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 This site is updated several times a month but is no longer updated daily.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, 2016

Children of parents in wedlock ARE happiest: Research contradicts claims that children are unaffected by mother and father's marital status

Note:  These researchers actually talked to the children concerned. "Children are interviewed as they reach the age of 16".  Elementary of course but still a big contrast to the recent studies designed to promote homosexual parenting  -- which just took the word of the  parents and never even clapped eyes on the children concerned

Children whose parents are married have significantly higher self-esteem, according to research unveiled yesterday.

Teenagers of married couples were more confident than those in single-parent families or youngsters whose parents lived together in a stable long-term relationship, it found.

Overall, boys with married parents had the highest self-esteem, while girls with co-habiting parents had the lowest.

Previous research has found that confidence and happiness in childhood has a significant impact on future life chances and is more important than factors such as income.

The latest study contradicts previous claims that children are unaffected by their parents’ marital status.

It found that children whose parents were in stable, long-term co-habiting relationships reported the same levels of self-esteem as those from single parent households.

By contrast, children whose parents were married reported higher levels of self-esteem.

The study, from the Marriage Foundation, was based on data from 3,822 children polled in British Household Panel Survey. Harry Benson, research director at the foundation, said: ‘Conventional wisdom has it that child outcomes depend on parents staying together rather than marital status.

‘This new finding shows that assumption to be false.

‘In terms of self-esteem, teenagers living with parents who are together but not married are no better off than children living with lone parents.

‘Family income makes no difference. Marriage alone provides the boost. A number of studies have shown that self-esteem is closely related to how secure people feel in their relationships.

‘It appears that children of married parents are responding to something they see in their parents’ relationships that reflects greater security.’ Mr Benson said children of married couples were more likely to see their parents as ‘one solid and secure unit’, adding: ‘Their self-esteem benefits accordingly.’

Previous research by the foundation has found that 93 per cent of parents who stay together until their child’s 15th birthday are married.

Its chairman, former High Court judge Sir Paul Coleridge, said the Government should place more importance on marriage as it sought to tackle ‘a meteoric rise in family breakdown’. He said: ‘Marriage matters because it is the most important predictor of a child’s future life chances.

‘Not only is a married couple more likely to save their child from undergoing the trauma of family breakdown, we now have evidence that parents’ public declaration of commitment to each other significantly alters a child’s self-perception and self-esteem.

‘Being married not only influences the chances of families staying together. It also influences the well-being of their children. It is not being moralistic or judgmental to say marriage works best for families. It is a statement of fact.’

The Marriage Foundation is a think-tank which aims to reduce divorce rates.

Its previous research has linked family breakdown to poor academic performance in children and mental health issues including depression and anxiety.

A Government guide to divorce launched in 2012 noted: ‘It’s not the separation itself that can cause harm to your children, it’s the level of conflict that they see or hear between parents.’

But the last related major inquiry in Britain, the Exeter Family Study for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said that family breakdown was a greater influence on children than fighting between parents.

Marriage Foundation chairman Sir Paul said that during his career in the family courts, he witnessed a huge rise in the number of children going through the system – and blamed it on the rising number of cohabiting couples who split after becoming parents.


Girl was put in care for eight months after social worker error led to her mother being wrongly branded mentally ill

A former nursery school headteacher has told how bungling social workers put her three-year-old daughter into care for eight months after a medical record mix-up.

Angela Milnes was distraught when council officials wrongly labelled her as mentally ill and threatened to have Sylvia adopted.

The award-winning parenting blogger had to fight to get her daughter back before council bosses finally admitted they had made a mistake.

Eventually, a judge ordered mother and daughter to be reunited and council chiefs were forced to issue an apology. They also agreed to pay Mrs Milnes substantial damages, which must be held in trust until Sylvia, now seven, turns 18.

Yesterday Mrs Milnes, 33, spoke out for the first time. ‘When Sylvia was taken away I was heartbroken,’ she said. ‘It destroyed my life.

‘I cried every night and used to sleep in Sylvia’s bed because that was the only thing I had left. I lost friends – some stuck by me, but others judged me.’

Mrs Milnes was born in the UK but grew up in New Zealand. She trained as a nursery school teacher, got married and had Sylvia in 2008.

However, the couple split and, in 2010, Mrs Milnes returned to the UK, settling in Castleford, West Yorkshire.

The following year in December, Mrs Milnes was contacted by social services after she mentioned to her GP that she was concerned about the behaviour of a man with mental health issues who had befriended her.

As a result, social workers immediately took Sylvia into care.

The move was supposed to be temporary but court papers later revealed that an assessment of the case wrongly labelled Mrs Milnes, who has a chronic illness and sometimes uses a wheelchair, as having mental health issues.

It emerged that social workers misinterpreted a reference in Mrs Milnes’s medical notes from New Zealand and labelled her as a psychiatric patient.

Wakefield Council placed Sylvia with a foster family and court proceedings commenced with a view to her being put up for permanent adoption.

In April and May 2012 Mrs Milnes was forced to undergo two separate psychological and psychiatric assessments, both of which confirmed she was fit to be a mother.

The authorities in New Zealand also confirmed that she had never been a psychiatric patient.

Finally, in July, a family judge sitting at Leeds County Court ordered that she be returned to her mother.

Mrs Milnes lodged a formal complaint with the council and, following a two-year battle, it was eventually upheld and the council were ordered to pay her damages in October 2014.

She married her partner John, 41, in 2013, but said her health has suffered and she has since been diagnosed with adrenal insufficiency, a rare condition which causes chronic exhaustion, pain, headaches and nausea.


How the Left controls the language and the argument

Ever wonder why those on the left who are opposed to personal choice on every level other than abortion refer to themselves as pro-choice?  That’s simple, because it sounds better that what it really is, pro-abortion.  In the mass media there is no such thing as pro-abortion.  Through this sleight of the rhetorical hand those opposed to the taking of an innocent human life are labeled as anti-choice.

One of the keys to leftist success is the manipulation of the language. Moral issues become social issues. The Strategic Defense Initiative became Star Wars as in science fiction. Tax raises become revenue enhancements. Although women outnumber men in America they are linked to minorities.

Had anyone ever heard of a Transgender person five years ago?  Certainly we had all heard of transvestites and cross dressers.  The Collins English Dictionary defines them as follows:  1. (Psychiatry) a person who seeks sexual pleasure from wearing clothes that are normally associated with the opposite sex 2. any cross-dresser. See cross-dressing.

What was once viewed as a psychological oddity has now been relabeled and turned into a movement.  We now have the spectacle of the federal government by edict taking control of school restrooms and showers under the guise of equality.

The left claims it is the ideology that believes in science except when they don’t.  The American College of Pediatricians put out a statement in March of this year stating, “Human sexuality is an objective biological binary trait: ‘XY’ and ‘XX’ are genetic markers of health — not genetic markers of a disorder. The norm for human design is to be conceived either male or female. Human sexuality is binary by design with the obvious purpose being the reproduction and flourishing of our species. This principle is self-evident.”

Another example of the left manipulating the language is the United States Congress banning words the left does not approve of from the United State Code and changing them to more politically correct terms. They are calling this, “modernization.” House Resolution 4238 reads in part, “Office of Minority Economic Impact.—Section 211(f)(1) of the Department of Energy Organization Act (42 U.S.C. 7141(f)(1)) is amended by striking ‘a Negro, Puerto Rican, American Indian, Eskimo, Oriental, or Aleut or is a Spanish speaking individual of Spanish descent’ and inserting ‘Asian American, Native Hawaiian, a Pacific Islander, African American, Hispanic, Puerto Rican, Native American, or an Alaska Native.’” The Congress is now the language police.redskins offensive

Also a part of the leftist language agenda is the constant calls for the renaming of streets, schools, sports teams like the Washington Redskins and anything thing else that offends their tender feelings. This gives them the opportunity to take a false moral high ground while schooling the rest of us on our moral failings for not recognizing how right they are. It also subtlety attacks western culture and history. The irony of this coming from an ideology responsible for more human misery and death than any other political movement in history seems to escape them.

The way to fight this is not to go along with the cultural distortion of the left through the modification of the common vernacular. There is no such thing as social studies in schools. It is history. Social issues are not social issues they are moral issues. There is no pro-choice movement it is a pro-abortion movement. People are not trans-anything they either male or female.  If they think otherwise they are mentally ill. If you accept the leftist language distortions you are accepting the premise of their arguments.


A British fish enthusiast has been told to get rid of the pond in his back garden because it could potentially be a hazard for burglars

Sovereign Housing have told Kevin Sheehan to demolish the water features at his home in Abingdon, Oxfordshire.

When he asked why, the 62-year-old claims they told him the measure had to be adopted because 'if someone breaks in they could fall in'.

Mr Sheehan, who lives with his partner and their one-year-old daughter Olivia, has slammed the ruling as 'ridiculous'.

He told the Oxford Mail: 'It's my home, I am going to fight it as much as I can – there is no rule in the tenancy about fish ponds.

'The reason they gave was if someone breaks into the back garden they can fall in the pond because there's a six-foot fence all round and they can't see it.

'I said: "Well they shouldn't be breaking in."'

'I've got about 80 fish in the pond, where can I put these fish if I've not got a pond? I can't put them in the river, I'd get into trouble. They can't die because of this.'

Mr Sheehan's fish include Koi carp, fantails and goldfish.  They are currently housed in a small pool at the bottom of his garden as he extends his main pond.  The structure has a wall of concrete blocks surrounding it and the entire garden is surrounded by a 6ft wooden fence.

A letter sent to him from Sovereign said his large brick pond must be removed because of 'possible risk'.  He has also been ordered to remove the smaller one because it 'could impact on the safety of the residents or general public'.

Mr Sheehan has been given three weeks to make the relevant changes. He added: 'I was thinking of my daughter's safety and was building it up another two blocks. I had it at the old height for about 15 years and it's never been a problem.'

Debbie Down, spokeswoman for Sovereign, said: 'We don't want to prevent anyone enjoying hobbies which may include fish keeping in a garden pond, but as the landlord we ask residents to get our permission if they intend running a business from their home or building a permanent structure.'

When MailOnline contacted Sovereign about the pond being demolished due to its danger to burglars, a spokesman said: 'I'm sure there would be that liability.'



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

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

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


30 May, 2016

Female computer science professor blasts the sexist geeks she says show 'staggering' bias against women

If there is prejudice against women in computing, it is really POSTjudice -- as women are rarely good at it and it shows.  I am myself a computer programmer -- as is  my son -- and I have taught it at university level. In my observation only the top 2% in IQ can do the harder types of programming.  I still use FORTRAN and my son uses C#.  Many people find such languages hard but for us they are a doddle.

And because the IQ distribution among females is leptokurtic, there are many fewer women than men in that IQ range. I used to run Sydney MENSA for a number of years and it was notable how few female applicants passed the test.  I have met some very good female programmers.  It was a woman -- Gail Sonkkila -- who taught me FORTRAN.  But they are necessarily rare, given their IQ distribution

So Uschi below may be a good feminist but she is no social scientist

UPDATE:  Just to prove I am not a Dodo, I should perhaps mention that my son is NOT a computer programmer.  He is a "software engineer".  But he is a good one.  Recently his firm wanted to import some hardware from China.  But it needed programming.  So they sent their CIO over there to solve that -- accompanied by their hotshot "engineer" -- my son J.  He succeeded. He can of course code with great facility but what he really has to offer is problem-solving ability -- aka IQ

A VERY TANGENTIAL UPDATE:  At the time I learnt FORTRAN from Gail Sonkkila, I must have mentioned that to some mainstream female -- whose name I have now forgotten (Margaret Moses?).  She said of Gail:  "She's not exactly a ball of fashion, is she?"  It was a good acknowlegement of a fact true to this day -- that computer  people have little time for superficialities.  Both I and my son dress very "informally" LOL

Sexist geeks who built a prototype of an 'enhanced human' which was entirely male have been lambasted by one of Britain's leading computer scientists.

Ursula Martin, a professor of computer science at Oxford University, said it was a symptom of the 'staggering sexism' in the industry.

She said there was still an anti-female bias and conjured up a picture of male academics like the characters of Sheldon Cooper and Rajesh Koothrappali in The Big Bang Theory, who struggled to engage with women or understand the female viewpoint.

The Times reported that Prof Martin told an audience at the Hay Festival she was shocked to discover some of the attitudes of male computer scientists when she visited the Microsoft research laboratory in Cambridge this week.

She said: 'I was absolutely staggered at the sexism on show.'

Prof Martin said there was a symposium on artificial intelligence and a presentation was given about the 'vision of what an enhanced human would be'.

Prof Martin pointed out the absence of female attributes in the new, advanced human to the person who made the presentation and he had simply responded: 'I suppose'.

A Microsoft spokesman told Mail Online: 'At the Artificial Intelligence Symposium held at Microsoft Research in Cambridge on May 26, there were many external speakers from across academia.

'Contrary to some media reports, the only Microsoft employees who presented at the symposium were women. 'Microsoft is committed through a range of programs such as Make What’s Next to increase the number of women in Computer Science.'

Prof Martin was at the Hay Festival to discuss the contribution to science of Ada Lovelace, a 19th century visionary who foresaw the existence of computers.


Black guy appears to shout racist abuse at an older white woman because she had 'crossed the road too slowly in front of his car'

This is the shocking moment a driver appears to hurl racist abuse at a white woman - for crossing in front of his car too slowly. 

The chaos unfolded at Arena Shopping Park in Rowley's Green, Coventry, on Sunday afternoon, and shows two people yelling at each other as horrified passers-by watch on.

The Mercedes driver can be seen wildly gesturing as his passenger and members of the public try to usher him back to his car outside of Tesco.

It is believed he started bombarding the older woman with abuse because she had crossed the road slowly in front of the his car, according to the Coventry Telegraph.

In the video, phrases such as 'white people' can be heard as his cursing is censored out.

He is eventually guided back to his car where he can be seen lifting his arms threateningly and shouts: 'What you going to do?'

After some more shouting, the woman responds with: 'Go and crash your car.'


Swedish self-hatred

Swedish police have blamed the rise of migrant sex attacks on 'Nordic alcohol culture' and the 'non-traditional gender roles' of European women.

A new report says refugees struggle to 'handle the alcohol' and ignore the consequences for girls when they simply feel 'horny'.

It warns that girls are called 'whores' and are left in fear of walking the streets because migrants see it as a way of 'demonstrating their power over girls'.

The report, entitled The Current Situation of Sexual Molestation and Proposals for Action, says: 'Control is exercised over women through violence, thus shaping her according to the man’s idealised vision of femininity.

'During the exercise of violence, men can feel they embody a typical "male". 'In other words, the violence makes possible what is considered masculine and can provide "benefits" for the perpetrator.'

It notes that Sweden has the worst rates of physical and sexual violence against women in the European Union, it was reported by Breitbart.

The report said: 'Sweden tops the new EU Statistics on physical and sexual violence against women, sexual harassment and stalking.

'The conclusion is that the results are a consequence of Nordic alcohol culture, but also of non-traditional gender roles.'

Sweden said it expected around 60,000 asylum seekers in 2016.

However, this is fewer than the 100,000 forecast in February as border controls across Europe make it harder for migrants to reach the Scandinavian country.

Last year, Sweden received 163,000 asylum applications, making it one of the EU states with the highest proportion of asylum seekers per capita.

The influx to Sweden has plummeted since January 4, when Stockholm introduced systematic photo identification checks on train, bus and ferry passengers entering via Denmark.

At a peak in October, Sweden received around 10,000 asylum requests a week, compared to around 500 now.

The agency noted that while the acute strain on Sweden's capacities – primarily overcrowded asylum housing centres – had subsided since last autumn, 'municipalities, authorities and the rest of society face immense challenges ahead' to cope with asylum seekers.


United Nations opposition to free spreech

After deferring a decision for four years, a key United Nations committee on Thursday voted to deny official status to a non-governmental organization (NGO) focused on press freedom, prompting strong criticism from the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power.

“It is increasingly clear that the NGO Committee acts more and more like an ‘anti-NGO Committee,’” Power told reporters in New York after the 19-country body voted to deny “special consultative status” to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

Power said it was instructive to see which countries had voted against CPJ’s application for the status, which allows an NGO to take part in sessions of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, as well as several other U.N. organs. More than 4,000 NGOs are accredited.

“The vote is important because countries have to decide which side are they on,” she said. “Are they on the side of free expression and organizations try to advance that cause? Or are they hostile to Article 19 [of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which upholds freedom of expression]?”

“And I think if you look at the list of countries that voted ‘no,’ one learns a few things,” Power added.

In Thursday’s vote of the NGO Committee, six countries supported CPJ’s application, ten opposed it, and three abstained.

The “no” votes came from countries with mostly poor records on press freedom – Azerbaijan, Burundi, China, Cuba, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Russia, South Africa, Sudan and Venezuela.   

Supporting CPJ’s application were Greece, Guinea, Israel, Mauritania, the United States and Uruguay. India, Iran and Turkey abstained.

Speaking ahead of the vote U.S. representative Sarah Mendelson urged support for CPJ’s application.

“Each and every day, brave journalists take extraordinary risks to bring us stories we otherwise would not hear: exposing corruption, asking tough questions, and bearing witness to the dignity of innocent men, women, and children suffering the horrors of war,” she said.

“In recognition of this bravery, the members of this committee should work hard to accredit NGOs that report on these issues, especially in light of the ever increasing global crackdown on civic space, the harassment and attacks against journalists, human rights defenders, as well as their friends, families, and supporters.”

The NGO Committee is a subsidiary of the U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and its decisions must be endorsed by the full, 54-member ECOSOC at a meeting scheduled for July.

Power said the U.S. would bring the CPJ matter to a vote at ECOSOC, “and we look forward to a lively debate between now and then.”

The CPJ first applied for NGO status in 2012, but its bid was deferred seven times, based on what the group calls “arcane U.N. procedure,” involving “persistent, lengthy, and repetitive questioning.”

Power summarized that procedure as follows: “Countries defer by asking questions. Even when those questions are answered, more questions – the exact same questions – are asked again. It’s just a device, a way of ensuring that those accreditations are not forthcoming.”



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, 2016

Jealous multiculturalist who stabbed his ex-girlfriend to death, knifing her 26 times in the face and chest, is jailed for life

A British soldier stabbed a Bupa nurse to death, knifing her 26 times in the face and chest and left her for dead in her neighbour's garden.

Father-of-one Josphat Mutekedza, 36, a private in the Territorial Army, killed his 37-year-old ex-girlfriend Miriam Nyazema as he lay in wait for her to arrive home with her new boyfriend.

As Miss Nyazema lay dying with the blade still lodged in her back, Mutekedza battered her around the head with a stool shouting: 'She's caused this mess. 'I can't believe what she's done to me, it's all her fault'.

He was also seen waving a handgun and called police saying: 'She's been cheating on me - sleeping with another man. Where's that man, I'm going to f*****g kill him.'

Miss Nyazema, who worked at a nursing home in Shaw near Oldham, Greater Manchester, was taken to hospital but died just over an hour later.

Her boyfriend Jacob Chigombe, who had been visiting her from his native Zimbabwe, was found hiding nearby.

At Bolton Crown Court, Mutekedza was found guilty of murder after just an hours deliberation by a jury and was ordered to serve a minimum 26 years.

The army private, from Eastbourne, East Sussex, had been engaged to the mother of his baby son but began an affair with the victim who lived in Rochdale, Greater Manchester.

He would refer to his mistress as 'Boo Boo' and began spending time away from home.

Mark Kellet prosecuting said: 'His partner realised he was having an affair and in early 2014 they separated. On one occasion she checked his phone and saw a number of Miriam Nyazema and that was entered in the directory as 'Boo Boo'.

'He seemed to want to increase his commitment to Miriam Nyazema but it was clear Miriam did not feel the same. 'She told work colleagues that the relationship had ended and she was now more interested in Jacob Chigombe.

'She said she had hit the jackpot. WhatsApp messages make it clear that their relationship, if not sexual, was certainly romantic. Messages of love and desire were exchanged.'

During a Valentine's Day text exchange Miriam told Chigombe: 'When I woke up I had a big smile on my face because I dreamt I had a baby. Can't wait daddy.' He would also refer to her as 'juicy lips'.

On July 24 last year, Mutekedza who planned to marry Miriam went to visit her - one day before Chigombe was due to arrive in the UK - only for his mistress to end their relationship. The following morning she called police to her home saying he was still in the house and had refused to leave.

He left after being spoken to by the officers but over the next two days the pair exchanged numerous text and Whatsapp messages - with him saying he missed Miriam whilst she said 'needed time to sort her head out.'

During a phone call to police Mutekedza told an operator: 'I'm in the house, she's outside lay down, I don't know who she's with. I stabbed her myself. She's got the knife.

'She's been cheating on me, it was when I came home, she was with another man. He ran away. She's lay down on the street. I don't know where I stabbed her, I didn't check. I'm making violence.'

Police dashed to the scene to find Chigombe in a side street and arrested Mutekedza on the foot path outside Miriam's home.

Tests showed the victim had stab wounds to her chest which collapsed both her lungs.

Mutekedza denied murder but admitted manslaughter by reason of a loss of self control claiming he acted in self defence. He pleaded guilty to a firearms offence.


The betrayal of our boys: They’re falling behind girls in almost every way

And, says SARAH VINE, the feminisation of society, especially our schools, is to blame

The numbers are unequivocal. In every respect, today's girls seem to have the advantage over boys.

Boys are less likely to go to university. If they do get there, they are statistically much more likely to drop out. And all but the most high-flying have fewer job prospects when they leave.

The stark evidence comes in a report published by the Higher Education Policy Institute.

Boys To Men: The Underachievement Of Young Men in Higher Education and How To Start Tackling It, tells us that girls have 35 per cent more chance of entering higher education - a staggering figure that translates into almost 100,000 more young women than men applying to university this year.

But it gets worse. The poorer you are, the more dire the situation. Among pupils on free school meals, girls are 51 per cent more likely than boys to continue their studies after school.

And the group that fares worse than any other is low-income white boys. Just 8.9 per cent of them make it to college.

It's no coincidence that so many of this group are represented in our justice system, in young offender institutions and prisons. Young men from deprived backgrounds with very few opportunities to start off with, but whose options now seem narrower than ever.

So not only are we failing our boys; we're failing those who need our help the most.

Nick Hillman, co-author of the report and a Higher Education Policy Institute director, calls this a national scandal. 'Nearly everyone seems to have a vague sense that our education system is letting young men down,' he says. 'But there are few detailed studies of the problem and almost no clear policy recommendations on what to do about it.'

He suggests more male teachers, combined with other incentives designed to appeal to poor working-class males, would help redress the balance - and save future generations of men from terminal marginalisation.

Meanwhile, Mary Curnock Cook, chief executive of UCAS, the body that processes applications to higher education, issues a warning.

'If this differential growth carries on unchecked,' she writes in her foreword to the report, 'then girls born this year will be 75 per cent more likely to go to university than their male peers.'

That is an imbalance every bit as skewed as the one that existed towards women in the first half of the 20th century - only that it's men who are suffering now.

Predictably, the truths of this report have ruffled some hard-line feminist feathers.

Sorana Vieru, the vice-president of the National Union of Students, said that the report 'takes a complex and nuanced issue and turns it into a 'battle of the sexes'.'

In particular, there was outrage at the suggestion that gender imbalance in the teaching profession - with classrooms dominated by female teachers - was part of the problem. But such knee-jerk, politically motivated defensiveness is pointless.

For the mother of a small boy such as myself, this is grim news. And although my son does not, thankfully, belong to the group most at risk, he is nevertheless growing up in a world where masculinity and male traits in general are increasingly devalued.

It's the same everywhere in the Western World, from the beaches of California to the barbecues of Western Australia - man's place in society is no longer clear.

Of course, some kind of shake-up was long-overdue. But, increasingly, it's starting to look as though society has overshot itself in its eagerness to even up the odds.

The truth is that over the past few decades the common-or-garden male has been in slow but steady decline. Men such as my father, who grew up working on building sites during school holidays - and who, when I came along, knocked up a cot and a set of cupboards from a few bits of plywood - are all but extinct.

Their unashamed male-ness - a sense of responsibility for their families, an expectation of being the main bread-winner, the ability to change a plug - has long been mocked in modern culture as a neanderthal throwback.

New man, the strange, sandal-wearing creature that emerged from the feminism of the Seventies and Eighties saw to that, joining the women at their coffee mornings, eager to discover his feelings and making a virtue of his inadequacy in all areas of traditional masculinity.

It became impossible to open a door for a woman, or pay her a compliment without being accused of rampant sexism.

But a number of factors - all of them interlinked - since then have combined to accelerate the emasculation of men into a full-blown cultural crisis which, as this new report makes plain, could be disastrous for us all.

Key was the arrival of complex technology in the workplace and the advent of the internet.

It meant working became less about brawn (a natural male advantage) and more about brain - opening up all sorts of previously male-dominated areas to women.

In my own newspaper trade, for example, it was the male compositors and printers who went by the wayside; in heavy industries, it was the coalminers and steelworkers. From the farmlands to the shipyards, men began to lose their grip on the labour market. As these changes progressed and demand for skilled male labour fell away, many men were left economically and socially redundant. At the same time, opportunities were opening up for women everywhere.

For the first time ever, the scales started to tip in our favour.

Of course, men don't do all that badly today. The white middle-aged male still dominates at the top of the tree, in the professions and politics. But that is not true of the younger generations.

And among the working-class communities that this report highlights, things are much tougher for your average male.

Heavy industries that require muscle and stamina are in terminal decline. In their place, the creative and service industries - all areas in which women thrive - are booming.

This changing economic landscape has devalued traditional male characteristics that for centuries have been highly prized - physical strength, aggression, determination, grit - in favour of a 'softer' more feminine approach. There is even talk of James Bond becoming Jane Bond.

Thanks to the internet, working from home is much more common -and this, too, favours women over men. Research published this week by the TUC shows that more than 1.5 million workers are now based in their homes, and that the biggest increase in homeworkers is among women - up by 157,000 since ten years ago.

Now we women can run our homes, have babies AND run the world. It's not easy, of course. But plenty can, and do - as the rise and rise of the so-called 'mum-preneur' shows.

In fact, several generations of boys have grown up now with working mothers who not only contribute substantially to the family income, but are in many cases pivotal to financial survival as the pool of traditionally male-dominated jobs dwindles.

Boys and young men look around them and what do they see? A world they can no longer expect to inherit. A world where women not only have the same opportunities as men, but in some cases more.

This is no bad thing; but equality should not come at the expense of the losing side.

Our boys and young men desperately need to find their feet in this brave new world. And to do that they need support, a new set of goals to which they can aspire - and modern role models.

Mr Hillman's point about more male teachers is very important. Women make great teachers; but the fact remains that boisterous young boys of a certain age and stage will not respect a woman teacher in the same way they will a man.

They need strong males they can fear and respect - and on whom they can model their own behaviour.

But it's not just at school where the problem lies. Generations of boys are now growing up with an entirely different perspective on the role of men in the world.

Many see their mothers fulfilling roles that their fathers would have taken in the past. This cannot help but change their view of themselves as males.

Some will become apathetic and directionless; others introspective and depressed.

The social group that the recent survey identifies as being most at risk - the white working classes - has witnessed more than any other the erosion of their own fathers' identities as traditional working-class male jobs have disappeared.

But while no end of thought and effort has gone into helping women and girls get better access to education and opportunity, little has been given to helping boys adapt to this shift - and to the loss of the certainties their grandfathers enjoyed.

Past generations of men never had it easy; but their roles were at least clearly defined. They would become protectors and providers, defenders of the traditional family.

Academic success and ambition were, therefore, important to them. It was drummed into them from a young age that they would be responsible for the financial welfare of the next generation. There was strength in that certainty. On top of all this, there is another factor fatally undermining young men. The rise of a highly toxic and vindictive form of radical - some might say sadistic - feminism in colleges and on campus makes being a boy ever harder.

Today's male students must negotiate a minefield of extreme political correctness in schools and universities. At a crucial time when they are developing their all-important sense of self, they are being overwhelmed by negative messages about masculinity.

You see it all the time: the all-must-have prizes approach of so many in the liberal teaching establishment who frown on competitive achievement in academia and sport; the university undergraduate accused by the sorority of being a foul rapist when in fact the sex was consensual; the 'silencing' of anyone who dares challenge the destructive feminist status quo.

As a woman, I don't know what to make of these things; as a young man it must be nigh on impossible. How can they possibly know which way is up?

What we are witnessing here, it seems to me, is a form of revenge.

What right have men to whine? For centuries they had the upper hand - surely it's only fair now that they get a taste of their own medicine? Shouldn't they just - if you'll pardon me - man up and accept that all this has been a long time coming?

Part of me rather agrees with this view. There was a huge imbalance in society and it needed to be redressed. But once the scales start to go the other way, there is a real risk that the entirely legitimate fight for freedom and equality can turn sour, and become every bit as nasty as the one it seeks to overthrow.

The fact is that our boys are being punished by a society so anxious to atone for the sexism of the past that it cannot see how it is destroying innocent lives. They are quite genuinely paying for the sins of their fathers.

Boys such as my son have done nothing wrong. They shouldn't have to deal with all this baggage being heaped on their young shoulders.

And it's clear that it is starting to effect their so-called 'life chances'.

Garth Stahl, a sociology and literacy lecturer, spent a year researching the educational aspirations of 23 white working-class boys aged between 14 and 16 in three London schools.

He found that in all cases, the schools they attended worked hard to promote the idea of university education. But the problem wasn't the schools; it was the boys. They were culturally worried about the idea of academic success. In fact, the idea seemed to make them rather uncomfortable.

As Stahl wrote: 'One participant, George, said: 'I do want to be someone that stands out, but I don't want to at the same time ... I want people to see me as a smart person, but I don't want to be like someone who's embarrassing.'

If the past few decades of post-feminist cultural domination have taught boys and men anything, it's this: to be embarrassed and ashamed of who they are. To suppress their natural instincts, to run less, fight less, shout less - to just be less like themselves.

Granted, no one wants a return to the bad old days; but neither do we want to see half the population reduced to a quivering, snivelling puddle. It's time to stand up for our boys, and teach them how to live in the modern world - as proud, unabashed men.


The absurd WHO

An Israeli delegate lashed out this week at the World Health Organization for politicizing its annual assembly by singling out his country – the only one on earth condemned at the meeting for violating health rights.

Confronting what he called “the ritual of naming and shaming Israel,” Omer Caspi on Wednesday criticized member states which he said “turn their eyes, ears and hearts away from real health emergencies and devote precious time and resources to politics.”

“So, since you want politics, I will give you politics,” he told the gathering in Geneva, going on to recount some facts and statistics arising out of the civil wars in Syria and Yemen, as documented by the U.N. itself. Among them:

--360 attacks on medical facilities in Syria, at the cost of the lives of more than 730 medical personnel. A U.N. commission of inquiry has called the attacks war crimes

--the closure of 600 health centers in Yemen and the deaths from preventable diseases of 50,000 children under the age of five over the past year

-- 19 million people in Yemen lacking access to clean water and 14 million in urgent need of health care.

Neither Syria nor Yemen – nor any other country around the world – is the subject of a country-specific resolution at this year’s WHO assembly, which runs through Saturday.

The sole country-specific resolution, introduced by the Arab states and the Palestinian Authority, condemns Israel for “health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan (sic)”.

It commissions the WHO to carry out a “field assessment,” focusing among other things on “the impact of prolonged occupation and human rights violations on mental, physical and environmental health.”

Notwithstanding Caspi’s appeal for member-states to reject the resolution it was adopted by a large margin – 107-8, with 8 abstentions.

The eight “no” votes came from the United States, Canada, Australia, Israel, Guatemala, Paraguay, Micronesia and Papua New Guinea. Every member of the European Union voted in favor.

During his short statement Caspi contrasted the situation in Syria and Yemen to that in the Palestinian territories and the Golan Heights.

Among Palestinians, under-five mortality rates are down and life expectancy rates up, he said, claiming that the results were “far better” than the average for the Arab states’ group at the U.N.

Despite terror attacks by Palestinians against Israelis, Caspi said, almost 100,000 Palestinians from the West Bank were treated in Israeli hospitals over the past year.

And on the Golan Heights, he said, all residents including Druze “enjoy the same health care as all Israelis.”

He added that Israeli hospitals have treated almost 3,000 Syrian victims of the civil war.

Caspi concluded by saying the WHO should leave politics to the U.N.’s political institutions.

“It is absurd that we should sit here year after year, listening to a political harangue against my country as well as to my rebuttal,” he said. “This theatre of the absurd must come to an end.”


The Australian Federal election is shaping as a battle between the two most politically correct leaders in Australia’s history

Mark Latham, below, was a terible leader of the ALP but is always outspoken, a rare virtue

IN this era of political correctness and gender fluidity, Mother’s Day is lucky to survive. Under the guidance of the Safe Schools program, it’s only a matter of time before the second Sunday in May becomes an UN-sanctioned International Day For People Who Identify As Being Mothers. It will be open to men and women alike.

This is the logical extension of Leftist identity politics: a belief that capitalist social conditioning has fried our brains so badly that none of us can figure out our true gender role.

I’m a 55-year-old man who has spent the past 40 years admiring attractive women and, along the way, fathering three children.

But if only they had taught Safe Schools in the 1970s, I could have broken free from capitalist indoctrination, signed up for neo-Marxist gender politics and emerged as Australia’s answer to Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner.

At Sunday’s lunch in the splendid La Vigna Restaurant in Camden, my kids could have had two mothers, not just one.

On Father’s Day we wouldn’t have to bother, staying home to read our gender fluidity lecture notes from La Trobe University.

Not surprisingly, in my state of false consciousness, I’m not alone. As I looked around the restaurant two days ago, all the mothers ­appeared to be women and all the fathers appeared to be men.  They too missed the Safe Schools lesson where you arrive from outer space without a penis or vagina and then sort out what to do.

Undeterred by our lack of formal education, we dug into the veal scallopini and seafood ravioli instead.

It says something bizarre about Australian politics that in this election campaign, both major parties are committed to keeping Safe Schools and the equally Goebbelesque Building Respectful Relationships program. As a duo, Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten are the two most politically correct leaders in our history.

They have formed an elitist bipartisanship around the things the Australian people aren’t allowed to hear.

Think of it as the great silence swindle of election 2016.

Over the next eight weeks there will be no talk of how welfare dependency in places like Auburn, Parramatta and Merrylands has become an Australian breeding ground for Islamic terrorism.

There will be no talk of how the nation’s 200,000 per annum immigration program is adding daily to congestion and urban sprawl, making large parts of Sydney unlivable. There will be no talk of amending section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act to restore genuine freedom of speech.

There will be no talk of curbing the thought-police powers of the Human Rights Commission, which has declared its right to name and shame “racists”, even when there is no evidence of racial malice.

There will be no talk about the true extent of domestic violence in Australia: the ABS statistic showing an annual rate of domestic assault against women of 1.06 per cent. Instead, we’ll be bombarded with more taxpayer-funded propaganda about an “epidemic” and “national emergency”.

From Bill Turnbull and Malcolm Shorten, there will be no talk about the importance of teaching strength and resilience in our schools.

Their education policies will add to the Age of Sookery — where children are encouraged to play the victim, seeking quotas and other nanny-state interventions to succeed in life. There will be no talk of ending Australia’s pill-pop culture, where newly invented ailments such as “anxiety depression” have become an all-purpose alibi for errant footballers, welfare slackers and those claiming to be freaked out by the prospect of a democratic national vote on same-sex marriage.

Most of all, there will be no talk exposing the fraud of identity politics: the Leftist obsession subdividing our nation on the basis of race, gender and sexuality.

By encouraging people to focus on their individual identity, the Left is atomising society and destroying our sense of community, no less than the individualistic Right.

How fitting for this election to have been called on Sunday. It’s the mother of all politically correct charades.



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, 2016

Japanese prime minister publicly shames Obama over the 'despicable' murder of an Okinawa woman by US Marine

How come I knew it would be a black as soon as I saw the headline?

Japan's prime minister publicly shamed President Barack Obama over a 'despicable' murder allegedly at the hands of a former US Marine on Okinawa.

Obama sought to ease Japanese anger over the death of the woman by expressing his 'deepest regrets' and saying the United States would co-operate in the prosecution of Kenneth Shinzato, the American man who was arrested for the crime.

Prime minister Shinzo Abe publicly expressed his indignation over the case of a 20-year-old Okinawan woman who had been missing since late April and was reportedly raped and murdered at a joint press conference with Obama shortly after the pair held talks in private.

'As Japanese prime minister, I protested sternly to President Obama over the recent incident in Okinawa,' Abe told reporters on Wednesday.

'I feel profound resentment against this self-centred and absolutely despicable crime,' Abe said on Wednesday.

Obama arrived earlier Wednesday for a two-day summit of Group of Seven countries, which formally begins Thursday.

'I extended my sincerest condolences and deepest regrets,' Obama added.

'The United States will continue to cooperate fully with the investigation and ensure that justice is done under the Japanese legal system.'

A series of crimes, including rapes, assaults and hit-and-run vehicle accidents by US military personnel, dependents and civilians have for years sparked local protests on the crowded island that hosts numerous US military bases.

But public anger boiled over last week after police arrested Shinzato, 32, in connection with the missing woman's death.

Shinzato, a US citizen who was working at the sprawling Kadena Air Base on Okinawa, was arrested for allegedly disposing of the woman's body, Okinawan police have said.

He has reportedly admitted to raping and killing Rina Shimabukuro, who had been missing since late April.

Police suspect Shinzato was responsible for the woman's death but he hasn't formally been charged with the crime.

Shimabukuro was last heard of at 8pm on April 28, when she messaged her boyfriend to say she was going for a walk.

Shinzato was arrested after investigators found her body at a location he provided.

The case has threatened to overshadow a planned visit to Hiroshima immediately after the summit ends on Friday, though remarks by the two leaders likely helped clear the air.


UK: 'Some children need spanking': Women defend hitting kids to punish them

Note the word "some" above.  All kids are not the same. A blanket ban could result in a dangerous breakdown in restraint among some kids

The debate over smacking children raged over Twitter today as parents took to social media to debate whether physical punishment should be made illegal.

The debate was instigated after a phone-in on ITV's This Morning asked viewers to share their views on the proposed UN ban.

While many supported it as a method of disciplining their kids and defended their own parents hitting them, others branded it as 'sick'.

One viewer, Georgina Abbott, tweeted: 'I was smacked on the back of the hand or on the bum as a kid - never harmed me!'

Another viewer, Murf, echoed the view posting: 'I got smacked as a kid, I've never been in jail for violence #smackingban.'

Sarah Lewis ?agreed posting: 'I was smacked as a child and I never hit another child. Children need to learn discipline.' 

Beth Smith ?agreed posting: 'Some children need smacking.' 

'How do you explain violent out of control children who have NEVER been smacked then? Utter nonsense! abuse vs discipline' tweeted another.

Other felt strongly that any form of smacking is wrong calling it 'sick' and 'xx'.

Bee Brailsford ?tweeted: 'Any kind of physical abuse is WRONG, an adult hitting a child leaves mental scars.'

'Making a child behave by driving fear into them is not good parenting, sorry.' tweeted Stephen Robinson.

'A tap on the hand is OK, but a full-blown smack is not,' said Jane, another parent who phoned in to the programme.

Another caller, Elizabeth, caller felt there is nothing wrong with a smack on the nappy or the hand: 'I just feel now that children have more rights than parents. I see parents being bitten and hit and all the parents do is tell their children not to do it again. But it doesn't work.'


The Origins of Political Correctness in the British Police Force

After getting the usual wave of silly, resentful attacks from police officers, for daring to criticise their complacent and liberal nationalised industry, I looked out this old article from the Mail on Sunday of 27th July 2004, written nearly 12 years ago. This is before discontent with modern policing was as widespread as it is now, and also before the police had been wholly revolutionised by the post-Macpherson inquisition and many officers from the old tradition were still in positions of responsibility. It explains a lot.

You may sometimes wonder why modern police officers are so word-perfect in the language of liberal political correctness. You may be puzzled as to how a generally conservative organisation, which once chased thieves and bad people in a fairly straightforward way, has suddenly become so keen on pursuing racism, homophobia and the other thought-crimes that obsess political radicals.

Here is part of the answer. They have been carefully and systematically trained in the Newspeak of the New Left, who know very well just how influential the trusted blue uniform of the British police constable is. I have been shown a document that has for some years been used to train officers in what is called 'Community Awareness'.

It smacks of the re-education camp and the thought police, and about half the people of this country would find it quite disturbing.

The other half, who have grown up since ultra-liberal ideas took over the schools and most of the media, may not be so surprised. The progress of the cultural revolution over the past two decades is so gigantic that the whole idea of what is shocking and what is not has altered.

One part of our country barely understands what the other one thinks any more. But where the two nations clash in any state-controlled body or big company, it is the new thinking that always seems to win.

See what you make of it. The booklet, originally produced by Kent Police in 1999, has been copied by some other forces and, I'm told, is typical of the sort of course officers must undergo. It is currently being revised to take account of - you've guessed it - European Union directives on religion and sexual orientation.

It is clever and subtle. It is what it does not quite say that is most worrying. I believe the assumption behind it is that many police officers - too young to be retired or otherwise easily got rid of - are guilty of crude prejudices and must be made to feel ashamed of them.

If they bridle at a course such as this, then they will wreck their careers because their chief constables have plainly put their authority behind the ideas in it. But if they submit to it, they will ever afterwards be tamed and neutered.

It opens with a 'self-assessment' quiz. The student is invited to agree or disagree with such statements as 'The UK is a multicultural society', 'Everyone has some prejudices', 'I will always challenge inappropriate language or behaviour', and 'We must adapt our policing practices to suit various cultures'. The instructions say: 'Answer as honestly as you can.' At the end of the booklet, the quiz is repeated. There is a suggestion that the student should go back and look at his original answers. You would have to be a prize fool not to realise that you are expected to have shifted from one end of the spectrum to the other as a result of ploughing through the pages in between.

It is courses such as these, I suspect, that have led to the new climate of fear in which officers are afraid of speaking openly even among formerly trusted colleagues in case they are denounced for some incorrect slip-up, and so lose their jobs and even their pensions.

Certainly, I am amazed and distressed by the number of serving police officers who write to me about the state of the force and beg me not to identify them in any way.

Yet it is so hard to pin down the insidious nature of this material. You catch it on the edge of a remark, passing by so fast that - if you are not paying attention - you don't realise the importance of it.

Take, for instance, the section on Britain as a multicultural society. All the facts are correct, but the way they are presented is thoroughly questionable. Yes, Romans, Vikings, Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Normans and Jews all came to or lived on these islands in the previous 2,000 years.

But from 1066 until very recently, there were very few immigrants of any kind to this country, and Britain developed its own distinct national character - to which those immigrants adapted.

But the booklet tries to suggest this has always been a diverse, multicultural country. 'The whole history of Britain's population is one of ebb and flow of different peoples and tribal groups,' it claims.

For the most important 900 years of Britain's history, from 1066 to the Sixties, this simply was not true, and is the reason for our unique language, customs, institutions, religious opinions, laws - and our unique ability to sustain policing by consent, by unarmed officers.

It is only since the Sixties that the reformers have sought to change the country to suit the supposed wishes of migrants, rather than requiring migrants to conform to local customs.

What would happen, I wonder, to an officer who had the nerve to point this out to the 'Community and Race Relations Training Department'?

The booklet then asks, 'Is there any such thing as a "True Brit"?' and replies that 'the historical background and cultural diversity of Britain suggests this is an impossible question to answer'.This quiet demolition of a cherished loyalty to a proud and rather enviable civilisation seems to me to be as cruel as it is untrue, and the very heart of what is wrong with this creepy brainwashing.

Much of the rest of it seems designed to demonstrate that there is almost no way to avoid being racist, however hard you try. The use of the expression 'non-white' is allegedly 'felt to be offensive and racist' by unnamed persons because it 'defines people by what they lack and implies that being white is normal/superior'.

Perhaps for those baffled as to why a Black Police Association is encouraged whereas a White Police Association would be (rightly) denounced, the pamphlet asks: 'Can minorities be racist?' The answer appears to be: 'Not really.' It says: 'Minorities may of course have prejudices relating to the majority group and may sometimes act on these. Whether it is appropriate to refer to this as racism is debatable (remember that Racism = Prejudice + Power). If it is so referred a more appropriate term would be "reactive racism".

'In this sense the minority is reacting to majority power or dominance . . . by possibly using derogatory remarks for whites and promoting the image "black is beautiful", for instance.' The experienced constable or sergeant confronted with this knows one thing for certain - that he can never be sure, for the rest of his time in uniform, that he will not commit some sort of speech crime.

He may also quietly conclude that the really wicked aspect of racism - hate and fear based on skin colour - is not actually being challenged here. Such emotions are excused if they are felt by anyone apart from white English people.

But what can he do, by himself? Inch by inch, piece by piece, the world he grew up in has been dismantled and replaced by another. The same thing is happening to almost everyone he knows.

And so, the very people who would once have complained loudly about 'political correctness gone mad' find themselves enforcing exactly that.


Sheriff: Obama Only President to Tell Killers 'They Are Product of Racist Criminal Justice System'

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke told an audience at the National Rifle Association-Institute for Legislative Action’s (NRA-ILA) Leadership Forum in Louisville, Ky., on Friday that President Barack Obama is the first president in history to visit a prison and tell rapists, drug dealers, and murderers “that they are the product of a racist criminal justice system.”

“Today’s society confronts us with many threats from criminal behavior. In fact, our criminal friendly president spends his final days releasing violent career criminals back onto the streets of already struggling communities,” Clarke said. “He is the only president in U.S. history to visit a prison and tell killers and rapists and drug dealers that they are the product of a racist criminal justice system.

“Has this guy lost his mind?”  Clarke asked.

“As my good friend Sean Hannity is fond of saying, let not your hearts be troubled for in 244 days and a little less than 10 hours, Barack Obama will exit the White House for the very last time. And finally, his reign of terror over your freedom, over your Constitution, and over your right to keep and bear arms, his reign of terror will be over,” Clarke said.

Clarke began his speech announcing, “Let me be clear on one thing: Blue lives matter. Police lives matter. Cops’ lives matter.”

Clarke noted that a Phoenix police officer was killed in the line of duty on Thursday while responding to a burglary.

“He was shot by the perpetrator. So please keep him and the Phoenix police department in your prayers,” Clarke said.


Australia:  Opponent of multiculturalism to make return to politics

Good.  I will be able to vote for her once again -- JR

PAULINE Hanson wants to halt Australia’s refugee intake and force people to be fingerprinted before they go to the doctor as part of an anti-immigration scare campaign.

If the former Oxley MP wins a seat in the Senate, she would use the platform to mount another attack on multiculturalism and push for an immigration policy that discriminates against Muslims.

In a series of Donald Trump-inspired policies, Ms Hanson wants a royal commission into whether Islam is “a religion or a political ideology”, a ban on new Islamic schools and CCTV cameras installed in existing mosques.

Ms Hanson wants Medicare cards to include photographs and fingerprints to stop what she says is fraudulent use of Australia’s health system by migrants.

Senior members of the Government and Opposition yesterday condemned Ms Hanson’s attempted political revival after The Courier-Mail revealed the major parties fear she is likely to win a Senate seat in Queensland.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop warned the Coalition would only work with “sensible senators” and would shun Ms Hanson if she entered Parliament. “It seems to me she doesn’t have policies that will make a positive contribution,” she said.

Labor frontbencher Penny Wong said she was alarmed by the suggestion Ms Hanson “might be in with a chance”. “I’ve spent a lot of my adult life arguing against the views that she’s promulgated,” she said.

