The creeping dictatorship of the Left...

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

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


30 September, 2014

Helpful Multicultural doctor in Britain

A GP refused to help an 88-year-old woman who fell and knocked herself unconscious in front of his surgery because he was ‘not first-aid trained’.

Iris Henderson had just got off a bus when she collapsed, cutting her head and injuring her arm. Passer-by Jane Batchelor found her knocked out and dashed into the practice to ask for help, but said staff were ‘completely uninterested’.

When she persisted, locum Christopher Uwagboe was approached, but he refused to leave his office.

Staff even declined to supply a blanket to make Mrs Henderson comfortable until an ambulance came.

The widow was eventually taken to hospital where she remains more than a week later.

Yesterday, Mrs Batchelor said she was ‘completely disgusted’ with the surgery. The mother-of-two was visiting Knebworth and Marymead Medical Practice in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, with her daughter when she heard a ‘big bang’.

Referring to Mrs Henderson, she added: ‘She had got off at the wrong bus stop and was really confused.  ‘I think she tried to cross the road but then fell over and banged her head. Her arm was trapped underneath her and her hearing aid had fallen out. She was unconscious for about five or ten minutes.

‘I ran straight into the doctor’s and thought they would have come straight out, but the receptionist was really rude. There was no urgency and she seemed completely uninterested. She eventually went to get the doctor but she came out of his office and just said there was nothing he could do.’

Mrs Batchelor, who runs a cake business, was forced to call 999 herself and was advised to get a defibrillator because Mrs Henderson had a pacemaker. But the surgery refused to hand one over.

The following day, she complained to practice manager Kenneth Spooner who told her Dr Uwagboe was not first-aid trained and the surgery had been sued several times for treating people in similar circumstances.

After Mrs Henderson injured herself on September 18, a paramedic in a rapid-response car arrived within five minutes, but it took another 30 minutes for an ambulance to turn up and take her to Lister Hospital in Stevenage.

Mrs Batchelor has visited her there and says she has a bandaged head and a cast on her right arm.

Neither the pensioner, who lives alone in sheltered accommodation in Stevenage, nor her family wanted to discuss her ordeal yesterday.

But a neighbour said: ‘She’s a very frail lady. It’s very sad and shocking that no one from the surgery would help her.’ Dr Uwagboe, 62, declined to comment when approached at the surgery yesterday, and left in a Mercedes with a personalised number plate.  He said: ‘I have been told not to speak to the Press.’

Dr Uwagboe and Mr Spooner also refused to confirm whether he had received first-aid training.

The Nigerian-born GP, of Loughton, Essex, graduated in the West African state at the University of Benin in 1977 and trained at the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh. He qualified in 1989 and moved on to the GP register in 2006.

The Royal College of GPs last night said members were not automatically trained in first aid but there is a ‘Good Samaritan principle’ under which all British doctors have medical indemnity whoever they treat, even if it is not one of their patients.

It also pointed to a General Medical Council document, Duties of a Doctor, that states medical professionals must ‘show respect for human life’ at all times. Spokesman Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard added: ‘There is no legal reason for not helping.’

The surgery has written to Mrs Batchelor to explain it had held a ‘robust’ conversation with the two receptionists on duty when she came in. They have been told their ‘response to the situation was inadequate and not acceptable’. The letter said: ‘The policy now makes it clear to all staff (clinicians and receptionists) how they are to respond to any such event.

‘This includes making it mandatory for a doctor to respond and that reception staff take responsibility for contacting ambulance services.’

In a statement, the practice said it was ‘reviewing procedures to ensure this does not happen again’.


Minnesota Somalis Demand Free Halal Food

Up north in the Twin Cities, home to the largest population of Somalis in the United States, the Muslim immigrant freeloaders organized a protest to complain about the quality of free food they were getting because none was halal.

You may have heard that “beggars can’t be choosers” but that idea is hopelessly old-fashioned in today’s liberal values. It’s simply racist to deny a diverse tribe their ethnically appropriate free stuff because it would damage their self-esteem.

Remember that the halal Islamic slaughter process is condemned because it is unnecessarily cruel. In western slaughterhouses, the animal is stunned into unconsciousness before being killed, but Islam insists that the creature be fully conscious while being slaughtered.

And don’t think the Minnesota Somalis are pining for some nice organic tofu. A woman from Peta suggested a vegetarian Eid to some India-residing Muslims and was attacked by an angry mob for her trouble. She had to be rescued by police from rock throwers.

Back to Minnesota mooching…

A Somali women’s advocacy group is demanding a review of its request for county support of a halal food shelf in the Twin Cities. The Isuroon Project says there is a “desperate need” for a culturally-specific halal food shelf in the metro, but that Hennepin County has denied its requests for support.

“Isuroon has reached out for Hennepin County’s support for the Ethnic Food Shelf, and has cooperated fully with the Hennepin County commissioner’s office and provided the county with their required qualifications,” the group said in a statement. “The commissioner’s office has ignored Isuroon’s requests for review and the community needs to respond to let the public know what has transpired.”

The Rally Against Hunger began at 11 a.m. Monday at the Hennepin County Government Center.

“We want to make Commissioner Peter McLaughlin and the public know that we are serious about our need for an Ethnic Food Shelf which provides halal and appropriate nutrition for our community,” the group said.


The one place in Canada where racism is still tolerated: native reserves

Hold the front page: In a throwback to the pre-Civil Rights era, a small community in Quebec is enforcing a racist law that serves to expel any resident couple that is found to be of mixed race. It’s Jim Crow, Canadian-style.

What’s worse, grass-roots enforcers have taken it into their own hands to implement the law, leaving threatening messages for miscegenators. In one shocking example, a non-white woman named Cheryl Diabo found a sign outside her home that read “My name is Cheryl … I live with a white man.”

Perhaps worst of all, the whole community in question is financed in large part through massive public transfer payments. The government of Canada is, in effect, directly subsidizing what just may be the most officially racist community in the entire Western world.

And yet little is being done. Why are the human rights mandarins not descending on this community? Why are Parliamentary leaders not denouncing this outbreak of explicit, old-school racism? …

Oh wait. Sorry. Cancel the front-page scoop. It’s a native reserve that’s enforcing the anti-mixed-marriage edict. The Mohawk Council of Kahnawake, to be more specific. They even put their racist edict on official Mohawk Council letterhead. Nothing to see here, folks. Politicians, you may continue to stare awkwardly at your shoes as Canadian citizens get thrown out of their homes because of the colour of their skin.

It need scarcely be mentioned that if this were a white community seeking to ostracize non-white residents or mixed-race marriages, Kahnawake would be turned into our version of Ferguson, Mo. Activists and politicians would turn up at the barricades with “We Are All Cheryl Diabo T-shirts.” Town officials would be prosecuted under applicable human-rights law, and possibly even for hate crimes.

But in this case, the government has done precisely nothing: The racist, anti-miscegenation housing policies of the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake have been widely known for years. The only people who have raised a finger to opposite it are brave local residents such as Ms. Diabo, and former Olympian Waneek Horn-Miller, who lives in Kahnawake with her non-native spouse. Where’s the Freedom March for these people?

On the other hand, let’s give the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake their due, shall we? In the modern context, what is the point of the reserve system except to give natives a space that provides them with a measure of autonomy and cultural “authenticity”? Having embraced the notion that one’s bloodline dictates ones rights (a notion dismissed as racist in every other context of public discussion and policy formation), Canadian liberals have been forced to accept its noxious corollary — which is that the presence of white people in the midst of reserves comprises a sort of cultural pollutant.

This is the reason politicians and public figures are so loathe to take a strong stand against the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake and other native groups that strike militant postures on behalf of native identity: Such criticisms implicitly strike at the very heart of the utopian liberal notion that natives flourish best among their own, in protected, demographically homogenous enclaves that are geographically rooted in their traditional lands.

In every other context, Canadian liberals zealously embrace the idea of diversity and multiculturalism. In liberal cities such as Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, the sight of people of every skin colour living side by side, including as husband and wife, is taken as a neighbourhood’s badge of enlightenment. But if the neighbourhood happens to be a native reserve, the exact opposite premise holds sway: Run whitey out of town.

Eventually, Canadians are going to have to make up their mind on the diversity-versus-segregation question. It’s simply untenable to say that while the United Colors of Benetton are ideal for whites, natives should be free to construct miniature societies based on racist principles that were decisively rejected by Abolitionists two centuries ago. It’s an embarrassment to Canadian values and a cruelty upon those natives who have committed no crime except to fall in love with someone of a different skin colour.


Britain’s most pretentious media commentator, Orwell, and the English language

Will Self’s anti-Orwell tirade combines ignorance with a snobbish disdain for the public

'This whole imbroglio is epiphenomenal.’ I wonder what George Orwell would have made of this statement of Will Self’s to describe the closure of the News of the World amid mounting hysteria against press freedom a few years ago.

It was easy to snigger, and many did, when Self, a self-styled sesquipedalian (look it up), recently launched an attack on Orwell as a mediocre bigot who sought to impose his own Big Brother authoritarianism on the use of the English language. After all, Self, the acclaimed author, journalist and television talking-head, was revealed as the most frequent visitor to Pseuds’ Corner when Private Eye celebrated its first 50 years in 2011. But Self’s diatribe against Orwell cannot easily be dismissed as the defensive posturing of Britain’s most pretentious media commentator. Unfortunately, though wildly inaccurate and downright dishonest, Self’s arguments about Orwell epitomise the evasions and malaise at the heart of contemporary liberal intellectual life.

Orwell fought against twentieth-century ideologies used to impel intellectuals and the state into direct confrontation with the everyday life of most people. His battles, usually for the freedom to think, to speak up for the space to exercise moral autonomy and to refuse the imposition of fate, drove him to make savage criticisms of the abuse of language in relation to politics. Famously, in his 1946 essay ‘Politics and the English Language’, Orwell set out rules for a style of writing he believed could help to counter the distortions and misrepresentation of reality by those who exercise political power.

Self particularly objects to Orwell’s opening words in this essay, which are apparently proof that he was ‘plain wrong’ and evidence that the author of Nineteen Eighty-Four wanted to control language and use it as a vessel for his own authoritarian ideology. Orwell wrote: ‘Most people who bother with the matter at all would admit that the English language is in a bad way, but it is generally assumed that we cannot by conscious action do anything about it. Our civilisation is decadent and our language – so the argument runs – must inevitably share in the general collapse. It follows that any struggle against the abuse of language is a sentimental archaism, like preferring candles to electric light or hansom cabs to aeroplanes. Underneath this lies the half-conscious belief that language is a natural growth and not an instrument which we shape for our own purposes.’

To shape language, to struggle against its abuse, or the decadence of civilisation, for our own purposes seems to me a pretty straightforward, humanist defence of agency and linguistic clarity. For Self,  though, it is ‘old-fashioned authoritarian’ tyranny. ‘As for most people who bother with the matter, admitting that English is in a bad way – hardly. Since 1946, when Orwell’s essay was published, English has continued to grow and mutate, a great voracious beast of a tongue, snaffling up vocabulary, locutions and syntactical forms from the other languages it feeds on. There are more ways of saying more things in English than ever, and it follows perfectly logically that more people are shaping this versatile instrument for their purposes’, Self argued.

He continued: ‘The trouble for the George Orwells of this world is that they don’t like the ways in which our tongue is being shaped. In this respect they’re indeed small “c” conservatives, who would rather peer at meaning by the guttering candlelight of a Standard English frozen in time, than have it brightly illumined by the high-wattage of the living, changing language.’

By making this argument, Self is being downright dishonest, perhaps assuming that today’s readers or listeners are too lazy to read Orwell’s essay, or other writing, for themselves. Between 1944 and 1946, when the question of plain, lucid English began to exercise Orwell, there is no evidence at all that he wanted to stifle the creativity of authors, or anyone else for that matter. To anyone who has read Orwell, who constantly defended difficult and experimental modernist writers (with whom Self would no doubt identify), such an idea is absurd. After all, Orwell makes it pretty clear that his polemic is targeted at politicians, pundits, bureaucrats, hack-academics posing as intellectuals and all others seeking to defend the status quo or to conceal truth. Above all, Orwell’s message is in the battle of ideas: words count. To be robbed of clarity and lucidity in the battle of ideas is to fight with one hand tied behind your back.

    It is Self, not Orwell, who despises the masses for poisoning public life

‘It has nothing to do with archaism, with the salvaging of obsolete words and turns of speech, or with the setting up of a “standard English” which must never be departed from’, wrote Orwell. ‘On the contrary, it is especially concerned with the scrapping of every word or idiom which has outworn its usefulness. It has nothing to do with correct grammar and syntax, which are of no importance so long as one makes one’s meaning clear, or with the avoidance of Americanisms, or with having what is called a “good prose style”. On the other hand, it is not concerned with fake simplicity and the attempt to make written English colloquial. Nor does it even imply in every case preferring the Saxon word to the Latin one, though it does imply using the fewest and shortest words that will cover one’s meaning. What is above all needed is to let the meaning choose the word, and not the other way around. In prose, the worst thing one can do with words is surrender to them. I have not here been considering the literary use of language, but merely language as an instrument for expressing and not for concealing or preventing thought.’

Could it be any clearer? Orwell did not blame the masses, or popular culture, for the crisis of language. He blamed those who were distorting and poisoning English in the cause of the elite project of shoring up intellectual, state or moral authority by ‘concealing or preventing thought’. In fact, as we will see later, it is Self who despises the masses for poisoning public life. Far from being so very twenty-first century and po-mo trendy, Self’s criticisms of Orwell (as well as being fabricated and unfounded) are more or less identical to attacks made on Orwell as far back as 1944. As Orwell ruefully observed, his efforts to write clearly resulted in claims that he was ‘an intellectual snob who wants to “talk down to” the masses or else suspected of plotting to “establish an English Gestapo”’.

Orwell’s rules are pretty clear and, as a matter of fact, not very prescriptive. ‘Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print. Never use a long word where a short one will do. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out. Never use the passive where you can use the active. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.’ It is hardly a recipe for tyranny.

Self goes further. In a bizarre attack, which can only be based on his own patronising assumption that today’s audience is so ignorant as to know nothing of Orwell and his lifetime of attacking colonialism and imperialism, Self implies that Orwell was a bigot and, quite possibly, a bit of a racist to boot.

‘Orwell and his supporters may say they’re objecting to jargon and pretension, but underlying this are good old-fashioned prejudices against difference itself. Only homogenous groups of people all speak and write identically. People from different heritages, ethnicities, classes and regions speak the same language differently, duh!’, says Self.

‘If you want to expose the Orwellian language police for the old-fashioned authoritarian elitists they really are’, he continues, ‘you simply ask them which variant of English is more grammatically complex – Standard English or what the dialect linguists call African American Vernacular English. The answer is, of course, it’s the latter that offers its speakers more ways of saying more things - you feel me?

‘Orwell’s ideology is ineffably English, a belief in the inherent reasonableness, impartiality and common sense of a certain kind of clear-thinking, public-school-educated but widely experienced middle-class Englishman – an Englishman such as himself. It’s by no means as pernicious an ideology as Ingsoc and its attendant newspeak, but it’s an ideology all the same.’

This is ludicrous. Orwell, who spoke French as well as Hindustani and Burmese, including the Shaw-Karen dialect of Burma’s hill tribes, celebrated Indian English as ‘the best bridge between Europe and Asia’ at a time when he was fighting a wartime battle of ideas in support of the independence of India from British imperial rule.

‘The growth of an English-language Indian literature is a strange phenomenon, and it will have its effect on the postwar world, if not on the outcome of the war itself’, wrote Orwell in 1942. Does this sound like a man who wanted to defend ‘Standard English’ from the vernacular of black or brown people?

Later, in 1943, Orwell urged his friend Mulk Raj Anand, the Indian author, not to abandon English ‘even if it sometimes leads you to be called a “babu” (as you were recently at one end of the map and renegade at the other)’. Orwell saw the power of Indian writers as a living argument for equality between white and black and the independence of colonies, a message made all the more powerful for being made in English. He was excited by the emergence of English as a lingua franca, a true world language, and rejected those who attacked Anand for using the conquerors’ language. Orwell did not see English as the property of the English - he saw it as a powerful tool, an instrument, which, when used carefully, precisely and lucidly, could expose inequality and the cant of racism.

As Christopher Hitchens noted in his perceptive 2002 book, Orwell’s Victory, ‘his rooted opposition to imperialism is a strong and consistent theme throughout all his writings’. ‘He insisted that the whole “colonial racket” was corrupting to the British and degrading to the colonised’, he wrote. ‘Even during the years of the Second World War, when there was a dominant don’t-rock-the-boat mentality and a great pressure to close ranks against the common foe, Orwell upheld the view that the war should involve decolonisation.’

In 1942, racism, the idea that peoples such as the Indians were incapable of self-rule, was the orthodoxy, just as multiculturalism and difference are today. In contrast both to contemporary multiculturalists, who deny any common humanity, and yesterday’s racists, Orwell believed in the universality of human spirit, its struggle to be free and to understand the world according to its own lights rather than those of official ideology. He believed that to take a stand for freedom meant convincing others through the power of argument, through words as they are used by people themselves. For Self to brand Orwell with the taint of racial and elitist bigotry is the worst sort of cant and is self-evidently untrue.

Take ‘Ingsoc and its attendant newspeak’, the imaginary official state language in Orwell’s greatest novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four. Ingsoc is not an attempt to create a system of rules and style for English. It is an attempt to make certain ideas – freedom, autonomy, even independent thought itself – actually unthinkable. It is a project that flourishes in Big Brother’s Britain because intellectuals, swallowed into a totalitarian party-state (an amalgam of Nazism and Stalinism), have given up on freedom.

This was Orwell’s true fear. Writing in ‘The Prevention of Literature’ (usefully read alongside ‘Politics and the English Language’, which it predates by three months), Orwell warned that the biggest danger to free speech and thought was not mere censorship but, in the longer term, the turning away from freedom by intellectuals. Interestingly, his concerns were triggered by a 1944 meeting of the anti-censorship English PEN organisation, held during wartime, to mark the three-hundredth anniversary of Milton’s Areopagitica, the famous 1644 speech making the case for the ‘Liberty of Unlicenc’d Printing’. Orwell was concerned that many present at the meeting, unwilling to criticise Stalin’s Soviet Russia or wartime censorship, were indifferent to the question of political liberty and press freedom.

‘In England, the immediate enemies of truthfulness, and hence of freedom of thought, are the press lords, the film magnates, and the bureaucrats, but that on a long view the weakening of the desire for liberty among the intellectuals themselves is the most serious symptom of all’, he wrote.

This brings us back to the ‘epiphenomenal imbroglio’ (a confusing sideshow, more or less, in vernacular English) of the closure of a newspaper amid a witch-hunt against tabloids and a free, raucous press. Self used those words in reply to a question on the BBC’s Newsnight, in July 2011, concerning whether the shutdown of NotW following the phone-hacking scandal represented a ‘sea change’ in public life, or not.

‘I suspect not’, Self drawled.

‘I blame the people actually. A lot of energy is concentrated on looking for the bad apples, for the agency [in the phone-hacking scandal], but the fact is that there is a ubiquitous appetite for what the gutter press have peddled.’

Or as he said later in the discussion: ‘This whole imbroglio is epiphenomenal.’ This came just days before the beginning of the Leveson Inquiry and amid ever-mounting calls for a state-regulated press. A few months later, when it was clear what was at stake even to him, Self appeared on the BBC again to explain that the real problem was that the British public was not fit for press freedom.

‘There are those who say any restrictions on the media’s freedom to deem what is in the public interest would herald a terrible new regime of Puritanism, repression and litigation’, he wrote. ‘In some ways I agree. A free people does indeed require a free press, one that is continually evolving to fit HL Mencken’s definitions of the role of responsible journalism – that it should “afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted”.’

He continued: ‘The trouble is that we are no longer a free people. Instead, addicted to prurient titillation and apathetic to the point of nihilism, the entire sweep of our recent history proclaims us to be a nation that knows the price of everything – especially our houses – and the value of nothing.’

Self’s commitment to freedom is not just weak; it is non-existent. As Mick Hume has noted here on spiked: ‘Hatred of the “popular” press and the “mass” media has always been a thinly veiled code for expressing an elitist fear and loathing of the populace/masses who consume them… The ostensible target might be Big Media, but the real one is the Big Public.’

Behind the smokescreen of railing against Orwell’s ‘authoritarianism’, it is clear that it is Self who is the true elitist. He might patronise the users of African American Vernacular English (‘you feel me?’) as being funky, but his true view of the public’s capacity to exercise freedom for itself is clear. Self further gives the game away with his attack on Orwell as ‘mediocre’, revealing his dislike of a writer who sought popular appeal, to win people over because he believed in their own capacities to think and contest. It is Orwell’s lack of literary genius, a journalist and polemic writer first, his vulgarity in attempting to win people over, that really horrifies Self and his ilk. If only Orwell was more difficult, more modernist, and ideally only comprehensible to the literary priesthood of people like Self.

‘It was Orwell’s own particular genius to possess a prose style that stated a small number of things with painful clarity’, argued Self. ‘Reading Orwell at his most lucid you can have the distinct impression he’s saying these things, in precisely this way, because he knows that you – and you alone – are exactly the sort of person who’s sufficiently intelligent to comprehend the very essence of what he’s trying to communicate. It’s this the mediocrity-loving English masses respond to – the talented dog-whistler calling them to chow down on a big bowl of conformity.’

It is this hated quality that represents Orwell’s virtue. Lionel Trilling, the American public intellectual and critic, also understood this well, but as a virtue, not a vice: ‘[Orwell] communicates to us the sense that what he has done any one of us could do. Or could do if we but made up our mind to do it, if we but surrendered a little of the cant that comforts us, if for a few weeks we paid no attention to the little group with which we habitually exchange opinions, if we took our chance of being wrong or inadequate, if we looked at things simply and directly, having only in mind our intention of finding out what they really are, not the prestige of our great intellectual act of looking at them.’

‘[Orwell] liberates us’, Trilling continues. ‘He tells us that we can understand our political and social life merely by looking around us, he frees us from the need for the inside dope. He implies that our job is not to be intellectual, certainly not to be intellectual in this fashion or that, but merely to be intelligent according to our lights – he restores the old sense of the democracy of the mind, releasing us from the belief that the mind can work only in a technical, professional way and that it must work competitively. He has the effect of making us believe that we may become full members of the society of thinking men. That is why he is a figure for us.’

In ‘The Prevention of Literature’, Orwell pondered the fate of prose literature in the age of totalitarianism. ‘To write in plain vigorous language one has to think fearlessly’, he wrote. He was worried about the continued possibility of thinking fearlessly, but his optimism in rescuing, preserving and extending this facility is embodied in his work. He believed in the public as much he believed in himself. Self’s loss of belief in the supposedly prurient, titillation-seeking public is manifest in his own despair over the future of the novel.

In a recent lecture, the text of which was published in the Guardian last May, Self complained that the ‘novel is dead (this time it’s for real)’. In a world defined by impersonal forces, the commodification of life and the cooption of ‘creative writing’ into academia, we are faced with the ‘midwifery of stillborn novels’, he argued.

He continued: ‘I believe the serious novel will continue to be written and read, but it will be an artform on a par with easel painting or classical music: confined to a defined social and demographic group, requiring a degree of subsidy, a subject for historical scholarship rather than public discourse. The current resistance of a lot of the literate public to difficulty in the form is only a subconscious response to having a moribund message pushed at them. As a practising novelist, do I feel depressed about this? No, not particularly, except on those occasions when I breathe in too deeply and choke on my own decadence.’

Self and those who attack Orwell for fighting for clarity and the truth betray their lack of belief and commitment to ideas and the public, epitomised in the weakness of their commitment to, or even their hostility to, freedom. Self’s sesquipedalia, or delight in long words, is not, as he would have it, a mark of ‘difficulty’, but rather of conformity. His self-conscious obfuscation in the face of attacks on press freedom and hostility to Orwell’s ‘talented dog whistling’ is a surrender to a narrow, crabbed world without a public realm.

Self’s defeatism, his loss of faith in the future of literature and in the audience, is truly depressing when it comes from a gifted author. It is at odds with Orwell’s more robust – and personal – motivation for writing, set out in Why I Write (1946): ‘Looking back through my work, I see that it is invariably where I lacked a political purpose that I wrote lifeless books and was betrayed into purple passages, sentences without meaning, decorative adjectives and humbug generally.’



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 September, 2014

Multicultural arrogance in Britain

Muslims think that women should be subservient so get enraged when women are not

A Poundland worker who became 'obsessed' with his female colleague beat her with a claw hammer after she rejected him, leaving her with a brain injury.

Zeeyarat Khan, 27, spoke of marrying co-worker Samera Suleman but when she turned him down, he threatened to kill her.  Miss Suleman, 32, a single mother, tried to quit her job at a branch of Poundland in Birmingham, but as she went to hand in her notice, Khan launched an attack.

Running out from behind his till, he grabbed a claw hammer from one of the selves, then used it to beat Miss Suleman in broad daylight.

Birmingham Crown Court heard Khan struck her twice over the head before launching a 'determined and sustained' assault, witnessed by a mum with three young children.

Miss Suleman was left with skull fractures, a brain injury and a fractured finger after the attack.

Jailing Khan for 18 years, Judge James Burbidge QC told him: 'You wanted the relationship to be more permanent but she gently rebuffed you. 'You rushed out of the store and pursued her, attacking her in the most public of places. You rained blows on her fast and furious.  'She is very fortunate to have survived the brain injury but it will change her life for ever.'

Khan, 27, of no fixed address, had previously admitted a charge of attempted murder.

Miss Suleman, a teaching assistant, worked part-time at Poundland’s St Andrews Retail Park branch.

Hugh O’Brien Quinn, prosecuting, told Birmingham Crown Court: 'Although they were friendly they seldom socialised outside work.

'It seems the defendant became obsessed with Miss Suleman. It became known among other staff he was attracted to her.

'He told Miss Suleman he had feelings for her and wanted to marry her. She told the defendant she did not have feelings for him.'

The court heard she tried to avoid Khan as his mental health declined. But Mr O’Brien Quinn said the defendant repeatedly threatened to kill her.

He lashed out when she arrived to hand in her notice on October 9 last year, leaving her with several skull fractures and a similar finger injury.

Mr O’Brien Quinn said: 'He ran from his position at the till and selected a claw hammer from one of the aisles. He then ran after her.'

Mr O’Brien Quinn said Khan was seen by police officers in Digbeth ten minutes later - still holding the bloodstained weapon.

He said Miss Suleman had been severely affected by the attack and was still receiving counselling.

Graham Henson, defending, said Khan felt he had been rebuffed and it had been an 'explosion' of spontaneous anger.


Every identity-politics activist known to humanity is attacking Canada’s human rights museum

Last week, the Canadian Museum For Human Rights officially opened in Winnipeg — an event described by the museum’s numerous local civic boosters, PR officers, fundraisers, in-house academics, Conservative government liaisons, and commissioned coffee-table book authors as a landmark in the history of humans rights.

Unfortunately, as commentators long have predicted, the museum’s 100-metre tall “Tower of Hope” spire has been transformed into a powerful homing beacon for every single aggrieved identity-politics activist known to humanity.

These include an aboriginal band that was scheduled to play at Saturday’s public gala, but backed out at the last minute — apparently because its members didn’t like the museum’s portrayal of Canadian indigenous issues. The Manitoba Métis Federation decided to boycott the museum because the gala organizers rejected their suggested Métis musical act. Arab Canadian protestors told National Post reporter Joseph Brean that the museum didn’t have enough information about the Palestinians. (On Sunday, a Quebec man named Pete Kirby was campaigning to have Israel’s war against Hamas included in the museum — because of the suffering endured by Gazan civilians.) James Kafieh, an Ontario lawyer and chair of an anti-museum group called Canadians for Genocide Education is protesting the museum on the basis that it was built on “stolen” (i.e. aboriginal) land, and elevates one atrocity (the Holocaust) over all others, in pursuit of what he calls an “emotionally manipulative indoctrination.”

Then there is the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, which has been protesting the Canadian Museum For Human Rights for a decade. Lubomyr Luciuk, who wants Canadians to boycott the museum, calls it “an Olympics of genocide.” He doesn’t like that the Jews get the gold, the Ukrainians a mere bronze.

The response of Canadian identity groups to the museum overall is perhaps best epitomized by a statement put out by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress last year, complaining that the museum’s treatment of Stalin’s forced starvation of millions of Ukrainians was fatally undercut by the fact that a panel on the subject was located too close to the public toilets. (Whose exhibit should be closest to the toilets? The Rwandans? The Cambodians? The Armenians? The Ukrainian Canadian Congress hasn’t told us.)

Over at the left-wing site Rabble.ca, meanwhile, the museum is dismissed as “a headstone, hypocrisy and a terrible waste of resources.”

“The CMHR, run by wealthy children of settlers, decided local Indigenous people’s heritage does not deserve the same respect as their own ancestors and history,” writes author Kimlee Wong. “[It is] a decision rooted in cultural superiority, arrogance and privilege … The CMHR was constructed with the same Eurocentric arrogance that stole peoples lands, food sources and eventually their children; Eurocentric arrogance that determines that their pet projects are more worthy of public funds than affordable housing and justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women.” Now there’s someone who won’t be patronizing the gift shop.

Which of these complaints from anti-museum critics have merit and which don’t? Till now, the museum has responded on an ad hoc basis — ignoring some groups, consulting with others. But surely, now that the museum is open, a more systematic approach is needed, one that recognizes the plain fact that the proper curation of human-rights-related material in a museum explicitly dedicated to the issue of human rights must itself be treated, legally, as a matter of human rights.

Fortunately, Canada already has an expert body dedicated to such matters — The Canadian Human Rights Commission. As the web site informs us, “anyone who works for or receives services from a business or organization that is regulated by the federal government can make a complaint.” That would appear to include the Museum for Human Rights, which was established by Parliament in 2008.

And so the path forward is clear: The Canadian Human Rights Commission must establish a special human-rights tribunal to address human-rights complaints pertaining to the presentation of human-rights issues at the Canadian Museum For Human Rights.

But why not go further?

If the true goal of the Canadians Museum For Human Rights is to create a “national hub for human rights learning and discovery,” as its web site boasts, shouldn’t visitors to the museum be able to file a human rights complaint at the museum itself?

The museum claims to provide visitors with “an immersive, interactive experience that offers both the inspiration and tools to make a difference in the lives of others.” What “tool” could be more “interactive” and “difference”-making than a special in-museum kiosque that invited visitor to sue the museum itself under applicable Canadian human rights law?

In special circumstances, visitors to the museum might even be permitted to sue each other — Indians versus “wealthy children of settlers,” and Ukrainians vs. Jews, for instance. Following on the 2013 Ukrainian-Canadian toilet-related protest described above, human-rights complainants at the museum might also seek injunctive relief to prevent fellow museum-goers from using the bathrooms.

Where human rights are at stake, no remedy should be off-limits.

In time, the number of successful human-rights claims against the Canadian Museum For Human Rights might become so enormous that these cases would, themselves, become the subject of an entirely new museum — the Canadian Human Rights Museum-Related Human Rights Museum. And since this, too, would be built on “stolen land,” and would necessarily include some cases and exclude others, the cycle of human rights violation, complaint, litigation and resolution would be guaranteed to blossom anew.


Britain’s Counter-Terror Raids: The End of Londonistan?

The era of Londonistan may be over. A series of dawn raids at addresses across the capital on Thursday appeared to signal an abrupt change in Britain’s policy towards the radical Islamic figures that have operated in London for years. Britain arrested nine radical Islamists in a series of dawn raids on Thursday, including a powerful imam whose acolytes tried to behead a soldier in London last year.

