strangled him. I have cried so much.’

The jury heard Busano carried out his next attack just a week later, and in November last year he allegedly punched a third woman in the face before pushing her down, climbing on top of her and sexually assaulting her.


Only politically correct free expression accepted by lefty writers

PEN International is an organization of writers which cherishes freedom of expression; it boldly state this in its charter.

PEN International promotes literature and freedom of expression and is governed by the PEN Charter and the principles it embodies: unhampered transmission of thought within each nation and between all nations.

PEN International is the worlds leading association of writers, working to promote literature and defend freedom of expression around the world. PEN was founded by the British poet, playwright and peace activist C.A. Dawson-Scott, as an international club providing space for writers to share ideas and as a forum, uniting writers irrespective of their culture, language or political opinion. Today PEN International connects an international community of writers from its Secretariat in London, spanning over 100 countries, with 149 PEN Centres worldwide.

Disturbed by the slaughter in Paris, France of writers for Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine that often mocked Mohammed--among others--by Muslims, members of PEN's American Center is planning to honor the magazine with its annual Freedom of Expression Courage Award this week.

Eeeek! For many writers of the leftist persuasion there is freedom of expression but, most importantly, politically correct freedom of expression. Honoring Charlie Hebdo violated the basic tenets of the latter and so some writers withdrew from the award celebration and gala dinner with "vehemence" according to Phyllis Chesler, feminist, professor, psychologist and author.
The novelists Peter Carey, Michael Ondaatje, Francine Prose, Teju Cole, Rachel Kushner, and Taiye Salasi have withdrawn from the event which will be held at the American Museum of Natural History. They have done so with great “vehemence.”

This is particularly frightening because we are talking about some very distinguished novelists. Carey won the Man Booker Prize not once but twice (just like Hilary Mantel); Michael Ondaatje also won the Man Booker Prize for The English Patient; Francine Prose has been a President of PEN and is a successful novelist in her own right; she has claimed, in the pages of The Guardian, that the “narrative of the Charlie Hebdo murders—white Europeans killed in their offices by Muslim extremists—is one that feeds neatly into the cultural prejudices that have allowed our government to make so many disastrous mistakes in the Middle East.”

She goes further. While insisting she is in favor of free speech and against censorship, she does not believe that Charlie Hebdo deserves an “award.” She writes:

“The First Amendment guarantees the right of the neo-Nazis to march in Skokie, Illinois, but we don’t give them an award.” Shockingly, (at least in my view), she writes that “Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning” are more worthy of such an award.

Prose is a professor at Bard College—where another writer who withdrew at the last moment, Teju Cole, is now a Distinguished Writer in Residence.

Rachel Kushner is a graduate of Berkeley; her first novel, Telex from Cuba, which explores the colonialist roots of the Cuban Revolution, was a finalist for the National Book Award.

Taiye Selasi comes from a very distinguished family and her first novel Ghana Must Go, was hailed as a magnificent debut in all the venues that matter.

None of these writers are lightweights or fools. All are serious leftists and are therefore, “distinguished” prize winners. They are also pro-Islamist and remain at odds with the very Western enterprise that has fostered them so well. (snip)

Update: Now, 145 PEN writers, including the six hosts who have withdrawn have publicly written to PEN protesting the award being given to the survivors of the Charlie Hebdo magazine massacre. Editorials and blog posts are being fired across the bows so to speak of the PEN mother ship.

Unsurprisingly, some left and pro-Palestinian Jews are among the signatories: Deena Metzger, Sarah Schulman, and Deborah Eisenberg to name a few—and then there is Deborah Baker who wrote a biography of an American Jewish woman who converted to Islam, moved to Pakistan, and became a potent voice for radical Islamism.

Actually, this is not shocking at all; Chesler's descriptions of those who withdrew, "all are serious leftists...they are also pro-Islamist and remain at odds with the very Western enterprise that has fostered them so well" describes much of seemingly puzzling leftist behavior. Wracked with guilt over their comfort while others suffer, they hate what supports them but would never move to the societies they theoretically admire from a safe distance.

Salman Rushdie, a Muslim writer from one of those leftist admired societies and had to flee when he dared criticize other Muslims and Islam and is consequently now an assassination target, living with guards said that although Mr. Ondjaate and Mr. Carey were “old friends,” that in this matter they are “horribly wrong.” He further hoped that “if PEN cannot defend and celebrate people who have been murdered for drawing pictures, then frankly, the organization is not worth the name….I hope nobody ever comes after them.”

Oh, what does Rushdie know? He lived in those leftist admired societies before successfully fleeing to find refuge in one of the leftist hated societies. Exploding leftist dreams makes them very angry and more incompetent as they lose their anchors, their foundations. And so they lash out. But they will never leave their hated society.


Running on Empty Is Unsustainable

Baltimore, Baltimore, Baltimore. In the space of a single week we’ve heard every theory, every rationalization, every speculation, good, bad and ugly, about what happened and why. Yet if truth be told, Baltimore is a symbol of something far more unsettling than the painful and largely inaccurate attempt to turn it into a metaphor about the racial divide that besets America. I say largely inaccurate because three of the cops charged in the case are black, including the officer charged with the most serious offense, second degree depraved murder. Yet there is a genuine divide afflicting America. It is the one between those who believe there is an overarching code of morals to which society must adhere, and those who believe in the polar opposite, more familiarly known as anything goes.

Quite simply there are millions of Americans who either don’t know the difference between good and evil, and right and wrong — or simply don’t give a damn. In their universe, life is an ever-evolving series of rationalizations allowing every type of execrable behavior to be justified.

Race and class distinctions are irrelevant. While the looting, stealing and arson occurring in Baltimore are far more overt, the bipartisan effort to bankrupt the nation, or the machinations of corporate and media titans to unjustly enrich themselves and deliberately fan the flames of societal discord, respectively, are just as damaging to the nation — if not more so.

All of it reflects the flowering of two major phenomena: moral relativism and the “everything is a shade of gray” bankruptcy that attends it, and nonjudgmentalism, which is the equally bankrupt anti-intellectual concept that abets it. For decades Americans have been told to “do their own thing” absent the critical corollary that must accompany it in any rational society, as in living with the consequences of one’s own choices, good or bad. Never before in the history of our nation have more Americans been determined to blame their own problems on someone else. And never before have they been so assiduously taught that anything resembling value judgments are tantamount to bigotry, homophobia, misogyny and a host of other epithets designed to do one thing above all else: denigrate traditional American culture and elevate the free-for-all society we are rapidly becoming.

Moreover, any dissent from the free-for-all mindset must be suppressed, even to the point of utter fatuousness. Thus in the case of Baltimore, we are advised that the use of the word “thug” must be discarded, lest those who exploited a legitimate protest to loot, burn and destroy their own neighborhood take umbrage, along with their equally compromised media and political abettors. For those unfamiliar with George Orwell’s “1984,” completely removing certain words from use by the masses was considered a critical element for maintaining control in the totalitarian state that novel portrays.

The bastardization of meaning goes hand in hand with such removal. Thus, for example, a “bum” or a “drug addict” becomes a “homeless” person, removing the stigma of the aforementioned bad choices. An “illegal alien” becomes an “undocumented immigrant,” implying some lack of procedure is the primary culprit, rather than the mockery of law. “Islamic terrorist” becomes “insurgent” lest the true nature of who threaten us engenders discomfort among those who make it up as they go along.

The center isn’t holding. Human beings are quite capable of making excuses for anything, but it is impossible to remain in a “value-free” nonjudgmental state. The brain isn’t hard-wired that way and something will inevitably fill the gap. In modern day America, much of that gap is filled with a series of ongoing distractions, highlighted by the inordinate amount of time people dedicate to their cellphones and computers. That such time competes with human interaction and perhaps far more importantly, quiet introspection, is extremely troubling. But it is nothing new: The term “bread and circuses” has been around since the Roman Empire, when similar distractions were used to obscure the cultural decline. A decline that ultimately led to the downfall of that civilization.

We are heading in the same direction, led by the amoralists who use political correctness as a hammer to suppress anything that threatens their hegemony. Those Americans who refuse to be intimidated are targeted for ostracization by the self-aggrandizers who trumpet their determination not to let society’s clock be “turned back” to the “dark” days that preceded our current state of evolvement.

Where is that so-called evolvement? It’s certainly not evincing itself in a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll that shows 96 percent of Americans believe we’re headed for a summer of additional race riots in a reprise of the 1960s, the 60 percent who have no trust in the media, the 73 percent who despise Congress, or the 61 percent who believe the country is headed in the wrong direction.

Wrong direction? I submit much of the nation is doing little more than marking time, careening from one vapid moment to the next, because the alternative is too painful. What alternative? An honest assessment of ourselves — absent the denial, the rationalizations, the excuses and the host of other roadblocks that make such assessments virtually impossible.

And those assessments become exceedingly difficult in a society where rational thought has given way to emotion. For those familiar with American history, it is exactly that kind of societal flip-flop feared most by our Founding Fathers. It is why they made the process of wholesale change so difficult to achieve, be it with the separation of powers clause in the Constitution, or amending the Constitution itself. Such deliberation stands in stark contrast to our current society, where anyone resisting wholesale change must be denigrated for, among other things, “clinging” to their guns and religion.

Compared to what? Like many Americans, I have my issues with certain aspects of religion, but the current determination by so many to render it anachronistic — when they’re not busy attempting to eliminate it outright — is a fool’s errand. Nature abhors a vacuum, and as I have theorized on previous occasions that vacuum has been filled primarily by lawyers and therapists. Lawyers and therapists who have tossed right and wrong on the ash heap of history in favor of legal and illegal and well and unwell, respectively, in all their nonjudgmental glory. Thus it is no accident we have become the most litigious nation on earth, approximately 61.5 million Americans are afflicted with a mental illness in a given year, or that one-in-five Americans regularly ingest mind-altering drugs prescribed by their doctors.

Perhaps religion isn’t so bad after all. It certainly brings one element to the party that lawyers and therapists do not, namely that each individual is not the center of his own universe, another trend that might explain the avalanche of self-entitlement that arises from the elevation of the self above all. There is little doubt that we have become quite adept at chafing over a number of religion-based restraints, all of which are based on a notion anathema to the terminally self-absorbed, namely that there is something far bigger than the self in control of the universe. And that’s when we’re not jettisoning such restraints entirely, even as we collectively pat ourselves on the back for our aforementioned “evolvement.”

Sorry, but from where I sit, it’s not looking so forward-thinking in a number of places, or among a wide range of people trying to convince us that social utopia is right around the corner, provided we let them do that thinking for us. That such overweening arrogance is taken seriously by anyone, much less millions, is a sign of the times.

Yet I remain hopeful. As the saying goes, it is often calmest right before the storm, and the storm I envision is the one where enough people finally conclude an anything goes society is an incremental journey of increasing self-indulgence leading directly to oblivion. An oblivion where truth, honor, decency and reality itself are put on equal footing with lies, dishonor and unrelenting decadence. One where utter inanity and genuine insight are given equal consideration. Such a level of denial is unsustainable, and I remain a firm believer in the words of Winston Churchill: “Americans will always do the right thing — after exhausting all the alternatives.”

I believe the point of exhaustion is close at hand.



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 May, 2015

Multicultural street shooter in Britain

He's got good nostrils, at least

In a terrifying moment a crazed gunman opened fire in a packed street after a row in a nightclub.

Tanihya Beckford, 35, from Birmingham has been jailed for ten years after shooting wildly at his intended victim who was sitting in a silver Audi A1.

He fired four times but miraculously missed his target on Briely Hill High-street in the West Midlands.

The former gang member then fled the scene, trying to mix into a crowd of terrified onlookers.

Yesterday Judge Murray Creed jailed Beckford for ten years at Birmingham Crown Court. He admitted possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.

The court heard violent Beckford fired bullets through the Audi's door, causing significant damage to the car but missed the shocked driver.

Police later found a loaded gun at the gangsters's home in Ladywood, Birmingham and experts confirmed the Hungarian-made FEG pistol was used in the shooting.

Simon Ward, prosecuting, said the defendant went to the nightclub at 4.10am and the victim, who he referred to as V to protect his identity, turned up at about 4.50am.

Mr Ward said: 'V came into the foyer of the club. It can be seen there is some kind of altercation there. 'The defendant did not appear to be involved in that altercation but, by the time he came outside the club, he had his hood up and something covering his lower face.'

Beckford then went over to the Audi and fired at it and the male driver.

The court heard the gunman was arrested on September 18 after being found at a house he shared with others and that the pistol was recovered from a coat pocket in the lounge.


‘Check your privilege’: a dark and divisive politics

It's just modern Marxism. Marx said that your class circumstances produced your beliefs, not reality. Come to think of it, so did Pontius Pilate. It was Pontius Pilate who said "What is truth?" (John 18:38). From a Christian viewpoint, the assertion is undoubtedly the Devil's gospel

There is a growing number of words and phrases which, through being used as a way of batting away inconvenient dissent, have all but lost their original meaning. Racist, sexist, homophobe – the list goes on. But these words have nothing on that most recent addition to the ‘just shut up’ armoury, the catch-all silencer masquerading as a well-intentioned request. That’s right: ‘Check your privilege.’

It’s now the reflex rebuttal of the student radical, and it has become ubiquitous in campus discussions. In theory, the phrase asks us to consider whether our beliefs might be skewed by our limited experience of a particular issue. This is not, in itself, unreasonable. But, as so often happens when reason meets Tumblr sociologist, privilege-checking has been taken to ugly extremes.

The University of Edinburgh’s recent students’ union election was mired in controversy when one of the candidates responded to a student’s Facebook post (which mocked the union’s ‘offensive’ fancy-dress policy) by saying ‘fuck you white person’. In response to the ensuing backlash, the candidate penned a rambling statement, invoking various crimes committed against her far-off ancestors. This is the beauty of privilege-checking. Not only is it a dependable way of silencing the opposition, but it can also offer a nifty excuse for one’s own misjudged words or actions. No wonder it’s so popular.

Luckily, privilege-checking often demonstrates its own absurdity. Last month, after outlawing ‘transphobic’ fancy dress and declaring war on clapping, the National Union of Students (NUS) Women’s Conference turned its ire on white gay men. This particular intersection, the delegates claimed, ‘often assert that they are “strong black women” or have an “inner black woman”’. The conference resolved to ‘eradicate the appropriation of black women by white gay men’ and ‘educate those who perpetuate this behaviour’. And what, you might ask, was the justification for such an authoritarian move? Well, apparently white gay men are ‘the beneficiaries of both white privilege and male privilege’.

But, beyond the usual SU muppetry, there’s a darker side to all this. Student radicals have started to take as given the idea that we simply cannot understand anything outside of our own experience. In essence, this worldview insists that we must consider society as ultimately divided along the lines of race, gender, sexuality and so on. This allegedly radical idea insists that society has little common experience and no recourse for inter-group understanding or empathy. This is a middle-finger to universalism and is, in the end, the opposite of true equality: the phenomenological equivalent of the pernicious doctrine of ‘separate but equal’.

The request to ‘check your privilege’ is a demand to accept this divisive worldview; to privilege everything that separates us. Ignore it.


Crazy British judges again

An estranged father who was banned from seeing his children has been prosecuted after their mother took them on holiday in term time.

Shane Allen branded the justice system a 'joke' after he was convicted of failing to make sure his children went to school, despite being prevented from seeing the youngsters.

The 44-year-old found himself in court after his ex-partner took their three children on holiday to Scotland when they should have been in lessons.

At the time Allen had no access to his children and was not aware that Charlene Megraw had taken them out of school.

The father-of-three became a victim of the crackdown on breaks during the academic year, introduced as part of former Education Secretary Michael Gove's controversial school reforms.

The details of his case were revealed as he attempted to appeal his conviction at Reading Crown Court.

Allen had even been temporarily barred from seeing the youngsters by social services and had been completely unaware that their mother was planning the impromptu holiday, the appeal court heard.

The judge was told the children's mother, Charlene Megraw, had taken the three youngsters on a holiday to Scotland to visit her family without informing their primary school.

When the school contacted her, she replied with a text message stating that they would be off for the week because they were ill.

However that lie was quickly exposed when the children - two boys aged seven and eight and a girl aged 10 - returned to class and told their teachers and fellow pupils about their holiday.

The school then issued fixed penalties to the pair and both Allen and 24-year-old Miss Megraw, from Newbury, Berks., were taken to court and found guilty of failing to ensure their children attended school.

Both were handed 12 month conditional discharges and were ordered to pay costs of £150 each by magistrates.

Yesterday Allen attempted to appeal his conviction at Reading Crown Court in front of Judge Ian Grainger. Taking to the witnesses stand he said: 'Social services told me I had to stay away from them. I didn't know anything about it until I got summonsed to court and then Charlene explained everything to me.

'I wondered why I had to go to court. Like I've said all along I don't understand, I don't even know why I'm here.'

Prosecuting, Laura Phillips told the court that the children's school, Fir Tree Primary in Newbury, had taken action after they failed to turn up for class for a week in October 2013.

She said that no evidence had been produced to back up the claims that the children had been ill and that, although she accepted that Allen had been estranged from the children, he still had a legal obligation to ensure their schooling.

Defending Allen, Edward Culver argued that the estranged father had had as much control over his children's movements as he would have had if they had been kidnapped.

He told the the court that 'one parent taking the children away from school without the knowledge of the other parent' was an 'unavoidable cause' for their absence on the part of the unknowing parent.

However, a judge and two accompanying magistrates dismissed his appeal, despite stating that they had 'sympathy' with him over the circumstances that had led to his conviction.

Judge Grainger said: 'It has not been an issue in this case that these three children failed to attend their school shortly before the half term holiday.

'We are deeply unpersuaded that the children or any of them were sick in the relevant period, the view we take is that they were in Scotland.

'We have some sympathy with Mr Allen, whose evidence that he had no contact with these children at the time we make plain that we accept.

'However, this is an offence of strict liability and we cannot accept that as far as Mr Allen is concerned Miss Megraw taking their children to Scotland was an unavoidable cause.'