Queensland Labor Senate candidate and party powerbroker Anthony Chisholm said Ms Hanson’s return “could not come at a worse time” as Australia tries to boost economic ties with Asia.



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, 2016

The non-fairytale truth about stepparents

I think this is an important story. Media representations of step-parents tend to be negative stereotypes.  I had it easier than most as a step-parent.  When I first met my three  step-children (aged 5, 5 and 7) the first thing I did was to sit down and talk to them in my usual jocular way for a couple of hours.  I got them to tell me about what they thought about all sorts of things.  And from that time on all was sunny.  The kids went home to their father and his new lady that night and announced, "John was great!" -- getting a not entirely enthusiastic though civil response.  They are all now adults with children of their own but we still get on well -- JR

Stories of children who have experienced awful parenting under the “protection” of a stepparent have become all too familiar.

Google “stepparents”. You’ll read all about the dos and don’ts of managing “blended families” and can even download your own self-help guide that facilitates the rules and regulations for making the love of two people a comfortable experience for all kids involved.

Hit the news tab and you’ll read about the people who didn’t read this step-by-step guide on how to be a prize stepparent and the salacious headlines that accompany some of their awful offences.

The word stepparent itself, in my view, does have an ugly kind of ring to it. Did your parents read Cinderella to you as a kid? Not the remake, or the politically correct version — the ugly and at times quite tragic 1950s original. Mine did.

I’ll share with you another side of the stepparent story, or enigma as it is. One that doesn’t fit the all too common stereotype.
The story of Cinderella painted a less than rosy picture of any “step” family member . (Pic: Supplied)

Enter Norman — otherwise known as Normie, Normie G, Norm, or, when he’s in trouble, NORMAN. Norm is my stepdad, although I hate referring to him as that because I feel as though I’m doing him a great disservice.

Perhaps it was the Cinderella book, perhaps it was the bad experiences shared with me by friends, or maybe it’s just that the “step” really doesn’t define him and his extraordinary qualities adequately.

My mum and dad divorced when my twin-sister, Lauren, and I were four years old. We were a “broken family” as it was referenced in the 90s. We were five when Mum met Norm and we were six when we pranced down the red carpet, spraying our confetti everywhere as they followed us down together and wed.

Norman’s first year with us was the worst. Lauren and I were spoiled. My mum was trying to juggle her happiness and the happiness she envisaged for us with the guilt that came with introducing an unwanted party to the household and taking a risk that could have ended really badly.

Our mum and dad’s marriage (prior to Norm) had taught us standards of living that alone, my mum couldn’t maintain. When she packed us up in her car, tears flowing on all of our cheeks, w?and said goodbye to my dad (who is also a brilliant man), she did so knowing we’d all get a pretty big reality check when we left the city and returned to destination country town, a place she once called home.

At five, the hand holding between them was probably the most painful thing to witness. “You’re not our dad,” and “Don’t touch my mum” were remarks he endured pretty consistently for his first few months from Lauren and I. What a romantic honeymoon period in your relationship, right?

He didn’t retort, he didn’t call us out on our ill-informed behaviour, he just smiled at us and let go of Mum’s embrace and would make room either side of her for us to take over.

I don’t know what the tipping point was — we made his life very difficult and refused him like the plague. I remember him setting up our first fish tank that was like a state-of-the-art aquarium in our house — perhaps that’s what got him over the line. Whatever it was, in a short time and at a very young age, Lauren and I grew to love him and we loved the way he made our mum laugh, love and be happy.

When you grow up hearing only stories of evil stepparents, it can be confronting when you get a blended family of your own. (Pic: Disney’s live-action feature film Cinderella).

Growing up, Norm was my everything — my ultimate. He was hard on us, set very high standards and today, and for every day in between, I am so grateful.

Norm taught me how to read, write and how to drive. He taught me how to be disciplined enough to learn at school and the importance of knowledge and a good education when I would come home sheepishly with a report card that read: “Very intelligent and high potential, but can be easily distracted.”

He always listened and thankfully, he taught me how to be patient and silent enough to listen to him as well. He is philosophical, nonsensical sometimes, has a wicked sense of humour and his emotional and intellectual capacity is unprecedented.

He was an electrician, which was a stark contrast to Dad’s career as a PR executive. His knowledge was endless and never declared sacred. No question was off-limits. I would race home from school beaming with pride after my exams to show him what his teachings had done for my understanding of the World Wars, political afflictions and my grades.

When I seek to explain Normie’s brilliance to others, two memories stick:

Starting that “time of the month”

When I got my lady business at the age of 12 and my mum sent him down to the local shop to buy supplies as she sat down with me and talked through my reproductive cycle on a calendar? (I was 12!!!), Norm returned home with a vast array of cotton surfboards in hand ? (he covered all brands and bases) without a paper bag in sight to disguise his mission from the locals. ? He was not embarrassed. ?

Building a boat

When he built his own boat with his own two hands. (Smart move — he needed a sanctuary after sharing a living space with three very open and over-sharing women for more than 15 years). He sat for months sketching designs on gridded pages until he was happy enough, knowing he got it right.

Whenever I go home to visit, he invites me on board the boat and we sit on the deck, share some wine and look at the stars while talking about life.

I could rattle off thousands of instances where Norman really has broken the stepparent? mould and my perception of it — he’s done far more than was ever expected to show my sister and I a solid?, caring and unconditional upbringing.

Simply put, Norman was a blessing. He is a father, a mentor, soulmate and friend. He is irreplaceable and our lives would have been so different had he not entered them.

That is what he did for me and my sister, in the years that we most needed it. He is part of the foundation of who we have become and I hope like hell every day that we’ve done him proud.

?Not all stepparents are to be feared or resented — Norm took on the role of dad, without me ever having to ask him.


What’s all this talk about resilience?

HAVE YOU NOTICED how all of a sudden, everything is “resilient”? I was listening to a not uninteresting public radio broadcast on urban moss, when I learned that several stations have merged “resilience reporting” desks — to keep us abreast of hardy lichens, I guess.

I saw in the paper that University of Arizona professor Dr. Andrew Shatte was lecturing in the area on “Why Some People Are Resilient, and Others Are Not.” Shatte arrived early to the resilience party, as co-author of the 2003 book, “The Resilience Factor: Seven Essential Skills for Overcoming Life’s Inevitable Obstacles.”

The promotional materials for Shatte’s Boston appearance promised that “in the final moments of the workshop, he’ll even reveal the biggest secret to a life of resilience!”

Boston recently appointed a “Chief Resilience Officer,” Dr. Atyia Martin, whose mission “will be to help the city cope with stress,” the Globe reported. For the time being, the New York-based Rockefeller Foundation, not the taxpayers, pays Martin’s salary.

Rockefeller is all in on resilience, with a Global Resilience Partnership, the National Disaster Resilience Competition, and the 100 Resilient Cities program, in which Boston is participating. Among the resilience officers’ duties, the foundation’s website explains, is “ensuring that the city applies a resilience lens so that resources are leveraged holistically and projects planned for synergy.”

A spokesman told me that Rockefeller started investing in resilience projects about 10 years ago, after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. The foundation has spent about half a billion dollars on resilience programs, including public radio’s lichenological investigations.

I think we attained Peak Resilience last month, when President Obama invoked the r-word during a public appearance at the CIA. “I want to remind Americans again … how to be strong, how to be resilient,” he said. “We have to refuse to give in to fear. We have to stay true to our values of liberty and diversity and openness.”

Resilience means the ability to bounce back after adversity. There’s a cottage industry in Boston devoted to congratulating ourselves on our post-Marathon bombing resilience. You want to see some resilience? Visit Dresden, or Hiroshima, or Warsaw, or any of the many Russian cities vaporized 70 years ago during World War II.

To be fair, I spent some time talking to Martin, Boston’s resilience officer, and the subject of the Marathon bombings never came up. She cheerfully admitted that most people don’t exactly get what she does. “There’s lot of speculation,” she said. “People hear my title, and they say, ‘That’s interesting — what does it mean?’”

Martin sees her brief as primarily promoting racial equity in the city. “When you have an emergency, it disproportionately burdens people of color,” she said. “The goal is closing the gap between people of different communities so everyone can have the kind of healthy community they would like to live in.”

Resilience talk is just a little too glib, a little too modish, a little too nonsensical for my tastes. Americans seem to me like the least resilient people on earth, obsessing over bathroom access and Twitter wars while one-tenth of the planet starves to death. Starbucks ran out of one percent milk? I’m calling my congressman!

Can resilience be taught, or implemented, through government programs and foundation grants? Perhaps. To me, resilience is a quality that Americans lost years ago: The ability to take a punch and get back off the mat.

Now the instinct is to stay down on the mat, and find someone to blame for your problems — the Mexicans, the Muslims, the welfare cheats. Someone could run for president on that platform. Indeed, someone is.


Black Iowa Student Starts Fight, Loses, Makes Up Hate Crime, Gets Caught

A savage hate crime at the University of Iowa that sent shockwaves across campus turned out to be just another hoax, police said Tuesday.

The case of Marcus Owens caused a deluge of outrage when it first emerged in early May. Owens claimed on the night of April 30 he was attacked, out of nowhere and without provocation, by three white college-age men, who beat him bloody while screaming racial slurs and landed him in the hospital.

Activist students claimed the attack showed a climate of racial hatred in Iowa City, and they also denounced the university for taking until May 4 to issue a statement about the matter.

“How many black students must be a victim of a hate crime before an alert is sent out,” one student complained online at the time.

 But after a two-week investigation, Iowa City police have concluded, after interviewing witnesses and viewing surveillance footage, that no hate crime occurred at all, and that Owens’ account of his injuries was almost completely false.
In Owens’ account, he arrived at the Eden Lounge, an Iowa City bar, around 9 p.m., stepped out for a phone call around 10 p.m., and was then attacked.

But footage, which was released by police, shows a very different series of events. The footage shows Owens entered the bar close to midnight, and then getting involved in a massive bar melee around 1:35 a.m. He was kicked out of the bar, and then proceeded to get in two additional fights within the next 10 minutes. In all of the fights Owens is acting aggressively and throwing punches, and police say he appears to have been the instigator in at least one of the fights.

While at least one participant in the fighting does seem to have yelled a racial slur, that’s not enough to justify a hate crime charge, police said.

Owens initially walked off his injuries, but later went to the hospital to have them treated. On Monday night, he created his story of an unprovoked racial attack.

Owens and his family have issued an apology, blaming his actions on a mixture of alcohol and embarrassment.

“Marcus now knows that his account of events was inconsistent with police findings, in part due to alcohol being involved, his embarrassment at his behavior, as well as the injuries he sustained,” the family’s statement says. “In light of this, it was concluded that this incident was not a hate crime as originally believed, but rather a case of excessive underage drinking and extremely poor judgment on the part of many people, Marcus included.”

Police say that thanks to the apology, they will not file a false reporting charge, even though the evidence supports one.

Owens isn’t the first college student in 2016 to try spinning a run-of-the-mill fight as a violent hate crime. Three University at Albany students claimed they were attacked by a white mob on a bus in January, only to have police conclude they were the actual aggressors. Those students have been kicked out of school and hit with an array of criminal charges.


Events in Europe vindicate Australian immigration policy

The spectre of political disruption in Europe moved another step closer to reality on Monday when Norbert Hofer, the anti-immigration candidate for Austrian president, lost by a hair’s breadth.

The rise of Hofer, leader of the far-right Austrian Freedom Party, to claim 49.7 per cent of votes is Europe’s Trump moment. For the first time since Austrian voters were given the right to choose their president in 1951, neither mainstream party will fill that role. Disillusioned with the political establishment and its inability to handle the migration crisis, voters cleaved to the far left and the far right and the win by former Greens and now independent Alexander Van der Bellen by 2,254,484 votes to Hofer’s 2,223,458 votes will do little to bridge Austria’s deep divisions. The lessons for Australia are clear. Those who foolishly demonised Immigration Minister Peter Dutton last week fail to understand that social and political cohesion depends on public confidence in an immigration system.

Snooty Europeans have had a tendency to look aghast at the rise of populist Donald Trump in the US. They turn up their noses at Trump’s rise as an “only-in-America” phenomenon where angry, mainstream Americans have snubbed the establishment for reasons relevant only to America. Yet, European elites now face their own nightmare on main street.

The driving force behind Hofer’s rise is deep community anxiety about the ramifications of uncontrolled immigration. In a small country that has taken in 90,000 asylum-seekers last year — more than 1 per cent of its population — almost half of Austria’s voters looked to a leader, even a symbolic presidential one — to send a blunt message to Austria’s political establishment: the political, social and economic consequences of uncontrolled immi-gration from the Middle East cannot be ignored any more.

The fault lines for Monday’s result were laid last year when Angela Merkel opened Germany’s door to every asylum-seeker fleeing Syria. Merkel’s welcome mat is a stark reminder that good intentions can lead to devastating outcomes — such as the rapes in Cologne on New Year’s Eve where one police report recorded a perpetrator saying: “I am Syrian. You have to treat me kindly. Mrs Merkel invited me.” As Milton Friedman said, “One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.” European elites ruminating over Monday’s election should see Hofer’s rise as the direct result of Merkel’s policy.

Moreover, the Austrian vote is not an outlier event. Far from Hofer being Europe’s solitary Trump, a glance across the continent reveals the political centre has shattered, as people look elsewhere for a voice. Far-right politicians are engaging with voters on issues long ignored by elites: economic insecurity, EU elitism, open borders, national identity, social and cultural cohesion.

Start in France where far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and her National Front party may cause shock waves in next year’s presidential and legislative elections. In Germany anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany has emerged as a force in state elections. In The Netherlands, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and beyond, outrage over immigration has put populists into parliament. It’s the same northwards where Scandinavian countries famous for their social welfare models have also felt the backlash against uncontrolled immigration policies.

In Norway, there’s Sylvi Listhaug from the populist Progress Party. The Finns Party (formerly True Finns) is in government in Finland. In Sweden, which has accepted the highest number of refugees per capita than any other country in the world, far-right nationalists, Sweden Democrats, is the country’s third largest party. In January, the Swedish government decided to deport 80,000 asylum-seekers.

In Denmark too, Merkel’s migrant-crisis fault lines have elevated Thulesen Dahl, the leader of the Danish People’s Party, to represent the second-largest party in parliament.

In fact, the unfolding immigration debate in Denmark offers an insight into all that is wrong with the unthinking rush of many on the Left to condemn Europeans as xenophobic if they raise questions about the arrival of more than one million asylum-seekers this year alone.

In Foreign Policy, James Kirchick explores how Denmark’s response to Europe’s migration crisis “is now looking like the better part of wisdom”. Media elites derided new Danish laws that allow the state to confiscate property from migrants seeking welfare as reminiscent of the Third Reich.

Writes Kirchick, “these reduction ad Hitlerum arguments are facile” given the same laws apply to native-born Danes. Equally shallow is the way the media has lionised Merkel as a selfless humanitarian given her policy has fuelled the rise of anti-immigration sentiments across Europe.

The self-evident truth that immigration policy needs support from the people is too often ignored by media and political elites. Danes are keen to buttress their social welfare compact, where a largely homogenous country understood a generous welfare system is the quid pro quo for paying high taxes. Hence they have backed the confiscation law along with stricter measures around asylum-seeker family reunification.

Denmark is confronting the progressive dilemma of imposing diversity and expecting solidarity. Writing more than a decade ago in Prospect magazine, David Goodhart challenged his left-leaning audience to understand the contradiction at the heart of their misty-eyed idealism.

He recalled what British conservative politician David Willetts said at a welfare forum: “The basis on which you can extract large sums of money in tax and pay it out in benefits is that most people think the recipients are people like themselves, facing difficulties that they themselves could face. If values become more diverse, if lifestyles become more differentiated, then it becomes more difficult to sustain the legitimacy of a universal risk-pooling welfare state. People ask: ‘Why should I pay for them when they are doing things that I wouldn’t do?’

“This is America versus Sweden. You can have a Swedish welfare state provided that you are a homogeneous society with intensely shared values. In the United States you have a very diverse, individualistic society where people feel fewer obligations to fellow citizens. Progressives want diversity, but they thereby undermine part of the moral consensus on which a large welfare state rests.”

The Austrian result is a timely cue to put our own immigration debate in a global context. The rush to revile Dutton for speaking about the challenges of increased immigration couldn’t be more misplaced. If we are genuinely committed to social, political and economic cohesion, we should thank Dutton for the straight-talking that mainstream European politicians have cowered from.

Our immigration response is far more measured and compassionate than many European anti-immigrant politicians, whose popularity represents a public backlash against the porous borders advocated by the muddle-headed moralisers in the Greens and Labor. It’s far better that immigration policy is settled in parliament than on the streets.



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, 2016

Australian Special Forces raid which killed Afghan women and children

The death of bystander women and children is of course deplorable but the troops acted solely in self-defence in response to an attempted ambush and while being fired on.  So as far as I can see the responsibility for the outcome rests entirely on the man who continued to provoke fire at himself while women and children were beside him in the same room.  And his sustained aggression makes mockery of the claim that he was not a Talib.  If he was not, he was of the same ruthless mind-set

A soldier at the centre of one of Australia's most controversial and secret military cases has spoken publicly for the first time about a horrific commando night raid in which five Afghan children were killed.

Identifying himself as Dave, the former lance corporal is one of two reservists from the Army's elite 1st Commando Regiment who was charged with manslaughter over the children's deaths in the 2009 raid of a family compound.

The manslaughter case sent shockwaves through the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and was the subject of a sustained public outcry, with accusations of "armchair" ignorance of combat conditions.

An ugly vilification campaign was mounted against the former director of military prosecutions, Brigadier Lyn McDade, who had laid the charges.

The case against the men was dismissed prior to a court martial, but Dave and other members of the regiment remain angry that the ADF still has not formally exonerated him or the other soldier, a sergeant, who was charged.

Debate about the case was reignited last week with the release of a ministerial memorandum obtained by Australian Story under Freedom of Information legislation.

The ADF has never given a full public account of the events of that night.

Now Dave — who at the request of his family has not divulged his surname — and other soldiers directly involved in the action, have given Australian Story a detailed description of the circumstances leading up to the raid, what happened on the night and its tragic aftermath.

Australian Story also raises many serious questions yet to be addressed by the ADF. It is still not clear whether the raid was properly authorised or if the intelligence the soldiers were acting on was incorrect and led them to the wrong compound.

The 1st Commando Regiment was sent to Afghanistan in November 2008 on a four-month tour of duty.

They were operating as a strike force, primarily targeting the Taliban leadership on "kill or capture" missions.

A member of the regiment, Corporal Geoff Evans, said all missions were intelligence-driven and had to be approved by senior army ranks, but the information provided was not always reliable.

"The intelligence we received was of varying quality. Sometimes it was very, very good, and other times it felt like they were throwing a dart at a map," he told Australian Story.

Another commando, identified as Corporal W, said: "Quite often we'd go into a compound and it would be what we'd call a dry hole. There'd be nothing there, we'd go in, do our search and then leave. Other times we would go in, capture a Taliban leader, for example, so it varied."

Raiding party redirected

On the night of February 12, 2009, a force of over 20 people, including a number of Afghan National Army personnel and Afghan interpreters, headed towards the tiny village of Sorkh Morghab in Uruzgan Province. They were targeting a Taliban leader.

As directed, they first entered a family compound, but found that the occupants had no Taliban influence or links. The information they had been given was false.

They then received further orders from a lieutenant colonel in Kandahar to proceed to a nearby compound. Details of why these orders were given and the intelligence on which they were based remain unknown.

As the team cleared the second compound, they found a family including an armed man and relocated them to a courtyard.

One of the commandos, Corporal W, told Australian Story that when he looked through the window of another room, he saw a man pointing an AK-47 rifle at a door that soldiers were about to enter.

"I shot him," Corporal W said. "I believe that if I didn't engage him at that time [the soldiers] would have made entry into that door and he would have shot and killed at least one, maybe two of them."

According to Corporal W, the man then fired at him "probably half a mag(azine) from one-and-a-half metres away". "It's a miracle I wasn't killed. Bullets whizzed past my ears and shoulders and glass and wall fragments struck me in the face," he said. Corporal W hit the ground and other soldiers thought he was dead.

Soldiers say they warned gunman to stop firing

According to the Australian soldiers, members of the Afghan National Army, interpreters and some of their own unit were calling out to the armed man to cease fire throughout the altercation.

He continued to fire and Sergeant J — who was also later charged with manslaughter — directed Dave to throw a grenade into the room.

After it detonated, Dave said there was a brief pause in the fire coming from the room and then it continued "at a rapid and sustained rate, hence us believing that there was more than one insurgent in that room".

"It was coming out through the windows and it was coming out through the walls, around eight or 10 centimetres from my head and chest," he said.

The soldiers told Australian Story that the design of the compound meant that the man shooting at them had full coverage of the only exit and that they had no option but to kill him in order to save their own lives.

Sergeant J directed Dave to throw a second grenade, at which point the firing from the automatic AK-47 rifle ceased.

It was not until the dust from this grenade settled and the room was entered that Dave and other soldiers say they realised there were women and children in the room.

Three children were dead and several badly injured. Two babies who were evacuated for medical treatment did not survive, taking the death toll to five children.

Family says gunman not a Taliban fighter

The man who had been shooting at them, Amrullah Kahn, also died after medical evacuation.

His surviving family said he was a peasant farmer and that neither he nor they were affiliated with the Taliban.

A family spokesman, Farid Popal, who lives in Perth, told Australian Story that the Kahn family wanted justice for their devastating loss. "The family want answers as to why their father and their children and other members of the family were attacked, and why did they die?" he said.

Mr Popal said that as far as he was aware, the family had never received an explanation nor an apology from the ADF.


The Left can’t stand it but all over Europe and America politicians are on the rise who put their own countries and culture first. But who will put Britain first?

When ‘Right-thinking’ commenters and the European elite awoke this morning to the prospect that Austria could be the first European country to be led by a populist right leader they were aghast.

In the event Nobert Hofer of the Freedom party narrowly lost his bid to become Austrian President. But it is still a momentous day and I couldn't be happier.

In Austria, European governments should see a narrowly-averted mirror of their own future.  Look long and hard my friends, because this is coming your way.

A new populist politics is back in the ascendant, defending national identity and protecting the rights of true nationals from the drain of immigration. And this is just the start of things to come.

Make no mistake: the author of this Europe-wide phenomenon is Merkel.  She has penned a new era in history, in which Europe rejects an open-door policy to immigration which would lead to our women being the target of archaic cultures and religions, and rape being a helpless man's only response to the provocative sight of an unveiled woman.

But this is more than a rejection of European immigration policy.  This is individual nations asserting their right to self-govern. Peoples voting to protect their sense of self and reassert sovereignty.

These nations do not want to be part of some amorphous whole, a blancmange of nonsense led by a German. And they are fighting back in city squares chanting 'never again'.

Hofer says: 'To those in Austria who go to war for Islamic State or rape women, I say to those people: “This is not your home.”'

I have a strong sense many of you would vote for a British leader with precisely these views.

And Hofer is not alone. The Danish People's Party has 21 per cent of the vote and publicised its policy of removing valuables over the value of £1,045 from immigrants to pay for their welfare. It also placed adverts in Lebanese newspapers warning against migration to Denmark.

The UK, on the other hand, advertises its benefits and accommodates migrants in hotels.

In Finland the populist Right argues that true Finns take priority in social and healthcare spending.

The UK prioritises immigrants for school places and council homes and gives away healthcare for free.

Marine Le Pen's National Front (FN) is the biggest nationalist challenge to Europe's liberal democratic traditions. She has modernised the party and mobilised support in the face of terror attacks.

It suits the Left to throw out insults and put lazy labels on these political parties, seeking to marginalise or discredit them
In Germany, Greece, Italy, Hungary, Switzerland — parties which espouse the same views are also on the rise.

Questioning immigration, the EU and the establishment, while promoting a strong sense of nationalist sentiment, is now entirely ‘salonfaehig’, as German-speakers would say.

Their ugly word for ‘passable in your living room’ — or, as we would say, socially acceptable. Merkel, for the record, is not salonfaehig in my home.

The Swiss even use controversial black-sheep posters to make their point about immigration.

Liberals call them racist but, frankly, when do they ever stop using that term, so overused to have lost all meaning? If I'm not being called racist, I barely recognise myself.

But it suits the Left to throw out insults and put lazy labels on these political parties, seeking to marginalise or discredit them despite their obvious electoral success and democratic support.

It calls these parties the Far Right, hoping you will close your eyes, picture a skinhead with a beer belly and an England flag tattooed on his forehead, and snigger.

But remember, this breed of lazy socialists also mocked Donald Trump, and will continue to do so as he ascends the steps to the White House.

They smirk, cocooned in their London bubble as will no doubt still be listening to the BBC still calling Donald Trump a buffoon even as he descend the stairs from Air Force One.

Meanwhile Americans want him to speak up on their behalf. To be the voice of the people, to Make America Great Again, to halt immigration, protect their cultural identity and reassert their right to look after their own culture first.

It’s no coincidence Hofer and Trump both use the same slogan: America/Austria First!

And these words are being echoed all around Europe. Restrict immigration, self-govern, reassert the right to put your own people first.

And as I look west towards Trump in the White House, east to Hofer in Austria and Le Penn resurgent in France, north towards the Danish People's Party with the toughest immigration rules in Europe, and south to the stronghold of the Swiss People's Party — I see a political compass whose true direction is set on national identity and sovereignty.

This movement is supported by people living in their cultural homeland, working hard, paying taxes, looking for someone, anyone, to speak up for their rights, their country, their future.

And if Merkel continues the madness of trying to fast-track Turkey into the EU, millions more will join them.

Just as if Britain has the guts to vote to leave the EU, I have no doubt citizens all over Europe will start demanding that they too get a vote.

All over the Western world, multiculturalism is being rejected in favour of national identity. The surge of populist politics of the Right reflects a deeper will of the people to take back power from those who believe we are all equal. We all have rights.

All over the Western world, multiculturalism is being rejected in favour of national identity.

If you come to our country and fight for Islamic State, rape our women, and then ask Europe to defend your human rights, this is not your home. Our NHS, our schools, our local doctors’ surgeries — they are not yours to monopolise either. Our children should come first.

The balance of power is shifting. Raising the spectre of fascism is just lazy labelling

This is not the silencing of humanity, nor the deafening roar of bald men in black boots and bomber jackets waving the Union, fighting their own shadows.

This is the rise of common sense. This is your voice being heard.


Police officer in Freddie Gray case is acquitted on all charges

A police officer was acquitted of all charges Monday in the arrest of Freddie Gray, a black man who suffered a fatal spinal cord injury while in police custody. The verdict is likely to renew debate over whether anyone will be held responsible for Gray’s death.

The officer, Edward M. Nero, sat with a straight back and stared forward as Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams, who ruled on the case after the officer opted to forgo a jury trial, read his verdict on the charges of second-degree assault, misconduct and reckless endangerment.

“The verdict on each count,” said Williams, concluding his reading after about 30 minutes, “is not guilty.”

“The state’s theory has been one of recklessness and negligence,” Williams said. “There has been no evidence that the defendant intended for a crime to occur.”

Nero, who was implicated not in the death of Gray but in the opening moments of his arrest, then stood and hugged his lawyers as supporters pressed forward to congratulate him. He wiped away tears and, at one point, embraced Officer Garrett E. Miller, who is also charged in connection with the arrest of Gray

About a dozen protesters gathered outside the courthouse in the moments after the verdict was rendered, and some chanted the familiar protest cry, “No justice, no peace.”

“To see that officer walk away, and still no accountability, that hurts me the most,” said the Rev. Westley West, a frequent presence at demonstrations related to Gray’s death. “That could be me.”

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake pleaded for calm, noting that Nero still faces a departmental review and could face disciplinary action. ‘‘We once again ask the citizens to be patient and to allow the entire process to come to a conclusion,’’ she said.

The verdict, the first in any of the six officers implicated, comes a little more than a year after Gray died in April 2015.

The first trial, against Officer William G. Porter, ended with a mistrial in December. Gray’s death embroiled parts of Baltimore, which has a history of tension between the police and its residents, in violent protest and became an inexorable piece of the nation’s wrenching discussion of the use of force by officers, particularly against minorities.

Many demonstrators had felt vindicated last year when the city’s top prosecutor, Marilyn J. Mosby, announced charges against the officers, but legal specialists have questioned whether they were too ambitious.

Peter Moskos, a former Baltimore police officer who teaches at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, said that Mosby had “overplayed her hand.”

Charges were filed too quickly, he said, adding that prosecutors should have spent more time bolstering cases against one or two officers who may have been most culpable. “Someone dying doesn’t always make it a crime,” Moskos said. “The prosecutors are trying to find social justice, but these are trials of individual cops.”

A lawyer for Nero, Marc Zayon, called for the charges against the remaining officers to be dropped.

‘I’m thankful we’re even in court, that charges were brought. But now we’ve got to come out with something.’

“Like Officer Nero,” Zayon added, “these officers have done nothing wrong.”

The Police Department said Monday that the internal review of Nero, 30, who remains on administrative leave, will not be resolved until after the trials of the other officers involved.


The Jewish story is under assault

by Yossi Klein Halevi

Who are the Jews? A religion? A people? The question has taken on a special urgency in our time. At the heart of the anti-Zionist assault is the notion that the Jews aren't a people but only a faith. That premise is normative throughout the Arab world, and especially in the Palestinian statehood movement, all of whose factions deny the existence of a distinct Jewish people with a right to national sovereignty.

The Jewish calendar tells a different story. On Passover, we celebrate the birth of the Jewish people through our escape from Egypt; it's the beginning of a coherent historical narrative. On Shavuot, two months later, we celebrate the giving of the Torah at Sinai, imprinting the Jewish people with a distinct path to God. The Jews, then, are a people with a specific faith. In that order.

The Passover Seder implicitly reinforces that hierarchy of identities. The essential Seder ritual is the retelling of the exodus — “as though you yourself left Egypt” — and the message is: There is no Judaism without the Jewish people and its story.

My late teacher, Rabbi David Hartman, noted that the definition of Jewish heresy provided by the Haggadah, the text read at the Seder, simultaneously offers a definition of Jewish identity. The “evil child” of the Haggadah refers to the Jewish people as “you” rather than “us.” Unlike Christianity and Islam, where heresy is the rejection of belief, for Judaism heresy is self-exclusion from the community.

As a religious Jew, I believe that our relationship to God is the purpose of Jewish existence. I believe that contemporary Jewish life has been impoverished by the diminishment of the Divine, the abandonment of the quest for the living God in our collective and personal lives.

Yet I also believe that peoplehood is more crucial to Judaism than faith. How else can we make sense of the Jewish atheist? Christians or Muslims who reject religious doctrine are no longer a part of their faith community, while Jews who reject Judaic beliefs but still identify with the Jewish people, its values and its fate are universally regarded among Jews as one of us.

Peoplehood is given primacy over faith for the sake of the faith itself: The Jewish people is the carrier of Judaism.
All three monotheistic faiths share the same goal: the revelation of God's presence in this world. But Judaism, once again, works a little differently. While one can of course convert and become a Jew, Judaism was never intended to be a universal faith, only the faith of a specific people — whose purpose is to be a spiritual avant guard within humanity for its eventual redemption. Judaism is a particularist strategy for a universalist goal.

In its early stages in 19th century Germany, Reform Judaism tried to turn Jewish identity into a faith without a people and a land, insisting that its Zion was Berlin, not Jerusalem. Ultimately, though, the Reform movement returned to a more classical understanding of Jewish identity. Even ultra-Orthodox Jews, who routinely place the most strict interpretation of Jewish law over the well-being of the Jewish people, accept peoplehood as a core religious principle.

The Seder culminates with the affirmation, “Next year in Jerusalem,” a reminder that the Jewish story that begins in Egypt ends in the land of Israel. We're a specific people bound to a specific place.

Last week, as Jews around the world prepared for Passover, the war against the Jewish people and its story — against the meaning of Passover itself — took a particularly ugly turn. A UNESCO resolution, sponsored by seven Arab countries, denounced Israel for supposed violations of Muslim rights to prayer on the site that Muslims call the Haram el Sharif and Jews call the Temple Mount. The resolution ignores the fact that the Israeli government enforces a ban on Jewish prayer at the holy site, granting Muslims exclusive right to pray there. Worse, the resolution implicitly denies the Jewish connection to the area by never actually using the term Temple Mount (only Haram el Sharif). It does refer to the Western Wall, but places that label in quotation marks while leaving the Muslim equivalent, Al Buraq, intact, as though that were the only authentic name.

Reading the resolution, one could conclude that there was no ancient Jewish temple on the Temple Mount, that the Mount isn't the holiest site in Judaism, that the Western Wall isn't the heart of Jewish prayer. One could conclude, therefore, that the Jews living in Israel today have no historic claim to the land, passed down through generations. Of all the attempts to destroy us throughout our history, the campaign against history itself is the most devious.

Passover suggests this definition of the Jews: We are a story we tell ourselves about who we think we are. The current assault on the Jewish story is so dangerous precisely because it strikes at that core idea.



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, 2016

Our Racist Trees

Mickey Fearn, the National Park Service Deputy Director for Communications and Community Assistance, made headlines when he claimed that black people don't visit national parks because they associate them with slaves being lynched by their masters.

Yellowstone, the first national park, was created in 1872 in Wyoming. Slavery was over by then and no one had ever been lynching slaves around Old Faithful anyway. But false claims die very hard.

Now Alcee Hastings, an impeached judge, and a coalition of minority groups is demanding increased "inclusiveness" at national parks. High on their list is the claim that, "African-Americans have felt unwelcome and even fearful in federal parklands during our nation's history because of the horrors of lynching." What do national parks have to do with lynchings? Many national parks have trees. People were hung from trees. It's guilt by arboreal association.

The origin of the bizarre racist lynching theory of national parks appears to be Carolyn Finney. Finney was an actress noted for, apparently, little more than an appearance in The Nutt House. Then she became a cause célèbre for race activists when she was denied tenure by Berkeley's Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management because her work didn't meet academic standards.

Her supporters blamed racism, rather than her academic shortcomings, and protested vocally.

These days she's a diversity advisor to the U.S. National Parks Advisory Board. What wasn't good enough for UC Berkeley is good enough for national parks. She is also the author of Black Faces, White Spaces. In it she claims that "oppression and violence against black people in forests and other green spaces can translate into contemporary understandings that constrain African-American environmental understandings."

Finney cites the work of Joy DeGruy Leary who invented a Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome that she claims black people suffer from. Affected by PTSS, black people experience "fear and mistrust of forests and other green spaces." According to Finney, the tree is a racist symbol to black people.

"Black people also wanted to go out in the woods and eat apples from the trees," Finney explains." But black people were lynched on the trees. The tree became a big symbol." Black people are triggered by trees and suffer Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome flashbacks. You can't expect them to go to on a hike.

What shall we do about the racist trees? Finney is front and center at the new "inclusion" initiative, "You're sitting here making up a rule and assuming that everybody is going to feel comfortable to come to the woods and go on a hike," she whined. "Maybe they're not interested in doing that, that's not how they like to come to the woods."

In addition to complaining about the racist trees, the inclusion initiative also claimed that national parks alienate Latinos because of the "color of the uniforms that rangers wear."

What's wrong with the color of park ranger uniforms? According to the Hispanic Access Foundation, they look too much like the border patrol. Even though the uniforms are actually completely different. But much like the lack of lynchings at Yellowstone National Park, the truth doesn't matter here.

None of this is really about the nonsensical pseudoscientific ravings you just read. National parks don't care what race you are. Trees are as blind to color as they are to everything else. Forests don't need to be made more inclusive. This campaign is led by people who hate and reject natural spaces.

Finney claims that Theodore Roosevelt's vision of preserving beautiful natural landscapes was rooted in "privilege". Or as Fearn put it, "Preserving wild places is a white concept, going back to Rome."

Influential figures in the National Park Service reject the fundamental idea of preserving natural beauty. They view a forest as a "white concept" full of scary racist trees. Or at least that's what they claim.

That is what this is really about. The Obama era has rotted the Federal government with radical figures who are at war with fundamental American concepts and values. They intend to use their power to destroy those concepts and values. This is another example of that same ugly phenomenon.

Alcee Hastings complains of a "green ceiling" for hiring minorities. Aside from the usual diversity hiring push and buying from minority businesses in the "inclusiveness" proposals, not to mention nonsense about racist trees and scary uniforms, is a move to divert the focus to urban development. Then there's the flow of money to "community organizations" to engage "culturally diverse communities".

All that is code for robbing parks and moving the money into the same network of corrupt organizations that already swallows all the money that the Federal government can throw at its local projects. This isn't inclusiveness. It's blackmail. Advertise in our publications. Give us grants. Or your trees are racist.

For all the safe space rhetoric, the arguments ultimately come down to money. It's not about racist tree symbolism or uniform colors. It's about creating positions for people like Carolyn Finney or Mickey Fearn so they can lecture us on how parks are privilege and nature is racist. It's about finding yet another unlikely target for baseless claims of racism to be milked for money, grants, ads and contracts.

The Obama era has seen the "Sharptoning" of America as the same ugly shakedown scams that were being practiced in New York or Chicago were suddenly national policy. This is the Sharptoning of the National Park Service. It's happening in every agency and arm of government. We just don't notice it.

The accusations are absurd. And yet the payoffs keep coming. And there's little doubt that this latest "inclusiveness" initiative will also pay off. Our parks will suffer. Our slimiest politicians will prosper.

Finney says that national parks should represent where we want to go collectively as a people. But the beauty of a walk through the woods is that you don't have to "collectively" go anywhere. A hike is not a national mission. It's a place for individuality. And the left never fails to remind us how it loathes the individual and worships the collective impulse of totalitarian movements. This is paired with a hatred for beauty.

Forests and lakes are not about where we want to go collectively. They are where we once were. They represent spaces of imagination and reflection that have nothing in common with Finney's compulsion. They don't have to represent Finney's demands for "demographic and ethnic diversity". They allow us a freedom from the confining urban spaces of leftist identity politics that deny our humanity. They show us that life is pure and simple in ways that defy the convoluted nonsense of political correctness.

It's not hard to see why the left, despite its hollow environmental posturing, hates them.    


Conservative Group Fights California AG’s Attempt to ‘Chill’ Speech

Though a federal judge recently ruled that a conservative nonprofit group doesn’t have to disclose its donor list to California’s Democratic attorney general, conservatives believe this case is just the latest in an ongoing fight related to political activity and free speech.

“This was a great victory for free speech for everyone in this country,” said Mark Holden, the general counsel for Koch Industries, and a board member of Americans for Prosperity, the group asked to disclose its donor list.

“This effort to chill our right to the First Amendment is critical to what the left’s whole agenda is,” Holden told The Daily Signal in an interview. “They talk about getting big money out of politics, but what they really mean is going after speech and activity they disagree with, made by groups they disagree with.”

On April 21, U.S. District Judge Manuel Real found that Americans for Prosperity, which was founded by Charles and David Koch, does not have to submit to Attorney General Kamala Harris the names and addresses of its donors who have spent more than $5,000.

In his ruling, Real wrote, “The attorney general’s requirement that AFP submit its Schedule B [donor list] chills the exercise of its donor’s First Amendment freedoms to speak anonymously and to engage in expressive association.”

But the legal fight is not over, because Harris intends to challenge the decision with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The case centers around Harris’ aim to enforce a California state law that requires charities, such as Americans for Prosperity, to file a copy of their IRS tax return with the state, including a so-called Schedule B form that includes the names and addresses of donors who donated more than $5,000 during a year.

Since 2001, Americans for Prosperity has filed the tax form without including the donor list, and until 2010, the state had accepted the charity’s registration in California and listed the group as an active charity in compliance with the law.

In a March 2013 letter, however, Harris declared that American for Prosperity’s 2011 filing was incomplete because it did not include the donor list.

The Arlington, Va.-based nonprofit took that challenge to court in December 2014, arguing the California law requiring disclosure of the Schedule B form is unconstitutional.

Harris contends the state law does not infringe on free speech and helps protect the public from fraud and illegal business practices.

“We are disappointed in Judge Real’s ruling and intend to appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals,” said Kristin Ford, a spokeswoman for Harris, in an emailed statement to The Daily Signal. “The filing of the Schedule B is a long-standing requirement that has helped attorneys general for more than a decade protect taxpayers against fraud.”

In his order, Real said Harris had failed to prove that the state needs donor information to properly investigate charities active in California.

“It is clear that the attorney general’s purported Schedule B submission requirement demonstrably played no role in advancing the attorney general’s law enforcement goals for the past 10 years,” Real wrote.

The judge also said the Koch brothers and other donors faced a threat of harm because the state inadvertently disclosed donor lists nearly 1,800 times on a public website that contains charities’ registration forms.

Harris testified that she has implemented procedures to prevent donor information from being disclosed to the public.

While he is satisfied with the judge’s decision, Holden told The Daily Signal he is worried about what he calls one of the unintended consequences of the 2010 Supreme Court case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, where the justices ruled that corporations and unions can spend unlimited money on political actions that are done independent of a party or candidate.

Critics contend that Citizens United has increased the influence of money in politics, and that groups like Americans for Prosperity showcase the problem of non-transparent laws governing donor disclosure by nonprofits.

Holden, meanwhile, argues that liberal politicians and Democratic-minded groups are using the legal system to attack their political opponents.

As an example, he referred to a recent subpoena issued by Claude E. Walker, the U.S. Virgin Islands attorney general, demanding ExxonMobil Corp.’s communications with free-market think tanks including the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and climate change-skeptic scientists.

Walker is part of a network of state attorneys general who are alleging that Exxon has misrepresented its products and activities contributing to climate change “in order to defraud the government and consumers.”

“The bottom line is, over the last six years we have seen a war on speech,” Holden said. “We are even seeing it on climate change, where we see the use of threats and force by law enforcement to silence groups they don’t agree with. This should not be a partisan issue. It’s just free speech.”


School sports carnivals have got a problem

Australian feminist Em Rusciano gets something right

YESTERDAY, I was taught a valuable lesson by a bunch of eight- and nine-year-old kids that I think you may want to hear.

I was helping out at my youngest daughter’s athletics carnival (yes I was an elite hurdler, yes I did qualify for world juniors and win my first national title when I was 10. So what? Stop bringing it up) when something caught my eye.

My kids go to an awesome school. However … how do I put this? It has more of an academic/performing arts/paint pictures of your feelings vibe to it than an incubator for elite athletes vibe.

If it was a “knit your own tampon” or “public speak your way out of a hostage situation” or “re-explain the theory of relativity using five different maths equations” race, they would totally nail that sh*t though.

I was standing at the finish line of the 60m hurdles when the first bunch of kids came barrelling through. They were the under-nine boys and one of the lads caught my eye (he had a knitted green and white striped frog beanie on).

I said hello and asked him how many ribbons he felt he may acquire today. Upon reflection that may have been a thoughtless question as moments before he’d finished exactly last in his event, but I’d already forgotten that because: awesome hat! His response floored me. It amused me so much I nearly had an asthma attack.

He said, with both hands on his hips and a deep sigh that belonged to an 80-year-old war vet, “Probably none, I’ll probably just get a few of those (points to participation ribbon) and a bunch of ‘well dones’.”

The tone was unmistakeable. It said: “I’m sick of your sh*t, don’t patronise me with your well dones and participation awards, I know the score.”

It made me wonder, do we give out participation awards to make the kids or the parents feel better?

I decided to conduct subtle interviews with every kid I saw today and NONE of them wanted the participation ribbon. Most of them down right sneered at it. They all understood that someone is going to get to the line fastest, jump the highest and throw the furthest. They all got that some people are better at sport than others and none of them seemed too fazed by that.

Look, if we weren’t giving out the first, second and third place ribbons and the day was just about having fun and being outdoors, great! Let’s go on an Oprah Christmas special ribbon giving spree: “You get a ribbon, and you get a ribbon and you get a ribbon, riiiibonnnnnn!”

However WE DO give out the first, second and third place awards, so what message are we sending them? “Hey kids it doesn’t matter if you win but if you do win you get a special prize and accolade, but it doesn’t matter, but it does, and the rest of the kids get a generic thing because they’re not special like the kids who won, who aren’t special, but they are ...”

Confusing huh? Imagine being a kid then!

I worry we’re getting to a point with kids sport where we’re attempting to shield them from feeling disappointment and loss. Isn’t that the stuff that builds resilience and resolve? Doesn’t it foster the need to improve and learn and grow?

After my highly scientific research at the track I’m now of the opinion that we don’t need to bother with participation awards.

For three reasons:

1. The kid’s don’t want them. They’re well on to us, the jig is up mates.

2. It’s OK to fail! Don’t be afraid to let your kids feel the sting of defeat. Let their little hearts get a ding or two, help them identify what they can learn from it and then they will grow and be better next time.

3. Don’t reward them for just showing up. It makes them grow up feeling entitled. You’re not doing them any favours — want and need create drive.

All that being said, of course not all kids are going to be the best at all things at all times and that’s OK, as long as your kid finds something he or she likes doing then they’ll be all right.

By the by, old mate frog beanie totally won his 100m … Not that it mattered, but it did, but it didn’t.


David van Gend from The Australian Marriage Forum responds to questions on marriage equality

Q. What is Australian Marriage Forum's opposition to same-sex marriage based on?

The heart of our opposition to same-sex 'marriage' is that such an institution would deliberately deprive future children of either their mother or their father, and that is an injustice we should never contemplate. It hurts children if we break the bond with their mother or father, and same-sex 'marriage' is just a new government policy for breaking that bond. We never learn.

We also oppose same-sex 'marriage' because it is untrue – a legal fiction with no foundation in nature. Marriage is not a social invention to be cut to shape according to political fad; it is a social recognition of timeless natural reality: male, female, offspring. Only a terminally demented culture like the modern West would seek to repeal nature and build our society on an artificial foundation.

We also oppose same-sex 'marriage' because it is a package deal that brings with it the entire radical rainbow agenda. Once homosexual relations are normalised in the central institution of society, that gives the LGBT lobby the big stick of anti-discrimination law to normalise homosexual behaviour in the school curriculum, and to silence conscientious dissenters. Think 'Safe Schools' and Archbishop Porteous. 'Marriage equality' is not ultimately about marriage; it is about sexual radicals getting the legal clout to push their values down society's throat.

Q. Are you only opposed to the proposition of equal marriage or is the opposition to equality under the law for LGBTI in general?

Same-sex couples already have exactly the same legal status and benefits as any de facto or married couple in Australia, with no discrimination whatsoever, and we do not oppose that.

Same-sex couples already have full relationship equality with other couples, but their relationship is a different thing to the great natural project of marriage and family and they need to find a different word.

Q. What are your thoughts on homosexuality? Do you believe it is a normal expression of human sexuality?

My thoughts are that homosexuality does not define a person: he or she is a unique, transient and beloved creature like anyone else, and if a person happens to experience same-sex impulses that is merely a puzzling aspect of their emotional makeup; it is not who they are.

Homosexuality is clearly not normal in a statistical sense, since only 1.2% of the Australian population identify as homosexual while 97.5% identify as heterosexual.[i] In a clinical sense I agree with Dr Robert Spitzer, the gay-friendly psychiatrist who led the campaign to delete homosexuality from the APA's Diagnostic & Statistical Manual in 1973, who described homosexuality as "a form of irregular sexual development". It is not a mental illness, but nor is it normal, and for many years Spitzer argued against "the acceptance of the view that homosexuality is a normal variant."[ii] We should not form public policy on marriage or sex-education based on the false view that homosexuality is normal.

Q. In an Australian Marriage Forum advert it states that "The radicalisation of sex education and usurping of parental authority is (in our view) a main objective of the homosexual revolution." Can you explain this further? What do you believe is the end game for LGBTI advocates? Do you believe that legalising same sex marriage will lead to other reforms, if so what could they be?