Among those seized by Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism officers was Anjem Choudary, Britain’s most outspoken Islamist, who said this week that he had no sympathy for Alan Henning, the latest hostage to be threatened ISIS. Choudary, a lawyer and preacher who has been linked to around 70 people with convictions for terror-related offenses, has been accused of inciting violence and working with banned pro-terror groups for more than a decade—but his public proclamations have always remained on the right side of the law.

At a briefing earlier this year, a senior Scotland Yard official explained that Choudary had been monitored intensively but his clear grasp of anti-terrorism legislation meant it would be difficult to bring a successful prosecution against him. Britain’s stance has changed, however, since it became clear that hundreds of British citizens were fighting for ISIS, including the hooded executioner seen in their most despicable videos.

On Friday, the British parliament will vote in favor of airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq, reflecting a shift in the mood of the public who were previously wary of intervention in the Middle East. The authorities are also showing a renewed aggression towards extremists. The Home Secretary, Theresa May, recently proposed a change to British law so that Choudary’s extreme rhetoric would be criminalized. Meanwhile, Thursday’s arrest of nine men in London, all with alleged links to the banned radical Islamist group al-Muhajiroun, suggested a different approach to the current terror legislation.

“David Cameron and the security community see an opportunity to stamp on these people. It’s clear that the volume has been turned up,” a former government security advisor told The Daily Beast.  “There is a clear perceived national danger in letting people like Choudary get away with incitement, when there are already British Muslims fighting for the Islamic State. This is a real threat; not a worry about what might happen.”

In the hours before his arrest, Choudary took to Twitter to denounce airstrikes against ISIS.  “The war being waged by the US/UK & Co is a war against Islam & Muslims,” he wrote. “The Islamic State could not wish for a better rallying call for Muslims worldwide to join them than for the USA to start bombing again.”

Speaking to The Daily Beast about three weeks ago, Choudary insisted that none of his statements ever amounted to incitement to violence or encouraging terrorism, both of which are illegal in Britain. “I’m not encouraging anyone to do anything quite frankly,” he said. “I would never encourage anyone to go abroad, I would never encourage anyone to undergo military training.”

Many of Choudary’s former acolytes have gone on to commit, or attempted to commit, acts of terrorism, including Michael Adebowale and Michael Adebolajo, who murdered and tried to behead off-duty soldier Lee Rigby in a daylight attack on the streets of London.

Both of those convicted killers had been seen at protests and events with members of al-Muhajiroun, which was co-founded by Choudary. According to an investigation by anti-extremist group Hope Not Hate, 75 British citizens associated with al-Muhajiroun or one of its front organizations have subsequently been convicted on terror charges or carried out suicide attacks.

“We welcome these arrests,” said Nick Lowles, chief executive of HOPE Not Hate. “Since our own extensive investigations into Anjem Choudary and his disciples, we’ve been saying that more must be done to curb this hate-supporting and recruiting organization.”

After raids on 18 properties in London and one in Stoke, a Scotland Yard spokesman said that the nine men had been arrested on suspicion of being a member of a proscribed organization, supporting a proscribed organization and encouraging terrorism.


Infertility and Incomprehension at Slate

I would like to think that if I ever wrote an article criticizing a religious body’s teaching on a subject, I would try to find out what that teaching actually is first. No such compulsion seems to have been deeply felt by Slate writers Joel Baden and Candida Moss, who attack Catholic teachings on the ethics of fertility treatments without showing the slightest interest in understanding them.

The Church opposes in vitro fertilization both because it almost always involves the destruction of human embryos and because it always, in the Church’s view, threatens to reduce human lives to the status of “products” rather than “gifts.” Baden and Moss quote Catholic officials saying that “[t]he Church promotes treatment of infertility through means that respect the right to life,” but then add this scornful gloss: “[T]hat’s the Catholic Church saying that it’s OK for women to chart their menstrual cycles.” No, it isn’t. It’s the Church saying that it’s okay to use a variety of treatments, including hormonal ones. You can agree or disagree with the distinctions the Church makes, but you shouldn’t misrepresent them.

The authors are also utterly ignorant of what “giving scandal” means in Catholic parlance. When a sinful activity is additionally objectionable because of “scandal,” it is because it is not only wrong in itself but spreads confusion about Church teaching. The authors seem to think that “scandal” is being used in a different sense, and Catholic priests who talk about it are merely trying to protect the reputation of clerics.

Probably the biggest doozy in the article is this sentence: “Though not often expressed, the default position of the church is that childlessness is an intentionally chosen state, and a sinful one at that.” Baden and Moss then claim that Pope Francis expressed this view in a June sermon. The link they provide offers no support for this contention. The pope said that married couples should not choose childlessness. He neither said nor implied that childlessness is always or usually a choice. It is baffling that Baden and Moss treat these obviously distinct propositions as if they were equivalent.

Baden and Moss continue: “Francis’s softly worded caveat about those for whom ‘children do not arrive’ makes no difference unless infertile couples out themselves to everyone they encounter.” I am sure that there are Catholics, even Catholic priests, who assume that the childless couples in their parishes have rejected Church teaching, and that this attitude can cause these couples emotional pain. It’s something pastors should address. But there is no “default position” of the Church that underwrites those attitudes.

The authors just can’t let go of their mistake. “But what happens when, despite all the faith one can muster, one remains infertile? What does this say about a person’s worth within a community that explicitly describes childbearing as a duty?” Catholicism does not “explicitly” or even implicitly describe childbearing as a duty for all couples, which is why the authors never offer any evidence for this repeated contention of theirs.

“It is unclear,” Baden and Moss write, whether the Catholic Church grasps “the specifics of modern infertility.” Such condescension is especially inappropriate coming from people who don’t know what they’re talking about.



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

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

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


28 September, 2014

Charming multiculturalist in Oklahoma

A MAN fired from a food processing plant beheaded a woman with a knife and was attacking another worker when he was shot and wounded by a company official, police said Friday.

Police Sgt Jeremy Lewis says police are waiting until 30-year-old Alton Nolen is conscious to arrest him in Thursday’s attack and have asked the FBI to help investigate after co-workers at Vaughan Foods told authorities that he recently started trying to convert several employees to Islam.

Mr Nolen stabbed Colleen Hufford, 54, severing her head, Sgt Lewis said.

Sgt Lewis said Mr Nolen then stabbed Traci Johnson, 43, a number of times before being shot by Mark Vaughan, a reserve sheriff’s deputy and the company’s chief operating officer.

"This was not going to stop if he didn’t stop it. It could have gotten a lot worse," Sgt Lewis said.

Sgt Lewis said that Moore police have asked the FBI to aid in the investigation and look into the man’s background because of the nature of the attack, which comes in the wake of a series of videotaped beheadings by Islamic State militants.

Ms Johnson and the suspect were hospitalised and in stable condition on Friday, Sgt Lewis said. He does not yet know what charges will be filed.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections records show the suspect has multiple, apparently religious tattoos, including one referencing Jesus and one in Arabic that means “peace be with you.”

Sgt Lewis said the suspect had been fired in a building that houses the company’s human resources office, then immediately drove to the entrance of the business. Sgt Lewis said he didn’t know why the man was fired.

While all three worked at the same plant, Mr Nolen did not personally know either of his victims, Sgt Lewis told News9.

"They just happened to be in his way as he came in upset," he said.


UK: Couple singing Peppa Pig tune to toddler 'forced off bus after complaints they were being racist' because it goes against Muslim pork ban

A couple were thrown off a bus and branded racists after singing the Peppa Pig theme tune to their autistic daughter, it has been claimed.

Nick Barnfield and Sarah Cleaves were travelling with their daughter Heidi on a bus from Sheffield to Doncaster when the 15-month-old started crying.

The couple, who live in Rotherham, started singing the song in an effort to cheer their daughter up, but say they were branded racists by another passenger and told to get off the bus by its driver.

The couple claimed the woman, who they saw was wearing a hijab, took offence to the snorting sounds in the song and believed they were a reference to how pork is forbidden in Islam though this has not been confirmed.

She complained to the bus's driver, who, it is claimed, then told the couple it would be 'easier' for them to get off two miles from their home.

'We were really embarrassed, ashamed and upset and we hadn't done anything wrong, just trying to make our little girl happy, but people were looking at us as if we had done something wrong. 'It was humiliating,' said Mr Branfield. 

The 24-year-old said they were trying to settle their daughter on the X78 bus on September 8 when they were approached 'aggressively' by the woman. 'A lady came up to us and quite aggressively started telling us we were irresponsible parents and that we were being racist singing the song.'

'She went up to the bus driver and told him we were being racist towards her and she wasn’t happy. The driver came up to me and said we had to get off the bus or the police would have to come.

'He said: 'just get off the bus - it’s not worth the hassle’. I was really shocked because we had done nothing wrong but he didn't listen to us.  'He just said: "Go now, otherwise you’ll hold up all the passengers and no-one will be happy."'

'I was more upset at the bus driver not taking in both sides - he just heard the word racism and kicked us off.  'I’m annoyed he didn't listen to our side of the story or ask any questions.'

A spokesman for First confirmed the couple did get off the bus following a conversation with a female Asian passenger and the bus driver, but claimed the bus driver had no knowledge of allegations of racism.

'CCTV confirms that Mr Branfield had left the bus as he described and it does clearly show a conversation between the driver, a female Asian customer and the customer Mr Branfield who has logged the complaint with us. 'In terms of what was said we are investigating it and we're in discussions with Mr Branfield.

'We're looking at the circumstances in which he left the vehicle - I don't want to speculate about his concerns that he was asked to leave but we want to be clear from both sides what happened.

'The driver told us he heard no reference to racism but we are investigating the incident and have not yet drawn a conclusion.'

South Yorkshire Police said it was not investigating the incident. 


O Canada!

Justin Trudeau is the Canadian Left's candidate for Prime Minister -- and is just as brainless as Obama

"We have to realize that the way of thinking that got us to this place no longer holds. We have to rethink elements as basic as space and time, to go all science fictiony on you in this sense," said Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, speaking to university students in London, Ontario.

When you hear Justin saying weird things like that don't you get the vague notion that you're being played, and aren't you relieved that your children don't go to that school?

I can see some young communications dweeb at Liberal headquarters betting $20 that he can get Justin to say anything because the public thinks everything Justin says is both true and totally adorable.

The Justin Theory of Space-Time was obviously conceived entirely by Justin, but "conceived" is a strong word. In fact his theory sounds similar to the refrain from that animated character Buzz Lightyear, from the movie Toy Story. Buzz was always going "To infinity and beyond," a fun line coming from a child's toy. Of course Justin Trudeau is not, strictly speaking, a child. He is a 42-year-old man and, by all accounts, a very nice man. He also has a future in politics and, even more alarmingly, a present.

He has also developed some new theories on how the universe works, which I'm sure will make for fascinating reading in his upcoming book, The Physics of Politics: The Black Hole that Really Sucks.

Anyway, Justin seems to be rejecting the settled science pushed on us by Newton, Einstein and, more recently, Higgs. In the video he rejects the current thinking on space and time with such flair and drama that I don't need actual arguments. Is it too soon to start talking Nobel?

So why undertake this serious scientific analysis of Justin's theory of space and time? I don't want to go all science fictiony on you but right now Justin Trudeau is auditioning to become the prime minister of Canada and perhaps of some solar systems too.

Given that being PM is a serious job it is mildly interesting to know that his views on the laws of nature are, shall we say, unothodox. Perhaps at some point he'll reveal his views on the economy, the Income Tax Act or relations with Taiwan. We already know that Prime Minister Harper sees the gravity in just about every situation. Gravity is a good thing in a leader, and in a universe. Justin doesn't seem to like those laws so he's rethinking them, but in this case "rethinking" is obviously just a figure of speech.

Anyway, I may be coming around to Justin's point of view. I was rethinking space and time just yesterday, by which I mean 50 years into the future. I don't want to spoil the ending, but it works out well for the kids, though it's not without bumps.

God help us, some day Justin might be our prime minister. Don't be surprised if his first initiative is to try to repeal the law of gravity. Dark matter, anti-matter, doesn't matter -- somehow we would survive his rejection of the "thinking that got us to this place."


Black actors hit out at PC brigade after race protest shuts show about slavery: Performers reject accusations of racism

Black actors starring in a live art show featuring slaves in chains and cages hit back last night at protesters who have forced the production to be cancelled.

Exhibit B, which aims to recreate human zoos in which slaves were once displayed as museum objects, had been due to open on Wednesday night, but around 200 people blocked the entrances to the exhibition and disrupted traffic.

Artist Brett Bailey had recruited a number of people of African and Afro-Caribbean origin and arranged them as living sculptures to offer a painful reminder of the appalling history of 19th century colonialism and racial hatred.

A spokesman for the Barbican in London said it became impossible to continue the exhibit because of the ‘extreme nature of the protest and the serious threat to the safety of performers, audiences and staff’.

But the black performers have defended the exhibition and rejected accusations of ‘complicit racism’.

Actress Elexi Walker, who appears wearing a shackle around her neck, said: ‘It’s ridiculous to think I am being racist because I am involved in a piece that highlights the history of black people. The people who say that clearly have not had an informed opinion.

‘If the show had been allowed to happen people would have come into a space that was really reverent, a place where it was almost like a church in how quiet and careful it made you feel. The protesters have denied that to people of London.’

Priscilla Adade-Helledy has been called an ‘ignorant black woman’ for taking part.

She said: ‘I feel abused as a person and I feel insecure. I was part of a project that is absolutely stunning... and now I’m scared for my own safety. I don’t know how it can be seen as racist. If they had seen the exhibition they would understand it.’

Police were called to attend the demonstration on Wednesday night.

The Barbican spokesman added: ‘Given that protests are scheduled for future performances of Exhibit B we have had no choice but to cancel all performances of the piece.

‘We find it profoundly troubling that such methods have been used to silence artists and performers and that audiences have been denied the opportunity to see this important work. Exhibit B raises, in a serious and responsible manner, issues about racism.

‘It has previously been shown in 12 cities, involved 150 performers and been seen by around 25,000 people with the responses from participants, audiences and critics alike being overwhelmingly positive.’ Exhibit B was staged at the Edinburgh Festival over the summer.

A petition, initiated by Sara Myers from Birmingham, opposing the exhibition had reached nearly 23,000 signatures yesterday.

Mr Bailey said: ‘Do any of us really want to live in a society in which expression is suppressed, banned, silenced? My work has been shut down today, whose will be closed down tomorrow?’



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 September, 2014

Strolling in a park, a London businessman and his THREE wives - just one of up to 20,000 such multi-wife marriages in POLYGAMY BRITAIN

As a bright, eager student at Cambridge University, with one degree already under her belt, Nabilah Phillips could look forward to a successful career and comfortable future.

After completing her engineering PhD she would, perhaps, take up a coveted, highly-paid job in industry, or stay on as an academic lecturing the next generation.

Instead, however, Nabilah, now 35, took an extremely unexpected path.  She abandoned her studies, forfeiting her hard-won university place and entered a polygamous marriage, becoming the second wife of London businessman Hasan Phillips, 32 — who has since acquired a third wife.

Nabilah, her husband and his two other wives are part of a growing number of polygamous marriages taking place in Britain. They are rubber-stamped under Sharia law, which considers polygamy completely legitimate as Muslim men are permitted to take up to four wives.

It is, of course, in complete contradiction to UK law, under which bigamy is illegal and can result in a prison sentence of up to seven years.

But as such marriages are not recognised by English courts — and around 70 to 75 per cent of Muslim weddings go unregistered — those who marry under the system are not subject to prosecution.

As a result, the practice is becoming increasingly commonplace across Britain, with 20,000 polygamous marriages now estimated to have taken place here.

So what does Nabilah have to say about a marriage that would be anathema to most British women?

‘I really enjoy being in a polygamous relationship,’ she insists, her face covered with a Muslim veil, known as a niqab, at the request of her husband.  ‘We are not stupid people who are forced into this type of relationship,’ she adds, laughing.

‘I was looking for someone who had been married or was already in a marriage. I was married before, and having gone through one divorce, you kind of know what you want in marriage. So I wanted someone who already knows how to be a husband.’

Indeed, Nabilah met Hasan after signing up to a Muslim dating service — her first husband having left just days after their marriage — with the specific intention of trying to find a married man so she could become a ‘co-wife’, as such women are called.

Such is the popularity of polygamy among British Muslims that the East London-based company Muslim Marriage Event, which united Nabilah and her husband, is receiving a growing number of requests for such unions. Owner Mizan Raja says the number of people looking for such arrangements has soared in recent years.

The rise of polygamous marriage in Britain is the controversial subject of a new Channel 4 TV series, The Men With Many Wives, which shines a new light on the controversial practice.

In it, Nabilah, who has two children with Hasan — who runs an Arabic clothing business and works in a mosque in Brixton, South London — explains that she was introduced to his first wife, City worker Sakinah, 33, before they married. ‘We had tea and all that, so she was OK with the marriage. After the wedding, our relationship started developing slowly,’ says Nabilah.

Then several years later, Hasan took a third wife, Somali-born driving instructor Anub, 41, whom he honeymooned with alone. His other wives were not invited to the wedding, though they gave it their blessing.

For much of the time the wives live largely separate lives in separate houses across London, though they occasionally meet for organised family outings with their assorted children.

‘If any problem happens between co?wives it’s usually his fault,’ says Nabilah, who now works from home running a website selling Arabic perfumes and clothing. ‘Like if he’s praising somebody too much — “Why don’t you be more like her? She’s this, she’s that.”  'If he didn’t say that, we would all be happy.’

Hasan spends three nights with each wife before moving on to the next, as he interprets treating each wife equally — a stipulation of polygamy in Islam — as meaning spending equal amounts of time with each.

One of the conditions of polygamy is that you have to be fair and just with your wives,’ says Hasan. ‘If I buy her two roses, I don’t have to buy her two roses as well; it means in terms of time.’

Having so many wives, he admits, can be as precarious ‘as balancing three spinning plates’, especially when they are all together.  ‘You have to be really careful you don’t over-show your emotion to one of them. So you can’t really relax and cuddle one of your wives.’

Polygamous marriages are a hardline interpretation of Islam not practised by all Muslims (it is estimated around 3 per cent of Muslim men worldwide take more than one wife). Yet Hasan is a convert, having switched to Islam from Christianity at the age of 16.

He now insists on his wives covering their faces with the traditional veil. ‘My wives are something to be covered and protected for me,’ he says. ‘Some people put sheets over their cars, they cover their valuables and keep them away from people seeing and desiring the things that they have.’

But it is not just religion which is apparently driving the practice. Matchmaker Mizan says women seeking a polygamous marriage usually contact him because they want security and are prepared to share a husband to achieve that. The men’s motives are — surprise, surprise — usually down to ‘high libidos’.

‘For most men who want to do polygamy, probably 80 per cent, it’s a sexually-driven thing,’ he says. ‘The number one request is for a woman with a good body, in good proportion.’

Another co-wife on the show is pretty 44-year-old Briton Shaheen Qureshi, who looks, on the surface at least, like any other married British mother. She wears glamorous clothes, costume jewellery and heavy eye make-up, and spends her time caring for her eight children and keeping up her modest home in Bradford, West Yorkshire.

Yet while she dotes on her husband (they attended the same primary school and got married ten years ago), he also has another wife.

His bigamy is something Shaheen has willingly embraced. ‘I know it’s not for everybody,’ she says, speaking to the Mail at her semi-detached Bradford home this week. ‘But men are naturally polygamous, so they will probably be having a fling just to survive their marriages.

‘Women are a lot more loyal, but men have more of a roving eye, so if they’re allowed to have three or four wives, they will.

‘I’m not a jealous person, I am confident in myself. I can be a good wife. I know what it’s like to be on my own, so I don’t mind if I don’t see my husband every day.’

Her wedding was performed through a nikah — an Islamic ceremony conducted in the presence of two Muslim witnesses. While these are unregistered and unregulated by UK authorities, the ‘marriage’ is considered a binding legal contract by Muslims. But her protestations to the Mail this week that she is happy in her polygamous marriage contrast sharply with what she shows on the programme.

On the show, there is one heartbreaking moment when she breaks down in tears when talking about the sense of loneliness and abandonment she often feels when home alone with her eight children, before exclaiming she feels she has no choice but to ask for a divorce.

She continues that she is tired of living as a ‘single mum’. Hardly surprising when she has so many children.

Six of her offspring were born during her first marriage, which took place when she was just 16. She was sent to Pakistan by her strict Muslim parents to marry her first cousin in an arranged marriage. It lasted 18 years but was largely unhappy, she says. Shaheen divorced her first husband ten years ago and married her current polygamous spouse — an ‘old friend’ — very soon afterwards.

She was reluctant to name her second husband when we spoke to her this week, suffice to say he is a ‘respected’ businessman.

Naively, Shaheen says she thought this marriage would be a chance to find ‘true love’ and that she and the first wife would be friends. She even imagined jovially bickering about whose turn it was to do the washing-up and ‘hanging out like Carrie and her friends in Sex And The City.’ The reality, however, was markedly different, for her new husband’s first wife became furiously jealous.

In the ten years since her marriage, the two women have barely spoken. Relations deteriorated further when Shaheen bore two children to her husband — daughters now aged eight and two — and the situation recently reached a stand-off.  ‘She has now given him an ultimatum: it’s either me or her,’ says Shaheen.

Not that Shaheen sees much of her husband anyway. She estimates that the two have spent no more than six months together throughout their decade of marriage.

And it is not only family relations which are tough. Shaheen also struggles financially, as she does not work and it is unclear what financial support, if any, she receives from her husband or the State. Many such women, who say they don’t receive enough support from their so-called husbands, happily choose to claim benefits instead. Is this legal? Apparently yes.

Even if a polygamous husband has countless wives and an abundance of children, the women are treated just like any other single mother. In other words, they are entitled to Child Support, housing benefit, council tax benefit and any other benefits her individual situation might entitle her to.

Under British housing rules, the husband cannot possibly be registered in all the households, so he most probably can claim separate benefits, too.

If the women become unhappy and wish to divorce, they have no rights under UK law so would be entitled to no financial settlement.

But Shaheen, unbelievably, has nothing but sympathy for her husband who is, she says, under intolerable pressure from wife number one.  ‘Basically, he is a broken man. People will think he is having his cake and eating it. That isn’t the case. He is caught between a rock and a hard place. She knows he loves me. It’s really hard.’

When multiple marriages do break down, any divorce and mediation must go through a Sharia court — an estimated 85 such now operate in Britain — which often penalise women.

‘I know of Muslim women being subjected to savage domestic violence, and then refused a divorce, while their husbands are free to enter into further marriages to women from overseas,’ says Baroness Cox, a cross-bench peer and campaigner for Muslim women.

‘Sharia treats women as second-class citizens, whether in inheritance rights or divorce. A woman’s word counts for only half the value of that of a man.’

Shaheen has decided to give her husband another chance — but says that if they do divorce, she would happily enter another polygamous marriage, though next time she ‘will make sure the other women are happy for me to come on board’.

If that seems a somewhat incredible prospect, it is made all the more so for the fact that it will be facilitated and tolerated in Britain.


Rush Limbaugh’s Call Screener: ‘What Liberalism Has Done To Black Communities Is Horrific’

Rush and "Snerdley"

James Golden considers his 26 years working with Rush Limbaugh to be the greatest professional blessing he could ever imagine. Originally from Queens, New York, James met Rush while working for a major media network and hasn’t looked back since.

Most Rush listeners know James as either “Snerdley,” the call screener, or the “Official Obama Criticizer.” Golden was in Washington recently for a CURE meeting and that’s where we got the chance to sit down with him for this exclusive 30 minute video interview.

For the first half of the interview, Golden waxed passionate about race in America, and how America’s first black president has only harmed race relations in this country.

Recalling when strong, two parent families were the norm for blacks, when hard work and merit allowed blacks to rise in society, and when homicide wasn’t the major cause of the death for young black males, Golden said with genuine regret, “Isn’t it a shame that for most of black people, the good old days were the days when things were segregated legally in this country?”

He concludes, “What liberalism has done to black communities is horrific.”

Touching on the horrors of the Philadelphia black abortionist Kenneth Gosnell and the depravity in black music, Golden said that they are results of “people following the liberal ride down. They don’t care about values.”

“Al Sharpton and his bunch should be ashamed of themselves,” he said, as they have “let the issue of black life degenerate into a politically opportunistic issue.” His answer? Black people need to value their own lives and quit expecting political hustlers to solve their problems.

The Official Obama Criticizer said to listeners who are black, “There are no Republicans in your neighborhoods. The problem is the people in your neighborhood. Obama’s not coming to help you in your neighborhood unless you live in Martha’s Vineyard or have a golf course!”

On episodes such as those with Michael Brown or Trayvon Martin, Golden admits these stories touch a raw nerve for blacks who have seen police commit injustices in their neighborhoods for years. His advice for conservatives is not just to react when Sharpton or Jackson take advantage of these situations, but to build genuine relationships with black communities so that conservatives should be the first to arrive and see the truth for themselves.

Later on in the interview, Golden focuses on what brought Rush to the top of American broadcasting and how he rose from a 16 year old in music radio to media and political dominance, even with the loss of his hearing.

Golden reminded viewers that Rush came through AM radio when it was dead. He arrived on the scene before the internet, Drudge and Fox News. When Rush began, Golden recalls, “There were 125 stations with talk radio. Today, there are over 11,000.” Rush set the stage for the development of new media by fracturing the big media stronghold that used to control the news.

The threatened elites reacted by running a “campaign of hate” against Rush. Smearing him with lies and misrepresentations, one wire service even refused to correct a story when confronted with the facts, Golden said. Having plowed through these troubles, Limbaugh is now especially adept at defending others who get smeared and attacked when the left feels threatened by their message.

Explaining how Rush excels above all others, Golden said, “It’s his gift! It’s in his head. It’s down to the second. He’s a professional broadcaster like no other.”

Citing Rush’s innate ability to make the complex understandable, Golden went on to mention Limbaugh’s continuous preparation, immense intellect, voracious reading, and stunning work ethic. Beyond that, Golden said, “he’s a great businessman. But that’s another story.” On the personal side, Golden says Rush is selfless, generous and amazing. Snerdley hears firsthand the lives that are changing and the minds that are opening because of Limbaugh’s “talent on loan from God.”


France bans street prayers

A French ban on praying in the street came into force on Friday, driving thousands of Muslim worshippers in northern Paris into a makeshift prayer site in a disused fire brigade barracks, angering a small but vocal minority.

The street-prayer ban has highlighted France's problems assimilating its 5-million-strong Muslim community, which lacks prayer space, and follows a long-running controversy, fanned by far-right leader Marine Le Pen, over Muslims forced to lay their prayer mats on the streets in big cities.

Interior Minister Claude Gueant directed Muslims in Paris to temporary spaces made available pending the building of a huge new prayer space and warned that force would be used if necessary as police end their tolerance of street prayers.

Seven months before a presidential election, the ban has struck some in France as an attempt to rally far-right sympathizers to President Nicolas Sarkozy's center-right camp.

At the barracks, Cheik Mohammed Salah Hamza oversaw prayers for Muslims who had migrated from around the city. Worshippers streamed in, spreading their woven prayer mats over the floor of the hangar-like building and out into the courtyard.

"It's the beginning of a solution," Hamza told Reuters before the start of the service. "The faithful are very pleased to be here. The space, which holds 2,000, is full."

Many worshippers were also upbeat. "This will be better than rue Mryha," said one man, referring to a Paris street renowned for hosting street prayers. "Apparently, it shocked people."

Le Pen has described the growing phenomenon of praying on the streets and sidewalks as an "invasion."

In France, where a strict separation of church and state has been in force for a century, public displays of religious activity are frowned upon.

Yet efforts by Sarkozy's conservative government to restrict religious displays, such as a ban on full-face veils, have drawn criticism as empty measures that unfairly single out Muslims.

France counts the largest Muslim minority of any European country. But only a portion -- about 10 percent, or the same proportion as among Catholics -- are practicing, according to Muslim associations.

As a rule, radical Muslim voices in France are rare, but Friday's prayers in northern Paris drew a small but angry protest from a radical minority more often seen in online posts.

An hour before the first prayer young men with beards, green headbands and banners gathered on rue Myrha to discourage worshippers from moving to the new site.

"No system in the universe can control us aside from Allah," shouted one young man. "There is more dignity in praying in the grass than in their false mosque," said another.

As the prayers began, dozens of young men belonging to a group called Forsane Alizza disrupted the service with shouts of "Allahu akbar" -- "God is greatest" -- and jostled with security.


Stay-at-home mothers 'have the most worthwhile lives'

Mothers who have put their career aside to care for their children have a stronger sense that their lives are “worthwhile” than the rest of society, official figures suggest.

New findings from the UK’s national “well-being” index show that those classed as economically inactive because they are caring for a family or home are also among the happiest people in Britain.

The figures, published by the Office for National Statistics, also show that people across the UK have got progressively happier, less anxious and more satisfied with their lives in the past year.

The improvement is thought to be linked to the economic recovery and falling unemployment – even if people are not necessarily better off than a year ago.

The ONS said the improvement appeared to be linked to optimism and improvements in people’s personal situations even though typical household incomes are lower in real terms.

The latest figures also suggest that the 70s are the golden decade of life, with the highest proportion of people rating their personal happiness at the top of the scale.

Meanwhile, they confirm Northern Ireland as the happiest place in the UK topping the national league tables both on a regional and local level.

Four of the five happiest local authority areas in the UK are located in the province – Antrim, Fermanagh, Omagh and Dungannon – with Babergh in Suffolk the only place in mainland Britain making it into the top five.

As part of a programme backed by David Cameron to measure the nation’s well-being, people were asked to rate their lives on a scale of nought to 10.

They were asked to do this in relation to four separate questions: how satisfied they are with their lives overall; whether they feel that what they do is worthwhile; how happy they were the previous day and how anxious they were the previous day.

The average rating for life satisfaction across the UK was 7.5 out of 10 – up 0.06 points on last year while the typical rating for feeling worthwhile also edged upwards to 7.7.

Average scores for how happy people felt the previous day also rose steadily to 7.4 while anxiety ratings fell to 2.9 on average.

The ONS also analysed the findings on the basis of personal characteristics such as people’s marital status, health, or employment situation.

When the results are broken down by work status pensioners emerged as the happiest overall, with a rating of 7.73 out of 10, but students and stay-at-home mothers or carers also scored noticeably higher than average.

But when responses to the question on how “worthwhile” people consider what they do in life to be were analysed, those looking after home or family emerged well ahead of other groups, scoring 8.03 out of 10 on average.

Overall 83 per cent of full-time parents and carers rated their sense of worth as high or very high.

Laura Perrin, a barrister turned full-time mother who campaigns from the group Mothers At Home Matter said the figures showed that government policies designed to encourage more parents to work full time could be doing more harm than good.

“This just goes to show that the idea that we are all at home depressed and unhappy looking after our own children – which a lot of politicians would like to believe – is simply wrong,” she said.

“It is clearly a worthwhile vocation, should you choose to do it.”

The group campaigns for greater recognition of marriage and traditional family life in the tax system. It argues that the Coalition’s childcare tax breaks for couples in which both parents work, penalises families in which one parent has given up work to care for the children.

“David Cameron has set his face against the more traditional set-up with a mother at home caring for her children but his own figures show that not only are they happy but they recognise their lives are worthwhile," she said.

“They are not only making their own family happy but also making a contribution to society as a whole.

“They should stop their constant campaign against the more traditional set-up”.

Dawn Snape, co-author of the report, said the consistently high happiness and life satisfaction ratings from people in Northern Ireland could not be explained in purely economic terms.