After hearing that the pair were both on benefits, the judge upheld the original magistrates' court decision and ordered mother-of-five Miss Megraw to pay an extra £150 costs for her abandoned appeal. Megraw had also been planning to contest her guilty verdict, although she withdrew it before the hearing began.

Speaking after the decision, Mr Allen said: 'It's stupid, the whole thing is just a complete joke. 'They need to change the system because it doesn't work. If I still don't have anything to do with her [Charlene] 10 years down the line and my kids do this again I can still get done for it and end up facing a fine. 'It's absolutely mad.'


Why Michael Gove must not fail to axe Labour’s hated Human Rights Act: 15 reasons

Here JAMES SLACK shows how vital it is Mr Gove succeeds in scrapping the Human Rights Act, with 15 cases showing criminals and legally aided lawyers using the legislation to their advantage:

1) No single decision based on the European Convention on Human Rights – enshrined in British law by the Human Rights Act – sparked more horror than Strasbourg’s 2006 finding that axe-killer John Hirst and thousands of other convicts should be entitled to vote in UK elections. Ministers have since fought an ongoing battle to avoid implementing the judgment – which David Cameron says makes him feel physically sick.

2) Al Qaeda fanatic Abu Qatada was awarded £2,500 for being ‘unlawfully detained’, after being held indefinitely without trial following September 11. Then the Euro court said he should not be sent back to Jordan in case some of the evidence used against him may have come from torture. Qatada eventually left his benefits-funded life in north-west London voluntarily after Theresa May doggedly pursued him.

3) Aso Mohammed Ibrahim left 12-year-old Amy Houston to die ‘like a dog’ under the wheels of his car after knocking her down in 2003 while disqualified from driving. Twice refused asylum, the Iraqi was never removed from the country by the Home Office and then, after the killing, was allowed to stay under the Human Rights Act because he had fathered two children in Britain, which judges ruled gave him a right to a ‘family life’.

4) A Libyan convicted of 78 offences escaped deportation last month on the grounds he is an alcoholic. The 53-year-old man, who is protected by an anonymity order, successfully argued he would be tortured and imprisoned by the authorities in his homeland because drinking alcohol is illegal. He is now free to continue his drink-fuelled offending spree in Britain.

5) In December 2013, Mustafa Abdullahi, who held a knife to a pregnant woman’s throat as he raped her, was given permission to stay in Britain, because of his family rights. The 31-year-old failed asylum seeker was jailed for ten years after he threatened to kill his victim and repeatedly assaulted her. Judges said sending him back to Somalia would breach his family rights because his mother and other relatives live in the UK.

6) Rupert Massey is one of many criminals to view the convention as a tool for lining his pockets. Jailed for six years for sexually abusing three boys, he claimed the four years it took to bring him to court had left him ‘stressed’ and infringed his right to a fair trial. He was awarded nearly £6,000 – the same amount in compensation given to one of his victims.

Al Qaeda fanatic Abu Qatada was awarded £2,500 for being ‘unlawfully detained’, after being held indefinitely without trial following September 11 +2
Al Qaeda fanatic Abu Qatada was awarded £2,500 for being ‘unlawfully detained’, after being held indefinitely without trial following September 11

Moment Abu Qatada is CLEARED of terrorist attack plots

7) Rapist Akindoyin Akinshipe escaped deportation in September 2011 after judges said he had a right to a ‘private life’ in the UK. He was due to be sent to Nigeria after losing a series of appeals in Britain over his jailing for an attack on a girl of 13 when he was 15. But Strasbourg overruled, despite him not having a long-term partner or children in the UK.

8) George Blake was jailed for 42 years, one for each of the MI6 agents he sent to their deaths. The Soviet spy escaped from Wormwood Scrubs and wrote his memoirs in Russia. Incredibly, he was given £4,700 by Strasbourg in 2006 because Britain breached his right to free expression by trying to stop him making money from the book.

9) Lawyers for drug-addicted prisoners spotted the convention’s money-making potential – forcing the Home Office to settle out of court over claims their clients should have been allowed to use heroin substitute methadone. The Labour government paid out £1million after being told Strasbourg would have ruled making the convicts go ‘cold turkey’ was degrading treatment.

10) A Yorkshire civil servant who was filmed in an orgy with four men was given £33,000 in compensation. Euro judges said it had been discrimination for a British court to convict him of gross indecency as the law did not apply to women. As a result, in 2003 a raft of sex offences were enshrined in British law and gay orgies are no longer illegal.

Strasbourg ruled that axe-killer John Hirst and thousands of other convicts should be entitled to vote in UK elections
Escape: Soviet spy George Blake was awarded £4,700 after Britain breached his right to free expression by trying to stop him making money from his book
Strasbourg ruled that axe-killer John Hirst (left) and thousands of other convicts should be entitled to vote, while Soviet spy George Blake (right) was awarded £4,700 after Britain breached his right to free expression by trying to stop him making money from his book

11) Jailed murderer Kirk Dickson spent £20,000 in legal aid winning the right to father children with artificial insemination with another former prisoner, fraudster Lorraine Earlie. Judges said the ban on prisoners using artificial insemination breached the right to family life.

12) Britain’s power to send foreign criminals home was hampered by the 1996 Strasbourg ruling over Karamjit Chahal, a separatist who was wanted for sedition in India. He argued that, even if somebody posed a grave threat to national security, they could not be sent back to a country where they might be ill treated. Since then, thousands of convicts and fanatics have been able to stay on these grounds.

13) A Strasbourg ruling in 1978 which banned corporal punishment in the Isle of Man led directly to curbs on parents’ right to smack any child in Britain. Meanwhile, centuries-old rules outlawing marriage between children and their parents-in-law were swept aside in a 2005 ruling. Strasbourg deemed the right to marry was infringed in the case of a 37-year-old woman who wanted to wed her 58-year-old father-in-law.

14) William Danga, who raped and molested two girls while fighting deportation, used Article 8 of the HRA to remain in this country. The Congolese asylum seeker was jailed for ten years for raping a 16-year-old. He used his children to stay in Britain and attacked two other children after his release from prison.

15) There remains public outrage that Euro judges ruled three IRA terrorists shot dead by the SAS in Gibraltar in 1988 were wrongly killed. This was despite the fact the trio were an experienced hit squad with long terror records who had left a car filled with explosives across the border in Spain. The SAS soldiers believed they were ready to detonate the bomb, but it turned out their mission was reconnaissance.



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 May, 2015

Hate mob in rampage: Hard Left's shame as rioters attack police and deface WWII memorial as socialists lay siege to British Prime Minister's residence

Leftist hate is so great that it just bursts its banks sometimes. They erupted onto London streets to protest at the result of a democratic election held under an electoral system which favours Labour. But the Left have never liked democracy much. Revolution is their ideal

Hard-left activists this afternoon desecrated a war memorial to the gallant sacrifice of women who served during the Second World War as anarchists objecting to Thursday's election result protested outside Downing Street.

A mindless thug daubed 'F*** Tory Scum' in red paint on the memorial in a sickening display of contempt on the 70th anniversary weekend of VE Day.

The Metropolitan Police confirmed they are investigating the vandalism which formed part of the un-authorised protest which left two police officers requiring hospital treatment.

Police arrested 17 people at the scene on suspicion of offences ranging from assault on a police officer, violent disorder and under the 1986 public order act.

A spokesman for The Royal British Legion said: 'This senseless act could not have been more inappropriately timed. This weekend we commemorate those who fought and died for the freedom to have elections and the freedom to enjoy the lives we have today.'

A special VE Day Concert is planned to take place this evening, just yards from where the anarchists desecrated the £800,000 memorial.

A Downing Street spokeswoman condemned the hate mob's actions. 'Spraying graffiti on war memorials is a despicable display of disrespect for those who fought and died for their country, particularly at a time when the whole nation comes together to commemorate the 70th anniversary of VE Day.'

Former Commons speaker Betty Boothroyd also joined the condemnation of the attack. She said: 'This is an absolute insult to the memory of thousands of women of my generation who sweated blood and tears for the freedoms that some members of this generation have abused by this act. 'The vandals who attacked the memorial are beyond contempt. They talk of scum - they should look in the mirror.'

However, left-wing writer and activist Laurie Penny confirmed that she did not have a problem with the attack on the memorial commemorating the sacrifice of women during the Second World War. In a series of Tweets, Ms Penny said: 'I don't have a problem with this. The bravery of past generations does not oblige us to be cowed today.

'The people vandalising of memory of what the women of World War II fought for are sitting in Downing Street right now.

'What is disgusting is that some people are more worried about a war memorial than the destruction of the welfare state.'

A group calling itself The People's Assembly planned to meet up in Whitehall at 1pm to protest against Thursday's election result which has seen David Cameron returned to office with a clear Commons majority.

The mob chanted 'get the Tories out' as large sections of the city were shut down as a result of the demonstration.

Some of the protesters brandished highly offensive home-made banners proclaiming F*** The Cuts', while others described the Conservative Party as Tory Scum.

Protesters threw bottles, cans and smoke bombs at the police. Scuffles broke out when the demonstrators, blaring hooters, banging pots and chanting obscenities, confronted lines of police outside the gate protecting the Prime Minister's official residence.

Some protesters handed out flyers claiming: 'Parliament is no longer our priority, our priority is survival. A Tory majority is a declaration of war.'

At one point a bicycle was hurled at police.

Several hundred people took part in the demonstration with at least 25 black-clad youths wearing face masks, sunglasses and even balaclavas.

Police were forced to close Whitehall to traffic as they dealt with the escalating situation.

A group of the protesters attempted to push their way through barricades, while some smoke bombs were let off.

The Metropolitan Police were forced to deploy officers on horseback and riot police in response to the violent scenes.

Conservative MP Sir Peter Bottomley said: 'We have a General Election every five years. People should accept the result rather than spray-painting war memorials.

'A mark on the ballot paper means more than demonstrators who use inappropriate actions, inappropriate language and look as they are rejecting the results of an open, free, democratic process.'

The protesters included members of the Socialist Worker Party. Others brandished flags proclaiming membership of hard-left anarchist organisations.

A large police presence met protesters outside Conservative campaign headquarters in Westminster, where David Cameron had issued a rousing speech to party activists little over 24 hours earlier, following the Tories' success at the ballot box.



Far-Leftist beaten by a more moderate Leftist

Vicious antisemite George Galloway beaten by a Pakistani lady from the Labour party. Galloway's exquisite reaction below when he learns that he has lost his Bradford seat. The new MP for Bradford, however, being of Pakistani origin, believes in "justice for Palestine" so the change is not great

After an ugly campaign, the infamous and indefatigable George Galloway, who made headlines for declaring the down-on-its-luck northern town an “Israel-free zone,” lost his bid for reelection. The former Big Brother reality TV contestant was not just beaten by a Labour Party candidate — he was trashed by almost 30 percentage points.

Just three years after a by-election victory he would call the Bradford Spring, Galloway was humiliated and sent packing, presumably in search of another community to divide and exploit. The evening began with the news that Galloway had been reported to the police for an alleged breach of electoral law. It turned out he had retweeted an exit poll reporting his supposed victory in Bradford West before 10 pm on election day – an illegal act.

“It’s a storm in a thimble,” his spokesperson said. Evidently the authorities disagreed, and a man whose censorship of opponents on Twitter is prolific was undone by a lackadaisical retweet.

When the result was announced, his opponents in Bradford West finally had their revenge. With Galloway standing behind her on the platform in a black shirt, black jacket, and now-signature black fedora – an outfit more befitting of a mobster than a politician – his opponent, Naz Shah, didn’t mince her words in her victory speech.

“Your campaign demeaned our democracy,” she said. “Personal attacks on me have not worked. The people of Bradford West have seen through this and you have been sent on your way.” For Shah, a mental health campaigner, the moment was surely even sweeter than for those of us who have longed for Galloway’s defeat for years. During the election campaign, Galloway accused Shah of lying about the age at which she was “emotionally blackmailed” into marrying a cousin in Pakistan. At a town hall debate, he even produced what he claimed was a nikah – an Islamic wedding certification – that he had somehow got from Pakistan proving that she was 16 at the time of this event and not 15 as Shah claimed.

The idea that the age at which one is forced into a marriage matters one way or the other says a lot not only about how Galloway will do anything to win an election but also his attitude towards women. When Shah was done, up stepped George. In a way, his concession speech – if you can really call it that – was a continuation of the rhetoric and atmosphere that has defined his brief but all-too-eventual tenure as the MP for Bradford West, during which he sought to accentuate racial and religious divisions and manipulate the clan politics of the city by playing off the politics of the Middle East. Because of his histrionics, Bradford has “earned a reputation in Britain as unfriendly to Jews” under Galloway

Having gone so far as to declare Bradford an Israel-free zone and suggest that Zionists (or was it Jews?) would celebrate the election of Shah, the unhinged-sounding Galloway suggested that the Zionists were having the last laugh over his defeat:

"I don’t begrudge the Labour members here their moment of celebration of course. But there will be others who are already celebrating: the venal, the vile, the racists and the Zionists will all be celebrating. The hyena can bounce on the lion’s grave but it can never be a lion and in any case, I’m not in my grave. As a matter of fact I’m going off now to plan the next campaign".

The line about the lion and the hyenas comes, incidentally, from a poem written by one Saddam Hussein. I salute Galloway for his courage and strength in quoting the dictator’s verse on the night he met his Waterloo. It’s almost too good to be true.


Burn baby burn?

In Baltimore this past week we've gone back to the future of the radical 1960s, watching mobs rioting in the streets, burning and looting local businesses and most of all targeting police for murder. And Al Sharpton and the other racial arsonists who make a living off hatred—backed by Barack Obama himself -- are telling us that this is just the beginning.

We should get ready, they warn, for a "long hot summer."

"Burn, Baby, Burn" was their motto fifty years ago. And it is their motto once again today.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake made that clear when she pulled the police back from the riot and said, "Let them loot. It's only property." Right: the property of small businesses owned by blacks trying to make it out of the nightmare in Baltimore created by a century of liberal Democrat politicians.

Every Baltimore mayor since 1967 has been a Democrat. In that fifty plus year period there has been only one Republican governor of Maryland, not counting the one elected a few months ago. What does this mean? That the liberal Democrats have had a century to make Baltimore a mad experiment for their failed polices—anti business, anti police, and anti family.

The only hero in this disgusting spectacle of violence and destruction was the single mother shown on television wading into the chaos, grabbing her teenaged son out of the riots and boxing his ears while marching him home.

When you hear all the claims by Sharpton and others that Baltimore's problems are caused by white indifference and police racism, remember this... Whatever it is or isn't, Baltimore belongs to liberal Democrats.

It is not a failure, but a fulfillment of fifty years of Democrat rule and social policies which have made the city lose business, experience a poverty rate of 24%, with 37% of black males between the ages of 20-24 unemployed.

Baltimore schools are third in funding among America's big cities, with only New York and Boston spending more.

The result?

Fifty five percent of the city's fourth graders are drastically below grade level in achievement. Baltimore's schools have been for a long time, with the cities ruling Democrats and their teachers unions allies standing by looking.

President Obama's contribution to the Baltimore tragedy is the empty rhetoric that has characterized his presidency general. "We as a nation... need soul-searching," he says, and then blames the riots and looting on everything from lack of job, racists police tactics, to the Republicans in Congress. If he had a shred of dignity or honesty, he'd admit the painfully obvious—the Democrats and their liberal policies broke Baltimore; they own it.

We don't need "soul searching", what America needs is a return of law and order and an end to the stranglehold that the corrupt and racist Democratic Party has over the inner cities of America.

Via email from David Horowitz

Obama Has Only Exacerbated Racial Discord

When Barack Obama was sworn in as America’s first black president, nobody on the Left believed race relations would deteriorate. But since Obama’s first inauguration, all but one poll conducted by CBS News/New York Times revealed a growing racial unease in America — reflected most alarmingly following the death of Freddie Gray. In April 2009, 66% said race relations were good, compared to 22% who said they were bad. By December 2014, those numbers were nearly even at 45% and 43%, respectively. In February, the percentages improved slightly to 52% and 38%. But in the latest poll, just 34% said race relations are positive compared to 61% who they are bad.

That was the worst finding since 1992. And according to CBS, “For the first time since 1997, majorities of both whites and blacks think race relations in the U.S. are bad. Opinions among white Americans have grown sharply more negative in this poll, and are the reverse of what they were earlier this year. Sixty-two percent of whites now say race relations are bad, compared to just 35 percent in February.”

Moreover, the rioting in Baltimore has left America with a pessimistic outlook. According to The Wall Street Journal, “A resounding 96% of adults surveyed said it was likely there would be additional racial disturbances this summer, a signal that Americans believe Baltimore’s recent problems aren’t a local phenomenon but instead are symptomatic of broader national problems.” That comes as even more of a shock to those who believed Obama’s historic election would eradicate any remaining racial disunity.

Race relations haven’t deteriorated because Obama is black; they’ve deteriorated because our first black president promotes racial discord with entitlement programs and divisive rhetoric — like on Monday when he opined that America’s “tragic history … has made it tougher for some” and has also “helped fuel some of the protests we’ve seen in places like Baltimore, and Ferguson and right here in New York.” It’s a shame that, in 2015, a man who had the power to radically change minorities' plight has thrown away the opportunity.


Guns and crime in New Zealand

There has been a recent release of statistics for homicide around the world. There is a comprehensive report here.

In summary, homocides are most frequent in African and Hispanic countries. Honduras (85.5 murders per 100,000 inhabitants), Venezuela (53.7) and the US Virgin Islands (46.9) have the highest murder rates per population in the world. The rate for the USA is 4.7. But perhaps most interesting is New Zealand. It is very similar to the USA in many ways yet its homicide rate is 0.9 per 100,000, only a fifth of the US rate.

Why? The major reason, of course, is that NZ has few Africans, who are the major perpetrators of murder in the USA. There are however some other reasons: A report from New Zealand itself says:

"Every year, "organised, stable" New Zealand ranks in the bottom one or two of international corruption tables, while the rule of law is respected. And we have a lot of registered firearms - over a million in New Zealand - but we control them well, and guns are only used in about 25 per cent of murders here."