The logic is simple: if the law says homosexual "marriage" is normal and right, schools will be obliged, by anti-discrimination law, to teach that homosexual behaviour is normal and right. There is no option. Parents today can push back against the 'Safe Schools' program - but parents will be sidelined and treated as bigots if they object to such material once homosexual 'marriage' becomes the law of the land.

Parents need to understand that the genderless agenda is a package deal: if they vote for 'marriage equality' they are voting for 'Safe Schools' on steroids and agreeing to relinquish control of their child's moral education to sexual radicals.

If they vote for 'marriage equality', based on President Obama's executive order this week to all 96,000 public schools in the US, parents are voting for their daughter to have to share change-rooms with disturbed young men who claim they are women – all on the basis of genderless 'equality'.

The end game of any revolution is to remake society in its own radical image: that is achieved largely through controlling the education of the next generation and by silencing dissenting voices. Think 'Safe Schools' and Archbishop Porteous...

Q. Some commentators have observed that the debate between progressives and conservatives on issues such as Safe Schools, Gayby Baby, marriage equality etc is part of a "culture war" between left and right. What are your thoughts on this?

Wait for my book in a few months time. There will be a chapter on cultural Marxism and its many and varied fellow travellers and their relentless attacks on marriage and family over the last century.

Q. Are you concerned that language used to describe the push for LGBTI inclusion - eg the flyers we saw recently protesting the AFL's upcoming Pride game, comparing legalising same sex marriage to the stolen generation - could be damaging for LGBTI young people and their families?

I am concerned at the emotional blackmail used by supporters of same-sex 'marriage' which claims that any and every statement of opposition to same-sex 'marriage' is "damaging for LGBTI young people and their families" - so we had better just shut up and let them be the only voice in the public square.

Examples: in the Sydney Morning Herald, Justin Koonin, convenor of the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, specified our full-page ad in The Australian (10/8/15[iii]) as an example of the "bigoted opinions that we know cause harm to same-sex attracted and gender diverse young people". [iv] In an earlier report about our television ad aired during Mardi Gras in March 2015[v], the director of Australian Marriage Equality, Rodney Croome, said our ad was "actually harming the many Australian children being raised by same-sex couples". [vi]

Do you see how this game works? If anyone makes the case for keeping marriage between man and woman, the mere act of raising such an argument is "actually harming" children. There is only one solution: say nothing. Breathing a word makes us culpable for depression and even death in young people!

That is shameless emotional blackmail designed to silence one side of a serious debate.

I am astonished at the portrayal of LGBT young people and families as so fragile that they must be protected from hearing any discussion about homosexual marriage and parenting. How condescending! And it goes with the pathetic proposition that we should overturn the foundational institution of society as a form of psychological therapy for LGBT young people and their families. There are less radical ways to help them feel loved and respected.



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

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

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


23 May, 2016

Political correctness "kills the truth"

Political correctness "kills the truth" and is hurting efforts in the West to fight ISIS, counter-terrorism expert and Israeli politician Anat Berko tells Newsmax TV.

In an interview Friday with "Hard Line" host Ed Berliner, the Israeli parliament member and chairman of its Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee declares, "if you cannot define your enemy, you have a problem.

"If you want to be politically correct and nice, it's not the way, how we fight terrorism and terrorism is everywhere right now," she said, adding being political correct "kills the truth.

"You need to look for the truth, you need to watch for the enemy, you need to find… the target and how to combat it and what you achieve every day to do so," she added. "And this is something I think is essential and I don't see that in the West we do that."

Berko says her research on terrorism has found Islamic jihadists "actually rely on our morality, that we wouldn't dare to do what they dare to do — and we are about human rights.

"But we should be about human life," she said. "You should seek for security even if sometimes it's bothering you."

In Israel, she adds, citizens have such a heightened awareness of security that they oftentimes stop terror attacks, "not the police and not the security services.

"This is something that I don't see here," she said.

She added that she does not support the suggestion from GOP presumptive nominee Donald Trump that the families of terrorists must be killed.

"We cannot be like them," she said, but added: "Do whatever is necessary but without losing control.

"We need to be different from them, we cannot act in terrorism like they do. But we need to be more creative…make it in a better way, better thinking."


Calling out false abuse allegations

A new study shows how pseudo-victims’ claims differ to those of true victims

Last week, the Irish Independent reported that a former nun named Nora Wall, who was wrongfully convicted of rape and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1999, would receive over €500,000 in compensation.

Wall’s case was especially shocking, because the prosecution used a witness whom the Director of Public Prosecutions had said should not be called. Yet the prosecution went ahead and called the witness, whose fabricated tale succeeded in convicting Wall.

In one sense, Wall was fortunate. She had only served four days of her sentence, when she was released on bail. The witness admitted lying. In 2005, the Court of Criminal Appeal certified that Wall’s conviction was a miscarriage of justice, opening the way for a damages action against the state.

Wall is not the only nun to be falsely accused. Sr Domenica Ritchie is a 73-year-old Anglican nun, who won acclaim for her work in the hospice movement. She was awarded the OBE in 2006. Yet in 2013, when Savile mania was at its height, two women accused her of indecently assaulting them in Oxford in the 1970s. They did not go to the police but, as often happens, an officious third party reported their claims. Sr Domenica was arrested, but in 2014 the Crown Prosecution Service decided that there was no basis for charging her.

Why do some people make false allegations, which wreak such havoc in the lives of innocent people? Filing false vice reports, a recent Dutch study published in April this year, offers some much-needed clarity. Motives for false allegations include revenge, attention-seeking and compensation.

The authors (André De Zutter, Robert Horselenberg and Peter van Koppen) undertook a bold piece of research. They decided to commission false allegations of rape, and compare them with victims’ accounts in real cases, where men had been convicted. ‘The trust of the innocent is the liar’s most useful tool’, they say, quoting from Stephen King’s Needful Things.

They propose a new theory of fabricated rape. Their hypothesis is that pseudo-victims have to construct stories based on their own experiences and beliefs about rape. They will construct a stereotypical story that does not resemble a true rape. They will tend to rely on representations of rape in news media, which tended to be biased and often lack details. Typically, the media cover sensational and atypical rapes.

A pseudo-victim will also likely create a rapist whose conduct does not fit typical offender categories. In brief: the four typical rapist profiles are ‘opportunist, pervasively angry, sexual, and vindictive’. Typical rapist behaviours can include such things as attempts at pseudo-intimacy, or stealing from the victim. These sorts of behaviour are often absent from media reports of rape. By contrast, the proportion of rape stereotypes is typically higher in false allegations of rape.

So how do false and true allegations of rape differ? Typically the false report will provide a concise story with little details. The research used a control group (consisting of likely true allegations) and two experimental groups where participants were invited to invent a rape accusation. The study used 187 variables (specific rapist behaviours) to test the veracity of the stories it collected.

The cohort comprised 65 allegations, of which 30 were likely true and 35 likely false. Half of the false category were given three days to prepare their story, while the rest were given 30 minutes. Participants were screened for having experienced unpleasant sexual encounters: those who had were excluded from the study, as were true rape victims. The participants who were accepted were then interviewed using the same protocol as that used with an actual complainant in a Dutch police unit.

The results were both instructive and intriguing. True victims were twice as likely to give details – and give them spontaneously – than pseudo-victims. True victims described a lot of verbal interaction with their rapist, most of which fitted the rapist profiles mentioned earlier (eg, sadistic rapists were insulting). They also described a wide variety of sexual acts and positions. True victims engaged in evidence-conserving activities (such as not showering), while pseudo-victims did the opposite.

The authors conclude that four main characteristics of false allegations stand out. First, the alleged rape is always swift – almost all cases were completed in less than 15 minutes. Second, the pseudo-victim is passive, and their narrative does not include a variety of sexual acts. Third, false allegations mostly include instrumental violence, and almost no expressive violence (eg, unnecessary hurting during sex). ‘False complainants seem to be aware that it is the era of forensic evidence. Bruises and scratches without foreign DNA might put their credibility on the line.’ Finally, pseudo-victims offer a more detailed description of their attacker’s personal appearance than real ones do. For some reason, false complainants described the nose of the fabricated offender more than genuine victims.

Anything that can assist in screening out false complaints of sex crime is of great importance. No one benefits when the innocent are wrongly accused. The present problem in Britain is that police and prosecutors have been captured by the believe-the-victim mindset. Seeking out sex criminals – especially elderly ones (and sometimes even dead ones) – has become a grotesque 21st-century illustration of Parkinson’s Law – that a bureaucracy will generate enough work to keep itself ‘busy’ and to justify its continued existence.

One defence lawyer has said that 70 per cent of cases in Crown Courts now are sex cases. The CPS (65 per cent of whose workforce is female) evidently has no concept of age discrimination. It zealously prosecutes offenders ranging in age from 12 to 101. This is madness. It has nothing to do with the public interest. Britain’s prisons are overcrowded, and increasingly unsafe.

So what’s to be done? The police need to be more rigorous in their questioning of complainants. In particular, adult complainants should not be treated like tender youngsters. It is troubling to learn that in a recent case in Cirencester, which collapsed on the first day of trial, the policeman in charge was a confidant of the complainant, even interviewing her in her bedroom.

Second, the CPS must drop their biased outlook, which assumes that all complainants are victims. Its Toolkit for Prosecutors on Violence Against Women and Girls Cases Involving a Vulnerable Victim is typical of this mindset. The eight-page document uses the word ‘victim’ 39 times, and ‘victims’ nine times. Both agencies need to acquire some objectivity, instead of acting as allies of our current victim culture. And they must stop being the useful tools of those who make false allegations.


It’s not just parents of girls who should be worried about equality

I AM a besotted mother of two small men-in-training and I have a mother of an issue.

You see, as the gender debate rages and the quest for equality grows ever more political, mothers of boys are constantly being told to have higher expectations of our sons’ behaviour. To show courage and not let any sexism in our boys go unchecked.

And it’s true, we can’t have enough open discussion on respect and the value of being a gentleman. Neanderthal blokes with substandard morals and negligible levels of courtesy certainly grunt n’ leer among us, and it’s never pretty.

But the world’s somewhat lofty aspirations for our parenting makes up just part of the puzzle that underpins raising boys in the 21st Century.

This ‘call to arms’ for us to amp up our parenting feels like we’ve been charged with leading the way towards some kind of utopian, gender-balanced society of the future. Something that, in my opinion, is akin to believing little girls are sugar n’ spice and boys are a sweaty mess of snips and snails and puppy dogs tails.

This piece is in defence of all the incredible mothers and fathers of sons I know who are way ahead of the game in terms of raising beautifully mannered, emotionally intelligent gentlemen.

My husband and I are forever encouraging sensitivity and courteous behaviour in our boys and our sons are respectful, thoughtful, big-hearted little kids.

But, to what end? What world will they be allowed to be men in?

Before we leap ahead, let’s look at the current state of gender play which, to my mind, goes a little something like this ...

In advertising, men are fair game, ripe and ready to be lampooned by marketers selling the generic notion that all men are clueless fathers, inept lovers, junk food addicts and insensitive cavemen. On TV, testicles are crushed regularly by any female presenter lusting after the last word in a debate, a joke, anything.

I’ve cringed watching well-spoken, smart men be reduced to buffoon status for the sake of on-air banter generally led by women. And I was gobsmacked when a visiting feminist writer on a popular panel show justified her gender politics when she spat, “…men should just get over themselves.”

What would happen if a man had uttered those same words about women: outrage, looting, Twitter meltdown.

So this mother worries. I can raise the most remarkable, stunning young men, but I fret about the future society my sons will live, love and work in.

Will it be a world populated by self-entitled, bitching women who scorn femininity in favour of their ‘ball-breaking’ mode — stuck on repeat? Or who get their G-strings in a twist when a man compliments their hair? Will our boys be allowed to show chivalry without being chastised by some hot-headed fem who can open her own bloody door thank you …?

Will my sons be able to define and ‘live’ their masculinity without fear? In fact, what will ‘being a man’ even look like 10, 15 years from now? Sure, Prince may have rejigged the gender thing significantly throughout his life, but one man in eyeliner and a vat-load of ruffles does not lasting change make.

Oh and then there’s that pesky gender imbalance thing in the workplace. Unfair absolutely but a source of loathsome tokenism when industries scramble to concoct new charters and add more vaginas to the mix before announcing, hey Ma, look, we’re champions of diversity, too!

Will this blatant bandaid solution to obvious inequality take my sons’ career choices hostage in the future?

The fact is, I crave gender equality as much as the next homo sapien, but as a mother of boys, I am torn. So each time men are relegated to fall guy status in the name of entertainment, selling washing powder or engaging in supposedly well-intentioned political commentary, all I can think of is my sons and their future.

Unfounded fears? Mild hysteria from a loved-up Mama? Call it what you will. But inequality isn’t just harming women. Parents raising daughters aren’t the only people despairing of the future.

We shouldn’t point the finger at just the misbehaving men in football, on dancefloors or uni campuses. Women are just as adept at dickheadery as men are.

As parents all we can do is follow our instinct and impart a level of wisdom and love that won’t be tainted by the unwritten rules of society — that men and women are not equal, that men are insensitive, foolhardy oafs and women merely their prick-teasing sex kittens … puppy dogs tails not withstanding — or wagging.


Birth certificates may be next frontier in bathroom law debate

Across the country, since at least the 1970s, most states have maintained laws that allow individuals to make changes to their birth certificates. When the laws were passed, trans individuals and their interest in obtaining a birth certificate or other public documents consistent with their gender identity wasn’t really part of the conversation, said M. Dru Levasseur, a lawyer and director of Lambda Legal’s transgender rights project. Lambda is the nation’s oldest and largest legal organization focused on protecting the rights of lesbians, gay men, trans individuals and people living with HIV/AIDS.

However, in the decades since, trans individuals have also used those laws to change — advocates of the practice often say correct — the gender listed on a trans person’s birth certificate.

North Carolina’s transgender law creates tangle of lawsuits
The dueling lawsuits over North Carolina’s law on bathroom use by transgender people have landed in the hands of three federal judges appointed by Republican presidents, with both sides trying to maneuver into the most favorable courtroom possible.

Today, state policies on this issue differ a great deal. The District of Columbia, New York City and 10 states — California, Oregon, Washington, New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Vermont, Massachusetts, Hawaii and Minnesota — allow individuals to do so if they can provide a notarized doctors note that they have received the treatment deemed necessary by the individual and their doctor to live their life in a way that is consistent with their gender identity.

That’s what trans activists call the "modernized standard," because it does not mandate expensive surgery or hormone treatments that every trans person does not want and some along with their doctors do not feel they need. And, that’s also the standard required by the Social Security Administration for Social Security cards, as well as US passports and birth certificates issued to Americans born abroad.

Thirty-seven states currently have a higher standard, though — requiring people to provide medical proof that they have undergone gender reassignment surgery in order to request an altered birth certificate. North Carolina is part of this latter group.

Three states — Idaho, Ohio, and Tennessee — do not allow changes to birth certificates at all. Tennessee has a state law explicitly forbidding changes to the gender section of a birth certificate. And, this month, lawmakers in Kansas held a hearing to consider a request from officials in that state’s health department that would limit changes to birth certificates to rare situations where, as the Associated Press reported, "a person or his or her parents could document that the gender was incorrectly recorded at the time of birth." Kansas health department officials say they are being asked to make changes to birth certificates that extend beyond the authority granted to them by Kansas’s 1970s-era birth certificate law.

Also this month, a trans-rights group filed suit against the state of Pennsylvania on behalf of two trans individuals who say that the state’s rules requiring people who want a birth certificate change to provide proof of surgery violates their rights under the Equal Protection Clause. The suit describes trans status as a "disability."

Both the matter in Kansas and the Pennsylvania suit get at a core dispute between those who support laws like North Carolina’s bathroom law and those who do not. Opponents of the law insist that gender cannot be truly determined by looking at the genitals of a child when born. Those who support it say that sex is fixed at birth and cannot be altered in anything more than cosmetic or surgical ways.

Amnesty International and the European Court of Human Rights have both declared any attempt to prevent transgender individuals from changing the gender listed on their official documents a violation of these individuals’ human rights. In the United States, a number of gay and trans advocacy organizations say the ability to alter one’s birth certificate is key, because it allows trans individuals to decide when and to whom they want to disclose the fact that they are trans.

Without this option, they may be forced to present, for example, a driver’s license that bears the legal name and gender identity that they now present to the world but a birth certificate that does not correspond and will raise questions anytime such a person applies for a job, a loan, or an apartment. That’s part of the reason that the US State Department’s policy change in 2010 and the Social Security Administration’s changes in 2013 were so widely applauded by trans advocacy groups. Of course, not everyone has

The actual content of that North Carolina bill and those that mimic it make the reasons that some people want to alter their birth certificates pretty plain. Again, that North Carolina law makes a crime of using a public bathroom that does not correspond with the gender listed on one’s birth certificate.



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, 2016

Another multicultural charmer in Britain

Mohammed Anwaar was jailed for 28 months at Sheffield Crown Court, South Yorkshire.  Why can't these animals be left to harass one-another in the Middle East where they belong?

A boyfriend has been jailed for forcing his girlfriend to undergo a grueling fitness regime and controlling what she ate as though she was a lab rat to make her look like Kim Kardashian.

Mohammed Anwaar told Gemma Doherty even sent her pictures of the women he thought looked better than her, which also included his 'favourite' model Graceyanne Barbosa.

Anwaar would threaten to beat her if she did not do as she was told during a reign of terror that lasted more than a year, a court heard.

Miss Doherty said: 'He treated me like an animal - almost like a guinea pig in a laboratory. He wanted me to have abs and a huge ass - a big one like Kim Kardashian.

'His favourite model was Graceyanne Barbosa and he would make me look at her fitness routines and practise them. If I didn't he would beat me.'

Anwaar was today jailed for 28 months at Sheffield Crown Court, South Yorkshire, and one of the ten charges was the new crime of controlling or coercive behaviour, brought in at the end of 2015. 

Police believe today's sentence - which carried 12 months for that charge alone - could open the floodgates for many more prosecutions.

In a victim statement read out to the court yesterday, Miss Doherty said the relationship had started out 'perfect' but everything changed in May 2015.

'I knew how quickly his mood could change over the smallest thing,' she said.

The court heard how Anwaar told mother-of-two Miss Doherty, 30, who she could see, what she was allowed to wear and what not to eat.

She told the court she was forced to eat 50 cans of Tuna a week and run on a treadmill every day to meet his demands, and he would not let her see her friends - who noticed her drastic weight loss.

Anwaar made her burn 500 calories every single day on the treadmill, despite her telling him that it was not the best way to achieve a body like the women he showed them.

She said: 'He would sit on the toilet while looking at pictures of Graceyanne and would tell me I needed to do more sit ups and do more squats.

'I told him that by losing 500 calories a day on the machine would not achieve that - but he wouldn't listen. He would force me on the treadmill until I achieved the daily target.

'One time I had stopped because he had fallen asleep. I had got to 425 calories, he woke up and because I had stopped - he made me start again.'

She added: 'He would only let me eat tuna and beetroot. I would see my friends out and they told me to eat more.  'I was wasting away when I was forced to lose all these calories every day. I felt like a zombie on autopilot and was at his beck and call - whatever and whenever.'

Mixed in with Anwaar's controlling behaviour were violent attacks, the most serious of which in August last year brought a charge of assault causing actual bodily harm.

After an argument over money, Anwaar first smashed Miss Doherty's iPhone before attacking her with slaps and kicks, choking her and causing her to fall unconscious.

He assaulted her on five other occasions, often in front of her young sons. The most recent attack was on March 5 this year, again after an argument, and this was when police were called.

The court heard Anwaar slapped Miss Doherty two or three times around the back of the head, put his hands around her throat so she fell to the floor and choked her in a headlock. He continued the assault, hitting her again and calling her a dog.

Nicola Quinney, prosecuting, said Anwaar had held a knife to Miss Doherty's throat, asking her if she wanted him to kill her, and saying he wasn't scared of a life sentence.

During the attack, Miss Doherty's son Ethan, three, was hiding under the bed.

She added: 'When I told the police that I didn't mind a slap or being roughed about, the officers told me it wasn't normal.  'But I had been sucked into Mo's life of him being a King - and I thought I couldn't get out.'

Miss Doherty finally left Anwaar on March 5 this year following a nine-month tirade of abuse.

Anwaar had allegedly paid men to wait inside Gemma's workplace and make sure she was not flirting with men.

He also forced her to wear male jumpers with long-sleeved arms, not just to cover bruises but to stop other men looking at her.

She was pushed to suicide and took an overdose of 18 pills after the horrendous abuse became too much for her. She survived, but was beaten again by Anwaar for trying to take her life.

Speaking about some of the harrowing incidents from her friend's home today, she said: 'Some of the things he made me do were totally disgusting and I wouldn't like to say.

'I was forced to wear men's clothes and jumpers in summer. He made me get the bus so he could drive my car.

'I finally decided to leave and get out when he tried to force me to do something that I declined to do. He then beat me in every single room of the house.

'The next day I told him I was going to the shop with my son but instead I ran to a pay phone.

After he was jailed, she talked of her relief, saying she has 'finally been brought back into the real world', after withdrawing from the world, falling out with her mother and friends.

But Miss Doherty described how she no longer had any self confidence and was worried because Anwaar had a large family and she didn't want to go out in case she saw them.

'He ruined my daily life,' said Miss Doherty, who had to be put into a safe house after going to police for fears of reprisals from his family.

The judge took into account his previous convictions - which included several assaults causing actual bodily harm to other men - when sentencing Anwaar.


Black Leaders Trash Obama's Transgender Agenda

Black Americans are sick and tired of being used as a tool to advance the radical gay and transgender agenda, and they have a message for President Obama: knock it off!

Conservative black leaders have criticized the Obama administration's comparison of North Carolina's transgender law to Jim Crow edicts, saying it trivializes the importance of the civil rights movement, Christian Post Politics reports.

When the Justice Department last week filed a lawsuit against North Carolina for its law requiring people to use bathrooms in government buildings that match their birth sex, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said: "This is not the first time that we have seen discriminatory responses to historic moments of progress for our nation. We saw it in the Jim Crow laws that followed the Emancipation Proclamation.

The comparisons were too much for some to take. Project 21, a nationwide group of black conservative leaders, issued a statement saying they disagreed with opposition to the North Carolina law itself, but were even more outraged by the analogy.

Project 21 member Nadra Enzi said that "as a Black Southern man who grew up fighting what I call 'Jim Crow-lite' in the 1970s-1980s, in Savannah, Georgia… I find the ridiculous transgender/civil rights movement comparison insulting and disrespectful.

"Middle-and upper-income whites in search of artificial oppressed person status can do so without using our history to prop up delusional defenses.

Another member, Derryck Green, said: "Attaching this insanity to the legacy of civil rights… trivializes everything the brave men and women experienced and sacrificed in the pursuit of social, economic and legal equality…", while Christopher Arps added that "Civil rights champions were not spat upon, beaten with police batons and sometimes murdered for the right of men to go to the same restroom with little girls.


Our Constitutional Right to Privacy Is Missing From Bathroom Debate

It should be common sense that every person is entitled to privacy when using the restroom, changing, or showering, but unfortunately, some have eliminated common sense from the discussion.

What else can explain the decision by dozens of school districts across the country, retailing giant Target, and even the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice to voluntarily adopt and promote policies that strip away privacy for everyone, allowing men into women’s restrooms and locker rooms, and vice versa?

Why does privacy even matter? Sure, our courts have recognized that it’s a constitutionally protected right. And our society has long structured itself around the need to allow privacy for the sexes in intimate settings. But why?

When discussing freedom of speech, one of our most precious rights, the Supreme Court has often emphasized that the right is most important for those whose speech is most vulnerable to censorship.

The majority’s views aren’t the ones that need protection. The minority’s views, the ones that may subject the speaker to abuse, are the ones that the First Amendment was designed to protect.

The same is true of the right to privacy. So who are the vulnerable ones in our society most in need of privacy?

Stephanie has several children that came to her through a foster program. Her children are beautiful, vibrant, and overflowing with joy.

If you met them on the street, you would never suspect that two of her daughters had suffered severe molestation and rape by men that they trusted. For these girls, feeling safe and secure in private settings—such as bedrooms, bathrooms, and locker rooms—is necessary to heal. And to feel safe, these girls need to know that their private spaces will not be invaded by a male.

You would think that the school these girls attend would be especially protective of them. You would be wrong.

The school voluntarily adopted a policy that would allow boys into the girls’ restrooms, locker rooms, and even hotel rooms on school trips. The school callously ignored Stephanie’s explanation that the presence of a boy in these private settings would be a trigger event for her daughters, causing severe psychological harm and setting back the progress they had made.

Stephanie was told, “It isn’t a big deal.”

Another mother, Verity, has a daughter with Down syndrome. As parents of these precious souls will tell you, their children are the best thing that has ever happened to them. But parenthood comes with challenges.

Verity wants her daughter to have independence and to be able to take care of herself. Her daughter, unfortunately, doesn’t always know how to handle every situation she encounters.

Verity naturally worries that, if her daughter is forced to share a restroom or locker room with a male, her daughter could be easily taken advantage of.

Separate facilities for boys and girls add an extra layer of protection for Verity’s daughter by preventing those with ill motives from taking advantage of open access to enter into women’s restrooms unquestioned.

There are millions of stories like Stephanie’s and Verity’s, millions of people for whom privacy is especially important in order to heal and to feel safe. By protecting privacy for everyone, we protect privacy for the most vulnerable among us.

So before we sacrifice this constitutionally protected right at the altar of gender identity politics, let us consider the consequences, especially when options exist to accommodate everyone without violating anyone’s privacy.

Let us consider the victims of sexual abuse, those with mental and physical challenges, and the young girls who simply do not want to be forced to change next to a boy.

For them, privacy is not a luxury. It is a necessity.


Punching down

The elite are using new laws to express their contempt for  ordinary people

On January 20, a federal appeals court heard arguments in the highly publicized case of Kimberly Jean “Kim” Davis, county clerk of Rowan County (population 23,000) in mountainous northeastern Kentucky. There were many legal issues at stake—discrimination, sexual equality, religious liberty—but the whole affair had another component, rarely noted in popular accounts: Society’s winners, those who believe themselves on the right side of progress and have the success to prove it, think little of humiliating and attempting to ruin those who are less fortunate and cling to old beliefs.

Davis, age fifty, served five days in jail in September 2015 over her refusal on grounds of her Christian conscience to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. That decision, released on June 26, 2015, found a fundamental right to marry that the high court’s five-justice majority said extended to same-sex as well as opposite-sex couples under the Constitution’s due process and equal protection clauses.

Davis’s lawyers at Liberty Counsel proceeded with their appeal of Bunning’s injunction, arguing that while Obergefell v. Hodges might have established a fundamental right for same-sex couples to marry that states were bound to recognize, it did not establish a fundamental right to have a marriage license issued by a particular person in a particular county. Furthermore, the lawyers argued, Kentucky’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (enacted in 2013 and modeled after a similar 1993 federal law) required the state of Kentucky to accommodate Davis’s sincerely held religious beliefs—which, her lawyers argued, could have been easily accomplished if Beshear had simply allowed Davis to leave her signature off the same-sex licenses to begin with. Indeed, Beshear left office while the appeal was pending (Kentucky law forbids a governor from serving more than two terms), and his newly elected successor, Matt Bevin, a Republican, signed an executive order on December 22, 2015, that removed county clerks’ names from marriage licenses.

You might think that Bevin’s stroke of the pen—honoring the Christian faith of Davis and two other Kentucky county clerks who had taken similar ­stances (neither was subjected to litigation), while allowing same-sex couples to proceed to their wedding ceremonies—would have ended the matter in an amicable compromise. It did not. The ACLU continued to press forward against Davis, contending that a Kentucky statute required that Davis’s signature and title appear on the licenses, and it was a statute that could not be nullified by a governor’s executive order. This was certainly a valid legal point, except that the ACLU’s way of making it was to request Bunning to issue a second contempt order that would send Davis back to jail for failing to comply with his original September 3 injunction. The ACLU made much of the altered license form that Davis had authorized (it had the word “clerk” systematically crossed out) and was still seeking to have her re-incarcerated even as the Kentucky Senate was moving along a bill in early 2016 that would amend Kentucky law along the lines of Bevin’s executive order (and thus render the ACLU’s argument moot), and as the Sixth Circuit was reading briefs and hearing arguments in Davis’s appeal.

In the end, Bunning did not give the ACLU what it wanted on this second contempt go-around. After a hearing on February 9, 2016, he ruled that Davis had not in fact interfered with her office’s issuance of marriage licenses and that there was “every reason to believe” that the altered licenses her office had issued would “be recognized as valid under Kentucky law.” An ACLU spokesman said the organization has no immediate plans to contest Bunning’s ruling, although ACLU staff attorney Ria Tabacco Mar issued a statement complaining that it was “inappropriate for any government official to force changes to her job duties—and those of every other person with that job throughout the state—based on personal religious beliefs.”

At the heart of the autumn 2015 brouhaha over Miller v. Davis was that yawning class gap between the plaintiffs with their advanced degrees, university connections, and comfortable salaries, and the non-college-educated Davis, with her pioneer-woman skirts, trailer-trash backstory, and practice of throwing her arms up in public prayer in an enthusiastic fashion that would be deemed mortifying by most of today’s suburbanized and hypo-expressive mainline Protestants and Catholics. The media alternated between scoffing at Davis as a “bigot” and “homophobe” and explaining in condescending detail the tenets of her Apostolic Pentecostal denomination, with its immersion baptism and its requirement that members exhibit external signs of “holiness”—hence the long dresses and uncut hair for women. Clair Jones, a writer for the Huffington Post who had grown up in Morehead and attended Morehead State, hastened to reassure her readers that she and her friends were nothing like that “small-town court clerk” Kim Davis: “Morehead is also home to a thriving theatre community, amazing bluegrass musicians, talented local artists, and tons of absolutely brilliant, kind people who live there not for religious reasons, but for their profound connection to the land and Appalachian culture.” Although not, apparently, their connection to the aspect of “Appalachian culture” that has made Evangelical Christianity Rowan County’s predominant faith.

This is not the only instance of academic aggression against working-class religious people. The leitmotif is also part of the long-running litigation involving Barronelle Stutzman, a seventy-year-old florist in Richland, Washington, who was sued over her refusal, on grounds of the “relationship with Jesus” that her Southern Baptist faith afforded her, to provide custom floral arrangements for the wedding of a gay couple, Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed, in 2013. Washington had legalized same-sex marriage in 2012.

There is a certain similarity to the divergent Kim Davis demographics: Plaintiff Freed is vice president for instruction at Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Washington, and plaintiff Ingersoll, according to his LinkedIn profile, manages a Goodwill Industries store in Seattle. According to the Washington State Employee Salary Database, Freed earned $118,830 at Columbia Basin College in 2012, and his salary for 2013 was $200,856 (he moved to Whatcom CC in summer 2013). Defendant Stutzman is the sole owner of the small flower shop that her mother turned over to her when she retired. Ingersoll and Freed had been customers for years at Stutzman’s Arlene’s Flowers, and she knew all about their relationship.

But when she balked at active participation in a marriage ceremony that her religious beliefs deemed invalid (she gave the couple the names of several other florists) and Ingersoll posted his dissatisfaction with her stance on his Facebook page, both the ACLU, representing Ingersoll and Freed, and the Washington state attorney general’s office filed lawsuits against her under state civil-rights laws. In 2015 a judge ordered Stutzman to pay a $1,000 fine and issued a permanent injunction ordering her to service same-sex weddings in the future or risk similar fines. The judge also ruled that Stutzman would be personally liable to Ingersoll and Freed for damages and attorney’s fees—an amount that hasn’t been set yet but that could potentially cost Stutzman her business, her home, and her retirement savings. Those rulings are currently on appeal with the Washington Supreme Court. Meanwhile, according to the ACLU, Ingersoll and Freed went through with their wedding ceremony, perhaps indicating that they could live without Stutzman’s custom floral arrangements after all.

There has been a distinct theme of class warfare in a significant number of the lawsuits that have been brought seeking to compel operators of small businesses peripheral to the wedding industry—florists, bakers, photographers, and proprietors of picturesque wedding venues—to offer their services in same-sex ceremonies that their sincerely held Christian beliefs deem invalid. The same-sex couples who pursue the litigation are often highly educated professionals, the ACLU is ubiquitously at hand to offer them free legal representation, and the relief sought in court is typically far broader than simply making plaintiffs claiming injury whole by providing them a one-off service. It typically involves a blanket court order requiring the Christian florist or baker or photographer or innkeeper to ­provide those services in perpetuity to every same-sex couple that darkens his doors or face financially ruinous consequences. In a few cases, such as Stutzman’s, the defendant faces a court order plus financial ruin, because many progressive judges lend sympathetic ears to same-sex plaintiffs’ claims of humiliation and severe emotional harm. Typically as well, militant gay-rights sympathizers—and there are apparently plenty of them—flood social media and review sites such as Yelp with one-star comments about wilted flowers and cupcakes that gave them food poisoning, all in obvious efforts to put those holdout Christians out of business.

One of the most publicized of the lawsuits involves Jack Phillips, prop­rietor of the Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, a sprawling and, until ­recently, rural suburb of Denver. Somewhat like Kim Davis, Phillips had led an out-of-control life during his twenties that included heavy drinking and two out-of-wedlock children before he “found Christ,” as he told a reporter. He cited his Christian belief that marriage is between a man and a woman as the basis for his refusal in July 2012 to make a rainbow cake for the reception of a gay couple, Charles W. Craig and David J. Mullins, who had traveled to Provincetown, Massachusetts, for a wedding ceremony because same-sex marriage was then illegal in Colorado. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission and, later, a state appellate court found that Phillips had violated a state anti-discrimination law, and the case is now pending before the Colorado Supreme Court. A law firm representing Craig and Mullins in tandem with the ACLU did not respond to email and phone requests for occupational information about its clients, but an online search revealed that two men in their thirties with the exact same names share a house in a Denver neighborhood where sales prices of single-family homes are in the half-million-dollar range. And Craig and Mullins got their rainbow cake fairly quickly from one of the dozens of gay-friendly bakers who swamped them with offers after the story broke. As for Phillips, his shop stopped making wedding cakes altogether, a move that he says has cost him 40 percent of his business revenues.

Another highly publicized wedding cake case involves Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of the Sweet Cakes by Melissa bakery in Gresham, Oregon. They were the subject of complaints to two separate Oregon state agencies after they declined to provide a cake for the 2013 commitment ceremony of lesbians Rachel Cryer and Laurel Bowman (the two now share the hyphenated surname Bowman-Cryer). An administrative law judge found that the Kleins had violated a 2008 Oregon law forbidding discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation. The Kleins were also ordered to pay a $135,000 fine for causing “emotional distress” to the Bowman-Cryers, a ruling that is now on appeal to the Oregon Supreme Court. Rachel Bowman-Cryer leads a Portlandia-like lifestyle as a “musician and poet” (so reports Willamette Week), and you can listen to some of her songs on her MySpace page. By contrast, the Kleins, who have five children, were obliged to close their storefront operation and move the bakery to their home.

The phrase “punching down” comes to mind. We have an array of court cases in which the arty, the academically inclined, and the nicely fixed avail themselves of free legal services from the ACLU and arrange themselves in a thick phalanx—their ranks bolstered by an army of liberal wits, journalists, professors, media nabobs, and amateur social-justice warriors on Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp—to crush small-time entrepreneurs and local officials in flyover states who profess brands of Christianity that the elites find not just laughable but dangerously retrograde. And those retrograde Christians who can’t keep up with rapidly changing elite social dicta almost always lose.

The Kim Davis case has happened to be the most widely covered of those cases, partly because it came in the immediate wake of Obergefell and has functioned as a test of the full scope of that sweeping Supreme Court ruling, and partly because the class gap between Davis and her opponents in court has been so glaringly dramatic. Liberal intellectuals and pundits pride themselves on their identification with a beleaguered underclass—but when it comes to a clash between a genuine beleaguered underclass and fashionable ideology, it seems that liberals will choose the ideology every time.



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

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

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


20 May, 2016

Facebook faces growing criticism of bias and censoring posts

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has met with conservative political leaders to play down allegations of anti-conservative bias.

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has met with conservative political leaders to play down allegations of anti-conservative bias.

Facebook has been outed — it is not, as its millions of users around the world had always presumed, everybody’s friend.

Just as Google had to quietly drop its axiom “don’t be evil”, the sanctity of Silicon Valley’s moral authority took another hit in the past week through revelations that Facebook “curates” the trending news items on its social media platform rather than allow its supposedly neutral “algorithms” to determine them without bias.

The furore, first reported on Gizmodo, the respected IT website, was exacerbated because as Facebook contractors explained, those curators are encouraged to focus on material from mainstream news sites, or what they ­believe is important, rather than news feeds featuring “conservative” items or personalities.

Essentially, Facebook operates as a traditional newsroom, with all its biases and corporate imperatives, rather than as a neutral and unimpeachable tool of audience demand, as it has always been made out to be.

Furthermore, the revelations confirmed beliefs that Facebook, a powerful corporation capitalised at $US117 billion ($161bn) on the NASDAQ ­exchange, has, and perpetuates, a liberal bias — much like the home of Facebook and its IT brethren, Silicon Valley.

Facebook quickly back-pedalled, releasing a statement from its vice president of search, Tom Stocky, saying it took “these ­reports extremely seriously” but “found no evidence that the anonymous allegations are true”.

Stocky added Facebook’s “rigorous guidelines … to ensure consistency and neutrality … do not permit the suppression of political perspectives” or the “prioritisation of one viewpoint over another”.

Yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg, the 32-year-old Facebook founder and chief executive, met conservative political leaders, including a representative of presump­tive Republican nominee Donald Trump, to quell the allegations of anti-conservative bias.

Facebook’s politics in this ­instance is not the key point (and Zuckerberg has been careful to split his allegiances, recently ­announcing a sponsorship deal with both the Republicans and Democrats for their conventions and declining to endorse candidates publicly).

And the importance of its trending section, established in 2014 to counter rival social media site Twitter, is arguable, given it is a minor sidebar on any Facebook page and not the main newsfeed users are drawn to, full of humble brags about your friends’ children, empathetic politics and news articles your friends like.

Even some of the proclivities of Facebook’s vaunted Edge Rank ­algorithm that selects material for individual feeds, which tech site Mashable half seriously describes as “far more valuable than the ­recipe of Coca-Cola or KFC’s 11 herbs and spices”, are known about. It promotes video heavily, though only if the video is ­delivered through Facebook’s own platform, links from your closest friends, boosts articles that viewers read intently, while restricting ­delivery of commercial posts ­unless businesses pay. It is a not-so-neutral net.

We know the main feeds are curated by humans; the shock is knowing that behind the Trending News feed are humans picking and choosing items you believe are unfettered information.

Broadly, any evidence that Facebook acts like a traditional newsroom opens the company to the charge it should be regulated like any other media company, as well as exposing new legal issues concerning copyright, defamation and other legal responsibilities.

And of course, media organisations, including this one (The Australian is published by News Corporation), are increasingly ­antagonistic towards the platform despite still needing to collaborate. Facebook offers a massive audience to journalists but no longer the clicks through to independent news sites. Facebook has become the mega-publisher.

In Australia, Facebook’s power is growing quickly, thanks to a successful push into mobile and, more recently, video. Consequently, “Facebook has become one of, if not the leading player in Australia’s $1.7bn digital display market”, says Venture Consulting chief executive Justin Jameson.

“Facebook has greater penetration and higher usage than any other app, especially among younger demographics. Hence most advertisers feel that they have to be on Facebook.”

But recent history shows Facebook imposes its community standards upon any user or group it deems unsuitable. And when you’re a $US117bn company, it turns out those standards become unpredictable, restrictive and at odds with the mantra of internet companies that “information wants to be free”.

A major sell of the FANG economy (the acronym given to the ­unregulated digital giants — Facebook, Apple, Netflix, Google — which dominate the globe) has ­always been its infallibility, that advances in design and technology make the world better on every level. Silicon Valley, the epicentre of the FANG universe, has appropriated the essence of trickle down economics, telling the world that what’s good for technology is good for everybody and, furthermore, Silicon Valley knows just what is good for everybody.

What’s good for Google and Facebook in particular is their ­aggregation of all information under their umbrellas so they can become the two largest advertising companies ever ($US74bn and $US17bn annual revenue respectively). Their vaunted nobility is crumbling as their behaviour emphasises the dangers and ­duality when gargantuan for-­profit corporations build such concentrated power.

And that power is unaccountable and often illogical. Facebook regularly censors posts by Australians. The Australian has recently published stories detailing the ­unhappy experiences of Christian family groups that have found their material censored by Facebook. But it turns out Facebook can be surprisingly non-discriminatory when it blocks postings.

Editor of the left-leaning ­independent media website, New Matilda, Chris Graham is still ­incredulous Facebook suspended the accounts of many of his subscribers when he published a 6000-word speech by Arrernte writer, feminist, unionist and activist Celeste Liddle marking International Women’s Day.

The piece was accompanied by a photograph of two Aboriginal women from the remote central Australian community of Ampilatwatja. They happened to be bare-breasted.

Facebook temporarily banned the post and accounts of users who shared it, saying the image ­breached its community standards on nudity. Graham remains dumbfounded. Images of a naked Kim Kardashian are allowed on Facebook and Graham laughed at an image from the Burning Man festival of a naked woman riding a bicycle with a dildo protruding from its handle bars, saying publication of it showed Facebook’s ­disingenuousness.

“Good luck to her, who cares, but there was no problem with that image,” he laughed. “It was like shooting fish in a barrel,” he says of finding “clear double standards” in Facebook’s policy.

“I would say in their defence, I can understand their dilemma ­because they’ve got to draw a line somewhere and they literally have to please the whole world — find a community standard that pleases the whole world,” Graham says.

Facebook told Graham the image was unsuitable because of “complaints”. But the source and content of these complaints are not explained. Indeed, they could have been about the content of Liddle’s speech; Facebook won’t tell. If Graham had published the image in a magazine or on TV, the complaints process would be transparent through industry regulatory bodies such as the Australian Press Council or the television’s Code of Practice.

“Small publishers like me should be genuinely terrified,” Graham says. “I got banned so I couldn’t publish, and that’s terrifying for a publisher because we genuinely didn’t publish that image to inflame anything. The rules are, there are no rules other that what Facebook decides.”

The Christian lobby group Family Voice Australia has had at least five posts ­“strangely dis­appear” from Facebook, says Ros Phillips, ­including some the group paid to “boost” (for certain fees, Facebook “pushes” your posts to more users than would happen ­organically).

FVA reported an innocuous story about a Minnesota community’s response to a ban on nativity scenes, and paid $20 to “boost” it. Rather quickly, the “boost” stopped. “When we asked why, they said it did not meet ‘our standards’,” Phillips says. That was after the lobby group had trouble finding someone at Facebook to query, also a common complaint about the site.

According to Graham and Phillips, Facebook’s “standards” are only activated by complaints from users. “Given the number of our readers who got their Facebook accounts suspended, there’s either an awful number of people complaining or a small number of very vocal people complaining, or all is not as it appears at Facebook,” Graham says.

Facebook has a set of “community standards” that sit below its stated mission “to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected”. Facebook says it ­restricts nudity “because some ­audiences within our global community may be sensitive to this type of content”. ­Explicitly, it says: “genitals or ­focusing in on fully ­exposed buttocks” are out, as are “some images of female breasts if they include the nipple”. But breastfeeding is in.

“Photographs of paintings, sculptures and other art that ­depicts nude figures” are also ­allowed though, again, practice suggests otherwise. Facebook is appealing a French ruling that the social network can be sued over its decision to remove the account of a French user who posted a photo of a famous 19th-century painting, Gustave Courbet’s 1866 The ­Origin of the World, which ­depicts female genitalia.

No matter what your standards or politics are, they are likely more defined than Facebook’s.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was reportedly overheard last year asking Zuckerberg how he could counteract offensive posts about the refugee crisis. In February, he confirmed that Facebook would clamp down on xenophobic posts.

Politicians, of the left, right and in between, appreciate the power of the world’s most potent media platform. Facebook has nearly 1.1 billion active users daily (and 1.6 billion active in any given month) and has grown every quarter of its existence.

Its appeal as a seemingly ­impassive, noble aggregator of ­information was a potent part of its appeal. Seemingly, its proprietor, Zuckerberg, was a kid in a T-shirt with no expansion plans, not some voracious Charles Foster Kane.

But this week’s revelations should give pause. Facebook is a corporation prone to the same foibles and biases any other corporate entity may encounter.

But this is an almighty powerful, unaccountable corporation and it might not be your friend, at least politically, or share your standards.


Sen. Reid Ducks Question on Transgenders Using Capitol Bathrooms

Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) says the Obama administration's "guidance" requiring public schools to allow transgender students use the restroom of their choice "is not some new theory that they came up with."  Reid told a news conference on Tuesday that the guidance is "long-established law, and we should follow the law here and every place else."

At the same time, Reid refused to say whether restrooms on Capitol Hill should follow the same guidance given to public schools.

A reporter asked Reid if he agrees that the administration's directive to schools should be applied to the "Capitol at large," including Senate and House office buildings.

"I got your question," Reid interrupted. "Here's -- here's my -- here's how I feel about this. I gave a speech on the floor this morning. I'm saying the law should be enforced. This is -- what the administration did is not some new theory they came up with. It's long-established law and we should follow the law here and every place else.

"And I also referred -- what went on last year in Reno, Nevada -- Washoe County schools. They did the right thing. They followed the law and it's worked out fine."

"So if we're here in the Capitol...you'd be OK with it?" the reporter followed up.

"I've answered the question," Reid snapped. "OK, Next question? There isn't a next question. Thank you."

And thus ended the Democrats' weekly briefing.

Earlier Tuesday, on the Senate floor, Reid said the bathroom debate, "at its core...comes down to a simple question: With whom do we stand? Do we stand with the bullies, or do we stand up for the bullied? Do we defend the persecutors, or do we come to the defense of the persecuted?

"These are the questions posed to us by the North Carolina law that undermines the civil rights of transgender Americans."

The North Carolina law, HB2, says people must use public, multiple-occupancy restrooms and changing facilities that correspond to their "biological sex," which is defined as "the physical condition of being male or female, which is stated on a person's birth certificate."

The law also requires "statewide consistency" in regulations pertaining to "discriminatory practices," meaning that local juridictions may not set anti-discrimination policies that conflict with state law.

"The law is clearly and completely illegal," Reid said on the Senate floor. "It is in direct opposition to federal civil rights statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex. Federal courts [but not Congress] have made it clear that sex discrimination under the Civil Rights Act covers transgender individuals."

Reid called the North Carolina law "shocking and discriminatory," with "far-reaching consequences."

"This is about access to employment, education and just about everything else in public life. This is about whether we are going to allow our fellow citizens to be bullied, intimidated and harassed."

Reid hailed the "thoughtful and common-sense policies" of a Nevada school system that allows biological males to use the ladies' room, and biological females to use the men's room.

"I stand with the administration in opposing the North Carolina law," Reid said. "I stand with Americans – all Americans – against this shameful bullying. And most of all, I stand with the transgender people of North Carolina, who are the targets of state-sponsored discrimination. My heart goes out to them. This is not how our great nation should operate. We are better than this.

"I look forward to the day – and it is coming soon – when this hateful law is struck down."

The White House opened its first "gender-neutral" (single stall) bathroom a year ago.


Obama the Rainbow Warrior

"On May 17, Americans and people around the world mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia by reaffirming the dignity and inherent worth of all people, regardless of who they love or their gender identity," Barack Obama proclaimed in a White House statement. There was not a companion statement from anywhere in the Muslim world.