"Aren't they great?” she said.  “They're a real conundrum for us.  "Unemployment is high yet they really buck the trend – at the moment we don't know the answer to this.

“It may be down to social connectivity, a great sense of community, maybe it is down to how life is going there now compared with 15 years ago.”

"It is not clear to us yet, we need to do more (research). But it seems quite consistent that people in Northern Ireland rate their wellbeing at a very high level. They have a positive outlook



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 September, 2014

Multicultural marine

A mother is being hailed a hero for saving her baby's life by placing the six-month-old in a toilet bowl, despite the fact she was dying from a gunshot wound herself.

Jessica Arrendale was holding little Cobie as she hid in the bathroom while drunken and abusive partner Antoine Davis was on a violent rampage.

The former US marine broke down the bathroom door and shot Ms Arrendale dead. Rather than falling straight to the ground, the 33-year-old mother managed to fall towards the toilet and place the baby in the bowl before collapsing on top of her.

It is believed this saved the little girl's life as Davis was unable to find her.

When police arrived at the home they found Davis had shot himself dead in Cobie's bedroom, where it is believed he went to look for the little girl.

Cobie was found in the toilet alive, but suffering from hypothermia.

"He shot her and [the police] don't know how she was able to twist her body and fall literally in the opposite direction," Ms Arrendale's mother Teresa Ionniello told local station WSB Radio. "She had pure will. She wanted that baby to live."

Shockingly, the murder-suicide in the Atlanta suburb of Smyrna was also witnessed by Davis' two older daughters, aged 9 and 10, from a previous relationship.

The older girls' mother, Tamara Chesley, said one daughter told her that her father had stared at her for a "very long time" before she asked him, "Daddy, what are you doing?"

Davis then went upstairs with a gun and the daughter heard Ms Arrendale screaming and then a gunshot.

Police were called to the family's home in the early hours of Sunday September 14 responding to reports that someone was armed with a gun.

Ms Ionniello said Davis had been "belligerently drunk and abusive" on the weekend of the murder.

Ms Arrendale picked up a baseball bat to defend herself but he overpowered her and struck her with the bat, Ms Ionniello said.

Ms Arrendale then barricaded herself in the bathroom with baby Cobie as Davis went to get his assault rifle from the wardrobe.

When police arrived at the scene they evacuated nearby homes and tried to make contact with Davis. After those attempts were unsuccessful, officers forced their way into the house and found the carnage.

It is thought Cobie may have been hit with the baseball bat while her father was attacking her mother, as she also had a head injury when she was found in the toilet.

Davis had served as a marine in Iraq and was reportedly involved in a custody battle with Ms Arrendale over Cobie.

A family friend Leslie Tidwell has set up a GoFundMe page for Cobie and Ms Arrendale's 15-year-old daughter, who was not at the home at the time of the shootings.

On the page Ms Tidwell wrote: "An amazing mother, daughter, sister and friend was taken way too soon. Jessica was one of the most beautiful people I have ever met. This fund has been set up for the two children that she has left behind."

Cobie is still being treated at hospital and there are plans for Ms Arrendale's mother to take custody of the baby.


Young Black Conservative Speaks Out

By Markeece Young

Why am I a young Black Conservative Republican? All my life I have always been different. I wasn’t easy to persuade and didn’t think the same as others. People say I am an old soul. I grew up in a violent drug ridden neighborhood where it was easy to get caught up in a drug or gang culture. My mom moved us to a better safer community.

I have always been interested in history and political matters, but growing up I idolized Democrats like North Carolina native John Edwards and former President Bill Clinton. I was a strong Democrat supporter as a kid, but as I grew up I started to question the Democrat Party and why Blacks were so loyal to them. I found out that the Democrat Party was pro-slavery, pro-segregation and pro-abortion. That the Democrat Party sterilized Blacks so they wouldn’t have more children. As a child I asked why would anyone support the Democrat Party? I asked my elders they had no answers!

By the 7th grade it all changed and I read every single presidential book in the library, about 65, and I said to myself my morals and beliefs fit more with the Republican Party. During the 2008 presidential election, I knew Barack Obama was a fraud so I supported Senator John McCain (R-AZ). I was called “White” just for questioning Obama’s qualifications. In 2010, I finally became a Republican my freshman year in high school. I wasn’t really involved in any politics but on November 2, 2010 – election day and my 15th birthday – I heard about the Tea Party winners. I had always had an interest in colonial and Constitutional issues so when I saw the Tea Party patriots beating the drums, marching in the streets for liberty and freedom, I knew the Tea Party and the Republican Party was for me!

I did not get involved until 2012 and decided to come out as a black conservative and didn’t care what people said. I was a top volunteer in North Carolina at the age of 16, which was the only swing state Mitt Romney won. Today, I fight so hard to get other blacks to be independent and to think for themselves. I do a lot of youth minority engagement and broke through to lifelong Democrats which is why I believe God gave me a gift to change minds and touch hearts. This is my calling.


Don't blame my Army for the lack of black officers in combat commands

The writer is a retired soldier who wore the uniform for over 34 years

It is a well-known fact that the Army has struggled for decades trying to get more black officers to reach the highest ranks of the Army and especially the combat arms. This should be a surprise to no one.

But don't go blaming the Army for the inability to solve this issue. This is a multi-faceted problem and one which must be solved involving all aspects of American society: Army, academia, family, and community leadership.

In trying to resolve this issue the Army has gone through excruciating efforts to recruit more black officers into the combat arms. The Army has not failed, but has not made much progress. Previously, while I was in a position to observe the branch assignments of one of the Army's largest commissioning sources, it was apparent to me that there was little interest from the majority of minority men in going into the combat arms. In particular, black me were significantly underrepresented in the infantry, armor and field artillery branches. Correspondingly, the ADA, signal and logistics branches were overrepresented. As for explanations, none could be found.

In a previous life I was in a position to observe the intake of initial-entry soldiers into the Army. It became apparent rapidly that minorities of all types and black soldiers, in particular, were underrepresented in combat arms. We instituted an analysis of why and obtained no cogent results. Often we asked members of high-school academia how we could get more black men to enlist for the combat arms. They had no answer. We asked them why they thought young black men were not coming into the combat arms and their best guess, and only a guess, was that the community was sending them to where they could best obtain a skill transferrable to civilian life. Being a member of rifle squad, an M1 tank gunner, or a gunner on an M198 crew did not transfer well to civilian life, according to them.

The Military Leadership Diversity Commission (MLDC) (circa 2009-2011) was tasked to examine this issue. You would have thought that this commission, made up mostly of active and retired black flag officers, other minorities, and women, would have taken it on. They seemed much more concerned with the issue of how to make more women four-star flag officers. They addressed the issue, scrutinized it, but admitted they had no solution. They also acknowledged that despite a higher attrition rate on black junior officers in the Army, there was no institutional bias that could account for the higher attrition. The MLDC actually just left this issue hanging like a chad in an election and continued to pursue their main purpose; finding a way to make more women senior flag officers.

Now, if you think the Army is the only service with this issue, think again. The Marine Corps has a similar issue with its combat arms, and the Air Force and Navy have the same difficulty, but within their own organizational structure.

But the issue of a lack of black senior leaders is probably greatest in the U.S. Special Forces. It is rare to see a black NCO or officer in the U.S. Army's Ranger Regiment. It is rarer to see them in the U.S. Army Special Forces. I can only remember one black senior officer in U.S. Army Special Forces at colonel or higher. There may have been more, but it is doubtful there have been many. I can't speak to the SEAL community with any real credibility, but I would be willing to bet they have at least as great a void of black representation as do the Army's Special Forces, and I would bet this is a similar area of concern for AFSOC and MARSOC.

As for solutions, I doubt there are many, if any, or the Army would have solved this 40 years ago. For sure, forced appointment to the combat arms of black junior officers will only be counterproductive. Such an action will probably result in dissatisfied officers who will either attrite themselves by going into another branch, the Acquisition Corps, or leave the Army -- or even worse, be forced to leave the Army. Being a professional and good combat arms leader is a choosing and a calling, not a result of a draft.

Over the years I have observed that the opportunity for black officers who obtain the rank of colonel in the combat arms to make general officer is significantly higher than that of their peers. So, maybe the approach to be made by the Army should be: If you want to be a field marshal, go into the combat arms. However, it is doubtful that approach will be productive in terms of increased unit effectiveness or combat readiness.

My take on this is that the Army is just going to have to endure with whatever happens. It is highly doubtful anything can be done to produce more black or other minority officers in combat arms. And guess what? The same issue, but probably on a greater scale, is going to occur with women, should the decision be made to go that direction.


I am sure he knows why but cannot safely say it:  Cowardice

The Battle Over Israel’s ‘Etzion Bloc’

While the Middle East burns and tens of thousands of corpses pile up in Syria and Iraq, Jewish residence anywhere beyond the 1949 armistice lines ––  in eastern Jerusalem, the West Bank, transfixes the attention of foreign governments. Just recall the Obama Administration saying nothing when, in March 2010, the Palestinian Authority (PA) named a public square in Ramallah in honor of blood-soaked terrorist Dalal Mughrabi –– but condemned Israel for announcing a program of building Jewish homes in eastern Jerusalem the day before.

Now, Israel has designated 988 acres in the Etzion bloc south of Jerusalem as state land, leading the Obama Administration to condemn this “settlement announcement” as “counterproductive to … a negotiated two-state solution with the Palestinians.”

Meanwhile, Obama’s “blocking back,” the faux “pro-Israel, pro-peace” J Street organization, has gone still further, urging President Obama in the pages  of the Los Angeles Times to start calling Jewish communities beyond the 1949 armistice lines “illegal.”

There is some relevant history here. In 2011, President Obama vetoed a UN Security Council resolution making this false declaration –– although that was only after he unsuccessfully attempted have the U.N. Security Council baselessly call them “illegitimate.”

Clearly, J Street is trying to push the President in a direction he’d like to go but can’t, due to legal and factual hurdles that would cost him politically to straddle, but which J Street would like to ameliorate.

Factually and legally unsound, J Street’s agitprop on this issue is simply designed to isolate and increase pressure on Israel, not defend the cause of peace that is actually unthreatened by this Israeli administrative action.

The Etzion bloc was home to substantial Jewish communities even before Israel was created. It’s widely accepted that it would be incorporated into Israel in any feasible peace treaty, should one emerge one day.

Even an anti-Israel partisan like former President Jimmy Carter has publicly stated regarding the Jewish communities in the Etzion bloc that this “area is not one I ever envision being abandoned or changed over into Palestinian territory.’

So why the furor? It’s not as if the designation changes the land’s pre-existing status. Since the days of the British Palestine Mandate, the land in question has always been classed as public land. Its designation as ‘state land’ merely reaffirms this, following exhaustive investigation to ascertain that such a designation was not in conflict with any private property rights.

The Obama Administration and J Street object to any process that would seem to remove any obstacle to Jews living in or building homes in these disputed territories. That is because both subscribe to the canard that Jewish residence there is –– or ought to be –– illegal.

The basis of this canard is Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits

“Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not … The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”

Formulated in the aftermath of the Second World War to prohibit Nazi-like mass deportations and forced population transfers, Article 49 clearly holds no relevance: Palestinians are not being deported or forcibly transferred to another territory; Jews are not being deported or transferred from Israel to these Jewish communities; they are moving there freely of their own will.

Peace is presently impossible due to continuing Palestinian refusal to accept the permanence and legitimacy of the Jewish state of Israel and the terrorism, aggression and incitement to hatred and murder against Jews and Israel that flows from this –– not due to Israel duly designating state lands.

Whether one favors or disfavors Jews living in the territories, no one should falsify the law in order to indict Israel as an international violator.

Last week, Israel announced the construction of thousands of apartments in eastern Jerusalem’s Arab neighborhoods. If building apartments is a crime, it remains so when done for Arabs no less than Jews. Is this a logic the Obama Administration wishes to embrace? So far it seems to be saying that it is a crime for Jews, and Jews only,  to move in or build homes in these areas –– a discriminatory and absurd argument.

The Congress should explicitly repudiate this logic and the canard of illegality that underlies it, a canard, moreover, which is fueling anti-Israel and anti-Semitic agitation worldwide. A damaging lie cannot be finessed; it must be exposed and repudiated.



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 September, 2014

Multicultural lover in Britain

A father who dragged his ex-girlfriend from her bed by her hair before cutting it off in a jealous rage was today jailed for a year.

Ian Hassen, 28, took Rebecca Watton, 29, from her bed and chopped off her long hair with scissors, leaving her bruised and almost bald.

Mother-of-three Miss Watton, of Hamilton, Lanarkshire, had been in a relationship with the father of her children for eight years before the pair split in December 2012.

But Hassen, originally from Zimbabwe, refused to accept the relationship was over and launched a prolonged attack on his former partner in April last year.

He had stayed at Miss Watton’s home uninvited for three days after looking after their children when she went on a rare night out.

Hassen launched the attack as their three children sat watching cartoons on TV downstairs after finding messages on Miss Watton’s phone from another man.

Miss Watton only escaped his clutches after convincing him to take her shopping - and she secretly begged staff to call the police.

Hassen was arrested outside the shop after Miss Watton took off a hat she was wearing to show officers the shocking injuries he had inflicted.

Describing her ordeal, Miss Watton said: ‘Suddenly he just grabbed me and pulled something tight around my neck. Everything was a blur, but I knew that this was only the very beginning.

‘He tied me up and questioned me endlessly about what I’d been up to the night before and who I had been with.

'Tears streamed down my face and I thought he was going to kill me. Then he started pulling at my hair and I heard the clicking sound of the blades'

She added: ‘Without saying a word, he grabbed me by the ponytail that my long hair was tied in and dragged me out of bed. My hair felt like it was being ripped out by the roots and the pain was excruciating.

‘Tears streamed down my face and I thought he was going to kill me. Then he started pulling at my hair and I heard the clicking sound of the blades.

‘I knew then he was cutting my hair off. I could feel the blades opening and snapping shut against my scalp. He wanted to make me unattractive, like less of a woman.

‘He wanted to embarrass me and to make me look ill. I watched through tears as my hair landed in tuffs all over the carpet of my little girl’s room.

‘Then he told me to go and shower and clean myself up. He hoovered up the hair himself, it was just so surreal.’

David Fisken, defending, said: ‘He was extremely angry that she had been seeing someone else and the relationship was at an end.

'He does regret his conduct, he let himself down and his family down. Quite clearly a period of custody will be on your mind but there are alternatives for a community based disposal.

‘I know I am asking you to place an element of trust in him given the serous nature of the offence.’

Fiscal Depute Imran Bashir told the court that at the time of the attack Miss Watton was on her knees, with her head down and her hands covering her face.

Miss Watton, originally from Surrey, met Hassen through friends before they moved to Scotland together in 2004.

Since the attack, Miss Watton has been rebuilding her life and is hoping to study law at the Open University.

Jailing Hassen, Sheriff Douglas Brown said: ‘There is considerable public concern about domestic violence and the courts have to apply a sentence to let it be known that it is not acceptable. This is a serious case.

'You threatened your partner and humiliated her by cutting off her hair, presumably to make her less attractive to other men. There is no alternative to custody and the period for that will be 12 months’ imprisonment.’


Youth today – boring, polite and very fearful

Another week, another depressing report about the state of British youth. Drink, drugs and sex – you name the vice, and almost without fail, it seems the nation’s young people have a massive problem with it.

That’s right, according to figures released by the UK Department of Health, under-18s are drinking far less than they were 10 years ago (16 per cent compared to 30 per cent), smoking far less (three per cent compared to nine per cent), and, if plummeting pregnancies and abortion rates are any indication, they’re either armed to their Daz-white teeth with prophylactics or they’re having considerably less sex than they used to. It’s almost enough to make one yearn for prime minister David Cameron’s dream of Broken Britain.

The DoH’s report merely adds another brush stroke to the increasingly depressing portrait of young people now emerging. For example, an NHS study last year revealed that only nine per cent of school pupils believe it’s acceptable to smoke cannabis, compared to 32 per cent of the population at large. Twenty years ago, three out of five under-18s admitted to having tried smoking. This has fallen to one in five. If a recent government survey is to be believed, it seems British youths have even started minding their Ps and Qs, and become less rude and raucous in public places. ‘People are still being young, but they’re recognising there are boundaries’, said one youth worker in Hackney.

As a Durham University professor observed:  ‘The generation before Generation Y were bar-hopping, binge-drinking and taking cocaine. Now there isn’t that frenzied drunkenness. There’s a new sense of sobriety among young people.’ Across the Atlantic, historian Neil Howe noted something similar of American youth: ‘They have this risk aversion that we’ve seen with millennials since they were teenagers. It’s declining alcohol use, declining drug use. I mean, declining sex.’

So if they’re not causing trouble at bus stops, necking Archers in twilit playgrounds, or desperately trying to get off with one another, what exactly are young people doing? They’re worrying about their careers-to-be, that’s what. And when they’re not eagerly adding another slice of work experience to their CV, they’re on social media, frantically deleting any images that might put off prospective employers. This angsty abstemiousness doesn’t stop when they leave school. Late teens and early twentysomethings are similarly afflicted by what Jack Rivlin calls ‘corporate youth culture’, splitting their time between working or studying and augmenting their already War and Peace-length CVs. In a recent Telegraph column, one 24-year-old, determinedly trying to get on in the world, even boasted about how little she drinks, her fondness for twee, be it baking or knitting, and her pant-swinging love of Fleetwood Mac. Twenty is the new 40, she says proudly.

Of course, there are plenty of people, from politicians and public-health wonks to right-minded commentators, who think all this is just wonderful. Young people are finally recognising that youth is no time for doing anything one might regret; they know what they need to do to get on in life, to get that dream job, to get that financial security, to get that A1 health check. ‘Young people who adopt healthy lifestyles early on can use them as a building block for success’, said public-health minister Jane Ellison. Elsewhere, a Guardian columnist was pleased that ‘the meaning of adolescence has been reconstructed. Gone is the rose-hued image of it as a period of ennui where mistakes were possible, even encouraged.’ Or as the Spectator’s Fraser Nelson put it, ‘What you earn is dictated by what you learn, and the young know it’. Being young is no longer deemed a time for youthful folly.

But that is a problem. Because if there is a time in people’s lives to experiment, to try things out, and yes, to fuck up, then it’s when you’re young. That, after all, is the period during which you dream of making your mark on the world, and maybe even changing and challenging it. And it’s also the period you come up against its recalcitrance, the bit of your life during which you challenge life and it challenges you back. That’s why it’s called growing up, that’s why it can be documented as a rite of passage.

At the end of Honoré de Balzac’s Old Goriot, Rastignac, the 21-year-old protagonist, surveys Paris from a hillside cemetery, contemplates ‘the splendid world he had wished to gain’, and declares ‘it’s war between us now’. Being young, you see, has long been the occasion for romantic rebellion – or even robust revolutions. ‘Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive’, wrote Wordsworth of the French Revolution, ‘But to be young was very heaven!’.

To be young now seems to be very far from heaven. The world is not to be challenged; it is to be embraced and conformed to. After all, youthful mistakes could well mess up the best-laid career plans, seems to be the thinking. Little wonder, then, that young people today seem to be so restricted and bien pensant in their views. ‘Generation Right’, BBC Radio 4 called them following an Ipsos Mori poll that revealed young people’s overwhelming support for gay marriage and euthanasia, and a depth of small ‘c’ conservative sentiment. If you’re looking to discover the social and political platitudes of our time, it seems you’re best off consulting these students of the status quo.

It’s not a surprise that young people’s political outlooks are as conformist and risk-averse as their leisure-time pursuits. Both rest on young people’s attitude towards the future. That is, the future is not seen as it has been in the past, as a horizon of opportunity, a chance to make history, as it were. No, the future, both economically and environmentally, is seen as something to be feared, as a set path that one must adhere here to – or else. Hence, this generation of abstemious, censorious young people spend most of their time shoring up their CVs against future ruin, while desperately, anxiously trying to avoid making mistakes. That is the ne plus ultra of youthful existence today: not to risk anything that might jeopardise one’s future, a future which is seen almost entirely in terms of one’s career. The idea of reckless youth, once the bane of the conservative, seems fanciful today.

But this crabbed attitude to the future, which might as well have been drawn up by a careers adviser, also explains a paradox. Never have the young been so serious, so frightened of fun, and wary of making mistakes, and never have they seemed so incapable of growing up. They’re worrying about their careers at 13, but still living at home at 30. This isn’t just because of that most tedious of moans, rising house prices in the South East – although there are clearly material factors involved.

No, this long-documented inability to grow up, this neverending period of adolescence into which so many seem locked, actually goes hand-in-hand with the increasingly fatalistic, life-by-numbers outlook of the young. That’s because what looks like a new-found sensibleness, a teenage embrace of being fortysomething, of worrying about one’s career and keeping at all times to the straight and narrow, also militates against growing up. Because to grow up properly, you need to make mistakes, you need to have been foolish, to have challenged life and to have lost. You need, in short, to have taken your life into your own hands.

But too many seem too frightened to do that, preferring instead to place their lives in the hands of a mapped-out career path, complete with a stint at university, a domino-rally of internships and work-experience placements, and that not-so-dream job at the end of it. With so little risked, so little struck out for, and so few days seized, is it any wonder that this generation of captain sensibles finds it so hard to grow up?


Swiss girls just wanna have guns

Rob Lyons reports from Zurich's annual shooting competition – for schoolchildren

There was uproar in August after a nine-year-old girl accidentally shot her shooting instructor with a machine gun at a venue called Bullets and Burgers in Arizona, USA. This was just the latest inevitable outcome, we were told, of a culture obsessed with guns. But as I saw in Zurich, Switzerland on Monday, the US is not alone in being so comfortable with such weapons, and there is no simplistic connection between teaching young people to use guns and high rates of homicide.

The occasion was the final shootout in the annual Knabenschiessen (‘Boys’ Shooting’) competition. Children from 13 upwards can sign up and have a go with automatic weapons (though in this case, one shot at a time), firing at targets that looked to me to be about 200 metres away. Standing behind the shooters, I could barely see the centre of the target. It was a mystery how anyone could hit it with a gun. Yet the delighted winner, 17-year-old Milena Brennwald, managed an impressive set of hits around the bullseye, becoming just the fifth girl to win the competition (they never bothered changing the name when they allowed girls to take part a few years back) and despite never having been a member of a shooting club.

If some American and British commentators are to be believed, Brennwald and her 16-year-old opponent were being lured into a veritable culture of death. Yet according to figures in 2007 from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the gun homicide rate in Switzerland (0.77 per 100,000 people) was only about a quarter of that in the US (2.97 per 100,000 people), despite legally owned weapons being ubiquitous. According to the latest figures, overall homicide rates in Switzerland (down to 0.6 per 100,000 people) are lower than in the UK (one murder per 100,000 people), despite guns being almost completely banned in the UK.

Gun homicide is far more common in poor, relatively unstable societies in Latin America and the Caribbean than in rich countries like the US and Switzerland. Access to weapons is merely one factor and far from being the most important one. Intentional homicide with firearms is about 20 times more likely in Honduras than in the US.

Guns, however, are a normal part of society in Switzerland, used in farming, civil defence and sport. My friend from Zurich pointed out to me that it is not uncommon to see people travelling on the trams with an automatic weapon slung over their shoulders, on the way to the local shooting range, and barely an eyelid is batted.

It is social conditions and individual moral choices that determine whether gun-related crime is a serious issue or not. Banning guns may make metropolitan liberals feel good, but as Brennwald, a veritable Alpine Annie Oakley, shows, guns can be an entertaining form of sport that allows men and women to compete on equal terms. More importantly, banning guns won’t rid society of the problem of homicide - but it does deprive us of the pleasure of shooting.


Can the ERA be revived?

Two strategies before Congress seek to ratify a constitutional amendment that was introduced in 1923. The core of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) lies in its statement, "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex." The ERA has stumbled for decades. One reason: depending on how "equal rights" are defined, the amendment becomes controversial. It has come to include demands for class entitlements or legal privileges rather than a focus upon protecting traditional and individual rights. For example, the ERA is increasingly construed as mandating greater "pay equity."

The strategies before Congress have little chance of advancing through the Republican-dominated House, as activists know. Nevertheless, the ERA has new life largely because the GOP's alleged "war on women" is an election issue in which Democrats see advantage. Feminist organizations nationwide are rallying their "troops," and the media is noticing. For example, a Sept. 12 headline in USA Today read "Fight to ratify Equal Rights Amendment draws new interest." The rallies and headlines are effective megaphones.

What are the two strategies?

The first is called "three state." It is embodied by S.J. Res. 15, which was introduced in the Senate on May 9, 2013; its House parallel is H.J. Res. 113. Both are in committee.

Passing a constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds majority in Congress and ratification by 38 state legislatures. The last major ERA push, in 1982, failed because only 35 states ratified by the deadline. The National Council of Women's Organizations explained the new strategy. "[I]t is likely that Congress has the power to adjust or repeal the previous time limit on the ERA, determine whether state ratifications ... are valid, and accept the ERA as part of the Constitution after three more states ratify." The argument for this congressional power draws upon the 1992 passage of the 27th amendment; the "Madison Amendment" on Congressional pay raises was ratified over 202 years after Congress submitted it to state legislatures.

Since the Illinois State Senate has already ratified and the House may do so as soon as November, only two more state ratifications would be necessary.

The second strategy is "fresh start." It is embodied by H.J. Res. 56, which was introduced into the House on August 1, 2013; its Senate parallel is S.J. Res. 10. Both are in committee. These bills would restart the ERA process with a need to secure 38 ratifications but without a deadline. Fresh start faces stiff odds.

But, again, the greatest obstacle is the Republican House. The USA Today article explained two of the reasons:One is more a conflict on issues, the other is also a conflict of definition.

USA Today quoted an advocate who was heading to a rally the next day. "My reproductive rights should be protected and no one should have control over that but me." This refers to the Supreme Court's June ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby that specific types of business did not have to provide free insurance for birth control under ObamaCare if they had religious objections. Republicans widely view the Hobby Lobby decision as a victory because reproductive rights exemplifies an issue in deep conflict.

USA Today continued. "Pay equity is another factor driving renewed enthusiasm. ... Women on average are paid 77 cents for every dollar men are paid, according to the ERA Coalition." Republicans back economic fairness for women but they tend to view pay equity as a massive intrusion into the marketplace in order to impose distributive justice. They view it as egalitarianism, rather than equality of rights.

Irony is at work here. Historically, the Republican Party's 1940 platform supported the ERA, upon which the party was basically united. The Democratic platform did not include the ERA until 1944, and the party was deeply divided for decades. Historian David Frum explained a key reason in his 2000 book How We Got Here: The '70s. Many Democrats and labor unions believed the amendment would obsolete protective labor legislation for women.

At the 1980 GOP convention, a bitter conflict erupted between feminists and social conservatives; the ERA was dropped from the platform. Some of the conflict arose from deep disagreements on specific issues. But, by 1980, another factor loomed. A new definition of "equal rights" had emerged from the feminist movement and was dominating debate. It was a liberal definition that called for more, and not less, government involvement in the workplace and home.

In short, the Republican-Democratic ERA divide rests as much on differing definitions of equality as it does on specific issues.



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 September, 2014

A Feminist bird?

That's Mrs Phalarope on the RIGHT

The sexual dimorphism and contribution to parenting are reversed in the three phalarope species. Females are larger and more brightly colored than males. The females pursue and fight over males, then defend them from other females until the male begins incubation of the clutch. Males perform all incubation and chick care, while the female attempts to find another male to mate with. If a male loses his eggs to predation, he will often rejoin his original mate or a new female, who will lay another clutch. Once it becomes too late in the season to start new nests, females begin their southward migration, leaving the males to incubate the eggs and care for the young. Phalaropes are uncommon among birds and vertebrates in general in that they engage in polyandry, one female taking multiple male mates while males mate with only one female. Specifically, phalaropes engage in serial polyandry, wherein females pair with multiple males at different times in the breeding season.

Feminists Demand TV Agitprop

Indian-American actress Mindy Kaling not only stars in her own sitcom on Fox called "The Mindy Project," she's in charge of it. You might think that feminists would celebrate that achievement, but that would show that you don't know about feminists. Apparently, nothing satisfies them. Instead, they are demanding she use her program to sell feminism, and its crowning joy, abortion.

Kaling committed a gaffe among the Hollywood left by telling a Flare magazine interviewer she had no plans to address what the magazine called "the American right's current war on abortion." Kaling said "It would be demeaning to the topic to talk about it in a half-hour sitcom."

In the article itself, it was a throwaway line. But to feminists, it was a bombshell. Her character, Dr. Mindy Lahiri, is an obstetrician/gynecologist. This apparently demands an abortion plot. They claim it's comedic gold. We kid you not.

Amanda Marcotte, one of America's most obnoxious feminist pundits, insisted, "Abortion is actually a perfect topic for a half-hour comedy because it touches on so many themes that comedy writers love to mine for the laughs." She insisted, "How easy it is, if you let go of the fear of getting letters from anti-choice nuts, to make some really funny jokes about abortion."

Marcotte recently wrote a jeremiad on "The Tyranny of the Home-Cooked Family Dinner" that was dead serious, but abortion is chock full of giggles? Such is the feminist mindset.

The recent movie "Obvious Child" was hailed by feminists for finding the comedy in abortion. A stand-up comedian gets an abortion, and the laughs naturally follow? "You're going to kill it," the comedian's best friend says at the comedy club the night before her abortion. "Tomorrow I am," was the punch line retort.

Back to Kaling, who buckled. Heading into her show's third season, Kaling made the round of liberal media outlets apologizing profusely that she misspoke. Abortion is a fine topic for comedy, she told The Huffington Post, just not for her own show. "Many incredible shows have dealt with in it in a way that I really admire. 'Roseanne' is one of them. I should have said for now. I don't know that that would be the case in the show, and I don't want to lock myself into never talking about it."

Then, on "The Colbert Report," she begged for patience. "We haven't found a hilarious take on abortion that's saying something new yet. But we might. I have faith in us." Colbert tried to pander to his liberal audience by claiming abortion was a "funny word, like guacamole."

The left often insists that artistic freedom is paramount. That is not true. Liberals insisted that sitcoms and dramas stuff their plots with arguments in favor of Obamacare. Imagine the furor if the Bush administration had insisted that sitcoms should address the war on terror, as comedy. What about comedy skits where animals are dismembered, or aborted? The left would never permit it.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, tells you how sick our culture is


Labour opens new front in class war: Public sector staff to be asked what parents do for a living to cut number of middle class and privately educated staff

It is of course the Labour party who have blocked off social mobility by their destruction of State education

Millions of workers in councils, schools and hospitals would be asked what their parents did for a living if Labour wins the next election.

Equalities spokesman Gloria De Piero said too many careers were dominated by middle class and private school-educated people.

She said that, starting with the public sector, the first step to increase social mobility would be to force employers to keep records on the social backgrounds of their staff to prove they were not all from privileged sections of society.

This would involve asking questions about their parents' occupations to assess whether they were working class.

But critics immediately dismissed the plan as an expensive, bureaucratic gimmick.

Miss De Piero, 41, grew up in a working-class area of Bradford. She became MP for Ashfield in Nottinghamshire in 2010 after a career as a GMTV presenter, and within three and a half years was shadow minister for women and equalities.

Addressing Labour's annual conference, she said: 'We talk a lot about smashing glass ceilings, and rightly so. But the Labour Party will never forget about the people who can't even get through the door of the building.

'Because if you're born poor, you are more likely to stay poor in this country than in other wealthy nations.