A million firearms in a population of 4 million means that New Zealand is well armed. So it's clearly not the presence of guns that is dangerous. It is the people and their attitude towards one-another.

It is hard to legislate about that, however. Promoting social harmony might help but the American Left constantly does the opposite -- constantly stirring up racial animosity with unending accusations that black disadvantage is caused by white prejudice.



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 May, 2015

A multicultural sex-pest in Britain

A private in the British Army was today sentenced to 90 days in detention after drunkenly grabbing a female round the neck and asking her for ‘a cuddle’.

Private Taaziva Mutekedza, 37, sexually assaulted the woman after waking her up by knocking on her door to tell her he ‘really liked her’.

He then placed his hands on the back of her neck and pulled her head towards him but she told him to ‘go away’.

The incident happened in the early hours of one morning in January 2014, at the New Normandy Barracks in Aldershot, Hampshire.

Mutekedza was convicted after a trial of one count of sexual assault by a board of five serviceman at Bulford Military Court Centre in Wiltshire.

Prosecutor Commander Caroline Kenyon said: “A woman heard a knock on her door and the defendant was outside and appeared drunk. “He said words to the effect ‘You know I really like you’. “He grabbed her hand and she tried to close the door but the defendant blocked her doorway and pulled his hand back when it was on the back of her head.

“He said "why are you not going to give me a cuddle?" He tried to pull her head towards him and she told him to go away. He left and again said "you know I really like you".”

He was cleared of another charge of sexual assault relating to an accusation he crept into bed with a different woman before attempting to touch her intimately as she slept.

Private Mutekedza, of 22 Field Hospital, based at New Normandy Barracks, will serve his detention order at the Military Corrective Training Centre in Colchester, Essex.


A feminist failure

Any feminist would tell this woman that men are no good and she should forget all about them

Belinda Stuckey has been on two dates every week for almost a year and a half without any resulting in a second date - but that hasn't discouraged the determined woman from continuing on her journey to find that special someone.

The stunning blonde is one of the most contacted members on the eHarmony dating website, attracting more than 4,700 matches since signing up in December 2013.

However, after going on more than 130 dates, the 35-year-old is still waiting for a mutual spark to fly before venturing into that elusive second date.

Despite the dating game becoming almost like a part-time job, the school teacher from Kellyville, in northwestern Sydney, will keep searching because there is no doubt in her mind that the ideal man is out there somewhere.

After more than three years of being single, Belinda decided to give online dating a go after her friends suggested it 18 months ago. 'I had come out of a four-year relationship and took the time to get to know myself and know what I do and don't want,' she said. 'I'm in a good place now and ready to start again.'

Belinda thinks the reason she has generated such an interest from so many men is because she is 100 per cent genuine on her dating profile.

'I don't see any point putting out there someone you are not - it's important to let people know who you are and what your ultimate goal is at the end,' she told Daily Mail Australia.

She receives as many as 10 matches a day and then sends five multiple choice questions to the men she likes the sound of and the guys can do the same.

Belinda said she has met up with about 20 per cent of the guys she was originally matched with. Although the dates haven't been disastrous, there is yet to be that reciprocal spark. 'Either they like me and I don't like them or vice versa,' she said.

So how does Belinda keep getting back on the dating horse? 'It's important to me - I really want to find a partner,' she said. 'You have got to have thick skin and take it with a grain of salt.'

However, this is not to say that she doesn't feel deflated if she is interested in her date but the feeling isn't mutual.

'If I don't hear from him again I wonder what I did to turn him off - "Did I do something wrong? Did I not show enough skin? What can I do better next time?".'

Belinda may have given up a significant part of her time going on first dates but she knows that second date will come eventually. 'I still have hope he'll be out there,' she said.


‘Wrong’ kind of hero: Why feminists diss Hirsi Ali

Ayaan Hirsi Ali should be the perfect feminist hero. In theory, she fits the role on multiple levels: She’s an escapee from an abusive patriarchy. She’s an African immigrant who made her own way in a Western country, the Netherlands. She’s a fierce advocate for women’s rights.

She’s a target for deadly violence by angry men who want to shut her up. She left her religion and became a scourge of its repressive practices.

Except for the blemish on her record: Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a dissident from the wrong religion. Raised a Muslim in Somalia, subjected to genital mutilation and married off to a distant cousin, she is famously a critic of Islam.

She has excoriated it at extraordinary risk to her own safety, and makes the case again in her latest book, “Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now.”

When she collaborated on a film in the Netherlands in 2004 cataloging abuses against Muslim women, her fellow filmmaker Theo van Gogh was assassinated by an Islamist who left a note threatening her pinned to van Gogh’s chest — with a knife.

But Hirsi Ali wouldn’t be silenced. She is truly a hero of our time. She is defying the jihadi censors, the misbegotten hate-speech laws and the polite conventions of Western debate that all limit what can be said about the relationship of Islam to modernity.

Our society, and especially the left, tends to reflexively celebrate dissenters. But some heretics are more welcome than others.

In the case of Islam, the pieties of multiculturalism clash with what should be an imperative of feminism (i.e., forcefully standing up for the basic rights of women in Muslim societies), and feminism tends to lose out.

“The concern,” as one feminist wrote of Hirsi Ali, “is that her intervention into the issue of gender equality in Muslim societies will strengthen racism rather than weaken sexism.”

In the fashionable neologism designed to be a conversation-stopper, she is “an Islamophobe.” Brandeis University notoriously rescinded a planned honorary degree for her last year.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali has more confidence in Western civilization and its values than people who have never had to live outside it, or face down the enemies who want to destroy it.

If Hirsi Ali had had a strict Baptist upbringing and left to tell the story of its hypocrisies and closed-mindedness, she would be celebrated in such precincts as Brandeis, without anyone uttering a peep of protest.

This is the “Book of Mormon” effect — no one cares about offending the inoffensive. It’s only debate over a religion that is home to dangerous fanatics that must be carefully policed.

Even people not otherwise known for their solicitude for religious sensibilities are uncomfortable with her criticisms of Islam.

In his interview with her this week, “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart worried that “people single out Islam,” when Christianity underwent its own difficult reconciliation with modernity.

True enough, but the horrific intra-Christian bloodletting of the Thirty Years’ War was 400 years ago.

If Islam is on the same trajectory, it is badly trailing the pace. Hirsi Ali’s prescriptions are hardly unassailable. Her notion of religious reform bears an atheistic stamp.

If change in Islam depends on getting Muslims to admit that Muhammad was not The Prophet, as she writes in “Heretic,” the cause is indeed hopeless. The ummah is not going to dissolve itself into a gooey Unitarian Universalism.

Hirsi Ali recalls the dissidents from communism in the 20th century like the great Whittaker Chambers. Their personal experience redoubled their commitment to the fight for freedom and human dignity.

They, too, were often dismissed as fanatics and as embarrassments to polite opinion. But their intellectual contributions, and the examples of their own bravery, were indispensable in the long ideological struggle.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is not just a heretic; she also is a believer. She has more confidence in Western civilization and its values than people who have never had to live outside it, or face down the enemies who want to destroy it.

If she doesn’t get the recognition she deserves, so much the worse for her detractors.


A crazed campaign about sexual misconduct in the military

Much like Rolling Stone, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) refuses to the let the facts — or lack thereof — get in the way of her preferred feminist narrative. In her case, it’s the claim that the military has it in for women. Instead of university administrators and fraternity members, she accuses Department of Defense officials of lies and cover-ups and implies that any female living near a base is at risk from sexual predators in uniform.

In the past, she’s used questionable survey results to generate support for legislation that would have stripped military commanders of their authority in sexual assault cases. Although the measure was universally opposed by DOD leaders and didn’t pass, she recently renewed her attack. Gillibrand was undeterred by the fact that the same category of responses she previously used to create the perception of a crisis showed an improvement of over 25% in the latest survey, or that victims have shown a greater willingness to report the incidents that do occur.

She deserves a little credit (very little…) for creativity. With the data working against her original line of “reasoning,” she was at least smart enough to chose a different — if even more flawed — metric to focus on this time around: sexual assaults on military spouses and civilian women who live near bases. She chooses a few isolated anecdotes to try and make the case that the military is incapable of treating women fairly. She also cites the Pentagon’s exclusion of these women in its surveys as evidence its hiding something. But as a Pentagon spokesman explained, “The department does not have standing authority to survey non-DOD civilian populations. However, federal surveys have found that the prevalence of sexual assault for non-DOD civilian women is statistically the same for military women and female spouses of military members.”

Translation: The Pentagon can’t do what Gillibrand wants it to, but it’s unnecessary anyway because there is already a pretty good idea what the numbers would say — and they don’t support Gillibrand’s argument.

Gillibrand bemoans that cases pursued in the military legal system are plagued by witnesses who decide to not cooperate, victims whose testimony is not considered credible, and inconsistent punishments. While those may (or may not) be valid observations, they aren’t unique to the military and could just as easily be used to describe similar cases tried in civilian courts.

One of her examples cites the case of a service member who allegedly assaulted a civilian female. The investigating officer identified too many inconsistencies in the victim’s story to pursue a sexual assault case, but ended up securing convictions on several lesser charges. Gillibrand puts officials like this in a no-win situation: She’ll bash them and question their integrity if they try to prosecute on the more serious charge and lose, and she’ll bash them and question their integrity if they get a conviction on charges that aren’t suitably severe for her.

Meanwhile, she ignores an interesting aspect of the report: No improvement was noted in the 20% of sexual assault incidents with male victims.

Sexual assault offenders should indeed be punished. That said, not everyone accused is actually guilty, though it appears the only way to make Gillibrand happy is for every male accused of any type of sexual assault to be convicted, regardless of what the evidence says.



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 May, 2015

Politically correct policing in Britain

Speech crimes are the only ones that matter

A terrified pensioner who dialled 999 after a drunken intruder barged into her home was left stunned when the police's response was to tell her to draw her curtains.

Widow Maureen Smith, 83, said she was mystified by the lack of action from officers and is demanding an explanation as to why no-one immediately attended the incident.

She was home alone in Wadebridge, Cornwall - where last week a senior officer warned residents they were now more likely to hear from police on Twitter than see an officer in the street.

Mrs Smith said the unknown man suddenly appeared and began knocking on her door while she was watching television. He barged in and sat down but when the pensioner called 999 she was told to draw the curtains.

She said: 'The door was locked but I could see there was someone there, trying to get it. I opened the door and this man just barged past me, came into my living room and sat on my sofa.

'I could smell the drink on him. He just kept asking for his daughter. I didn't know who he was and had no idea what he was talking about.

'This went on for about 15 minutes - I was getting more and more angry - before he finally left my home. I was in shock and called the police for help.

'I dialled 999 and the operator asked me what the problem was - but when I explained what had just happened she told me that since the man had now gone, and didn't appear to have stolen anything, there was nothing the police could do.

'She told me just to stay indoors, lock the door and draw the curtains.'

Mrs Smith then called relatives for help, who immediately went to the local police station. Despite knocking on the door and ringing the bell, they got no reply.

A few hours later they did succeed in making contact with the police via the non-emergency 101 telephone number, and two officers eventually came to visit Mrs Smith at home.

She said: 'They took down all the details, a description of the man and so on. 'They told me that the person who answered the 999 call shouldn't have said what they did, and they were very sorry for the mistake.

'What's upset me is that it could have been much more serious. What if this man had turned nasty? I used to work in the telephone exchange and I knew that's not the way to handle an emergency call.

'The whole business has shaken my confidence. I was shaking like a leaf. I never used to worry much about locking my door - this is a very safe area - but now I do keep the door locked.'

In recent years, civilian police staff in Devon and Cornwall have been cut by 16 per cent - some of those were 999 call-handlers.

Reports from 2012 revealed that one in six of all 999 calls put through to Devon and Cornwall police were missed by phone call-handlers and bounced to another force. The force's annual average for abandoned calls that year was 6.15 per cent, three times the national guidelines.

Sergeant Andy Stewart spoke to members of Wadebridge town council last week about the future of policing in light of cutbacks.

He said the traditional bobbies on patrol would be consigned to history as a result of huge cuts - and be replaced by social media interaction.

Austerity measures for his force at Devon and Cornwall police have seen £51million slashed from the force budget.

A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall police said the force was investigating how Mrs Smith's emergency call was handled to see if any errors had been made.

He said: 'Police received a call at around 7.15pm on Sunday, April 26 after a drunk man had entered the property of an elderly woman in Cleveland, Wadebridge and sat on her sofa. 'At no time was the man’s demeanour threatening and he soon left the property. Police later attended the scene and spoke with Mrs Smith who was safe and well, and helped us identify the man who entered her property.'

The spokesman added: 'On speaking to the man in question, it was a clear case of him entering the house in error, no crime had been committed and words of advice have been given to him.

'Police are now investigating how the initial call was handled to see if any errors were made and what lessons can be learned. We will be looking at visiting Mrs Smith again once this has taken place.'


Some prize Leftist hypocrisy

Labour's deputy leader Harriet Harman this morning defended the party's controversial gender-segregated election rally – insisting it was 'better than a men-only meeting'.

Ms Harman, who has made her political career fighting for women's rights, said boycotting the meeting would have been 'rude'.

It comes after the party was dragged into a furious 'sexism' row after senior Labour figures, including Ms Harman's husband Jack Dromey, spoke at a meeting in Birmingham on Saturday even though men sat on one side of the room and women on the other.

Labour has denied that people were forced to sit separately based on gender - even though photographs from the event show that the groups were clearly segregated.

Critics called the decision 'sickening' and claimed that the party was 'selling values for votes' in order to get Ed Miliband into Downing Street.

But Ms Harman this morning claimed the meeting was an attempt to get more women from the Muslim community involved in politics.

'This meeting was organised by a male Labour councillor and a female Labour councillor, and what they were trying to do is ensure there weren't men only meetings, which we are even more not in favour of it.

'It was actually bringing the women from the community into the meeting. But no, sex segregation in seating is not a good idea. But it's better than men-only meetings. We want to have meetings where men and women are on equal terms.

'I don't know the young woman Muslim councillor who organised this, but I bet I would be backing her up in getting more women from that community involved.'

Ms Harman said she was not a 'boycotting type of person' and did not like to be 'rude and walk out of things'.

She said: 'I perhaps would have discussed with the young woman councillor if we could have all sat together. Probably, I would have said let's all sit round in a big circle and mix everything up.

'We are for women's equality and women's progress. We want that for every woman in all communities. There's no uncertainty about that.'

Among the Labour grandees at the event was Khalid Mahmood, who is standing to be MP for Perry Bar.

Mr Mahmood previously spoke out against the alleged Trojan Horse plot in 12 of Birmingham's schools, including allegations of gender segregation, but was centre stage at Saturday's event - but said any criticism based on the rally photo was 'ridiculous'.

He told MailOnline that although the picture of the event showed men and women sat apart, afterwards the groups all mixed afterwards and took 'selfies' together.

He said: 'I was happy to support the event. It wasn't as segregated as people are making out. The photo has been taken out of context.

'Nobody was told to sit anywhere. It just happened that men and women sat separately – but what the photo doesn't show is there were women and men together at the back.

'What people need to understand is that this part of a process of engaging with Muslim women and this was the start of that. It is about giving women in some communities the confidence to engage.

'People can say what they like. In 2010 I went to rallies where there were no women at all'.


The libertarian view: For religious freedom, separate marriage and state

As the Supreme Court takes up the matter of marriage apartheid — an institution of forcible segregation and exclusion aimed at same-sex couples and codified in state laws which defy both the Constitution’s “full faith and credit” clause and its 14th Amendment’s “equal protection” clause — its supporters once again rally to the banners of family and marriage, feigning support for the very institutions they assail.

“We will not obey!” thunder headlines covering their latest barrage, an open letter signed by numerous American religious leaders. But those headlines lie. The actual content of the letter consists not of a refusal to obey others, but of a demand that others be made to obey them. They want their own religious beliefs to remain codified in law at the expense of all whose beliefs differ.

They call for this establishment of (their) religion, naturally, in the name of “religious freedom.” It seems there’s no concept the anti-marriage, anti-family bigots aren’t willing to turn on its head.

There’s certainly a religious freedom issue at stake here, but the opponents of same-sex marriage are opponents, not supporters, of religious freedom. For example, until it was struck down, Missouri’s anti-marriage law (passed in 2004 with strong support from this same crowd) provided for a jail sentence of 10 days and a $500 fine against clergy who officiated at unapproved religious ceremonies — “unlicensed” same-sex weddings.

Are the opponents of marriage and family sinned against as well as sinning? Certainly. They don’t believe they should be enslaved to bake cakes (or pizzas) and so forth for couples and families of whom they religiously disapprove. I agree. They shouldn’t. But then, the anti-marriage bigots and the pro-slavery bigots are peas in a pod. They’re both fighting for control of others, not for the freedom of all.

The solution to this whole set of problems is simple: Just as we’ve tried to separate church and state, let’s separate marriage and state! If that’s not feasible in its entirety, then let’s do so to the greatest degree possible.

Instead of government-approved, “licensed” marriages, let the civil form of marriage be by contract. The terms of those contracts can be whatever the parties negotiate. Although I suspect most of them would tend toward the current norms, there’s no call to require that. Different strokes for different folks. The only necessary state involvement, then, would be adjudication of contractual disputes (if even that — the contracts could specify private arbitration).

As for those of particular religious persuasions, let them and their churches celebrate whatever weddings and recognize whatever marriages they choose, and not others (including in their commercial relations). This is the only right which they might reasonably demand others respect.


The strange priorities of Britain's socialized medicine system

A sex attack victim told of her fury yesterday after the NHS refused to fund treatment to remove scars left by her ordeal – while the man responsible has cost taxpayers more than £250,000.

Rolands Brize, a 27-year-old Latvian schizophrenic, was given a life sentence and a hospital order a year ago for attempting to rape the woman as she walked home from a nightclub.

He was sent to a £500-a-day secure private psychiatric hospital to receive the best mental health care available.

But his victim, a 25-year-old graphic designer, faced long delays before having her injuries dealt with.