"[T]here is much work to be done to combat homophobia and transphobia," Obama said, and he's certainly waging that combat — mandating school bathroom polices, suing North Carolina, social engineering the military, lighting up the White House in rainbow colors to celebrate same-sex marriage, etc.

In another recent example of Obama's agenda, he appointed a man who identifies as a woman to his Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships. That man, former husband and father of three, now goes by the name Barbara Satin. Let's just say we find his surname particularly ... interesting in the context of a faith-based organization. "Given the current political climate," Satin said in a statement, "I believe it's important that a voice of faith representing the transgender and gender non-conforming community ... be present and heard in these vital conversations." This miniscule group suffering from gender disorientation pathology has a far outsized voice.

Often left not only unheard but shamed or silenced are the views of doctors like Paul McHugh of Johns Hopkins, who says simply, "Transgendered men do not become women, nor do transgendered women become men." Such scientific truth is considered "transphobic" by this administration.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the Senate confirmed Obama's Army secretary, Eric Fanning, who is the first homosexual leader of any U.S. military service — just four short years after Obama ordered military "gay pride" celebrations.

On a final note of what we consider to be related news, a new study from Emory University concludes, "HIV infection is hyperendemic among MSM [men who have sex with men] in many areas of the United States, particularly in the South." Indeed, in some cities, as many as four in 10 homosexual men have HIV, a rate that far outstrips their straight counterparts. Is it "homophobic" to point that out? You certainly won't hear it from any Obama council.


UK: Labour refuses to discipline MEP who compared Israel to the Nazis, as critics call for his suspension

Labour has refused to discipline an MEP who compared Israel to the Nazis, as critics accuse the Party of failing to clamp down on anti-Semitism despite promises to take the matter seriously.

MPs have called from Afzal Khan to be suspended for writing on Twitter: "The Israeli Government are [sic] acting like Nazi's [sic] in Gaza”.

A Labour spokesman confirmed that Mr Khan, who was awarded a CBE for his community and interfaith work in 2008, would not face any disciplinary action but said he had been “reminded of his responsibilities”.

Andrew Percy MP and Sir Eric Pickles MP have called on the Labour Party to suspend Mr Khan for his “deeply offensive” comments. “It is staggering how often Labour politicians casually reference the Nazis when discussing the world's only Jewish state,” Mr Percy said.

“This is deeply offensive, causes a great deal of hurt to the Jewish community in the UK. Labour should move to suspend Afzal Khan immediately and start to take the issue of anti-Semitism more seriously"

Sir Eric, who is the UK's Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues, said: "Another day, another Labour anti-Semite caught red-handed. Jeremy Corbyn's failure to even suspend this MEP makes an absolute mockery of his promise to tackle anti-Semitism within his Party".

Mr Khan, who tweeted the comment August 2014 while posting a link to an blog post,  is co-founder of The Muslim Jewish Forum of Greater Manchester.

Joan Ryan MP, Chair, Labour Friends of Israel, said: “As the European Forum on Antisemitism has made clear, drawing comparisons between contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis is totally unacceptable.”

It comes after Labour was accused of “suppressing” a key report into anti-Semitism and Michael Dugher MP, called for Ken Livingstone to be kicked out of the party over his comments he made apparently dismissing concerns about anti-Semitism within Labour.

Jonathan Sacerdoti, director of communications at Campaign Against Anti-Semitism said that the Party’s failure to discipline Mr Khan “clearly signals to the Jewish community that they are not taking this problem seriously”.

He said: "Comparing the Jewish state to Nazis, who killed over 6 million Jews in a systematic act of genocide, minimises the true extent of the Holocaust and attempts to portray the victims of the Holocaust as the new Nazis.

"It seems the Labour Party only has zero tolerance of anti-Semitism when it doesn't cost them too much politically. They are not willing to discipline anti-Semites in the party when the political price is too high.” [i.e. Must not upset Muslims]



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, 2016

Nuns Defeat Obama in Court

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of religious liberty Monday and handed yet another defeat to Barack Obama. In light of all the insanity with transgenderism and bathrooms in recent weeks, this comes as great news for Little Sisters of the Poor and others who “bitterly cling” to deeply held religious beliefs and the Constitution. To be sure, Obama has had a bad run with the courts lately, having lost on ObamaCare last week and received numerous rebukes for EPA regulations. His immigration actions also ran aground in lower courts, and may likewise end in a Supreme Court loss.

For the Little Sisters, the High Court’s ruling is a huge victory, giving them the ability to operate under their religious convictions. Further, the ruling means that they will not have to pay $70 million in fines per year for not complying with ObamaCare’s onerous contraceptive mandate.

As Roger Severino and Elizabeth Slattery of the Heritage Foundation note, “[T]he Supreme Court now says that ‘the government may not impose taxes or penalties on petitioners for failure to provide the relevant notice.’ This is precisely what the Little Sisters of the Poor have been asking for as relief.” Further, it means that “all the lower court opinions that went against the religious freedom of the Little Sisters of the Poor and the other religious nonprofits are wiped away and their flawed reasoning cannot be used as precedent in the future.”

To clarify, the Supreme Court in its unanimous decision did not rule on the merits of the case, meaning that the case will be kicked back to the lower courts for further consideration. Further, the Court did not rule on whether the law addresses a compelling state interest. Yet while it seems like the court punted this case, it really didn’t.

National Review’s David French highlights why: “First, the Supreme Court vacated the lower court ruling holding that the Little Sisters had to facilitate access to contraceptives and [denying] that the mandate substantially burdened their religion. When the court vacates a ruling that you’re challenging, that’s a win. Second, the Supreme Court provided a roadmap for an excellent resolution to the case — by outlining the accommodation it suggested, the Little Sisters endorsed, and the government reluctantly agreed to.”

Moreover, the Court’s decision was unanimous, while most political analysts expected a 4-4 split that would have allowed a ruling against the Little Sisters to stand. Given the context of this case, it’s the second time the Supreme Court has pushed back against Obama’s regulatory efforts to restrict religious liberty, and this case is another setback for Obama’s contraception/abortifacient mandate.

Unfortunately, from a strategic viewpoint, Obama has accomplished a lot in pushing for left-wing causes, and in doing so, he has tied up conservative resources beating back his advances. In all of his mandates, edicts and overreaches, he moves the needle further left and takes credit for doing so. He creates a political issue out of everything, and faithful leftists everywhere will defend him and demand even more.

The contraception mandate that he imposed on religious organizations like the Little Sisters of the Poor was never really about providing contraception, it was about power.

After the Court’s ruling, Obama spun the decision, saying, “The practical effect is, right now, that women will still continue to be able to get contraception if they are getting health insurance.”

“Be able to get”? Translation: Most Americans will still be mandated to buy health insurance from companies that are forced to provide certain benefits. Obama also insisted that his administration is already “properly accommodating religious institutions who have objections to contraception.” That’s because the Court has in essence ruled that Obama can’t violate their objections.

So while this was not a decisive victory in the courts, it is nevertheless a significant win for Little Sisters of the Poor, their petitioners and ultimately for religious liberty. Perhaps slowly chipping away at ObamaCare mandates will lead to full repeal of it. Maybe that’s wishful thinking, but it’s at least a step in the right direction.


Top Obama Official's Racist Rant

Speaking to graduates of Florida International University, White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice lamented on Wednesday that there are too many white people in top government positions. The lack of diversity, she added, puts our nation at risk because they all think alike.

Referring to criticism that the U.S. national security workforce is “white, male and Yale,” Ms. Rice told the graduates, “In the halls of power, in the faces of our national security leaders, America is still not fully reflected.”

“By now, we should all know the dangers of ‘groupthink,’ where folks who are alike often think alike,” she said. “By contrast, groups comprised of different people tend to question one another’s assumptions, draw on divergent perspectives and experiences, and yield better outcomes.”

Her comments were reminiscent of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who said in a speech in 2001, before Mr. Obama appointed her to the high court, “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

Diverse leaders, she said, “can often come up with more creative insights, proffer alternative solutions and thus make better decisions.”

One has to wonder if by making “better decisions” she means lying about the Benghazi attack being the result of a YouTube video? Or how about playing politicswith the Rwandan genocide, attacking Israel for its settlement policy, or praising a hardline communist as “brilliant”?


The internet’s war on free speech

The web was meant to empower us all. Right now, it’s empowering censors

The dream of internet freedom has died. What a dream it was. Twenty years ago, nerdy libertarians hailed the web as the freest public sphere that mankind had ever created. The Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, written in 1996 by John Perry Barlow, warned the ‘governments of the industrial world’, those ‘weary giants of flesh and steel’, that they had ‘no sovereignty where we gather’. The ‘virus of liberty’ was spreading, it said.

Now it seems that the virus has been wiped out. We live our online lives in a dystopian nightmare of Twittermobs, ‘safety councils’, official procedures for ‘forgetting’ inconvenient facts, and the arrest of people for being offensive. The weary giants are asserting their censorious sovereignty.

This week it was revealed that Facebook has been suppressing news stories from conservative sources. Facebook, used by 1.6 billion people, bigs itself up as a neutral distributor of news and facilitator of global chat. Yet, according to a former editor there, popular conservative stories are often kept off Facebook’s trending bar, either because the curator ‘didn’t recognise the news topic’ or ‘they had a bias’.

People log on to Facebook imagining that the stories they see are chosen by user ‘likes’, rather than by editors who decide what us web plebs should and shouldn’t know. In truth, this stuff is curated for us by our moral betters in Silicon Valley, who dish up decent liberal stories that might enlighten our mushy minds while hiding weird conservative news that might turn us Obama-phobic or funny about immigration.

The most surprising thing about this Facebook story was that anyone was surprised. Social media sites, vast planets of cyberspace, may advertise themselves as free meeting points for humanity, but for a couple of years now they’ve been casting out moral undesirables, blocking the offensive and engaging in political censorship.

Facebook has suspended gay users who have reclaimed the term ‘faggot’ to describe themselves. The former punk and proud tranny Jayne County has been thrown off Facebook for using the word ‘tranny’. After the Paris terror attacks, the comedian Jason Manford had his page taken down after he said that if God wanted the killers to do this, then He was a ‘massive c**t’.

Last month Facebook deleted a post criticising gay marriage, written by a Sydney academic, on the grounds that it breached ‘community standards’. The post was only reinstated when Tim Wilson, a former Australian human-rights commissioner, accused Facebook of censorship. If you’re conservative, don’t like mass immigration or cleave to the Christian view of marriage, watch your words online.

Facebook’s bans are political. In September last year Angela Merkel was overheard asking Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, what he planned to do about offensive posts about the refugee crisis. ‘We need to do some work,’ he said. And he did. In February he said that in Germany, ‘with the migrant crisis here and all the sensitivity around that’, his service would clamp down on xenophobic posts.

Twitter, too, polices its users’ chat. It once described itself as ‘the free-speech wing of the free-speech party’; now it has its own Trust and Safety Council, stuffed with NGO people and feminists who aim to make it more ‘pleasant’. This isn’t about banning morons who make death threats; it’s about morally managing the conversation. In the words of Twitter’s British head of policy, Nick Pickles, the web has helped to make ‘challenging, even upsetting viewpoints… more visible’ in a way that is ‘not always comfortable’. So Twitter must think up ways of ‘drowning out’ uncomfortable viewpoints.

We’re witnessing a massive shift in the whole idea of the internet; from an open platform for the discussion of ideas to something that must be moderated and editorialised. Some argue that, as privately owned platforms, Facebook and Twitter are free to publish or take down anything they like. But it’s more complicated than that. These are vast entities. A full seventh of humanity uses Facebook. This gives it historically unprecedented clout. Facebook has more power to shape the agenda than any media mogul, pope or king in history. He who controls Facebook’s trending bar controls the present. Being turfed off the site for saying stuff its bosses don’t like seriously degrades your ability to be an engaged public person.

Facebook is now effectively the biggest public square in history; if we don’t have free speech there, we have a problem. Moreover, Facebook and Twitter’s move towards censoriousness isn’t simply a case of private companies doing their own thing. State bodies are pressuring internet giants to restrict free expression. From the Culture Select Committee’s grilling of Twitter bosses in 2013 over their failure to tackle ‘trolls’ to Merkel’s pressure on Zuckerberg, we’re witnessing attempts by the state to outsource censorship to private companies.

Consider the right to be forgotten. Endorsed by the European Court of Justice two years ago, this ‘right’ allows people to call on Google to remove from its search results links to old news reports about themselves that they find embarrassing. In the first year, there were 218,320 requests for links to be removed; 101,461 were granted. That’s 101,461 pieces of information you’ll never find if Google is your main means of perusing the past. One of the great liberties of cyberspace — the freedom to rummage through the events and ideas of yesterday — has been pummelled.

Increasingly the state is barging into the online world. In Britain hundreds have been arrested for the crime of being grossly offensive online. Between November 2010 and November 2013, more than 350 people were arrested for stuff they said on social media. In 2014, a 19-year-old was arrested after tweeting a joke about the Glasgow Christmas lorry crash that killed six people. Police Scotland took to Twitter to issue an unfunny warning: ‘Please be aware that we will continue to monitor comments on social media and any offensive comments will be investigated.’

Last month, Greater Glasgow Police went one better, instructing people to ‘Think… before you post’. Before we tweet or blog something, they said, we should ask ourselves: ‘Is it true? Is it hurtful? Is it illegal? Is it necessary? Is it kind?’

What’s with this Stalin-like invasion of the realm of speech? When the Chinese erected their Great Firewall online in 1997, Europeans scoffed. The internet was unpoliceable, they said; the wall would fall. Instead, we’re copying the Chinese approach. China’s Internet Surveillance Division has two cartoon police characters which warn web users to avoid posting ‘sensitive’ or ‘harmful’ material online; British cops now do the same.

It’s hard to remember a time when the state and assorted moralists have been so open about their urge to crush offensive thoughts. The Blairite idea of hate crime, under which everything from infantile racist blather to the mocking of the religious came to be considered criminal, has mashed together with technology and its speeding-up of the culture of complaint to give rise to some of the strictest constraints on thought and speech in British history.

Last month, the Guardian launched a campaign against the openness of the web, demanding something be done about the ‘dark side’ of online chat. Maria Miller, who chairs the Women and Equalities Select Committee, got in on the act. She said we needed ways to curb abusive commentary online because, in making some web users feel scared, such trolling can ‘actually stifle debate, lead to censorship’. So, the argument goes, we need censorship in order to guarantee a better kind of free speech. This is the digital world we all increasingly inhabit, where freedom is censorship, and censorship is freedom.


Bosses should be able to tell staff to wear whatever shoe fits the job


I watched MPs debate whether to ban Donald Trump from the UK in disbelief. Elected politicians, discussing a nonsense topic just because cretins with too much time on their hands clicked on another pathetic petition.

Here we go again. This time, our paid representatives in parliament will be discussing a far more pressing matter of the moment. Women's shoes.

It turns out the big question facing our nation when we are under threat of a terror attack and the NHS is in crisis, is should women have to wear heels at work.

Brilliant! Focus at its finest. Call Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe and get me some podiatry police.

Thanks to 100,000 muppets signing another blasted petition started by a woman sent home from a temp job for not wearing heels, Parliament is obliged to respond.

She says she is an actor. I understand this to be code for receptionist, whether that's in PwC or KFC.

I should confess. I am not one for a heel. With every year that passes, my love for them fades. Happily I am my own master, and have reached a point in my career where the shoe on my foot no longer represents me, my mighty mouth or the organisations good enough to employ me.

I go shiny flats. Or lesbian lace-ups as my gay mates tease. Mainly because I need to move at speed and straight men find me intimidating enough without me towering over them as well.

My old boss liked his female staff in heels. At my introductory lunch a senior female on the staff apologised for not giving me the heads up about my ugly feet. I told her I liked my feet to match my face. We've not spoken since.

But despite having kicked off heels for good, I do understand the need for rules especially in a fluid work place where staff churn is high.

You might think people will dress appropriately for their job out of pride. But you would be sorely mistaken. Given half a chance temp staff rock up in the same gear they crashed out in after drinks at a party. Or flip flops and a tutu.

How you are supposed to represent a large corporate in beach gear is beyond me. Even if you work in the media and have manicured your feet to perfection, I don't want to see them or hear them as you slap, slap, slap, slap off to Prêt on the coffee run.

When you are working your way up the ladder, you keep your head down and do what you are told.

When I worked in the Wimpy for £1.40 an hour at 14, I served Bender Burgers in red dungarees shoved so high up my crotch they itched the back of my throat. As the Pick 'n' Mix girl at Woolworths, I wore a cheap polyester dress and overall with black ballet flats and 15 denier regulation American Tan tights.

And as a Security Guard for Disneyland Paris, I collected a freshly pressed policeman's outfit from backstage at Disney each day. The French don't even trust their staff to wash. Wisely so.

Staff need to dress appropriately for the message their employer is trying to send. And perhaps temping firms need to make these rules black or white for efficiency's sake. They can't discuss every shoe every day for every temp. So the rules need to be binary. This or that. Yes or no. Stop or go.

Heels rules out Crocs, Birkenstocks or flip flops. Praise be for that.

And if you don't like it, go and find another job where you can walk bare foot, expressing yourself through the medium of mime and dance. Like a real actor... for example.

If your heels hurt - like the picture of the bloodied feet of an American waitress on Facebook, then use your wages to buy shoes which actually fit. Shoving hot feet into plastic is the podiatry equivalent of using a hairdryer on vaginal thrush.

Americans don't do sympathy. And I love it. Hire and fire at will. Six weeks' unpaid maternity leave. And two weeks' holiday if you're lucky. In the States, your place in the food chain is far more clear.

Clear rules help everyone get along. Rules are - by nature - equal. You just need to work with them.

During my time at Sandhurst, regulation boots were issued in one standard fit. There were no such thing as men's or women's. I became an expert at threading cotton through blisters to drain away the ooze and toughen my feet up the hard way.

I'd argue many women's interpretation of the business smart rule book has gone too far, opening up a yawning gulf between them and their male peers. A blouse and a M&S Cardigan is not a suit. Even if you did get it in the sale and Pam from HR says it looks lovely.

Uniform, even the uniform of business, has flexibility in it. You just have to find the flex which works for you. OK so you have to wear heels? Find the comfiest, smallest heel you can afford.

I understand the feminazis love fighting and are always looking for the next scrap on their vagenda.

But after many years crusading for votes for women, equal pay, representation in the boardroom, female faces on bank bills, maternity rights and an end to the tampon tax, I just wonder when they will look up from fighting battles to see the war is won.



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, 2016

An amusing reaction to some research

I was going to bypass the findings below until I saw the reaction to them.  The finding is that churchgoers live longer, which has actually been found several times before.  The study was reported in JAMA, a major medical journal.  And it is a very strong study.

But JAMA also published in the same issue a controlled but obviously furious article arguing that we should take no notice of the study.  You can read it here.  The author clearly HATED the finding. One imagines that he is a Left-leaning atheist.  The things he says   about the limitations of the study are perfectly correct but such limitations are to be found in most of the medical and social science literature.  If we applied similar strictures to all academic articles, 95% of them would vanish without trace. Which could be a good thing, of course.

But the point is that the critic lacks balance. In most of life we have to make decisions on the basis of limited evidence.  And we do it.  So by ordinary criteria, we should at least initially conclude that Christian beliefs are good for you. Heh!

Association of Religious Service Attendance With Mortality Among Women

Shanshan Li


Importance:  Studies on the association between attendance at religious services and mortality often have been limited by inadequate methods for reverse causation, inability to assess effects over time, and limited information on mediators and cause-specific mortality.

Objective:  To evaluate associations between attendance at religious services and subsequent mortality in women.

Design, Setting, and Participants:  Attendance at religious services was assessed from the first questionnaire in 1992 through June 2012, by a self-reported question asked of 74?534 women in the Nurses’ Health Study who were free of cardiovascular disease and cancer at baseline. Data analysis was conducted from return of the 1996 questionnaire through June 2012.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  Cox proportional hazards regression model and marginal structural models with time-varying covariates were used to examine the association of attendance at religious services with all-cause and cause-specific mortality. We adjusted for a wide range of demographic covariates, lifestyle factors, and medical history measured repeatedly during the follow-up, and performed sensitivity analyses to examine the influence of potential unmeasured and residual confounding.

Results:  Among the 74?534 women participants, there were 13?537 deaths, including 2721 owing to cardiovascular deaths and 4479 owing to cancer deaths. After multivariable adjustment for major lifestyle factors, risk factors, and attendance at religious services in 1992, attending a religious service more than once per week was associated with 33% lower all-cause mortality compared with women who had never attended religious services (hazard ratio, 0.67; 95% CI, 0.62-0.71; P?<?.001 for trend). Comparing women who attended religious services more than once per week with those who never attend, the hazard ratio for cardiovascular mortality was 0.73 (95% CI, 0.62-0.85; P?<?.001 for trend) and for cancer mortality was 0.79 (95% CI, 0.70-0.89; P?<?.001 for trend). Results were robust in sensitivity analysis. Depressive symptoms, smoking, social support, and optimism were potentially important mediators, although the overall proportion of the association between attendance at religious services and mortality was moderate (eg, social support explained 23% of the effect [P?=?.003], depressive symptoms explained 11% [P?<?.001], smoking explained 22% [P?<?.001], and optimism explained 9% [P?<?.001]).

Conclusions and Relevance:  Frequent attendance at religious services was associated with significantly lower risk of all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality among women. Religion and spirituality may be an underappreciated resource that physicians could explore with their patients, as appropriate.

JAMA Intern Med. Published online May 16, 2016. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.1615

Lazy Multicultural liar

An agency nurse recorded that three patients were 'OK' on Hallowe'en when they had actually been dead for weeks, a tribunal heard today.

Rufaro Mubvuta wrote in her notes that she had checked the residents and all was well during a nightshift at Long Meadow Care Home in Ripon, North Yorkshire on October 31, 2014.

One of the patients had been dead for over a month, the Nursing and Midwifery Council heard.

Mubvuta also ignored an immobile patient's calls for help leaving her covered in urine all night.

The woman could not reach the call buzzer and had been shouting for help for hours, it was said.

Mubvuta, who was working for Hays Healthcare Ltd, recorded that the woman 'slept well all night' and she had 'assisted with all cares.'

Another patient was found the morning following Mubvuta's shift with a mysterious large bruise on her forehead.

Mubvuta had recorded she had checked on the woman through the night but made no mention of any bruising.

Samantha Forsyth, for the NMC, said: 'Some of the patients that were marked as 'OK' had been deceased for a while. 'One had died on September 17, one on October 15 and the other on October 22.

'The other who was not mobile at all needed help to get dressed and with her personal care.

'She had called for staff during the night and was found the following morning soaking wet, still in her day clothes.'

When asked, the patient confirmed that nobody had come to check on her, Ms Forsyth told the hearing. 'She could not reach the buzzer and said she had been awake all night.'  The patient had wet herself and was covered in urine, the hearing was told.

Mubvuta recorded that the patient: 'Slept well all night. Assisted with all cares.'

When questioned about this by the nurse coming in for the day shift Mubvuta said that she had checked on the woman and she had been fast asleep.

The nurse who took over from Mubvuta found a different patient with significant bruising on her forehead.

Mubvuta recorded that she checked the patient at 4.50am and 6am and she had some bruising up her arms and legs.

'The patient was found with a large bruise on her forehead that wasn't there the day before,' said Ms Forsyth.

The mysterious bruise did not appear anywhere in her notes and Mubvuta had no explanation for it, the hearing was told.

Mubvuta, who is present at the hearing, admits recording that three patients were 'OK' when they were deceased, failing to attend a patient's toiletry needs, failing to check on patients during the night shift and failing to record injury and making inadequate records.

She denies that her current fitness to practice is impaired. The hearing continues.


Perpetrator As Victim: No End To A Self-Inflicted "Tragedy". What "Nakba" commemorations really disclose

Daniel Mandel

Yesterday, May 15, Palestinians and their supporters, as they have done increasingly over recent years, marked the nakba (Arabic for ‘catastrophe’) –– the day 68 years ago that Israel came into existence upon the expiry of British rule under a League of Nations mandate.

That juxtaposition of Israel and nakba isn’t accidental. We’re meant to understand that Israel’s creation caused the displacement of hundreds of thousand of Palestinian Arabs.

But the truth is different. A British document from the scene in early 1948, declassified in 2013, tells the story: “the Arabs have suffered ... overwhelming defeats ... Jewish victories … have reduced Arab morale to zero and, following the cowardly example of their inept leaders, they are fleeing from the mixed areas in their thousands.”

In other words, Jew and Arabs, including irregular foreign militias from neighboring states, were already at war and Arabs were fleeing even before Israel came into sovereign existence on May 15, 1948.

Neighboring Arab armies and internal Palestinian militias responded to Israel’s declaration of independence with full-scale hostilities. In fact, the headline for the New York Times’ famous report on that day includes the words, ‘Tel Aviv Is Bombed, Egypt Orders Invasion.’ And, indeed, the head of Israel’s provisional government, David Ben Gurion, delivered his first radio address to the nation from an air-raid shelter.

Israel successfully resisted invasion and dismemberment –– the universally affirmed objective of the Arab belligerents –– and Palestinians came off worst of all from the whole venture. At war’s end, over 600,000 Palestinians were living as refugees under neighboring Arab regimes.

As Saudi columnist Abdulateef Al-Mulhim observed on previous anniversary, “It was a defeat but the Arabs chose to call it a catastrophe.” In fact, the Syrian, Qustantin Zuraiq, in his 1948 pamphlet, Ma’an al-Nakba (The Meaning of the Catastrophe), was first used the term nakba in this context, and the catastrophe of his description was not an Israeli ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, but their flight in anticipation of an Arab invasion and destruction of Israel.

Accordingly, the term nakba, as used today, smacks of falsehood, inasmuch as it implies a tragedy inflicted by Israel. The "tragedy," of course, was self-inflicted.

As Israel’s UN ambassador Abba Eban was to put it some years later, “Once you determine the responsibility for that war, you have determined the responsibility for the refugee problem. Nothing in the history of our generation is clearer or less controversial than the initiative of Arab governments for the conflict out of which the refugee tragedy emerged.”

However, the Palestinians do not mourn today the ill-conceived choice of going to war to abort Israel. They mourn only that they failed.

This is contrary to historical experience of disastrous defeat. The Germans today mourn their losses in World War Two –– but not by lauding their invasion of Poland and justifying their attempt to subjugate Europe. They do not glorify Nazi aggression.

The Japanese today mourn their losses in World War Two –– but not by lauding their assault on Pearl Harbor and their attempt to subjugate south-east Asia. They do not glorify Japanese imperialism.

Nakba commemoration is therefore instructive in a way few realize.

It informs us that Palestinians have not admitted or assimilated the fact –– as Germans and Japanese have done in varying degrees –– that they became victims as a direct result of their efforts to be perpetrators.

It also informs us that Palestinians would still like to succeed today at what they miserably failed to achieve then.

And it informs us that they take no responsibility for their own predicament, which is uniquely maintained to this day at their own insistence.

If readers doubt my word, consider the following vignette: in January 2001, John Manley, then-Foreign Minister in Jean Chretien’s Canadian Government, offered to welcome Palestinian refugees and their descendants to Canada. The Palestinian response? Mr. Manley was burned in effigy by Palestinian rioters in Nablus and Palestinian legislator Hussam Khader declared, “If Canada is serious about resettlement, you could expect military attacks in Ottawa or Montreal.”

Why this astounding response by a Palestinian official to an offer of refugee relief?

Because establishing a Palestinian state and resettling the refugees and their descendants inside it or abroad would remove any internationally-accepted ground for conflict. That’s why helping to solve the Palestinian refugee problem is regarded as a hostile act –– by Palestinians.

Nakba commemorations disclose that the conflict is about Israel’s existence –– not about territory, borders, holy places, refugees or any other bill of particulars.

When Palestinians accept that Israel is here to stay, the possibility of the conflict’s end will come into view. In the meantime, responsible governments can repudiate nakba commemorations –– rather than treat them as benign expressions of national loss or grief –– as a small but important step towards bringing that day closer.



Texas Lt. Gov. to Schools on Transgender Restroom, Locker Room Mandate: 'Do Not Enact This Policy'

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) told school administrators they should "not enact" the policy mandated by the Obama administration that students be allowed access to restrooms and locker rooms according to their "gender identity" rather than their biological sex.

Patrick made the comments Friday morning after the Obama administration issued a directive to public school officials that transgender students must be allowed to use the restroom and locker room facilities that matches their "gender identity."

"I’m telling all the superintendants of Texas right now, you have about three weeks left of the school year. Do not enact this policy,” Patrick said.

“70 to 80% of the people in your school district do not want it. Do not be blackmailed by the federal government. We will work through this.”

“The battle line was been drawn in a way that the president does not know the line he crossed this time,” Patrick later added. “When you take on mom and dad in their homes, when the president threatens their children, he has made a huge mistake.”

Patrick says he has plans to discuss how the state will respond to the directive with the state attorney general.



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, 2016

Yes, the  victory over the RSPCA is sweet. But let me tell you why 'sorry' is NOT enough

An RSPCA trustee once likened the treatment of farm animals to the Holocaust. Knowing what I know now, the irony of that statement blows me away.

After three years investigating the most gut-wrenching evidence showing the wholesale killing of domestic pets by the RSPCA, the word that keeps coming to me is precisely that.

In some of the heart-breaking cases I have looked into, the animals were neglected and in need of rescue.

In others, the pets were well-loved and had been wrongly seized. But the common factor was that once the RSPCA got hold of the animals, their chances of a good outcome were worse than average.

The details of their stories will haunt me forever. I am convinced that in sifting through many dozens of cases where animals have been needlessly killed, and dozens more where people have been wrongly accused of neglect, I have scratched only the surface.

In 20 years of journalism, no story I have worked on has left me so distressed. As a horse and dog owner myself, I have found it harrowing.

Mercifully, after some of the latest wrongful seizures – including the case we highlighted in this newspaper two weeks ago, of Irene Brown, whose cats were taken by the RSPCA after she collapsed of meningitis – it appears that the charity is waking up to the idea that it must change.

Yesterday’s apology to the public by the RSPCA is long overdue – and I wouldn’t mind an apology either, for the countless times the charity has accused me and my colleagues of ‘slurs’ and ‘smears’ because we questioned it.

Like those living in rural communities, I have long suspected the RSPCA is not the cuddly organisation it paints itself to be. They would never come if you called them to an injured deer. And yet they began this bizarre attempt to stop all vermin being harmed by prosecuting hunts and shoots.

It was the inconsistency that put me on edge; the hypocrisy of helping some but not all animals. And so I stood with the hunting community, who are at least honest, and am still proud to do so.

After an initial article in The Spectator, accusing the charity of acting like the FBI, I began to feel the heat. After highlighting victims such as Rick Byrnes, whose cat was seized and killed because it had tangled fur, I got my first legal threat.

I also received a strange phone call. A lawyer who had acted for people accused of neglect rang me late one night and said he needed to warn me.  His words put a chill down my spine: ‘You had better make sure your dog is up to date on its wormers and vaccines. Make sure your horses are all checked daily for any kind of problem including even their manes being tangled.’

More recently, I was approached by a senior figure in the veterinary world at a conference. ‘I read your pieces. Stay safe.’

I couldn’t believe it. Was the power of the RSPCA that scary? Were the vested interests that embedded?

The suggestion that I would be targeted is almost certainly unfounded, but the climate of fear was all too real.

The more important consequence of criticising the RSPCA was that victims started to contact me in their multitudes.

Their stories were so unbelievably awful I had sleepness nights. But the problem was this: Most of these people had been convicted of horrible-sounding offences. They were labelled animal abusers by the local press. No one, it seems, ever asked where the animals were now.

And so the animals were the hidden victims whose stories were never told.

And they would have gone on being untold where it not for the truly heroic Rick Byrnes, who refused to go away after the RSPCA seized and put down his cat, Claude. And then, just as crucially, because of a case called RSPCA vs Peel, and the brave decision of this newspaper to tell that very difficult story.

Rachelle Peel was put on trial for the neglect of her horses. Her husband had been suffering from dementia, she had been working away from home, and the poor horses had fallen into a terrible state. She didn’t deny that.

She was a broken woman, thoroughly ashamed of herself. But one thing she did get right. She wouldn’t stop trying to find out what had happened to the horses that the RSPCA had ‘rescued’. She demanded every document she was legally entitled to see. And then she passed them to me, and I went through them, box after box.

And slowly, unbelievably, what emerged was that 12 horses taken away from her had been shot soon after. But the RSPCA was in court trying to claim thousands of pounds for stabling and caring for those horses. And RSPCA officers were on the stand saying they were alive and well.

I attended the trial and couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I questioned the RSPCA officers outside the court and they again insisted the horses were alive.

They didn’t know that I had the slaughter forms showing each one’s grisly death.

But thankfully The Mail on Sunday did care and ran the story. ‘RSPCA shoots 11 healthy horses’ was the headline, because the 12th horse had been so poorly it couldn’t be described as fit. And in the process of being seized by the RSPCA, the poor thing suffered a broken leg. The brutality that horse encountered in its final hours still haunts me. It was loaded onto a lorry and with the others transported many hours to its place of execution.

Chillingly, when I scrutinised the forms, the so-called ‘rehoming centre’ to which the horses were taken to be shot was entitled ‘Middle Earth’. I searched the internet and could find no Middle Earth. Again, chills went down my spine. It doesn’t exist, I thought. It’s a sick joke. In all likelihood, it’s the RSPCA’s short form for the place they send creatures marked for death.

I think there must be many good RSPCA officers and staff on the ground who have no idea what goes on. But the RSPCA is like a cult in the way it keeps a lid on dissent. At times I have felt like I am up against something more akin to a religion like Scientology.

If the good people who work for the charity want to know what is going on, then I can give them a tape recording I hold of an eyewitness to the shooting of a herd of gypsy horses, who were rounded up and transported to a barn in the North of England.

The witness describes them being shot in front of each other in a scene of carnage.

I suspect the reason it happened that way is because the RSPCA do a lot of slaughter secretly. I have spoken to witnesses who describe guns with silencers being used to shoot horses in the night. There is much evidence, too, about the botched shooting of German shepherd dogs with bolt guns.

Again the irony is awful. They condemn the hunting community as bloodthirsty. I cannot stress more strongly: I have never killed an animal in my life. Yet the RSPCA, which has killed countless thousands, accuse me and anyone else who tries to question its methods, of being bloodthirsty hunt supporters who want only to bring back fox hunting.

This is not only slander, but bullying of the worst kind, an attempt to frustrate democratic scrutiny of an organisation which has become focused on its own survival above everything else.

A proper inquiry now needs to look into all of this.

I have passed on a lot of the evidence I have amassed to the Defra committee currently holding an inquiry into animal welfare.

Someone needs to look into the vested interest of other professionals too, because in the Peel case there exist dozens of invoices showing vets charging for treatments given to the dead horses. A lot of people we trust and who ought to know better, it seems to me, have had a finger in this grisly pie.

In a way, it is ludicrous that we as a society ever believed that all the many thousands of animals a year rescued are alive somewhere. If they were, then every family would have had to have adopted an animal from the RSPCA.

And is it not just a little strange that the RSPCA do not give a figure for the number of animals put down every year in its annual report, only animals treated and rehomed?

ONE problem is the RSPCA has not been accountable to anyone. Unlike the police there is no complaints procedure. Nobody governs them aside from the Charities Commission, but I had no luck when I tried to alert them. The reality is the animal police need policing.

Again, I have much unexamined evidence I would like to submit, including the transcript of a Facebook chat with former RSPCA inspector turned whistleblower Dawn Aubrey Ward, in which she describes the horror of what she had to do.

In one harrowing exchange, she describes taking a pregnant dog out the back of a ‘rescue’ centre, holding it over a drain and shooting it in the head.

I don’t think she could live with such things. In any case, we know that shortly after going public with her criticisms, she killed herself.

There are more heartbroken people. I think of Sarah Mellanby, a former employee who left the RSPCA in disgust at the amount of animals she saw killed, and set up her own cat sanctuary.

A few years ago, she was effectively shut down by the RSPCA after it charged her with neglect. It seized all 62 of the cats at her home and prosecuted her for overcrowding and alleged health problems.

Miss Mellanby, a gentle soul who I have no doubt wouldn’t hurt a fly, faces losing her home to pay the charity’s costs unless her appeal against her conviction this August is successful. But above all, she has no idea where the cats are.

I could go on.

Nothing less than a proper judicial review of all those who say they were unfairly convicted will suffice. And unless something is done to tackle the power, reach and unaccountability of the RSPCA, no pet owner is safe.


Left-wing midwives' chief as arrogant and unaccountable as a Seventies union boss

One morning last month, Britain’s 30,000-odd midwives woke up to a piece of shocking news: their entire professional future depends on Britain voting to remain in the EU.

That, at least, was the verdict of Cathy Warwick, the chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM).

In a hard-hitting statement, she claimed that ‘being in the EU underpins much of the protection that pregnant women receive’ and is ‘vital’ for the profession, arguing that the ‘economic shock’ of a Brexit vote is likely to severely damage the NHS.

Professor Warwick’s comments came as the RCM announced that it will be formally supporting the ‘Remain’ campaign – on the apparent grounds that, as she sees it, the nation’s midwives will all be ‘better off in’.

She was, of course, perfectly entitled to that opinion – though many in the ‘Leave’ camp strongly disagreed with her analysis.

Yet whether it might reflect the view of a majority of the RCM’s actual members, who each support the organisation to the tune of £244-a-year, was anyone’s guess.

Strangely, given the highly charged nature of the EU debate, Professor Warwick hadn’t bothered to ballot them democratically before deciding to take a side so publicly in this increasingly heated campaign.

Members were not even asked to decide if the Royal College, a professional organisation which supposedly exists to uphold standards of care and represent the career interests of midwives, ought to be in the business of becoming embroiled in such a partisan political controversy as the EU referendum debate.

It was a similar story yesterday, when it emerged that Professor Warwick’s RCM has decided to join forces with a motley crew of abortion activists and radical feminists by supporting a campaign to abolish legal limits on abortion.

Again, her members were not balloted on whether their organisation should support this highly controversial move. The College was unable last night to say whether the decision to endorse the ‘We Trust Women’ campaign had even been properly sanctioned by its nine-strong board of directors.

A spokesman said Professor Warwick was ‘in Scotland, her native country, for the weekend’ and couldn’t be contacted.

There was no answer at the £1.5 million home in Balham, South London, from which she commutes to the organisation’s well-appointed offices in Marylebone.

Little wonder that around 200 members of the RCM have already signed a letter to the board condemning the policy as ‘utterly unacceptable’ and stating that the Royal College of Midwives ‘does not speak in our name’.

To many, Professor Warwick, who is 63 and has been running the midwives’ organisation since 2008, is seeking, stealthily, to make her organisation pursue a Left-wing political agenda.

In doing so, she has at times behaved with the brand of arrogance and unaccountability you might expect to find in old-fashioned trade union power-broker.

Paid £155,000 a year – around five times the salary of a normal midwife – Professor Warwick certainly does not appear to have been entirely open about her formal links to the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), the pro-abortion charity running the ‘We Trust Women’ campaign.

The fact that she happens to be chairman of the BPAS’s board of trustees is strangely absent from the lengthy CV which she publishes on the Royal College’s website.

So too is her apparent support for the liberalisation of abortion law.

Perhaps that’s because her stance would appear to be entirely at odds with not just the view of many RCM members, but also with the traditional ethos of the College, which was founded in 1881 and has the Latin motto ‘Vita Donum Dei,’ meaning ‘Life is the Gift of God’.

Certainly in years gone by, the RCM was scrupulous about upholding the spirit of that motto. While generally supportive of the right of women to choose, within the confines of the law, it steered clear of advocating for British abortion law to be relaxed. In the 1980s, it instead argued for the lowering of the abortion limit from 28 to 24 weeks, since medical advances meant foetuses were viable from an earlier age.

During the 1990s, the College was accused of siding with ‘anti-abortion fanatics’ by backing a ban on harvesting of ovarian material from dead foetuses. Under the leadership of Professor Warwick, who is married with three grown-up children, recent years have seen creeping politicisation. The RCM’s members went on strike over pay in 2014, and last year joined a notorious TUC protest at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester which saw journalists and delegates spat on and barracked as they attempted to gain access to the event. More recently, the College has vigorously supported the junior doctors’ strike.

In 2014, Professor Warwick’s regime endorsed a BPAS campaign for there to be ‘buffer zones’ around abortion clinics, which pro-life protesters would be banned from entering. And last year, it protested against plans to tighten laws against conducting abortion on the grounds of gender.


Facebook goes nuclear: Mark Zuckerberg vows to meet with conservative leaders over trending topics controversy

Facebook on Thursday pulled back the curtain on how the controversial Trending Topics feature works, a reaction to a report in Gizmodo on Monday that claimed the social media giant downplays conservative news subjects.

Facebook denied that report, despite the comments made by two former curators of the site's feature.

Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg took to the site on Thursday evening to say he plans to talk with leading conservatives in coming weeks.

'I want to have a direct conversation about what Facebook stands for and how we can be sure our platform stays as open as possible,' the statement said.

The story has become so big that on Monday 'Trending Topics' was a trending topic on the website.

In its own blog post, the company said a series of checks and balances - involving both software formulas and humans - ensures that stories displayed in the trending topics section aren't biased.

The post linked to a 28-page internal document Facebook uses to determine Trending Topics, after the Guardian published a similar document that was leaked to it.

Justin Osofsky, vice president of global operations, said the guidelines ensure that stories in Trending Topics represent "the most important popular stories, regardless of where they fall on the ideological spectrum".

'The guidelines do not permit reviewers to add or suppress political perspectives,' he said in a statement.

Facebook hasn't said how many people are responsible for the Trending Topics team.

The Guardian report on Thursday said the team was as few as 12 people, citing leaked documents, but Facebook didn't comment on that number.

Trending Topics were introduced in 2014 and appear in a separate section to the right of the Facebook newsfeed.

According to Facebook, potential Trending Topics are first determined by a software formula, or algorithm, that identifies topics that have spiked in popularity on the site.

Next, a team of Trending Topics staffers review potential topics and confirm the topic is tied to a current news event; write a topic description with information corroborated by at least three of 1,000 news outlets; apply a category label to the topic; and check to see whether the topic is covered by most or all of ten major media outlets. 

Those ten outlets include; BBC News, CNN, Fox News, The Guardian, NBC News, The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Yahoo and Yahoo News.

Stories covered by those outlets gain an importance level that may make them more likely to be seen.

If a story is the lead on all ten sites it was described as nuclear, an event that the internal memo said would only happen one to three times a year, a recent example being the Brussels terror attacks. 

Former curators of the trending list told Gizmodo however that there was a clear bias among some employees.

'Depending on who was on shift, things would be blacklisted or trending,' said one former curator.

'I’d come on shift and I’d discover that CPAC or Mitt Romney or Glenn Beck or popular conservative topics wouldn’t be trending because either the curator didn’t recognize the news topic or it was like they had a bias against Ted Cruz.'

Another curator added: 'It was absolutely bias. We were doing it subjectively. It just depends on who the curator is and what time of day it is.

'Every once in awhile a Red State or conservative news source would have a story. But we would have to go and find the same story from a more neutral outlet that wasn’t as biased.'

A third curator who spoke with the technology site admitted that there were also times when a story that was not trending would be put into the feed.

'Facebook got a lot of pressure about not having a trending topic for Black Lives Matter,' they said.

'They realized it was a problem, and they boosted it in the ordering. They gave it preference over other topics. When we injected it, everyone started saying, "Yeah, now I’m seeing it as number one".'

Republican South Dakota Republican John Thune wrote to Zuckerberg demanding answers about any possible bias in the company.

He said: 'If Facebook presents its Trending Topics section as a result of a neutral, objective algorithm, but it is in fact subjective and filtered to support or suppress particular political viewpoints, Facebook's assertion that it maintains "a platform for people and perspectives from across the political spectrum" misleads the public.'

Public records uncovered by The Federalist found that Facebook employees had donated $114,000 to Hillary Clinton's campaign and nothing to her rival Donald Trump.

The Hill later pointed out however that Trump had yet to file information with federal authorities about campaign donations.

Facebook vice president of search, Tom Stocky, was among those who donated to Clinton, giving $2,700 to the Democratic front-runner last October.

It is his team that is in charge of Trending Topics.


Lefties are spot on, their precious BBC IS at risk... it may have to lose its bias
As I have actually been to North Korea, and lived in Russia, I feel qualified to comment on some stupid remarks by a Leftist BBC favourite, Peter Kosminsky.

Mr Kosminsky, a much-garlanded film-maker, absurdly compared government plans to reform the BBC with the control of the airwaves in North Korea and Russia.

Here’s the thing I noticed about North Korea, and which was true of all the communist states in their pomp (which I saw). Those ridiculous slogans you see everywhere, urging praise for the Great Leader, or acclaiming the Party’s wise rule, have a hard purpose.

What they say to the people is: ‘You are powerless. We can put this insulting, arrogant rubbish on the wall in 8ft letters, and you can do absolutely nothing about it.’

It is a deliberate humiliation of all thinking people. And the only thing comparable to this in modern Britain is the BBC. Here, it ceaselessly transmits material which many of us believe to be false, propagandist or contentious.

Mr Kosminsky said the BBC’s main job is to speak truth to power. But the BBC is power. Who can speak truth to it?

We are compelled to pay for it under the threat of imprisonment, it decides which opinions are approved and which are not. It can and does utterly ignore the views of about half the population.

On many occasions I have spotted clear instances of bias, complained in calm, well-marshalled detail about them, taken them through stage after stage and at the end been told – by the BBC themselves – that they have done nothing wrong.

Many of you will have had similar feelings of powerless fury as you have listened to the Corporation’s presenters, and its dramas and soap operas, despising your morals and tastes, ignoring things you know to be true and important, and treating things as uncontested fact which, let us say, have not been proven.

If you doubt this bias, then listen to the words of several prominent BBC people. Mark Thompson, the then director- general, said in 2010 that the BBC had suffered a ‘massive bias to the Left’.

The distinguished presenter Andrew Marr said the Corporation was ‘a publicly funded urban organisation with an abnormally large proportion of younger people, of people in ethnic minorities and almost certainly of gay people, compared with the population at large’.

All this, he said, ‘creates an innate liberal bias inside the BBC’. The equally distinguished John Humphrys has also said: ‘The BBC has tended over the years to be broadly liberal as opposed to broadly conservative.’

There’s no real dispute about it, and it is quite unjust and wrong. But last week’s White Paper on the BBC offers a tiny spark of hope. The BBC is soon to lose the power to be judge and jury in its own cause. If you pursue your complaint hard enough, it will go to Ofcom, an outside regulator.

I urge you to do as I shall do, and – as soon as it is in place – use this new freedom to the full. My only fear is that Ofcom itself is infected by the same establishment Leftism as the BBC.

It will have to prove me wrong. But such small changes can sometimes bring about revolutions. As much as I mistrust all optimism, I am entitled to hope. Let us all speak truth to BBC power.



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

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

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


16 May, 2016

Multicultural doctor suspended over lewd comments about an elderly patient's genitals and sexual remarks to a colleague before laughing them off as the 'African way'

A doctor has been suspended after he made lewd remarks to a colleague about an elderly mental health patient's genitals - and then laughed it off saying it was the 'African way'.

Dr Adewale Williams Lawrence, 36, placed his finger on a co-worker's lips, made rude hand gestures and pointed to her breasts while making a lurid remark.

A medical tribunal heard he abused his 'position of trust' when he asked her sexually suggestive questions, including if she had enjoyed seeing an elderly patient's private parts.