'There are ladders that can be used to climb up and get on but they aren't being extended to everyone. Good companies already monitor the race, gender and disability of their staff. They should monitor social background for the same reason. A Labour government will work to ensure this is done in the public sector.'

She said this had been implemented for the first time by the civil service's 'fast stream', which parachutes graduates into top jobs in Whitehall.

When it surveyed its intake, just 25 out of 654 graduates were working-class, she said. 'It makes me angry,' she told delegates. 'Talent is class-blind, but Britain is still not. The civil service should set the standard on open recruitment and open opportunity.'

Staff would not be questioned about their background when they were applying for a job. Instead, employees would be asked voluntary questions about their parents' occupations.

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen, who grew up in a working-class home and became a millionaire, said the plan was a gimmick designed to 'appease the lentil-munching Guardianistas in the Labour Party'. He added: 'It would create more costly bureaucracy for public bodies, and would quickly be extended to businesses where it would harm services and job creation. People should be encouraged to aspire to fulfil their potential through hard work, talent and opportunity.'

Parts of the civil service monitor levels of working-class staff using an Office for National Statistics definition that identifies their parents as having routine jobs in the sales, service, production, technical and agricultural sectors. City law firms have monitored the backgrounds of staff since 2011 after they were found to be among the least socially-diverse employers.

A spokesman for Miss De Piero said: 'The public sector already asks about the ethnicity, gender and disability status of employees. Social background would just be another question. It will help expose which parts of society still operate as a closed shop.'


Australian Football League supports same-sex marriage

The claim that football players are queer was once a common joke, but it seems that nature has imitated art, as Oscar Wilde would say.  There seem to be a lot of queer American footballers too

The AFL has expressed support for same-sex couples being allowed to marry in a development advocates hope will help build momentum for marriage equality.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan revealed the league's stance on the polarising issue in response to a letter from Geelong woman Sharyn Faulkner, who has a gay son.

"If the AFL publicly declares that they are in support of marriage equality you will give that young player who is struggling with their sexuality the courage to realise just who they are," Ms Faulkner wrote.

In response, Mr McLachlan wrote that football was no place for homophobia, and gave his personal commitment to "continue to speak out in this area whenever I can."

"The AFL will keep saying no matter how many times it takes, that our game does not tolerate discrimination in any form, be that sexual identity, gender, race (or) religious views ... we also support the position of marriage equality for all people.

"This matter is a serious issue for many young gay people, in terms of how they are treated in the wider community, and football leaders such as myself will continue to say that we do not tolerate it, and will continue to push for a change in behaviour from all sections of society."

Ms Faulkner applauded the AFL boss for his response, and said she hoped AFL club presidents would follow his lead.

"The AFL's policy of having no tolerance to discrimination in any form was heartening and for them to actually say that they support 'the position of marriage equality for all people' will make it so much easier for people to say 'if the AFL and my football club can say no to discrimination and yes to equality, so can I'," Ms Faulkner said.

The national director of Australian Marriage Equality, Rodney Croome said that the AFL's support for marriage equality would be welcomed by many AFL players and fans, and would "in all likelihood draw new fans to the game."

"AFL is central to Australian identity and the AFL's support for marriage equality reaffirms that values like inclusion and fairness are central too," Mr Croome said.

Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm is preparing a private member's bill to legalise same-sex marriage.

While Labor MPs have a free vote on the issue, the Liberal Party is yet to confirm its position on same-sex marriage in the new Parliament.

While Mr Abbott's firm personal view is that marriage should be between a man and a woman, he has said the question of whether there is a free vote on the issue within the Liberal Party would be a matter for the post-election party room.



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 September, 2014

In Hitler's footsteps

Some wisdon below from Juan Cole, a Professor of History at the University of Michigan, on Steven Salaita, who was offered a position at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that was rescinded following publicity on his inflammatory, anti-Israel Twitter posts

Note how Cole draws attention to Jews in prominent positions.  Hitler often did the same.  The only redemption for Cole may be that he is obviously not very bright.  See here

"I strongly suspect that Zionist organizations pressured the university to fire Professor Salaita. . . . This behavior is undemocratic and cult-like, and it is unacceptable in a Liberal society. We also see Jewish nationalists on the bench, in public office, and in high administrative positions who misuse their public position to engage in a sectarian vendetta so as to protect Israel from criticism or to punish its critics."


Black Actress Won't Apologize for Racism Claim

An actress who was detained by Los Angeles police is refusing to apologize for claiming race played a role in the incident, despite calls from local civil rights leaders.

Daniele Watts issued a statement late Friday through her publicist after civil rights activists demanded that she apologize for suggesting she was handcuffed for kissing her white boyfriend in public.

Watts and boyfriend Brian Lucas were questioned last week by officers investigating a report of lewd conduct in a parked car. Watts, who is black, refused to provide identification. She was briefly handcuffed until police identified her. The incident went viral after she and Lucas claimed on their Facebook pages that the detention reflected racial profiling. Audio later surfaced that indicated it was Watts who introduced race to the interaction with police.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson, who initially rallied behind the actress, said she "cried wolf" in this instance. "I was one that was very outspoken about it," he told reporters. "We take racial profiling very seriously. It's not a play thing. It's not trivial." Watts made no mention of race in her statement, but she maintained that she wasn't obligated to present identification to police. [Under California law she was]


Lady Gaga, we f*cking love you too

A pop singer displayed more clear-headed morality than any international statesman could manage this terrible summer

I didn’t go to Lady Gaga’s concert in Tel Aviv. Showing my age, I guess. But I’m feeling I should have made the effort — especially after I read Debra Kamin’s Times of Israel review of the show. “Put your hands up and cheer for yourselves,” Kamin quoted the good Lady telling the crowd at the end of her performance. “You are strong, you are brave, you are confident, and I f*cking love you, Israel.”

“I f*cking love you, Israel.” Maybe she says the same kind of thing everywhere she goes. But you know what? That was a great thing to say to Israel, to Israelis, at the end of this awful summer. I don’t remember anybody else saying anything remotely like it.

I do remember US Secretary of State John Kerry sneering to a colleague, as Israel’s air force sought to stop Hamas firing its thousands of rockets at us, “It’s a hell of a pinpoint operation, it’s a hell of a pinpoint operation.”

I remember French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius equating Israel and Hamas when saying, “In Israel and in Gaza, the situation is very hard… Nothing justifies continued attacks and massacres which do nothing but only claim more victims and stoke tensions.”

I remember Britain’s Labour opposition leader Ed Miliband declaring that, while “I defend Israel’s right to defend itself against rocket attacks… I cannot explain, justify, or defend the horrifying deaths of hundreds of Palestinians, including children and innocent civilians… This escalation will serve no lasting purpose and will do nothing to win Israel friends.”

And these are our ostensible international partners.

Significantly, the US, France and the UK are at the forefront of new efforts to tackle the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. In that cause, evidently, airstrikes and other contemplated international military actions, far from being unjustified and horrifying, are apparently moral, laudable and essential.

It doesn’t really make much sense, does it, from a moral perspective?

The world’s self-styled moral guardians and barometers of international legitimacy ignore President Bashar Assad when he slaughters hundreds of thousands of his own Syrian people. Similarly, IS, ISIL, ISIS or whatever it’s calling itself these days kills thousands of civilians in the region over the past decade and yet its existence barely registers on the Western consciousness. President Barack Obama, by his own admission, neglects to so much as prepare a strategy for dealing with it. Only when it starts beheading individual Westerners does it suddenly become a terrorist threat “beyond anything that we’ve seen” in the words of US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

We don’t have the luxury of withdrawing from the Middle East, America-style, if our military campaigns run into difficulty. This bloody, pernicious, unstable region is our historic neighborhood
Meanwhile, Hamas murders hundreds of Israelis in a strategic campaign of suicide bombings at the turn of the millennium, is subsequently elected by appreciative Palestinians to run numerous West Bank local councils and secures most of the Palestinian parliamentary seats in Gaza, ousts the Western-backed Mahmoud Abbas from the Strip in a brief orgy of murder, and steps up indiscriminate rocket fire at Israel. It then sets about turning Gaza into a terrorist enclave, arming itself with thousands of rockets and numerous cross-border attack tunnels, in pursuit of its openly declared goal of annihilating Israel. When Israel and Egypt impose a security blockade aimed at preventing yet more weaponry flooding into the Gaza terror state, Israel (though not Egypt) gets castigated internationally.

Then, this June, under instructions from Gaza, a Hamas terror cell in the West Bank kidnaps and kills three Israeli teenagers. And when Israel starts arresting suspects, Hamas steps up the Gaza rocket fire, plunging us into 50 days of conflict.

While the US doubtless regrets that its military intervention in distant Iraq and Afghanistan has led to tens of thousands of civilians being killed there, it saw this as the deeply unfortunate consequence of the imperative to tackle the Islamist terrorism that threatens America, its allies and its values; indeed, it christened its campaign in Afghanistan “Operation Enduring Freedom.”

Yet Israel’s attempts to protect its civilians from an Islamist terror state right next door — and to do so while seeking to minimize the civilian casualties in an enclave where Hamas incontrovertibly fired from hospitals, mosques, schools and homes — garnered the most grudging endorsement of its “right to defend itself” from its vital American ally, along with a (still) suspended missile shipment; the threat to halt arms sales from its slightly less vital British ally, and ill-informed condemnation from just about everywhere else (except Canada).

The horrors of this summer may not actually be over
We don’t have the luxury of withdrawing from the Middle East, America-style, if our military campaigns run into difficulty. This bloody, pernicious, unstable region is our historic neighborhood. Indeed, the critical importance of the revived Jewish national homeland as the only guaranteed place of refuge for Jews has been bitterly reconfirmed this summer, with Jews from countries such as France and Belgium — who until very recently thought they had the luxury of contemplating whether they might like to choose to immigrate — now increasingly looking to Israel as an essential safe haven, given the growing impossibility of living safely as publicly identified Jews amid the post-war wave of anti-Semitism.

Whisper it, but even in the United States of America some Jews worry that they are witnessing a significant resurgence of the oldest disease, often presenting in the guise of the anti-Zionism now especially virulent on university campuses. Not everyone is quite so sure anymore of the hitherto barely questioned assumption that at least Jews in America, if almost nowhere else in the Diaspora, could look to the medium term and beyond with confidence.

The horrors of this summer may not actually be over. Hamas still has thousands of rockets and, more pertinently, thousands of killers praying they’ll be granted their heartfelt wish to perish in the act of murdering Jews. To our north, Hezbollah is ten times as strong as Hamas ever was. It has 100,000 rockets, and an estimated 5,000 precision missiles, with only one address — Israel — to be launched when the time is deemed to be ripe. And to our east, Iran, which will tell Hezbollah when to launch, is spinning its ever more sophisticated centrifuges en route to the bomb, while privately delighting that the short-sighted West, shocked by those brutal beheadings, now seeks to woo the ayatollahs in the struggle against Islamic State. The enemy of my enemy, it need urgently be remembered, is not always my friend.

I’ve no idea how much of this is known to, or even interests, Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta — aka Lady Gaga. I do know that this summer, when all other artists about her were canceling their Israel visits, or having them canceled by our rocket-battered homefront authorities, the good Lady kept her head… and kept her Tel Aviv date optimistically in her calendar. So that when the rocket fire did subside less than three weeks before showtime, and we were finally able to emerge from our bomb shelters, she could fly in, perform, and tell us she loved us. (Kudos, as well, to Tony Bennett, a special guest at the Gaga show, and the star of his own sold-out Mann Auditorium concert on Sunday night.)

That took strength, bravery, confidence and more clear-headed morality than any international statesman managed to muster this terrible summer, when world attitudes to Israel ranged from half-hearted support to vicious, unjustified criticism. If they’re inclined to search for their moral compasses, Messrs. Kerry, Fabius, Miliband et al might care to consult with the singing star our reviewer magnificently described as “pop’s most promiscuous provocateur.” So thank you, Lady Gaga, and we f*cking love you right back.


Australia: The real threat that dare not speak its name

THE massive anti-terrorism raids conducted across Sydney and Brisbane were the latest wake-up call Australia has received to the very real threat within our border.

Our security agencies have been very professional — and very fortunate — in thwarting other planned atrocities but how many additional wake-up calls will be needed before more Islamic leaders and Australian politicians publicly acknowledge and loudly condemn the warped ideology which inspires the alleged terrorists.

In writing about these raids it has been impossible to avoid mentioning the “I” and “M” words — Islam and Muslim — because Islam is the religion the accused claim to follow and Muslim is the identity they choose.

Yet already our politicians from Prime Minister Tony Abbott to Queensland Premier Campbell Newman and NSW Premier Mike Baird are doing everything they can to avoid associating those at the core of these anti-terrorist raids with ­either word.

The closest Newman came to admitting any link was his admission that some “criminals are using the Muslim religion as a badge to get others on board”. Please. The public can join the dots.

IS, Islamic bookshops, deluded idiots claiming to be imams preaching hatred in mosques, men being arrested in homes in which the women are covered from head to toe in black covers, and no one can openly recognise the link to Islam, no matter how much the ideology may have been distorted?

Get real people. The battle cry of Allahu Akbar is being screamed by combatants from every side in the conflict raging from Syria to Iraq and across the mountains and valleys of Afghanistan. It is not the call to Evensong.

That so many in the Australian Muslim community are now co-operating with the authorities is a sign of maturity and, hopefully, a recognition that the deadly tribal feuds that keep the Middle East drenched in blood should never be permitted to find a home here where so many refugees from religious and ideological wars have found a haven.

While the nation appreciates their assistance, their true acceptance of residence or citizenship must include recognition that this is a pluralistic society.

We can choose (or leave) our own religion and adopt or reject ethical beliefs no matter how repugnant and (the Racial Discrimination Act’s 18C aside) offensive that may be to others.

Islam cannot be treated as a sacred cow. It must be open to the same sort of scrutiny, and indeed even mockery, as the ABC routinely dishes out to Catholics, Mormons and others.

Growing numbers of Muslims call Australia home. They must accept the house rules and reject those who insist on enforcing a set of disputed medieval religious edicts on others sheltering under the same roof.



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

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

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


21 September, 2014

Anti-immigrant party does well in Sweden

Scotland is not the only place to have an election recently.  Sweden did too.  The Sweden Democrats are greatly hated by the political establishment in Sweden but they have just become the third largest party in the Riksdag.  From Wikipedia:

"The Sweden Democrats believe that the current Swedish immigration and integration policies have been a failure. SD is the only party in the Swedish Parliament without an integration policy. They oppose integration because they believe that integration involves "meeting in the middle" and do not think that the Swedish people should have to bear the burden of what they see as a reckless immigration policy. SD feels that the current situation with a large number of immigrants living in cultural enclaves is not beneficial for the country. They argue that the immigrants themselves are rootless, that there have been rising antagonistic tensions between various population groups (socially, ethnically, religiously and culturally), and the immigration in itself, SD says, has caused social and economic strains on the country.[citation needed]

As the party considers Sweden to have had too much immigration in later years, which it claims have seriously threatened national identity and societal cohesion, SD wants to reinstate a common Swedish national identity which in turn would mean a stronger inner solidarity. SD rejects the policy of multiculturalism, but accepts a multiethnic society where cultural assimilation is promoted. SD wishes to strongly restrict immigration, and give generous support for immigrants who instead of wanting to assimilate in Sweden voluntarily prefer to emigrate back to their country of origin. As more state funds are made free from funding mass immigration, SD believes that Sweden in turn will have the possibility to better help refugees in their own nearby locations.[citation needed]

SD has referred to the recommendations from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) which state that the return of refugees should be the solution to refugee problems. Former party secretary between 2003–2004, Torbjörn Kastell had said in 2002 that the party wanted "a multicultural world, not a multicultural society." In a 2008 survey, a significant minority of 39 percent of all Swedes thought that there were "too many foreigners in the country", and in 2007 a survey showed that 49 percent of all Swedes wanted to restrict the number of asylum seekers. In recent years, SD has tried to approach the immigration policy of the Danish People's Party, which from 2001 to 2011 provided parliamentary support for the former Danish liberal/conservative government in return for a tightening of Danish immigration policies and stricter naturalization laws."

The detailed election results are set out below (from here)

The SD took most of their votes off the conservatives so the conservatives got fewer seats than the socialists.  So the socialists seem most likely to form a government.  Since the socialists got only 31% of the vote, however, they will need coalition partners and we have yet to see how that plays out.  It will certainly be a weak and indecisive government that will probably not be able to do much, which is good.

Salmond does the right thing

After the clear failure of the campaign he led, he has announced his resignation as Scotland's First Minister -- and his call  for the poll result to be accepted by all was an important bit of peacemaking.  Excerpt:

In a dignified speech to a solemn Scottish National party (SNP) rally in Edinburgh, Salmond said that although the Highland region had yet to declare, "we know that there's going to be a majority for the no campaign. And it is important to say that our referendum was an agreed and consented process and Scotland has, by a majority, decided not at this stage to become an independent country. And I accept that verdict of the people. And I call on all of Scotland to follow suit in accepting the democratic verdict of the people of Scotland."

The Scottish Referendum: A Win for England

by Sean Gabb

Last week, in Bodrum, I wrote my Thoughts on Scottish Independence. In this, I made three points:

* That the issue was a nuisance, and I regretted the need to discuss it;

* That a narrow vote against independence would allow Scottish politicians to continue demanding English money with menaces until they could find an excuse for another referendum;

* That a vote for independence would at least save England from the Labour Party.

Well, the votes are now counted, and the result was rather close. Yet, rather than gloomy, I feel increasingly pleased. The difference between then and now is that I could not be aware of two important facts.

The first of these facts was the promise, made last Monday, that, if the Scottish voted to stay in the United Kingdom, they could have nearly full domestic autonomy and an eternity of English subsidies. I saw this in the newspapers at Gatwick Airport, and it threw me into a rage. That swinish fool Cameron had sold us out, I told myself. He should have told the Scottish to vote for the Union or to get stuffed – preferably the latter.

The second fact, however, was only revealed this morning. David Cameron stood in Downing Street to confirm his promise of greater autonomy. He then added:

“It is absolutely right that a new and fair settlement for Scotland should be accompanied by a new and fair settlement that applies to all parts of our United Kingdom….

“We have heard the voice of Scotland - and now the millions of voices of England must also be heard.

“The question of English votes for English laws - the so-called West Lothian question -requires a decisive answer.

“So, just as Scotland will vote separately in the Scottish Parliament on their issues of tax, spending and welfare so too England, as well as Wales and Northern Ireland, should be able to vote on these issues and all this must take place in tandem with, and at the same pace as, the settlement for Scotland….

“We will set up a Cabinet Committee right away and proposals will also be ready to the same timetable”

So, there it is. Letting the northern half of our island fall under the sway of a pack of embittered Anglophobes would have been inconvenient. They might have started a civil war among themselves. They might have opened their borders in the reasonable knowledge that Scotland would only be a corridor into England. They might have done any number of things that required us to build an electric fence at the border, or to hand out endless bribes in Edinburgh. We now have all the benefits of Scottish independence without the costs. The only cost I can identify is the continuing subsidies. But these are petty cash, bearing in mind how much else of our money the Government wastes.

The Scottish seats return 59 members to Parliament. Only one of these is a Conservative. They others are leftists and Anglophobes. Many are in the Labour Party. Cut this number to six, and there will not be another Labour Government. Simply keep all 59, but exclude them from voting on English affairs, and a Labour Government, if conceivable, is not very practicable. It could win confidence votes, but would not be able to get its programme through the Commons.

And this will now be an election issue. The necessary legislation cannot be drafted and put through this Parliament. The Conservatives will go into the 2015 general election, promising English votes on English laws. If Labour and the Liberal Democrats agree, they stand to lose the Scottish strongholds in the election after that. If they disagree, they will lose dozens of their seats in England on account of English indignation. Even if they do agree, they can be credibly accused, on the basis of their most obvious self-interest, of planning to defraud the English.

I therefore predict – and will run off to the nearest betting shop first thing tomorrow morning to stake £50 on it – that the Conservatives will win the next election. On balance, this is a good thing. In the longer term, of course, a neutered Labour Party will allow us to sack the Conservatives, or their present leadership. So, it looks as if the referendum is a win for England.

Was this plotted by Mr Cameron from the beginning? It may have been. Ask them to do something about immigration, or political correctness, or even the law of land registration – certainly, allow them to take us into a war – and these people will make a mess of things. But, since it is all they ever think about, they can often be good at stuffing their opponents. That would explain why Mr Cameron was so willing to give Alex Salmond his referendum when he wanted it, and why he appeared to panic when there was little chance this Scottish would vote to leave. On the other hand, he might have come to his current position only by a process of unfolding revelation. Whatever the case, this may have been an excellent result for England.


I share Sean's feelings about the "West Lothian question" but I would not call the poll results close.  55% to 45% is normally a landslide in democratic politics -- JR

Big consitutional upheaval in Britain:  Labor party fights against fairness for the English

The political truce that saved the Union collapsed on Friday as David Cameron’s plans for English “home rule” were condemned by Labour.

Following Scotland’s No vote, the Prime Minister immediately set out plans to ensure that there are “English votes for English laws”. Those plans could result in England having its own first minister and would herald one of the biggest reforms of Britain’s tax system.

But they could prevent Scottish MPs voting on English-only issues in the wake of the independence referendum.

Excluding Scottish MPs from votes concerning only England would represent a disaster for the Labour Party.

Westminster sources said Mr Cameron’s announcement was calculated to kill Labour’s electoral chances.

Labour has 40 MPs in Scotland and could in theory be left without a majority in Parliament during many key votes if the party was to win the next general election.

Mr Miliband, the Labour leader, on Friday refused to sign up to Mr Cameron’s plans, with sources accusing the Prime Minister of “political gimmickry”.

It means that just days after pledging a cross-party agreement to give Scotland more powers in an attempt to save the Union, those plans were in disarray.

The Prime Minister’s announcement was designed to head off a rebellion by Conservative MPs, who were furious at the “vow” he made last week alongside Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg to transfer more powers to the Scottish government in the event of a No vote.

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, appeared to criticise the Prime Minister’s decision to pledge to devolve further powers to Scotland.

“I didn’t sign any such vow,” he said. “I’m just reflecting my strong feeling that you can’t endlessly give fiscal devolution to Scotland and continue to subsidise Scotland through the Barnett formula without addressing some of the constitutional and fairness issues that it throws up in the rest of the country.”

Labour said on Friday that it would oppose any plans to stop Scottish MPs voting on English issues. “We are not in favour of Westminster-led rushed solutions to these issues,” a Labour source said. “[Mr Cameron] failed to live up to the occasion. It did not call for a political gimmick. The moment called for a considered response. We think that Cameron’s response will be seen for what it is.”

Meanwhile, Downing Street accused Mr Miliband of “turning his back on England”.

Mr Cameron pledged the Unionist parties would keep promises made to Scotland in the heat of the referendum campaign. But he added: “In Wales, there are proposals to give the Welsh government and Assembly more powers and I want Wales to be at the heart of the debate for how to make our United Kingdom work for all our nations.

“In Northern Ireland, we must work to ensure the devolved institutions function effectively.

“But I have long believed a crucial part missing from this national discussion is England. We have heard the voice of Scotland and now the millions of voices of England must also be heard.

“The question of English votes for English laws, the so-called West Lothian Question, requires a decisive answer so just as Scotland will vote separately on their issues of tax, spending and welfare, so too England as well as Wales and Northern Ireland should be able to vote on these issues.

“All this must take place in tandem with and at the same pace as the settlement for Scotland.”

Mr Miliband instead called for a constitutional convention to address demands for wider devolution of power thrown up in the wake of the referendum.

The Labour leader said there needed to be a series of regional “dialogues” covering every area of the UK on how power could be dispersed from Westminster, including in England.

“The Labour Party will not now sit back and put up a 'business as usual’ sign over Westminster. Nor will I allow this moment to be used for narrow party political advantage,” he said. Experts warned that the row between the two parties could lead to a protracted constitutional crisis.

Labour had initially appeared divided in the hours following Mr Cameron’s announcement. Douglas Alexander, the shadow foreign secretary, criticised the plans. However, Lord Reid, the former Labour home secretary, said plans for further devolution in England are “perfectly logical and predictable”.

And John Denham, a close adviser of Mr Miliband’s, said: “While it is not yet clear precisely what additional powers on tax, spending and welfare, the Scottish Parliament will get, the binding pledge of the main Westminster party leaders will have to be honoured. But in the process, the English question must be settled too.”

Mr Cameron also suggested that similar proposals would in future apply to Welsh and Northern Irish MPs.

William Hague, the Commons Leader, will draw up the detail of the plans, to be discussed in a Cabinet committee, with the same November deadline as that for the detailed proposals for Scotland. Mr Cameron and Mr Hague will meet Conservative backbenchers next week at a special meeting of the 1922 committee, which is chaired by Graham Brady.

A source described it as an opportunity for the pair to hear the views from backbenchers about “the way forward”. One idea that will be discussed is a plan for a English executive which would take control of the devolved policy areas which only affect England, possibly with its own first minister.

It is thought that this would lead to departments that are already effectively English, such as health, education and communities and local government, being subsumed into this bigger body. The hope is that this meeting would herald the start of the talks on the changes to the constitution.

The “bottom line” for the Tory backbenchers is understood to be a ban on all Scottish MPs having any say over administration over laws and decisions that solely affect England. The would create a “degree of symmetry”, with days set aside in the House of Commons purely for English legislation. Effectively English MPs would be “double hatting” – sitting some of the time as an English MP and some of the time as a British MP. This would mean that a new legislature just for English MPs would not be required.

Mr Brady said: “The devolution settlement 16 years ago was profoundly unfair and was weighted in favour of Scotland.

“That injustice should have been resolved before now in the interest of democracy and fairness.”

Grant Shapps, the Conservative Party chairman, said: “As the Prime Minister has said, we need a new and fair settlement not just for Scotland – but for every part of the United Kingdom. And we want to work on a cross-party basis to make that happen. But Ed Miliband’s proposal would kick this vital issue into the long grass.

“If he is serious about delivering on our joint commitment to publish draft legislation on devolving more powers to Scotland by January, Ed Miliband must say whether he supports an equal settlement for England – English votes for English laws.”

All three Westminster party leaders pledged last week to transfer more powers over taxation and welfare to the Scottish government in the event of a No vote. It led to a furious reaction from Conservative ministers and MPs, who accused the Prime Minister of ignoring the needs of English voters.

Alex Salmond warned that the row between Mr Cameron and Mr Miliband could prevent more powers being devolved to the Scottish government.

However, Mr Miliband said: “Alex Salmond is wrong. We will deliver on our promise of further powers to Scotland on timetable set out.” A Downing Street source said there would be no change to the timetable for further devolution in Scotland and added: “We will press on with our plans for English laws.”


TX: Child Services to Mom Who Did Nothing Wrong: 'Just Don't Let Your Kids Play Outside'

Children's book author Kari Anne Roy was recently visited by the Austin police and Child Protective Services for allowing her son Isaac, age 6, to do the unthinkable: Play outside, up her street, unsupervised.

He'd been out there for about 10 minutes when Roy's doorbell rang. She opened it to find her son —and a woman she didn't know. As Roy wrote on her blog HaikuMama last week, the mystery woman asked: "Is this your son?"

I nodded, still trying to figure out what was happening.

"He said this was his house. I brought him home." She was wearing dark glasses. I couldn't see her eyes, couldn't gauge her expression.

"You brought..."

"Yes. He was all the way down there, with no adult." She motioned to a park bench about 150 yards from my house. A bench that is visible from my front porch. A bench where he had been playing with my 8-year-old daughter, and where he decided to stay and play when she brought our dog home from the walk they'd gone on.

"You brought him home... from playing outside?" I continued to be baffled.

And then the woman smiled condescendingly, explained that he was OUTSIDE. And he was ALONE. And she was RETURNING HIM SAFELY. To stay INSIDE. With an ADULT. I thanked her for her concern, quickly shut the door and tried to figure out what just happened.

What happened? The usual. A busybody saw that rarest of sights—a child playing outside without a security detail—and wanted to teach his parents a lesson. Roy might not have given the incident a whole lot more thought except that shortly afterward, her doorbell rang again.

This time it was a policewoman. "She wanted to know if my son had been lost and how long he'd been gone," Roy told me by phone. She also took Roy's I.D. and the names of her kids.

That night Isaac cried when he went to bed and couldn't immediately fall asleep. "He thought someone was going to call the police because it was past bedtime and he was still awake."

As it turns out, he was almost right. About a week later, an investigator from Child Protective Services came to the house and interrogated each of Roy's three children separately, without their parents, about their upbringing.

"She asked my 12 year old if he had ever done drugs or alcohol. She asked my 8-year-old daughter if she had ever seen movies with people's private parts, so my daughter, who didn't know that things like that exist, does now," says Roy. "Thank you, CPS."

It was only last week, about a month after it all began, that the case was officially closed. That's when Roy felt safe enough to write about it. But safe is a relative term. In her last conversation with the CPS investigator, who actually seemed to be on her side, Roy asked, "What do I do now?"

Replied the investigator, "You just don't let them play outside."

There you have it. You are free to raise your children as you like, except if you want to actually give them a childhood. Fail to incarcerate your child and you could face incarceration yourself.



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 September, 2014

The Scottish Fascists fell at the last hurdle

The vote against independence won by a large margin

The essential features of Fascism are socialism and nationalism.  And the SNP has both those characteristics in spades.  Its leader, Salmond, was a far Leftist in his youth and all his policies are still of a Leftist ilk.  That includes his support for Greenie causes.  Hitler and Mussolini were both distinctly Green too.

And it is fascinating how Fascists all turn to intimidation by street gangs to get their way.  The behaviour of the Nationalist street gangs in Scotland was vicious and well within the range of what Fascist street fighters do -- often succeeding in silencing speakers opposed to Scottish independence and intimidating opponents of independence generally.

But the Nationalists walk away with a substantial second prize.  The  Westminster politicians have promised Scotland "DevoMax" if they stay in the UK. Broadly, that means that Scotland will be independent in all but defence and foreign policy.  They will be responsible for their own taxes and will decide on their own government spending on welfare, health etc.

Nothing will hold their socialism in check, however, so their new  powers are highly likely to be impoverishing.  Expect a lot more useless but expensive windmills for a start.

Netanyahu: ‘We’ve Seen This Before. There's a Master Race; Now There's a Master Faith’

 In a speech on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu compared Islamist terrorist groups such as ISIS, Hamas and Hezbollah to Nazis: “We know this. We’ve seen this before. There's a master race; now there's a master faith."

“The tactics are uniform. Terror first of all against your own people,” Netanyahu told attendees at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism's (ICT) 14th annual conference held at Herzliya, an Israeli technology center located about six miles north of Tel Aviv.

“There's a master race; now there's a master faith. And that allows you to do anything to anyone, but first of all to your own people and then to everyone else,” Netanyahu continued, in a reference to Nazi ideology stemming from Adolf Hitler’s belief, detailed in his speeches and writings, that Aryans were the “master race.”

"And what do you do to everyone else? For that you use new techniques. And the new techniques involve first of all, taking over civilian populations, putting yourself inside civilian areas, contravening the laws of war and the Geneva Convention; using your people as human shields, the same people you execute; and then firing indiscriminately at civilians. You hide behind civilians, you fire on civilians. And you fire rockets and missiles.

"And this creates a whole new set of problems. And these problems are born of the fact that it's much harder to fight this kind of terror - much harder. It's much easier to fight an army: tanks, artillery, command centers, open spaces. You destroy that, you destroy the army. End of war.

"But these people, because they're forcing you to face up to the moral limits that democracies obey, are basically forcing you to fight a new war."