She has now been told the NHS will not pay for the latest help she needs – laser treatment recommended by a plastic surgeon.

She has battled knee problems and recurring pain since she was dragged under a bridge during the attack in March 2013.

She is desperate to reduce the raised, ugly scarring on her right knee.

After several months she received steroid injections on the NHS which reduced the scars, but last week health chiefs refused laser surgery because they say it is too expensive.

The victim, who remains traumatised by her ordeal and still has sleepless nights, said she cried uncontrollably when her local NHS trust wrote to say that her case was not exceptional enough to warrant any more funding.

East Riding of Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group explained that the treatment was not routinely paid for and she would not gain ‘significantly more benefit’.

In response, the woman said the treatment was likely to cost a few thousand pounds, which was nothing compared to her attacker’s health care. She said the scars were still a ‘horrible dark purple’.

Last night she said: ‘They won’t fund a one-off cheap bit of laser treatment for scarring I have from when I was dragged across the bridge by a foreign, psychotic criminal, yet the NHS have spent over £250,000 treating him and he will need treatment for years to come.

Words just fail me. To me, it’s like they are saying I’m in the wrong and he has done nothing wrong and we’ll make sure he’s OK
‘So us taxpayers will have spent a fortune. How is that even fair? Words just fail me. To me, it’s like they are saying I’m in the wrong and he has done nothing wrong and we’ll make sure he’s OK.’

The victim added: ‘I’ve had to fight for all my treatment and spent money on prescriptions and medication – and everything has been done for him.

‘I wanted to speak out, not just for me but for anyone else in my situation. When I got the letter turning down funding I couldn’t stop crying. It may sound pathetic, but what have I done wrong that they can say no to me and yes to him?’



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

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

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


7 May, 2015

Multicultural wife murderer in Britain

A pharmacist who brutally murdered his wife in a fit of jealous rage before he calmly left the family home and went to work has today been jailed for life.

Devoted mother Raheela Imran, 45, was killed by her husband of 16 years, Imran Sharif, after he returned from dropping their children off at school on October 20 last year.

Father-of-four Sharif, 44, of Slough, Berkshire, slashed her neck with a knife and then hid the murder weapon, stashed his blood-stained clothes in his car and went to work.

He was today jailed for life for the brutal murder.

Reading Crown Court heard Sharif had been stealing Viagra and anti-depressants from his workplace at the time of the callous attack.

The court heard Sharif left Mrs Imran's body on the kitchen floor before he changed out of his bloodstained clothes and hid them under the driver's seat of his car, concealed the murder weapon - which has never been found - and went to work.

Sharif initially denied killing his wife but eventually confessed to a friend and fellow prisoner while he was being held in custody at HMP Bullingdon.

He then pleaded guilty to murder at Reading Crown Court.

Allan Mainds, prosecuting, told the court Sharif had become convinced, mistakenly, that his wife was having an affair with her younger cousin who lived in Pakistan.

He said the pair would text and speak frequently but the relationship was nothing more than a friendship, with Mrs Imran fulfilling an 'almost maternal' role.

'There were regular exchanges of affectionate texts and telephone calls,' he said. 'The defendant interpreted these as the actions of an unfaithful and secretive wife - a totally wrong interpretation. 'He saw this previously successful marriage was at an end.'

The court heard that paranoid Sharif even downloaded a tracking app onto his wife's pink iPhone which automatically sent copies of her messages to his own phone.

Mrs Imran only discovered the app when a colleague discovered it while trying to fix something on her phone.

The couple, who were cousins, married in Pakistan in 1997 and went on to have four children, all aged between seven and 15 years.

The court heard the relationship deteriorated on a family trip to Pakistan in April 2014 Sharif accused his wife of having an affair in front of other family members, told her he would divorce her and allegedly hit her.

Mrs Imran, who had worked at PC World in Slough since 2001, confided in friends that the relationship was in trouble, saying she had got onto a motorbike with her cousin in Pakistan and 'you should have seen Imran's face.'

Things came to a head on October 20 when Sharif stole his wife's phone and the house landline phone to prevent her from contacting her cousin, the court heard.

When she returned home to search for her phone Sharif confronted his wife and tried to strangle her, before slashing her neck in a 'violent and sustained' attack, before getting changed and going into work.

When Mrs Imran's brother found her body hours later there were signs of a struggle, with cuts across Raheela's hands.

Her larynx had been broken and she was naked from the waist down.

A post mortem examination found she died as a result of a wound to the neck.

Sharif was arrested later that day and was charged with murder on October 23 after officers discovered a Tesco carrier bag in his car containing a grey long-sleeved shirt and denim trousers covered in his wife's blood.

Before the relationship broke down, the court heard the couple had bought land next to their home in Slough and went on to build the family home and rent out their other property.

Sharif had been working as a pharmacist in Slough for more than 14 years, although when officers searched his home they found he had been illegally self-prescribing a range of drugs to treat erectile dysfunction and depression.

The couple's eldest daughter Zahara, who is now living with her siblings and other family members, said her mother, who was described as 'completely devoted' to her children, was her inspiration.

The brave teenager said: 'Raheela was the most caring, loving and big-hearted person. 'My mum was more like a friend to me. I will never be able to match her.

Handing Sharif a life term, to serve a minimum term of 14 years and nine months before being eligible for parole, Judge Cutts said: 'This was a savage attack. I accept that you believed, albeit erroneously, that your wife was having an affair.

'I accept this was not a premeditated killing, however it is clear you intended to kill her on that occasion.

Sharif, dressed in a prison issue blue-grey jumper, with greying hair and stubble, showed no emotion as he was taken down to the cells.


Free Speech Under Fire; Two Gunmen Killed at Texas "Draw Mohammed" Contest

Free speech is never a justification for violence - or submitting to the thug's veto

The event was organized by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, known for their outspoken views on jihadism and Islam, and the similarly controversial Dutch politician Geert Wilders was one of the main draws.

It's not immediately clear who was behind the attack (one suspected gunman's Twitter account has been removed), despite claims that it was connected to the Islamic State.

Twitter was full of the event and arguments over the shooting, Geller's reputation for inflaming opinions, and more, including this from a New York Times' foreign correspondent:

"Free speech aside, why would anyone do something as provocative as hosting a "Muhammad drawing contest"?" — Rukmini Callimachi (@rcallimachi) May 4, 2015

It's not fully clear to me that there is an "aside" beyond "free speech," but Reason of course hosted a similar contest back in 2010 after violence in the wake of the Jyllands-Posten controversy and American cartoonist Mollie Norris faced death threats for suggesting such a thing.

Why did we? As I wrote at the time:

"There comes a point in any society's existence where it must ultimately, to paraphrase Martin Luther (who himself was more than happy to see opponents put to death), dig in its heels and say here we stand, we will do no other. We don't need to be perfectly consistent philosophically or historically or theologically to assert what is special and unique not just about the United States, with its bizarre and wonderful articulation of the First Amendment, but the greater classical liberal project comprising not just the "West" (whatever that is) but human beings in whatever town, country, or planet they inhabit.

And at the heart of the liberal project is ultimately a recognition that individuals, for no other reason than that they exist, have rights to continue to exist. Embedded in all that is the right to expression. No one has a right to an audience or even to a sympathetic hearing, much less an engaged audience.

But no one should be beaten or killed or imprisoned simply for speaking their mind or praying to one god as opposed to the other or none at all or getting on with the small business of living their life in peaceful fashion. If we cannot or will not defend that principle with a full throat, then we deserve to choke on whatever jihadists of all stripes can force down our throats."

The recent contest comes in the wake of the murder of staffers at Charlie Hebdo, the French magazine routinely and wrongly attacked as racist and reactionary (read Matt Welch on that and on American writers denouncing PEN giving an award to the writers, editors, and illustrated shot to death by Islamic radicals). Much of the commentary over this latest shooting will doubtless revolve the odiousness of Pamela Geller," her track record of "provocations," and the like.

That is simply besides the much larger and more important point that free speech is free speech and should never be challenged by the thug's veto or bullets or violence. The United States Constitution doesn't simply enshrine free speech in the First Amendment but also religious freedom and freedom of assembly. These things are all intertwined and an attack on one is an attack on the others.

Allowing infringements on any of that—whether out of sensitivity, fear, or distaste with particular groups (whether Charlie Hebdo or Geller)—is not a small thing and it's never a final thing, either. Giving in to violent reprisals doesn't end them, it only sets the stage for the next choking down of free expression and the openness of society.

In the wake of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, President Obama announced that "the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam," while blaming the death of a U.S. ambassador and soldiers on a YouTube video that supposedly created a spontaneous demonstration against the country that had recently helped liberate Libya from a dictator.

The president was wrong then and those who say we must rein in free speech are wrong now. The threats to speech are not simply emanating from terrorists who pledge allegiance to a demented form of Islamic theocracy. They are everywhere throughout America today and despite an ever-increasing number of platforms from which to speak, the plain fact is that "incursions against free speech and a truly unregulated marketplace of ideas" are also flourishing.

The future must belong to those who recognize a categorical difference between free expression and violent reprisals. The future must belong to those who affirm speech over silence and freedom over fear, regardless of who is speaking and who is offended.


UK: Labour candidates address sex-segregated election rally

We are not in Lahore in the Punjab, but Hodge Hill, Birmingham. It is not a private gathering in a mosque or other sanctified space of holiness, but a hired function hall for a public meeting, where the previous guests ate bacon sandwiches and unclean dogs begged beneath the tables. It is not a religiously mandated Friday Jumu’ah, where Muslims would listen to the call to prayer and begin their rakat with the tahyat-ul-masjid salah and listen attentively to the imam’s ritual khutbah.

It is a Labour election rally, where Muslims are listening to parliamentary candidates, including Tom Watson, Liam Byrne, Kahlid Mahmood and Jack Dromey (Mr Harriet Harman) issue the call to vote, with assurances of sharia-compliant schools and a pledge to outlaw ‘Islamophobia’.

It is astonishing, in England in 2015, that zealots for absolute equality and gender parity would deign to address a sex-segregated meeting. How is this ‘progressive’? How is it consistent with Labour’s ‘equal society’ and enlightened notions of human rights?

The women aren’t quite second class, for they are not seated behind the men or shunted down to the basement as they are in many mosques. But they are separated nonetheless, like the sheep from the goats, and the inference is clear: when it comes to courting the Muslim vote, gender apartheid trumps equality.

Perhaps Khalid Mahmood is used to this sort of cultural directive, and tolerates it because he grasps the backward belief of some of his co-religionists that women are chattel and exist to obey orders. But would Tom Watson address a political gathering where white men sit on the right and black on the left? Isn’t that racist? Would Liam Byrne agree to speak at a meeting where heterosexuals were separated from homosexuals? Isn’t that homophobic? Would Jack Dromey accept an invitation to address an audience where Muslims were separated from Sikhs, or Protestants from Roman Catholics? Isn’t that bigoted sectarianism?

As the Archbishop of Canterbury recently observed, “Equality as an aim in itself through government action is doomed not merely to defeat but to totalitarianism.” Conservatives will not instinctively prioritise the universalism of equality, but would certainly advocate the liberal core concept of equal concern and respect expressed to all in their common humanity, without the need to respect some of their attributes or ends. Human equality for the Christian is not merely an abstraction of thought to be dispensed with for political expediency, but an incarnational assertion that we have a common purpose and share a common end.

As St Paul said: ‘There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus‘ (Gal 3:28). Clearly, Muslims are not all one in Mohammed: the seed of Abraham is not united in the ontological parity which negates the subordination of one sex to another. There exists still a formal religious and legal universalism which imposes gender limitations upon political and social practices.

Would Labour politicians address a meeting where Jews were segregated? If not, why is the segregation of women remotely acceptable to politicians who have dedicated their lives to ending the social and economic inequalities endured by women in all cultures throughout the whole of history?


Judge takes toddler from 'homophobic' mum to live with gay dad and his lover

A mother can lose her daughter because of her opinions about homosexuals?

A 15-month-old girl should be taken from her ‘homophobic’ mother and sent to live with her wealthy gay father and his lover, a High Court judge has ruled.

The mother lied when she agreed to become a surrogate for the gay couple’s desperately wanted child, Ms Justice Russell said. In fact, she really wanted a baby for herself and regarded the girl’s gay father as no more than a ‘sperm donor’, the judge said.

In a judgment published yesterday, Ms Justice Russell said the mother had used her daughter to manipulate the court – and had tried to discredit the gay father and his partner ‘in a homophobic and offensive manner’.

She said the mother had secretly named the girl and had her baptised in defiance of a court order and without the couple’s consent.

In her ruling, the judge said the 15-month-old girl should not be affected by her mother’s negative views of her father because they will ‘directly affect her own sense of identity’.

Instead, she ordered that the girl should live with her father and his boyfriend and said that the mother – who has been breastfeeding and sleeping with her daughter – should be allowed to see her only under the supervision of social workers.

‘This case is another example of how agreements between potential parents reached privately to conceive children to build a family go wrong and cause great distress to the biological parents and their spouses or partners,’ Ms Justice Russell said.

The judge ordered that none of the individuals involved in the dispute may be named in public.

The row between the gay couple and the mother began after an apparent surrogacy deal broke down. The mother, a Romanian who has two older daughters who live with her divorced British husband, met the 43-year-old Romanian father when they were both teenagers.

The father lives with his 38-year-old partner, but the gay couple are not married or civil partners. In 2013 they struck an agreement which the father thought meant the woman would be a surrogate mother.

She would play a role in the child’s life but he and his partner would be the main carers. However the mother told the court the agreement was with the father alone, that there was no role for his partner, and that she would be the main carer.

The child was conceived by an artificial method at the gay couple’s home. The mother then paid towards the rent of a house in South London where she could live with the couple.

The deal broke down shortly before the baby was born in January 2014, and the mother went to hospital for the birth without telling the father. The affair became a court battle before the baby was a month old.

The senior judge who took the baby from her surrogate mother last year became the first allowed to take a feminist title. High Court judge Alison Russell is known on the bench as Ms Justice Russell.

The decision to allow a judge to be addressed that way was taken by Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas and Sir James Munby, the judge who heads the family courts where 55-year-old Ms Justice Russell will operate.

It is a departure from past practice, in which women judges were not permitted to deviate from established forms of address.

The judge, who has no children, is unmarried and lives with her partner Julian Francis in Brixton in South London.

She describes her interests as Spain, Handel, cooking, reading, and playing with her niece and nephews.

The baptism mattered to the three because the mother usurped the right to name the child and establish her religion.

The mother is an Orthodox Christian, while the father is a protestant and his partner a Roman Catholic, the judge said. Ms Justice Russell added that the mother ‘decided to breastfeed on demand and co-sleep with the baby: This directly affected the amount of time she could spend with her father’.

The judge said her conclusion was that the mother ‘set out to inveigle the father into acting as her sperm donor so she could have another child’.

She declared: ‘While to move a young child from her mother is a difficult decision and is one which I make with regret as I am aware it will cause the mother distress, I conclude that the father is the parent who is best able to meet the girl’s needs both now and in the future.

‘It is he who has shown that he has the ability to allow her to grow into a happy, balanced and healthy adult and it is he who can help her to reach her greatest potential.’ [Utter rot. A daughter needs her mother. The dried-out old bag of a feminist judge would not have a clue about motherhood]



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 May, 2015

Scottish Nazism to the fore

In the 1930s Hitler had a special party arm (the brownshirts) that specialized in breaking up the meetings of other parties. A similar situation has arisen in Scotland these days. There a group of extreme-Left nationalists even break up the meetings of the Labour Party, the major British party of the Left. Intimidation and silencing of your opponent are Leftist reflexes so it has an element of justice that Labour party people are finding out how it feels to be on the receiving end of such tactics. They don't like it! A current report below:

Labour tonight accused the SNP of tipping off a mob of nationalist campaigners - after the party's leader in Scotland Jim Murphy was forced to abandon a planned rally when he was confronted by dozens of angry campaigners.

A group of around 30 separatist activists hurled abuse at Mr Murphy, who was campaigning in Glasgow with the comedian Eddie Izzard, eventually forcing the pair to flee in a getaway car.

In scenes reminiscent of some of the confrontations during last year's independence referendum - when Mr Murphy was egged, spat at and abused during a 100-day tour of Scotland - then chased the pair as they attempted to leave.

A young girl was left in floods of tears by the aggressive scenes, which also saw a photographer and TV reporter pushed to the floor, and several activists caught up in a violent scrum.

The protest was organised by the leader of far-left campaign group 'Scottish Resistance' James Scott, self-styled anti-austerity campaigner Piers Doughty Brown and former SNP candidate Sean Clerkin - who have all been pictured with leading SNP politicians.

Mr Murphy was greeted with shouts of 'traitor', 'Judas' and 'warmongering scum' by the mob of protesters in Glasgow's St Enoch Square, who drowned out Mr Murphy and Izzard using megaphones and music speakers.

Speaking after the event the Scottish Resistance chief Mr Scott said his group was part of an alliance of pro-independence groups aiming to overthrow 'British imperialism' and defended this morning's chaotic scenes. He added: 'We are not provoking them, we are annoying them.'

Allegations later emerged on Twitter that one of Nicola Sturgeon's spin doctors had given some of the protesters details of the location and timing of the event. However, this was emphatically denied by the SNP.

But a spokesman for Mr Murphy, who said that while he could not believe the First Minister's office would direct the group, added: 'The 'nothing to do with us' defence doesn't hold water.'


Black rioters in Israel too

The crunch of broken glass and stun grenade shards could still be heard underfoot in Tel Aviv’s Rabin square early Monday morning as the day’s first papers sailed onto the blood-spattered sidewalks, carrying the news of the most intense clashes the so-called White City had seen in decades from the night before, and beginning the requisite round of hand-wringing over violence by both the protesters and police.

Front page headlines like “Battle Zone” (Israel Hayom) “Rage Square” (Yedioth Ahronoth) and “About 50 injured in Tel Aviv protest,” accompanied by pictures of an overturned cop car, riot police on horseback, black protesters and clouds of tear gas, set the tone for the tenor of coverage, which focuses on the violence that punctuated the night while also addressing causes for the demonstration and the claims of racism by the Ethiopian community.