The hearing was told Dr Lawrence, who worked at the Ribbleton Hospital in Preston, Lancashire, also told the more junior doctor - named only as 'Dr A' - that she should have sex with him.

When challenged over his persistent behaviour, the doctor laughed and said it was the 'African way'.

Dr Lawrence has now been suspended for nine months by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester and was told his conduct was 'sexually motivated'.

The tribunal heard that, between August and December 2014, Dr Lawrence said Dr A had 'beautiful lips' and made inappropriate remarks about her sex life.

On one occasion, he followed her down a corridor, the hearing was told, and said: 'It's a nice view. I like walking behind you.'

Tribunal chairman Debbie Hill said: 'Your conduct towards Dr A was sexually motivated and you failed to treat her with respect and were wholly inappropriate.

'You have abused your position of trust as Dr A's senior colleague. This was a working relationship and you were meant to be supporting her.'

On another occasion, when Dr A was leaning over, he said, 'Oh, that's a good position'.

Mrs Hill added: 'When Dr A requested you stop asking her inappropriate questions, you inappropriately laughed, told Dr A you were joking...made lewd hand gestures and told Dr A that 'friends talk about these things'.

Dr Lawrence, who has homes in Blackburn and Oxford, denied any wrongdoing and accused Dr A and a colleague of lying.

However, the tribunal found the allegations against him to be true and said Dr A had proved to be a convincing witness.

Dr Lawrence earlier admitted calling his colleague 'good looking' but denied his comment was inappropriate, though the panel disagreed.

A spokesman for Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, responsible for the hospital, said: 'As soon as the concern was brought to our attention, it was raised with the deanery and the doctor's lead employer, who took appropriate steps.

'This has now resulted in this significant action by the General Medical Council.'


Nurse whose animals were removed by the RSPCA speaks of her joy after charity's boss admits it is too aggressive

The new head of the RSPCA has admitted it has lost its way after a sustained campaign by The Mail on Sunday to expose how the charity had become politicised and strayed far from its traditional role of caring for animals.

In a hugely embarrassing climbdown, newly appointed chief executive Jeremy Cooper yesterday admitted: ‘The leadership was too adversarial,’ and promised: ‘We are going to be less political.’

His comments came as the charity made an extraordinary U-turn in the latest scandal revealed by this newspaper.

Earlier this month we reported how retired nurse Irene Brown, 68, had returned home after two weeks in hospital to find her beloved cats had been taken away by the RSPCA while she was ill.

She had feared she would never see her pets again. But yesterday a delighted Miss Brown welcomed the return of three of her cats in a victory for The Mail on Sunday.

All five of her cats were removed by the RSPCA on the day Miss Brown was struck down by meningitis last December.

Police who were called to the property by concerned neighbours had contacted the charity.

Three sheep, which she also owned, were shot the next day in the presence of an RSPCA inspector.

Last night, Miss Brown thanked the MoS for highlighting her plight after three of the cats were returned.

But Miss Brown, 68, is still battling to get her other two cats back.  Her legal adviser, Warren Salter, said yesterday: ‘It’s incomprehensible that the RSPCA feel they have the right to hold on to Miss Brown’s cats.

‘Right up until the last moment before the handover, they were still demanding the right to inspect Miss Brown’s home to see that it was up to scratch when she had not done anything wrong apart from fall ill. This sort of abuse of power is monstrous.’

There is no suggestion any of the animals in Miss Brown’s care were mistreated or neglected and the RSPCA said her family had asked the charity to rehome them, which was arranged by a third party.

The charity insists it did not ‘authorise’ the killing of the sheep.

When Miss Brown asked for her cats back, she was reportedly told by the inspector that her home was an ‘unsafe environment’.

She says the house was in disarray because the ambulance crew moved furniture to get her out after she collapsed.

She said: ‘I am relieved to have my cats home but I won’t rest until they are all back. They were taken without my consent while I was unconscious. I feel betrayed.

‘I am so grateful for the support I have had from The Mail on Sunday and its readers.’

The RSPCA, which has a turnover of £135 million, and has been accused of alienating farmers over badger culls and launching politically motivated prosecutions against hunts.

The MoS has led the way with a series of reports about the RSPCA. They included revelations that hundreds of healthy animals were being put down simply because the RSPCA could not find homes for them.

And the charity was accused of ‘cruel dishonesty’ earlier this year after it seized and killed an elderly cat when concerns were raised about its appearance – and then lied to its distraught owners.

The charity later apologised.

An RSPCA spokesman said: ‘It is a matter of regret that Miss Brown was distressed by our actions. Our priority, as always, was the welfare of the animals.

‘We are trying to track down the current owners of the two cats and we hope to resolve the matter as quickly as we can.’


These States are Standing Up to Obama's Transgender Tyranny

When the Founders got together, surely they envisioned a society where an all powerful executive would use his power to dictate to the states that sexually confused, mentally ill young men pretending to be women can use any schoolhouse bathroom they choose, or else. Right? Wrong.

Yet that's exactly what President Obama is trying to do. Luckily, ordinary Americans nationwide are standing up to him. As Newsmax reports:

President Obama's new directive ordering public schools to allow transgenders to use the bathroom with which they identify is stirring emotions in statehouses and living rooms from Texas to Indiana.

Reaction from Texas came fast and furious in advance of the directive being disseminated Friday to schools nationwide, The Washington Post reported. 

"I got news for President Barack Obama," Port Neches-Groves (Texas) Superintendent Rodney Canvass told local TV station 12News. "He ain't my President and he can't tell me what to do. That letter is going straight to the paper shredder."
"This will be the beginning of the end of the public school system as we know it," Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick told Dallas-Fort Worth TV station NBC 5.

Reaction was fierce in Indiana, as well.

Dr. Zach Rozelle, superintendent of the Union County/College Corner Joint School District, did not mince words to CBS4 in Indianapolis.

"Another example of government … politicians using the public schools to promote their own political agenda -- little to no regard for the real impact on the right to privacy … security for all children," Rozelle said.

Good laws have a basis in sound reasoning. This law does not. It's nothing more than a vehicle for liberal self congratulation, at the expense of many tragically mentally ill, deluded people.


Sheriff David Clarke: Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act ‘Premised and Crafted on Lies’

Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke said at a Capitol Hill press conference Wednesday that a series of “lies” fueled the bipartisan effort pushing the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act.

“This bill was premised and crafted on what I call three lies, the three lies of criminal justice reform,” he said.

“Lie number one: ‘It will only involve low-level offenders.’ First of all, we know that’s not true. If this truly did involve only low-level drug offenders, we wouldn’t put a dent in the federal prison population.” Clarke went on:

    Lie number two: That it will reduce crime. We look at Prop 47 in California, a similar plan to empty the jails and prisons in California in favor of this crazy idea of programming. In its time that Prop 47 was passed, in the ten largest cities in California, violent crime has gone up 12.9 percent. And in that time, property crime has gone up in nine of the ten largest cities in California, ten percent. You want to know what this is going to look like three, four, five years down the road? There’s your snapshot. And there’s a lag time in this.

Clarke also criticized the label “low-level drug offenders,” put forth by the bill’s proponents.

“Let me disabuse of the idea of the low-level drug offender,” he said. “If you’re a single mom, living in the American ghetto, and you’re doing everything that you can to try to keep your child and your children away from the dope dealer who stands on the corner every day, or runs a dope house just down the street from yours, it is a huge relief for her to have that person taken out of circulation.”

“‘Low-level’? Much of the violent crime we’re talking about — armed robberies, burglaries, drive-by shootings — are the result of drug war disputes. So forget about the thought of this ‘low-level drug offender,’” he added.



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, 2016


Three current articles below

A callous multicultural rapist

A female judge has slammed men who view rape as 'lad's banter' after she jailed a former shop supervisor who attacked a woman as she lay asleep during a childish prank to 'c***-block' his friend.

Judge Hilary Manley hit out at Daniel Dennis, 27, after hearing how he had raped the woman simply to 'get one over' on his friend Craig Flash, who just had sex with her in a rented apartment.

Dennis, from Wolverhampton, had sneaked into the room while the 23-year old woman was with Mr Flash and then hid behind a curtain before locking his pal in the bathroom when he went to the toilet.

Although Mr Flash was allowed back out, Dennis then waited for him to nod off before raping the woman as she lay asleep next to him. He fled in a change of clothing when she woke up to find him having intercourse with her.

Dennis, who had worked as a supervisor at Primark until 2011, later claimed he was simply playing a game known as 'c***-blocking' a slang term for an action intended to prevent someone else from having sex with a woman.

He claimed Mr Flash had stopped him having sex with a different woman on a previous occasion by walking in on them as they were getting intimate.

Dennis had denied rape but was convicted after a trial at Manchester Crown Court and jailed for six years.

Judge Manley told him: 'You and friends came to Manchester that night and acted in a way that was shameful. You displayed a blatant disregard for women with little regards for their feelings.

'The fact you engaged in behaviour that you describe as c***-blocking to disturb your friend in his private business with this woman. Your response was "he did it to me and the girl left". That particular girl got upset and you clearly learnt nothing from it.

'You specifically targeted her whether due to your need for sex or to get one over on your friend. She woke up and screamed at you to get off her. It must have been a traumatic frightening and embarrassing experience for her. You then tried to front it out by claiming she welcomed you to have sexual intercourse with her.

'She no longer feels safe, she feels vulnerable and suffers mood swings. She can't discuss what happened with her family, she's isolated. She had nightmares and suffers financially. It was clear in the trial that this victim still suffers.'

Parveen Mansoor, mitigating, said Dennis's girlfriend of three years was standing by him. Miss Mansoor added: 'This incident was out of character for him. The behaviour described in the night in question was childish and naive.

'The victim said that when she asked the defendant to get off he did get off immediately. The evidence from the defendant himself is that sexual intercourse lasted up to a minute but no more than that. She said she felt some thrusting movements when she woke up but it all happened so quickly.


Multiculturalist who hacked a 17-year-old to death with a ‘Zombie killer’ machete is jailed for life

A 17-year-old has been jailed for life after hacking a fellow teenager to death with a 'Zombie Killer' machete.

Blaise Lewinson stabbed Stefan Appleton, 17, with the 25in serrated blade in the leg and chest last year in a north London park.

Lewinson can be named after Judge Richard Hone QC lifted reporting restrictions, saying he should be identified as a deterrent to others and because of the public interest.

A jury deliberated for 14-and-a-half hours to convict the defendant of manslaughter but clear him of murder.

Sentencing Lewinson, who appeared in court at the Old Bailey in a white shirt and tie, Judge Hone said he regarded the killing as 'very close to murder'.

He told him: 'You were in the middle of your GCSE examinations but you preferred to commit serious knife crime in a busy London park filled with young families.'

The judge called him a 'dangerous offender' who had a 'fascination with illegal knives', and said he had shown 'no true remorse'.

He said: 'The use of this utterly ferocious weapon, even with the reduced intent, caused the loss of Stefan Appleton's young life.

'He plainly was unarmed and you stabbed him on the ground while he was defending himself.'

Judge Hone added: 'What you did that evening and in the aftermath, coupled with your history of previous offending and non-compliance with court orders, justifies my conclusion that this is one of those rare cases where the court should pass a discretionary life sentence.'

Lewinson was told he must serve a minimum of nine years before he can be considered for release on licence.

His conviction last month came just days after Home Secretary Theresa May announced plans to ban the sale, manufacture and importation of Zombie Killer knives, which she said 'glamorise violence and are clearly targeted at young people'.

The trial had heard how student Stefan had been with friends at Nightingale Park in Islington on Wednesday June 10 last year, while children nearby enjoyed the summer evening on swings and slides.

Lewinson jumped off the back of a stolen scooter, pulled out the machete-like blade and chased after Stefan and his friends, the court heard.

When Stefan tripped and fell, he was stabbed on the ground, once in the leg and once in the chest. He died later in hospital.

The court heard that as he rode off on the moped Lewinson allegedly shouted 'RP', standing for Red Pitch, a rival to another gang in the area.

He fled to Bristol and tried to book a flight to Spain, before returning to London to hide out but was arrested a few days later.


Muslim surgeon "accidentally" 'removed patient's TESTICLE

A consultant surgeon who allegedly removed a man's testicle by mistake before telling him it is still there only smaller could be struck off.

Baghdad-born Dr Marwan Farouk, who was educated in a grammar school in Durham, was purportedly operating on a cyst when he accidentally removed the patient's right testicle.

The surgeon will now face a hearing before a panel of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal next month and could be struck off, suspended, given a warning or required to undergo further training.

The private procedure was carried out at The Chiltern Hospital in Great Missendon, Buckinghamshire, in April 2014, according to The Express.

According to details of the charges Dr Farouk faces 'it is alleged that he removed the patient's entire right testicle and did not attempt to remove the right epididymal cyst separately.'

He then 'intended to cover up the fact that he had removed Patient A's testicle.'

The allegations also state that Dr Farouk failed to tell the man he had removed his right testicle during the post-operation consultation.

The patient was purportedly led to believe that it would still be functional and was only smaller.

Dr Farouk is also alleged to have written to the man's GP to say there had been some tissue damage, without advising them that the patient's testicle had been removed.

The details state that in undertaking the surgery, 'Dr Farouk operated outside his area of expertise and that his actions were misleading and dishonest.'

According to information posted on his website, the consultant surgeon is married to an Aylesbury-based GP and has three young boys.

His website says: 'I am an active teacher of medical students and junior doctors, and I am a recognised trainer in laparoscopic surgical techniques.

The private procedure was carried out at The Chiltern Hospital in Great Missendon, Buckinghamshire, in  2014
The private procedure was carried out at The Chiltern Hospital in Great Missendon, Buckinghamshire, in 2014

'I have published over 30 research papers in prestigious medical journals.'

It also states that he works at Buckinghamshire NHS Trust, working at Stoke Mandeville and Wycombe General hospitals.

Since the incident in 2014, Dr Farouk has been required to work under a set of strict conditions, reported the paper.

The consultant must also be supervised and has been banned from doing any scrotal surgery.


And now for somewhat more pleasant things

NHS doctor, 39, claims divorce judges made him work a seven-day week so he could continue paying £1,600 per month to his buy-to-let tycoon ex-wife

Feminist-inspired divorce laws turn marriage into a form of prostitution.  No wonder lots of men now "won't commit"

An NHS doctor who said divorce judges condemned him to working a seven-day week so he can meet maintenance payments to his buy-to-let tycoon ex-wife, has told the Appeal Court he was treated unfairly.

Hospital obstetrician Mark Tattersall, 39, claimed he was forced to work a 56-hour week after he was ordered to pay his ex Amanda Tattersall £1,070-a-month in personal maintenance and almost £600-a-month in child maintenance.

When the pair split up in 2011, after more a decade of marriage, Oxford University academic Mrs Tattersall was handed 70 per cent of the family fortune, the bulk of which was invested in a string of buy to let properties stretching from London to Liverpool.

Dr Tattersall who is from Bolton and works at Liverpool Women's Hospital, says he has no choice but to work the equivalent as seven eight-hour days in order to meet his own basic needs and keep up the payments to his former wife.

He claimed divorce judges were 'wrong to expect him to work more than a normal 40-hour week' and has now told London's Appeal Court he feels he has been the victim of 'unfair' treatment.

NHS hospital doctors routinely put in much longer hours on the job than the average 35 hour nine-to-five working week.

The European Working Hours Directive has now limited compulsory working time for UK hospital doctors to 48 hours, but it is legal for medics to work overtime through choice.

Dr Tattersall, who was earning £75,000 annually and working 56 hours, including weekends, before the separation, told judges he wanted to cut back his hours to 40 per week so that he had weekends free to potentially spend time with his young daughter.

The divorce court ruling on maintenance had left him unable to do that, he insisted.

He complained that 'the judge had erred in dividing the capital unequally and in ordering him to pay too much for too long by way of periodical payments (maintenance) to his wife.'

The judge had 'overestimated his income' and 'should have based herself on his current salary, without overtime,' he argued.

He also claimed that what was left in his pay packet after making the payments to his wife 'will not cover his income needs.'

The judge had been 'over-generous in assessing the wife's needs,' he added.

An initial challenge to the maintenance award was dismissed by the Court of Appeal in 2013.

Judges found that he had not put forward sufficient evidence to support his claims about the number of hours or days he would need to work.

However he has continued to protest and has been hit with further court orders over his failure to keep up the maintenance payments.

And the doctor was also hit with an enforcement order in relation to the arrears, which could potentially lead to him being jailed if he still fails to pay up.

He is now fighting those orders, claiming to have suffered 'procedural unfairness' and that his ex-wife 'has manipulated judges' in order to get the result she wants.


Seaside resort BANS classic Punch and Judy show from its summer festival because it 'trivalises domestic violence '

A seaside resort has banned a classic Punch and Judy show - because councillors fear it trivialises domestic violence.

The traditional puppet show was supposed to be part of the Barry Island Beats, Eats and Treats festival in south Wales next month.

But the performance was scrapped after officials and some councillors decided it would be at odds with the county council's standpoint on domestic violence.

Ian Johnson, of Barry Town Council, which agreed to give £2,500 to support the festival, said: 'The issue was that it was treading a fine line between entertainment and recognising that some of it was inappropriate.

'It has elements of hitting people and that is not something that we would want to promote.

'If the county council allowed the puppet show to feature at the weekend event in Barry it would have been at odds with its and the Welsh Government's standpoint on domestic violence.'

The decision has come under criticism from the Punch and Judy Fellowship.  'Punch and Judy does not encourage wife bashing - no child of a Punch and Judy man has ever grown up to be violent - and they've seen hundreds of shows,' a statement on its website said.  'If Punch and Judy should be banned because of violence then so should performances of Shakespeare as well as Tom and Jerry cartoons. 

'Banning Punch would be like banning wine gums because there are alcoholics in the world.'

Barry Town Council is not the first to decide to ban the popular puppet show, with performances being dropped from Cornwall to Kent in recent years.

A Vale of Glamorgan Council spokesman said: 'While planning events for the weekend, a host of traditional activities have been considered to ensure the event caters for everyone.

'The Punch and Judy show that had been considered will not be taking place.'

Barry Island Beats, Eats and Treats festival takes place on June 4 and 5.


Trump Takes Position on Transgender Bathrooms

The matter of allowing transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identities should be decided on the state level, not by the White House, Donald Trump said Friday.

"I'd leave that up to the states,"Trump said on NBC's "Today" show. "That and other things, frankly. Let the states decide. It's much better as a local issue. I don't think it is a federal issue, where the federal government gets involved."
Trump said he believes "everybody has to be protected," but when it comes to transgender students, "you're talking about a tiny, tiny group of the population. With that being said, everybody has to be protected. I would leave it up to the states."

His comments on Friday were slightly different than they were during an April town hall on the "Today" show, when he commented that when it comes to North Carolina's bathroom law, he would have left things as they were, rather than pass a law requiring that people use bathrooms based on the sex listed on their birth certificates, because "there have been very few complaints the way it is."



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

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

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


13 May, 2016

The strange priorities of British police

Ted Heath was undoubtedly queer and queers do tend to like boys so his local cops probably think they will find SOMETHING if they look hard enough.  But Ted is long dead so what is the point?  Surely not the dreaded "homophobia?

Police have vowed to continue a probe into child abuse allegations against Sir Edward Heath – even though a key witness has been discredited.

Mike Veale, Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police, said he was ‘satisfied it was appropriate’ to continue the investigation into the former prime minister, who died in 2005.

He said the operation – which has so far cost £367,965 – would proceed despite the Metropolitan Police’s decision to close down its VIP sex abuse inquiry, in which Sir Edward was named as a suspect by a discredited witness known as ‘Nick’.

Last August, Wiltshire Police was criticised for holding a bizarre televised appeal for witnesses outside Sir Edward’s former house in Salisbury in the shadow of the city’s cathedral.

A senior officer urged victims not ‘to suffer in silence’ and to contact them if they had been abused by the respected politician. Lurid allegations against the late Tory PM, including that he stopped then Tory MP Harvey Proctor castrating ‘Nick’ with a penknife at a paedophile sex party, have since been comprehensively demolished.

But Wiltshire Police, leading an inquiry involving seven forces into historical abuse allegations against Sir Edward, said the nine-month investigation ‘remains live’.

In a letter to the Commons’ home affairs select committee published last night, Mr Veale said: ‘We are committed to going where the evidence leads and it will conclude when we are satisfied that our objectives have been proportionately achieved.

‘As with all investigations, the length of the inquiry will usually be commensurate with the complexity, seriousness and volume of allegations. I would ask no inference is drawn, suffice to say I am satisfied the length of this investigation is proportionate.’

Mr Veale, who has 16 police officers dedicated to the allegations dating back nearly 50 years, said he would personally conduct ‘due diligence’ on the investigation, codenamed Operation Conifer, to ensure ‘proportionality, legality and necessity’.

He added: ‘I will continue to think carefully about the implications of [the] operation. Doing the right thing is more important than the reputation of Wiltshire Police, and I am satisfied that it is appropriate for the investigation to continue.’

Keith Vaz, Labour chairman of the home affairs select committee, said: ‘Concerns have been expressed to the committee over the rationale for this investigation and its cost.

'Ministers have previously criticised the inappropriate decision for a senior police officer to appeal for individuals to come forward with information at the gates of Sir Edward Heath’s former home. We will be monitoring this issue closely.’

Wiltshire Police’s inquiry began last year following allegations it covered up child sex claims against the politician, who never married. Forces including Kent, Jersey and Hampshire have been involved in the probe.

As part of the investigation, officers will spend up to two years trawling through Sir Edward’s private papers, questioning lunch guests at his old home Arundells, as well as former political aides and staff.

They will also try to track down any surviving crew on his yacht over extraordinary claims he abused a boy before throwing him overboard.

‘Nick’, who has since been exposed as a fantasist, claimed to have been raped by the former PM and also made lurid claims against a group of Establishment figures, including ex-Home Secretary Leon Brittan and former head of the army Lord Bramall.

But in March, the Met made the humiliating decision to scrap its £2million Operation Midland inquiry having failed to find any corroborating evidence.

Meanwhile, Wiltshire Police is being probed by the Independent Police Complaints Commission over claims a prosecution against a brothel-keeper was shelved more than 20 years ago after a threat was made to ‘expose’ Sir Edward.


EEOC Runs Ahead of the Courts on Questions of Gender Identity Discrimination

A number of federal statutes, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, bar discrimination on the basis of "sex."

And now, with transgender issues making daily headlines, a number of federal courts are being asked to decide if "sex" goes beyond simple anatomy and must also include "gender identity."

There's absolutely no doubt about it at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which flat-out states on its website that it is illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee "because of the person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation)..."

In fact, the EEOC is busy establishing case law on the subject.

Just six days ago, the EEOC told a Minnesota company to pay $140,000 to a man who was asked to leave his job after he told co-workers he planned to "transition" from male to female.

Here are the facts of the case, as stated by the EEOC:

Ellucian, a higher education technology services company, barred the transgender employee from his assigned contract job on a college campus, the day after the employee told co-workers he "planned to transition from male to female."

The college where the employee was working asked Ellucian to remove the employee from their campus, and Ellucian complied with the college's request.

According to the EEOC, "Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination, including bias based on transgender status, gender stereotyping and subjecting an employee to different terms and conditions and/or a hostile work environment because of sex."

Despite the EEOC's affirmative opinion that the federal ban on "sex" discrimination includes gender-identity discrimination, the question has not been resolved conclusively by the courts.

In an opinion released on Tuesday, Attorney General Mark Herring of Virginia, a Democrat, noted that numerous federal statutes and regulations prohibit sex-based discrimination, but those statues do not define the term "sex."

The Virginia attorney general stated, "it would be premature at this time to offer a definitive opinion on the question of whether sex discrimination categorically includes...gender identity discrimination," but he also noted that "the unmistakeable trend in federal courts is towards construing anti-sex-discrimination statutes to prohibit discrimination against LGBT individuals in many circumstances."

In his opinion, Attorney General Mark Herring stated that the EEOC's "reasonable interpretation of Title VII is entitled to deference," and Herring quoted at length from EEOC's 2012 decision in Macy v. Holder, which found that "evidence of gender stereotyping is simply one means of proving sex discrimination" toward transgenders.

EEOC, in announcing its findings in the Ellucian case, also referred to the April 2012 Macy case, noting that it "ruled that employment discrimination against employees because they are transgender is sex discrimination which violates Title VII."

"Since that time, EEOC has focused on protecting transgender individuals as a strategic enforcement priority and has resolved several potential charges and lawsuits," the news release said.

Under the terms of the agreement with Ellucian, the company must not only pay the transgender person $140,000; it also must modify its code of conduct to include gender identity as a protected basis in its anti-discrimination provisions, and it must distribute the new code of conduct to all employees.

Ellucian must also provide training for all of its employees in the U.S. on gender identity discrimination, with additional training and coaching for all personnel who may receive removal requests from clients. And finally, Ellucian must report all removal requests made by clients to EEOC for the next three years.

"We appreciate that Ellucian worked cooperatively with EEOC to resolve this charge without having to go through protracted litigation," said Julianne Bowman, district director of the EEOC's Chicago District. "As a result of this agreement, Ellucian is helping to lead the way for transgender employees to enjoy equal rights in the workplace in Minnesota."


Another one of those charming Muslims that Australia is lucky to have

A MAN who has been charged for allegedly stomping on and destroying baby graves came out of Burwood Local Court this morning swinging at the media.

Muhammad Ibrahim, 25, slapped away cameras and almost ran a photographer over in his Jeep, which had been parked illegally.

Ibrahim was in no mood to talk to the media after turning up about 30 minutes late to his hearing for allegedly destroying almost 70 Christian graves at Rookwood Cemetery on November 27 last year.

Ibrahim pushed one camera away and grabbed another as he walked towards a Jeep that he had parked in a no-stopping zone almost directly outside the court house.

He climbed into the Jeep and, with a parking ticket still stuck under his windscreen wipers, did a three-point turn, narrowly missing a Daily Telegraph photographer.

He then stopped to pull down the window and stick up his middle finger for the cameras.

It is not the first time Ibrahim has been involved in an altercation outside court. When he appeared in March, he was confronted by a group of angry Russian patriots who chased him down the street shouting, “you’re a coward.”

Ibrahim’s hearing was adjourned because of a delay in locating his co-accused Nassem Raad.

Magistrate Eve Wynhausen adjourned the court case so that Ibrahim and Raad, who has also pleaded not guilty, can face a hearing together.

Ibrahim has pleaded not guilty to destroying or damaging property and supply of a prohibited drug. Raad has pleaded not guilty to entering an enclosed land without lawful excuse and destroy or damage property.

The Daily Telegraph understands almost 70 graves around a Greek Orthodox church were destroyed with crosses and headstones smashed including on at least four baby graves.

A security guard at the cemetery said he saw one father turn up to his infants grave sobbing.

A caretaker told the Daily Telegraph that many of the Greek Orthodox Christians would visit their relatives graves every day and the destruction of their loved ones headstones was deeply distressing to them.

As of January, the damage bill was $50,000 but it is expected to be a lot higher. Ibrahim and Raad’s cases will return to Burwood Local Court on June 30.


Australia: Waleed Aly’s complaint at Logies about TV racism erases the true trailblazers

WAS there anything more ludicrous than seeing Waleed Aly complaining last weekend about racism even after he was given the Gold Logie for Best Personality on TV?

Was there anything sillier than seeing Noni Hazelhurst likewise complaining last weekend about women not getting a fair go at the very moment that she was inducted into the Logies Hall of Fame?

Please, children are watching. Wouldn’t a “thank you” rather than a “stuff you” not have set a better example?

And wouldn’t a tribute to Australia have been more appropriate than all this childish displaying of wounds that seem to be not even the barest of scratches?

Instead, we were treated to something Kafkaesque on Logies night, where tales were told of Australia’s allegedly inherent racism and sexism at an event that at every turn contradicted that fashionable smear, so wildly applauded by the audience.

Take Aly’s acceptance speech. By any measure, Aly has succeeded so completely in this country that he is a walking contradiction of claims that Muslims or people from Middle Eastern families are invariably the oppressed.

Instead, our institutions have rushed to embrace and sanctify this man who seemed the moderate and unthreatening Muslim of their dreams — a man who allowed them to prove their own broad-mindedness at minimal risk and to ignore the explosions, gunfire and screams of “Allahu akbar” on the TV news.

A grateful Labor government appointed Aly to the board of the Australia Council. The ABC, committed to every kind of diversity except diversity of thought, signed up this preacher of Leftist pieties and Islamic apologetics as an on-air presenter. An eager Monash University made him a lecturer at its Global Terrorism Research Centre, even though he had not even completed a PhD.

Gold Logie award winner Waleed Aly has complained about racism.
The Age made him a columnist, Channel 10 made him a host of The Project and the Australian government sent him on a tour of the Middle East.

The journalist union’s Walkley Awards even handed him a prize for his columns and a portrait of Aly as a kind of Christ, blood dripping from his noble head, was a finalist for the Archibald Prize for portraiture.

No one can have been showered with so much by so many so soon — and so clearly while being so different.

Yet Aly in his speech still wouldn’t take yes, yes, yes for an answer. He instead attacked the TV industry for not being welcoming enough to Muslims, ethnics and people with funny names. You know, to people just like Waleed Aly.

“If tonight means anything, it’s that the Australian public, our audience — as far as they are concerned there is absolutely no reason why that can’t change,” he said, clutching his Logie.

And then he told the most astonishingly far-fetched tale of oppression, announcing that ethnic actors had seen in him their representative, even their hero, and had urged him to win the Logie for them.

“Someone who is in this room — and I’m not going to use the name they use in the industry — came up to me, introduced themselves and said to me, ‘I really hope you win. My name is Mustafa. But I can’t use that name because I won’t get a job’.”

How sad. But how suss. It soon turned out that this actor too scared to reveal his Middle Eastern first name was Tyler De Nawi, who still kept and traded under his Middle Eastern surname without any trouble.

Even stranger, De Nawi had just starred in the Channel 9’s prime-time hit TV show, Here Come the Habibs, playing someone from a Lebanese background just like his own.

Exactly what did Aly think De Nawi was hiding? If De Nawi thought he had to keep his Lebanese background secret to succeed, he was going about it in a hell of a strange way. But on Aly ploughed, saying an actor called “Dimitri” had also urged him to win.

“To Dimitri and Mustafa and to everyone else with an unpronounceable name like I don’t know, I really just want to say one thing and it’s that I am incredibly humbled that you would even think to invest in me that way,” he sighed.

Please. A man with an even more allegedly “unpronounceable” name than Dimitri — Alex Dimitriades — had already just won the Logie for the Most Outstanding Actor.

And Deborah Mailman, of Aboriginal ancestry, had won Most Outstanding Actress, showing that honouring people of different colour and “race” is not quite the Aly-specific Big Deal in this exceptionally embracing country.

That is the real shame of this Aly schtick — that by presenting himself as the great challenger of our racism he wipes out the abundant history we have of people who did that challenging long ago and helped to create the kind of country where an Aly effortlessly cleans up big-time.

Am I too harsh?

Then consider how Aly’s wife, Muslim convert Susan Carland, herself given a lecturer’s job by Monash University and a gig by ABC radio, has presented her husband as the shining first to challenge a colour-phobic TV industry.

As The Australian reported in a generous profile of Aly last month: “Aly’s wife, academic Susan Carland, points out the significance of having a non-white face on commercial TV.

“ ‘I think a lot of people forget that — he’s the first non-white on prime-time commercial TV. That’s huge,’ she says, later sending me a text to correct herself: ‘PS, Waleed told me apparently Ernie Dingo hosted something on commercial TV back in the day’.”

Strange how a couple who have apparently discussed Aly’s great significance could only just remember Aboriginal Ernie Dingo — who merely hosted “something on commercial TV — and no one else.

It appears that so many others who went before have been wiped from their memories, including Aboriginal current affairs host Stan Grant, Sri Lankan entertainer Kamahl, exercise guru Swami Sarasvati, Aboriginal presenter Aaron Pedersen of Gladiators Australia, the much-loved African American singer Marcia Hines and Bellbird’s Bob Maza, whose Hall of Fame entry hails him for having “changed the way indigenous people were portrayed in the media”.

Also wiped from this Aly-Was-First history are Big Brother’s Trevor Butler, MasterChef’s Poh Ling Yeow and Adam Liaw and Australian Idol’s Casey Donovan.

And, while Carland limited Aly’s exceptionalism to commercial TV, surely the ABC’s Trisha Goddard and the SBS’s Lee Lin Chin deserve some acknowledgment?

The truth is that whatever the flaws of Australia’s past, Aly is by no means the exception or the saviour by which we will be saved from the sin of our alleged racism.

He instead slots easily into a long tradition of Australians embracing people of all backgrounds who make an effort to join.

It is this version of Australia that should be taught — an affirmation of Australia’s warm heart, not a damnation of its imagined evil.

So next time let’s have a Logies winner admit they are not a victim but a winner in a society from which they so richly profit.



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, 2016

Harvard Law Professor Says Treat Conservative Christians Like Nazis

The toad-like Tushnet

There's enough Leftist projection below to run a movie theater

Liberals, stop being so defensive. That’s the message of Harvard law professor Mark Tushnet in a new post at Balkinization, titled “Abandoning Defensive Crouch Liberal Constitutionalism.” The problem, according to Tushnet, is that liberals have been too defensive when it comes to advancing their agenda in the courts.

Tushnet blames what he calls the “culture wars” on conservatives, and he says liberals should now make conservatives pay.

Now that President Barack Obama has reshaped the federal judiciary, liberal causes can win easily in court. And now that Justice Antonin Scalia has died, “judges no longer have to be worried about reversal by the Supreme Court if they take aggressively liberal positions.”

Tushnet blames what he calls the “culture wars” on conservatives, and he says liberals should now make conservatives pay. “The culture wars are over; they lost, we won,” he writes in italics. Tushnet claims that conservatives “had opportunities to reach a cease fire, but rejected them in favor of a scorched earth policy.”

Since when have liberals been defensive? The scorched earth policy has been theirs. They’ve been the aggressors—they’ve been offensive. Conservatives have been defensive.

It seems hard to envision how conservatives could have declared a unilateral cease fire when they weren’t the ones firing in the first place. Liberals aggressively sought in the courts an unlimited abortion license, a redefinition of marriage, and now for transgender bathroom policies throughout the nation. Liberals haven’t been bashful to use the courts to reshape social policy when they couldn’t win at the polls.

It seems hard to envision how conservatives could have declared a unilateral cease fire as liberals aggressively sought in the courts for an unlimited abortion license.

So what’s next? Tushnet explains: “the question now is how to deal with the losers in the culture wars.” And his answer isn’t comforting: “My own judgment is that taking a hard line (‘You lost, live with it’) is better than trying to accommodate the losers.”

Tushnet explains his unwillingness to respect the rights of the “losers”: “Trying to be nice to the losers didn’t work well after the Civil War, nor after Brown. (And taking a hard line seemed to work reasonably well in Germany and Japan after 1945.)”

Ah, yes, if the “losers” of the American “culture wars” are the functional equivalent of racists and Nazis, then Tushnet’s argument works wonderfully. But if Orthodox Jews, Roman Catholics, Evangelical Christians, Latter-day Saints, faithful Muslims, and other Americans who believe that marriage is the union of a man and woman are decent members of society, maybe Tushnet should reconsider his hostility.

In my new book, “Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom,” I argue that the question for people who believe marriage is the union of husband and wife is whether the government will treat us like pro-lifers or like racists. And I offer a roadmap on how to make it so that we’re recognized as people of reason and good will, like pro-lifers.

But, Tushnet makes it clear that he and his colleagues among the liberal elite want the government to treat conservative Christians worse than racists—like Nazis.

It’s our job to make sure that Tushnet doesn’t succeed. It’s what Americans did after Roe v. Wade. Congress and the states passed a variety of laws that protect pro-life conscience. In Roe v. Wade the Supreme Court invented a right to an abortion. But after Roe, legislatures made clear that government cannot require a pro-life doctor or nurse to perform an abortion—that they, too, had rights.

The same is true after the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage. Government has to treat two people of the same sex as married, but private schools, charities, businesses, and individuals should not have to abandon their beliefs.

Tushnet embodies a particularly vicious form of illiberal liberalism. But protecting the rights of a minority—his “losers”—in the wake of such change is an important feature of America’s tradition of tolerance in the midst of pluralism. It’s what real liberalism requires.

This is why federal legislation like the First Amendment Defense Act and state legislation like Mississippi’s Protecting Freedom of Conscience From Government Discrimination Act are so important. As I explain in “Truth Overruled,” good public policy is needed at the local, state, and federal levels to protect cherished American values.

When your neighbors are not in fact Nazis, you should favor public policies that help achieve civil peace amid reasonable disagreement. You should seek to protect pluralism and the rights of all Americans—including the “losers.”


Anger at 'praise Allah' slogans on British buses after the Lord's Prayer advert is banned from nation's biggest cinema chains

Buses across the country are to carry a slogan praising Allah – just months after cinemas banned an advert featuring the Lord's Prayer.

Hundreds of buses will carry posters bearing the words 'Subhan Allah', which means 'Glory be to God' in Arabic, for an ad campaign paid for by the charity Islamic Relief.

The posters will appear in London, Manchester, Leicester, Birmingham and Bradford, which have large Muslim communities.

It has been timed to coincide with the holy month of Ramadan in June, when Muslims traditionally fast and give to charity.

But last night, Christian groups asked why the Islamic adverts had been approved when a one-minute film by the Church of England was banned by Britain's biggest cinema chains at Christmas.

Odeon, Cineworld and Vue refused to show an advert featuring the Archbishop of Canterbury and members of the public reciting the Lord's Prayer. They banned the advertisement – which was due to be screened before the new Star Wars film in December – fearing it could offend movie-goers.

Simon Calvert, of the Christian Institute, said he hoped the Allah advert 'signals the beginning of a new era of greater expressions of the Christian faith, which seems to have become persona non grata'.

He added: 'People were surprised by the cinema advertising agenda to ban the Lord's Prayer – something we all grew up with.  'Audiences are capable of hearing expressions of Christian faith without running away screaming in horror.'

Former Tory MP Ann Widdecombe said: 'If other religions are allowed to put their religious banners up, then so should Christians.'

Andrea Williams, director of Christian Concern, said the decision to allow the Allah advert whilst banning Christian ones highlighted the power of political correctness. She added: 'Britain is a Christian country and we Christians need to find our voice. 'If we are allowing these adverts for Islam, then we need to give the Christians far more freedom to express themselves.'

Islamic Relief said the posters would help to raise funds for victims of war and disasters in countries such as Syria, and portray Islam in a positive light.  Director Imran Madden said: 'There is a lot of negativity around Muslims. We want to change the perception of Islam. The campaign is about breaking down barriers and challenging misconceptions.'

The slogans are most likely to resonate in London where about half of Britain's estimated three million Muslims live. The adverts will start running in the capital from May 23. 


Christian bakers appeal against ruling they broke law by refusing order for cake with pro-gay marriage slogan saying 'it would have been a sin' to make it

Christian bakers who refused to bake a 'pro-gay marriage' cake are appealing against a ruling that they broke the law.

Daniel McArthur, and his wife Karen, who run Ashers Baking Company, in Belfast, said it would be a 'sin' to create the treat which had been ordered by LGBT activist Gareth Lee.

Mr Lee wanted the cake, featuring Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie with the phrase 'Support Gay Marriage', for a private function marking the International Day Against Homophobia.

The born again Christians, whose shop has the slogan 'Come along inside. We'll see if teas and buns can make the world a better place', took the order but then decided not to supply the cake as it was against their beliefs.

Once the decision exploded onto social media it aroused the attention of the Northern Ireland Equality Commission, which launched legal proceedings.

Talking at a high profile hearing at Belfast County Court last March, Mr Lee told how he paid £36.50 for the cake but was telephoned two days later and told the company could not fulfil his demand.

In evidence Mrs McArthur said she knew in her heart she could not make the cake but had taken the order to avoid a confrontation in the shop.

Mr McArthur also told the court his family could not compromise their religious beliefs, despite the legal ramifications.

Mr Lee, a member of the LGBT advocacy group Queer Space, was upset by the ordeal and said the incident had made him feel like a 'lesser person'.

The Ashers' owners were ordered to pay £500 damages after a County Court judge ruled they directly discriminated against Mr Lee and said religious beliefs could not dictate the law.

The bakers are now battling to overturn the judgement and claim that the case has implications for the freedom of expression across the UK.

Family barrister David Scoffield QC said: 'They could not in conscience provide a product with a message that was inconsistent with their deeply-held religious beliefs in circumstances where the evidence was clear that they believed that to do so would be sinful.' 

Mr Scoffield said the alleged discrimination was not against Mr Lee, it was against the message, but the law only covered harm caused to an individual.

He said: 'Discrimination must be against the person, not against an idea or an object. A cake cannot have a political opinion or a religious belief, it is a person who can do so.'

The firm's barrister said it was not contractually obliged to provide the cake, but added: 'This was not a refusal to sell a cake, it was about the refusal to sell this particular cake.'

He told the three senior judges the crucial question was why the order was not fulfilled.

He said: 'This case is an important case. It raises, we submit, an issue of principle. 'The issue is the extent to which those who hold such religious convictions can be required by the law to act in a manner inconsistent with their convictions.'

He added: 'It makes it extremely difficult for any business such as a printer or someone who, as we have seen in this case, creates T-shirts or creates cakes, to run any kind of bespoke service if faced with the position that someone could come through your door and order something which is clearly objectionable.'

The hearing continues and will hear submissions from a lawyer for Mr Lee.


The jobs that come in any colour you want, so long as it’s not white

Are you a UK National from a black, Asian, or non-white ethnic minority?  Then I have some great news for you. You are #BAME (British. Black, Asian, and minority ethnic) and you’ve got the job!  I completely understand. You have no qualifications. That doesn’t matter – school isn’t for everyone. Have a sticker for effort.

You aren’t legally disadvantaged? You aren’t adopted from care or on free school meals?  No problem. We’ve made up our own special definition of disadvantaged to include nearly everyone who can say they are BAME.

This very modern form of job discrimination boils down to something very simple which no one can bring themselves to put down in print. It doesn’t help to be white.

And if you are white and hard-working, or fortunate enough to live in a stable home, as Obama would say, you are at the very back of the queue, my friend.

And this is reflected in the stories in my inbox, from hundreds who have been discriminated against not because of their colour, but because of their lack of it.

Parents have been so disheartened seeing their pale-faced kids rejected on the grounds of lack of colour they have tried to have their story heard. But no one is interested because it’s not very BBC to talk about it.

One girl wrote to me about her experiences trying to get a job in the media industry. Every time she reached interview, she realised she was the lone pale face and knew she might as well turn around and walk out the door.

Another gentleman recounted his work in a call centre, fielding calls from people looking for a job with large public-sector organisations, reading scripted replies from a screen.

He recalls handling recruitment calls for the Metropolitan Police. If the caller said they were from an ethnic minority, a screen would come up for him to read – telling the candidate how to apply.

If they were unfortunate enough to be white, they were told ‘there are no vacancies at this time’. Imagine being that caller and not knowing another script was available if only you were black.

Another girl desperately wants to get into Law but opportunities are closed to her because she is white. Imagine - she says - if there was a City Law for White People. I have been interviewed under caution thanks to the Society for Black Lawyers so I'd like to see some balance too.

When I chanced upon an advert for an internship at the BBC, I thought it sounded like an excellent job for the young people I help when I can.

Production Management Assistant Internship – BBC Current Affairs. A 12-month post with a ‘bursary’ of £16,881. The application deadline is May 10, if you are interested.

One caveat, however: the role is ONLY open to UK Nationals who are black, Asian or of non-white ethnic minority.

Well, a caveat and a snag, actually: the role is based in Salford. And Salford has about as much personality as Katherine Jenkins.

But therein lies another curiosity. When I spoke to the founder of Creative Access, the ‘charity’ operating this discriminatory racket, he quoted endless figures about the under-representation of BAME candidates in media companies in the capital. In London 42 per cent of graduates are non-white. Yet minority representation in the Creative Industries is just 5.4 per cent.

However, if you take a step back from these handpicked figures, in the UK as a whole our population is 86 per cent white and 14 per cent BAME.

Only a small percentage of this 14 per cent would wish to be involved in an industry so perpetually self-obsessed and narcissistic as the media, as Chris Evans evidences so splendidly.

By chance, the founder of Creative Access is also Chris Evans’s agent. Curiouser and curiouser.

Many of the 14 per cent BAME individuals in the UK are far smarter than media studies courses require and aim far higher - as the diversity amongst NHS consultants testifies.

The founder of Creative Access was concerned I might write about the work of his business – sorry, charity – in a negative light.

And I do respect the fact many interns have secured places entirely because they have the support of an agency and the 30 per cent contribution to the employer for the wages of the intern they take.

But whatever the positive outcomes for a minority, and despite the names of journalists and worthies clamouring to be acknowledged as members of the board, I think these practices are fundamentally wrong.



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, 2016

Fast Food Workers: If You Want More Money, Drop The Picket Sign And Do Your Job

Matt Walsh

I was in high school the last time I made minimum wage. I earned my first pay bump by coming to work a few minutes early, wearing my uniform, completing the menial tasks assigned to me, and displaying a very slight, but sometimes moderate, enthusiasm for my mundane job. To really solidify my chances at a raise, I refrained from stealing, insulting customers (to their faces), or smoking weed behind the dumpster out back. I stayed heroically committed to this strategy for a while, and for my efforts I was elevated above minimum wage, never to return.

But that was the ancient past. Over a decade ago. Back then, there were only two ways for a minimum wage fast food grunt to change his financial situation: 1) Be a semi-functional, semi-punctual, semi-conscious human who does his duty and has a vaguely positive attitude, and get a raise. 2) Don’t be that, and get fired.

Note that the second strategy would rarely result in immediate termination. I worked with many people who were aggressively dysfunctional, yet managed to cling onto employment for months because they were, at a minimum, warm bodies who could cut a pizza into 8 slices without severing an artery in the process (usually). Sometimes even these types would get raises, although eventually they would quit when they realized more responsibility comes attached to more money. Most of these people are now on welfare or in Congress.

It never occurred to me to explore the third option, which has become quite popular in recent years: Ask that the government snap its magical wizard fingers and double the minimum wage overnight. Of course, even if it did occur to me, I wouldn’t have been able to pursue it. My dad would have, shall we say, reacted unfavorably if I told him I was ditching my job to hold a “Fight For 15? sign in the parking lot. His colorful response, I imagine, would’ve involved many disapproving adjectives, along with a stern lecture about “hard work” and “discipline” and “character” (his favorite words), and a helpful reminder that if I’m old enough to skip work and protest, I’m old enough to start paying rent. And that would have been the end of my brief experiment with political activism.

But I don’t think this disincentive would’ve been necessary. As much a whiny teenage brat as I was, I still didn’t think I deserved 15 bucks an hour, or its early 2000?s equivalent, for an entry level gig at a fast food joint. I knew I was doing a job that demanded very little of me, and I knew all I had to do was tuck my shirt in and not openly scowl at the customers and already I would separate myself from 80 percent of my coworkers. It would’ve seemed absurd that I could make good money doing a job that requires no education except for a work permit from the guidance counselor, and no training except for a 45 minute orientation video that includes nuanced instructions like “wear pants” and “don’t light your hair on fire.”

I knew – and again, I was not an exceptional kid by any means, so if I could figure this out, anyone can – that if I wanted to make an actual “livable wage,” I had to climb the ladder a few rungs.