Netanyahu described what he called the "moral divide" between Islamic groups like Hamas and Western democracies.

“All of Israel mourned on September 11th. In Gaza, they were dancing on the roofs. They were handing out candy,” Netanyahu said. “That's the moral divide. We mourn; they celebrate the death of thousands of innocents.

“And then when the U.S. took out Bin-Laden, I, speaking for virtually the entire country, congratulated President Obama. In Gaza, Hamas condemned the U.S. and called Bin-Laden a 'holy warrior', a holy warrior of Islam. That's the moral divide. We celebrate; they mourn the death of an arch-terrorist,” the Israeli prime minister pointed out.

“Now that moral divide has never been clearer than it is today because Hamas, like al-Qaeda and its affiliates al-Nusra or its new growth ISIS, or Boko Haram, al-Shabab, Hezbollah supported by Iran - all are branches of the same poisonous tree. All present a clear and present danger to the peace and security of the world and to our common civilization.”

Netanyahu emphasized that, despite their internal divisions, all the various Islamic terror groups use violence to achieve their “one common goal.”

“These groups have absolutely no moral or other impediment to their mad desires. Once they have massive power, they will unleash all their violence, all their ideological zeal, all their hatred, with weapons of mass death.

“What we've seen is old regimes collapse and Islamist forces come to the surface, old hatreds - Shiite against Shiite, but primarily Shiite against Sunni, Sunni against Sunni - all come bursting from subterranean layers of history and frustration,” he explained.

“And they all have one common goal. The goal is we establish a new Islamist dominion, first in the Middle East and in their warped thinking, throughout the world. They all agree on that. They are not limited in their scope to a territory. They're not limited to borders… they may be anchored in a particular place, but their goal is to take the entire world, to cleanse it of infidels - first their own people, Muslims, and then everyone else. Madness.”

Netanyahu added that they all use the same tactics to achieve their common goal.

“They all agree that they have to establish a caliphate. They all disagree who should be the caliph. That's the nature of their disagreements. And they all use essentially the same tactic and that's unbridled violence, fear - fear – terror,” he said.

“Anywhere between 1,000 to 2,000 people are annually executed, executed in Iran. I'm not talking about criminals; I'm not talking about people who have broken the law - people who have the temerity to have a different view, question the regime,” Netanyahu continued.

“And they're hung in public squares and sometimes they're hung from cranes. They don't have enough scaffolds. And you see the same thing, the same thing - it doesn't receive the same prominence - from ISIS, same technique,” he pointed out.

“You take over a population. The first thing is, yes, you lop heads off in this tragic barbarism that we witness, but you also take people to the burial pits and you shoot them by the hundreds and thousands.”

Netanyahu concluded that fighting the militant Islamic extremists “requires weapons, defensive and offensive, but above all it requires, I believe, clarity and courage - clarity to understand they're wrong, we're right; they're evil, we're good. No moral relativism there at all.

“These people who lop off heads, trample human rights into the dust, are evil and they have to be resisted. Evil has to be resisted,” he said.

But Netanyahu finished his speech on a hopeful note, saying, “I may surprise you when I tell you that I think militant Islam will be defeated… I think it will ultimately disappear from the stage of history because I think it's a grand failure - it doesn't know how to manage economies, it cannot offer the young people to which it appeals any kind of future.

“It can control their minds for now, but ultimately the spread of information technology will obviate that, will give people choices. But this may take a long time.

“And we've been able to predict in the past that radical ideologies - which inflame the minds of millions - set their sights on minorities, usually starts with the Jews, [but] it never ends with the Jews. They ultimately fail, too. That happened in the last century. But before they failed, they took down tens of millions with them and a third of our own people.

“That will never happen again.” he vowed.


Is Pope Francis Preparing to Declare The ‘Virgin’ Mary to Be 4th Part of The Trinity?

Francis says that our hope is not Jesus, but Mary and Mother Church

“The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.” Jeremiah 7:18

Even though they lie and say that they are only “venerating” her, the Roman Catholic Church has since the middle 1800’s worshipped Mary from the New Testament. They create idols of her, call her the Queen of Heaven, ascribe all sorts of miracles to her statues and bow down to her in worship. As someone who was raised in the Catholic Church and trained by Jesuits, I can testify that this 100% true. But Pope Francis this past weekend took Mary worship, a sin, to staggering new heights.

Francis, speaking to mark the occasion of the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows in Casa Santa Marta, said the following:

    “And this is our hope. We are not orphans, we have Mothers: Mother Mary. But the Church is Mother and the Mother Church is anointed when it takes the same path of Jesus and Mary: the path of obedience, the path of suffering, and when she has that attitude of continually learning the path of the Lord. These two women – Mary and the Church – carry on the hope that is Christ, they give us Christ, they bring forth Christ in us. Without Mary, there would be no Jesus Christ; without the Church, we cannot go forward“.

Jesus has been demoted to third place behind ‘mother’ Mary and the ‘Holy Mother Church’, the Roman Catholic Church. The bible says, however that the “blessed hope” of the Christian is “the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” Scripture never mentions Mary one time as being the hope of anyone or anything. But if you’re a Catholic Francis says that “ today we can go forward with a hope: the hope that our Mother Mary, steadfast at the Cross, and our Holy Mother, the hierarchical Church, give us.“

The position and title that Pope Francis has bestowed on Mary is, by his own words, equal or greater than that of the 2nd part of the Trinity, Jesus Christ. And though he has yet to use the words, he has effectually already placed her status firmly at the Godhead level.

Mary did not stay as a virgin, she had a bunch of children with Joseph:

    “And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.” Mark 6:2,3

It’s because of scriptures like these that the Roman Catholic Church doesn’t want you to read and interpret the bible for yourself.


First British Clergyman To Enter Gay Marriage, Blocked By Church From New Job

A good thing that someone in the C of E has some backbone

The first British clergyman to enter a gay marriage has been blocked by the Church of England from taking up a new post. Canon Jeremy Pemberton tied the knot with long-term partner Laurence Cunningtongue in April. The Right Reverend Richard Inwood responded by revoking his permission to operate as a priest in the diocese of Southwell and Nottingham where he lives, but this did not affect his work as a hospital chaplain in Lincolnshire.

Mr Pemberton successfully applied for the role of chaplaincy and bereavement manager at the Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Trust, but he cannot take the promotion because Mr Inwood is refusing to issue the required licence. Mr Pemberton told the Guardian: "I don't think it's clear that what they've done is legal. I certainly don't think it's fair. There's been no process. The bishop is effectively threatening my ability to be in employment. It's clear that the only reason my taking that (post) up is threatened is about nothing to do with my ability as a chaplain but it entirely about the fact that I got married."

Mr Inwood said his decision was made "for reasons of consistency". He said: "In its pastoral guidance on same sex marriage, the House of Bishops said that getting married to someone of the same sex was clearly at variance with the teaching of the Church of England. The statement said it would not be appropriate conduct for someone in holy orders to enter into a same sex marriage, given the need for clergy to model the Church's teaching in their lives.

"In view of this, and having spoken to Canon Jeremy Pemberton, his permission to officiate in the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham was revoked. In light of the pastoral guidance and for reasons of consistency, I am unable to issue a licence to Jeremy Pemberton for the post of chaplaincy and bereavement manager, in the Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Trust."

In a statement published on the Changing Attitude website, Mr Cunnington said he was appalled by the decision. "I realise that, as Jeremy's husband, I am far from impartial but those of you who know him well will recognise my description of him as a fine man of integrity and exceptional abilities and whose ministry in this diocese would be a tremendous asset to those he serves. I am appalled, to put it mildly, that he is to be denied this opportunity solely because of his marital status," he said.


Are Students Afraid To Be Free?

Class is back in session for most colleges and universities across the country. Last year, I had the privilege of teaching college economics courses for the first time. We discussed many issues, from the economics of War on Drugs and the War on Terror, to the minimum wage, to why airlines offer discounts to grandmothers but not, businessmen. It was during one of these discussions, when analyzing a particularly nefarious but common policy, that one of my students raised his hand. His question was simple:


The question was a great one. It gave us an opportunity to discuss how the incentives faced by policymakers may mean economically detrimental policies persist. But the student’s question got me thinking. Every year on campus there are always students staging some kind of demonstration. Sometimes it’s as innocuous as signing people up for a social club or organizing a sporting event. Other times, it’s a direct assault on what a university campus should be, a place where students can be free to express and explore ideas, a place where students are exposed to different kinds of people and new ways of thinking.

This second kind of activity is happening all across the country. From establishing “free speech zones” on college campuses, to school officials seizing Hanukkah candles from a student’s dorm because of a supposed “fire hazard” (note students were allowed to smoke in the same dorm), there is a disturbing trend of limiting liberties on college campuses. What’s more worrisome is that it’s not just political actors who advocate such polices, but students.

The question to ask is why? When there is no clear incentive for a person to advocate a particular policy, how do we answer this question? In one of my favorite papers, the late Nobel Laureate James Buchanan argued that individuals will continue to advocate for policies that reduce prosperity, cripple civil liberties, and grow the size of government. The reason—people are afraid to be free. He states,

[T]he attitude here is akin to that of the child who seeks the cocoon-like protection of its parents, and who may enjoy its liberty, but only within the limits defined by the range of such protection. The mother or father will catch the child if it falls, will bandage its cuts.... Knowledge that these things will be done provides the child with a sense of order in its universe, with elements of predictability in uncertain aspects of the environment....

[T]he state—steps in and relieves the individual of his responsibility as an independently choosing and acting adult. In exchange, of course, the state reduces the liberty of the individual to act as he might choose.

In discussing many current policy issues, from unemployment benefits, to healthcare, to education, to public prayer, there are really two courses of action. One course allows people the liberty to choose for themselves, to do as they will and not impose their preferences on others. The other option relegates these decisions into the hands of supposedly benevolent bureaucratic actors. In some cases, removing responsibility from individuals may sound appealing. But it is important to remember that such a decision involves costs. In many cases, the cost may be our individual liberties.

In my courses I aim to challenge my students. I want them to question their prior assumptions so they can critically examine the world around them. I encourage them to recognize that there are a variety of obvious and hidden costs to any policy, what Bastiat referred to as “what is seen and what is not seen.” College students should be lots of things. They should be curious, and question, and explore. They should pursue new passions and discover what the world has to offer. But there are things students shouldn’t do. I try to convince them they shouldn’t put off their homework until an hour before it’s due. They shouldn’t allow someone else to chart their course. They shouldn’t let someone else make their decisions. They shouldn’t be afraid to be free.



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

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

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


18 September, 2014

Angela Merkel: Fighting anti-Semitism is German duty

Fighting anti-Semitism is every German's duty, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has told a rally in Berlin.

The protest against anti-Semitism comes 75 years since the start of World War Two, in which six million Jews were killed by Nazi Germany.

With attacks on Jews increasing, the message to Germany and the world is "tolerance" , Mrs Merkel said.

The surge in anti-Semitism follows the summer's conflict in Gaza.

On stage, Chancellor Merkel began her speech saying the 100,000 Jews living in Germany were a "national treasure".

"Jewish friends, neighbours and colleagues, consider yourselves at home here," she told the crowd, put at up to 5,000 people.

However, because of the sharp rise in anti-Semitic attacks, she said there was "not a single Jewish institution" in the country that does not require police protection in the current climate, and it was "every German's duty" to take a stand.

"The legitimate criticism of the political actions of a government - be it ours or of the state of Israel - is fine. But if it is only used as a cloak for one's hatred against other people, hatred for Jewish people, then it is a misuse of our basic rights of freedom of opinion and assembly."


Outraged Swiss village of 1,000 residents forced to raise taxes after African refugee mother-of-seven moves there and costs them £40,000 a month in benefits

A village of just 1,000 residents in Switzerland has been forced to raise taxes because an African refugee and her seven children cost the local authority £40,000 in benefits every month.

Hagenbuch, in the Swiss canton of Zurich, is understood to be spending close to a third of its total annual budget on the family after they arrived from Eritrea in East Africa three years ago.

The massive benefits bill covers day-to-day living expenses such as groceries and cleaning costs, as well as paying for four of the woman's children to be housed in an orphanage and even bills for general entertainment - such as guided tours of local attractions and entry fees for the zoo.

The Eritrean woman and her family arrived in Hagenbuch three years ago in possession of a visa allowing her to stay in Switzerland for five years, with the option to extend her stay beyond that date.

It is not known if the family had lived elsewhere in Switzerland before moving to the quiet village.

Solely to cover the cost of the family's massive benefits bill, the local authority is now planning to raise taxes in the village by a shocking five per cent .

'I don't know where to turn. I think we have no other choice but to raise taxes,' Mayor Therese Schlaepfer told daily Swiss newspaper Blick.

She added that local residents were justifiably outraged by the spiraling costs of caring for the family, who require a team of social workers to spend six hours a day, six days a week on them alone.

When the woman and her family arrived in Hagenbuch three years ago, the municipal government immediately agreed to cover the full cost of their rent and £1,700 a month in living expenses.

A short time later the woman sought further financial help, claiming she had become overwhelmed by family commitments and was now struggling to look after all seven of her children.

This resulted in four of them being sent to an orphanage - with the local authority paying out £6,000 for each child every month - a total cost of £24,000.


£24,000 - Cost of looking after four children at the local orphanage

£13,000 - Social worker expenses

£1,700 - General living expenses allowance

£1,300 - Housing costs and entertainment bills

On top of this there are also the costs of helping the woman pay her cooking and cleaning bills - plus rolling entertainment expenses, such as paying the entry fee for all eight family members at the zoo.

As well as straight handouts, the family also reportedly cost the local authority thousands more every month by tying up social workers and carers for six hours a day, six days a week.

On average these social workers cost the council about £90 every hour they work, rising to £95 an hour in the evening or at weekends.


Multiculturalism Is a Failure

German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that in Germany, multiculturalism has "utterly failed." Both Australia's ex-prime minister John Howard and Spain's ex-prime minister Jose Maria Aznar reached the same conclusion about multiculturalism in their countries. British Prime Minister David Cameron has warned that multiculturalism is fostering extremist ideology and directly contributing to homegrown Islamic terrorism. UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage said the United Kingdom's push for multiculturalism has not united Britons but pushed them apart.

It has allowed for Islam to emerge despite Britain's Judeo-Christian culture. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said the roots of violent Islamism are not "superficial but deep" and can be found "in the extremist minority that now, in every European city, preach hatred of the West and our way of life."

The bottom line is that much of the Muslim world is at war with Western civilization. There's no question that the West has the military might to thwart radical Islam's agenda. The question up for grabs is whether we have the intelligence to recognize the attack and the will to defend ourselves from annihilation.

Multiculturalism is Islamists' foot in the door. At the heart of multiculturalism is an attack on Western and Christian values. Much of that attack has its roots on college campuses among the intellectual elite who see their mission as indoctrinating our youth. In past columns, I've documented professorial hate-America teaching, such as a UCLA economics professor's telling his class, "The United States of America, backed by facts, is the greediest and most selfish country in the world." A history professor told her class: "Capitalism isn't a lie on purpose. It's just a lie."

She also said: "(Capitalists) are swine. ... They're bastard people." Students sit through lectures listening to professorial rants about topics such as globalism and Western exploitation of the Middle East and Third World peoples.

Some public school boards have banned songs and music containing references to Santa Claus, Jesus or other religious Christmas symbols. The New York City school system permits displays of Jewish menorahs and the Muslim star and crescent, but not the Christian Nativity scene. One school district banned a teacher from using excerpts from historical documents in his classroom because they contained references to God and Christianity. The historical documents in question were the Declaration of Independence and "The Rights of the Colonists," by Samuel Adams.

The U.S. is a nation of many races, ethnicities, religions and cultures. Since our inception, people from all over the world have immigrated here to become Americans. They have learned English and American history and celebrated American traditions and values. They have become Americans while also respecting and adapting some of the traditions of the countries they left behind. By contrast, many of today's immigrants demand that classes be taught -- and official documents be printed -- in their native language. Other immigrants demand the use of Shariah, practices that permit honor killing and female genital mutilation.

Multiculturalists argue that different cultural values are morally equivalent. That's nonsense. Western culture and values are superior. For those who'd accuse me of Eurocentrism, I'd ask: Is forcible female genital mutilation, as practiced in nearly 30 sub-Saharan African and Middle Eastern countries, a morally equivalent cultural value? Slavery is practiced in Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad and Sudan; is it morally equivalent? In most of the Middle East, there are numerous limits placed on women, such as prohibitions on driving, employment and education. Under Islamic law, in some countries, female adulterers face death by stoning, and thieves face the punishment of having their hand severed. In some countries, homosexuality is a crime punishable by death. Are these cultural values morally equivalent, superior or inferior to Western values?

Multiculturalism has not yet done the damage in the U.S. that it has in western European countries -- such as England, France and Germany -- but it's on its way. By the way, one need not be a Westerner to hold Western values. Mainly, you just have to accept the supremacy of the individual above all else.


The Anus Monologues

Ann Coulter

Unable to comment on the "Duck Dynasty" controversy last week due to my hectic Kwanzaa schedule, I am able to sweep in at the end and comment on the commentary.

Anyone who utters the mind-numbingly obvious point that A&E's suspension of "Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson doesn't involve the First Amendment because a TV network is not the government, should be prohibited from ever talking in public again. You can bore your few remaining friends with laborious statements of the obvious, but stop wasting everyone else's time.

We know A&E is not the government. It may shock your tiny little pea brains, but free speech existed even before we had a Constitution. Free speech is generally considered a desirable goal even apart from its inclusion in the nation's founding document.

Suppose TV networks were capitulating to angry Muslims by suspending people for saying they opposed Sharia law? Would that prompt any of you pusillanimous hacks to finally take a position on the state of free speech in America?

Or would you demand that we stop the presses so you could roll out your little cliche about a television network not being the government? That fact has very little relevance to someone whose life has just been ruined. Hey! Don't worry about it -- at least it wasn't the government!

Instead of the government censoring speech, what we have is shock troops of liberal agitators demanding people's heads for the slightest divergence from Officially Approved Liberal Opinion.

Evidently, the word of God is on the banned list. As Robertson himself has said, all he did "was quote from the Scriptures, but they just didn't know it."

His offending remarks delivered to GQ magazine were:

"Everything is blurred on what's right and what's wrong. Sin becomes fine ... Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men. Don't be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers -- they won't inherit the kingdom of God. Don't deceive yourself. It's not right."

There's absolutely no question but that Robertson accurately summarized biblical strictures. But liberals can't grasp that God is not our imaginary friend, who says whatever we want Him to say, when we want Him to say it. (I promise you, except for venereal disease and eternal damnation, life would be a lot more fun if we were making it up as we went along.)

So they blamed Robertson for Holy Scripture. True, God created the universe and every living thing, but liberals think they can improve on His work.

Since Robertson's interview appeared, I haven't heard as much sophistical nonsense about the New Testament not condemning fornication since I was a teenager in the backseat of a car.

The book of Romans, called "the Cathedral of the Christian faith," provides the clearest explanation of the doctrines of sin. Here are a few catchy verses:

"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven ... so that people are without excuse.

"Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error ...

"Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them."

Also, keep these citations in your back pocket for the next time some sweaty teenage boy tries to convince you Jesus didn't condemn fornication: 1 Corinthians 7:2; Galatians 5:19-20; Jude 1:7; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Romans 13:13; 1 Corinthians 6:13, 18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5; and Matthew 5:32.

The lake of fire and burning sulfur (Revelation 21:8) may not sound like a day at the beach, but judging by their hysterical attack on Robertson, our new earthly gods are a lot less forgiving than the real God.

GLAAD instantly condemned Robertson's totally accurate rendition of Holy Scripture as "vile." With refreshing originality, CNN's Piers Morgan called Robertson a "vile bigot."

And it's not just "vile" to cite Holy Scripture. Evidently, it's also vile not to appreciate the joys of anal sex.

What seemed to set liberals off as much as Robertson's Biblical summaries was his statement that he doesn't find anal sex appealing. He said:

"It seems like, to me, a vagina -- as a man -- would be more desirable than a man's anus. That's just me. I'm just thinking: There's more there! She's got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I'm saying? But hey, sin: It's not logical, my man. It's just not logical."

So now, not only do we all have to support gay marriage, gay wedding cakes and gay soldiers -- but we also have to agree that anal sex sounds peachy! It's like being denounced for saying you prefer vanilla ice cream to chocolate.

To paraphrase an old Jewish line: This is not good for the gays.

Gays have gone from being the bullied to the bullies -- a modern American phenomenon detailed in my book "Guilty: Liberal Victims and Their Assault on America."

Yes, we know you used to be unfairly victimized. But being beaten up for being gay is simply not the same as having to endure hearing someone opine that anal sex isn't his cup of tea.

A&E didn't dare cross the gays, never anticipating that the Robertson family wouldn't back down -- and the rest of the country wouldn't, either. Even non-Christians can have only contempt for the network's utter cravenness in suspending Robertson for stating basic Christian doctrine.

The first time someone stands up to a bully and the sky doesn't fall, the tyranny is over. The gay mafia was out of control, drunk with power. This time, they got their wings clipped.

Christians, 1; Angry gays: minus 1,000. Cliche-spouting hack TV pundits: I recommend capital punishment.



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 September, 2014

BOOK REVIEW of If It Ain’t Broke: the Case Against Constitutional Reform of the United Kingdom
Relevant to the forthcoming referendum on independence for Scotland

The title says it all.  Constitutional policy has not been debated properly in Britain. As a result of the failure to think things out systematically in advance, change has been piecemeal and unplanned.

Lacking a comprehensive strategy to defend the constitution, Downing Street seems to be grasping at straws at the last moment and the wholly avoidable possibility of Scotland voting to leave the United Kingdom might become a reality.

This book is a belated attempt to urge those who love the UK to get their act together and come up with a strategy to save the  constitution from multiple threats. Check it out.  The Introduction and a substantial part of the first Chapter can be read free on Amazon

It’s the ineffable smugness that gets us

We’re all aware of the manner in which the supermarkets have been one of the evil bugbears of our times. The manner in which the upper middle class commentariat has been outraged, outraged we tell you, at the manner in which anyone has the effrontery to offer the working classes cheap and convenient food. doesn’t everyone realise that they should be buying at the butcher and greengrocer so as to subsidise the desires of the upper middle class commentariat?

Which brings us to this lovely piece claiming that the age of the supermarket is now over and ain’t that a good thing?

 "In my street, the light thunk of plastic boxes as they’re unloaded from the supermarket delivery vans is now as familiar, if not quite so uplifting, as the sound of my beloved’s key in the door. Those who use the internet for grocery shopping do it for reasons of convenience, certainly. But we also know we spend less online, buying only what we need, choosing necessities with a ruthlessness that often abandoned us in-store. What we used to spend on impulse buys – or some of it – then goes on a decent wedge of Lincolnshire Poacher, a couple of fillets of haddock or some good beef, sold to us by smiling, helpful, talkative people whose names we may know, and whose businesses matter both to them and us.

The people who run our supermarkets, obsessed as they are with “price matching” and “meal deals”, seem not to have noticed this. Or perhaps they have merely accepted there is no real way to respond to it. Small, local supermarkets are good and useful should you run out of stock cubes or Persil of a Tuesday evening. But even their expansion is finite. For the rest, there is no short-term solution. We have become suspicious: of their mawkish advertising, of their treatment of farmers, of their desperate bids to package up things that really don’t need packaging up at all (I mean this literally and metaphorically, versions of “restaurant-style” dishes being every bit as phoney and wasteful as apples wrapped in too much plastic). Modern life, we feel, is isolating enough without self-service check-outs. They want to own us, but we aren’t having it. Suddenly, the over-lit aisles of Tesco have never looked more bleak. Or more empty."

The problem with this is as follows. I’ve always said that supermarkets were horrible things and look, now people agree with me! That means I was right! But, no, sadly, it doesn’t. It means that you might (assuming we accept the idea that the supermarkets are falling out of favour) be right now but it means that you were wrong before. Not in your personal taste of course: but in your projection of your personal taste to others.

And the point of emphasising this is that this is why we have markets. So that the consumer can decide for themselves how, in this instance, they wish to purchase their comestibles. If technology has changed so that internet delivery is now better all well and good. If it’s simply consumer taste that has, equally well and good. The entire point of having competitors in a market is so that the consumer can, with each and every groat and pfennig they spend, intimate which of the possible offerings they prefer. On the grounds of price, taste, convenience, technology or any other differentiator.

If the supermarkets do go down (something we rather suspect won’t actually happen) then it will not prove that those who campaigned against them in the past were right. It will prove that they were wrong: and further that their attempts to impose their views on others will always be wrong. For the very fact that supermarkets succeeded as a technology for however long it was or will be shows that they were wrong: and that they fail (as any and every technology eventually does) at some point will again show that that market process is the method of dealing with such matters. For, as is now being said, when the technology or consumer desires change then the market reacts and replaces the less favoured with the more. What else could you possibly want from a system of socio-economic organisation?


Actually, Senators, You're the Ones Who Threaten the Country

Americans' right to free speech should not be proportionate to their political power.

We are, as it always seems, "at a pivotal moment in American history." At least that's what Sens. Tom Udall and Bernie Sanders maintained in a melodramatic Politico op-ed last week as they explained their efforts to repeal the First Amendment.

Let me retort in their language:

It's true that building the United States has been long, arduous and rife with setbacks. But throughout the years, the American people have repelled efforts to weaken or dismantle the First Amendment. We have weathered the Sedition Act of 1918, a law that led to the imprisonment of innocent Americans who opposed the war or the draft. Since then, we have withstood numerous efforts to hamper, chill, and undermine basic free expression in the name of "patriotism." We have, however, allowed elected officials to treat citizens as if they were children by arbitrarily imposing strict limits on their free speech in the name of "fairness."

But nowadays, after five members of the Supreme Court upheld the First Amendment and treated all political speech equally, liberal activists and Democrats in the Senate would have us return to a time when government dispensed speech to favored institutions—as if it were the government's to give.

In 2010, the Supreme Court issued a 5-4 opinion striking down major parts of a 2002 campaign-finance reform law in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. This case and subsequent rulings, including McCutcheon v. FEC, have led to more political activism and more grass-roots engagement than ever before. In the 2012 presidential election, we quickly saw the results. More Americans voted than in any election; more minorities voted; more Americans engaged in more debate and had more information in their hands than ever before. More than 60 percent of all those super PAC funds came from just 159 donors, each of whom gave more than $1 million. And still, every vote held the same sway. You may be convinced by someone, but no one can buy your vote. I wish the same could be said for your senators.

Even less worrisome is the propaganda surrounding scary-sounding "dark money"—dollars spent by groups that do not have to disclose their funding sources. The 2012 elections saw almost $300 million spent on engagement in our democratic institutions, and the 2014 midterm elections could see as much as $1 billion invested in political debate. That means more democratization of media and more challenges to a media infrastructure that once managed what news we were allowed to consume. Still, no one can buy your vote.

No single issue is more important to the needs of average Americans than upholding the Constitution over the vagaries of contemporary political life. The people elected to office should be responsive to the needs of their constituents. They should also be prepared to be challenged. But mostly, they should uphold their oath to protect the Constitution rather than find ways to undermine it.

When the Supreme Court finds, for purposes of the First Amendment, that corporations are people, that writing checks from the company's bank account is constitutionally protected speech, and that attempts to impose coercive restrictions on political debate are unconstitutional, we realize that we live in a republic that isn't always fair but is, for the most part, always free.

Americans' right to free speech should not be proportionate to their political power. This is why it's vital to stop senators from imposing capricious limits on Americans.

It is true that 16 states and the District of Columbia, along with more than 500 cities and towns, have passed resolutions calling on Congress to reinstitute restriction on free speech. Polls consistently show that the majority of Americans support the abolishment of super PACs. So it's important to remember that one of the many reasons the Founding Fathers offered us the Constitution was to offer a bulwark against "democracy." Senators may have an unhealthy obsession with the democratic process, and Supreme Court justices are on the bench for life for that very reason.

On Monday, Democrats offered an amendment to repeal the First Amendment in an attempt to protect their own political power. Whiny senators—most of them patrons to corporate power and special interests—engaged in one of the most cynical abuses of their power in recent memory. Those who treat Americans as if they were hapless proles unable to withstand the power of a television commercial are the ones who fear speech. That's not what the American republic is all about.

Editor's note: The proposed amendment went down to a well-deserved defeat in the Senate yesterday.


Well, yes, this is rather the point about fees for filing tribunal claims

How lovely to see public policy working well for once:

The number of aggrieved workers bringing sex discrimination claims to employment tribunals has tumbled by 90 per cent in a year since claimants were made to pay a fee.

It appears that the prospect of forking out in advance – and losing the money if their case fails – is deterring many of those who may be tempted to use a tribunal to make their employer pay compensation.

But Labour business spokesman Chuka Umunna has promised to abolish the fees, claiming they are unfair.
Chuka, as ever, is missing the point here. The aim and purpose of the fee is to reduce the number of claims. The fee has been instituted, the number of claims has dropped: public policy is actually working. Would that everything done by government worked so well.

The point is not though to make sure that those cruelly done down by t’evil capitalist plutocrats have no recourse: discrimination law still exists and still operates in the normal manner. Those with a good case will happily pay the small fee, those with a frivolous one won’t. The impact of this modest fee therefore tells us something most interesting: the number of former claims that were indeed frivolous, or at least highly unlikely to succeed. But if trying it on costs nothing then why not do so?

There’s an interesting parallel here with another thing that the British courts get right. In, say, a patent case, the loser pays everyone’s court costs and legal fees. In a similar US case the each side pays its own costs, whatever the outcome of the case (except in truly, truly, egregious cases). It costs perhaps $500 to file a suit alleging patent infringement and up to $2 million just to prepare the defence for a trial. The incentives there are obviously for many trivial suits to be filed in the hopes of getting a bit of cash as a settlement to bugger off and stop bothering everyone.

It’s worth noting that the US courts are full of patent troll cases: the UK courts have nary a one.

You know, the first thing everyone should know about economics? Incentives matter.

When proven cases of real sex discrimination bring (righteous) damages of tens to hundreds of thousands of pounds the idea of a small fee as a gatekeeper to deter frivolous cases seems both sensible and not a barrier to those real cases moving into the justice system.



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 September, 2014

The changing face of Britain: A child in Birmingham is now more likely to be a Muslim than Christian

There are more Muslim children than Christian growing up in Birmingham, figures show.

The latest statistics, extracted from the 2011 Census, give an insight into the fast pace of demographic change across Britain.

They pinpoint several parts of the country where traditional religious beliefs are being eclipsed for the first time.

In England’s second city of Birmingham, of 278,623 youngsters, 97,099 were registered as Muslim compared with 93,828 as Christian. The rest were of other faiths such as Hindu or Jewish, or none.

A similar trend has emerged in the cities of Bradford and Leicester, the towns of Luton, in Bedfordshire, and Slough in Berkshire, as well as the London boroughs Newham, Redbridge and Tower Hamlets, where nearly two-thirds of children are Islamic.

Last night experts said more must be done to ensure that society does not become polarised along religious lines.

Professor Ted Cantle, of the ICoCo Foundation, which promotes community cohesion, said: ‘What we are seeing are several trends running together. There is a long-term decline in support for the established religions, notably Christianity; continuing immigration from the Asian sub-continent; and higher fertility among the Muslim population, which has a considerably lower age profile.

‘There is also deepening segregation exacerbated by the loss of white population from cities and more intensive concentration of black and minority ethnic groups as a result of replacement.

‘This is the real problem, as residential segregation is generally compounded by school and social segregation.