Dani Adino Ababa, embedded for Yedioth with the protesters, gives a firsthand view from inside the chaos that reigned in Rabin Square, writing of the moment all hell seemed to break loose out of nowhere.

“’We are not violent,’ the protesters shouted and raised their hands in the air. ‘We want no violence, we suffer from pain.’ However at this moment the event lost control,” he writes. “Rocks were thrown in every direction, and after that bottles went flying in the air, trash cans and even bikes that were parked nearby, damaging car windows. The police response was no less violent: phalanxes of horses galloped on the masses with no warning to clear the demonstration, while shooting stun grenades and tear gas, and water cannon trucks tried to clear a way through the center of the events.”

A Haaretz account reports that most of the protesters were in their 20s and 30s, many in army uniforms, with their shirts untucked. “Others waved Israeli flags or held up signs reading ‘I didn’t choose to be born black but that’s my right,’ or ‘Since when is color a crime.’”

The paper notes that activists say the struggle against racism suffered by the Ethiopian Israeli community is nothing new. “We will protest until somebody from the government will come and give real solutions, we won’t leave,” a protester named Solomon is quoted telling the broadsheet.

Israel Hayom reports on the response of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, calling for calm while not dismissing the claims of the protesters. The paper also cites the police pulling the old Sacco and Vanzetti, placing the blame for the troublemaking on anarchists.

“Some of the people here were incited by anarchists, you can see well who is there with the protesters,” Tel Aviv police chief Bentzi Sao is quoted telling the paper.

Even with the police claim, though, the 5-0 face some tough questions on how they responded to the protests, including from Ben Dror Yemini in Yedioth.

“The protest that paralyzed Tel Aviv yesterday was furious, justified and formative. After hours of quiet came a turning point. It’s not clear how it started. It’s possible there were hotheads among the protesters. In mass protests there is always a violent minority,” he writes. “And the police, oh the shame, lost patience. Why? Why respond with smoke grenades? Why not keep their cool? The masses came out to protest against violence. So why in the hell did the police response need to be so forceful? Given police brutality in the past years against Ethiopians, there’s a suspicion that there was more violent provocation from the cops than from the protesters.”

Haaretz’s editorial sums up the feeling among most of the commentators across the papers: the protest was justified, even if the violence was not: “No group in society need accept discrimination by the authorities. The immediate cause of the latest demonstrations may be police brutality, but the protest is broader, reflecting a lack of hope for any change, particularly among younger people who were born and educated in Israel and have personally experienced the degree to which Israeli society is unwilling to accept them,” the paper writes.

In Israel Hayom, Boaz Bismuth admits that there is a problem with the way Ethiopians are treated, but after comparing the protest to the Baltimore riots (albeit without the baggage of 300 years of slavery) he blames the discrimination on a unique mixture of Israeli stupidity and bad luck: the fact that Ethiopians arrived in Israel around the same time as masses of non-Jewish African migrants.

“Unfortunately for our Ethiopian brothers, they got here at the same time as illegal migrants began coming from Africa, and there’s no shortage of idiots who confused them. Not to say that the migrants are worthless and they deserve to be treated badly, but what to do when a new immigrant is the same as every other Israeli, but there are those who get confused between them. Both in relations with them and also in protests,” he writes, ignoring the fact that the largest waves of Ethiopian immigration predated the migrant influx by a couple of decades.


Some Leftist hate from England

Some translations for non-British readers: A scouser is someone from the Liverpool area. A skiver is a work-avoider. A Trot is a Trotskyite, a far Leftist

Esther McVey, the jaunty Tory Scouser, with her boss Iain Duncan Smith, has made it harder for benefits skivers to suck off the state. It is in no small way thanks to Miss McVey that welfare abuse has faded and 1,000 jobs a day have been created during this Government.

Boy, Miss McVey has taken some stick, not least from that sexist oaf John Prescott, who naturally got her name wrong and sneered about her penchant for dressing in smart outfits.

Lady Prescott has also been known to buy the odd frock, I believe...

The trade unions hate 5ft 4in Esther so much, they are funding a ‘sack McVey’ campaign, depicting her as the spoor of ‘wicked’ Mrs Thatcher.

At times it has seemed every moaning Trot on Merseyside has descended on West Wirral to campaign against ex-television presenter Esther.

Labour MP John McDonnell said that she should be ‘lynched’.

For getting youngsters into work! Imagine the hoo-hah from the BBC if a male Tory MP said a Labour woman should be physically attacked.

Yesterday morning found Miss McVey – accompanied by her wiry dad Jim, who used to run a Liverpool construction firm – near West Kirby’s waterfront.

Five years ago, one in four shops in nearby Hoylake was boarded up. Now West Wirral is booming, Unilever is investing millions, Vauxhall is taking on workers and the local number of welfare recipients has dropped 50 per cent.

‘Labour’s bullying is hurtful, yeah, but if they think I am going to be intimidated, they have the wrong person,’ said Miss McVey.

She was being helped yesterday by other Tory candidates from the Liverpool area: Jackson Ng, Ed McRandal, Martin Williams, Gillian Keegan. All admitted that it was character-building being a Tory in Merseyside’s Labour heartlands.

But Wirral West certainly ain’t that. I’d say Labour’s sexism and negativity may have backfired.

New residents Jesper and Tina Toft introduced themselves and Miss McVey kept rising on her flat-shoed tiptoes to talk to tall Jesper.

The Tofts knew nothing about her beforehand. They went away with a Tory poster and a blue sticker for their cocker spaniel Charlie.

Wine merchant Paul Nelson, 59, thanked Miss McVey for ‘putting forward a positive image of Merseyside’. Schoolgirl Issy White, 16, was cross that the local Labour Party had criticised her state school. The White household, previously Labour, was now leaning to the Tories.

Retired industrialist Bill Lancaster said he had been tempted by Ukip but Miss McVey’s work-rate had converted him.


Clinton: Religion Must Surrender to Progressive Ideology

There is little question the American Left is arrogant. It is an arrogance suffused with a self-aggrandizing worldview that begins and ends with the simplest premise: You either agree with us, or you’re wrong. But not just wrong in the sense of having a different opinion. Wrong in the sense that you’re a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal at best, or the embodiment of evil itself at worst. In other words, you’re either on board with us, or you’re completely illegitimate.

The above explanation fits Hillary Clinton to a tee. At the sixth annual Women in the World Summit, Clinton brought up one of the Left’s most cherished planks, abortion on demand. “Far too many women are denied access to reproductive health care and safe childbirth,” she insisted, “and laws don’t count for much if they’re not enforced. Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper.”

One is left to wonder what denial of access Clinton bemoans. It can’t be Planned Parenthood (PP), an organization whose name completely belies its true function. As its 2013-2014 Annual Report reveals, PP received more than $528 million in taxpayer funds in the form of government grants, contracts and Medicaid reimbursements that accounted for 41% of its total resources. And despite its ostensible non-profit status, the abortion giant has $127 million in excess revenue and more than $1.4 billion in net assets.

Where does the money go? According to a fact sheet disseminated by the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, PP devoted 94% of 2013 “pregnancy services” to performing abortions. Prenatal care and adoption services accounted for 5% and 0.05% of its activities, respectively. Moreover, between the years 2011-2013 for which figures are available, PP performed 988,783 abortions.

PP chair Alexis McGill Johnson and president Cecile Richards couldn’t be happier. “We’ve come a long way since Margaret Sanger was jailed in 1916 for opening America’s very first birth control clinic,” they explained at the report’s release. “Today, 99 percent of sexually active American women at some point in their lives use birth control — and, thanks to Planned Parenthood and the Affordable Care Act, more than 48 million women are now eligible to receive it with no copay.”

Sounds like a boatload of access, at least to “reproductive” health care. Safe childbirth? Not so much, a reality that deeply troubles people of faith — a group with this “crazy” notion that abortion constitutes the wrongful termination of a human life.

Not to worry, though. Hillary has a “solution” for their concerns. “Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will,” she declared. “And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed. As I have said and as I believe, the advancement of the full participation of women and girls in every aspect of their societies is the great unfinished business of the 21st century and not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”

If that sounds like people of faith must either abandon that faith or be considered wholly illegitimate, or “structurally biased” as it were, it’s because that’s exactly what Clinton proposes. In short, you’re either pro-abortion or a “bitter clinger.” That euphemism entered the national zeitgeist courtesy of Barack Obama, whose administration has made it clear that the only thing standing between it and the evisceration of the First Amendment’s Freedom of Religion clause is a 5-4 Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby v. Burwell case. The Court decided corporations with sincerely held religious beliefs are under no obligation to provide a full range of contraceptives — including abortifacients — at no cost to their employees as mandated by ObamaCare.

Yet abortion is only one arena where people of faith are being steamrolled. As Solicitor General Donald Verrilli made clear during oral arguments before the Supreme Court on the subject of same-sex marriage, the heavy hand of government will be imposed on those who refuse to embrace progressive “values.” When asked by Justice Samuel Alito if the Obama administration would be willing to impose penalties on institutions that refuse to abide same-sex marriage, Verrilli admitted as much. “It’s certainly going to be an issue,” he conceded. “I don’t deny that.”

Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins spells out the inevitable, writing, “Translation: If churches, religious groups, schools, or nonprofits won’t surrender their beliefs on marriage, the government will make it hurt.” And regardless of what the Court decides, Justice Anthony Kennedy illuminated the stakes with a simple remark, noting the definition of marriage as between a man and a women “has been with us for millennia.” Therefore, he said, “[I]t’s very difficult for the Court to say, ‘Oh well, we know better.’”

Progressives have no such inhibitions. And that would be fine were it not for the reality that they are determined to forcibly impose their worldview by any means necessary on those who disagree.

How arrogant is Clinton in that regard? As recently as 2013 she opposed same-sex marriage, and in 2004 she called traditional marriage a “fundamental bedrock principle.” How hypocritical? “I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree with this administration somehow you’re not patriotic,” she huffed in 2003.

Not patriotic? Now if you disagree with the leftist onslaught, you’re a homophobic, religiously impaired bigot who must abandon millennia of traditional beliefs — or be deliberately targeted if you don’t.

Live and let live? A concept for which those who profess to be the most tolerant among us have zero tolerance. “Evolving” on issues as Clinton and Obama have on same-sex marriage? Embrace progressive ideology right now or be penalized in every way possible.

A number of Christian leaders are fighting back with a pledge defending traditional marriage. One of their reasons for doing so stands out. “Family is the first vital cell of society, the first government, and the first mediating institution of our social order,” the pledge states. “The future of a free and healthy society passes through marriage and the family.” Anyone else think this is a message that might resonate in Baltimore right about now?

One last thought regarding abortion: Perhaps the debate on the issue might be imbued with far more honesty if the phrase “a woman’s right to choose” included the first choice, as in the decision to have unprotected and/or irresponsible sex leading to an unwanted pregnancy.



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 May, 2015

Thuggish censors in the marketplace of ideas
by Jeff Jacoby

BALTIMORE BURNS, shops are looted, rioters attack firefighters with bottles and bricks. And amid all the violence and ruin, what drives the chattering class into a froth of indignation? That anyone would use the word "thugs" to describe the vandals and criminals reducing Baltimore to rubble.

As berserkers ran amok Monday, the city's mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, deplored the destruction: "Too many people have invested in building up this city to allow thugs to tear it down."

That set the hounds baying. Rawlings-Blake was accused of using a racial slur. Baltimore City Councilor Carl Stokes angrily told CNN that calling rioters "thugs" is just like calling them the N-word. The Rev. Jamal Bryant, who delivered the eulogy at Freddie Gray's funeral, repeated the accusation: " 'Thugs' is the 21st-century word for the N-word," he said Wednesday, "and it is repulsive and it is offensive." Wale, the popular Washington, D.C.-based rapper, told Baltimore teens that Rawlings-Blake owed them a direct apology for saying something so "stupid." Others piled on.

It didn't take long for the mayor to surrender. "We don't have thugs in Baltimore.... We have a lot of kids that are acting out," she told a group of church leaders. For good measure, she blamed her "little anger interpreter," pointing to her head in self-abasement. There was more apologizing online. "I wanted to clarify my comments on 'thugs,'" she tweeted. "When you speak out of frustration and anger, one can say things in a way that you don't mean."

So now in Baltimore, which has the nation's seventh-highest violent crime rate, the nonracial word "thugs" is banished as racist — even when spoken by a black mayor. Thus the degradation of the public discourse proceeds.

Meanwhile, Rawling-Blake's forced walk-back was nothing compared to the self-mortification of Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass, two gay hoteliers in New York who hosted a small reception for Senator Ted Cruz on April 20. The business partners, longtime backers of gay-rights causes, strongly disagree with Cruz on same-sex marriage, but share his views on foreign policy. They invited a dozen guests to meet the Republican presidential hopeful over dinner for a discussion of politics. Apparently they were under the impression that in America it is permissible, even admirable, for voters to talk to politicians, exchanging thoughts on a range of issues.

They know better now.

Reisner and Weiderpass were savaged for having hosted the dinner for Cruz. Activists organized a boycott of their hotels, threatening to "shut the place down" as punishment for talking to the enemy. Within days, the businessmen were begging for mercy, berating themselves as if they were inmates in a North Korean slave-labor camp, forced to confess their crimethink in public.

"I am shaken to my bones by the e-mails, texts, postings and phone calls of the past few days," groveled Reisner on Facebook. "I made a terrible mistake. I was ignorant [and] naïve.... I sincerely apologize for hurting the gay community and so many of our friends, family, allies, customers, and employees. I will try my best to make up for my poor judgment." Weiderpass followed suit, flagellating himself for a blunder that may have "nullified" his 20 years of supporting gay rights.

More and more, this is what the marketplace of ideas is turning into. The ruthless determination not just to silence opposing points of view, but to humiliate and crush even allies willing to hear an opposing point of view, violates every liberal principle of tolerance, reason, and dialogue in the public sphere.

The language police in Baltimore and the auto-da-fé of Cruz's dinner hosts are but two fresh examples of a phenomenon rising all around us. Commencement speakers are disinvited from college campuses. Mozilla's CEO is forced to resign over a donation made years earlier to a ballot campaign supporting the traditional definition of marriage. Hillary Clinton declares that abortion rights must be defended with the "political will" needed to change "deep-seated ... religious beliefs." Speech codes and "trigger warnings" are deployed to enforce a spurious — but expanding — right not to be offended or disturbed.

Increasingly, the censors and silencers are at work, stifling ideas, demonizing speakers, ostracizing open-mindedness — decreeing even certain words beyond the pale. It is a dangerous, illiberal, antidemocratic trend. If we don't rouse ourselves to reverse it now, we may never get the chance.


Crazy priorities of the Left-indoctrinated British police

They focus on so-called 'crimes' that most people do not consider illegal


Some of Monty Python’s most memorable sketches involved lampooning the police. Before their most recent reunion tour, the team named ‘The Wallet’ as one of their five all-time favourites.

This featured John Cleese as a copper and Michael Palin as a member of the public who approaches him to report a theft.

‘Inspector, I was sitting on a park bench and I put my coat down and when I picked it up again I found my wallet had gone and £15 had been stolen.’

‘Did you see any ... anyone?’

‘No, no one at all.’

Cleese takes a deep breath, exhales and says: ‘There’s very little we can do about that, sir.’

What follows is an awkward, furtive silence until Palin asks: ‘Do you want to come back to my place?’

Fast forward 40 years and there would be nothing unusual about the police refusing to investigate the theft of a wallet. Nor would the portrayal of a homosexual police inspector be considered remotely funny.

These days if Cleese and Palin poked fun at a gay copper, they’d probably find themselves up at the Old Bailey charged with hate crime.

A couple of other Plod-related sketches come to mind, too. One involved Terry Jones attempting to report a burglary at a police station, where the officers only spoke in silly voices. That joke wouldn’t work today, either. For a start, the odds of finding a police station open to report a burglary are right up there with Ukip forming the next government in coalition with Plaid Cymru.

And the only silly voices on offer would be the computer-generated platitudes at a remote call-centre. ‘All our operators are busy playing Grand Theft Auto on their iPhones. To hear this menu in Swahili, press three...’

The other was set in a courtroom, where a PC played by Palin reads out the charge against the defendant. ‘You are hereby charged ... that you conspired to do things not normally considered illegal...’

I precis, but you get the gist.

Conspiring to do things ‘not normally considered illegal’ was the basis of the recent malicious prosecution of innocent journalists under an obscure 13th-century statute against ‘misconduct in public office’.

The 21st-century police ‘service’ seem to model themselves on Monty Python, concentrating on so-called ‘crimes’ that most people wouldn’t consider against the law, while conspicuously refusing to do the job they’re paid for.

Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary reported that the police were telling the public to investigate crimes themselves. For instance, burglary and vandalism victims were expected to check CCTV evidence and interview neighbours before troubling the Old Bill.

Many officers had ‘given up’ investigating what he called ‘high volume’ crimes and concluded: ‘Effectively, what’s happened is that a number of crimes are on the verge of being decriminalised.’

This week, Kent Police told people who find lost items that they are now responsible for tracing the owners, either by going door to door or advertising on Facebook and Twitter.

As if that isn’t bad enough, they are also warning people that if they keep lost property without making an effort to trace the owners they could be charged with ‘theft by finding’, which is a crime under the 1968 Theft Act and carries a maximum penalty of seven years in prison.

‘Theft by finding’ sounds like something from Monty Python.

I don’t know whether to file it under Mind How You Go or You Couldn’t Make It Up.

Meanwhile, the election has given the Old Bill another excuse to make a nuisance of themselves. A Tory candidate in Herefordshire found himself being investigated for allegedly bribing people to vote for him, after he was spotted on the campaign trail carrying a box of chocolate muffins and some cherry Bakewell tarts.

In Southampton, a Ukip candidate was interviewed by the Old Bill over allegations he had laid on sausage rolls and Jaffa Cakes at an election event.