It seems many current minimum wage workers fail to grasp this fundamental concept. At least that’s the charitable interpretation. Less charitably, you might say they understand just fine, but are driven by laziness, selfishness and a fantastically bloated sense of entitlement. However you interpret their actions, again thousands of them abandoned their posts last week and took to the streets, demanding that the State hand them a massive pay increase, not because they’ve earned it, but because they “deserve” it.

Thankfully, not all fast food workers are on board with this new “Give Us Salaries Commensurate With What Paramedics Are Paid Because We’re Special And We Know How To Spread Mayonnaise On A Bun” movement. On Friday, a short but glorious video clip surfaced, showing a Taco Bell employee kicking a group of protesters out of her restaurant so she could carry on with her duties. “This is a job that I’m trying to do,” she said. “You may leave the building.”

I don’t know anything about this woman, but already I can say she deserves a higher salary than all of those protesters, most of whom should be fired anyway. She just wants to do her job, which is more than can be said for the people holding picket signs. And I doubt she especially enjoys her work. I’m betting that serving burritos to a hungry herd of impatient customers every day isn’t her idea of a rollicking good time. But it’s the job she was hired to do, so she does it. If you find that logic confusing, you need to grow up.

But one moment in her brief encounter with the protesters particularly stood out. At the very beginning of the video, one of them curiously told her it was “a day of action.” Then, when they were rebuffed, they applauded themselves and went back outside to continue the “action” of spending the workday doing nothing. Many media reports have used this same strange phrase to describe the protests – “a day of action.”

Calling that ”a day of action” is almost as ridiculous as calling it a “fight for 15.” The woman rolling her eyes at the protesters and trying to get back to the duties at hand is the one engaged in a “day of action,” a “fight” for something better. Chanting slogans and whining to news cameras is not “taking action,” anymore than my daughter is taking action when she cries for gummy bears in the checkout aisle.


Another one of Britain's charming multiculturalists

A drunk driver who killed a young mother after smashing into a lorry was going so fast his speedometer became jammed at 162mph, it was revealed today.

Martin Grant, 30, was three times over the drink driving limit when he chose to take home 25-year-old mother-of-one Joetta Shumba at 5am following a night out clubbing.

She died when his Audi S3, which has a top speed of 181mph, clipped a 17 tonne tipper truck in the middle lane of the M62 near Eccles, Greater Manchester on January 23.

The 160mph impact caused the Audi to bounced off the central reservation, career along the carriageway before ploughing into the nearside barrier and exploding into a fireball.

Investigators who examined the wrecked Audi discovered the speedometer had jammed at 162mph with a tachometer showing the wheels of the car had been travelling at 6,200 revolutions per minute.

At Manchester Crown Court Grant appeared in a wheelchair and admitted causing death by dangerous driving and was jailed for eight years and eight months. He was also banned from driving for six years.

He already had previous convictions for having no car insurance, driving whilst banned, resisting arrest and a road rage attack.

The giant Volvo 8 truck he hit also spun out of control and crashed into the central reservation before overturning.

Victim Joetta Shuma, a PR executive was travelling in the back seat, suffered fatal head and neck injuries and died at the scene.

Grant survived the crash and although he suffered severe leg injuries it is thought he will be able to walk again.

It emerged Grant, a former Jaguar factory worker from Edgbaston, Birmingham had a history of motoring offences including driving whilst banned.

At the time of the tragedy on January 23 was in breach of a suspended jail term imposed over a road rage attack in which he punched another motorist with a knuckleduster.

Earlier the court heard how Miss Shuma, from Manchester, a graduate in sociology and journalism from the University of Salford, had gone for a night out with friends - leaving her five year old son Zane with her mother.

She met up with Grant whilst the party of women were at the celebrity nightspot Club Liv in Manchester.

Mark Kellet prosecuting said Joetta was last seen at 2am and when she was phoned by her friends she told them she was getting a taxi home.

He said: 'Background noise gave them the impression Joetta was elsehere than the club and possibly in a car.

'Joetta had not spoken about a boyfriend but it was known to her friends that Joetta had known Martin Grant since the previous July'.

CCTV showed that at 5.25am Grant, who had borrowed the Audi from a friend, was seen travelling in the outside lane of the motorway at up to 140mph.

Grant was cut free from the vehicle and was taken to Manchester Royal Infirmary where despite his injuries a 24 hour guard had to be placed on him after members of his family tried to help him leave.

A back calculation was taken on a sample of blood given by Grant which showed he had around 190 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood at the time of the crash. Experts said the level could have been as much as 248mg. The legal limit is 80mg.

Joetta was initially reported missing when she failed to come home and her body remained unidentified for 30 hours until police realised her disappearance was linked to the tragedy.

Grant claimed he had been with Joetta in the club and had drinking but claimed he did not think he was over the limit and had no recollection of the collision.


NYC Mayor Turns Up His Nose at Chick-fil-A

New York City’s mayor and city council are dismayed that the restaurant with the highest customer satisfaction rating in the industry is expanding in the Big Apple. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced during a press conference that New Yorkers shouldn’t eat at Chick-fil-A because its CEO made comments in 2012 supporting the traditional definition of marriage. “What the ownership of Chick-fil-A has said is wrong,” de Blasio said. “I’m certainly not going to patronize them and I wouldn’t urge any other New Yorker to patronize them. But they do have a legal right.” The restaurant chain opened its first locations in the city last year, and it has plans to open at least 12 more franchises there in two years.

In 2014, Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy said he was distancing himself from the culture struggle over same-sex marriage to focus on the company and improving customer service. In response to de Blasio’s comments, the company said it strives “to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect” — and it seems to be working. Lines at the NYC locations spill out the doors and down the street.

As The Wall Street Journal opines, “Good to know [de Blasio] isn’t trying to ban the business, though give him time. … Mr. de Blasio’s real objection is that the company’s owners won’t conform to his political views.” Unfortunately for his taste buds, de Blasio lets his ideology and loyalty to the Rainbow Mafia prevent him from enjoying one of the most notable chicken sandwiches around — a chicken sandwich born from a work ethic informed by a Christian worldview.


Chicago Public School Bathroom Policy Allows Boys to Undress in Girls’ Locker Rooms

Chicago Public Schools announced on Monday that students and staff must be granted unfettered access to intimate school facilities based on their chosen gender identity.

Put concretely, boys now have the “right” to undress in the girls locker room before gym class so long as they say they would feel more comfortable doing so. Kids and teens have many things to worry about as they grow into adulthood and get an education. But having to deal with people of the opposite sex in their bathrooms and showers shouldn’t be one of them.

This latest front in the bathroom wars proves that same-sex marriage was merely the start, not end, of the left’s LGBT agenda. As demonstrated by enforcement actions by the Department of Justice, private lawsuits, and court decisions, the radical left is using government power to coerce children into pledging allegiance to a radical new gender ideology over and above their right to privacy, safety, and religious freedom.

Here’s how it works. First, the left tried to elevate sexual orientation and gender identity to special protected status in law but failed repeatedly using the democratic process. Undaunted, the administration turned to lawmaking-by-rulemaking. Specifically, President Barack Obama’s Departments of Justice and Education issued diktats reinterpreting Title IX’s ban on sex discrimination in federally funded education programs to mean “gender identity discrimination.”

Of course, when Title IX was passed in 1972, “sex” referred then to what it still refers to now: the basic biological reality of being male or female. Nevertheless, having made their discovery to the contrary (over 40 years after the law was passed) the administration went around the country threatening schools with revocation of millions in educational funds if they did not allow kids unfettered access to the locker room of their choice.

Following this lead, the Chicago Public Schools cites Title IX and sexual harassment policies to justify its new policies.

A law from the 70s designed mostly to protect girls and women from sexism and harassment in schools is now being used to grant boys the right to undress in the girls locker room (and vice versa) all in the name of psychological comfort and acceptance.

In a weak acknowledgement of the uproar this will cause, the Chicago Public Schools says students that are not gender confused “should” be allowed access to alternative facilities. So, for example, if there are fifty girls who object to a boy undressing in front of them, it is the fifty girls, not the boy, who must go change in “single stall restrooms” elsewhere. Of course, the odds are high that school officials on the lookout for any sign of “bullying” will take careful note of which students leave the locker rooms, presuming they are allowed to leave at all.

To add to the confusion, the definition of gender identity changes about every three months, so the rules we are supposed to live by are constantly moving. But the latest definition, according to the Chicago Public Schools, is that sex is merely “a label a person is assigned at birth” and that the reality lies in one’s internal “psychological knowledge” of their own gender “regardless of the[ir] biological sex.”

This includes “male/man/boy, female/woman/girl, trans/transgender, gender variant, gender nonconforming, agender, gender non-binary, or any combination of these terms.” Whatever bureaucrat or committee wrote this definition felt compelled to add that gender nonconforming also covers “Gender Expansive, Gender Variant, or Gender Creative,” apparently to cover all the bases, except they may have missed some because the latest count, according to the left and some corporations, is sixty possible gender identities.

Under this definition, the only possible way we can know a person’s gender identity is by asking them, and if they consistently answer the same thing, bingo, that’s their gender identity. If the Chicago Public Schools or the Department of Justice simply required separate private facilities for the minuscule number of students who are not comfortable changing in front of people of their own sex, there would not be a national debate over bathrooms.

Except they require that if a boy says he is a girl, he must be treated exactly like a girl in every respect, otherwise it is psychologically traumatic and illegal discrimination. This means that portions of sex education classes reserved just for girls (so they can speak with less trepidation about sensitive topics, like menstruation) must include every boy that feels like a girl.

And therein lies the biggest affront from these new policies. Not only must government employees play along with a gender confused child’s every subjective wish, so must every other student. In fact, the Chicago Public Schools specify that students must address a gender confused child by whatever pronoun they wish, be it “they, their, ze, he and she.” Failure to do so “will result in appropriate consequences for offending staff and students,” in other words, discipline up to and including expulsion from school.

But many people of good will and faith conviction will simply refuse to put aside their legitimate privacy, modesty, and safety concerns. Many children of good will resist being forced to say “she” when speaking of a boy they have known for years just as they would resist being forced to say “5” when asked “what does 2+2 equal?

The left for years claimed that all they wanted was for LGBT persons to be left alone but this was a lie. It is now clear that liberals and their enablers will not leave anyone alone and will use the full force of courts, lawsuits, and government to ensure any resistance to their new gender ideology “will result in appropriate consequences.”



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, 2016

Another multicultural career criminal

Surveillance footage from a parking ramp on a college campus shows a suspected killer dragging the body of a woman he allegedly killed as he looks for a place to hide her.

Police said the video from Grand Rapids Community College was helpful in determining what occurred when Jeanne Huntoon, 34, was killed, but surveillance cameras did not capture the actual attack, according to MLive. 

Authorities were able to identify 19-year-old Marcus Bivins after they received a tip naming him.  Bivins was arrested and charged with open murder.

Police said Huntoon's killing on April 30 was a random act of violence as the two did not know each other.

Bivins allegedly killed her then dragged her body near bushes and shrubs after he encountered her outside the parking ramp, where they had a conversation, according to MLive.

The video shows the suspect pacing back and forth in front of the parking ramp. A few times he stops and looks at the woman's body before attempting to drag her.

At one point the suspect kneels down next to Huntoon and then he begins to drag her in what appears to be an attempt to hide the body. He pauses, walks away, then returns and continues to pull her along the sidewalk.

GRCC officials said that it happened overnight and the campus was closed, so officers weren't on duty, according to FOX 17.

A witness called police and reported seeing a man dragging what appeared to be a body between the ramp and main building, according to MLive.

Bivins allegedly confessed to killing Huntoon, according to court documents. He mentioned specific details of the crime that were corroborated by surveillance videos and evidence found at the scene.

Bivins' criminal history dates back to age 13, when he was charged as a juvenile with attacking his father, according to MLive. Around the same time, he was charged with fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct. He served time at a juvenile detention center in 2010.

Before the murder, Bivins was arrested on April 20 in Grand Rapids on a misdemeanor related to disorderly conduct. 

When Bivins was 13 years old counselors indicated they had made many efforts to help Bivins, including sex-offender treatment, crisis intervention, psychotropic medication, drug screening, surveillance and a tether, according to MLive.

Bivins was charged with escaping a juvenile facility and auto theft in 2011. And he was accused of assault and battery on a facility employee.

Huntoon's mother, Debbie Huntoon, created a GoFundMe account that has raised more than $10,000.

Huntoon wrote: 'On behalf of myself and my family, I just want to thank everybody for their donations and the kind words and the prayers and positive thoughts.

'She was my only daughter and this is a mother's worst nightmare. I would love more than anything to be able to put together a celebration of life for her.'

Bivins was charged Wednesday with open murder and he's being held without bond.


Target Stock Drops 4.2 Percent in Wake of LGBT Bathroom Policy Announcement

In the wake of publicizing its policy to allow people to use the bathrooms and changing facilities that correspond with their gender identity, Target stock has dropped 4.2 percent in the past two weeks.

As CNSNews.com previously reported, the retail chain announced on its website on April 19 that they “welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.”

The opening price of Target stock dropped from $83.50 per share on April 19 to a closing price of $79.99 per share on May 3 – a 4.2 percent decline, the Daily Signal reported.

By April 28, when the stock had dropped down to $81.33 per share, the company’s stock market value was down $1.5 billion, according to Accuracy in Media.

The American Family Association launched a boycott two weeks ago on April 21. AFA President Tim Wildmon said, “Target's new policy poses a danger to wives and daughters.” He proposed that instead the department store should provide a single-use unisex bathroom option for the trans community and for anyone who likes to use the bathroom alone.

As of April 29 – one week after the #BoycottTarget pledge started, AFA had collected 1 million signatures. On May 3, that number reached 1.15 million, AFA said.

“We are immensely thankful for the more than one million concerned citizens who have stood up for common sense and for women’s safety by boycotting Target until its bathroom policy is changed,” Wildmon said in a statement.

“It is because of the commitment of people like those who have signed #BoycottTarget pledge that corporate America will know that we will voice our opinions about harmful policies with our wallets,” he said.

“No longer can we allow vocal activists with a clear agenda to compromise the safety of our mothers, wives, daughters and friends,” Wildmon said, adding that the AFA is not at odds with the transgender community but with people with “evil intentions” who “will take advantage” of Target’s transgender bathroom policy.

“Again, AFA is reiterating that the disagreement over this policy does not reflect on the transgender community, but on the very real possibility that those with evil intentions will take advantage of a door that has been opened to them,” Wildmon added.


No to Islam, Yes to ‘Traditional Family’ Border Fences, Says Germany’s AfD

The right-wing Alternative für Deutschland or the Alternative for Germany party has set out its new policy manifesto on Sunday in which it has taken a strong stance against Islam. AfD’s decision to stand against unregulated immigration, Islam, and to support border fences and greater national sovereignty in the EU added to the controversies that have been surrounding the party.

Under the slogan of “Courage. Truth. Germany.” that flashed on the banners decorating the hall where the meeting was held, the party also called for the ban on minarets and the public call to prayer and hijab or headscarves in schools.

“Islam is not part of Germany,” the party said in a statement. A more moderate formulation to “stop Islamism but seek dialogue with Islam” was not received well by some 2,000 members of the AfD party who attended the two-day convention that took place in the southern city of Stuttgart, the DW reported.

The conference that was convened to determine an ideological identity for the party was a long-delayed effort. The party now sits in half of the 16 state parliaments in Germany. However, the party is still a combination of competing factions without any strong leadership.

“We rammed home some important political pegs at this conference that differentiate us from other parties and I think it will be difficult for the other parties to deal with that,” the Irish Times quoted Frauke Petry, AfD co-leader and party head in eastern Saxony, as saying.

Petry, who is seen as a “love-hate” figure in AfD, is locked in a leadership battle with Prof. Jörg Meuthen.

A recent poll by the Emnid Institute for the “Bild am Sonntag” newspaper found that the party has now become the third largest party in Germany, beating the environmentalist Greens.

However, according to critics, the party represents isolationism and xenophobia in its undertone. Around 1,500 protesters tried to disrupt the conference on Saturday.


Hadley Freeman: it’s time the British Left faced up to antisemitism

You could have powered the National Grid with the amount of energy the left was expending on telling Britain’s Jews they were wrong to feel grossed out by all this

Last weekend the Labour party became – to borrow a memorable description of Donald Trump – its own comments section. One minute we were a normal country; the next, one of the most recognisable members of the Labour party was running around shouting about Hitler. Not only shouting about Hitler, but incapable of shutting up about Hitler. It was enough to take you back to the glory days of 24 hours previously, when the only kind of antisemitism to emerge from the Labour party was of the more vanilla variety, with Naz Shah’s old online ramblings about Israel, “Jews rallying” and – as we Jews say – yadda yadda yadda.

But arguing that Hitler supported Zionism – that’s niche. You have to look way down an online comments thread to find that kind of thinking. I am very much looking forward to the publication, History: According To Ken! in which he will explain, alongside Hitler’s enthusiasm for a Jewish homeland, how Jack the Ripper was trying to get women out of prostitution; Fred West was giving hitchhikers a lift out of the goodness of his heart; slave traders were simply taking Africans on package holidays so they could see the world. Brief reminder: Livingstone was tasked by his old friend Jeremy Corbyn with co-convening Labour’s defence review. The guy talking about Hitler. Yes, him.

Small problem, though: when people say that maybe the Labour party has some problems with antisemitism, well, feelings are hurt. No, not among Jews – among Labour. Corbyn has developed some strange tic that compels him to say “and all forms of racism” every time he is obliged to condemn antisemitism, even though none of his old friends or MPs are being racist against anyone but the Jews. Diane Abbott insisted that the whole thing was a “smear”, as though Livingstone was a figment of our collective imagination. When Livingstone announced that he couldn’t possibly be antisemitic because he’d slept with Jewish women, the country wished he was. George Galloway, another old pal of Corbyn’s, appeared with the inevitability of dry rot, insisting that this was “an entirely synthetic crisis”, perhaps confusing the crisis with his hat. Others insist the whole thing is a plot against the Labour leader, which makes me wonder if perhaps all antisemitism is actually, secretly, about Corbyn. Honestly, you could have powered the National Grid with the amount of energy the left was expending on telling Britain’s Jews they were wrong to feel grossed out by all this.

Like I said, no one ever thinks they’re the bad guy. So the new NUS president Malia Bouattia claims her stance against Zionism is purely political, even while using decrepit antisemitic tropes such as “mainstream Zionist-led media”, which is about as political as a joke about hooked noses. Livingstone insisted that antisemites don’t “just” despise “the Jews in Israel” (because that’s OK), but also “their Jewish neighbours in Golders Green and Stoke Newington”. Corbyn clearly wishes the whole thing would go away, saying last month: “Let’s respect each other and move on from there.” Yes, we’re all nice leftwing people, what’s the problem? Increasingly numerous Labour supporters are complaining that too much attention is being paid to Labour’s bad apples. What about the Tories, they cry! Didn’t you see Zac Goldsmith’s racist mayoral campaign? Perhaps this should be Labour’s new slogan: “Not as racist as the rightwing”.

So while Labour rearranges the deck chairs with an investigation its leading lights can’t even admit it needs, the rest of us can spend our time more fruitfully. Namely, pondering that being nice isn’t the same as being good or right. Describing complaints about antisemitism as “smears” is not the way to criticise Israel, and focusing all of one’s fury at that country while happily appearing on Iranian and Russian state TV, as certain leftwing MPs have done – well, let’s say it betrays a blind spot



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

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

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


9 May, 2016

Mobile phones DON'T increase the risk of brain cancer, 30-year study concludes

Research relies on fact that all cases of cancer are recorded in Australia

By epidemiologist Professor Simon Chapman, of the University of Sydney

There is no link between mobile phones and brain cancer, a landmark study has revealed.  Researchers found no increase in tumours over the last 29 years, despite an enormous increase in the use of the devices.

In Australia, where the study was conducted, 9 per cent of people had a mobile phone in 1993 - a number which has shot up to 90 per cent today.  But in the same period, cancer rates in people aged 20 - 84 rose only slightly in men and remained stable in women.

There were 'significant' rises in tumours in the elderly, but the increase began five years before mobile phones arrived in Australia in 1987, the researchers said.

The study's author, Professor Simon Chapman, of the University of Sydney, said phones emit non-ionising radiation that is not currently thought to damage DNA - and his findings make him even more confident the devices are not liked to cancer.

Earlier this year, Australia saw a whirlwind tour from the electromagnetic radiation from mobile phones alarmist Devra Davis.  Davis is an international champion of the belief that populations bathed in radiation emitted by mobile phones face epidemics of disease – particularly brain cancer.

Davis' concerns were the focus of an ABC Catalyst program which attracted widespread criticism, including from me and Media Watch.  The Catalyst presenter Maryanne Demasi was nominated for the Australian Skeptics bent spoon award.

At the time of the Catalyst program for which I declined to be interviewed, I had my hands tied behind my back.

Along with colleagues in cancer research, I had a paper in preparation examining the possible association between the incidence of brain cancer in Australia and the inexorable rise of mobile phone use here over the last three decades.

Releasing our findings would have jeopardised publication, we could say nothing about what we had concluded.

Today the paper is published in early view in Cancer Epidemiology. Here's what we set out to examine and what we found.

We examined the link between age and incidence rates of 19,858 men and 14,222 women diagnosed with brain cancer in Australia between 1982-2012, and national mobile phone usage data from 1987-2012.

Extremely high proportions of the population have used mobile phones across some 20-plus years -from about 9 per cent in 1993 to about 90 per cent today.

We found age-adjusted brain cancer incidence rates (in those aged 20-84 years, per 100,000 people) had risen only slightly in males but were stable over 30 years in females.

There were significant increases in brain cancer incidence only in those aged 70 years or more.

But the increase in incidence in this age group began from 1982, before the introduction of mobile phones in 1987 and so could not be explained by it.

Some 90 per cent of the population use mobile phones today and many of these have used them for a lot longer than 20 years. But we are seeing no rise in the incidence of brain cancer against the background rate

Computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and related techniques, were introduced in Australia in the late 1970s.

They are able to discern brain tumours which could have otherwise remained undiagnosed without this equipment.

It has long been recognised that brain tumours mimic several seemingly unrelated symptoms in the elderly - including stroke and dementia - and so it is likely that their diagnosis had been previously overlooked.

Next, we also compared the actual incidence of brain cancer over this time with the numbers of new cases of brain cancer that would be expected if the 'mobile phones cause brain cancer' hypothesis was true.

Here, our testing model assumed a ten-year lag period from the start of mobile phone usage to evidence of a rise in brain cancer cases.

Our model assumed that mobile phones would cause a 50 per cent increase in incidence of brain cancer.

This was a conservative estimate that we took from a study by Lennart Hardell and colleagues (who reported even higher rates from two studies). The expected number of cases in 2012 (had the phone hypothesis been true) was 1,866 cases, while the number recorded was 1,435.

Using a recent paper that had Davis as an author we also modelled a 150 per cent increase in brain cancer incidence among heavy users.

We assumed that 19 per cent of the Australian population fell into this category, based on data from the INTERPHONE study an international pooled analysis of studies on the association between mobile phone use and the brain. This would have predicted 2,038 expected cases in 2012, but only 1,435 were recorded.

Our study follows those published about the United States, England, the Nordic countries and New Zealand where confirmation of the 'mobile phones cause brain cancer' hypothesis was also not found.

In Australia, all cancer is recorded. At diagnosis, all cases must by law be registered with state registries tasked with collecting this information. It has been this way for decades. So we have excellent information about the incidence of all cancers on a national basis.

The telecommunications industry of course also has information on the number of people with mobile phone accounts.

While touring Australia, Davis was confronted with the 'flatline' incidence data on brain cancer.  Her stock response was that it was far too early to see any rise in these cancers. She was here to warn us about the future.

Davis would appear to be arguing that we would see a sudden rise many years later. That is not what we see with cancer; we see gradual rises moving toward peak incidence, which can be as late as 30-40 years (as with lung cancer and smoking).

We have had mobiles in Australia since 1987. Some 90 per cent of the population use them today and many of these have used them for a lot longer than 20 years.

But we are seeing no rise in the incidence of brain cancer against the background rate.


For Puck's sake, does the BBC have to turn EVERYTHING into a politically correct lecture?


There's some things in life you just don't mess with; rabid dogs, wet paint, anyone with an STD, the history of WW1, oh and Shakespeare.

Rewriting things rarely tends to improve them, and revisionist views should be reserved for the paranoid or power mad.

Funnily enough, BBC programme commissioners are both.

Which might help explain why the BBC have allowed Russell T Davies to re-write A Midsummers Night's Dream for 90 minute BBC One film which airs on Bank Holiday Weekend.

I love the original play. I studied it for my English Literature exams in the days when set texts were more demanding than the collated tweets of Caitlin Moran.

It was the first play which allowed me to reach beyond the tedium of iambic pentameter in a Convent School Classroom and wander off into magical lands where fairies, not strict nuns, controlled the destiny of young lovers.

The original play tells of four young loves, whose longing for each other is hampered by the meddling Puck, dispensing a love-potion at the direction of Oberon, the fairy king.

But forget all that. Thanks to the megalomania of Russell T Davies and the encouragement of our state broadcaster, the original play has been slung, unceremoniously out of the window of Broadcasting House.

The ending Shakespeare wrote for our pleasure was a group wedding, with the lovers' reconciled, and married alongside Theseus and Hippolyta.

He said: 'It's such a happy ending and it's very male/female, male/female. I wanted to have a man with a man, a man who was dressed as a woman with a man, and a woman with a woman. Because its 2016, that's the world now. And I want children to come and watch this and see the real world in the middle of this fantasy.'

The magical wood - just wasn't magical enough... and the young lovers? Way too heterosexual.

That's the trouble with Shakespeare you see? He was just too straight.

400 years after his death, he needs to get with the times... or the the gay times at the very least.

Davies has reworked this comedy I love to include a number of same-sex relationships including a lesbian kiss, to show children 'the real world'.

Believe me, children see enough of the real world every day without needing it to be contrived into Shakespeare at night.

My kids have mates with two mums, two dads, step-siblings and families only loosely connected by finances. They are growing up into a world where unless you are gender fluid, you're old news.

Davies said 'it's 2016; that's the world now,' adding: 'Only idiots might have a problem with that.'

I understand. It is the real world. And my kids are fluent in the language of being whatever the hell you want to be.

But the beauty of Shakespeare, David Walliams and J.K.Rowling is their ability to take children away from the mundane and make magic happen from every page. Unlike all the manufactured digital information cluttering their minds, the written word charms them into finding their own enjoyment, instead of it being spoon-fed to them just as the producers planned.

I want my children's first experience of Shakespeare to be just like my own; strangely brilliant and perfectly of our time, despite being written so far in the past in a language barely recognisable as our own.

Whilst we are on a modernising streak, perhaps the BBC could commission a version in text-speak, or via SNP chat? Maybe the four young lovers could get on Tindr, or Grindr? Even better.

Davies has already meddled with Doctor Who, turning him from the ultimate Time-lord with a tardis into Doctor Who Am I....and is this tardis trans?

But do I need all this elbowed into Shakespeare? Do I need the sexual agenda of Russell Davies on force fed to my children via my TV? And do I want my money - your taxes- used to to help him push his agenda via the BBC? No I do not.

The BBC is relentless in pursuing a left-wing liberal agenda paid for by an audience who prefer their reality less contrived. The only way they get away with it is by distracting sofa surfing middle England with Strictly, Mary Berry's cardigans and a the rasping of David Attenborough next to an ape.

Unsurprisingly, Mr. Davies, the writer, also has a view of naysayers like myself. 'Only idiots might have a problem. That's what plays do; they reinvent themselves constantly, for every generation. The next generation will do a new one and this is how they are meant to be done. If you've got a problem, line up and kiss me instead.'

I do have a problem. I don't want Shakespeare queered-up so you feel more at home. And if you've got a problem with that, I couldn't give a flying Puck.


Texas AG Asks Target How It Will Protect Women and Children in Bathrooms

In a letter to Target on Tuesday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asked Target’s CEO to explain what steps it will take to protect women and children in restrooms and fitting rooms in the wake of its announcement that it will let people use its bathrooms and changing rooms according to their gender identity.

“Target, of course, is currently free to choose such a policy for its Texas stores. The voters in Houston recently repealed by a wide margin an ordinance that advanced many of the same goals as Target’s current policy,” Paxton wrote in the letter to Target CEO Brian Cornell, which was published by the Austin American-Statesman on Wednesday.

“The Texas Legislature may at some point in the future address the issue. Regardless of whether Texas legislates on this topic, it is possible that allowing men in women’s restrooms could lead to criminal and otherwise unwanted activity,” Paxton wrote.

“As chief lawyer and law enforcement officer for the State of Texas, I ask that you provide the full text of Target’s safety policies regarding the protection of women and children from those who would use the cover of Target’s restroom policy for nefarious purposes,” he concluded.

On April 19, Target announced on its website that it welcomes “transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.”

As CNSNews.com previously reported, the American Family Association has called for a boycott of Target, garnering 1 million signatures for its #BoycottTarget pledge campaign one week after it was launched.

Fox News quoted AFA spokesperson Walker Wildmon as saying, “What he’s asking in this letter is exactly what we’ve been asking Target to answer. What about women and children? What about men who pretend to be women and go into these bathrooms just so they can prey on women?”

“It’s fabulous that someone in leadership in our country is stepping up to the plate and asking the tough questions that need to be asked,” Wildmon said.


Justice Is Swerved

North Carolina is a textbook example of how the Obama administration has gone about their mission to fundamentally transform America with pen and phone. [Wednesday], Attorney General Loretta Lynch showed off the administration’s creative writing ability by unilaterally rewriting a 52-year-old law to facilitate that White House’s narrative. Of course, this has been the M.O. of the Obama administration for seven and a half years — as we’ve seen with everything from health care and abortion to marriage and gun policy.

In what can only be described as classic DOJ, the office fired off a nasty letter to North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory (R) claiming H.B. 2 (the law giving businesses the right to set their own bathroom policies) somehow violates the Civil Rights Act. According to the army of wannabe legislators at the Justice Department, the Tar Heels are treating “transgender employees, whose self-described gender identity does not match their ‘biological sex’… differently from similarly-situated non-transgender employees.” If that’s the case, then maybe the DOJ ought to send a letter to itself, because so does every federal park and building in America!

Governor McCrory, who’s already stared down billionaire CEOs, the liberal media, and the LGBT activist bullies, wasn’t about to be intimidated by the president’s lawless cronies. Still, the administration’s tactics continue to astound him — and every American. Speaking to business leaders [Wednesday] night, the governor called the letter “something we’ve never seen regarding Washington overreach in my lifetime.” “This is no longer just a North Carolina issue. This impacts every state, every university and almost every employee in the United States of America,” he said. “All those will have to comply with new definitions of requirements by the federal government regarding restrooms, locker rooms and shower facilities in both the private and public sector.”

Lt. Governor Dan Forest, who has enough backbone for the entire state, couldn’t believe his eyes. “To use our children and their educational futures as pawns to advance an agenda that will ultimately open those same children up to exploitation at the hands of sexual predators is, by far, the sickest example of the depths the … administration will stoop to [to] ‘fundamentally transform our nation,’” he fired back. Thanks to Target, who made this issue a very real one for most Americans with its bathroom free-for-all, millions of Americans are already fired up to fight back.

Let’s not forget: this is a transgender policy that, as recently as a few years ago, was too extreme for even Democrats to support. The Left has tried — and failed — over and over to pass a version of this gender lunacy on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), but even the president’s own party wouldn’t bite. So, as usual, the administration is deciding to take matters into its own hands. After all, as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) admitted just last week, most of the far-Left’s priorities can’t be accomplished legislatively anyway. “[P]assing bills is so tiresome and inefficient,” David French wrote sarcastically, “especially when a mere memo can change the law, and the Obama administration can be confident that leftist judges will uphold most anything done [by] Obama…”

As FRC’s own Chris Gacek points out, “This is not a judicial opinion — it’s a threatening letter from the Department of Justice.” What the DOJ is advocating, he goes on “is a radical re-interpretation of ‘sex’ in these statutory sections of Title VII. And even if [leaders] were to go this route on ‘sex,’ it’s not clear that bathrooms arranged biologically should be unlawful.” French took the issue a step further, asking the most obvious question, which is: “Is there a single person who believes that the Congress that passed Title VII [in 1964] believed that it was doing away with the distinction between male and female — making it completely dependent on individual preference — and thus granting men access to women and girls in bathrooms, lockers, and showers?” No more than a founding father wrote a “right” to same-sex marriage or abortion in the shadows of the U.S. Constitution! “I wonder…” French ponders, “will the DOJ intervene to defend the state from liability the first time a woman or child is assaulted in a bathroom by a man who was granted a legal right to be there? Quack science meets quack law and social justice warriors rejoice.”

Meanwhile, the groundswell against this insanity is only intensifying. In Palatine, Illinois — another one of the Obama administration’s targets — parents aren’t taking the government’s coercion lying down. This time, the Department of Education tag-teamed the school district after a boy complained that he couldn’t use the girl’s restrooms and locker rooms. The superintendent held out as long as he could, until the agency dangled federal dollars in front of administrators. Worried about losing their funds, Palatine surrendered.

Now, 51 families are suing. Our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom are representing the 73 parents who are furious that their child’s privacy and innocent are being sacrificed on the altar of political correctness. “The agency based its threat on its inaccurate interpretation of Title IX, a 1972 federal law that — contrary to the agency’s opinion, actually authorizes schools to retain single-sex restrooms and locker rooms,” attorney Jeremy Tedesco argued. “Protecting students from inappropriate exposure to the opposite sex is not only perfectly legal, it’s a school district’s duty.”

The Obama administration believes it can bypass Congress. It can even ignore the Constitution. But as long as the Constitution exists, it cannot silence the people — who, like us, think the White House and the commander and chief should be focused on America’s safety, not America’s bathrooms. A government big enough to control the bathroom policies of communities across the nation is a government big enough to flush our freedoms. Watch our new video calling out the president’s for his backwards priorities.



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, 2016

A reluctant defence of Australia's successful exclusion of illegal imigrants

By Jonathan Holmes

Nick Riemer has a choleric response to the article below on New Matilda -- but I can't see that he offers any arguments that hold water.  I am amused that he waxes righteous about what is the "moral" thing to do.  Stopping unauthorized arrivals is immoral, apparently. I wonder how he deduces that?  And since he and his ilk would in other contexts argue that "there is no such thing as right and wrong", I can't see that he has any basis for his moral claims at all.  As I pointed out long ago, Leftists who use moral claims are just being manipulative and dishonest. 

And -- OF COURSE -- stopping the boats is RACIST!  Everything that Leftists disagree with is racist.  So how does Herr Riemer (Riemer is a German and Yiddish name for a maker of leather reins and similar articles) decide that it is racist?  Because the illegals are brown.  But they mostly are not.  Iranians and Afghans are white -- not as white as Northern Europeans but no darker than Southern Italians.  And seeing that Australia accepts immigrants of all races through legal channels, the racism accusation is patently absurd anyway.

So I can't see that Riemer has any basis for his opposition to immigration control at all.  He certainly does not show that it is in Australia's best interests to accept poorly educated arrivals who subscribe to a barbaric religion and who often hate us and who mostly become welfare dependent. All he has is his rage and his faux morality.   The rage could be faux too.

I doubt that he would be happy about a third world family moving into his house and living there without his permission -- but other Australians should accept the something very similar, apparently.  Australians are not allowed to regard their country as their home.  He wants to deny their government the selectivity that he himself would exercise.

But now for Jonathan Holmes. I have omitted the initial throat clearing:

During the so-called "Tampa" election in 2001, I was the executive producer of the ABC's 7.30 Report. Every time we aired an item that was in any way sympathetic to boat people, we would get a flood of reaction from viewers: outraged, furious, bitter. It gave me some inkling of the tide that was washing into MPs' electoral offices.

And nowhere more than in western Sydney and western Melbourne, the heartlands of Australia's post-war immigrant population, where to have parents who were native English speakers made you the exception, not the rule.

These were people who had stood in the "queue" that others called fictional, who had waited years for the family reunion scheme to bring their wives and kids and parents to Australia; who had relatives and friends hoping desperately to join them; who knew that every boat person allowed to stay was one fewer of their own people who'd be admitted through the off-shore humanitarian visa intake.

They are also the parts of Australia where most people know someone who arrived by boat. They know about the networks of agents set up by people-smugglers, have seen the phone calls to families in Malaysia and Indonesia.

In three Four Corners programs (links here, here and here) that made far less impact than they deserved, Sarah Ferguson revealed beyond doubt that the criminal people-smuggler networks are not just a fantasy dreamt up by immigration ministers. They exist. And a lot of Australians know it. They don't see why people who can pay criminals should be able to buy a chance at a life they themselves had to get by legal means.

I still see the opposition to boat people dismissed by refugee advocates as "racist". That's a fundamental misunderstanding. Australia is rightly proud of its immigration program. It has created one of the most diverse and successful multi-ethnic nations in the world. The reason the boat people had to be stopped was that – justifiably or otherwise – they were undermining Australians' belief in a fair and orderly immigration program.

But, say many of the current policy's opponents, there are other solutions. In this four-year-old blog on the ABC's Religion and Ethics site, Aly argues that it's just a matter of taking more refugees from Indonesia. If people could get here legitimately, they wouldn't risk the boats. The Guardian's Richard Ackland put much the same proposition just last week.

Both blithely ignore that the people in Indonesia and Malaysia who want to come to Australia are not Indonesians or Malaysians. Overwhelmingly, they are Hazaras from Afghanistan, and Iranians; if the way to Australia were open, they would now be Syrians too.

They've already travelled a long way – helped by people smugglers – to get to Indonesia, and there are hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, more where they came from.

Taking a large proportion of would-be Australian migrants from Indonesia would only induce more to follow; very soon there would be far more than any orderly migration program could accommodate. The Indonesians and Malaysians would not thank us for that. That's why we source so much of our refugee intake from camps close to where they've fled from: Somalis and Sudanese from Kenya, Afghans from Pakistan, and so on.

As Europe is discovering, there is an almost limitless demand, through the Middle East, and central Asia, and Africa, for a better, safer life. Whether these people are "genuine refugees" or "economic migrants" may matter to the lawyers, but is immaterial in policy terms.

The brutal fact is that we cannot take them all. We cannot, without risking social disruption, take more than a tiny fraction of them. And as John Howard famously said, it should be our government that decides who comes to this country, not a free-for-all scramble for a place on a leaky boat.

For the poor souls who are its victims, the "Pacific Solution" has provided a living hell. I doubt their agony can be justified philosophically. I don't believe we should be sheltered from it by censorship. I hope, somehow, that it can soon be ended.
But I don't know what the alternative policy should have been in the past, or could be in the future.


Multicultural mass murderer

A former trash collector in Los Angeles was convicted Thursday of 10 'Grim Sleeper' serial killings that spanned two decades and targeted vulnerable young black women in the inner city.

Lonnie Franklin Jr. showed no emotion as a clerk read the ten murder verdicts in Los Angeles County Superior Court after a two-month trial in the potential death penalty case.

Franklin also was found guilty of one count of attempted murder.

Jurors were told to return May 12 for the trial's penalty phase. Franklin could receive the death penalty.

The killings from 1985 to 2007 were dubbed the work of the 'Grim Sleeper' because of an apparent 14-year gap after one woman survived a gunshot to the chest in 1988.

The crimes went unsolved for decades and community members complained that police ignored the cases because the victims were black, poor and some were prostitutes and drug users.

Much of the violence unfolded during the nation's crack cocaine epidemic when at least two other serial killers prowled the part of the city then known as South Central.

The ten victims, including a 15-year-old girl, were fatally shot or strangled and dumped in alleys and garbage bins. Most had traces of cocaine in their systems.

Franklin, 63, a onetime trash collector in the area and a garage attendant for the Los Angeles Police Department, had been hiding in plain sight, said Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman.

Police eventually connected Franklin to the crimes after a task force was assigned to revisit the case that dozens of officers failed to solve in the 1980s.

The sister of the youngest victim of the "Grim Sleeper" serial killer says she was elated when she heard guilty verdicts in a Los Angeles courtroom.

Lonnie Franklin Jr. faces a possible death sentence after being convicted Thursday of 10 counts of first-degree murder in slayings spanning two decades.

Samara Herard, the sister of 15-year-old victim Princess Berthomieux, says she had waited so long for justice she almost didn't think it was going to happen.

Herard says her sister had a heart of gold and deserved to live a full life. She says she wasn't surprised Franklin showed no emotion during the verdict because he didn't value life.

The DNA of Franklin's son, collected after a felony arrest, had similarities to genetic material left on the bodies of many of the victims.

An officer posing as a busboy later retrieved pizza crusts and napkins with Franklin's DNA while he was celebrating at a birthday party.

It proved a match with material found on the breasts and clothing of many of the women and on the zip tie of a trash bag that held the curled-up body of the final victim, Janecia Peters.

She was found January 1, 2007, by someone who was rifling through a trash bin and noticed her red fingernails through a hole in the bag.

Silverman described the victims as sisters, daughters and mothers who suffered frailties but had hopes and dreams.

She projected photos of the ten women from happier days, many smiling from head shots that captured their youth and the hairstyles of the times.

The images were in stark contrast to gory crime scene and autopsy photos also displayed of half-naked bodies sprawled among garbage - images that made family members wince, weep and recoil in the gallery.

Defense lawyer Seymour Amster challenged what he called 'inferior science' of DNA and ballistics evidence. During his closing argument, he introduced a new theory: a 'mystery man with a mystery gun and mystery DNA' was responsible for all the killings.

He said the man was a 'nephew' of Franklin's who was jealous because his uncle had better luck with romance, though he offered no supporting evidence or any name.

Amster based the theory on the testimony of the sole known survivor, Enietra Washington, who was shot in the chest and crawled to safety after being shoved from an orange Ford Pinto in November 1988.

She testified that her assailant said he had to stop at his 'uncle's house' for money before the attack. Washington later led detectives to Franklin's street.

Silverman scoffed at the 'mystery nephew' notion, saying it was as rational an explanation as a space ship killing the women.

She said the killer had just lied to Washington about an uncle and was probably stopping at his house to get his gun.

The attack fit the pattern of seven previous killings and showed how the killer carried out the crimes, Silverman said.


NC Conservatives: Obama Administration Using Children as ‘Pawns’ for LGBT Agenda

North Carolina conservatives are fighting what they call “bullying” after the Obama administration threatened a lawsuit against the state.

The Justice Department is suing North Carolina over a law that allows private businesses to set whatever bathroom policies they like for transgender people, but mandates that biological sex will determine access to government bathrooms.

“This is definitely a bully tactic by the Obama administration to push this radical agenda that allows individuals based on the feelings that they have about their biological sex to really trump the privacy rights of the public in the most intimate of places,” state Rep. Chris Millis, a Republican from the 16th District who has been a leading voice in the debate, told The Daily Signal. “It’s absolutely astounding.”

The Justice Department sent a letter to Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican, on Wednesday, accusing the state of “engaging in a pattern or practice of discrimination against transgender state employees.”

The letter says that under HB2, North Carolina is “in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.” Title VII prohibits any employer from discriminating against an individual on the basis of sex. Experts disagree on whether Title VII applies to transgender people.

The letter also says that HB2 violates Title IX, which is the federal civil rights law that bans discrimination on the basis of sex in any program that receives federal education dollars. It has also been debated whether or not Title IX applies to transgender students, with courts ruling on both sides.

“This is no longer just a North Carolina issue,” McCrory said on Wednesday. “This impacts every state, every university, and almost every employee in the United States of America.”

“All those,” he added, “will have to comply with new definitions of requirements by the federal government regarding restrooms, locker rooms, and shower facilities in both the private and public sector.”

Unless the state confirms it will “not comply or implement HB2” and notifies all government workers that “they are permitted to access bathrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity,” all schools that receive federal education dollars could be at risk of losing that funding.

According to The Charlotte Observer, state public schools received $861 million in federal funding this school year, and the University of North Carolina received $1.4 billion in the 2014-15 school year.

“To use our children and their educational futures as pawns to advance an agenda that will ultimately open those same children up to exploitation at the hands of sexual predators is by far, the sickest example of the depths the Obama administration will stoop to ‘fundamentally transform our nation,'” Lt. Gov. Dan Forest said in a statement after the Justice Department issued its letters.

Millis said the effort on behalf of the Obama administration is “absolutely astounding, and really shows you the length that this current administration will go to push their agenda regardless of who it will harm.”

North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore, a Republican, told media on Thursday that lawmakers don’t plan on meeting the May 9 deadline issued by the Obama administration to repeal HB2.

Millis said the process of fighting the mandate “could go in multiple different directions.”

HB2, called the Bathroom Privacy Act, took effect on March 23. Lawmakers approved the bill after the city of Charlotte passed an ordinance that allowed individuals to choose public restrooms corresponding with their gender identity, not their biological sex. HB2, also known as the “bathroom bill,” reversed that policy for all government-run facilities, while also prohibiting local governments from adopting any similar protections for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people.

The law does not affect private businesses, which are still free to set their own restroom policies, and includes a provision that allows government-run buildings to supply special accommodations such as single-occupancy restrooms to people who are uncomfortable using the facility that corresponds to their biological sex.

Shortly after McCrory signed the bathroom bill into law, entertainers, big businesses, and special interest groups began boycotting the state. The American Civil Liberties Union, along with LGBT advocacy group Lambda Legal, filed a lawsuit, arguing that the law “sends a purposeful message that LGBT people are second-class citizens who are undeserving of the privacy, respect, and protections afforded to others in the state.”

In response to the Justice Department’s Wednesday letter, the American Civil Liberties Union said in a statement, “It is now clearer than ever that this discriminatory law violates civil rights protections and jeopardizes billions of dollars in federal funds for North Carolina,” adding:

Gov. McCrory and the legislators who forced through HB 2 in a single day were warned about these dire consequences, but they ignored the law and the North Carolinians it would harm and passed the bill anyway. The only way to reverse the ongoing damage HB 2 is causing to North Carolina’s people, economy, and reputation is a full repeal.

Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the conservative North Carolina Values Coalition, which is an advocacy group that supports HB2, said she expects lawmakers to stand firm on their support for the new law.

“I believe this action, on the part of an unpopular, lame duck president, is going to cause our legislature and our governor to dig themselves in deeper,” Fitzgerald said. “I think they’re going to dig their heels in more and be true tar heels because the federal government has no right to try and force a state like North Carolina to do what they’re asking.”


Social Media Campaign Urges Disney to Make Elsa a Lesbian Princess in ‘Frozen’ Sequel

The sequel to Disney’s “Frozen” won’t be out for a few years, but some fans have already launched a social media campaign calling on Disney to make the main character, Elsa, a lesbian.

The campaign #GiveElsaAGirlfriend began when a teen named Alexis Isabel tweeted: “I hope Disney makes Elsa a lesbian princess imagine how iconic that would be.” Then she tweeted: “Dear @Disney, #GiveElsaAGirlfriend.”

Others have joined the call for Disney to make Elsa gay and use the movie to raise LGBT awareness, according to CNN.

“Dear @Disney #GiveElsaAGirlfriend because girls need to know everyone can be princess,” Ellie tweeted.

“#GiveElsaAGirlfriend little kids need to learn young there is absolutely nothing wrong with being gay,” Isobel tweeted.

Elsa’s song, “Let It Go” in the original movie became a popular and catchy tune for young viewers, but according an April 10, 2014 blog in The Guardian, it’s also an anthem for the LGBT community.

Kristen Anderson-Lopez, who co-wrote the song with Robert Lopez, told said the song is “also a coming-out anthem for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.”

“Outside the film, Let It Go is also a coming-out anthem for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people: “Conceal don’t feel, don’t let them know/ Well now they know!” The lines “It’s funny how some distance/ Makes everything seem small/ And the fears that once controlled me/ Can’t get to me at all” could almost be from an It Gets Better video. “I was really excited to write an anthem that said, ‘Screw fear and shame, be yourself, be powerful,’” said Anderson-Lopez.