‘Nothing surprises me about the pace of demographic change. What does surprise me is that the Government has no policy to combat segregation because it inevitably reduces understanding and tolerance on both sides of the divide.’

The figures show that Christianity is still the dominant religion in every local authority area in England and Wales, even in the most culturally diverse towns and cities.

Of the 45.5million participants, 27.9million subscribed to Christianity, compared with 1.8million Muslims, the second largest grouping.

However, among dependent children – defined as those aged up to 15, or between 16 and 18 and in education and still living at home – the gap is narrower.

Of 12.1million youngsters, 6.1million were Christian and 1million were Muslim. And in some places, the balance has now tipped towards Islam.

In Bradford, 52,135 children are Muslims (45 per cent) next to 47,144 Christians; in Leicester the figures are 22,693 and 18,190 respectively.

The widest gap is in Tower Hamlets where 62 per cent of children are Islamic, outnumbering Christians by 34,597 to 8,995.

Sughra Ahmed, president of the Islamic Society of Britain, said: ‘Britain’s Muslims make up just 5 per cent of the population but have a younger demographic profile than other faiths, as these figures show. It matters to us all that this next generation of young British Muslims develops a clear and confident sense of their British identity alongside their Muslim faith. It’s important that schools teach all of our children the values of respect and tolerance.

‘Britain is doing better at this than many of our neighbours. A major new study this week showed that most people think the children of immigrants are integrating well.

‘This is one of the most tolerant countries in the world. It will continue to be so, provided we all understand how that depends on respect for the beliefs of others too.’


The REAL secrets of being a Bullingdon Club boy... and they're far more colourful than a silly new film suggests, says club member HARRY MOUNT

The late Kingsley Amis liked to sit through telly programmes saying: ‘He wouldn’t speak like that. She wouldn’t wear that. They wouldn’t do that.’

That was pretty much my reaction to The Riot Club, a new film due out this week about the behaviour of Oxford’s Bullingdon Club.

I feel somewhat ashamed of having joined the club when I was at Oxford in the early Nineties — and I can fully understand why people find the institution so ludicrous. The Bullingdon is ripe for satirical attack. But this clumsy, lazily-plotted film completely misses the target.

First — the facts. Or, should I say, the lack of them.

Members of the Bullingdon, however silly they might be, wouldn’t go around declaring to each other which schools are acceptably grand. Nor would they carry club-branded hip flasks or boast that they were at the top university in the world — or shoot clay pigeons within several yards of passing tourists.

No one — Bullingdon member or otherwise — would ever be so crass as to declare, as one Riot Club member says, ‘I’m sick to f****** death of poor people.’

And Bullingdon members would never have battered a pub landlord unconscious — the central incident in the film.

The club dinner at which this happens is clearly based on a Bullingdon evening in 2005. In a spine-shudderingly embarrassing evening, Bullingdon members got into a mass brawl and damaged a 15th-century pub in rural Oxfordshire.

Horrifying, yes — but the point was that they were beating each other up, not the landlord. In fact, he said they kept on breaking off from the fight to apologise to him.

Now I’m not trying to defend such odious behaviour. I’m just saying the details in the film are not only wrong — they’re also much less interesting than the truth. It’s extremely odd to keep on apologising in the middle of a fight, and it’s oddness that makes for wit and humour.

Class in real-life modern Britain works in a much more subtle — and more enthralling — way than in this bash-the-toffs drama. Watch The Riot Club and you’ll start to think Oxford is divided into thuggish lords in top hats and shy, Northern mill girls who don’t know what cutlery to use at dinner.

The truth is that Oxford’s undergraduate body is almost entirely made up of the middle-class group that lies in between these two crashing stereotypes.

At least the film is well-acted, though. Max Irons, the son of actor Jeremy, is particularly good as the reluctant Bullingdon member who steers clear of the pub fight. But compare Max Irons’s role with his father’s in the TV adaptation of Brideshead Revisited — and there is a yawning gulf in the screenwriters’ understanding of how the rich behave at Oxford, and how the Establishment works.

The Riot Club suggests that the chairman of the Tory Party, a former club member, goes about securing powerful political positions for the current batch. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Members — such as David Cameron, George Osborne and Boris Johnson — didn’t find their way to power because of the club.

If anything, they made their way to the top despite the deep embarrassment caused by those infamous club photographs showing them in their swanky tailcoats and studied poses.

The simple fact is that the desire of clever, well-educated, ambitious men to join a supposedly exclusive club sometimes overlaps with the desire to be voted into Parliament.

Or foreign parliaments, in fact. It’s striking that Radek Sikorski, the Polish Foreign Minister, was in the Bullingdon with Cameron and Johnson. He wasn’t a rich undergraduate, but he shared that desire for election to a supposed elite. Of course, it’s utterly understandable that the media spotlight zeroes in on those awkward photographs of the Bullingdon Club.

But the Bullingdon didn’t loom very large in members’ lives. In fact, it meets only twice a year: once for the annual dinner, when those silly photographs are taken; and once for an annual point-to-point horse race meeting in the Oxfordshire countryside.

The Bullingdon’s origins are sporting. It began life as a hunting and cricket club in 1780 — the club badge still shows a cricket bat, stumps and a man on a horse. In 1796, the Bullingdon cricket team even played against the MCC.

It was at the annual Bullingdon horse race in the 1920s that the late Lord Longford, a member, is said to have converted from Conservative to Labour. He fell off his horse, bumped his head, remounted and started riding in the opposite direction around the course. And so began his lifelong devotion to Labour politics.

Still, the influence of the Bullingdon on modern British politics would be a tiny footnote in history but for those fatally ridiculous photographs. Mere snapshots in young lives have been blown up to mammoth, career-defining proportions.

The Bullingdon can behave appallingly — not least in 1894, when members smashed all 468 windows in Christ Church college’s Peckwater Quad, and in 1927, when they did it all over again. As a punishment, the club was banned from meeting within 15 miles of Oxford.

When the future Edward VIII, an undergraduate at Magdalen College just before the First World War, wanted to join, his mother, Queen Mary, was horrified. She let him do so only if he promised not to take part in a ‘Bullingdon blind’ — a drunken club dinner.

In his typical authority-defying way, the Prince of Wales attended a ‘blind’ anyway, prompting a furious Queen Mary to send a telegram asking him to leave the club. An impossible request, I fear — even from a queen. As far as I understand the unwritten rules of the club, once a member, always a member. The only way out of the dark blue tailcoat is in a wooden box.

The club assumed a darker air under the ruthlessly satirical eye of Evelyn Waugh. In two short passages in his novels, he was immediately wittier, and more amusingly barbed, about the Bullingdon, than this overlong new film.

In Decline And Fall, written in 1928, it is lampooned as the brutally destructive Bollinger Club — named after the champagne house.

At one Bollinger dinner, he writes, ‘a fox had been brought in in a cage and stoned to death with champagne bottles’.

Bullingdon members included ‘epileptic royalty from their villas of exile; uncouth peers from crumbling country seats; smooth young men of uncertain tastes from embassies and legations; illiterate lairds from wet granite hovels in the Highlands; ambitious young barristers and Conservative candidates’.

At another dinner, the club ‘broke up Mr Austen’s grand piano, and stamped Lord Rending’s cigars into his carpet, and smashed his china, and tore up Mr Partridge’s sheets, and threw his Matisse into the lavatory’.

Labour politician Tom Driberg said this description was a ‘mild account of the night of any Bullingdon Club dinner in Christ Church. Such a profusion of glass I never saw until the height of the Blitz. On such nights, any undergraduate who was believed to have “artistic” talents was an automatic target’.

In Brideshead Revisited, Waugh again attacked the Bullingdon — by name — for attempting to dunk one of those artistic undergraduates, the camp Anthony Blanche, ‘in Mercury’ — the fountain in Christ Church’s biggest quad. The members, Waugh writes, were dressed ‘like a lot of most disorderly footmen’.

But if the club’s appearances in modern literature are prominent, its influence on the Establishment is massively exaggerated.

Bullingdon membership — in a small minority — is a subconscious sign of future political ambition; and not a cause of later political success.

What is true is that modern politics is largely run not by Bullingdon members, but by a marginally broader group of public schoolboys and Oxbridge graduates.

And that’s not just the case with the Conservative Party. Nick Clegg went to Westminster School, Robinson College, Cambridge, and Minnesota University; Ed Miliband to Corpus Christi, Oxford, and the London School of Economics.

It says something for the elite nature of modern politics that even the maverick man of the people, Nigel Farage, went to private Dulwich College and worked in the City.

These are the real, tragic facts of exclusive modern politics — rather than this woefully weak make-believe vision of a university club.


New proposals for tougher planning laws set to give councils more muscle to fight gypsy encampments

Travellers setting up camp illegally may soon no longer be protected by soft planning laws.  Councils could gain more power to enforce rules and evict those who ignore them. For years, communities across the country have been frustrated over unauthorised traveller sites.

The most notorious was Dale Farm which led to a ten-year fight to remove travellers living illegally on the six-acre site in Essex.

Currently, a council wanting to close a site has to find an alternative location. This can be a struggle and was one of the reasons why the Dale Farm controversy went on for so long.

Yesterday Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said the rule is a ‘perverse incentive’ for authorities not to take action. Mr Lewis said: ‘We will not sit back and allow people who bypass the law to then benefit from the protection it can offer.

‘We have already strengthened the powers that councils have to enforce planning rules and take action against breaches which fuel community tensions.  ‘This will not only tackle the abuse of the system but prevent long drawn-out cases like Dale Farm.’

However, the definition of travellers could change so local authorities have to cater only for those leading a ‘genuine travelling lifestyle’.

This would mean any application for a permanent site by those who no longer have a nomadic life would be treated the same as a bid from the settled population.  Councils would also be free of the need to cater for any travellers who turn up and want to stay.

Instead, they would only have to provide sites for the number they could reasonably expect.

Ministers also want to strengthen protection for sensitive areas and the green belt. Plans include ensuring policies apply to traveller sites in the same way as other housing.

The proposals follow a fourfold rise in the number of illegal caravans sites from 2000 to 2009


Arrogant British social worker was ecstatic about breaking up a family

Obviously unfit for the work but she is still doing it

A social worker gloated about having three children taken into care on her publicly accessible Facebook page.

Siobhan Condon, 41, bragged about the power she felt at breaking up the family and revelled in the judge giving the parents a ‘massive rollicking’.

She even referred to the solicitor in the case complimenting her ‘fine nails and shoes’ before saying she was about to ‘do the mammoth grim task’ of removing the youngsters from their home and signing off with three kisses.

The children, all aged under ten at the time, were put into foster care following the court hearing last year.

Their mother reported Miss Condon’s comments to Essex County Council after spotting them on the social worker’s Facebook page, which was open to the public and gave enough information to identify the family.

Family proceedings are normally held behind closed doors and shrouded in secrecy.

The Health and Care Professional Council found Miss Condon guilty of misconduct and the local authority decided not to renew her contract.

However, she has not been struck off. Instead, she must be closely monitored by a line manager for a year.

Tory MP Simon Burns yesterday questioned the leniency of the punishment, saying: ‘There are some very difficult cases … where there are no winners and it seems incredible that someone in a position of trust and responsibility should post information on Facebook … to gloat is totally inappropriate.

‘I find it quite staggering and do question whether simply monitoring someone who does this is right.’

The case of ‘Family A’ was heard at Chelmsford Crown Court on May 9 last year. Miss Condon, who has a young daughter, posted comments the night before, speculating about whether the judge ‘might question my zero tolerance to domestic violence’.

The next day, after the case ended, the senior social worker who qualified in 1999, wrote: ‘Just experienced His Honour Judge [sic] give parents a massive rollicking. It was an amazing and extraordinary moment in my career and he complimented my court evidence.’

She added: ‘Me and [unnamed person] are reflecting on how the solicitor commented on [how] fine nails and shoes appear to be a requirement of our team lol. Anyway of [sic] now to do the mammoth grim task fingers crossed xxx.’

Miss Condon later wrote: ‘Its [sic] powerful to know that … children’s lives have been massively changed for the better.’

The council’s conduct committee heard the children’s mother, ‘Mrs A’, made a complaint on May 17.

A senior manager used Google to look for evidence and found the comments, despite not being a Facebook friend of Miss Condon’s. He reported that Mr and Mrs A were ‘upset and angry’.

Miss Condon claimed she thought a privacy setting on her account meant her entries could only be read by her friends. But the committee noted that even if this were true, around 70 of them were not involved in social care and the family were identifiable.

Last week the committee concluded her conduct fell ‘seriously below’ expected standards as the postings were ‘disrespectful and demonstrated poor judgment’.

Miss Condon, who now works for the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham according to a friend, declined to comment. Essex council has apologised to Mr and Mrs A for her conduct.



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 September, 2014

We're forgetting the warning of the Holocaust, British government minister warns

Britain has neglected the lessons of the Holocaust and a resurgent “virus” of violent anti-semitism is putting the lives of Jews and others at risk in Britain, Michael Gove, the Chief Whip, warned.

Those who thought the Holocaust would “discredit anti-Semitism forever” were wrong, with synagogues facing attacks and Jewish shops and theatres once again being subject to boycotts across Europe, Mr Gove warned.

Pro-Palestine protesters who liken the Israeli government to the Nazis are part of a “deliberate” campaign of “relativisation, trivialisation and perversion” of the Holocaust that is fuelling anti-Semitism, Mr Gove warned.

The post-war drive to purge the “poison” of anti-Semitism from society to ensure the Holocaust could never be repeated has given way to an upturn in anti-Semitics attacks – including the murder of four visitors to a Jewish museum in Brussels by a suspected jihadists.

Britain must question how “secure” it is for Jews, Mr Gove said, in the wake of a boycott of a Jewish film festival in London due to its Israel sponsorship, and the withdrawal from sale of Kosher food following attacks on supermarkets.

“We need to remind people that what began with a campaign against Jewish goods in the past ended with a campaign against Jewish lives. We need to spell out that this sort of prejudice starts with the Jews but never ends with the Jews. We need to stand united against hate,” Mr Gove told the annual dinner of the Holocaust Education Trust.

“Today, across Europe, there has been a revival of antisemitism which the enormity of the Holocaust should have rendered forever unthinkable,” he said.

“In France, in July of this year more than 100 Jewish citizens had to be rescued from one synagogue and another was firebombed. The leader of an antisemitic party - the Front National - is France’s most popular politician. Heroes of popular culture - like the comedian Dieudonne Mbala Mbala - try to make hatred of Jews a badge of radical chic.

“The virus is spreading across other European nations. In Germany Molotov cocktails were lobbed at one synagogue. In Belgium a cafe displays a sign saying ‘dogs are allowed but Jews are not’, while a doctor refuses to treat Jewish patients. We must all remember where this leads.”

“In 1945, our forebears thought that some good might be rescued from the Nazi's terrible legacy: surely the Holocaust would discredit anti-Semitism for ever. We now know better. Mankind has not developed new sensitivities. Instead, we live in a world full of horrors, where man is still a wolf to man.”


The dilemma of the Jewish leftist

During his yearlong captivity at the hands of the barbarians from Islamic State, Steven Sotloff’s colleagues in Israeli media organs purged all of his articles from their websites to erase his connections to Israel and hide the fact that he was an Israeli citizen.

So, too, every effort was made to hide the fact that he was Jewish.

The reason was clear. Given the genocidal Jew-hatred endemic in jihadist doctrine, it was obvious that if Sotloff’s Judaism was exposed, he would have been singled out for torture and execution.

Much has been written since Islamic State released the video of its British executioner chopping off James Foley’s head last month. We have been told by leaders and commentators alike that with this singular crime, Islamic State awakened the sleeping lion of the West. That act of barbarism, we have been assured, will now force the US to lead a global coalition against this Islamic army of butchers.

Clearly Islamic State is not convinced. With the release of the Sotloff beheading video this week, it appears that Islamic State thinks its cinematographers will move the West in another direction – apathy.

Foley’s execution video ended with the preview of coming attractions for the Sotloff execution video.

And the Sotloff execution video ended with the preview of a British hostage’s execution video.

By releasing the films gradually, Islamic State is apparently trying to routinize beheadings. Its leaders are probably betting that by the seventh or eighth beheading video, we will greet the violence with a shrug of our shoulders.

In this, Islamic State is channeling Iran, the PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah and the Taliban.

No, it isn’t that all these terror-supporting regimes and terror groups have engaged in beheading. It is simply that when they began engaging in terrorism, their actions shocked the civilized world until their actions didn’t shock the civilized world anymore.

Once the shock wore off, these terror states and enterprises began enjoying the stature of legitimate parties to a political dispute. As Islamic State sees it, it is only a matter of time before it too is accepted as a legitimate force in world affairs.

To understand why its gamble may well pay off, it is worth considering a seemingly unrelated matter.

At the beginning of the week, the ultra-Orthodox Lev Tahor group was expelled from a Mayan village in Guatemala. Earlier this year Lev Tahor members had fled to Guatemala from Canada.

They left Canada to evade a child abuse probe.

The group set up shop in Canada after fleeing Israel, due to similar charges.

Lev Tahor is a fanatical cult that numbers a few hundred members. Its women and girls are clad in all-black robes and covered from head to toe. The only thing they are allowed to expose is their faces.

According to Canadian child services authorities, Lev Tahor married off girls as young as 12. Its members routinely engage in polygamy. Child abuse, including forced medication with unprescribed psychiatric drugs and starvation, is allegedly rampant.

Moreover, according to Canadian officials, the cult denies its children access to education.

Lev Tahor’s alleged behavioral norms are an affront to the rule of law and human rights. Although the cult was apparently expelled from the village in Guatemala due to anti-Semitism, its members fled both the Canadian and the Israeli authorities to evade prosecution.

And yet for all of its alleged moral depravity and criminal behavior, that fact is that Lev Tahor’s treatment of its girls is certainly no worse, and in many respects better, than the treatment that Islamic societies mete out on their girls and women. And the sad truth is that for hundreds of thousands of Muslim women and girls in the West, their residency in human rights-protecting societies has failed to protect them.

Consider female genital mutilation, which Lev Tahor is not accused of engaging in.

In late July, Islamic State forces in Mosul, Iraq, decreed that all girls and women between the ages of 12 and 42 must have their genitals mutilated.

The order was an act of pure evil. Yet it was not particularly controversial within the Islamist context Islamic State operates.

As Soeren Kern wrote for the Gatestone Institute last July, throughout the world, some 140 million women and girls, the overwhelming majority of whom are Muslims, have been subjected to the barbaric practice. Three million girls under the age of 15 are forced to undergo clitoridectomies each year.

In Europe, at least 180,000 Muslim females have undergone this defilement. According to British authorities, in England alone, at least 20,000 girls are at risk of “being cut” each year.

Yet, despite the cruelty and degradation inherent to female genital mutilation, and despite the fact that under British law, anyone found guilty of carrying out this practice is supposed to face criminal charges and up to 14 years in prison, so far no one has been convicted and only a five or six offenders have even been charged for the crime.

There are two principal causes for British authorities’ failure to protect Muslim girls residing in England. First, neither the children themselves, who live in a permanent state of terror and abuse, nor their communities, which turn a blind eye, and so condone the practice, are willing to come forward and finger those responsible for this endemic abuse and violence.

And second, non-Islamic British authorities, including welfare workers and teachers, who are in a position to protect the children, are unwilling to stick their necks out. This unwillingness has two causes.

First, they fear for their lives. The murder of Theo van Gogh and the repeated attempts by Muslim fanatics to execute the Danish cartoonists who drew the caricatures of Muhammad are central components of the cost-benefit analysis most Westerners carry out when considering whether or not to get involved with human rights abuses carried out by Muslims.

Second, they fear excommunication from and defamation at the hands of the Left. Over the past 15 years, the international Left has consistently expanded its political alliance with Islamists in the West.

Among other things, this alliance has required the Left to turn a blind eye to barbaric Islamic practices like female genital mutilation and rape and to defame those who dare to openly oppose these reactionary, obscene behaviors as Islamophobic racists.

And so we have a situation where, both at home and abroad, the West has become habituated to Islamic barbarism and passive in the face of its expanding threat to their lives and their way of life both abroad and at home. Observing this behavior, clearly Islamic State’s terror masters are betting that once habituated to the beheading of Westerners, the West will yawn and go to sleep as Islamic State expands its conquests to additional countries.

It isn’t that the Westerners, led by the leftist elite, lack the ability to feel or express moral outrage. It is just that they refuse to direct it against Islamic jihadists.

And this brings us back to their political alliance with the Islamists.

The only meaningful commonality between Islamist and leftist dogma is hatred for Jews with power, first and foremost for Israel. And the singular creation of this alliance is the sides’ joint determination that it isn’t racist to hate the Jewish state, or Jews who refuse to condemn it.

In this state of affairs, the only outlet that leftists have for their moral outrage is Israel. Because while they fear being called racist, they know that being anti-Semitic will not expose them to charges of racism.

And they know Jews won’t assault them for attacking Israel and its supporters. So they project all the crimes perpetrated by Islamic fanatics on Israel.

For instance, this week Megan Marzec, the president of Ohio University’s Student Senate, posted a video of herself dousing herself in a bucket of “blood.”

Marzec explained, “This bucket of blood symbolizes the thousands of displaced and murdered Palestinians – atrocities which OU is directly complacent in [sic] through cultural and economic ties with the Israeli state.”

In other words, she accused Israel of the crimes Hamas seeks to inflict on Israel, and of the crimes that Islamist forces, such as al-Qaida, Islamic State and Boko Haram, are currently carrying out in their areas of operations.

The growing prevalence of anti-Semitism in leftist circles has placed Jewish leftists in a vulnerable position.

Their ideological movement is denying Jews the right to self-defense and self-determination and siding with Islamists who seek to annihilate them. For a growing number of leftist Jews, their new status as members of a hated group has made them feel it necessary to publicly side with Israel’s enemies against it.

Consider the recent New York Times op-ed by Antony Lerman which ran under the title “The End of Liberal Zionism.”

Lerman insisted that there is no way to square Zionism with liberal values.

According to this disaffected Jewish leftist, “The only Zionism of any consequence today is xenophobic and exclusionary, a Jewish ethno-nationalism inspired by religious messianism. It is carrying out an open-ended project of national self-realization to be achieved through colonization and purification of the tribe.”

But of course, outside the fringes of Israeli society, no such movement exists.

Rather, Lerman is describing Islamic supremacism and, like his fellow leftists, projecting its pathologies on Israel, which Islamic supremacists seek to destroy.

Lerman quoted an article published a few weeks before his in The New York Review of Books by Jonathan Freedland titled “Liberal Zionism After Gaza.”

Freedland argued that as the two-state solution becomes more and more remote, liberal Zionists “will have to decide which of their political identities matters more, whether they are first a liberal or first a Zionist.”

But this is of course absurd. The only way a person can uphold liberal values is by being a Zionist. Israel is the only country in the region that is a human rights-respecting liberal democracy that is governed by the rule of law.

What is becoming more and more difficult is being a Zionist while being a leftist. As the Left becomes more and more tied to Islamic fanatics, anti-Semitism is going to become more and more of a staple of leftist dogma. And that anti-Semitism will express itself first and foremost as a virulent rejection of Israel and of Jews who refuse to disavow and condemn the Jewish state.

Sotloff reportedly maintained faith with his Judaism in secret while in captivity. He refused food on Yom Kippur and secretly prayed toward Jerusalem.

In so doing, he showed that the evil that controlled him physically, could not penetrate his soul. For this he died a Jewish hero.

Leftist Jews must take a lesson from Sotloff, who was reportedly a product of a Jewish-leftist worldview.

They should understand that the decision they are being required to make is not a choice between liberalism and Zionism, but between liberalism and a reactionary dogma that sits comfortably with genocidal Jew-haters and misogynist oppressors.

It shouldn’t be a particularly difficult choice.


The war on fat - a big, fat waste of time

Until recently, the advice that we should avoid fat - particularly saturated fat - was regarded as simple common sense. Heart attacks were caused by fatty deposits in our arteries, right? It was obvious that these must have in turn been caused by the heavy, saturated fat in our diets. Obesity is excess storage of fat, so it must obviously be caused by eating fat. So all the fatty treats we once loved were replaced by boring, low-fat alternatives. Bacon and eggs were replaced by Shredded Wheat and All Bran; fatty steaks were replaced by dull, dry low-fat chicken breasts. Butter was replaced by odd-tasting, low-fat vegetable-oil spread. The pleasure of full-fat milk was skimmed away, to be replaced by a thin, insipid white liquid. But if the joy of eating was diminished, at least we could rest assured that we would all be slimmer and healthier in the long run.

But in recent years, the advice to eat a low-fat diet has increasingly been called into question. Despite cutting down on fatty foods, the populations of many Western countries have become fatter. If heart-disease mortality has maintained a steady decline, cases of type-2 diabetes have shot up in recent years. Maybe these changes were in spite of the advice to avoid fat. Maybe they were caused by that advice.

The most notable figure in providing the intellectual ammunition to challenge existing health advice has been the US science writer, Gary Taubes. His 2007 book, Good Calories, Bad Calories, became a bestseller, despite containing long discussions on some fairly complex issues to do with biochemistry, nutrition and medicine. The book’s success triggered a heated debate about what really makes us fat and causes chronic disease.

Into this controversy comes The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz, which examines both the history and the merits of the advice to avoid fat – saturated fat, in particular. Teicholz, a food journalist, was originally intending to write a book on a much narrower subject: trans fats. As Teicholz says, in the early twentieth century, it became possible to mass-produce vegetable oils. These are generally made up of polyunsaturated fats (1). These vegetable oils were cheaper than animal fats, like lard, which had been used before, but they had serious disadvantages in terms of texture and shelf life. Polyunsaturated fats are liquid rather than solid and much more reactive than saturated fats and so spoil more quickly. In order to tackle that problem, a process called hydrogenation was used to make these vegetable oils more saturated, causing them to solidify. By adding different amounts of hydrogen, different qualities could be created in the resulting oil, which is then described as ‘partially hydrogenated’.

The trouble is that these partially hydrogenated oils contain trans fats - chains with chemical bonds that are the ‘wrong’ way round. These trans fats have been linked to a variety of health problems and are now largely being phased out. But how they got into our food is an interesting story in itself. As Teicholz tells me over Skype from New York, it soon became clear that there was a bigger story, way beyond trans fats, to be told. ‘I spent over a year investigating that book, talking to dozens and dozens of insiders in the food industry. I became extremely well-networked among oil chemists just trying to understand the trans fats story and understanding that industry, which is extremely closed. It’s a tiny club of all-male oil chemists… It was really interesting how hoodwinked these scientists were in the Fifties that they thought that these just-invented foods could restore people to their previous state of health. And there are lots of interesting angles to that whole story. The embrace of polyunsaturated vegetable oils to begin with, how trans fats were ramped up to become the backbone of the food industry, and how the food industry had to back out of trans fats in the last eight years and went back to using those oils.’ Teicholz argues that the fashion for polyunsaturated fats has been misplaced. Indeed, when heated up for frying, polyunsaturated fats could be downright dangerous.

The most talked-about aspect of Teicholz’s book is her discussion of the evidence against saturated fat. In the Fifties, a well-known American researcher, Ancel Keys, came to the conclusion that cholesterol was responsible for heart disease and, in turn, that the consumption of saturated fat, mostly from animals, was to blame for boosting cholesterol levels. Yet the evidence for these claims was shaky from the word go. So how did Keys manage to make his views the official ones?

Teicholz tells me that the answer lies in Keys’ unshakable moral certainty, which found fertile ground in a medical and scientific establishment spooked by the rapid rise of heart disease: ‘Before Keys got on the nutrition committee of the American Heart Association, it was very hesitant about jumping to any kind of conclusions while at the same time acknowledging the enormous pressure to do so, given that the entire nation was focused on heart disease. It was a terrifying epidemic. President Eisenhower was out of the Oval Office for 10 days [following a heart attack in 1955]. This was an all-consuming panic for all the people that ran the country. All the people in science, it was their colleagues who over the previous 30 years had started dropping like flies. There was tremendous public pressure to find some kind of solution. It was into that vulnerable setting that Ancel Keys stepped. It was just this perfect storm of his oversized, highly aggressive personality meeting this vulnerable time in America.’

Teicholz never met Keys, but she has met one of his leading supporters and apostles, Jeremiah Stamler: ‘You could see why people would just fold in their presence. It’s like being in the presence of a gale-force wind, the power that comes at you. In Jerry Stamler’s case, he’s also profane and there’s this supreme self-confidence that he brings…There was a very aggressive tenor to the whole nutrition conversation back then. It was almost like internet manners, pre-internet!’

Once the politically astute Keys had packed the nutrition committee of the AHA and got its backing for the advice to avoid saturated fat, the war on meat and dairy could begin. But a major turning point came in 1977 when the Senate Select Committee on Nutrition, led by Democratic senator George McGovern, held hearings on the issue. The result was a set of guidelines, Dietary Goals for the United States, which promoted the consumption of ‘complex’ carbohydrates, and reductions in the consumption of fat in general and saturated fat in particular.

By 1980, this report had been worked up into government-backed guidelines – around the same time that obesity appears to have taken off in the US. The McGovern Report inspired all the familiar diet advice around the world that we’ve had ever since, and led to major changes in what food manufacturers offered. Out went fat, though unsaturated fat and hydrogenated oils were deemed less bad than saturated fat, so vegetable oils and margarines became more popular. In came more carbohydrate and more sugar, to give those cardboard-like low-fat ‘treats’ some modicum of flavour.

Yet two recent reviews of the evidence around saturated fat - one led by Ronald Krauss, the other by Rajiv Chowdhury - suggest that saturated fat is not the villain it has been painted as. (The latter paper, in particular, sparked outrage.) As for fat in general, Teicholz tells me: ‘There was no effort until very late in the game to provide evidence for the low-fat diet. It was just assumed that that was reasonable because of the caloric benefit you would see from restricting fat.’ Yet a diet low in saturated fat is still the standard prescription. For example, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) (the UK equivalent of the AHA) still suggests consuming unsaturated fat rather than saturated fat - though at least the BHF is now suggesting that more research should be done.

This mad, mad story of the battle over fat is not actually that new, though Teicholz adds new details to it. But there is much more to Teicholz’s book than that. Three things stand out.

First, there is her discussion of the Mediterranean Diet. Although mentioned in a cookbook by Keys in the early Seventies, the idea was first actively researched by two researchers in the Eighties - one Greek, one Italian. But it was when the idea got the backing of Harvard University medical researchers that it really took off. Now, it seems like a no-brainer that the kind of food served on a balmy Italian or Greek terrace, with lashings of olive oil, plenty of fresh vegetables and a substantial side order of wine, is the healthiest way to eat. At the very least, it was a relief: olive oil was the healthy fat that you were allowed to enjoy. But in truth, the ‘Mediterranean Diet’ doesn’t bear much relation to what many Mediterraneans actually eat. Diets vary substantially across the Mediterranean countries - and even within those countries. In reality, the Mediterranean Diet is a construct, a rose-tinted version of reality tailored to the anti-meat prejudices of American researchers.

The second thing that sets The Big Fat Surprise apart is its tale of how the other major backer of the Mediterranean Diet was the olive-oil industry. Conferences, funded by the industry and organised by an American organisation called the Oldways Preservation and Exchange Trust, would be staged in Mediterranean countries, with idyllic climates and lots of lovely, olive-oil-heavy food. Swooning researchers were literally wined and dined into going along with promoting the benefits of olive oil. But it is questionable just how traditional the consumption of olive oil really is. It certainly only became a major part of British and American diets over the past 20 years or so. Even in Greece, it seems olive oil had functions that were more ceremonial than dietary until perhaps 200 years ago. One French historian, quoted by Teicholz, says: ‘Less than 100 years ago, ordinary people in many parts of Greece ate far less oil than today.’ In any event, the notion that this is a battle between the longstanding food culture of peasant societies and an unnatural diet forced on us by big bad corporations in the West is far too black and white.