Far more sinister has been the intervention of police in Northern Ireland, where the socially-conservative DUP candidate voiced his disapproval of children being brought up by homosexuals.

They said they would question Jim Wells after complaints that he was guilty of ‘hate speech’. They also intend to gather evidence and speak to ‘concerned citizens’.

You don’t have to approve of what Mr Wells said to be deeply disturbed by this development, especially in the middle of what is supposed to a democratic election.

Here is yet another example of the police acting as the paramilitary wing of the dominant, Left-wing political class. Investigating candidates for expressing ‘inappropriate’ opinions is a fundamental characteristic of a police state.

(Compare and contrast this outrageous case with the appalling failure of the police to investigate serial sex crimes in Rotherham and political corruption in Tower Hamlets because they didn’t want to upset the local Muslim ‘community’.)

I know, I know. I keep promising to go easy on the police. But what got me started on this riff was the news that a former Monty Python cameraman had been arrested and interviewed for two hours over a series of posters poking fun at local politicians. John Wellard, 71, said six officers turned up at his house and started searching through his belongings, which seems to be standard police procedure these days.

Mr Wellard refused to comment on the allegations, but did say: ‘Lampoonery and satire have been part of the British way of life for centuries. I do not believe any offence has been committed.’

Which brings us back to Monty Python’s trumped up charge of ‘conspiring to do things not normally illegal’. At least Mr Wellard could joke about it: ‘I didn’t expect the Spanish Inquisition.’

And where did this latest abuse of police power take place? Faversham, in Kent. Yes, Kent — where the police say they are so stretched because of the ‘cuts’ they are no longer willing to take in lost property.

Yet they can rustle up six — six — coppers to arrest a pensioner for the ‘not normally illegal’ offence of poking fun at a bunch of po-faced local politicians.

And now for something completely different...


Why Is Pakistan More Legitimate than Israel?

by Dennis Prager

Whenever I have received a call from a listener to my radio show challenging Israel’s legitimacy, I have asked these people if they ever called a radio show to challenge any other country’s legitimacy. In particular, I ask, have they ever questioned the legitimacy of Pakistan?

The answer, of course, is always “no.” In fact, no caller ever understood why I even mentioned Pakistan.

There are two reasons for this.

First, of all the 200-plus countries in the world, only Israel’s legitimacy is challenged. So mentioning any other country seems strange to a caller. Second, almost no one outside of India and Pakistan knows anything about the founding of Pakistan.

Only months before the U.N. adopted a proposal to partition Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state in 1947, India was partitioned into a Muslim and a Hindu state. The Hindu state was, of course, India. And the Muslim state became known as Pakistan. It comprises 310,000 square miles, about 40,000 square miles larger than Texas.

In both cases, the declaration of an independent state resulted in violence. As soon as the newly established state of Israel was declared in May 1948, it was invaded by six Arab armies. And the partition of India led to a terrible violence between Muslims and Hindus.

According to the final report of the United Nations Conciliation Commission from Dec. 28, 1949, the 1948 war of Israel’s independence created 726,000 Arabs refugees. Many sources put the figure at about 200,000 less. A roughly equal number of Jewish refugees — approximately 700,000 — were created when they were forcibly expelled from the Arab countries where they had lived for countless generations. In addition, approximately 10,000 Arabs were killed in the fighting that ensued after the Arab invasion of Israel.

Now let’s turn to the creation of Pakistan. According to the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees, the creation of Pakistan resulted in 14 million refugees — Hindus fleeing Pakistan and Muslims fleeing India. Assuming a 50-50 split, the creation of Pakistan produced about seven million Hindu refugees — at least 10 times the number of Arab refugees that resulted from the war surrounding Israel’s creation. And the Mideast war, it should be recalled, was started by the Arab nations surrounding Israel.

Were it not for the Arab rejection of Israel’s creation (and existence within any borders) and the subsequent Arab invasion, there would have been no Arab refugees.

And regarding deaths, the highest estimate of Arab deaths during the 1948 war following the partition of Palestine is 10,000. The number of deaths that resulted from the creation of Pakistan is around one million.

In addition, according to the Indian government, at least 86,000 women were raped. Most historians believe the number to be far higher. The number of women raped when Israel was established is close to zero. From all evidence I could find, the highest estimate was 12.

Given the spectacularly larger number of refugees and deaths caused by the partition of India and the creation of Pakistan, why does no one ever question the legitimacy of Pakistan’s existence?

This question is particularly valid given another fact: Never before in history was there a Pakistan. It was a completely new nation. Moreover, its creation was made possible solely because of Muslim invasion. It was Muslims who invaded India, and killed about 60 million Hindus during the thousand-year Muslim rule of India. The area now known as Pakistan was Hindu until the Muslims invaded it in A.D. 711.

On the other and, modern Israel is the third Jewish state in the geographic area known as Palestine. The first was destroyed in 586 B.C., the second in A.D. 70. And there was never a non-Jewish sovereign state in Palestine.

So, given all these facts, why is Israel’s legitimacy challenged, while the legitimacy of Pakistan, a state that had never before existed and whose creation resulted in the largest mass migration in recorded history, is never challenged?

The answer is so obvious that only those who graduated from college, and especially from graduate school, need to be told: Israel is the one Jewish state in the world. So, while there are 49 Muslim-majority countries and 22 Arab states, much of the world questions or outright only rejects the right of the one Jewish state, the size of New Jersey, to exist.

If you are a member of the Presbyterian Church, send these facts to the leaders of the Presbyterian Church USA who voted to boycott Israel. If you are a student in Middle Eastern Studies — or for that matter, almost any other humanities department — and your professor is anti-Israel, ask your professor why Pakistan is legitimate and Israel isn’t.

They won’t have a good answer. Their opposition to Israel isn’t based on moral considerations.


Catholic Archbishop: SCOTUS Has ‘No Business Redefining Marriage'

Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty, said that people should hope and pray “that the Supreme Court will recognize that they have no business redefining marriage” in the upcoming same sex “marriage” case, adding that if marriage is redefined “it raises enormous religious freedom issues.”

He also explained that the Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage as being between one man and one woman will never change because it is defined by God Himself in the Bible and that the Scripture “begins with marriage and ends with marriage,” in reference to not only man and woman but also the relationship between Christ and His Church.

At the March for Marriage on Saturday in Washington, D.C., CNSNews.com asked Archbp. Lori, “The Supreme Court is having oral arguments coming up and a decision will be coming down in June on this -- what is it going to look like for you and the Church if that decision favors same-sex marriage?”

Archbp. Lori said, “Let's hope and pray that they will, that the Supreme Court will recognize that they have no business redefining marriage, that really when you take, when you redefine marriage as many people want to do today it becomes more a relationship of affection, an emotional relationship.”

“Government should have no interest in that,” he said. “Friendships between people should not be of any particular interest to the government -- bringing children into the world and having good homes for them and new citizens, that's something they should be interested in.”

“If it's redefined, it will be a sea change because the word marriage appears thousands of times in federal, state court, and local laws -- it raises enormous religious freedom issues, and we will have to find our way very, very carefully through what's going to be a thicket,” he said.

“My bigger worry, however, is what kind of a society we're going to be seeing as a result of this and I hope the Supreme Court will think twice,” said the archbishop.

CNSNews.com then asked, “There's some call within the Catholic Church for a change on this teaching that marriage is between a man and a woman -- is it possible for Church teaching on that issue to change?”

“No,” he said, explaining, “this is something that is so deeply embedded in the faith. Really, if you read Scripture, it begins with marriage and ends with marriage. The relationship of Israel to their God is described as a marriage. The relationship of Christ to the Church is described as a marriage.”

“We really believe deeply that this is how God created us, this is the way things are, and this is the way things are meant to be: that there would be one man, one woman, and that there would be openness to life,” said the archbishop. “And it's not that we do not recognize how people might feel about this, that we also, we would not ever countenance discrimination against people who are of a same-sex attraction.”

“But marriage is marriage and it has a lot to do with the love of one man and one woman and openness to life,” he said.

The March for Marriage is an annual rally organized by the National Organization for Marriage, which supports traditional marriage between a man and a woman.

Along with Archbishop Lori, speakers included Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB); Brian Brown, president of National Organization for Marriage; Rev. Bill Owens, founder and president of the Coalition of African American Pastors; and Cathy Ruse, senior fellow of Legal Studies at the Family Research Council.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in its many documents and teachings on marriage explains that “God Himself is the author of marriage,” and that “marriage is the lifelong partnership of mutual and exclusive fidelity between a man and a woman ordered by its very nature to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children.”

It is impossible to have marriage between two people of the same sex because marriage reflects “the reality of the unique, fruitful, lifelong union that is only possible between a man and a woman,” says the Catholic Church. “Just as oxygen and hydrogen are essential to water, sexual difference is essential to marriage.

“The attempt to ‘redefine’ marriage to include two persons of the same sex denies the reality of what marriage is,” says the USCCB. “It is as impossible as trying to ‘redefine’ water to include oxygen and nitrogen.”

As for homosexuality itself, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, “2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained.

“Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’ They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”



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 May, 2015

Another multicultural sex criminal in Britain

A black Muslim from Somalia, showing the usual Muslim respect for women

Ione Wells, 20, prompted an outpouring of public support when she wrote a defiant open letter to her assailant, telling him he would not win. Today, the undergraduate’s attacker can be revealed as a 17-year-old migrant who is still attending college while awaiting sentencing.

The youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was caught when police saw him on CCTV following another woman shortly after attacking Miss Wells. When approached for a comment yesterday, he said: ‘I’m going to call the police on you,’ before running away.

The student, who is out on bail, pleaded guilty to sexual assault and is due to be sentenced next week.

Yesterday, when the student’s uncle was approached for a comment, he said his nephew, who is almost 18, had a right to privacy.

Later his smartly dressed father, who works as a minicab driver, refused to comment. The teenager lives with his large Somali family in a council flat in a tower block in Camden, London, which is not far from the crime scene. The family are believed to have moved to the country from Somalia more than ten years ago.

Yesterday the teenager was seen leaving his home with a relative dressed in a traditional burqa.

Miss Wells is considering facing him in court to have a ‘powerful impact’ on him when he is sentenced on Wednesday.

She revealed yesterday that it took her just 15 minutes to write her inspiring piece entitled A Letter to my Assaulter, which was published in the Oxford student newspaper Cherwell.

‘It came naturally and was a way to order that craze of emotions,’ said Miss Wells, who is reading English at Keble College.

But she said the main reason behind it was to launch a campaign for people ‘who feel afraid to speak’.

She has now helped to launch the #notguilty online campaign to stop victims being blamed when they are sexually assaulted.

Speaking about the days after last month’s attack, she told the London Evening Standard: ‘You keep thinking if only I hadn’t left at that specific time or if only I had come back a different way.

‘A lot of people feel guilt, shame, or that they will be blamed, when actually the inherent guilt is with the assaulter and not the victim.’

Miss Wells had been returning from visiting friends when she was attacked. Neighbours heard her screams and came out, which made the man run away.

‘We are lucky enough to live in a society which allows people to wear what they want and walk where they want,’ she said. ‘We must do everything we can to make sure people don’t feel they have to live any differently.’


Kick the cops out of the UK election campaign

The investigation of Jim Wells is the behaviour of a police state

When we hear stories about the police in faraway states poking their noses - or truncheons - into election campaigns, we balk. The cops, we believe, have no business using either pressure or threats against candidates standing for election. For the police to monitor what candidates say, to keep a check on the political positions they put forward and tell them off if their positions are ‘wrong’, is an intolerable intervention by the armed wing of the state into what ought to be a free and open debate between aspiring political representatives and the public.

Well, it’s no longer only tinpot nations overseas where the police barge into the electoral arena. It has now happened on Britain. This week. Ahead of the General Election on 7 May. The police have announced that they are investigating one of the people campaigning for a seat, not for anything he did, not for any crime against a person or property, but for something he said, for a political position he put forward during an election debate.

The man in question is Jim Wells, health minister for Northern Ireland and a leading member of the right-wing, socially conservative Democratic Unionist Party. Wells is the DUP candidate for South Down on 7 May. At the end of last week, at a hustings event at which he sought to drum up support, Wells offered his views on gay marriage and gay parenting. He said: ‘You don’t bring a child up in a homosexual relationship. That child is far more likely to be abused and neglected.’ Outrage ensued, and Wells quickly backtracked. He said he wasn’t talking about all homosexual relationships but about ‘unstable relationships’. That wasn’t enough and eventually he publicly apologised, as is the fashion today, for the ‘offence and deep concern’ his comments caused. But it gets worse. The police in Northern Ireland have now announced that they are investigating his comments.

After receiving complaints from members of the public about ‘hate speech’, the police say they are ‘investigating comments made by Mr Wells’. They have even visited the venue where the hustings debate was held - St Patrick’s Centre in Downpatrick - to gather evidence and speak to concerned citizens.

This is an outrage. It is the behaviour of a police state. For the police to treat the expression of a moral viewpoint during a hustings as a criminal matter calls into question the independence of the political realm in Britain and the right of voters, rather than coppers, to determine which views are acceptable and supportable and which are not. The treatment of a hustings debate as a crime scene, and the words spoken there as requiring investigation, represents an unacceptable intervention into the pre-election free flow of ideas. Anyone who values democracy should view this action by the police as way more offensive than what Wells actually said, whether you agree with him or not, for it brings to mind the behaviour of state forces in Zimbabwe or Syria or other nations in which state heavies criminalise and punish the expression of certain political views.

Some will say, ‘Ah, but in those nations it is radical or democratic views that tend to be policed, especially during election campaigns, whereas here the police are investigating an aspiring MP’s homophobic comments’. But this makes no difference, none at all. The principle that has been violated is the same in both cases: the political sphere, the world of arguments and positions and policies that only we the people should get to rule on, has been thrown open to the police, with ideas treated as potential crimes, and the acceptability of an idea left to the police to judge.

Yet what has been the reaction to this police-state behaviour, this Mugabe-style intolerance in Downpatrick? Everyone from Nick Clegg to Martin McGuinness is arguing that Wells should go, that he is no longer fit for public office. So let the police boot him out; let cops expel him from the public sphere. This reveals two very worrying things. Firstly, that gay rights have become one of the key justifications for authoritarianism in the 21st century, where anyone who criticises any aspect of gay lifestyles can expect to find himself treated in a way that gays once were: as a pariah, possibly even as mentally ill, as a potential criminal who must be handed over to the police. How sad that the once liberatory politics of gay rights should now lend itself so pliantly to the enforcement of a new moral conformism and to the punishment of anyone who refuses to celebrate all aspects of gayness and the modern ideology of diversity. And the second thing revealed by the Wells police scandal - for it is a scandal - is how unseriously so many politicos and media people treat democracy today. They call for Wells to be punished, when they should be asking what the hell the police are doing in the political realm of hustings, discussion and voting. Don’t dismiss Wells - dismiss the cops, from every zone, every area, every nook of this election campaign.


Clinton: 'Deep-Seated Cultural Codes, Religious Beliefs...Have to Be Changed'

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton says women won't have full access to "reproductive health care" until "deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases" are changed.

She urged every woman to be a "champion for change" in the world around them.

Clinton made the remarks last Thursday at the 2015 "Women in the World Summit," a three-day gathering in New York that examined the "struggles and triumphs of women and girls around the globe."

“Yes, we've cut the maternal mortality rate in half, but far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health care and safe childbirth," Clinton said. "All the laws we've passed don’t count for much if they’re not enforced. Rights have to exist in practice — not just on paper.

“Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will. And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed,” Clinton added -- to applause.

"Reproductive health care" is the phrase liberals use when they're talking about abortion and birth control.

Elsewhere in that same speech, Clinton argued that "there has never been a better time in history to be born female."


Scottish goon is a Labour party politician - now assaulting kids

Known for his unreasonable assaults on people even before this episode. Leftist hostility really shows in him

Former Labour MP Eric Joyce is facing jail after being convicted of attacking two teenage boys in a London corner shop as they tried to buy a chocolate milkshake.

The 54-year-old grabbed one of the teenagers, aged 14 and 15, in the aisles of News and Food Express in Camden, north London, last October. Pinning one to the ground in what he called a 'citizen's arrest', he elbowed the other in the chest after shouting: 'are you talking to me?'

Joyce denied two counts of common assault but was found guilty at Westminster Magistrates' Court this afternoon after CCTV of the attack was shown. The store's owner also recalled how one of the boys cried as the former Falkirk MP held him on the ground by his neck.

Joyce, who wore a bright blue suit and black tie for the trial, was told a prison sentence was possible given his previous convictions for assault. He stared straight ahead and showed no emotion in the dock as the verdicts were read out.

Sentencing, District Judge John Zani said he had 'no doubt' the politician was guilty of both charges. 'I have heard the evidence from both sides and we have had the opportunity to review the CCTV footage, and I do not accept your evidence that they both ran at or towards you,' he said.

Dismissing his defence that he was trying to stop the teenager from damaging the store, he continued: 'In my view you underplayed the violence that you meted out to these young men and you wanted the police called, in my opinion, so as to justify your actions.'

'I have no doubt, Mr Joyce, that you are guilty of both. That is my finding. 'Given my findings and your previous convictions, all options including imprisonment will be considered.'

Earlier the court heard how the former politician had 'wrestled' with one of the youngsters who he said was trying to damage the shop.

Giving evidence via video link one of the boys, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said he had planned to buy a chocolate milkshake from the fridge when he walked past the former politician.

'He started shouting in my face and grabbing me up', he said. 'I can remember him sitting on top of me on the floor. He threw me, he flung me on the floor. 'He wasn't strangling me but it was quite hard if you know where I'm coming from', he said, adding he was 'begging' the MP to let him go.

The court was shown CCTV footage of the incident in which a cabinet is seen falling down and blocking the front of the shop.

Joyce was seen grabbing one of the teenagers by the chest, dragging him back into the shop when he tries to escape.

The politician then kept one of the youngsters on the ground by putting his knee on his chest as he told the shopkeeper, Ali Fahan, to phone police. Mr Fahan however told the court how the boy was crying and said he wanted to go home as the 54-year-old detained him. He said: 'I told the man to let him go because he was crying. The smaller boy was trying to save his friend. He was trying to push the man and save his friend and go home.'