“Frozen” raked in $1.3 billion at the box office in 2013. Its sequel is slated for release before 2018. Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel are confirmed to appear in it.



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

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

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


6 May, 2016

Roundup from Australia today

Bex: Australia’s APC cure-all that was addictive and caused kidney damage (?)

Also once sold in the USA under names such as Anacin and Saridon

The story below is conventionally "correct" but unbalanced.  Phenacetin is said to be the ingredient in APC powders that caused kidney damage but what does it metabolize to in the body? Paracetamol!  Precisely the analgesic that is now generally recommended.  How crazy can you get?  And paracetamol (aka acetaminophen) IS dangerous by itself, but not for its effect on the kidney. It destroys the liver!  It is very dosage-sensitive. If you take much more than the recommended dosage, you can die.

So how come people took huge doses of phenacetin and did NOT die of liver disease?  And aspirin in large doses can be toxic too, though not nearly as toxic as paracetamol.  So people were taking huge doses of both paracetamol and aspirin without experiencing the symptoms that should have gone with that.  So again, How come?

It seems that the APC combination produced some sort of beneficial drug interaction.  The three ingredients seemed to combine to eliminate the toxicity they had by themselves.  Stranger things have happened.  But divine miracles are rare so to a small degree the APC combination also caused some damage -- but only to the kidneys and only among heavy users of the powders.  And the mortality from liver disease is now much greater than the mortality that used to be experienced from kidney disease.

So APCs were in fact a wonder drug that became harmful only from heavy over-use.  And ANYTHING can be harmful in excess.  Even drinking too much water can kill you.  Google "hyponatremia" if you doubt it.

Another problem is that many Bex users went onto Valium instead when Bex was withdrawn -- with its attendant risk of making you drowsy when you're driving. So did the ban on Bex kill people in road accidents? Probably.

And a VERY important use of Bex was as an early treatment for what is still a dreaded and all too common ailment: migraines. Migraine sufferers generally get some warning when a migraine is due to strike, an aura, jaw stiffening etc. And as soon as anybody prone to migraines felt the slightest suspicion that one was about to strike, they would grab their nearby packet of Bex and slam one into themselves quick smart. And it did help. If you got the Bex into yourself straight away, the migraine would either not develop or would be less severe than a full-blown attack.

Now here's the final kicker: Something that is often prescribed for aches and pains these days is NSAIDS (Ibuprofen etc.). And guess what is a major side effects of NSAIDS? Kidney damage. NSAIDS are hundreds of times more toxic to the kidneys than Bex ever was. So let's ban NSAIDS!

So I know I am telling here a story that is at great variance with the conventional wisdom but everything I have said above is entirely factual.  There was some research in the 1960s that pointed to the benefits of the APC combination but it was not pursued, presumably because the usefulness of APCs was seen to be beyond question and needing no reinforcement

A more extensive coverage of the issues is here

I am inclined to suspect that the main reason for banning APCs such as Bex was because they were so popular.  That HAD to be bad

WHEN former prime minister Kevin Rudd told journalists speculating that he was trying to reclaim the Labor leadership to have "a cup of tea, a Bex and a good lie down", younger members of the media pack look puzzled.

They had not heard such an expression before, but to the children of the Baby Boomer generation, the phrase was immediately recognisable.

It was in the late 1950s and throughout the ’60s that the marketing slogan entered the vernacular. Bex, the analgesic made up of aspirin, phenacetin and caffeine (APC), became an Australian icon. It was recommended to treat aches and pains, headaches, colds, flu, fevers, rheumatism and for "calming down".

Dissolving a Bex (or the similar product, Vincent’s) in a cup of tea, or taken with other stimulants such as cola drinks became particularly common among housewives. It was widely available and sometimes taken up to three times a day.

Aggressive marketing from drug companies meant it was even common to pop a Bex or Vincent’s powder in children’s lunch boxes "just in case".

It wasn’t until the 1970s that doctors and health experts realised these formulations were responsible for kidney disease and addiction, and were carcinogenic. Phenacetin was finally pulled from the market by the late ’70s. But the damage had already been done. In the years that followed World War II, Australia led the world in APC consumption — and in the number of deaths it eventually caused.

Women resorted to "a cup of tea, a Bex and a good lie down" so often that in 1965 it became the title of a popular play by John McKellar.

The phrase is still instantly recognised by the children of that generation. So many people had an aunt, a mother, a sister, or a friend who were addicted to APCs. Many of them died from related kidney disease.

Readers of our Adelaide Remember When Facebook page recently responded to a post on the Bex phenomenon with memories of their own experiences.

Rick Cooper wrote: "For a while, I lived in Hamley Bridge and the railway was the playground, transport and just about everything else for us kids. At one stage, Vincent’s had a sign on every fence along the railway lines with the countdown in miles until you reached Adelaide. The blue, yellow and white signs said ‘X miles to relief with Vincent’s powders’."

Trish Simpson recalled how her father was addicted to Bex and ended up with terrible kidney problems: "We always had Bex in the house and I remember taking them when I was younger. Eventually they removed the damaging ingredient and Bex wasn’t as effective. Not sure how much longer they survived after that."
Vincent’s Powders and Bex with aspirin and cold medicine on the shelf in 1979.

Deborah Wise reminisced that as a child she loved Bex: "If we had a sore throat, Mum would mix a powder in a teaspoon of honey. Man, it tasted good! I suppose it eased the symptoms as well. I’m pretty sure that my Dad used to take a Bex first thing every morning."

And Adele Andrews contributed: "I was an operating room nurse in the late 1960s and one of Adelaide’s top renal surgeons gathered all the OR staff into the theatre one day to show them a shrivelled-up kidney he had just removed from a 32-year-old woman. All he said was ‘Bex powder addiction, take note’. I had never taken any APC and was not about to start after that lecture. They should have been banned much earlier."

Concerns about the rates of consumption of the popular analgesics first surfaced in 1962 and resulted in a series of public health warnings.

They seemed to have a minimal impact until 1966, when kidney specialist Priscilla Kincaid-Smith — after noticing a serious rise in women presenting with kidney disorders — conducted a series of experiments on rats.

She proved that APC powders were linked to serious kidney disease and the Government of the day began to take notice. In 1967, the National Health and Medical Research Council recommended that phenacetin be removed from the pharmaceutical benefits list, which saw Vincent’s eliminate the compound from its powders that same year, replacing it with salicylamide, which was from the same chemical family as aspirin.

Bex, however, continued to include phenacetin in its product but the sustained adverse publicity throughout the 1970s and the mounting evidence that the once "harmless" cure-all was in fact causing serious kidney disease, forced Bex to also drop the substance from its powders in 1975. By 1977, the results of the addiction were becoming very clear and the NH & MRC moved to restrict the availability of all APCs.

And so the Bex and Vincent’s powder era, thankfully, came to an end.

Thinking back to those days, it was just part and parcel of the lifestyle. Just about everyone’s mum or grandma seemed to always have a Bex or Vincent’s powder handy and, with the first sign of a headache, a cold or if they felt they needed a quick "pick me up", down would go a powder.

It was a vicious circle of addiction, really: the caffeine content gave a sudden rush of energy, which eventually triggered a withdrawal headache, which prompted them to take another powder.


"Biffo" Latham doesn't like feminists

Latham is a former leader of the Federal Labor party

A FIERY debate erupted in the Weekend Sunrise studio when commentator Mark Latham and co-host Andrew O’Keefe clashed over feminism.

Latham was on the show along with guests, Daily Telegraph columnist Miranda Devine, The Guardian columnist Van Badham and news.com columnist Rory Gibson to discuss the issue of feminism and if men were being unfairly targeted.

All three guests got fired up when debating the issue but the real eruption occurred between Latham and O’Keefe.

Latham was asked by Sunrise co-host Angela Cox if he thought men felt threatened now that women today are educated and better off financially.

Latham replied, "no I think the average man is doing quite fine, they ignore most of the left feminist clap trap. They ignore people like Van who are a very very minority interest in our society, she’s a self declared anarchist way way on the extreme left of politics representing perhaps point zero, zero, per cent of thought in Australia so she’s safely ignored".

"The real issue for men is can they keep up in the education system. At the moment among university graduates leaving every year 40 per cent are male, 60 per cent are female, a massive advance for women in this country. When you look at the bottom of society when you get away from Van’s debate about women like her, because left feminism is essentially selfish," he said before O’Keefe interjected, "Oh for god’s sake".

And that’s when the two went head to head. Latham accused O’Keefe of being biased and a left wing participant in the debate while Andrew accused Latham of personally attacking the guests.

It was left to Cox to take charge and request that the guests stayed away from personal attacks.

There were mixed opinions on Twitter with some backing O’Keefe while others were in Latham’s corner but aside from the difference in opinions Twitters users all seemed to agree on how heated the debate got.

And just when viewers thought the segment was over the two men fired up again. "You live in cloud cookoo land. If you’re on the 11:30 train out of the city and there’s a women’s only carriage, and you’re a bad bloke looking to do damage, you’re going to go straight in," Latham said referring to the idea of having womens only carriages on late night trains.

"That’s a really good insightful comment there. Great to have constructive debate there. Thank you. And thank you all for your insights and thank you Mark for the entertainment," O’Keefe said.

"Thank you for the objectivity, Andrew and maybe next week, you can go back to being a proper professional host. If you want to participate in these debates declare that at the start of segment," Latham replied before Cox ended the debate once and for all.


    Australian government urged to address 'epidemic' Indigenous suicide rates in remote Australia

Like how?  Suicide is a very personal thing, well outside the competence of any government.  Governments could attack the causes of suicide but what is left to do?  Governments have tried all sorts of things to address  Aboriginal problems but nothing has worked

  Aboriginal communities across the nation are calling on the Federal Government to urgently address what they describe as an "epidemic" of Indigenous suicides in remote Australia.

The crisis is most acute in the remote Kimberley region of Western Australia, where a 10-year-old girl recently hung herself. Indigenous leaders there say the Federal Government must act now to prevent further deaths.

The call comes as the first-ever National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Conference begins tonight in Alice Springs.  Aboriginal people and health workers will travel from across Australia to attend the conference in the wake of escalating Indigenous suicide rates, particularly over the past five years.

The Aboriginal Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project, chaired by West Australian academic Pat Dudgeon and former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social justice commissioner Tom Calma, has been mapping suicide rates.  Mr Calma said suicide rates in remote Australia could be described as an epidemic. He said there had been a doubling of Indigenous suicide rates in the Kimberley during the past five years, and that the problem was larger than official statistics suggested because many deaths were never reported to the coroner.

He said that although the Government was preparing to implement a national suicide prevention strategy after July, there had been an unacceptable three-year delay in spending $17.8 million in funds earmarked for Indigenous suicide prevention. "We can't continually have these significant health issues become political footballs," Mr Calma said.  "It's disappointing.

The whole of Indigenous affairs is continually challenged by a lack of consistent policy direction and funding. And that's due to ministers and bureaucrats procrastinating.  "What we need in Indigenous affairs is good, bipartisan agreement on a way forward, and then we need to have a consistent policy approach and funding approach


Victory over unauthorized immigration in Australia.  Country is now closing 17 immigration detention centres

After key details from tonight’s federal budget by Scott Morrison emerged over the past week, government ministers began revealing details in parliament today.

Immigration minister Peter Dutton told parliament this afternoon that the closure of 17 onshore immigration detention centres will be announced in the Budget tonight.

"I’m pleased to announce ahead of the budget tonight that we will close 17 detention centres, resulting in 17 detention centres having been opened by Labor and 17 closed by this government," he said.

"We have reduced the number of children in detention from 2000 under Labor down to zero. We don’t want to see new boat arrivals and we absolutely are determined that we are not going to see men, women and children drowning at sea ever again in this country."

The minister did not specify which facilities would close, but Business Insider has been unable to find 17 centres.

The department immigration and border protection lists 10 on its website. The department runs five. Others are run by Serco and offshore, by Broadspectrum.

Australia’s oldest immigration detention sites are the 50-year-old Maribyrnong centre in Melbourne and Sydney’s Villawood detention centre, which are also used for other visa infringements by overseas visitors.

There are other centres in Perth, Christmas Island, Northern and Wickham Point in Darwin, Curtin and Yongah Hill in Western Australia. There are immigration transit accommodation centres in Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide for low-risk detainees and community-based family-style housing for detainees in Perth, Sydney, Port Augusta, Christmas Island and Adelaide.

Two years ago, when the treasurer was immigration minister, Scott Morrison closed four centres – Pontville, Scherger, Port Augusta and Leonora.

The announcement comes as the Turnbull government grapples with the future of 850 refugees and asylum seekers at the Manus Island detention centre, which the Papua New Guinea Supreme Court announced last week was illegal, leading PNG prime minister Lucas O’Neil to announce it would be closed.

The subsequent debate over what to do with the 850 men there — 450 have been declared genuine refugees — has seen the Australian government rule out bringing them to Australia and also turning down an offer by New Zealand to take 150 people, with prime minister Malcolm Turnbull saying it would be "marketing" for people smugglers.

Details emerged today that another refugee on Nauru had set themselves alight and is now in a critical condition in an Australian hospital. The 21-year-old Somali refugee, Hodan Yasin, self-immolated a fortnight after another refugee Omid Masoumali, 23, did and died from his injuries.

The minister has blamed asylum seeker advocates for the incidents, saying they were offering refugees "false hope".

"I have previously expressed my frustration and anger at advocates and others who are in contact with those in regional processing centres and who are encouraging some of these people to behave in a certain way, believing that that pressure exerted on the Australian Government will see a change in our policy in relation to our border protection measures," Dutton said.

"We are not going to change those policies, and the advocates, by providing false hope to these people, really [are] to be condemned."



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, 2016

Why would gay groups support Islam when Islam murders homosexuals?

The answer is that gay advocacy groups are less interested in gay rights than in serving as a battering ram against classical civilization.

J Street and Not in Our Name claim to reflect Jewish interests but actually seek the destruction of Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East. These groups also support Hamas, whose pubic charter endorses genocidal antisemitism.

Black Lives Matter never speaks about the two largest killers of black people: the left's prohibition on DDT, which could save a million black people a year from malaria; and the staggering number of African-Americans who die at the hands of other African-Americans.

Instead, Black Lives Matter inflates statistically insignificant incidents of "police brutality" to undermine the authority and power of law enforcement -- the "thin blue line" that helps keep civilization civilized.

Confusing goals, statements and actions make sense when you keep in mind the common root and real purpose of all these left-wing organizations:  The destruction of Western civilization.


Common Sense Abandoned

By Walter E. Williams

Republican presidential aspirant John Kasich stirred up angry words from women's organizations and the Democratic Party by his response to a question from a female college student at a town hall meeting in Watertown, New York, regarding sexual assault.

Kasich said all the right things about prosecuting offenders, but what got the Ohio governor in trouble with leftists was the end of his response: "I'd also give you one bit of advice: Don't go to parties where there's a lot of alcohol, OK? Don't do that." Let's examine that advice. To do so, let's ask some general questions about common sense.

Does one have a right to put his wallet on the hood of his car, attend a movie show, return and find his wallet and its contents undisturbed? You say, "Williams, you've lost it! Why would one do such a crazy thing?"

If that's your response, you miss the point made by Kasich's critics. People are duty-bound to respect private property rights. So why shouldn't one feel at ease leaving his wallet on the hood of his car and expect it to be there when he returns?

If the person's wallet were stolen, what would you advise? Would it be to counsel people to respect private property rights? Put into the context of feminists' responses to Kasich's suggestion, you might argue that it's outrageous to suggest that people "restrict their behavior." Plain, ordinary common sense would say yes, a person has the right to lay his wallet on the hood of his car and expect it to be there when he returns. But we don't live in a world full of angels; therefore, the best bet is for one to keep his wallet in his pocket.

Here's a does-the-same-principle-apply question. Does a voluptuous, scantily clad young woman have a right to attend a rowdy fraternity party, dance suggestively, get drunk and face no unwelcome sexual advances? My answer is yes. Her body is her private property, and she has every right to expect that her inebriated state not be exploited.

Suppose you were the young woman's father. Would you advise the following? "Go ahead and wear scanty attire, dance suggestively and get drunk. If a guy makes unwelcome advances, we'll catch him and bring rape charges." I'm betting that most fathers' advice would be the opposite, namely: "Dress and behave like a respectable lady, and don't attend drunken parties and get drunk." It's similar to the advice about leaving a wallet on the hood of a car. People are not angels, and one's conduct ought to take that into consideration.

Suppose you have a well-behaved, law-abiding son whose friends are not so well-behaved and law-abiding. They do drugs, shoplift and play hooky. Your son does none of those things. As a responsible parent, your advice to your son would be that it is better to be alone than in the wrong company and that people judge you based upon the people with whom you associate. Your son might respond by saying, "I have rights. If I'm not doing something wrong, I shouldn't be judged based on what my friends do!" Your response should be, "You're right, but unfortunately, the world doesn't work that way."

Here's another common-sense issue particularly relevant to today's police/citizen relations. Suppose it's the middle of the night and a police officer is suspicious of a young male driver. The officer uses the excuse that the young man made an illegal lane change to pull him over. If the driver were your son, what would you advise him to do, exercise his free speech rights to berate the officer for making a stop on such a flimsy basis? Or would you advise him to quietly give the officer his license and registration and answer the officer's questions, which probably would allow him to drive away without a citation at all?

To teach young people, particularly young men, Benjamin Franklin's admonition that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" is a challenging task. But it is the job of adults to get such common-sense messages across, even at the cost of leftist condemnation.


U.S. Commission: Religious Freedom Under ‘Serious and Sustained Assault’

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released their annual religious freedom report Monday and found that religious freedom worldwide “has been under serious and sustained assault” since their 2015 report.

“By any measure, religious freedom abroad has been under serious and sustained assault since the release of our commission’s last Annual Report in 2015,” the report said. “From the plight of new and longstanding prisoners of conscience, to the dramatic rise in the numbers of refugees and internally displaced persons, to the continued acts of bigotry against Jews and Muslims in Europe, and to the other abuses detailed in this report, there was no shortage of attendant suffering worldwide.”

“Regrettably the situation is that things have not improved and in some places things have gotten worse.” USCIRF Chairman Robert George told reporters in a conference call about the report on Monday. “At best in most of the countries we cover, religious freedom conditions have failed to improve in any serious or demonstrable way. At worst, they’ve spiraled downward.”

The report once again pushes for the U.S. State Department to designate Pakistan as a “country of particular concern,” or CPC, under the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA), a recommendation it has made since 2002.

Pakistan’s “Religiously-discriminatory constitutional provisions and legislation, such as the country’s blasphemy law and anti-Ahmadiyya laws,” the report said, “intrinsically violate international standards of freedom of religion or belief and result in prosecutions and imprisonments.”

The recent Easter Sunday bombing in Lahore which killed 72 and injured 320, is just one example of the violence religious minorities have seen in Pakistan.

“The government’s failure to provide adequate protection for likely targets of such violence or prosecute perpetrators has created a deeprooted climate of impunity.” The report adds, also pointing out that “discriminatory content against minorities in provincial textbooks remains a significant concern, as are reports of forced conversions and marriages of Christian and Hindu girls and women.”

The report explained that “religious minority communities view the Pakistani government as unwilling to stem the violent attacks against them by terrorist organizations like the Pakistani Taliban or bring the attackers to justice, and believe that some government officials and local police may be sympathetic to the violent acts.”

The report also asks the government to designate seven other countries as countries of particular concern: Central African Republic, Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Syria, Tajikistan, and Vietnam.

George noted in discussing the CPC recommendations with reporters that Tajikistan was recently designated in April by the State Department as a CPC, becoming the 10th nation so designated on the basis of USCIRF’s recommendations.

George applauded the designation but added that “there remain seven other nations we are recommending and have recommended in some cases over many years for CPC designations that remain not designated by the State Department,” including “nations like Pakistan and Vietnam that clearly merit designation as countries of particular concern, because the violations of religious freedom we have documented are systematic and ongoing and egregious.”

In Iraq and Syria, the report noted, “ISIL’s summary executions, rape, sexual enslavement, abduction of children, destruction of houses of worship, and forced conversions all are part of what our commission has seen as a genocidal effort to erase their presence from these countries.”

“The governments of Syria and Iraq can be characterized by their near-incapacity to protect segments of their population from ISIL and other non-state actors,” the report said, “as well as their complicity in fueling the sectarian tensions that have made their nations so vulnerable.”

The report also highlighted the plight of prisoners of conscience such as Pastor Bao Guohua and his wife, Xing Wenxiang in China, who “were sentenced in Zhejiang Province in February 2016 to 14 and 12 years in prison, respectively, for leading a Christian congregation that was opposing a government campaign to remove crosses atop churches.”

In China, “Christian communities have borne a significant brunt of the oppression, with numerous churches bulldozed and crosses torn down,” the report added. “Uighur Muslims and Tibetan Buddhists continue to be repressed, and the Chinese government has asserted its own authority to select the next Dalai Lama. Falun Gong practitioners often are held in ‘black jails’ and brainwashing centers, with credible reports of torture, sexual violence, psychiatric experimentation, and organ harvesting.”

USCIRF’s recommendations for China, which was recently re-designated by the State Department as a CPC, include raising religious freedom concerns at the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, urging the Chinese government to release prisoners of conscience, and imposing penalties on officials who perpetrate religious freedom abuses.

USCIRF also noted religious freedom issues in Western Europe, including an increase in anti-Semitism.

“Despite the increasing police protection in places where European Jews congregate, the rise in anti-Semitism has produced an exponential rise in Jewish emigration from Europe,” the report noted “with immigration to Israel from France increasing from less than 2,000 in 2012 to nearly 8,000 last year alone.”

George told reporters that while rhetoric may seem positive in some of the nations covered in the report, “there has been a continued gap between the rhetoric of the regime and the reality on the ground.”

“For example, in this past year both President al Sisi of Egypt and Prime Minister Modi of India have made positive remarks favoring religious tolerance and moderation. We certainly welcome the rhetoric, but rhetoric doesn’t really matter unless it is accompanied by action,” he said.

He pointed out that “Egypt remains a country that we recommend for CPC designation for its failure to actually protect in deed on the ground religious minorities from violence,” and “likewise India remains what we call a Tier 2 country, and it remains there for failing to protect religious minorities both from police bias and societal violence.

“It’s also failed to reform a criminal justice system that often doesn’t prosecute violent attackers in a timely manner, so an atmosphere of impunity is permitted to remain in which thugs or mobs or terrorists can freely attack members of religious minorities,” he added.

George emphasized the importance of promoting religious freedom in our foreign policy.

“Our interests and our values are really one. They’re not two separate things,” he said. “Protecting our interests does require advancing our values, including our belief in religious freedom.

“I think the more the American people get behind this, understand this, call on their own leaders to stand up for the cause, then our government will respond with greater attention to religious liberty issues in the formation and execution of our foreign policy,” he concluded. “We believe that can do a lot of good.”


Linda Harvey: LGBT Indoctrination of Children Will Turn Many Kids Into 'Sexual Barbarians'

During a radio interview about the effects of indoctrinating young children in the "lifestyle" and sex practices of LGBT people, pro-family leader Linda Harvey said early sexualization exposes kids "to all kinds of risks," conditions young people to seek self-pleasure at all costs, and creates a certain number of "sexual barbarians" who use and then toss people away.

Harvey, founder of Mission: America, also agreed that this early exposure to unnatural sexuality is "destroying our children."

On From the Median radio show, host Molly Smith, who also is president of Cleveland Right to Life, commented, "Because we will not recognize the devastation that’s happening to our children through promoting this unhealthy, abomination-style of sexual contact, we are destroying our children for goodness’ sake."

Linda Harvey said, “We are. We are exposing them to all kinds of risks. I believe we are looking at a generation of kids that are coming up who will have, who will be such, at least a fair number of them, will be such sexual barbarians."

"One of the many reasons that humans are not to be sexualized early is because you become a person that uses and tosses people away for your own pleasure," said Harvey.  "You don’t develop true compassion and empathy, and the idea of sacrifice, love being sacrificial love – that isn’t part of the immature sexual impulse that must be satisfied right now. That’s one of the reasons you don’t sexualize kids early."

Linda Harvey continued, “Regarding same-sex sexual relationships, when you take pregnancy out of the mix the [sexual] opportunities are infinitely more. Then it seems as though the consequences are less. Well, of course, you have sexual attractiveness in [garbled]. It just isn’t true."

"But the opportunities become greater and, without being inhibited by parenthood and all that, the person is just that much more selfish, that much more immediate gratification-oriented, and there are so many character issues related to that when letting that happen," said Harvey.  "We need to put a halt to it."

Commenting further, host Molly Smith it was necessary to counter LGBT propaganda with Christian groups that provide a loving and supportive vehicle for people to turn away from homosexual behavior.

"What I’d like  to do is talk about the programs that are out there that we’ve got, to start fighting to get them back into circulation again," said Smith. "The programs that will help our young people to do something if there has been some sort of life-incident that has turned them towards homosexual behavior."

"We need to be able to support them too, to turn back again and become fully functioning human beings," she said.  "And I say that with love for anyone out there who’s thinking, 'oh my goodness, I am a fully functioning human being and I’m a homosexual.' Well, all I would challenge you is to think about it how, what God intends for us as human beings. What was His intent? That’s what we’ve got to focus on."

Tne entire interview can be heard at the From the Median website.



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

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

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


4 May, 2016

Children of gay fathers are as well adjusted as those with heterosexual parents, rubbishy study says

More pseudo-scientific garbage.  These studies are so poorly done that one gets the impression that they are afraid to do a real study.  Once again, the "researchers" did not even see the children, let alone assess them in any way. To summarize, they just asked the "parents":  "Is your kid OK?"  And the "parents" --  surprise, surprise -- replied "Sure".  What else would they say?

Despite criticisms from traditionalists that same-sex parents can cause problems for their children, a new study adds to a growing body of evidence to suggest gay parents needn't worry.

The study, 'Experiences of Children with Gay Fathers,' was conducted via an online survey, receiving responses from 732 gay fathers in 47 states.

Participants responded to the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, which includes questions about children's well-being, such as academic achievement, self-esteem and peer relationships.

Around 88 per cent of the study respondents said it was 'not true' that their child is unhappy or depressed, compared with 87 per cent of the comparative sample.

Similarly, 72 per cent of participants responded that their child does not 'worry a lot,' compared with 75 per cent of the general population.

According to the study, 36 per cent of their children had been born in the context of a heterosexual relationship, 38 percent by adopting or fostering children, and 14 per cent with the assistance of a surrogate carrier.

Many of the fathers described having encountered barriers to sharing custody of their children (33 per cent), to adopt a child (41 per cent) or to become a father through a surrogate carrier (18 per cent).

In addition, between 20 and 30 per cent of respondents reported stigmatising experiences because of being a gay father, primarily from family members, friend, and some people in religious contexts.

One-third of parents reported their children had been subjected to teasing, bullying or other stigmatizing experiences by friends.

Lead author Dr Ellen Perrin said that despite these barriers, there is a growing number of children whose parents are gay, reflecting a rapidly changing legal and social climate for prospective gay and lesbian parents.

She cites the 2015 Supreme Court decision affirming the right to same-sex marriage, for example, as well as increased access to alternative reproductive technologies and adoption for openly gay individuals or couples.

'Our data add to those of other investigators showing that children of same-sex parents do as well in every way as children whose parents are heterosexual,' said Dr Perrin. 

It's estimated there are 690,000 same-sex couples living in the United States and that 19 per cent of such couples and lesbian, gay or bisexual individuals are raising children under the age of 18.

There is growing acceptance of different-sex parents, as portrayed in the 2010 film The Kids are All Right, in which Julianne Moore and Annette Bening play committed lesbian parents.


Multiculturalist who poured bleach on his puppy and burned it alive in crate sentenced to three years and eight months in prison

A 21-year-old California man was sentenced on Friday to three years and eight months in prison for burning his eight-week old Chihuahua puppy alive in 2015.

Willie Bee Turner of Sacramento was found guilty of the heinous crime on March 3. In January 2015, when the tan puppy, which Turner had named Angel Star, defecated on his friend's floor, Turner doused the helpless animal in bleach and tossed her off a balcony. The puppy miraculously survived.

The next night, he locked the puppy in a portable kennel and set the animal on fire on the sidewalk outside a Masonic Lodge on Becerra Way near Marconi Avenue, burning her alive, according to the Sacramento Bee.

A driver passing by saw the blaze and called 911 - horrified firefighters found the puppy's charred remains.

Turner was arrested in February after tips from the outraged public led to his whereabouts.

In addition to his three years and eight months prison sentence, Turner cannot own a pet for 10 years and he will be registered as a lifetime arson offender and can no longer own or possess a firearm.

Court Judge Lawrence Brown, who sentenced Turner to the max allowable under state guidelines, was clearly horrified at the convicted man's actions.  'There is a darkness in the defendant,' said the judge, who mentioned taking his own dog out for a walk that morning.

Deputy District Attorney Hilary Bagley, who prosecuted the crime, said the sentence was 'piddly' and noted Turner's statement to the court, in which he said he will 'take responsibility for the things he did not do.'

Bagley said that 'significant introspection' was needed for a crime of that nature if the convicted is to enter back into society. 'Clearly, that hasn't happened,' she said.

Animal advocate Jennifer Canady, who devotedly attended Turner's court appearances, told the Sacramento Bee: 'The results of this grotesque case of cruelty – the outcome of three years, eight months for the tossing off a balcony, dousing with bleach and the setting of this monster’s puppy on fire hardly does justice to this little life.'

Legislators have had difficulty trying to extend the terms for animal abusers. Republican State Sen. Jeff Stone, who represents Riverside County, recently lost a bid to double the sentences for animal cruelty crimes.


UK: Number of hate crimes against Jews soars as report says anti-semitism is at the 'core' of far-Left beliefs

The number of hate crimes against Jews in Britain has reached a shocking new high, campaigners warn today.

An alarming new report shows that police forces recorded almost 1,000 anti-Semitic offences in 2015 – a 25 per cent rise on the previous year.

Violent attacks on Jews soared by 50 per cent and yet there was a worrying decline in the number of cases where suspects were charged.

Campaigners fear the worrying trend is being driven by Islamists, neo-Nazis and far-Left activists and students, who use social media to share sickening images similar to those seen in Nazi Germany.

In one shocking case, a mob shouting ‘Kill the Jews’ stormed a synagogue in Stamford Hill, North London, smashing windows and attacking worshippers.

The report says that there has been a ‘growth in anti-Semitism as a core part of far-Left’ ideology. The findings come as the Labour Party is gripped by anti-Semitism allegations: MP Naz Shah and former London Mayor Ken Livingstone have both been suspended in the past week, and an internal investigation has been set up by beleaguered party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Last night, Gideon Falter, chairman of the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, which published the report, said: ‘This data should alarm those responsible for enforcing the law. They are failing British Jews badly.

‘If the situation continues to deteriorate, the Jewish community will be faced with the kind of rampant anti-Semitism seen in other European countries, which has left Jews feeling fearful and abandoned, and many of them convinced that they have no choice but to emigrate.’

He added: ‘Britain’s fight against anti-Semitism and extremism cannot be allowed to fail.’

The charity asked every force in Britain how many anti-Semitic incidents and crimes they had recorded in each month of 2014 and 2015, as well as the number that involved violence, and the proportion that led to prosecutions.

Only 13.6 per cent of incidents led to charges in 2015.


Conservatives love to hate political correctness, but the left should rail against it too

Gay Alcorn, a Leftist journalist, argues below for civil debate over political issues.  She may even mean it. Leftists are normally civil only to those who agree with them, so a call for civility from them is usually a demand to agree with them.  The surname Alcorn is strongly associated with the Methodist church in Australia so, if she is one of those, that may have softened her attitude

By far the most insightful person on Australia’s Q&A program this week was the Catholic theologian and philosopher John Haldane. He took complicated and charged questions and tried to make sense of them. In doing so, he spoke of something critical in a liberal democracy, something we are at risk of losing – the idea of “reasonable disagreement” on controversial issues.

“People who hold contrary views on these matters are neither stupid nor wicked,” he said. “In the US, conservatives tend to think of liberals as being bad people, immoral people, but liberals think of conservatives as if they are stupid.” The answer was not moral relativism, or a failure to make decisions, but “civic friendship” in the way we discuss these issues.

“We’ve got to keep the conversation open.”

I am wary of religious doctrine whatever the faith. Religions have a history of intolerance and there is a remarkable lack of self-awareness by those who complain it is now the religious who are being silenced on debates such as same sex marriage.

Yet Haldane identified a trend that is no longer a fringe tendency in Australia and in many parts of the western world. Labeling people who have an unpopular view as somehow intrinsically bad or immoral, declaring such views as intolerable even to hold, is now a big part of our culture and is having an impact on our conversations and our politics.

This is not just about religious conservatives feeling that their views, while not silenced, are so ridiculed and personalised that few feel comfortable expressing them. It is just as prevalent in the attempts to silence or attack those who identity as progressives but who may have sent an insensitive tweet, or hold a view that transgresses the orthodoxy of the moment.

For many supposed progressives, disagreement must now be accompanied by a personal attack against someone who doesn’t deserve a say because of who they are, not for what they believe.

I support same sex marriage, yet am deeply uncomfortable with the assumption that anyone with reservations must be a bigot and a homophobe. That is the level of the debate in Australia, and it is championed by so-called “progressives”, who display with glee the same intolerance they rightly accuse churches as historically holding.

It is an insidious tendency because of course progressives should stand up for greater levels of equality and for the human rights of the marginalised and disadvantaged. But to do so by devaluing free speech and thought on the grounds of championing the aggrieved is a betrayal of progressive politics in a fundamental way.

It has not been helped by our well-meaning discrimination laws, which have endorsed and encouraged the view that being “offended” should be unlawful. The very idea debases notion that debate, ideas, and openness to complexity is the way to make progress.

It is a symptom of what’s gone wrong that the Tasmanian anti-discrimination commission deemed the Catholic Church had a case to answer for its booklet opposing same sex marriage on the grounds that it could offend, humiliate or insult same sex couples and their children. To be offended and insulted is distressing, but nobody should be legally protected against it in a democracy, even on a highly emotional issue such as this.

The insistence on personalising disagreement is pervasive.

Actor and writer Stephen Fry has apologised for a few sentences he uttered at the end of a long and fascinating interview in the United States. The irony of this little incident gives it a poignancy beyond the familiar pattern: someone says something that deliberately or accidentally offends people, who declare their hurt and anger, demanding the person is sacked from their job or at least be publicly shamed. The targeted one, sometimes famous, sometimes not, says “up yours”, or more likely grovels an apology, perhaps deleting their social media account to crawl into a hole for a time.

Fry’s was just one example, but it was so telling that he was shamed when the entire purpose of his interview was to discuss the so-called “regressive left”. What happened to Fry was exactly what he was talking about – to be pilloried by the left for something he said that was certainly insensitive, but hardly worth the vehemence of the reaction.

More broadly, he was talking about the phenomenon of people identifying with the progressive side of politics being so intolerant of views deemed unacceptable, especially regarding anything to do with race, gender, sexual identity and religion.

Fry appeared on The Rubin Report, a program that regularly scrutinises this phenomenon. Host David Rubin is convinced that the regressive left is the equivalent of America’s Tea Party – dangerous for progressive politics, whose purpose should be to champion reason and debate to achieve greater equality and improve human rights. “If we don’t have the courage to stop them, then a year or two from now we’ll wonder why our system is screwed up even more than it is now,” says Rubin, who thinks of himself as a progressive.

I don’t think Rubin is overstating the dangers of declaring certain thoughts and speech unacceptable. Although, as Fry would say, it’s complicated.

In the 11-and-a-half-minute interview, Fry mused about all this in his erudite, amusing and slightly pompous way, and said he feared that “the advances of the Enlightenment are being systematically and deliberately pushed back” – the idea of free thinking, open societies not ruled by churches or “enforced thinking”.

“Enforced thinking” was prevalent because “life is complicated and nobody wants to believe that life is complicated, this is the problem. You might call it infantilism of our culture”. The example he gave was the campaign, ultimately unsuccessful, by some students who demanded Oxford University remove a statue of Cecil Rhodes from Oriel College.

Rhodes was a student at Oxford and left money to provide a prestigious scholarship. He was also undoubtedly an imperialist with a belief in the racial superiority of Anglo Saxons. Even in his own time, his views were considered extreme by many.

For outspoken students, a Rhodes’ statue should not grace a university where minority students already felt intimidated – it was offensive to them and a sign that Oxford had failed to come to terms with its past. Pulling down monuments to people who do not have views acceptable in our own age would keep all of us busy for many years, yet the students made a valid point – who would not understand why Confederate flags in the US are so deeply offensive to African Americans?

Fry’s view was that the student campaign was an example of a tendency to declare someone good or bad, full stop. “To remove his statue strikes me as being stupid,” he said. “The way to fight colonialism and the ideas behind it is not to pull down statues. It’s to reveal, to say who he is … look at him, occasionally throw an egg on it.” How very old-fashioned of him to argue that free speech and argument can expose repellent views, that it isn’t necessary to erase them from history, to “unperson” them.

Fry went on to discuss the movement particularly on American campuses to ban people from speaking who might offend or “trigger” deep feelings in some students because of their experiences or their identity as a minority. “There are many great plays which contain rapes, and the word rape now is even considered a rape. To say the word rape is to rape,” Fry said.

Rapes are “terrible things and they have to be thought about clearly”.

“But if say you can’t watch this play, you can’t watch Titus Andronicus, or you can’t read it in a Shakespeare class or you can’t read Macbeth because it’s got children being killed in it, and it might trigger something when you were young that upset you once, because uncle touched you in a nasty place, well I’m sorry. It’s a great shame and we’re all very sorry that your uncle touched you in that nasty place – you get some of my sympathy – but your self pity gets none of my sympathy…. The irony is we’ll feel sorry for you, if you stop feeling sorry for yourself. Just grow up.”

I know what he meant, but Fry expressed that woefully. In the context of all that had gone before, he was not saying that victims of sexual abuse should just “grow up”. He was trying to say – clumsily – that if you’re a woman, or a victim of sexual assault, or a racial minority for that matter or a transgender or homosexual or all the other signifiers of identity politics – your personal feelings and experiences are not enough to censor other views, to restrict free speech.

There are real examples of sexism and racism and of course they need challenging. And nobody pretends free speech is absolute. In many ways, I love the fiery pushback from people who have indeed been, and still are to varying degrees, marginalised in a culture that privileges the white middle class heterosexual man. Yet the words “racist” “misogynist”, “homophobe” and “bigot” are so routinely bandied about now they have lost their power.

The cry of “shame” at something someone said or did, the social media pile on, perhaps wouldn’t matter too much except that its impact is to stop people being honest about what they think for fear of being attacked by the mob. Not just that. It’s an insistence that people who hold such views are morally bad.

Many people now roll their eyes at feminist Germaine Greer, but recently on Q&A she refused to be bowed, and there was something brave about it.

It is a sign of human progress that transgender people at least in parts of the West are far more visible and that discrimination against them is being acknowledged and starting to be addressed. Yet as hurtful as it must be for the trans community, I don’t think Greer is alone in questioning the insistence that, somehow, Caitlyn Jenner was always a woman, even at birth.

Did anyone else groan when Glamour Magazine named the famous trans woman its “woman of the year”, or when Jenner declared the hardest thing about being female “figuring out what to wear”?

These are hard issues to raise, and it’s an old feminist debate, but Greer doesn’t accept that men who identify as women are women. She hits a nerve when she says in her outrageous way that, “I don’t believe a woman is a man without a cock”. Call her transphobic if you like, but better to loudly present the arguments why she’s wrong, or just ignore her.

But the outraged don’t want that – last year, Greer faced a campaign by campus feminists to ban her from speaking at a university about a different subject because of her “transphobic” views. Feminists are tied up in knots with intersectionality and understandably want to support marginalised women. But trying to shut down dissenting or offensive views is another kind of intolerance.

And so what happened to dear old Stephen Fry, a homosexual and bipolar sufferer who has fought hard against intolerance and discrimination? The symbiotic relationship between the mainstream media and social media makes the trajectory predictable. A few people were “outraged” on Twitter about Fry’s remarks about victims of sexual abuse. And so the Telegraph in London had a story: “Stephen Fry tells sex abuse victims to ‘grow up’ prompting social media outrage.”

That’s the story – social media outrage. I am sick of reading stories that begin “Twitter was outraged” but it’s obvious why it’s become routine. Conventional media, as well as platforms like Facebook, need drama to achieve online traffic.

“There is a toxic relationship between mainstream media and social media,” said Jon Ronson in an interview recently. Ronson’s book, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, chronicles how lives can be ruined by social media humiliation. “To begin with old media just ignored Twitter,” he said. “Then it tried to emasculate it by doing ‘the 50 best tweeters’ pieces, trying to control it ... and then what happened was that mainstream media began to bow to Twitter’s agenda setting.”

So Fry was fried, but surely nothing he said in his interview justified the ugliness of some of the response.

The right loves all this stuff. Conservatives rail against “political correctness” but have little commitment to social justice or addressing structural inequality. Yet progressives should rail against it too, much more strongly than they are now. Because it’s not progressive in any way. The censors of the left may have the best of intentions, but too often, they’re just another bunch of reactionaries.



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, 2016

Why children who have married parents thrive: Government report says couples who wed are more likely to raise a successful family

This runs counter to a couple of recent poorly-done studies saying that the children of Lesbian couples do OK.  The report behind the article below does not seem to be online so I wrote to the main author, Professor Gordon Harold, asking for a copy of at least the methodological part of it.  A week later, he has not favoured me with a reply.  That does suggest that the report is flawed but I reproduce the article below for what it is worth

Marriage matters and is a central factor in children’s chances of success in life, according to a Government report. Children do worse if they are brought up by a lone parent or by parents who are not married, researchers found.

The large-scale report rejects the idea that marriage is no more than a lifestyle option or a choice favoured by better-off couples, and presents powerful fresh evidence that a couple who commit to each other with a wedding are much more likely to have a successful family.

It comes amid warnings by critics that David Cameron’s drive to support the institution of marriage is slipping off the Whitehall agenda.

Produced by a team of academics from Sussex University for the Department of Work and Pensions, the analysis is aimed at identifying ways to improve relationships between couples and the life chances of their children.

The findings said: ‘Evidence shows that child outcomes tend to be worse on average in lone-parent and non-married families.’

The researchers added that it is difficult to separate out the effects of having married parents on the health and behaviour of children. ‘Family structure, family breakdown and family relationship quality are all closely intertwined, making it difficult to distinguish the causal effect of each factor,’ the report concluded.

The 134-page report, written by a group headed by Professor Gordon Harold, was based on a review of existing evidence and analysis of the Understanding Society survey, which follows the lives of people in 40,000 homes.

It was available to ministers two weeks ago, when Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb made his first major speech in the post.

But despite the new evidence available to his department, Mr Crabb chose to cut planned references to the importance of marriage from his speech.

In a move taken to indicate a lessening of enthusiasm from promoting marriage in the Government, he dropped passages in which he had intended to warn that it is not good for children to be brought up in lone parent family, and which asserted that ministers do a ‘huge disservice’ if they are ‘neutral on family structure’.

The endorsement of the positive effects of marriage on family life follows decades of earlier evidence which has suggested both that married parents are much more likely to stick together and thrive than other couples, and that their children will do better than the children of other couples.

It provoked fresh demands from marriage campaigners for greater help for married couples in the tax and benefit system.

Mr Cameron introduced a tax break for less well-off married couples last year, but the concession is worth little more than £200 a year at the most.

Laura Perrins, co-editor of the Conservative Woman website, said: ‘This report demonstrates yet again, the negative impact family breakdown has on children’s education and emotional well-being.

‘We also know that married families are much more likely to stay together than cohabiting ones. If this Government cared about children it should care about marriage and stop punishing it in the tax system.’

Harry Benson, of the Marriage Foundation think-tank, said: ‘Any acknowledgement by the Department of Work and Pensions that non-married families tend to have worse outcomes should be a moment to savour, even if the admission is grudging.

‘However they spoil it somewhat by questioning whether the relative disadvantages faced by non-married families take into account background factors.

‘I should be happy to point them to a number of mainstream social science journals which have investigated this specific issue for decades. The clear answer is that both background and marriage matter.’

The reports follows a number of signs that enthusiasm for marriage is waning in Whitehall following the introduction of same-sex marriage in 2014 and Mr Cameron’s declaration in the same year that ‘it is important that the Government sends a strong signal that we back marriage’.

Last week the Office for National Statistics dropped indicators showing the effects of marriage from its child mortality figures, which are regarded as a central pointer to the nation’s health and well-being.

Figures showing the number of marriages in England and Wales in 2013 are to be published this week, nearly two years and four months after the last 2013 weddings took place, and nearly two years after the last set of ONS annual marriage figures.


How low can the RSPCA go? Animal "charity" seizes nurse's cats while she's in hospital and looks on as her pet sheep are slaughtered to feed hunting dogs

A retired nurse rushed to hospital with a serious illness returned home two weeks later to discover that her cats had been rehomed by the RSPCA and her pet sheep had been shot.

Five cats were removed the same day that Irene Brown was found unconscious by police at her home after being struck with meningitis.

A sixth cat was put down due to its age. Her three sheep were shot the next day in the presence of an RSPCA inspector and their remains fed to the hounds of a local hunt.

There is no suggestion that any of the animals kept by 68-year-old Miss Brown were mistreated or neglected, but when she was released from hospital after fighting for her life, they were all gone.

Two of the five cats taken away were legally owned by a local animal sanctuary – they had placed the animals with Miss Brown because they regarded her as an exemplary carer. The sanctuary said both pets were microchipped.

Later, Miss Brown said the RSPCA inspector who took the cats away refused to hand them back as they were now in ‘new loving homes’.

Last night, a tearful Miss Brown told The Mail on Sunday: ‘My cats are my life and I’ve always cared a lot more about my pets than people. I couldn’t believe my sheep had been slaughtered. The RSPCA have behaved without any respect for me or my animals.’

The charity insists it did not ‘authorise’ the killing of the sheep, but witnesses said an RSPCA inspector stood by as they were killed.

Miss Brown collapsed at her home in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, last December and police, alerted by neighbours, broke in. RSPCA officials were summoned and Miss Brown’s sister – who does not live nearby – ‘signed over’ the cats to the charity.

‘It wasn’t her decision to make, and the RSPCA shouldn’t have done it either,’ Miss Brown said.

Snowball, at 22 by far eldest of the six cats, was put to sleep, which Miss Brown had no issue with.

‘But the other five were healthy cats which were well looked after and some kind of temporary care could have been arranged, but they were all just taken away,’ she said.

Three Lincoln Longwool pure-bred sheep – named Nilla, Daisy May and Tiny Rambo – which were kept in the field behind her house, were to be dealt with the next day.

An 81-year-old retired vet arrived at the property, accompanied by a licensed slaughterman from a local hunt – and the RSPCA inspector.

Lisa Duffy, who keeps horses in an adjacent part of the field, couldn’t believe what she was seeing – especially as she had already agreed with Miss Brown’s sister to look after the sheep herself.

‘My husband drove down with our young kids to see what was going on when a van arrived. The RSPCA woman was in the field with two men. She told us they were “taking the sheep” and we assumed they’d been found a new home.

‘I offered her two bags of sheep nuts [feed] and she said they wouldn’t need them. The next thing, the vet told me to get the kids away, and we just heard bang, bang, bang and the carcasses were loaded into a van. It was shocking.

‘I knew how upset Irene would be. I was happy to look after them for as long as necessary.’