Which leads us to an important third point made by Teicholz: that the blame for our current dietary problems cannot solely, or even mainly, be placed at the door of big food corporations. Teicholz writes about how she discovered that ‘the mistakes of nutrition science could not be primarily pinned on the nefarious interests of Big Food. The source of our misguided dietary advice was in some ways more disturbing, since it seems to have been driven by experts at some of our most trusted institutions working towards what they believed to be the public good.’ Once public-health bureaucracies enshrined the dogma that fat is bad for us, ‘the normally self-correcting mechanism of science, which involves constantly challenging one’s own beliefs, was disabled’.

The war on dietary fat is a terrifying example of what happens when politics and bureaucracy mixes with science: provisional conclusions become laws of nature; resources are piled into the official position, creating material as well as intellectual reasons to continue to support it; and any criticism is suppressed or dismissed. As the war on sugar gets into full swing, a reading of The Big Fat Surprise might provide some much-needed humility.


Marriage of two straight men for radio competition angers gay rights group

The marriage of two heterosexual New Zealand men as part of a radio show promotion to win tickets to next year’s Rugby World Cup in London has been criticised by gay rights and conservative groups.

Travis McIntosh, a 23-year-old engineering student from Otago university, and Matt McCormick, a 24-year-old teacher at Musselburgh school in Dunedin, were married at Eden Park in Auckland on Friday.

About 60 family members travelled to Auckland to watch the two best mates marry to win a trip of a lifetime. The marriage was live-streamed by the Edge radio station.

“It’s official folks, Travis and Matt have just said ‘I do’! Congrats to the happy couple!” the station tweeted.

Neill Ballantyne, the co-ordinator of Otago University Students Association Queer Support, said the wedding was an insult because marriage equality was a hard-fought battle for gay people. Same-sex marriage became legal in New Zealand in 2013.

McIntosh said the wedding was not mocking the institution of marriage. “We are not here to insult anyone,” he told the NZ Herald. “We are here to do our own thing and travel our own path.

“It’s just seeing how far two good mates would go to win a trip to the Rugby World Cup.”

Family First, a lobby group opposed to same-sex marriage, said the outrage expressed by gay rights groups was ironic.  Its national director, Bob McCoskrie, said the change in law was “an arrogant act of cultural vandalism”.  “This competition makes a mockery of marriage, but so did the redefining of marriage,” he said.

The men met at Pirates rugby club in Dunedin as six-year-olds and have been friends ever since.

McIntosh told the Otago Daily Times he thought the marriage would last about two years.



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

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

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


14 September, 2014

Another charming multiculturalist

Many Muslims seem to be deeply inadequate people

Smiling widely, seven-year-old Mary Ann Shipstone sits happily among a carpet of bluebells.

Yesterday afternoon, the little girl died in hospital after being gunned down by her ‘jealous’ estranged father.

She was shot in the head by Egyptian Yasser Alromisse, 46, after his English convert wife rejected Islam and him.

Neighbours in the quiet village of Northiam, near Rye, East Sussex, described Mary as a 'lovely little girl'

He fired the fatal shot while his daughter played outside her house in the quiet village of Northiam, East Sussex, on Thursday afternoon. She had returned from school and was excited about celebrating her eighth birthday next week.

Her mother, Lyndsey Shipstone, 42, screamed: ‘He’s got a gun’ before her estranged Muslim husband shot Mary Ann and then killed himself.

She raced outside, gathered her daughter in her arms and laid her on a sofa inside.

Neighbour Helen Barber, 38, said: ‘I ran out up to the house and went in. Mary Ann was on the sofa. There was blood everywhere.

Villagers spoke of their shock at the horror in what is a leafy, quiet village near the border with Kent

‘I couldn’t feel a pulse. I’ve done first aid before and she was showing no signs of life. Lyndsey was hysterical.’

Her husband, Stuart Barber, 46, added: ‘The car stopped. There were two shots. No one went to the car. Within minutes armed police turned up and surrounded the car.’

Miss Shipstone has an older son, Stephen, 21, who has autism and was with a carer when his sister was killed.

He arrived home 15 minutes after the shooting and was taken away from the scene by Mr Barber.

The estranged couple were involved in a bitter custody battle and Alromisse had spent a week trying to locate the home the family had moved to.

It is thought he also staked out their £300,000 house in his Toyota Rav 4 car.

Yesterday, Miss Shipstone posted the picture online of her daughter.Last night she was being consoled by her parents and siblings.

In a statement the family said they were trying ‘to come to terms with what has happened,’ adding: ‘We are today grieving the death of our beautiful and loving Mary.’

Miss Shipstone’s Facebook post came as it emerged the family had been hiding from Alromisse for several years.

The couple married in Liverpool in 2005 after Miss Shipstone converted to Islam, friends said.

But she later rejected the faith and left him, prompting a bitter custody dispute over the children.

Further legal action had apparently been planned in the past few weeks. While together, their daughter had been known by the traditional Islamic name Maryam. After her mother moved she started calling her ‘Mary Ann’.

Miss Shipstone had also started a relationship with a new man, who Mary is seen clinging to in another photograph uploaded on to a social media site.

Miss Shipstone married Alromisse after they met in Skelmersdale, her home town in Lancashire.  Having been a practising Catholic, she converted to Islam and quickly became devout.  ‘She started wearing long robes and only eating halal food,’ a family friend said. ‘Her son Stephen began using the name Adam.’

The couple had a daughter named Yasmin Miriam in September 2001, but she died eight months later.

Mary was born in 2006 but according to former neighbours, social services had to intervene, with orders barring Alromisse from being alone with either child.

'He used to hit Stephen,’ the family friend said. ‘Stephen used to say “He’s a bad man”.’ In a tweet posted on December 24, 2009, Miss Shipstone wrote: ‘We loved the snow. Our garden was amazing, covered in thick white snow. We can leave the house without worrying about my husband bothering us.’

Alromisse became a Community Safety Officer for Uttlesford District Council in Essex.

His job involved helping with projects to try to reduce crime. Police were last night at an address in Broomfield Avenue, Worthing, West Sussex, where Alromisse was thought to be renting a flat.

Detective Chief Inspector Jason Taylor of Sussex Police said: ‘We are trying to establish Mr Alromisse’s movements over the last few days and are keen to hear from anyone who may have seen or heard from him.’


Boyfriend was locked up in high-security Belmarsh jail when woman lied that he raped her after split - but SHE walks free

A man spent 12 days locked up in a high security prison after his ex-girlfriend lied to police and falsely accused him of raping her.

April Bailey, 34, of Woolwich, south east London, gave officers a detailed account of the fictional 'assault' by Andrew Frith, 36, and attended a rape suite where she agreed to DNA swabs being taken.

Mr Frith spent 12 days in Belmarsh Prison, home to some of Britain's most dangerous criminals, before being allowed out on bail, and it was five months before Bailey eventually confessed to police that he hadn't raped her after all.

Yesterday Bailey walked free from court, despite admitting perverting the course of justice by accusing an innocent man and despite the judge telling her: 'What you did was an appalling thing.'

Prosecutor Ben Temple told Isleworth Crown Court that Bailey had had a 12-year 'on and off' relationship with Mr Frith before they broke up in January last year.

He said that that same month, Bailey went to police and complained that she had been raped by him.

'She said he tried to kiss her and she declined and he later threw her to the floor and punched her in the back, likening herself to a punchbag,' added Mr Temple.

'They went to sleep, she alleged, but as she woke he forced himself on her and made her have sex with him.'

Bailey claimed: 'I was crying and telling him: "No, I don't want to have sex with you".'

The court heard she was taken to a specialist suite for victims of sex crime, where bruising was noted, intimate swabs taken, and she gave a video-taped interview.

Mr Frith was arrested on January 27 and immediately told the officers: 'I think I know who this girl is. Was it April? That girl is crazy.'

The next day he was remanded in custody,and remained locked up for 12 days until he was granted conditional bail.

On February 6 Bailey again spoke to police and persisted with the fictitious rape-claim, despite details of her account proving false.

'She admitted to the officer that she lied about the manner in which she left the house and where she had gone,' explained the prosecutor.

'She apologised for that lie, but stressed the rest of her account was true and accurate.

'They built a case against Mr Frith, a prosecution case took shape, there were consultations with the Crown Prosecution Service, and a trial date set.'

However five months later, Bailey went to police saying Mr Frith had not in fact raped her and admitting she had lied.

Mr Temple said: 'She said the bruising and injuries were nothing more than the result of heavy drinking and being restrained by Mr Frith.'

Bailey's lawyer, Frances Ridout, told the court: 'Mr Frith "tried it on", to use her words, and she was resisting and after numerous attempts she gave in and that's when consensual sex happened.

'Her friend convinced her it was rape and was wrong. She's a vulnerable young woman and her friend saw her emotional, upset and with bruises.'
She had sufficient time to say 'No, what I've done is wrong.'

She added: 'This was not a pre-planned or malicious allegation, but things getting out of control.'

Judge Douglas Moore said: 'She had sufficient time to say: "No, what I've done is wrong."

'She has made an allegation against an innocent man, fine-tuned the case and he spent 12 days detained and five months charged.'

'This must have made this man's life absolute hell.  This is a bad offence and what must not be forgotten is the victim and his suffering.'

He added: 'What you did was an appalling thing and someone suffered very badly.'

Bailey was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, given an 18-month supervision order, given a six-month 8pm-8am curfew.

The court heard that Mr Frith has since forgiven Bailey for what she did.


Ending Zionism is a feminist issue

A little bit of insanity from last July.  She doesn't mention what might happen if Muslims renounced violence.  I guess she knows they won't.  The author is Nada Elia, global and gender studies professor at Seattle's Antioch University

As Israel’s assault on the besieged Palestinian population in Gaza approaches its third week, we continue to hear about the “disproportionate number” of women and children victims. This expression begs the question: what is a proportionate number of women and children killed in a genocide?

As Jadaliyya’s Maya Mikdashi asks in her op-ed titled “Can Palestinian men be victims?”, if a significant majority of the killed were adult men, would Israel’s crimes be lesser?

A different analysis of gendered violence is necessary: one that recognizes that no “proportions” are acceptable because all deaths should be mourned, while providing the tools for a differential understanding of the manifestations of violence.

Rape calls

The feminist network INCITE! Women and Trans People of Color Against Violence has always understood that state violence is both racialized and gendered.

Zionism is a prime example of that; it is a racist ideology grounded in the privileging of one ethno-religious group over all others.

When a state views a population — its dispossessed, disenfranchised and occupied indigenous population — as a ”demographic threat,” that view is fundamentally both racist and gendered.

Racist population control relies specifically on violence against women. So it is not surprising that Mordechai Kedar, an Israeli military intelligence officer turned academic, would matter-of-factly suggest this week that “raping the wives and mothers of Palestinian combatants” would deter attacks by Hamas militants.

Similarly, Israeli lawmaker Ayelet Shaked did not attempt to present the murder of Palestinian children and their mothers as unfortunate, disproportionate “collateral damage” — she openly called for it by asserting that Palestinian women must be killed too, because they give birth to “little snakes.”

This comment reflects an Israeli infrastructure designed to sustain high rates of miscarriages by blocking basic resources such as water and medical supplies, forcing women in labor to wait at military checkpoints on their way to a hospital, and generally creating inhumane and unlivable conditions for Palestinians.

This latest murderous attack on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip has not only taken the lives of hundreds of Palestinians, but it has also increased miscarriages, pre-term labor and stillbirths.

Ethiopian-Israeli women, most of them Jewish, have also been subject to mandatory contraceptive injections without their consent.

Ending Zionism is a feminist and a reproductive justice issue.


Paramedics Examine Child Who Waited in Car Less Than 5 Minutes

Playing out an elaborate charade of concern for a child who was obviously in no danger, police arrested a mom who let her son wait in the car while she ran into a Chicagoland Whole Foods for less than five minutes.

Then, for reasons known only to those who write and follow protocols that bear as much relationship to reality as your average Adam Sandler movie, paramedics came and examined the boy, who was just dandy (impossible!).

Of course, if we all expired after five minutes in a non-moving vehicle, we'd be dead in our first traffic jam, wouldn't we? If waiting in a car is so debilitating, what about those of us who pull up to a friend's house and have to wait while said "friend" finishes "just one" email. Ten, fifteen minutes later, we're still alive.

Fuming, but alive. Nonetheless, according to the Southtown Star:

    "A Chicago woman is facing a charge of endangering her child’s life after leaving him inside her car while she shopped at Whole Foods.

    Police said witnesses saw 35-year-old Ilona Lukaszczyk leave her young son in his car seat while she went inside the store at 15260 S. LaGrange Road, in Orland Park, on Aug. 20.

    The temperature was 75 degrees and sunny and the windows of the car were rolled up, save the driver’s side window which was down about 3 inches, according to police.

    The witnesses stayed with the car until police arrived in time to greet Lukaszczyk when she emerged from the store less than five minutes after going inside."

The hussy had some lame excuse: her son was sick and she was late to his doctor's appointment. Better she had unbuckled his seat and dragged the sick child through a busy parking lot, exposed everyone at Whole Foods to his virus, then dragged him back through that SUV-choked lot and re-buckled the now screaming, sweaty tyke. Because you're only a good parent if you seriously inconvenience yourself for no other reason than to prove you care.

That seems to be the only way to satisfy the authorities.

And so another mom must try to convince a prosecutor that there is a difference between letting a kid wait in the car for five minutes and leaving the kid to bake in the car for five hours—a difference our law enforcers steadfastly refuse to acknowledge. Their inability to distinguish between daily life and looming danger makes no one safer.



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 September, 2014

More Palestinian insanity

Islam appears to rot the brain

Last week, Palestinian and Israeli boys met in southern Israel for a football match organized by Israel’s Peres Center for Peace. The Palestinian Authority (PA) daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reprinted an article from Agence France-Presse that described the match and the initiative in a positive light.

Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), however, exposed that the news of the joint sports activity with “the Zionist enemy” was not well received by the Fatah-controlled PA and Fatah party leaders.

In reaction to the friendly game, Jibril Rajoub, Deputy Secretary of Fatah’s Central Committee and head of the Palestinian Supreme Council for Sport and Youth Affairs, stated: “Any activity of normalization in sports with the Zionist enemy is a crime against humanity.”

In a Facebook post, Rajoub stated that “for awhile now the Palestinian sports leadership and community – the Supreme Council for Sport and Youth Affairs, the Palestinian Olympic Committee and the Palestinian Football Association – have opposed such activities,” specifying that “normalization in sports with the Zionist occupation is a crime.” He demanded that “all individuals and institutions distance themselves from such activities, especially because their recurrence would arouse disgust and aversion towards all members of the [Palestinian] sports community.”

‘An Unpatriotic and Immoral Act’

Others called for an investigation and for the prosecution of the Palestinian organizers who agreed to the game with the Israelis. Denouncing the match as “a crime and an unpatriotic and immoral act,” Palestinian Olympic Committee member Abd Al-Salam Haniyeh demanded that Rajoub “immediately interrogate the organizers of the match, settle the account with them and prosecute them on charges of serious treason against the blood of the Martyrs [who died in the Gaza war] and violation of the decisions made by the Palestinian sports community’s leadership,” independent Palestinian news agency Sama reported earlier this month.

The National Committee against Normalization in Palestine “condemned the participation of children from the West Bank in a football match between Palestinian and Israeli children” and “called on the heads of the Palestinian sports [community] and the Palestinian leadership to discover who is behind this ‘normalization match.’”

The Committee’s secretary-general, Jihad Uweida, expressed “surprise” and “astonishment” that Palestinians would “do Israel a free service” by participating in such an event at a time when the National Committee against Normalization in Palestine “is conducting an international campaign for expelling Israeli sports from the international sports system, and after international sports organizations expressed their intention of boycotting this entity [Israel].”

‘An Individual Act, Conceived by Sick Souls’

The leadership of Fatah’s branch in Yatta, the hometown of the boys participating in the match, held “an urgent meeting to discuss the ramifications of the normalization matches” and “strongly condemned” the event. Fatah branch secretary Dr. Kamal Makhamreh said that the participation in the match “was an individual act, conceived by sick souls that agreed to be humiliated for a handful of money,” and he “urged the residents to supervise their children and distance them from these kinds of activities, which damage our cause.”

Another Fatah official, the Yatta branch spokesperson, Ma’an news agency reported that Muhammad Al-Birawi, said that Fatah “has demanded that the [Palestinian] Security Forces settle the account with these reckless people (i.e., the Palestinian organizers of the event).”

This is not the first time PA and Fatah leaders have opposed what they refer to as “normalization” with Israel in sports. In a video publicized by Palestinian Media Watch last year, Jibril Rajoub stated that he would fire any Palestinian sportsman who engages in “normalization” with Israel.


Children raised by married parents 'are better behaved'

Children raised in stable marital homes are better behaved than classmates brought up by unmarried parents, according to a major government-backed study.

An analysis of 3,000 children from the early years to the age of 16 has shown those with married parents are more confident, kind and responsible while showing lower levels of anti-social attitudes and hyperactivity.

The study, led by academics from Oxford and the University of London, said there was a “significant tendency” for poorer behaviour management among children from single-parent families and those brought up by unmarried mothers and fathers.

Researchers said it suggested married parents were able to provide a more stable domestic environment to nurture children’s social attitudes.

It also emerged that pupils from large families – three or more siblings – were worse behaved than only children.

Attending nurseries in the early years also had a positive overall impact on later GCSE results, it was revealed.

The disclosure was made in a long-term study – launched in 1997 – that tracks the impact of early education, gender, ethnicity, family background and social class on exam grades and behaviour.

In all, children who attended pre-school for more than two years before the age of five scored 51 more GCSE points than peers who missed out on nursery altogether – the equivalent of eight grade Bs rather than eight Cs.

Children spending at least a small amount of time in pre-school were also expected to earn an estimated £27,000 more in lifetime earnings than those who had no nursery experience, it emerged.

But researchers said “family influences” and financial income were the “strongest predicators of exam success” at all key stages of children’s education – from five to the age of 16.

Pupils whose parents had university degrees earned 141 total GCSE points more than students whose parents had no qualifications at all – almost three times the effect of pre-school education.

The study – part of the Effective Pre-school, Primary and Secondary Education project – also found that “family factors influenced behaviour and dispositions as well as attainment”.

As well as charting exam outcomes, the study was based on a “pupil profile” carried out by teachers when children turned 16.

This covered children's “self-regulation” (traits such as confidence, taking responsibility and showing leadership) as well as “pro-social behaviour” (the ability to share, apologise, display sympathy and be kind to younger children). The survey also covered “hyperactivity” and “anti-social behaviour”.

It said parents’ socio-economic status had a major bearing on pupils’ behaviour but added: “The marital status of parents in the early years, when children were first recruited to the study, was also a significant predictor of changes in self-regulation and pro-social behaviour during secondary education.

“Single parent status also predicted increases in hyperactivity in adolescence and anti-social behaviour. Students in lone parent families showed small but statistically significant increases in both negative behaviours and decreases in both positive behaviours.

“In addition, students of parents who were living with their partner but unmarried in the early years were found to show small decreases in self-regulation and pro-social behaviour and an increase in hyperactivity.”

Academics plotted the effect of various characteristics and the effect they had on behaviour.

In terms of “self-regulation”, researchers said that being raised by unskilled parents had the biggest effect (-0.61) compared with those with professional parents.

Boys’ deviation from girls was worth -0.43, the effect of being from a single-parent household was -0.25 and being raised in a large family resulted in deviation of -0.22. Being summer-born compared with an autumn birthday also had an effect of -0.17.

Edward Melhuish, professor of human development at Birkbeck, University of London, said: “The extra support from living in a stable marital home tends to lead to a better environment over the long term for the child."

The Coalition said the findings reinforced policies designed to encourage more parents to enrol their children in some form of childcare. Currently, all three and four-year-olds can receive 15 hours a week free early education, while the entitlement is extended to the poorest two-year-olds.

Sam Gyimah, the Childcare Minister, said: “Before they have even worn their school uniform for the first time, a child’s life chances are being decided. Early education not only sets a child off on the right foot at school but, as this extensive research shows, has effects that last right into the workplace.

“No child should start school behind their peers.”


There They Go Again- The Tenured Peace Processors

The Gaza war has come to a temporary lull, and as surely as day follows night, the peace processors are busy recycling the same old prescriptives for peace between the Arabs and Israel. They will demand suicidal territorial withdrawals from Israel in exchange for "recognition of Israel's "right to exist."

Simply defined it is as follows: In order to have its right to exist acknowledged, Israel must cease to exist.

No other nation in the world is given this choice.

Before World War 11, a significant portion of the global population lived under the sovereignty of European colonial powers including Palestinian Jews.  At the conclusion of the war, decolonization accelerated and from 1945 to the 1980s scores of nations in Asia and Africa acquired sovereignty.

Concomitantly, those nations joined the United Nations which had 35 member states in 1946, grew to 127 members by 1970 and at present has 193 member states. Independent studies show that only 87 nations, roughly 45 % of those member states are real democracies.

Some former colonies retained some of the infrastructure and economic institutions of their former colonizers, but most remained suspicious and hostile to European-style government, political ideas, and economic institutions.

The outcome of independence has been catastrophic in Africa. Of the 55 nations of the African Union (Morocco, a former colony of France is not a member) only a handful, Malawi, Botswana, Namibia, Benin,  Ghana, Mauritania and Senegal  have achieved any real semblance of freedom and stability according to Freedom House ratings for 2014

Unfortunately, for the millions of decent and hapless people of that continent, elected or chosen leaders who offered so much hope of "one man-one vote" rule became crooks with their hands in the national till or hands soaked in the blood of their countrymen. Famine, epidemics, tribal wars, massacres, coups and jihads against innocent civilians have plagued the continent. Millions have died and millions live in abject fear and misery. Celebrities come and go and wring their hands, get their photo ops and then move on. A racist media and an indolent and hypocritical Congressional Black Caucus ignore their plight.

In Asia, during the same period (1946- 1981) the Philippines, Israel, India and Pakistan, Burma, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka)  Indonesia and Malaysia( originally a federation of North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore. Singapore was expelled and is now a sovereign City State) Cambodia, Kuwait, Qatar, and  the United Arab Emirates, gained their independence and are all members of the United Nations.

The vast majority of those nations are repressive at best and brutal tyrannies at worst. Among the Muslim nations, oppression of women, dissidents and harsh Sharia laws are the norm. Taiwan, a democracy, was expelled by the United Nations to accommodate The Republic of China in 1971, and their bid to join the United Nations as an independent nation was formally rejected in 2007. They remain an economically stable democracy without the "benefits" of UN membership.

Israel India and the Philippines are the only democracies in the post-colonial nations of Asia. And, in fact, it can be argued that of all nations which achieved in dependence in those decades, Israel is the most successful western type democracy- with highly advanced scientific , academic, civil rights, and cultural institutions that rival those of any in the West.

Nonetheless, assorted despots and tyrants are now a majority of the member states in the United Nations and their emissaries, joined even by those diplomats from those relatively free African nations, bash Israel with metronomic regularity, joined from stage left by a chorus of European pundits and "statesmen." The United Nations Human Rights Council was created in 2006 and as of 2013 had more resolutions condemning Israel than any on the rest of the world combined. It is mind boggling.

Israel is the only, repeat, only member nation whose sovereignty is challenged.  Even more egregious is the fact that only Israel, repeat, only Israel is asked to accept "recognition of its right to exist" as a negotiable item.

Even when supporters and friends of Israel tally up the concessions that Israel must make- territorial surrender that mounts to self- destruction- they list "recognition of its right to exist" as an Arab concession.

And the most perverse outcome of all the so-called negotiations is that even Israel's putative leaders have been brainwashed to accept those perverse terms from their enemies instead of categorically rejecting them.

That is really something to ponder.


Joel Osteen and his wife are heretics, and that’s why America loves them

Joel Osteen is only a pastor because anyone can call themselves a pastor these days, and his church is only a church because anything can call itself a church these days. I happen to be of the old fashioned school of thought that believes a pastor should be, in some ways, distinguishable from Tony Robbins or Oprah, and a church should be, in some ways, distinguishable from a basketball arena on game day. I’m not saying that all churches need to be adorned with stained glass windows and incense (although I’m a fan of both), but I am saying that maybe all churches should have, like, a cross or something somewhere, maybe. God forbid a house of worship be arranged in such a way as to make it clear that we are specifically worshipping Jesus Christ and not the smiley fellow on stage giving the vaguely spiritual pep talk.

In the clip, Mrs. Osteen implores the audience to “realize that when we obey God, we’re not doing it for God… we’re doing it for ourselves.” As her proud husband nods approvingly, Osteen continues. “Do good for your own self. Do it because God wants you to be happy. When you come to church, when you worship Him, you’re not doing it for God, really — you’re doing it for yourself, because that’s what makes God happy. Amen?”

Amen! What wonderful blasphemy! Worship God for yourself. Do good works for yourself. Take up your cross, suffer the slings and arrows of the Enemy, and die with Christ for yourself. (OK, she didn’t say that last part, but only because the Osteens have a strict “don’t talk about Jesus” preaching policy).

In more primitive times they burned heretics at the stake. Now we greet the blasphemers with applause and multi-million dollar book deals. I’m not sure if the latter response is any more enlightened than the former, but both are wrong.

This is obviously an indefensible teaching, and one that does not require more “context” to be understood. “Do good for your own self.” A definitive, complete, profoundly disordered statement. Rooted in the Idolatry of Self, it betrays a pagan attitude which positions the Self as the Ultimate Good, the Final Purpose. All things — even God Himself — must revolve around the great and powerful Me. In the Osteens’ version of things, God exists to serve us, just as we exist to serve ourselves. You act virtuously for your own sake, because it brings you happiness.

Never mind what Christ said in Matthew, when He told us to “let our light shine before others, so that they may see our good works and give glory to our Father who is in heaven.” Here, He seems to state that we act with righteousness and virtue in order to glorify God, but Mrs. Osteen thinks that Jesus is complicating the equation. Just shine your light for your own sake. Forget about God. Keep it simple, folks.

And even when you pay honor and homage to the Lord — do it because it makes you feel good. Your feelings are the end all and be all. Again, we are a far cry from what Scripture has to say on the matter, where Paul exhorts us to “present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is our spiritual worship.” [Romans 12:1]

Become living sacrifices. Be holy and acceptable to God, your Master. One would assume that we ought to still prostrate and humble ourselves before the King, even if it doesn’t always necessarily fill us with pleasurable, fun feelings.

But we would be wrong, according to the Osteens. God is a lenient and permissive Father who would never ask such a cumbersome thing of his children. Instead, He spoils us with treats and toys, and wants only for us to always be fat and happy all the time, no matter what. If a child is unhappy, or lacks in certain Earthly pleasures — like, say, the ten million dollar mansion where the pastors Osteen currently reside — then clearly that son or daughter has failed as a Christian and a human being.

In the “Prosperity Gospel” — the theological school of thought where Osteen and his ilk concocted their perverse interpretation of Christianity — God rewards us with material wealth and temporal happiness. Those who have neither just need to believe more and pray harder.

Sorry, I’m being unfair. Osteen says that if you want to be rich you have to go beyond pure belief; you have to speak it into existence. From Your Best Life Now: “If you want success, if you want wisdom, if you want to be prosperous and healthy, you’re going to have to do more than meditate and believe; you must boldly declare words of faith and victory over yourself and your family.” God will make you prosperous if only you “declare words of victory.”

“I’m a winner! Now give me money!” Like that? Does that work? But I’m still not rich. What’s going on here?

This is an interesting perspective, to be sure, especially considering that Americans live in relative wealth and luxury even though we are far from the most Biblically faithful people on the planet. In the Middle East there are millions of Christians who believe deeply and, rather than wealth and health, they are rewarded with torture and decapitation. In Central America and Africa you will find scores of men and women who are on fire with the faith, yet toiling through a harsh and painful drudgery of an existence. What does Osteen’s philosophy say about these people? “Hey Ethiopian, maybe you wouldn’t be living in that shack and drinking stagnant water while you slowly starve to death if only you declared words of victory!”

Although these megachurch prosperity preachers might hop on their private jets and hand out books and t-shirts in some of these desolate, destitute, hellish regions of the world, it’s no wonder that their message doesn’t exactly resonate there. Only western Christians could be so soft, so silly as to eagerly buy into the empty platitudes of false teachers such as these.

Joel Osteen has no answers for those who truly suffer. He can spew inane slogans like, “if you have a big challenge today, that just means you have a big destiny!” (actual quote), but he can’t offer any real hope to the tired, the poor, the sick, the persecuted, the lonely, the dying. He gives them a friendly slap on the back and tells them to pick their chin up because it will all get better, but then he goes home to his castle and things don’t get better — not in this life, anyway. The sick get sicker, the persecuted are seized, arrested, and beaten, the tired find no rest, the poor lose even what little they had, the dying die, the suffering suffer. This is the reality for most of the people on this Earth, and the Osteen Doctrine sounds like nonsense in the face of it.

More here


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 September, 2014

Multicultural pastor in Britain

A vicar presided over a 'conveyor belt' of sham marriages where brides shared dresses and queued at the church door for up to nine weddings a day to spouses they had never met, a court heard today.

Reverend Nathan Ntege, 55, is said to have conducted 492 ceremonies over 15-months at St Jude's and St Aidan's in Thornton Heath, south London, pocketing £70,000 in the process.

Couples would wait their turn at the back of the church while brides changed into their wedding dresses in the garden, sometimes even sharing the same gown, the Inner London Crown Court was told.

The court heard that one potential bride Omotola Dongo married EU national Ibrahim Dembele on June 30, 2010 at St Jude's church - even though she had already been listed to marry a different man.

Before the ceremony two sets of wedding applications were filled out because she had another man lined up for her husband, it is claimed.

Dongo, who has been convicted of an immigration offence in relation to the ceremony, later submitted an EEA application using a different address to the one on her marriage certificate.

Mr Lucas said: 'Prior to the marriage two sets of Banns applications forms were filled out and it looks as though Ms Dongo had initially got somebody else lined up to marry.

'When the plan to marry that person fell through, she ended up marrying Ibrahim Dembele.

The sham marriages could have been legally void because Ntege did not follow proper church procedure, the court heard.

Church of England representative Alexander McGregor told the court that if an upcoming wedding is not announced in the church three times before the ceremony then it is invalid.

'If couples wilfully and knowingly marry without the Banns being published then the marriage is void,' he added.

'The member of the clergy is committing an offence and the validity of the marriage would be called into question.

'They have to be read three times three Sundays before the wedding by the clergy officiating at the wedding.'

Earlier, the court heard that  one woman could barely fit into her dress and the jury was shown wedding pictures of her underwear bulging out because it could not be zipped up, it is said.

Three wedding dresses and other bridal accessories were found at the vicarage where Ntege lived when it was searched by police, the court heard.

Ntege allegedly helped hundreds of illegal immigrants get into the country by marrying them to EU nationals in illegal ceremonies at the 'no questions asked' church.

The sham marriages were like 'cattle markets' with 'bus queues' of couples waiting for their turn, the court heard.

The conspiracy at the church also involved the corrupt verger and secretary, it is alleged. 

Ntege, originally from Uganda but now living in Croydon, kept around £70,000 in wedding fees owed to the Diocese of Southwark, it is said.

Church verger Brian Miller, 81, and secretary Maudlyn Riviere, 67, are accused of taking part in the scam by organising the weddings and recording bogus details on the marriage certificates.