Prosecutor Jon Swain said the former politician launched the 'unprovoked and unjustified' attack on the boys when they tried to 'squeeze' past him in the shop's narrow aisles.

'Mr Joyce was standing at the drinks refrigerator in what was quite a narrow aisle in the shop,' said prosecutor Jon Swain said.

When questioned Mr Joyce claimed one of the boys had been aggressive and had headbutted him, later boasting on his website that he had performed a 'citizen's arrest'. Giving evidence the former politician said he had overcome his battle with alcohol and had not been drinking on the day in question. 'I've put my hand up to every wrong thing I've done in my life,' he said.

Referring to his previous convictions for assault which included his headbutting of an MP in the House of Commons bar in 2012, he said: 'That very troubled three years always involved alcohol. 'There was quite clearly an issue with alcohol. There has not been for some time.'

Instead he said felt 'threatened' when the teenagers walked past them and that one was standing in 'an aggressive stance'. 'I thought he was going to raise his hand and strike me with his telephone,' he told the court. 'I was a little bit shocked how aggressive he was.'

Mr Joyce, a former Army major, said he did not believe the boy was drunk but thought he may have used 'some other substance'. He told the court that, as the boy tried to get past him again, he put his hand out to stop the teenager knocking over a shelf but it fell anyway.

'I said I was going to citizen's arrest him and I held on to him. I have a background as a judo player. I was conscious I didn't want to over-act.'

Joyce will next appear in the same court on May 27, where he is due to be sentenced.

Speaking outside of the courtroom the Scottish politician did not rule out an appeal saying: Possibly, but possibly not.'

In 2012 Mr Joyce was given a community order and was banned from entering bars for three months after assaulting politicians in the House of Commons. He had drunk a bottle of red wine before the incident.

In March 2014 the politician admitted to questioning his career after being fined for calling an Afro-Caribbean airport baggage handler 'f****** fat and black'. The former MP for Falkirk was drunk at the time of the incident at Edinburgh Airport.

The 54-year-old has two children and is separated from his wife Rosemary. In 2012, following his conviction for assault in the House of Commons, he was accused of engaging in an affair with a 17-year-old schoolgirl when she worked on his campaign. Meg Lauder, the woman in question, later claimed to have visited his home 'in her school skirt'.



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 May, 2015

Multiculturalist refuses to obey traffic directions and attacks elderly man instead

It's a Yugoslav Muslim

Helping children to get safely to school as a lollipop man might seem the ideal job for an active pensioner nearing his 80th birthday.

But John Doyle, 79, was left with a punctured lung and a broken rib after he was beaten up by an angry driver during a terrifying road rage attack.

The grandfather was ushering two 12-year-old girls across the road when businessman Genti Rustemi, 45, drove over the crossing point without slowing.

To show his disapproval, Mr Doyle tapped his lollipop stick on the roof of the BMW as it hurtled past and then, when the driver stopped, told him to be more careful.

But after Rustemi had dropped off his daughter at a different school, he returned to the crossing minutes later in a fit of temper and attacked Mr Doyle, who was still helping pupils cross the road.

As children and parents looked on in horror, the incensed businessman threw a punch towards Mr Doyle’s face. It failed to connect but managed to knock off his glasses. He then punched Mr Doyle in the chest causing him to fall over backwards into the road where he sat gasping for breath.

The former pub landlord was taken to hospital where he was found to have suffered a fractured rib and a punctured lung.

Kosovo-born Rustemi, from Stockport, escaped a jail sentence this week after admitting assault causing actual bodily harm and dangerous driving.

Instead, he was handed a six-month suspended jail term, ordered to pay Mr Doyle £2,000 in compensation, told to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and banned from the roads for 12 months.

Mr Doyle, who has been married for 55 years to Jean, 80, a dinner lady, took the job as a ‘patrol crossing officer’ three years ago to stave off boredom during retirement.

Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester heard that the incident happened at 8.30am on January 20 while he was working outside Wellington School, a secondary school, in Timperley, Greater Manchester.

Yesterday Mr Doyle, who had to take six weeks off work following the attack, said: ‘It was an extraordinary thing. I’ve spent most of my working life in the licence trade so I’ve had to escort my fair share of people from my premises but this was something else.

'What he did was like going through a red light. Both myself and the children could have been run over. I’ve been verbally abused in the past but I never expected to get hit.

‘But I’ll keep doing lollipop patrols until I stop enjoying it, and that’s even after getting a punctured lung. I love the job and love meeting people. I’ve got no plans to stop yet.’

Speaking of the incident, he said: 'I had dropped my lollipop down to draw the driver's attention to the fact I was in the middle of the road with two schoolchildren.

'But he was only about 18 inches away from me as he went by. He asked me what the bloody hell I thought I was doing. I said, "didn't you see me standing on the road?" He said "no" so I said, "you should bloody well open your eyes then."

'He drove off and I thought that was it then three or four minutes later he came charging across the road towards me and hit me in the side. Much to my mortification I collapsed.

'I have never experienced anything quite like that. It was just not being able to stand up at again. I was lying on the floor and couldn't stand up. I had to crawl across the pavement to a wall and hauled myself up against it and by this time I had people around me. I didn't think there was proper injury at that point, I was just deeply ashamed that I had fallen and couldn't stand up again.

'It wasn't until later in hospital having an X-ray they discovered that I had broken my rib. I can't imagine anybody would drive away, park the car and come charging back because of a sudden burst of temper. This must have been something that was festering for one reason or another.'

Sentencing him the judge Mr Recorder David Heaton QC said: 'You behaved in a way in front of your daughter and in front of other schoolchildren which is repugnant to right-minded people. You drove along the road and it appears you failed to see Mr Doyle, the school crossing patrol man, who at that time was escorting two 12-year-old girls across the road.

'So frustrated was he by your driving that he, perhaps unwisely, allowed his crossing banner to drop on to your vehicle and no doubt that surprised your daughter and caused you to exchange words with him. If matters had rested there I imagine you would not be here. Foolishly, you went away but returned two minutes later, more angry, it appears, than you were previously, and threw a punch at Mr Doyle.

'He was carrying out a public service escorting schoolchildren safely from one side of the road to the other and is a much older man. I am prepared to accept you did not realise at the time but nonetheless an inexcusable feature was his age.

'The service he performed is one which parents of children up and down the country value every morning of the school term. You assaulted a public servant, you did it in front of children in the morning and to a man who was significantly older than you. I note you have not been well and that might be some sort of explanation for this extraordinary behaviour.'


Zero Cares Given In Brutal Message To Baltimore: ‘Little Black Bastards!’

As we watched Baltimore literally burn on Monday night, the nation looked on in disgust at the atrocious behavior being displayed in in the city by those outraged at the death of Freddy Gray. One woman who saw it was equally as disgusted, so she recorded a message to the rioters, and she didn’t hold anything back at all.

As a white person, I can preach until I’m blue in the face about what I think needs to happen within the black community in order for meaningful change to occur, and no matter how truthful it may be, it will be ignored. However, when a black person stands up for what they know to be right and calls out the many issues plaguing their own community, it would be wise for them to listen.

CONTENT WARNING: Very Strong Language

She only identified herself as “BattleCat,” but she had a powerful message to send to those within poor communities to first off, stop blaming white people for their problems, and secondly, start looking at their own behavior if they want to see things change. She’s more than fed up with blame being placed everywhere but where it should lie – with those acting like thugs – and she held nothing back in calling out those causing the majority of the issues


CEO Wage Gap Is Sexist — Against Men

What glass ceiling? The gender gap appears to be closed: At least when it comes to CEO pay.

So far, 21 of the 22 current female CEOs in the Standard & Poor’s 500 have reported their latest compensation, including Yahoo (YHOO) CEO Marissa Mayer, defense contractor Lockheed Martin’s (LMT) Marillyn Hewson and CEO Carol Meyrowitz of retailer TJX (TJX), and they were paid an average of $18.8 million during their latest fiscal years, according to a USA TODAY analysis of data from S&P Capital IQ and Bespoke Investment Group. That far exceeds the average $12.7 million paid to the 455 current male CEOs in the S&P 500 that have reported compensation data for the same time period.

The compensation awarded to female CEOs, on average, also outstrips the $14.3 million average paid to all the CEOs of the 100 largest publicly held companies that had reported through early April, according to pay tracker Equilar and compensation consultant Towers Watson.

Now’s the time investors pay particularly close attention to what they’re paying the CEO as corporate filings – called proxy statements – are in from nearly all S&P 500 companies. Women have a long way to go to match or even rival men in the CEO office in terms of numbers, but they’ve made strong strides in size of pay. Total pay for this analysis was calculated using the Securities and Exchange Commission’s guidelines, which includes salary and the present value of options and stock grants.

The only current S&P 500 female missing from the analysis is Heather Bresch, CEO of the drugmaker Mylan (MYL) since October 2007. 2014 compensation data was not available. Safra Ada Catz’ pay as co-president of Oracle was included in this analysis since she was named co-CEO after the end of the technology company’s fiscal year.

The highest paid female CEO appeared toward the end of the filing reporting season – late Wednesday to be exact. Yahoo CEO Mayer’s $42 million paycheck ranks her seventh among the most highly paid current CEOs of the year, just behind Philippe Dauman, CEO of Viacom (VIAB) with a total reported pay package worth $44.3 million. Until Mayer’s 69% raise in 2014, the highest paid current female CEO was Catz and the highest paid current female CEO who was also CEO in the latest fiscal year was Hewson.

It’s been a great year financially for CEOs. And that’s especially true for the females who have risen to the top of the corporate ladder.


Pope: ‘Every Christian Must Be Firm in Deploring All Forms of Anti-Semitism’

He gets some things right

In an address to a delegation from the Conference of European Rabbis last week, Pope Francis said, “Every Christian must be firm in deploring all forms of anti-Semitism, and in showing their solidarity with the Jewish people.”

“Jews and Christians have the blessing but also the responsibility to help preserve the religious sense of the men and women of today, and that of our society, by our witness to the sanctity of God and human life," the pope said in the same address. "God is holy, and the life he has given is holy and inviolable."

Anti-Semitic trends in Europe these days are troubling, as are certain acts of hatred and violence. Every Christian must be firm in deploring all forms of anti-Semitism, and in showing their solidarity with the Jewish people (cf. Nostra Aetate, 4). Recently we marked the seventieth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the concentration camp which has come to be synonymous with the great tragedy of the Shoah. The memory of what took place there, in the heart of Europe, is a warning to present and future generations. Acts of hatred and violence against Christians and the faithful of other religions must likewise be condemned everywhere.

In the same address the pope also said, “In a society increasingly marked by secularism and threatened by atheism, we run the risk of living as if God does not exist.”



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 May, 2015

The Slow Death of Free Speech in Britain (America, You're Next!)

From the Internet to the press to the public square, Brits' speech is being policed and punished

Freedom of speech no longer exists in Britain. The land that gave the world the Magna Carta, the Levellers, and John Stuart Mill—three of the key foundation stones of the modern conception of liberty—is now arresting and even jailing people simply for speaking their minds.

To see how bad things have got, consider three cases from the past week alone:

Twitter Crime

A man has been investigated by the police for a hashtag he used on Twitter. Seriously. Never mind speechcrime, or even tweetcrime—now we have hashtagcrime, the criminalisation even of those snarky, ironic asides people pepper the internet with. The man in question, Stephen Dodds, committed the sin of taking a photograph of two Muslims praying at Anfield, the home ground of Liverpool Football Club, and posting it on Twitter alongside the tweet: "Muslims praying at half-time at the match yesterday. #DISGRACE." That hashtag saw him become the victim of a furious Twitterstorm, the modern version of a tomato-wielding mob, and he was eventually reported to the cops. They investigated the matter for two weeks—two weeks!—before finally instructing Liverpool FC to take appropriate action against the evil hashtagger. Liverpool this week said it is deciding how to punish this man who dared to type the word "DISGRACE" on the internet.

Aggravated Meanness

2. A journalist, Katie Hopkins, has been reported to the police, and, bizarrely, to the International Criminal Court (ICC), for writing a column for the Sun in which she referred to the African migrants trying to get into Europe as "cockroaches." Hopkins is known for her outré views. She's been reported to the police before, for "hate crimes against fat people"! She said "fat people are just lazy," which is apparently a police matter now. The police didn't charge her over her fat-shaming, but they might well interrogate her over her migrant-bashing. Her cockroaches column caused the Twittersphere to go into meltdown; 285,000 people have signed a petition calling on the Sun to sack her (my preferred solution to Europe's migrant crisis is to swap these 285,000 intolerant Brits who fancy they have the right to shut down writers they don't like for 285,000 Africans who want to live in this country); and now the Society of Black Lawyers has reported Hopkins both to the UK cops and also to the ICC, demanding it investigate her comments "under the provisions of incitement to commit crimes against humanity." Am I allowed to call this a DISGRACE?

Shameful Bodies

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has launched an investigation into the appropriateness of an advert for protein supplements which features a sexy woman in a bikini next to the words: "Are you beach-body ready yet?" The ads, which appear on the London Underground, have been vandalized by SJW feminists who claim they "body shame" the plump. More than 30,000 people have signed an online petition—again with the petitions—demanding the ads be removed because they make women "feel physically inferior to… the bronzed model." And now the ASA, overlord of advertising in Britain, which has the power to expunge from the public sphere any ad it judges to be offensive, is heeding the feminist vandalizers and subjecting the ad to one of its stiff-lipped investigations. We wait with bated breath to see if this unelected institution will graciously allow the rest of us, the 64 million people of Britain, to keep seeing this actually quite pleasant ad.

These three cases of the past week encapsulate the crisis of free-speaking in 21st century Britain. They show that no zone of British life is free from the peering eyes and always primed red pen of the new censorious set that longs to scribble out or shut down anything dodgy, eccentric, hateful, or upsetting (to some.)

The cases confirm that everywhere from the new virtual terrain of the Internet (that hashtag guy), to the old-fashioned printed press (the Katie Hopkins case), to the public square itself (that bikini ad), speech is under threat from an unholy marriage of intolerant virtual mobs, censorious Social Justice Warriors (SJWs), and state institutions keen to censor stuff in order to protect the allegedly fragile public.

And these cases aren't one-offs. In relation to the Internet, numerous people have been arrested for tweetcrimes. In 2010, a man was found guilty of being "grossly offensive" after he joked on Twitter about blowing up an airport in Nottingham that was experiencing severe delays. He was fined £385 and lost his job. His conviction was finally quashed on the third appeal. In 2012, a student was imprisoned for 56 days for making racist comments on Twitter. Also in 2012, a 20-year-old man was sentenced to 240 hours' community service for writing on his Facebook page: "All [British] soldiers should die and go to hell."

Other tweeters have been arrested and interrogated by police for making off-colour comments. In December last year, a 19-year-old man was arrested for making a joke about the truck disaster in Glasgow, when an out-of-control truck hit Christmas shoppers and killed six. The tweeter said: "So a bin lorry has apparently driven into 100 people in Glasgow eh, probably the most trash it's picked up in one day." For that, for doing what people have been doing for generations—making up stinging jokes in the wake of a tragedy—he was arrested. He was let off, but the police sent a chilling warning to us all: anyone who makes horrible jokes on Twitter we will be visited and given "strong words of advice," they said.

Various laws enable this police invasion of the online world: the Public Order Act of 1986, which criminalizes "racially aggravated" speech; the Malicious Communications Act of 2003, which criminalizes "offensive, indecent or menacing" speech in electronic media: these are the statutes the cops have used to colonise the internet.

The war on Katie Hopkins isn't a one-off, either. It follows hot on the heels of the Leveson Inquiry's creation of a chilling, choking climate in relation to the British press.

Launched by David Cameron in 2011 ostensibly to investigate phone-hacking at the News of the World, but actually having the vastly expanded remit of looking into the whole "culture, practice, and ethics of the press," the Leveson Inquiry has created a situation where Britain might soon have a press regulator set up by Royal Charter—which would be the first system of state-backed regulation of the press in Britain since 1695.

Even before that Royal Charter has been signed, Leveson has already, predictably, emboldened the petty censors in our midst who have long desired to silence offensive columnists, especially tabloid ones. As one agitator against Katie Hopkins admitted. "Leveson was a smack in the teeth" of newspapers like the Sun, he said, which should now feel less able to publish Hopkins' and others' "vicious… right-wing opinioneering." In short: A state-decreed, judge-led inquiry is leading to the castration of the press, and we should be happy about that.

As to the ASA's investigation of the bikini ad—such topdown regulation of the words and images of the public sphere has become commonplace in recent years.

The ASA has banned ads for hair products that were offensive to Christians (they featured nuns in suspenders); ads for an airline that had a woman dressed as a schoolgirl, on the basis that they could cause "widespread offence" (in fact, only 13 people complained about them); and even an ad for a supermarket that showed a girl taking the salad out of her hamburger on the grounds that it "condoned poor nutritional habits." Censorship in the UK has become so psycho that even the presentation of hamburgers is now strictly policed.

Over the past decade, our virtual world, our media, and our public spaces have become subject to ever-greater policing by both SJWs demanding bans and officials all too willing to ban. The end result is a nation which poses as liberal and modern yet where everything from pics of a woman in a bikini to naughty jokes can be subjected to official sanction, and where everyone becomes less sure of what they're allowed to say and thus tends to shut themselves up to be on the safe side. Self-censorship: the worst kind.

To this end, we sometimes haven't even needed coppers or campaigners to force the closure of allegedly offensive words or art: institutions and individuals have silenced themselves in the face of hollers of complaint.

Last year, the Barbican Arts Centre closed down a piece of performance art exploring slavery and racism after 250 protesters turned up on the opening night. ITV ditched a TV show featuring sexist comic Dapper Laughs after journalists and SJWs tweeted and petitioned against it. And numerous theatres have pre-emptively cut or changed plays that mention Muslims out of fear that Islamists will kick up a fuss. Free speech in Britain is being killed by police, officials, agitating mobs, and by us—by a culture of fear which encourages people to opt for self-silence over the possibility of causing a stir.