The hunt has since apologised to Miss Brown and, as a gesture of goodwill, bought her three replacement sheep. But no such apology has come from the RSPCA and there has been no offer to return her cats.

When she asked for Simba, Sooty, Nala, Fluffy and Fian back, Miss Brown says she was told by the RSPCA inspector that her home was an ‘unsafe environment’ as it was ‘cluttered’.

She maintains the house was in disarray after the emergency services moved furniture to get her out of the property.

‘After clearing up, I spoke to the inspector a second time. She said three of the cats had been rehomed and the other two were about to be rehomed,’ Miss Brown said. ‘She said the new owners had grown to love them, but I’d had them for four years.’

Roseanna Richardson, owner of the Brook Farm Animal Sanctuary, confirmed they had rehomed three cats with Miss Brown, but routinely retained legal ownership.

‘We’ve inspected Irene’s house and never had any issues about her suitability,’ Ms Richardson said. ‘It might be a little cluttered but to suggest that presents a danger to the cats is laughable. I was shocked to find out what has happened – we would have happily looked after the cats or the sheep here.’

The RSPCA said: ‘We were asked to rehome these cats in response to an urgent request by the police and family.

'The family was given a number of options of care for the cats but after considering them, they asked us to rehome them. All of this was done in the best interests of the animals and with all necessary approvals, in the presence of police.’


Tenn. Latest State to Pass Conscience Protections

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed a provision this week that gives therapists the legal right to reject clients based on ideological and religious objections. According to The Tennessean, the measure “says no licensed counselor or therapist must serve a client whose ‘goals, outcomes or behaviors’ conflict with the counselor’s ‘sincerely held principles.’” The law furthermore “shields from civil lawsuits, criminal prosecution and sanctions by the state licensing board counselors who refuse to provide services — provided they coordinate a referral of the client to another counselor who would serve them.”

An “extremely disappointed” spokesman for the American Counseling Association, Art Terrazas, says the law marginalizes individuals suffering from gender disorientation pathology and charged that “Haslam has ignored the lessons learned in North Carolina, Georgia and Mississippi and has elected to sign this dangerous bill into law. Plain and simple, this bill codifies discrimination.” In reality, discrimination is what Tennessee outlawed.

Recall a few years ago California banned gender conversion therapy — a ban the Obama administration would love to repeat nationwide. Last April, Obama senior aid Valerie Jarrett ridiculously claimed, “The overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrates that conversion therapy, especially when it is practiced on young people, is neither medically nor ethically appropriate and can cause substantial harm.” Actually, studies show the vast majority of children struggling with gender identity and homosexuality eventually accept the created order even without outside help. Nevertheless, Jarrett added, “[T]his administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors.”

The administration’s position encourages discrimination by forcing counselors to agree with their clients' viewpoint — as if gender disorientation pathology shouldn’t be just socially acceptable but also considered normal. As Gov. Haslam put it, “The substance of this bill doesn’t address a group, issue or belief system. Rather, it allows counselors — just as we allow other professionals like doctors and lawyers — to refer a client to another counselor when the goals or behaviors would violate a sincerely held principle.” How is that discriminatory? Progressives approve of banning things that go with conscience — unless, like in Tennessee, it’s to protect the conscience of therapists whose viewpoints aren’t considered “inclusive.” They sure have a distorted definition of what inclusiveness means.


Sydney's finest Asian Australian students still missing out on leadership roles

The whine below from a Left-leaning newspaper relies on the absurd doctrine that the proportion of people in every occupation should mirror the proportion of various ethnicities in the overall population -- "disparate impact", as Americans call it. So if 10% of the Australian population is Asian, then 10% of the people in management should also  be Asian. 

It's the sort of rubbish you are always getting from Leftists.  They can only think in terms of big groups.  Consideration of the individual is of no interest to them. So what they overlook is that Asians may prefer to go into the professions rather than business management or the bureaucracy.  Judging by the numbers of Asian medical practitioners I have encountered, I have no doubt that Asians are OVER-represented in the professions -- which is as it should be.  It shows that people have a choice and exercise the choice that suits their own individual preference

Another thing ignored below is that academic succcess is not a good predictor of business success.  Bill Gates was a Harvard dropout.  And people who are highly successful academically may not even be INCLINED to go into business or the bureaucracy. So  it is probably for that reason that Asians seem to pop up as working scientists all the time -- often making notable contributions to knowledge.  You have just got to look at the author list on academic jornal articles in the sciences.  There is almost always at least one East Asian name there, no matter where the research was carried out.  Since scholarship has been highly respected in China for a couple of thousand years or so, that should be no surprise.

For the past 20 years in a row, one Sydney high school has taken out the top HSC results in the state. At James Ruse High in Sydney's north-west, an ATAR of above 99 is so expected that it became its own satire song.

"100 ATAR, 100 ATAR, 100 ATAR," year 12 students rapped in a take on Psy's Gangnam Style. "99.95, not good enough".

It is also a school where up to 80 per cent of students come from a language background other than English, most of them from Asian families, according to the NSW Department of Education.

And yet, the statistics show that despite students of Asian origin dominating the academic scale at schools like James Ruse Agricultural High around the country, few rise to the top of the political, business and academic pile.

Australians of Asian descent make up to 12 per cent of the country's population but only four members of the federal Parliament. Of the 17 government departments only one counts a leader of Asian descent as its head.

The statistics are similarly damning in the private sector. Only 1.9 per cent of executive managers and 4.2 percent of directors come from Asian backgrounds, according to a 2013 Diversity Council Australia study.

At the entry level, discrimination, conscious or unconscious, is endemic. On average, a Chinese person must submit 68 per cent more applications to gain employment than a person of Anglo-Saxon descent, according to a 2011 study from the Australian National University.

"For 30 years, James Ruse has been pumping out very clever Asians," said University of Sydney vice-chancellor Michael Spence. "Where are they?"

For Dr Spence, self-interest is a powerful incentive. His newborn son, Ted, is half-Korean. His five children from a previous marriage are of Anglo descent.

"I want to make sure that he has much opportunity as my other children," he said. "If you say mathematician you probably think east Asian in Australia - if you say leader, you probably think white man."

"We are only now beginning to say that there is a real issue to face of particular ethnicities. The disparity between the educational success and their leadership attainment is evidence of a bamboo ceiling and the university needs to do its best to overcome it. There are settled cultural patterns that need to be challenged."

The unconscious bias goes right to the top. The country's Racial Discrimination Commissioner, Tim Soutphommasane, has been asked if he worked in IT or Finance, or most recently, as an accountant.

In 2014, Dr Soutphommasane gave a speech that said "the bamboo ceiling" was well and truly above our heads. Not much has changed.  "But conversations are starting," he said on Friday. "People are beginning to recognise there's a problem."

Across academia and business, tentative steps are being made to talk about the touchy subject of race and what is happening to the 99.95 ATAR club when they walk out the school gates. Public leaders are few and far between.

The University of Sydney has adopted cultural inclusivity as one of the central tenets of its 2020 strategy. It has engaged partnerships with PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Westpac and Telstra through its business school to set targets for ensuring Australian's of Asian origin reach leadership positions. PwC alone has a target of 11 per cent of its partners being of Asian origin by 2020.

It's the perceptions that Dr Soutphommasane, who was born to Chinese and Laotian parents, has spent his career battling against.

"Leaders are expected to be charismatic, assertive and outspoken," Dr Soutphommasane said on Friday. "At the same time, certain stereotypes of Asian-Australians persist. There is a perception that Asian-Australians are shy, timid and withdrawn.

"Put these together and you have an obvious problem. There can be an assumption that Asian-Australians make for better technicians than leaders. That they may not be able to master Anglo-Australian expectations of leadership."

Part of the problem lies in the limited number of public faces of Asian identity on our most public platform, television.

Bing Lee and Victor Chang are often rattled off as icons, but you are more likely to find that the public faces of Asian Australians are given as TV chefs like Poh Ling and Adam Liaw.

The ABC's outgoing managing director, Mark Scott, publicly acknowledged last week that the ABC had not done enough to promote cultural diversity on the public broadcaster.

"On broader diversity, we have a way to go, frankly," Scott told Buzzfeed. "I draw a parallel to the BBC: when I watch and listen to the BBC when I'm in the UK, I think the on-air talent really represents a diversity of modern Britain and I'm not yet sure we represent the diversity of modern Australia."

Dr Soutphommasane agrees. "Sadly, the issue doesn't appear to be treated with any urgency within Australian television," he said.

"The proof is in the programming: what you see on screen doesn't remotely reflect the reality of modern Australia. And you still have parts of Australian television that appear comfortable in their periodic fits of casual racism."

Dr Soutphommasane warned in 2014 that if the situation was not addressed the nation would create a class of professional Asian-Australian coolies in the twenty-first century.

"It would be neither just nor good to have a country where people may comfortably believe that a class of well-educated, ostensibly over-achieving Asian-Australians are perfectly content with remaining in the background, perennially invisible and permanently locked out from the ranks of their society's leadership," he said.

For Dr Spence, diversity starts with education. He is canvassing the idea of race targets in his faculties. "That will be challenging," he said. "Compared to gender, talking about race is much more problematic in the lucky country.

"But a diverse and contemporary Australia must be the country that lives up to our rhetoric. We have boundless plains to share, we need to make sure we live up that national anthem."



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

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

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


2 May, 2016

I know the poor

Poverty is a shortage of money, right?  It is not.  In our society, poverty is an effect of foolish decisions.  It is a behaviour problem, not a money problem.

I have seen it many times but I saw it most frequently when I was the proprietor of a 22-room boarding house located in a poor area. Many of the residents would buy basic groceries etc from a nearby service station, where the prices were about 50% dearer that at the supermarket.  And there was a branch of a large supermarket chain only ten minutes walk away.

And on "payday" (the day when government welfare money was paid into their accounts) it was a wonder to see the casks of "goon" (Sweet white wine in a cardboard box) coming into the place.  There was always money for alcohol.

And I had to be on the ball on "payday" too.  I had to get my rent before the money was all spent.  I even knew where some of them drank and would go in and collect my money from them at the bar.

And they would often have fights, usually over women.  And that often left me with property damasge. I always had a glazier ready on call to fix broken windows.  I could have tried to claim that cost back off them but that would have been in vain. By the end of the week most had nothing left in their pockets.

And the fighting was not limited to my place.  They would also get into fights in bars and elsewhere.  And the loser in a fight generally had his money stolen off him, often on the night of "payday".  So, sometimes, if I had not got his money that day, he would have nothing left by the time I got to him. 

But not all welfare clients are like that.  Many are prudent enough to have money left over at the end of the week and accumulate some savings.  One such was a tall black Melanesian man -- named Apu if I remember rightly.  When I approached him for his rent he said:  "I got into a fight last night and lost my money ... so I went to the bank and got some out".  He was the only man ever to say that to me.

So he was not poor. He had money for his needs and could put something aside as well.  He got the same "pay" as everyone else but he was more prudent in his behaviour.

I spent many years endeavouring to provide respectable accommodation for the poor but the poor did not make it easy for me.  Many are their own worst enemies.

And in my younger days I lived on Australia's student dole for a couple of years -- and led a perfectly comfortable life.  The student dole was actually a bit below what the unemployed got.  So I have NEVER been poor. 

I sometimes had only a little money but I have always had savings, have always eaten well, have always had comfortable accommodation, have always had sufficient clothing, have always had lots of books (mostly bought very cheaply secondhand), have always had good access to the sort of recorded music that I like,  have always been able to afford the day's newspaper and have rarely been without an attractive girlfriend. 

I did not however drink alcohol until I could afford it.  I was teetotal until I was about 28.  And I have never smoked or used illegal drugs.  So I made good choices -- for which I largely thank my fundamentalist Christian background -- and have always been contented


While I am enormously grateful to  my Protestant background for putting my teenage feet onto the right path, there seem to be some genetics involved too.  I say that because my son, who did not have that background, is a lot like me.  He seems to save as  much as he spends and yet has an attractive girlfriend, a job he enjoys and vast amounts of "stuff" - mainly books and computer games. 

He does however have an addiction -- as young people these days mostly seem to.  So is he addicted to heroin, cocaine, marijuana  or "Ice"?  Far from it.  He is addicted to flavoured milk. He finds it hard to get past the flavoured milk display at our  local supermarket.  At a time when young people pour all sorts of foul things into themselves, I am overjoyed about that

Milk IS bad for his waistline but he has the self-discipline to  get that under control from time to time too.  I think that both he and I have inherited Puritan genetics.  I am convinced there is such a thing.  It is a great gift.

And let us not forget that Puritans founded America.  So Puritans can be people of considerable personal effectiveness.  And for some people Puritanism feels right.  It did for me.  People exiting restrictive religions tend to be resentful of their times in the religion concerned.  But I revelled in it. And it is still a fond memory of that time in my life

So in the end I have to agree with a great Rabbi:  "The poor ye always have with you". There may not be such a thing as "white privilege" (most of my lodgers were white) but there may be such a thing as an inborn Puritan privilege -- JR

How the British Left embraced an ideology that has race hate at its heart

A party that was once pro-worker and anti "the bosses" has forgotten that and is now "anti-imperialist"  -- which is a much more useful hate

Jeremy Corbyn has refused to share a platform with David Cameron over the EU referendum, although they both advocate a Remain vote. Mr Corbyn’s stated reason for this refusal is that “We are not on the same side”.

In his long career, Mr Corbyn has shared a platform with – among many other such – Sheikh Raed Saleh, who (elsewhere) repeated the “blood libel” against the Jews, and called them “monkeys” and “bacteria”; with representatives of the British Muslim Initiative, which plays the anti-Semitic card of comparing Jews with Nazis with its “Stop the Holocaust in Gaza” placards; and with what he calls his “friends” from Hamas. Hamas’ Charter refers to “the Jews’ Nazism” and quotes approvingly the saying of the Prophet that when Jews hide from Moslems behind stones and trees, “The stones and trees will say: 'O Moslems…, there is a Jew behind me. Come and kill him’.”

Sharing a platform with the above, Mr Corbyn presumably believes that he and they, unlike he and Mr Cameron, are on the same side.
“One of our two main parties has adopted, almost without thinking about it, an ideology of which race hate is an intrinsic part”

It is in this context that one must place Ken Livingstone and his Zionists = Hitler outburst and Naz Shah’s suggestion (which Mr Livingstone was excusing) that the entire population of Israel should be deported to the United States. Both of them must feel bewildered by the condemnation heaped upon them, because they inhabit a party whose leader has, over his 40 years in politics, spent hundreds and hundreds of hours sharing platforms with virtually every sort of Muslim anti-Semite and advocate of terrorism that one can imagine. They may have thought they had permission.

There is, of course, an important difference between Mr Livingstone and Mr Corbyn. You can tell by the way the former drags Hitler in, by his bad-taste references to hating Jews as if it were half-funny, that he actually is personally anti-Semitic. You can find no such thing, to be the best of my knowledge, about Mr Corbyn.

But I’m not sure that makes things better. If Labour’s problem was individual, oddball anti-Semites, they could simply be removed. If it is about an ideology so wide and deep that its adherents don’t even realise what they are supporting, then you really have got trouble. If perfectly pleasant people like Mr Corbyn, with no personal malice, nevertheless make common cause with such extremism, then you have got, to use a concept beloved of the Left, institutional racism.

This story is less to do with individual wickedness than with what has happened to the Left. The stuff that Mr Livingstone garbled about Hitler supporting Zionism comes from a book by Lenni Brenner called Zionism in the Age of the Dictators. Brenner, a Trotskyite who renounced his own Jewish upbringing, sought to prove that Zionism in the Thirties was a Jewish collaboration with Hitler.

In the early Eighties, when the book was published, Mr Livingstone was in charge of Labour Herald, the newspaper vehicle for his hard-Left takeover of London Labour (printed with the help of money from Colonel Gaddafi’s Libya). Labour Herald gave Brenner’s book an ecstatic review. It was part of a growing trend.

During the Sixties, much of the Left moved from its traditional concern with the organised working class to a greater focus on “the wretched of the earth”. The phrase was the title of a book by the Marxist philosopher, Franz Fanon, who heavily influenced, among others, the young Barack Obama. In this picture, the greatest enemy was colonialism, and the perpetual victim was the Third World, or what is nowadays called the Global South. Violent struggle by the victims to cast off their shackles was advocated.

In the same period, the Soviet Union, which had frequently used anti-Semitic propaganda to reinforce its internal repressions, began to export the stuff. In the Middle East, where it sought advantage against the United States and the West, such tropes were particularly effective. Many in the Muslim world craved support for the idea that Israel, which had so amazingly trounced its Arab neighbours when they attacked it in 1967, was part of a global plot by Western power and money to keep them in subjection.

Until then, in countries like Britain, Jews and Israel had usually been well treated by the Left and seen as allies in the fight against fascism. Now this shifted. The Young Liberals, taken over by leftists such as Peter Hain, who much later became a Labour Cabinet Minister, were the first grouping to become militant about the Palestinian cause. Then the ideology spread, and gradually broadened into the all-encompassing account of dispossession and oppression – applicable from Bethlehem to Belfast to Birmingham, Alabama – which it is today.

One might have thought that September 11 2001 would have made this movement pause. If blood-crazed theocrats had started the 21st century by blowing up themselves and a couple of thousand ordinary citizens in the name of Allah, might it not be time for a bit of secular modernity? But no, instead these events seemed only to assist the narrative of burning grievance against the West, and the conspiracy theories that go with it. Many of the chaps and organisations with whom Jeremy Corbyn has shared platforms have ever since promoted the brilliant idea that it was actually the Jews who destroyed the World Trade Centre. I have not heard Mr Corbyn rebuke them for saying this.

Although people like Mr Corbyn have never shown belief in Islamist doctrines about chucking homosexuals off cliffs or imposing sharia law or torching synagogues, they have found themselves absolutely unable to confront such things. In doing so, they would have to question the most sacred tenet of the “anti-imperialist” Left, that the Western powers are always wrong. Besides, why should they consider accusations that they are anti-Semitic? In their minds, anti-Semitism, like all other racism, is a product of fascism. They are anti-fascists, so they simply can’t be racists.

By electing Mr Corbyn as leader, Labour in effect endorsed this paranoid narrative of grievance and conspiracy that has developed over the last 50 years. So its new recruits are drawn from that school of thought – more Islamists and anti-Semites; fewer Jews, or, come to that, ordinary working people. Unlike in the Eighties, the party has not been infiltrated in a calculated manner (though Mr Corbyn’s lieutenants are now making up for lost time). It has simply decayed so much that its immune system can no longer resist the infection. One of our two main parties has adopted, almost without thinking about it, an ideology of which race hate is an intrinsic part. This has never happened before in Britain.

Next week, London will elect a new Mayor. Sadiq Khan, the Labour candidate, is astute. He was quick to condemn Mr Livingstone on Thursday. But he too has done a good deal of platform-sharing. In 2004, for example, he appeared on the same bill in Tooting as prominent Holocaust deniers, Hamas supporters, misogynists and supporters of violence against Israel. He now says he “regrets giving the impression” that he shared their views The other main performer on the platform that day was a backbench Labour MP, one Jeremy Corbyn. Today, regrets are too late.


Political Correctness is Neither from Mars nor Venus

I myself grow rather weary of watching shows or reading books from a foreign culture, where fornication is considered lawful and admirable, sexual perversion laudable, and there are no families to be seen. No one goes to Church, no women are feminine, and no men are masculine.

That culture is political correctness — but it is more foreign to me, and more offensive, than reading traditional Japanese novels or watching Chinese historical dramas where polygamy and suicide are regarded as normal. At least the Chinese dramas show a proper respect for motherhood and family duties. They are peopled with real, if pagan, people, whose emotions and motives make sense to me.

I will be reading merrily along in what I think is some perfectly ordinary adventure story or science fiction yarn, when suddenly a minor character, such a policeman, will announce that he has a husband. No one around him reacts as if he is a sick pervert or a crazypants. Because in crazypantsland male is female and female is male.

Or the characters will time travel to ancient Mesopotamia or the Jurassic, but the narration will give the date in terms of a calendar called ‘B.C.E.’ which is a calendars whose only purpose is to tweak the nose of Christians, and call them evil for daring to make a scientific calendar that coordinates between earthly seasons and astronomical motions.

Whereas in a Chinese costume drama, a mother who is worried that he son is too deeply in love with his first wife, and therefore too distracted to serve the Emperor, will arrange to marry him to a concubine, so as to dilute that love. She selects as the concubine the first wife’s best friend, that way they are more likely to find domestic harmony with their mutual husband. The son throws himself on a sword in front of the Dowager Empress to prove his love for the first wife, but he never disobeys his mother.

These are all non-Western and non-Christian but perfectly understandable expressions of perfectly understandable human emotions.

On the other hand, when in a cop show, the cop’s partner decides to fornicate with the cop’s daughter, the true depth of emotion is displayed when the partner kneels and offers the daughter a box from a jewelry store. Inside is not a ring — fooled ya!–but a key. He is offering to move his gear into her apartment, to make the fornication and the eventual break easily to manage logistically.

The cop, instead of drawing his sidearm and blowing the brains out of the man who is frelling his daughter outside of wedlock, merely looks mildly grumpy and says the situation is ‘weird’ but he is glad is his daughter is seeking happiness in shallow copulation with an unmarried man who has only moderate affection for her.

These are not human emotions. A Martian, perhaps, would look upon the reproductive antics of his daughter, and hopes that she will raise his grandchildren as bastard in a single-mother home with no father, almost certain to be beaten or killed by one of her serial live-in lovers, but no real father from our planet, not one worthy of the than, hopes this.

The creatures in politically correct films and stories have a stiff and unconvincing range of emotions: characters designated good guys are tolerant, and designated bad guys are intolerant, everyone is self-centered but not selfish, and they all refer to friends as family members.

It is like watching dead-eyed manikins being moved in awkward jerky motions through human poses, and hearing slightly flat and oddly-spaced words issuing from frozen, half-smiling lips.


Target Illustrates Why Boycotters Are Taking Aim

The oft repeated and dangerously flawed justification the Rainbow Mafia uses to support allowing supposedly transgender individuals to pick the restroom of their choosing took another beating last week. The retailer Target recently amended its policy on bathroom use to conciliate people who have undergone sex reassignment surgery. Many people worry predators will exploit the new policy to satiate their perverted behavior — a view generally not shared by the Rainbow Mafia. But a new video substantiates the concern.

In the film, a man named Andy Park — who, to be fair, was obviously out to make a point, but the outcome wouldn’t have changed otherwise — enters Target and approaches the customer service desk. He tells an unidentified man, “I was driving by and I needed to use the restroom and I just wanted to get a clarification on your new restroom policy.” He then asks, “Is it true that men are now allowed to use the women’s room?” The man calls up a co-worker named Gerard from “AP” (Asset Protection). He arrives shortly thereafter, and Parker once again explains, “I just came by because I wanted to make sure that I was allowed to use the women’s room before I went in.” Gerard assures him, “Yeah, that’s correct.” Parker adds, “If any of the women have a problem, you’ll let them know?” Gerard again reassures him, “Yeah, they can come and we’ll speak to them.”

To be clear, there was little doubt about Parker’s sex. As Caleb Howe explains, “[B]efore you ask what he was wearing, you can see it in the reflection. On Facebook, Park states that he ‘walked in wearing men’s clothing and with two days of beard stubble.’” There’s obviously no way to disprove a “transgender” individual’s admission unless you want to violate their civil rights. But that’s the dilemma Target got itself into when it flushed the terms “men” and “women” down the toilet.

This development leaves folks like National Review’s David French, who generally opposes boycotts, no other choice but to reconsider: “There are times … when I can be pushed too far — when a boycott isn’t so much a matter of making a statement as it is a matter of safety. … Obviously the odds of any given negative incident are quite low, but if I’m given the choice between a store that opens the women’s room to men and one that doesn’t, why would I choose the store that provides an opening for sexual predators?” The nearly one million people who have now pledged to boycott Target aren’t necessarily doing it for revenge; they’re doing for safety reasons. The Parker video only adds credence to those fears.


1 Million Have Now Signed on to #BoycottTarget Pledge

The American Family Association said Friday that its #BoycottTarget pledge has reached 1 million signatures one week after the pro-family group called for consumers to boycott Target stores over the company’s bathroom policy that allows the use of restrooms and changing rooms according to gender identity.

“Earlier this month, the retail giant publicized its policy to allow self-identifying transgender individuals access to store bathrooms and fitting rooms that correspond with their own gender identity,” the AFA said in a statement Friday.

“AFA’s #BoycottTarget initiative has garnered widespread media attention, as AFA continues to maintain that while the Target policy aims to be welcoming to the transgender community, it opens the door for predators and voyeurs who would take advantage of such a policy,” the AFA added.

As CNSNews.com previously reported, Target said in a statement on its website last week that transgender individuals are welcome to use any bathroom that fits the gender they identify with.

“We believe that everyone—every team member, every guest, and every community—deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally. Consistent with this belief, Target supports the federal Equality Act, which provides protections to LGBT individuals, and opposes action that enables discrimination,” the retail chain said.

“In our stores, we demonstrate our commitment to an inclusive experience in many ways. Most relevant for the conversations currently underway, we welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity,” it said.

“Corporate America must stop bullying people who disagree with the radical left agenda to remake society into their progressive image. #BoycottTarget has resonated with Americans,” AFA President Tim Wildmon said in a statement.

“Target’s harmful policy poses a danger to women and children; nearly everyone has a mother, wife, daughter or friend who is put in jeopardy by this policy.  Predators and voyeurs would take advantage of the policy to prey on those who are vulnerable. And it’s clear now that over one million customers agree,” Wildmon said.

“We want to make it very clear that AFA does not believe the transgender community poses this danger to the wider public,” Wildmon said. “Rather, this misguided and reckless policy provides a possible gateway for predators who are out there.”



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, 2016

A multicultural career criminal

An obsessive serial sexual predator who targeted lone women after being repeatedly released on bail by police has been jailed for life.

Liban Abdi, 28, was on bail for burglary when he sexually assaulted three women – including one in her 70s – on the same day.

He then raped a fourth woman after dragging her into a pub car park before being arrested by police again.

But when they let him out on bail he went on to pounce on another woman as she opened the front door of her home.

Police fear unemployed Abdi could be responsible for many more attacks on women who have been too scared to come forward.

Today, the career criminal was jailed for life and to serve a minimum of 12 years.

A judge said he clearly planned all the attacks. Judge Grace Amakye said: ‘I am satisfied that your offences are so serious that a sentence of life imprisonment is required and that is the sentence which I impose.’

Abdi, who has a goatee beard, pulled his red tracksuit top over his mouth and hung his shaved head in his hands as he heard the verdict.

Snaresbrook Crown Court was told Abdi, born in Britain to Somali parents [i.e. Muslim], was a prolific criminal with 13 convictions whose criminal career began when he was just 14.

In 2007 he was jailed for three years for wounding his own brother.  He was jailed again in June 2011 and sentenced to 42 months’ for robbery.

His last conviction was in April last year for indecent exposure and shouting vile lewd and racist comments to a group of white women.

Abdi carried out all the sex attacks while on bail for breaking into a woman’s bedroom as she slept and stealing an iPad.

Prosecutors said he targeted petite Asian women telling one victim as he raped her twice: ‘I love Chinese and Japanese.’ The three women he attacked on November 29 2014, were all of ‘Oriental appearance,’ the court was told.

Abdi throttled the woman in her 70s before putting his hand down her trousers as she took her daily walk in Poplar, East London.

A short while later he groped a second woman nearby at an underpass beside Blackwall Docklands Light Railway station. On that day he also attacked a woman in her own hallway, pushing her onto the floor before groping her.  He then struck again five days later, dragging a woman he followed on a bus into a pub car park where he twice raped her.

Police arrested him at his home on December 7, 2014, and seized a distinctive red and green striped New York Yankees cap and a mobile phone but released him.

Five months later he attempted to overpower a woman as she entered her home in Bethnal Green at around 6am.  But she fought him off after pleading with him that ‘I am human too’ and screamed causing him to run away before he was arrested.

Prosecutor Sandip Patel QC said: ‘He was clearly targeting Oriental females.  ‘We know he was arrested shortly after the burglary and was bailed and, therefore, we know that he was on bail when he committed the offences.’

In a statement read to the court, one victim said she has been left a ‘shell of my former self’ by the attack.  Another said: ‘Now my landlord wants to evict me because I can’t work to make the extra money.  ‘The attack lasted merely seconds, but the effects have lasted ever since. I have no idea what sort of man could such a thing. He has ruined my life.’

Abdi was convicted by a jury of sexual assault, rape, attempted rape, assault by beating, assault and assault by penetration.

Speaking after the case, DC Tim Duffin, of the Metropolitan Police, said: ‘Abdi targeted lone women and put them through a terrible ordeal.  ‘It is possible that there may be other women who were attacked by Abdi who are yet to contact police. I would ask them to call us so that we can help in any way possible.’


Black racist student who led campaign to remove Rhodes statue boasts that he refused to tip a waitress because she is white

A student who helped lead the campaign to tear down a ‘racist’ statue of Cecil Rhodes at Oxford has boasted about refusing to tip a waitress because she was white.

Ntokozo Qwabe bragged online that he and a friend made the woman cry ‘typical white tears’ after writing on the bill ‘we will give tip when you return the land’.

The incident, in a café in South Africa, provoked a fierce backlash from critics who branded him a ‘hypocrite’.

Mr Qwabe, 24, is one of the leaders of the Rhodes Must Fall movement, which campaigned to remove a statue of the 19th Century imperialist from Oriel College.

Although he is a Rhodes scholar himself and received money from the Rhodes’ estate to study at Oxford, Qwabe and other activists claimed forcing ethnic minority students to walk past the statue amounted to ‘violence’.

On Thursday, he wrote on Facebook about an altercation with a waitress during a visit to a restaurant called Obz Café in the Western Cape, South Africa.

He said the incident had left him ‘unable to stop smiling because something so black, wonderful & LIT just happened!’

He wrote that he had eaten there with a friend, described as a ‘radical non-binary trans black activist’, but that the pair had refused to pay the ‘white woman’ waitress a tip.

He said: ‘They take a pen & slip in a note where the gratuity/tip amount is supposed to be entered.

‘The note reads in bold: “WE WILL GIVE TIP WHEN YOU RETURN THE LAND”.

‘The waitress comes to us with a card machine for the bill to be sorted out.  ‘She sees the note & starts shaking. She leaves us & bursts into typical white tears (like why are you crying when all we’ve done is make a kind request? lol!).’

He added that she left the table crying and a ‘white male colleague’ then approached the table to ‘annoy us more with his own white tears telling us that he finds our act “racist”.’

He added: ‘Moral of the story: the time has come when no white person will be absolved. We are tired of “not all white people” and all other bulls***. We are here, and we want the stolen land back.

‘No white person will be out here living their best life while we are out here being a landless and dispossessed black mass. NO white person shall rest.

‘It is irrelevant whether you personally have land/wealth or you don’t. ‘Go to your fellow white people & mobilise for them to give us the land back.’

His post went viral on the internet, with critics from around the world hitting out at his apparent prejudice.

Muhammed Habib Banderker wrote: ‘What an absolute fool of a human being this guy is.’

Tim Flack said: ‘Oh big man, so chuffed to make a waitress cry. For someone who has gone through so much hardship in his life, I’m no longer inspired by you.

‘You are not a role model for anyone, you are a hateful human being. There’s my white tears.’

Aaminah Masauso said: ‘Have you ever worked as wait staff? Have you ever had to depend on gratuity to make ends meet?  ‘How would you feel if it was a black waitress being subjected to such?’

Riaz Muhammed branded him ‘racist’ and said: ‘You will amount to nothing. Hypocrite.’

Yesterday, Mr Qwabe responded to his critics online by accusing the ‘white media’ of ‘going hysterical’.

He added: ‘One moment of white tears always makes news despite the everyday unarticulated black pain the dispossessed & landless masses of this country have to live through! WOW. Whiteness is so weak. Cute actually.’

Mr Qwabe, a South African masters student, was funded by a Rhodes scholarship during his undergraduate law degree at Keble College.

Last year, Oriel College said it would conduct a ‘listening exercise’ after he and other students campaigned for the Cecil Rhodes statue to come down.

Eventually the college refused their demand after donors threatened to withdraw funding over the reputational damage the row had caused.

Yesterday, the manager of the restaurant, Rush Alexander, confirmed the incident had taken place and said the waitress involved was ‘upset’.  He added: ‘We were very surprised as everyone in Cape Town just gets along. It was racist and it was unjust. However, we don’t think we will take any further action.

‘It was just the words of one ignorant man.’


UK: This is what the Left doesn't understand about antisemitism on the Left

The problem with Thursday’s performance by former London Mayor Ken Livingstone — in which he insisted that Hitler was a Zionist and denied there was antisemitism in the Labour party — is that many people on the Left genuinely do not believe they are antisemitic, even though they hold opinions that effectively are just that.

The Left needs to get to grips with its antisemitism — which it currently brushes off by insisting that criticising Israel (or “anti-Zionism”) — is not the same thing as antisemitism.

The difficulty here is that this formulation, “anti-Zionism is not antisemitism,” is technically true but in practice has the opposite consequence.

The European Left has a disproportionate obsession with Israel: its default position is against Israel; its default sympathy is often with Israel’s declared enemies. This unbalanced focus on Israel is itself an example of antisemitism. There are dozens of brutal dictatorships to choose from. Saudi Arabia. Iran. Islamic State. Russia. China. Eritrea. North Korea. Cuba. Yet the Left expends extra time and resources on its critiques of Israel, which is a democracy.

That just isn’t fair, and that’s why it looks like antisemitism.

Then there is the Left’s lack of interest in the faults of the Arab and Muslim dictatorships who want Israel wiped off the map. This comes from the Left’s natural sympathy with the oppressed, and specifically the Palestinians. But the organisations that “represent” those oppressed peoples are often deeply conservative and have far worse policies than anything coming out of Israel. Both Hamas and Hezbollah, for instance, have called for the destruction of Israel. It has been in their official manifestoes and charters.

Who would sit down and talk to someone whose official position is the annihilation of an entire country?

Well … Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, for one. He gave this detailed set of answers to the Jewish Chronicle last year to address allegations of antisemitism in his politics. Specifically, he was asked, Why do you associate with Hamas and Hezbollah and refer to them as your “friends”? He answered:

    The term ‘friends’ was used purely as diplomatic language in the context of dialogue, not an endorsement of a particular set of views. In the difficult quest of establishing a peace, it is common for the term “friend” to be used as part of the process. “Friend” in this case becomes a term of diplomacy as an aid to dialogue between disparate groups rather than a description of a relationship or an endorsement of a set of views.

Again, technically, nothing antisemitic there. Corbyn’s actual policy on Israel is to ban arms sales to the country. “Does questioning the behaviour of the Israeli state towards Palestinians lead to anti-Semitism? No, it mustn’t and shouldn’t,” he said just before he won the leadership.

That’s a variation on the “anti-Zionism is not antisemitism” theme.

And when you’re Jewish, you look at these things and ask, why is the Left failing to criticise “friends” who want to destroy an entire country, but insisting on sanctions against one of the few democracies in the Middle East?

This cognitive dissonance comes up time and time again:

    No doubt Labour MP Naz Shah doesn’t literally hate Jewish people, she simply regarded herself as a critic of the Israeli government’s sometimes harsh policies in its occupied territories. But then she wrote a Facebook post that suggested Israel should be relocated to the US to end “foreign interference” in the Middle East, “Problem solved.”

    No doubt NUS president Malia Bouattia doesn’t literally hate the Jews. But somehow she suggested that the Jews control the media.

    No doubt Ken Livingstone doesn’t literally hate Jewish people, either. But he somehow managed to equate Hitler with the only country on the planet that Jews call home.

This stuff goes down to the party level. Here is a Labour activist who was suspended from the party because he wrote a Facebook post arguing that the Holocaust was somehow advantageous to the Jews. (“The Holocaust has been the most useful political tool of the Zionist government in Israel to establish a financial racket in the West, whereby Israel receives an unlimited sum for the duration of its existence,” he said.)

These incidents add up, and they have one thing in common: An unbalanced, disproportionate level of criticism against one small country, coupled with a complete lack of criticism of the many larger non-Jewish regimes who do far worse things. You don’t have to be a huge champion of Israel to realise that this just isn’t fair.

When you treat one group of people, or their country, differently than another, that’s discrimination. And that’s why the Left’s “anti-Zionism” so often functions effectively as the antisemitism it claims not to be.


Another one

False rape claims are common in Britain -- about one a month

A woman accused of perjury over allegations she falsely claimed she had been sexually assaulted appeared in court today. Jemma Beale, 24, allegedly committed perjury while giving evidence at a trial at Isleworth Crown Court in 2012.

She is charged with two counts of perjury in relation to saying that an act of sexual activity between her and a man - who cannot be named for legal reasons - was not consensual.

Beale faces a second perjury charge regarding a claim that she had never engaged in sexual activity with a male.

She is also charged with four counts of committing a series of acts with intent to pervert the course of justice between July 7 2012 and November 17 2013.

Beale, of Addlestone, Surrey, appeared at Southwark Crown Court wearing red cargo trousers, grey tracksuit top and black Nike trainers.

Monica Stevenson, defending, asked for today's scheduled plea and trial preparation hearing to be adjourned until May 4.

Judge Stephen Tomlinson granted Beale bail and said: 'You must be back to this court for this adjourned hearing on June 2. 'You must cooperate with your solicitors and legal team generally to the extent that they ask you to cooperate. 'It is very important that we make progress with this case so that we all know where we are going in relation to it.'

Beale has yet to enter pleas to two counts of perjury and four of intending to pervert the course of public justice. She will return to Southwark Crown Court on June 2.



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

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

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


HOME (Index page)

BIO for John Ray

(Isaiah 62:1)

A 19th century Democrat political poster below:

Leftist tolerance


JFK knew Leftist dogmatism

The most beautiful woman in the world? I think she was. Yes: It's Agnetha Fältskog

A beautiful baby is king -- with blue eyes, blond hair and white skin. How incorrect can you get?

Kristina Pimenova, said to be the most beautiful girl in the world. Note blue eyes and blonde hair

Enough said

There really is an actress named Donna Air

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

Political correctness is Fascism pretending to be manners

Political Correctness is as big a threat to free speech as Communism and Fascism. All 3 were/are socialist.

The problem with minorities is not race but culture. For instance, many American black males fit in well with the majority culture. They go to college, work legally for their living, marry and support the mother of their children, go to church, abstain from crime and are considerate towards others. Who could reasonably object to such people? It is people who subscribe to minority cultures -- black, Latino or Muslim -- who can give rise to concern. If antisocial attitudes and/or behaviour become pervasive among a group, however, policies may reasonably devised to deal with that group as a whole

Black lives DON'T matter -- to other blacks. The leading cause of death among young black males is attack by other young black males

Psychological defence mechanisms such as projection play a large part in Leftist thinking and discourse. So their frantic search for evil in the words and deeds of others is easily understandable. The evil is in themselves. Leftist motivations are fundamentally Fascist. They want to "fundamentally transform" the lives of their fellow citizens, which is as authoritarian as you can get. We saw where it led in Russia and China. The "compassion" that Leftists parade is just a cloak for their ghastly real motivations

Occasionally I put up on this blog complaints about the privileged position of homosexuals in today's world. I look forward to the day when the pendulum swings back and homosexuals are treated as equals before the law. To a simple Leftist mind, that makes me "homophobic", even though I have no fear of any kind of homosexuals.

But I thought it might be useful for me to point out a few things. For a start, I am not unwise enough to say that some of my best friends are homosexual. None are, in fact. Though there are two homosexuals in my normal social circle whom I get on well with and whom I think well of.

Of possible relevance: My late sister was a homosexual; I loved Liberace's sense of humour and I thought that Robert Helpmann was marvellous as Don Quixote in the Nureyev ballet of that name.

I record on this blog many examples of negligent, inefficient and reprehensible behaviour on the part of British police. After 13 years of Labour party rule they have become highly politicized, with values that reflect the demands made on them by the political Left rather than than what the community expects of them. They have become lazy and cowardly and avoid dealing with real crime wherever possible -- preferring instead to harass normal decent people for minor infractions -- particularly offences against political correctness. They are an excellent example of the destruction that can be brought about by Leftist meddling.

I also record on this blog much social worker evil -- particularly British social worker evil. The evil is neither negligent nor random. It follows exactly the pattern you would expect from the Marxist-oriented indoctrination they get in social work school -- where the middle class is seen as the enemy and the underclass is seen as virtuous. So social workers are lightning fast to take children away from normal decent parents on the basis of of minor or imaginary infractions while turning a blind eye to gross child abuse by the underclass

Racial differences in temperament: Chinese are more passive even as little babies

The genetics of crime: I have been pointing out for some time the evidence that there is a substantial genetic element in criminality. Some people are born bad. See here, here, here and here, for instance"

Gender is a property of words, not of people. Using it otherwise is just another politically correct distortion -- though not as pernicious as calling racial discrimination "Affirmative action"

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

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

So why do Leftists say "There is no such thing as right and wrong" when backed into a rhetorical corner? They say it because that is the predominant conclusion of analytic philosophers. And, as Keynes said: "Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back”

Children are the best thing in life. See also here.

Juergen Habermas, a veteran leftist German philosopher stunned his admirers not long ago by proclaiming, "Christianity, and nothing else, is the ultimate foundation of liberty, conscience, human rights, and democracy, the benchmarks of Western civilization. To this day, we have no other options [than Christianity]. We continue to nourish ourselves from this source. Everything else is postmodern chatter."

Consider two "jokes" below:

Q. "Why are Leftists always standing up for blacks and homosexuals?

A. Because for all three groups their only God is their penis"

Pretty offensive, right? So consider this one:

Q. "Why are evangelical Christians like the Taliban?

A. They are both religious fundamentalists"

The latter "joke" is not a joke at all, of course. It is a comparison routinely touted by Leftists. Both "jokes" are greatly offensive and unfair to the parties targeted but one gets a pass without question while the other would bring great wrath on the head of anyone uttering it. Why? Because political correctness is in fact just Leftist bigotry. Bigotry is unfairly favouring one or more groups of people over others -- usually justified as "truth".

One of my more amusing memories is from the time when the Soviet Union still existed and I was teaching sociology in a major Australian university. On one memorable occasion, we had a representative of the Soviet Womens' organization visit us -- a stout and heavily made-up lady of mature years. When she was ushered into our conference room, she was greeted with something like adulation by the local Marxists. In question time after her talk, however, someone asked her how homosexuals were treated in the USSR. She replied: "We don't have any. That was before the revolution". The consternation and confusion that produced among my Leftist colleagues was hilarious to behold and still lives vividly in my memory. The more things change, the more they remain the same, however. In Sept. 2007 President Ahmadinejad told Columbia university that there are no homosexuals in Iran.

It is widely agreed (with mainly Lesbians dissenting) that boys need their fathers. What needs much wider recognition is that girls need their fathers too. The relationship between a "Daddy's girl" and her father is perhaps the most beautiful human relationship there is. It can help give the girl concerned inner strength for the rest of her life.

A modern feminist complains: "We are so far from “having it all” that “we barely even have a slice of the pie, which we probably baked ourselves while sobbing into the pastry at 4am”."

Patriotism does NOT in general go with hostilty towards others. See e.g. here and here and even here ("Ethnocentrism and Xenophobia: A Cross-Cultural Study" by anthropologist Elizabeth Cashdan. In Current Anthropology Vol. 42, No. 5, December 2001).

The love of bureaucracy is very Leftist and hence "correct". Who said this? "Account must be taken of every single article, every pound of grain, because what socialism implies above all is keeping account of everything". It was V.I. Lenin

"An objection I hear frequently is: ‘Why should we tolerate intolerance?’ The assumption is that tolerating views that you don’t agree with is like a gift, an act of kindness. It suggests we’re doing people a favour by tolerating their view. My argument is that tolerance is vital to us, to you and I, because it’s actually the presupposition of all our freedoms. You cannot be free in any meaningful sense unless there is a recognition that we are free to act on our beliefs, we’re free to think what we want and express ourselves freely. Unless we have that freedom, all those other freedoms that we have on paper mean nothing" -- SOURCE


Although it is a popular traditional chant, the "Kol Nidre" should be abandoned by modern Jewish congregations. It was totally understandable where it originated in the Middle Ages but is morally obnoxious in the modern world and vivid "proof" of all sorts of antisemitic stereotypes

What the Bible says about homosexuality:

"Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind; It is abomination" -- Lev. 18:22

In his great diatribe against the pagan Romans, the apostle Paul included homosexuality among their sins:

"For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature. And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.... Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them" -- Romans 1:26,27,32.

So churches that condone homosexuality are clearly post-Christian

Although I am an atheist, I have great respect for the wisdom of ancient times as collected in the Bible. And its condemnation of homosexuality makes considerable sense to me. In an era when family values are under constant assault, such a return to the basics could be helpful. Nonetheless, I approve of St. Paul's advice in the second chapter of his epistle to the Romans that it is for God to punish them, not us. In secular terms, homosexuality between consenting adults in private should not be penalized but nor should it be promoted or praised. In Christian terms, "Gay pride" is of the Devil

The homosexuals of Gibeah (Judges 19 & 20) set in train a series of events which brought down great wrath and destruction on their tribe. The tribe of Benjamin was almost wiped out when it would not disown its homosexuals. Are we seeing a related process in the woes presently being experienced by the amoral Western world? Note that there was one Western country that was not affected by the global financial crisis and subsequently had no debt problems: Australia. In September 2012 the Australian federal parliament considered a bill to implement homosexual marriage. It was rejected by a large majority -- including members from both major political parties

Religion is deeply human. The recent discoveries at Gobekli Tepe suggest that it was religion not farming that gave birth to civilization. Early civilizations were at any rate all very religious. Atheism is mainly a very modern development and is even now very much a minority opinion

"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" - Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)

I think it's not unreasonable to see Islam as the religion of the Devil. Any religion that loves death or leads to parents rejoicing when their children blow themselves up is surely of the Devil -- however you conceive of the Devil. Whether he is a man in a red suit with horns and a tail, a fallen spirit being, or simply the evil side of human nature hardly matters. In all cases Islam is clearly anti-life and only the Devil or his disciples could rejoice in that.

And there surely could be few lower forms of human behaviour than to give abuse and harm in return for help. The compassionate practices of countries with Christian traditions have led many such countries to give a new home to Muslim refugees and seekers after a better life. It's basic humanity that such kindness should attract gratitude and appreciation. But do Muslims appreciate it? They most commonly show contempt for the countries and societies concerned. That's another sign of Satanic influence.

And how's this for demonic thinking?: "Asian father whose daughter drowned in Dubai sea 'stopped lifeguards from saving her because he didn't want her touched and dishonoured by strange men'

And where Muslims tell us that they love death, the great Christian celebration is of the birth of a baby -- the monogenes theos (only begotten god) as John 1:18 describes it in the original Greek -- Christmas!

No wonder so many Muslims are hostile and angry. They have little companionship from women and not even any companionship from dogs -- which are emotionally important in most other cultures. Dogs are "unclean"

Some advice from Martin Luther: Esto peccator et pecca fortiter, sed fortius fide et gaude in christo qui victor est peccati, mortis et mundi: peccandum est quam diu sic sumus. Vita haec non est habitatio justitiae

On all my blogs, I express my view of what is important primarily by the readings that I select for posting. I do however on occasions add personal comments in italicized form at the beginning of an article.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age.

I imagine that the the RD is still sending mailouts to my 1950s address!

Germaine Greer is a stupid old Harpy who is notable only for the depth and extent of her hatreds

Even Mahatma Gandhi was profoundly unimpressed by Africans

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