Americans will, I hope, be aghast at all this. The one massive difference between you and us is that you have a constitutional guarantee of free speech that shackles the state, whereas we have a long history of brave battles for press freedom and free speech, yes, but no written-down surety that such liberties will be respected or protected. Which is why they can now be so casually trampled underfoot.

And yet, Britain and America do share something scary in common on the new-censorship front: we both have new armies of the intolerant, growing groups of so-called SJWs and other agitators for the silencing of foul or simply old-fashioned views.

This is especially the case on campus. On both sides of the Atlantic, universities have become hotbeds of the new intolerance. British student leaders have banned the pop song "Blurred Lines," the Sun newspaper, and numerous controversial speakers, while American campus agitators demand trigger warnings on edgy (and not even edgy) literature and the disinvitation of anyone who offends them, and they harry and scream at anyone who holds different views to theirs: most recently the non-victim feminist Christina Hoff Sommers.

America and Britain might be divided by a piece of paper guaranteeing free speech—you have one, we don't—but we're united by a shared new generation of aspiring speech-policers. And in Britain, it has often been the demands of these informal groups of heresy-hunters that have coaxed the state to take action against eccentric or outrageous speech. How long can the First Amendment hold out against America's budding new censors? How long before the U.S. joins the U.K. at the funeral of free speech?


UK: Secret courts 'should be opened up': Court of Protection must be placed under public scrutiny, major legal report warns

An abomination set up by the Leftist Blair government. Leftists have a passionate love affair with secrecy

The controversial and secretive Court of Protection should be opened up to public scrutiny in the interests of justice, a major legal report said yesterday.

The court, which decides the affairs of people too ill or disabled to make their own decisions, needs safeguards against miscarriages of justice, it found.

The study, produced by Cardiff University’s School of Law, after discussions among judges and lawyers, said the rules that govern the court are ‘not fit for purpose’ and called for a media presence at its hearings to be routine.

The report follows a series of scandals in which the Court of Protection has made draconian rulings out of sight of the public.

The Daily Mail highlighted the secret imprisonment of Wanda Maddocks after she tried to get her father out of a care home where she believed his life was in danger. She was handed a five-month jail term for contempt by a Court of Protection judge in Birmingham in 2012.

Following the Maddocks affair senior judges ordered that no-one should ever again be jailed in secret and ordered judges to publish all rulings in which they send people to prison.

Last year the Mail reported on grandmother Kathleen Danby, forbidden by the court from seeing her granddaughter, who was jailed for breaking the rule after police arrested her at a Ken Dodd concert.

The report insisted that the Court of Protection should open up ‘to enhance accountability and increase public understanding of the court’s work.’

Author Dr Lucy Series said: ‘There is no doubt that restrictions on the ways that Court of Protection cases are reported by the media are necessary to protect the privacy of those involved, but the current rules are not fit for purpose.

‘Clearly, there is a need for further exploration of how the law can be framed in a way that can best accommodate the diverse situations facing the Court of Protection. But all participants in the research expressed support for the principle of open justice.’

She added: ‘Media reporting on Court of Protection cases, and the publication of judgments, were seen as important to enhance public understanding of the Court of Protection's work, to protect against miscarriages of justice and to promote public confidence in the court.’

The Court of Protection was set up by Tony Blair’s government as part of the Mental Capacity Act.

The troubled 2005 law for the first time gave legal force to ‘living wills’ that allow people to order doctors to let them die if they become too ill to speak or communicate for themselves.

The new court, part of the High Court system, was intended to determine where people without mental capacity should live, who should control their finances, and to resolve disputes over whether doctors should let them die.

At first the Lord Chancellor who devised the law, Lord Falconer, said the court would be open to the public. But then he changed his mind and the court’s regulations, which have been law since 2007, say: ‘The general rule is that a hearing is to be held in private.’

The secrecy has veiled serious rows over ‘deprivation of liberty’ rules in the Mental Capacity Act, which judges have said may have led to many thousands of people being unlawfully locked in care homes.

It has also been alleged to protect people who appear to be a risk to the public. The Court of Protection allowed a gardener to drain more than £200,000 from the fortune of an 89-year-old woman who was beginning to suffer from dementia.

The gardener, who kept more than £60,000 of his employer’s money, was not prosecuted for fraud or theft and was not named on the orders of the Court of Protection judge. The gardener was later named by a ruling in a higher court.

The Cardiff report said that journalists should be allowed into important Court of Protection cases in the same way they are allowed automatic access to Family Court hearings. In the Family Court judges can act to ban publication of information.


UK: Six officers arrest 71-year-old Monty Python cameraman for lampooning politicians

Six police officers arrested a pensioner for harassment and quizzed him for two hours over a series of satirical posters poking fun at local politicians.

Former Monty Python cameraman John Wellard, 71, told the uniformed officers who marched into his home on Friday night: ‘I wasn’t expecting the Spanish Inquisition.’

Police were responding to complaints that light-hearted posters appearing in Faversham, Kent, amounted to harassment of members of the town council who were being lampooned.

For the last year residents have clashed with councillors over fears the town’s historic creek area will be turned over to developers for expensive flats. In recent months the posters, one depicting a Tory councillor riding a donkey, began appearing in the town.

Last night Mr Wellard – who refuses to confirm or deny any involvement – said: ‘It was completely Pythonesque. ‘Lampoonery and satire have been part of British public life for centuries.

‘Why have six policemen threatened to go through my belongings just because a few feathers have been ruffled? Freedom of speech is being whittled away.’

Mr Wellard, who was interviewed under caution at the local police station, chose to give a ‘no comment’ answer to every question. He said: ‘It’s irrelevant who’s done what because I do not believe any offence has been committed. ‘In politics people make criticisms and say all kinds of insulting things – if they can’t take the joke they shouldn’t join.

‘When the six police were about to search the house I joked that “I wasn’t expecting the Spanish Inquisition”, but it fell a bit flat.

‘I don’t think anyone got the reference to a famous Monty Python sketch. At some point I must have been un-arrested because they then told me I wasn’t under arrest.’

He believes his name had been given to Kent Police because one of the posters involved a joke from the 1979 Monty Python film Life of Brian.

Mr Wellard is one of several hundred Faversham locals involved in a public debate about the future of historic buildings beside the creek.

Once, the creek was a bustling centre of industry, with Thames sailing barges being repaired there.

There are plans to regenerate the area, but campaigners are concerned Faversham Town Council is favouring expensive developments over preserving its unique heritage.

For the past five months or so satirical images mocking some of the councillors and other public figures had been handed around pubs and posted through doors – as well as brown envelopes stuffed with copies of old Venezuelan banknotes bearing the note: ‘If you find this message please return it to your councillor.’

One image poked fun at Swale Borough councillor Mike Cosgrove, picturing the local Tory politician riding a toy donkey, while another showed town mayor Nigel Kay, and other local public figures being described as ‘a growing problem in the heart of Kent’.

Mr Wellard said he was interrogated by an officer who showed him satirical posters and asked if he had anything to do with them, including if he had posted one of the brown envelopes through the door of Tory councillor Tom Gates.

He was eventually taken home and told a file could be sent to the Crown Prosecution Service.

He said: ‘I have no comment about who produced the posters. But whoever did, they did not amount to harassment.’

Last night a spokesman for Kent Police said: ‘Officers have been investigating reports of collective harassment relating to members of Faversham Town Council. It was alleged they had received brown envelopes with fake money and other cards sent to their addresses.’

He added: ‘A 71-year-old man attended a police station voluntarily and was interviewed under caution.’

Last night Faversham councillor Mr Gates, 73, a retired builder, said the councillors had agreed that the lampooning material was a criminal matter. He said: ‘I had one of these brown envelopes through my letterbox. It just got way out of hand. I’ve never been offered a bribe.

‘I would certainly like people to be prosecuted. We’re in a democracy but shouldn’t have abuse or derogatory remarks thrown at us.’

But Mr Wellard’s neighbour Anna Bales, who saw the police arrive at his home, said: ‘Merely to disagree with the people running this town has become some sort of crime.

‘The council seems to think they can just use the police to stifle criticism as if we’re living in the Soviet Union.


Political correctness shackles the war on terror

Comment from Australia

Guilty on all charges. When the Boston bombing trial jury handed down their verdict against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev last week, the courtroom was silent. The most important legacy of the trial was not the verdict, but the sombre realisation that the West must jettison political correctness to win the war against terror.

The Boston bombings constituted a horrific slaughter of innocents and a radical failure of the state to fulfil its primary duty of care to citizens. Counter-terrorism should have stopped the Tsarnaev family at the border, rejecting their plea for political asylum on the advice of Russian authorities. Counter-radicalisation should have stopped the brothers at their mosque, part of a government-funded outreach program. Intelligence agencies should have caught the thugs online after they posted viciously anti-Western tracts.

Instead, the Tsarnaev family, with two terrorist brothers and a sister now on trial for bomb threats, enjoyed the full favour of the welfare state. They lived off the earnings of US citizens taking free housing and food only to repay them with hatred and mass murder.

Ninety-six per cent of Australians who enlisted in Islamic State also lived on public welfare. Counter-terrorism expert Patrick Poole contends the culture of the political Left has enabled terrorism. He attributes the Tsarnaev’s success in terrorising the West in part to: “A full scale campaign of political correctness … under the Obama administration against any attempt to link jihadi terrorism with anything remotely connected to Islam of any variety (the most radical versions included).” Australia’s Coalition government has bucked the trend of political correctness with its counter-terrorism package, spearheading national security legislation since copied by legislators around the globe. But it is yet to prosecute the culture that enables Islamism to thrive on home soil.

The British Tory government has committed to reviewing citizenship tests and public funding to ensure the protection of British values if it is returned to power.

The cultural dimension of Islamist terrorism has been largely ignored by the billion dollar de-radicalisation industry. The result is an extraordinary degree of doublespeak, exemplified by French minister and socialist Thierry Mandon who recommended building more mosques would counter radicalisation. It takes only rudimentary logic to deduce that if mosques stopped terrorism, Islamic State wouldn’t exist.

The unpalatable truth is that like so many solutions imposed on Western states by leftist governments, mosques often undermine the values of the free world. In a study of 100 mosques across the US, researchers Mordechai Kedar and David Yerushalmi found 81 per cent contained materials advocating Islamist violence. The more Sharia-fundamentalist the imam, the more likely he would recommend Islamist texts to worshippers.

In Denmark, one mosque alone was frequented by around a fifth of the country’s Islamic State jihadists. The development of Australian jihadism also has been associated with hardline mosques in Melbourne and Sydney.

While the radicalisation process is becoming better understood, the same cannot be said of its antidote. The common indicator used to measure the efficacy of de-radicalisation programs is long-term recidivism rate.

Germany’s HAYAT program has garnered international acclaim with an early intervention model of counselling that coaches families to detect the signs of radicalisation and redress them. But the program lacks evidence of long-term efficacy.

As with many scientific experiments, the world is learning more about de-radicalisation by studying how it fails. The former Labour government of Britain provides the exemplar. Its Prevent program was a spectacular failure at a cost of almost £160 million. Political correctness meant minority status replaced merit as the principal funding criterion, resulting in a network of corrupt community experts who expropriated public monies for Islamist terrorist groups and personal gain.

In many de-radicalisation programs across the US and Europe, religious leaders and experts hired to de-radicalise youth instead have inculcated the culture of radical Islam. Ayaan Hirsi Ali has scrutinised the relationship between radical Islam and terrorism in her new book Heretic, suggesting the solution may lie in an Islamic reformation.

But President Barack Obama’s refusal even to acknowledge the role of Islam in producing Islamic State means the reformation won’t be coming to the US any time soon.

The political and academic elites’ refusal to discuss the relationship between Islam and Islamist radicalisation is not only dishonest, it is dangerous. Empirical research demonstrates jihadist beliefs and behaviour are correlated strongly with the culture of Islamic fundamentalism. For example, a survey of more than a thousand Muslims in Denmark produced valid empirical evidence that jihadism and sympathy for it are positively correlated with degree of Islamic religiosity and hostility towards the core values of the West.

Researchers Marco Goli and Shahamak Rezaeit found militant Islamists and their sympathisers are the groups most likely to reject integration, choosing not to socialise or live among native Danes. Their decisions about how to live, raise children and vote arise from a profound ethnic chauvinism and antipathy towards the country that welcomed them as immigrants. They have little respect for secular law, preferring the theocratic tenets of Sharia, with a third advocating the death penalty for apostates.

The findings from empirical research and analysis of failed de-radicalisation programs demonstrate jihadism is produced by the culture, religion and community of radical Islam. In plain terms, Western jihadism is an Islamic problem. As with any religion, Islam exists on a continuum from fundamentalism to apostasy. But unless we get the balance right, the Islamist core will destroy the freedoms for which our ancestors laid down their lives so that their children and our children’s children could be free.



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

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

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


HOME (Index page)

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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

What feminism has wrought:

There's actually some wisdom there. The dreamy lady says she is holding out for someone who meets her standards. The other lady reasonably replies "There's nobody there". Standards can be unrealistically high and feminists have laboured mightily to make them so

Racial differences in temperament: Chinese are more passive even as little babies

The genetics of crime: I have been pointing out for some time the evidence that there is a substantial genetic element in criminality. Some people are born bad. See here, here and here, for instance"

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.

I think it's not unreasonable to see Islam as the religion of the Devil. Any religion that loves death or leads to parents rejoicing when their children blow themselves up is surely of the Devil -- however you conceive of the Devil. Whether he is a man in a red suit with horns and a tail, a fallen spirit being, or simply the evil side of human nature hardly matters. In all cases Islam is clearly anti-life and only the Devil or his disciples could rejoice in that.

Juergen Habermas, a veteran leftist German philosopher stunned his admirers not long ago by proclaiming, "Christianity, and nothing else, is the ultimate foundation of liberty, conscience, human rights, and democracy, the benchmarks of Western civilization. To this day, we have no other options [than Christianity]. We continue to nourish ourselves from this source. Everything else is postmodern chatter."

Consider two "jokes" below:

Q. "Why are Leftists always standing up for blacks and homosexuals?

A. Because for all three groups their only God is their penis"

Pretty offensive, right? So consider this one:

Q. "Why are evangelical Christians like the Taliban?

A. They are both religious fundamentalists"

The latter "joke" is not a joke at all, of course. It is a comparison routinely touted by Leftists. Both "jokes" are greatly offensive and unfair to the parties targeted but one gets a pass without question while the other would bring great wrath on the head of anyone uttering it. Why? Because political correctness is in fact just Leftist bigotry. Bigotry is unfairly favouring one or more groups of people over others -- usually justified as "truth".

One of my more amusing memories is from the time when the Soviet Union still existed and I was teaching sociology in a major Australian university. On one memorable occasion, we had a representative of the Soviet Womens' organization visit us -- a stout and heavily made-up lady of mature years. When she was ushered into our conference room, she was greeted with something like adulation by the local Marxists. In question time after her talk, however, someone asked her how homosexuals were treated in the USSR. She replied: "We don't have any. That was before the revolution". The consternation and confusion that produced among my Leftist colleagues was hilarious to behold and still lives vividly in my memory. The more things change, the more they remain the same, however. In Sept. 2007 President Ahmadinejad told Columbia university that there are no homosexuals in Iran.

It is widely agreed (with mainly Lesbians dissenting) that boys need their fathers. What needs much wider recognition is that girls need their fathers too. The relationship between a "Daddy's girl" and her father is perhaps the most beautiful human relationship there is. It can help give the girl concerned inner strength for the rest of her life.

A modern feminist complains: "We are so far from “having it all” that “we barely even have a slice of the pie, which we probably baked ourselves while sobbing into the pastry at 4am”."

A beautiful baby is king -- with blue eyes, blond hair and white skin. How incorrect can you get?

Patriotism does NOT in general go with hostilty towards others. See e.g. here and here and even here ("Ethnocentrism and Xenophobia: A Cross-Cultural Study" by anthropologist Elizabeth Cashdan. In Current Anthropology Vol. 42, No. 5, December 2001).

There really is an actress named Donna Air

The love of bureaucracy is very Leftist and hence "correct". Who said this? "Account must be taken of every single article, every pound of grain, because what socialism implies above all is keeping account of everything". It was V.I. Lenin

"An objection I hear frequently is: ‘Why should we tolerate intolerance?’ The assumption is that tolerating views that you don’t agree with is like a gift, an act of kindness. It suggests we’re doing people a favour by tolerating their view. My argument is that tolerance is vital to us, to you and I, because it’s actually the presupposition of all our freedoms. You cannot be free in any meaningful sense unless there is a recognition that we are free to act on our beliefs, we’re free to think what we want and express ourselves freely. Unless we have that freedom, all those other freedoms that we have on paper mean nothing" -- SOURCE

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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"Dissecting Leftism" (Backup here)
"Australian Politics"
"Education Watch International"
"Political Correctness Watch"
"Greenie Watch"
Western Heart


"Marx & Engels in their own words"
"A scripture blog"
"Some memoirs"
To be continued ....
Coral reef compendium.
Queensland Police
Australian Police News
Paralipomena (3)
Of Interest
Dagmar Schellenberger


"Food & Health Skeptic"
"Eye on Britain"
"Immigration Watch International".
"Leftists as Elitists"
Socialized Medicine
QANTAS -- A dying octopus
BRIAN LEITER (Ladderman)
Obama Watch
Obama Watch (2)
Dissecting Leftism -- Large font site
Michael Darby
Paralipomena (2)
AGL -- A bumbling monster
Telstra/Bigpond follies
Optus bungling
Vodafrauds (vodafone)
Bank of Queensland blues

There are also two blogspot blogs which record what I think are my main recent articles here and here. Similar content can be more conveniently accessed via my subject-indexed list of short articles here or here (I rarely write long articles these days)

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Rightism defined
Leftist Churches
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What are Leftists
Psychology of Left
Status Quo?
Leftism is authoritarian
James on Leftism
Irbe on Leftism
Beltt on Leftism

Van Hiel
Pyszczynski et al.