Galina Petkova, 51, and Georgia Forteath, 34, were both married in the ceremonies themselves, acted as 'fixers' and helped the illegal immigrants to lie on their application forms, it is claimed.

Innocent Odoh, 34, and Angela Pelachie, 54, also came into the country under false marriages but were arrested after immigration officers became suspicious of their circumstances, it is said.  Odoh did not know even his wife's birthday, the names and ages of her children or where she lived, the court heard.

Prosecutor Edward Lucas said immigration officers became suspicious about the number of weddings at the church, which rocketed from six a year to six a day and with nine booked for the same date on one occasion.

He said the majority of them were between people from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and someone from inside the EEA, so they could stay in the UK.

He said: 'Attention was drawn to this parish church due to the inordinate number of weddings taking place at the church, presided over in the most part by Rev Ntege.

Mr Lucas added: 'The Crown asserts that many of these weddings were bogus or sham.

'The weddings were neither conducted correctly or legally and their sole purpose was to facilitate industrial scale abuse of the system of immigration control in the UK.

'They were mainly Bulgarian nationals sourced by the fixers. The number of marriages cannot have taken place at this single church by coincidence.

'Persons wishing to go through with these bogus or sham marriages were introduced specifically to this church because it was a no questions asked church.

'The Rev Ntege was integral to this process because without him there would have been no weddings at the church.

'He was the lynchpin, a vital part of this enterprise, he conducted the marriages in full knowledge of the fact that they were bogus.  'Sometimes it was like a bus queue or cattle market,' Mr Lucas said.  'Brides appeared to wear the same wedding dress.

'One dress was too small and the back couldn't be done up and her black bra was exposed.'

Ntege also pocketed more than £69,000 in wedding fees as most of the ceremonies were paid for in cash, it is said.  'It's more than just a coincidence that during the same period he transferred £55,560 to Uganda,' Mr Lucas told the jury.

On one occasion there were nine weddings booked for one day and brides would queue out the door waiting for their turn, the court heard.

Women would change in and out of their wedding dresses in the church or garden outside and couples had never met each other before the big day, it is said.

'The weddings themselves were somewhat farcical,' Mr Lucas said.  'Brides would share the same wedding dressed and queue up at the back of the church, waiting to be married.

'One witness said that he often saw women getting changed into dresses inside the church or in the church garden.

'False addresses were routinely recorded and weddings were conducted with few or no guests,' Mr Lucas said. 'They were processed by Ntege and his team like a conveyor belt.  'It was a complete sham and they knew it.'

Miller was present at a number of the bogus weddings to 'give them some legitimacy' Mr Lucas told the court.  'He knew full well that the weddings were entirely bogus,' he added.

'Riviere was the church secretary and had a key role in liaising with participants, collecting cash and recording entirely bogus details on the certificates. She was also present at many of the weddings.

'She and Miller were part of a team processing and run it an inordinate number of sham marriages.'

Petkova and Forteath acted as fixers sourcing foreign nationals and lying on immigration application forms, it is claimed.

'They helped arrange the weddings and maintain genuine marriage on the forms,' Mr Lucas said.

'They both appear on marriage certificates in ceremonies at St Jude's.

He added: 'The individuals involved were totally unknown to each other prior to the weddings.

'This was wide-spread abuse of the system of immigration control of illegal foreign nationals in the UK.'

Ntege claimed he was conducting an 'experiment' at his church to try and boost congregation numbers, a court was told.

'While it is no doubt, at first sight, laudable that Rev Ntege managed to boost attendance at that church the fact remains that the church authorities were completely unaware of the experiments of this church,' Mr Lucas said.

'Rev Ntege knew of course precisely what he was doing with regard to bogus marriages during the course of this so called experiment.'

Ntege denies making a financial profit from the church and claims he would not charge people for weddings if they could not afford to pay. He claims he never asked anyone to give false addresses but refused to answer any questions in his police interview, the court heard. 

Petkova came to the UK from Bulgaria in 1994 as a visitor, the court was told. She made various applications to remain in the country which were eventually granted.  Despite having a long-term partner and daughter together she married Dmytro Glinskyy in December 2009.

Mr Lucas said it was 'inconceivable' that the marriage was genuine.

Petkova also filed 'bogus employment records' for many of the applicants in the scam.

Miller attended many of the weddings and 'must have known what was going on', Mr Lucas said.

'The only explanation for him continuing to have a role was that he was sorry to the sham marriages.'

Ntege and his gang continued to carry out the conspiracy even after warnings from the Archdeacon of Southwark and immigration officers, the court heard.

'They knew these were not marriages of love but of convenience and whose only purpose was for one of the participants to remain in the UK,' Mr Lucas said.  

Ntege, of Thornton Heath, Croydon, denies 14 charges of commissioning a breach of UK immigration law and one of fraud by abuse of position between 15 January 2007 and 31 May 2011. Riviere, of Thornton Heath, Croydon, faces 15 charges of commissioning a breach of UK immigration law.  Miller, of South Croydon, denies seven charges of commissioning a breach of UK immigration law.  Petkova, of Enfield, North London, denies seven of the same charges.  Forteath, of South Norwood, faces two charges of commissioning a breach of UK immigration law.

Pelachie, of Florida Road, Croydon, denies one count of commissioning a breach of UK immigration law and another of deception in relation to UK immigration law between 20 April 2010 and 10 January 2011.

Odoh, of Lewisham, southeast London, faces a charge of commissioning a breach of UK immigration law and another of deception in relation to UK immigration law between 18 May 2011 and 29 February 2012.


Federal Judge: U.S. Constitution Doesn’t Require Redefinition of Marriage

Does the U.S. Constitution require the states to redefine marriage? Earlier today a federal judge said no. Judge Martin L.C. Feldman upheld Louisiana’s constitutional authority to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman—as 78 percent of Louisiana voters did in 2004.

Feldman noted that Louisiana’s marriage law furthers two important interests: “linking children to an intact family formed by their biological parents, as specifically underscored by Justice Kennedy in Windsor” and “safeguarding that fundamental social change … is better cultivated through democratic consensus.” That is, Feldman noted the two central issues in this debate—the policy question: What is marriage, and the legal question: Who gets to define marriage.

Feldman ruled that, consistent with the U.S. Constitution, citizens and their elected officials should get to define marriage, and they can define it as the union of man and woman if they choose to. In response to those who argue that there is no rational basis for such marriage laws, Feldman writes: “The Court is persuaded that a meaning of what is marriage that has endured in history for thousands of years, and prevails in a majority of states today, is not universally irrational.”

Feldman cites the Supreme Court’s decision in the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) case, U.S. v. Windsor, as support that Louisiana has the right to define marriage for itself. Feldman writes: “Windsor repeatedly and emphatically reaffirmed the longstanding principle that the authority to regulate the subject of domestic relations belongs to the states, subject to indistinct future constitutional guarantees that in Windsor were, by its expressed limits, left open and rather inexact.”

When the Supreme Court struck down part of DOMA, Justice Anthony Kennedy explained, “The significance of state responsibilities for the definition and regulation of marriage dates to the Nation’s beginning.” Taking Kennedy at his word, Feldman emphasizes the basic equality of state citizens and the vital importance of democratic debate. Just as citizens are free to redefine marriage to include same-sex relationships, so too are citizens free to retain the historic definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman—as citizens in a majority of states have done.

Our federal Constitution is silent on what marriage is. Judges should not insert their own policy preferences about marriage and declare them to be required by the Constitution. As Feldman notes, “it is not for this Court to resolve the wisdom of same-sex marriage.The nation is witness to a strong conversation about what is marriage.” The courts should uphold the freedom of the American people and their elected representatives to make marriage policy.

Feldman accepts that Louisiana’s voters had a rational basis to define marriage as the union of a man and woman:

    Louisiana’s laws and Constitution are directly related to achieving marriage’s historically preeminent purpose of linking children to their biological parents.  Louisiana’s regime pays respect to the democratic process; to vigorous debate….The fact that marriage has many differing, even perhaps unproved dimensions, does not render Louisiana’s decision irrational.

Feldman rightly questions where the re-definition of marriage will lead:

    Must the states permit or recognize a marriage between an aunt and niece? Aunt and nephew? Brother/brother? Father and child? May minors marry? Must marriage be limited to only two people? What about a transgender spouse? Is such a union same-gender or male-female? All such unions would undeniably be equally committed to love and caring for one another, just like the plaintiffs.

This again highlights the importance of respecting the authority of citizens and their elected officials to make policy about marriage. As Feldman emphasizes, marriage policy should be worked out by the people in the states: “Federalism is not extinct. Federalism remains a vibrant and essential component of our nation’s constitutional structure.” The debate about marriage cannot be put to rest by a court-imposed 50-state solution. This is the people’s decision.


The gobsmacking hypocrisy of commentators crying over the leaking of celebrity pictures

I have some questions, potentially awkward questions, for the commentators currently fulminating against the leaking of nude photos and videos of various female celebs: What if the hacker had discovered a private video showing an actress or singer saying something racist or homophobic? And what if he had published that video instead of the nude ones? Would you still be outraged by his encroachment into an individual's private space, or would you congratulate him for exposing celebrity prejudice?

Recent events suggest it would be the latter – that if the hacker had found a video of a famous woman being hateful he would have been hailed as heroic rather than branded a pervert. In recent months, you see, the private text messages, emails and telephone conversations of various well-known people have been leaked and pored over with widespread media approval. We have watched as the woman who leaked football chief Richard Scudamore's private and embarrassing emails was celebrated for her bravery rather than denounced for her lack of respect for a man's privacy. We heard the world cheer in unison as former American basketball boss Donald Sterling was expelled from his sport over an entirely private phone conversation he had, which was secretly recorded and leaked. More recently, some of the same media outlets now outraged by the leaking of private photos from female celebrities' mobile phones were only too happy to republish and sternly condemn less-than-PC private text messages sent by two British football officials on their mobile phones.

There is currently fury with anyone who says that if these female celebs did not want their naked photos to be seen, then they shouldn't have taken them in the first place. This is indeed a very stupid and intolerant thing to say. Yet the exact same thing was said of the above cases – that if you didn't want your private offensive comments to be seen or heard by others, then you should never have said them. As a Washington Post columnist said in response to the Donald Sterling case: "If you don’t want your words broadcast in the public square, don’t say them … Such potential exposure forces us to more carefully select our words and edit our thoughts." How is this any different to the horrible idea that if female celebrities don't want their naked bodies seen in public, then they shouldn't ever photograph them?

In essence, then, what we have in the leaked pictures scandal is not something unique. It is merely an upping of the ante in the grotesque modern trend for exposing people's most private moments and intimate thoughts to public titillation or ridicule. Yes, a leaked nude photo is more embarrassing than a leaked stupid conversation – though to some, the exposure of their soul might feel as intrusive as the exposure of their bodies – but in both the principle of privacy is undermined by a perverse, mob-like demand to see and hear everything that goes on in people's private lives, bedrooms and minds. If you did not condemn the public ridiculing and punishment of Scudamore, Sterling and others over their hacked private messages, then I have no interest in anything you have to say about the leaked celeb pics, which are only a more extreme example of this widespread, tragic dearth of respect for private life.


Netanyahu Slams UN: ‘A Hypocritical Organization’

PM Netanyahu blasts the UN for establishing the controversial Schabas commission to probe Israel’s alleged war crimes in Gaza and suggests they focus on the real threat – Islamic terrorism.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once again slammed the United Nations (UN) over its decision to probe Israel’s actions in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge.

Speaking at an IDF naval academy graduation ceremony on Tuesday, Netanyahu praised the IDF as being the most moral military in the world.

“Operation Protective Edge once again proved that there is no power that can stand against our unity and determination. We dealt Hamas the hardest blow it has received since its inception,” he said.

UN Should Investigate Hamas, not Israel

“All of you, IDF soldiers, are part of the most moral army in the world, and we will stand against any attempts of hypocritical organizations to criticize you. If the UN wants to set up a commission of inquiry, let them investigate Hamas’s war crimes instead of the Israeli soldiers who have behaved in an exemplary manner,” relating to the controversial Schabas commission established by the UN to probe Israel’s alleged war crimes committed in the Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu praised the IDF’s achievements during Operation Protective Edge, stating: “In order to demonstrate the magnitude of the military achievement of the IDF and the Shabak (Israel’s security service) and other security forces against Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, it is important to know that the fighting power of the Islamic State (IS) is half of that of the organizations in Gaza, and still the world’s great powers estimate it will take years to fight them.”

IDF Prepared for any Scenario

Referring to recent developments on the northern border and the civil war in Syria, the Prime Minister declared that Israel is prepared to act whenever and wherever it is required to contend with threats. “We are monitoring Al-Qaeda’s operations along the Lebanese border, along our border in the Golan Heights, and we are also monitoring other fronts. The IDF is prepared for any scenario and is prepared to act against any threat, everywhere. This preparation relies on the spirit and bravery of our soldiers,” he said.

Netanyahu further praised the work of Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz. “I thank you for your cooperation. The nation saw they have someone they can count on.”
World’s Perception of Islamist Terrorism is Shifting

Netanyahu estimated that the world’s perception of Islamist terrorism is shifting and called on international leaders to fight it.

“Every day that passes, many world leaders understand that if they do not partake in the war on terrorism, even if the terrorists are far away from their countries, the terrorists will finally get to them. Many now understand a simple truth – Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, Al-Qaeda, the Al-Nusra Front, the Islamic State and Hezbollah, who is supported by Iran, are all part of an Islamic terror network that threatens the entire world and that should be fought, preferably in a joint effort,” he stated.

Netanyahu concluded by addressing Israel’s sacrifices and losses during the last operation in Gaza. “Our citizens fell from the fire of a cruel enemy, and our soldiers fell in the most justified of wars, and they serve as a link in the chain of heroes who have accompanied the Jewish nation throughout its century of Zionism, who ensure our lives in our country.”

Netanyahu made similar comments on Monday during a meeting with US Congressmen Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Gregory Meeks (D-NY), saying: “I think the UN would do itself a great favor if instead of the automatic Israel bashing, they actually turn their attention and their investigative committees against these terrorists who trample every norm on which the UN was founded.”



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 September, 2014

Another charming Multiculturalist

The full disturbing extent of the physical and emotional abuse boxing legend Floyd Mayweather allegedly subjected his ex-fiancee to during years of torment can today be revealed.

In bombshell court documents, obtained by MailOnline, Mayweather is accused of battering, blackmailing, imprisoning and stealing from his former lover Shantel Jackson.

The world champion boxer, who is due to return to the ring this weekend to fight Marcos Maidana, now faces a trial by jury after his ex filed the explosive lawsuit.

The 29-year-old model announced she was suing Mayweather last week, claiming at a press conference that he beat her and invaded her privacy by posting a picture of an ultrasound scan online and announcing that they broke up because she aborted their twin babies.

But in sensational court documents the full extent of the boxer's tumultuous on-off eight year relationship with the beauty is laid bare in painful detail.

Shantel says she suffered years of hell at the hands of Mayweather, 37, whose ‘outrageous acts’ caused her ‘pain and humiliation’.

During one argument, he allegedly choked and twisted her arm, while in another he held her at gun point and threatened to shoot her.

He also kept her ‘prisoner’ in his Las Vegas home, threatened to publish naked pictures he had secretly taken of her while she slept and stole thousands of dollars worth of belongings from her, her court filings claim..

And in raging verbal attacks he called her a ‘bum’ and a ‘b*tch’ telling her, ‘You're not sh*t without me. I made you who you are.’

Shantel is seeking unspecified damages from Mayweather for battery, assault, defamation, invasion of privacy, false imprisonment, harassment and infliction of emotional distress.

The case is due to be tried by jury in Los Angeles and is expected to last seven days, court papers show.

Stunning Shantel met the boxer in 2006 when she was aged 21 and working as a hostess at an event in Atlanta, Georgia.

The pair began dating and soon after Mayweather asked her to move in with him in Las Vegas.

The boxer, who was last year named the highest paid athlete of the year by Forbes, showered her with gifts including a 17 carat diamond worth $2,500,000, over 100 designer handbags and masses of designer clothing.  He also lavished her with ‘substantial cash gifts’ and allowed her to use his credit card.

However, Mayweather soon became very controlling and Shantel had to ‘make herself available to him virtually at all times’ and was not allowed to work, according to the lawsuit filed on Thursday at the Superior Court of California.

Shantel, who changed her last name to ‘Jackson-Mayweather’ at the boxing champ's request, stood by her man when he was jailed in 2012 for a domestic violence attack in which he twisted ex-girlfriend Josie Harris's arm in front of two of their young children.

But just days after his release from prison, Mayweather allegedly lashed out at her in almost the same way as he had attacked his ex.

The court papers state that during a jealous rage, the undefeated boxer twisted Shantel's arm, then ‘choked her and forcibly took her phone away from her to look through it.’

Just a week later Mayweather – nicknamed ‘Pretty Boy’ - begged for forgiveness and promised ‘he would never assault her again’ the documents continue.

Some time later, while Shantel was working in Los Angeles in August, she claims Mayweather asked her for the security code for the home she owned in Las Vegas - which she had kept when she moved in with the boxer and used to store lots of her belongings.

The same evening he took her jewelry, Mr. Mayweather directed one of his agents to remove large amounts of her personal property, consisting of clothes, shoes, purses, credit cars and cellular telephones

When she returned she says ‘all of her expensive clothing accessories and personal items’ had been taken.

As alleged in her court papers, Mayweather – also known as ‘Money’ - then admitted he had taken her things as a 'test to see how important these possessions were to her'.

He eventually returned the property in October and promised to change his behavior but problems in the relationship continued and Shantel decided to leave Mayweather in early 2013 and move to Los Angeles.

In the first week of April she took the belongings from her Vegas house and put them in three storage lockers in Glendale, Calif.

This enraged Mayweather who bragged to her that he had found out which moving company she had used and the address of the storage lockers.

He later confessed he had arranged for one of the lockers to be broken into - and took belongings worth more than $1million from it, the papers allege.

Mayweather went to ‘great lengths’ to try woo Shantel back - and she moved back to Las Vegas on April 19 in a private jet Mayweather had sent for her.

But within days the couple began arguing and when Shantel threatened to leave again, angry Mayweather launched a "terrifying and humiliating" attack on her at gunpoint - refusing to let her leave his house, the papers claim.

The boxer grabbed his fiancee, ‘bent her arm, restrained her and pointed a gun at her foot, asking: “Which toe do you want me to shoot?”’

While ‘forcibly restraining her’ he took off a $2.5million diamond ring from her finger, took her other jewellery before telling one of his employees to remove her ‘clothes, shoes, purses, credit cards, identification and cellular telephones’ and take them to a secret location.

The documents allege that ‘for a period of time’ after this attack Mayweather kept Shantel ‘a prisoner in his home’.

He maintained surveillance and only let her leave the house if she was accompanied by one of his employees.

Shantel made her escape in June while Mayweather was out of town and moved back to California.

It was then she realized her storage locker had been broken into, she claims.

Mayweather confessed he had ordered the items to be stolen and said she could have her things back if she came back to him - but she refused, according to her lawsuit.

The desperate boxer then threatened to ‘put things out about her’ unless she returned to Las Vegas - but again Shantel refused.

The fighter then allegedly posted her Los Angeles address on social media and falsely suggested he was living there causing the house to be swarmed by fans. She says he also started posting pictures of her stolen articles on his social media accounts.

Despite this, Shantel eventually agreed to give the relationship another try after he sent a private jet to come and pick her up to watch a fight and ‘showered her with expensive gifts including Hermes handbags’ – which he subsequently took back after a row.

Shantel said they could work on the relationship but she would continue to live in Los Angeles.

In November she fell pregnant and Mayweather insisted she moved back to Vegas.

When she refused, the lawsuit claims, he launched into a vicious verbal tirade against her calling her a ‘bum’ and a ‘bitch’ and saying: ‘I took you out of the hood. I should have left your ass there. You’re not sh*t without me. I made you who you are.’

She terminated the pregnancy in January 2014 and informed Mayweather, the court papers say.

A month later the welterweight boxer attacked Shantel again, according to the papers.

After meeting him at his plush condo at the Ritz Carlton in Los Angeles they began to argue and Shantel attempted to leave.

But the boxer allegedly ‘dragged her back by her arm into the condo and blocked the door and would not allow her to leave for more than an hour.’

Two months later Shantel went to a basketball game with rapper Nelly and posted a picture on her social media.

This ‘infuriated’ Mayweather and he told Shantel that if she didn’t take the picture down he would post naked photos of her he had taken secretly when she was asleep online, she claims.

The 21 page lawsuit also reveals the ‘emotional torture’ Shantel said she faced when months later, Mayweather posted a scan picture of the twin foetuses she had aborted.

He also wrote on Facebook back in May: 'the real reason me and Shantel Christine Jackson @MissJackson broke up was because she got an abortion and I’m totally against killing babies. She killed our twin babies.'

Shantel said this was the 'ultimate humiliation' and it cause her great 'anguish' as she had only told one friend about the pregnancy and none of her family.

She also had to endure members of the public calling her a 'baby killer' a 'ho' and others asking her: 'Why did you kill Floyd’s babies?', according to the papers.

Shantel said Mayweather’s actions during the course of their relationship had caused her ‘humiliation, embarrassment, hurt feelings, mental anguish and suffering' and she is seeking monetary and punitive damages and an injunction to stop Mayweather publishing naked pictures of her.

Mayweather now has 30 days to respond to the summons.

Last week at a press conference announcing the lawsuit shantey said: 'I have been embarrassed and humiliated more than I can ever imagine by Floyd.'

She added that she had no choice but to file the action in Los Angeles County Superior Court with a 'heavy heart'.

'Ms. Jackson was terrified for her safety, and humiliated by Mayweather's conduct,' lawyer Gloria Allred said.


Greece resisting the PC trend

Greek laws 'fall short' as racist and homophobic violence surges

Opposition says limited anti-discrimination bill offers no protection, as rightwing campaigners resist call for civil unions

A gay and lesbian rights activist wears a banner calling for equal rights for same sex couples during a demonstration in Athens. Photograph: Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images

Nearly three years after it was first brought to parliament, Greek MPs are poised to pass an anti-discrimination bill which human rights groups say still falls far short of dealing with an epidemic of racist and homophobic violence in the country.

Ahead of this week's vote, gay rights protesters have taken to the streets to denounce the conservative-dominated government's refusal to extend protective rights, including domestic partnerships, to same-sex couples.

Rightwing MPs have resisted introducing legal protection for gay people despite an alarming rise in homophobic attacks in Athens, claiming that such measures could take Greece down a dangerous path.

"In Holland there are parties that recognise paedophilia; what are we going to do, adopt it too?" asked Anastasios Nerantzis, an MP with the ruling New Democracy party, as debate raged in the 300-seat house.

"There are also brothels that allow bestiality; what are we going to do, adopt that too? Since the third century marriage has been defined only between man and woman," he railed. "As such, there is no place for civil unions in Greece."

With debate at such levels, there is concern that far from curbing hate crimes, the law will allow violence to flourish.

Anna Hatzisofia, who represents the radical left Syriza party, the main opposition, said it was appalling that Greece had come up with an anti-discrimination law "in name only" when more than 400 racially-motivated assaults had been recorded since 2012.

Petros Tatsopoulos, a left-leaning independent MP, said the refusal to protect gay people was an alarming omission.

"Greece has been condemned by the European court of human rights on the issue of [same-sex] civil unions and yet is doing nothing to fix it," he told the Guardian.


Affirmative Action Death Penalty for Minority Murderers

The left’s ideas may be insane, but they usually function in a linear fashion. This is one of those cases where their ideas are appropriated and used with strange results.

The recent trend of lawyers attempting to reclassify every death row killer as mentally retarded based on IQ tests is another of the noxious efforts by the left to undermine the justice system.

IQ tests weren’t meant to decide who lives or dies (nor are they foolproof) and the left’s insistence on using them that way was strange. There’s also no credible reason why a rapist and murderer who tests a little below average should be exempt from the death penalty. We aren’t talking about someone who genuinely doesn’t know what he’s doing. Rather we are talking about dimwitted murderers who don’t test well.

So to get around the problem, prosecutors took the even older lefty objection that IQ tests didn’t properly measure minority IQs and combined it together to nullify the results of the IQ test. It’s somewhat amusing since it means one leftist idea was used to nullify another.

The case involved a Mexican-born illegal immigrant named Ramiro Hernandez who was convicted in a Texas court in 2000 for the murder of his employer and the rape of his employer’s wife. After given the death penalty, he appealed on the grounds that he was mentally retarded. Hernandez’s lawyers argued that because IQ tests taken prior to trial showed his to be a mere 62, within the standard definition of mental retardation, his execution would be unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on “cruel and unusual punishment.”

This so-called “Atkins claim” by the defense, named after the 2002 case of Atkins v. Virginia, was rejected by the Fifth Circuit. They accepted the prosecution’s rather astonishing argument that although Hernandez’s IQ was low compared to “American norms,” when “scaled to Mexican norms” it should be adjusted upward. When assessed according to his “cultural group”, they argued, his results should be closer to 70, a level just outside the definition of mental retardation.

A chief concern for Young and Blondel involves the apparently long-accepted conclusion from the psychology community that there’s “inherent bias” in IQ tests which disadvantage minority populations. Indeed, organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association and the American Association of Mental Retardation require that IQ results take into account the test-taker’s “cultural group” and “cultural diversity” so that these “biases” can be corrected.

The left would like IQ results to only be graded on a sliding scale when it advantages minorities, not when it disadvantages them.

Ultimately the only outcome of this is that lawyers will now work to see that their killers test below the level for their population group, rather than the national level. That’s happened before when killers retook IQ tests and had their scores fall lower to help their appeal.

IQ tests are not a very accurate measure of intelligence. They correlate to some degree, as many tests do. There are far more credible ways of measuring actual mental retardation. This gets expensive with specialists and opposing specialists, but it’s something that can be hashed out in a court of law and using IQ measures leads to the same specialist vs. specialist debate anyway.

As discussed before, the “Cruel and Unusual Punishment” standard has been widely abused to mean everything from banning the denaturalization of defectors to outlawing the death penalty. The Supreme Court should have no power over the application of a conventional death penalty and it’s a good thing that it did not intervene here. If states want to spare some killers, they should limit that based on prior evidence of the killer’s functioning in society, not post-conviction IQ tests that the killer has every reason to botch.

If the killer ever held down a job, if he managed to get through at least six grades of school, if he was capable of doing his own shopping and living independently, then he knew enough of what he was doing to face the consequences.

Here’s what poor mentally retarded Ramiro Hernandez did.

In October 1997, while he was in the U.S. illegally, Hernandez-Llanas led 49-year-old Glen Lich from his house by telling him that there was a problem with a generator, then repeatedly clubbed him with a piece of steel rebar. Armed with a knife, he then attacked Lich’s wife. She survived and testified against Hernandez-Llanas, who also had been linked to a rape and a stabbing.

Just 10 days before the murder, Lich had given Hernandez-Llanas a job helping with renovations at his ranch near Kerrville, about 65 miles northwest of San Antonio, in exchange for living quarters.

Hernandez-Llanas was in Texas after escaping from a Mexican prison, where he was serving a 25-year sentence for a 1989 bludgeoning murder in Nuevo Laredo. He was linked to the rape of a 15-year-old girl and a stabbing in Kerrville. While awaiting trial, evidence showed he slashed another inmate’s face with a razor blade. In prison, he was found with homemade weapons.

Strapped to a gurney inside the death chamber, Hernandez-Llanas asked for forgiveness:

"‘I’m happy… I am sorry for what I have done,’ he said, speaking in Spanish during a nearly five-minute final statement. ‘I’m looking at the angel of God.’

He blew kisses to family members and also thanked prison officers and the warden"

Maybe Ramiro couldn’t have been a college professor, but he wasn’t mentally retarded. He was a cunning violent criminal who escaped from prison, crossed the border was able to work and infiltrated a home, lured out his target and killed him. Then he raped his wife.

There was no reason not to kill him or to take his poor IQ scores too seriously. Lots of violent criminals are dumber than average. That doesn’t make them mentally retarded. They’re still cunning and manipulative enough to outsmart history professors.


Crime victims being failed by Britain's PC police

Yesterday, in a prime illustration of just how utterly detached they have become from the wishes of the public, one of Britain’s most senior policemen declared: ‘The simple fact that an officer does not turn up does not mean that an offence is not being taken seriously.’

This was one of two risible defences that Sir Hugh Orde, leader of Britain’s chief constables, offered to the revelation by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary that victims are now being asked to investigate theft, criminal damage and burglary themselves, because police cannot be bothered.

The second? It is all the fault of the cuts.

Sir Hugh’s entirely predictable attempt to blame austerity falls to pieces in the face of the fact that, while all forces have had their budgets reduced, six still manage to send an officer to all crimes, where it is requested by the victim.

The reality, as HMIC inspector Roger Baker – himself an ex-chief constable – says, is that ‘it’s more a mindset that we no longer deal with these things... effectively a number of crimes are on the verge of being decriminalised’.

The depressing truth is that policing, like nursing, has been turned into an academic pursuit by senior officers who obsess over political correctness and diversity, while forgetting the basics.

Meanwhile, hundreds of hours are devoted to PR stunts, deploying huge squads to arrest ageing celebrities and hunting down Press whistleblowers.

Is it really too much to hope the HMIC’s devastating report might make Sir Hugh and his colleagues rethink their hopelessly skewed 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


9 September, 2014

Are lesbians fat?

No.  Surprisingly. My late sister was a lesbian and those of her friends that I met were definitely hefty.  There has previously  been research showing that lesbians are fatter but a recent high quality research project separated out bisexual women from lesbian women and found that it was only the bisexuals who were unusually fat.  Come to think of it, my sister would probably rate as a bi.  She was married to a really nice guy once. I reproduce the abstract below but you really need to look at the tables to get the full picture.

Some of the other findings:  Blacks were fatter regardless; male homosexuals were slimmer than male heterosexuals.  Not surprising.  Male homosexuals are often very "looks" oriented and tend to take considerable care over their appearance.  And fat is not attractive.

Sexual Orientation Disparities in BMI among US Adolescents and Young Adults in Three Race/Ethnicity Groups

Sabra L. Katz-Wise et al.


Obesity is a key public health issue for US youth. Previous research with primarily white samples of youth has indicated that sexual minority females have higher body mass index (BMI) and sexual minority males have lower BMI than their same-gender heterosexual counterparts, with sexual orientation differences in males increasing across adolescence. This research explored whether gender and sexual orientation differences in BMI exist in nonwhite racial/ethnic groups. Using data from Waves I–IV (1995–2009) of the US National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (N = 13,306, ages 11–34 years), we examined associations between sexual orientation and BMI (kg/m2) over time, using longitudinal linear regression models, stratified by gender and race/ethnicity. Data were analyzed in 2013. Among males, heterosexual individuals showed greater one-year BMI gains than gay males across all race/ethnicity groups. Among females, white and Latina bisexual individuals had higher BMI than same-race/ethnicity heterosexual individuals regardless of age; there were no sexual orientation differences in black/African Americans. Sexual orientation disparities in BMI are a public health concern across race/ethnicity groups. Interventions addressing unhealthy weight gain in youth must be relevant for all sexual orientations and race/ethnicities.

J Obes. 2014: 537242

New Labour's war on British identity has left Salmond with an open goal

There have been a couple of times, over the centuries, when it seemed the United Kingdom was facing an imminent threat to its very existence.

That threat was external: from France, in the shape of Napoleon Bonaparte; and Germany, in the infinitely more malign form of Adolf Hitler. In both those conflicts, English and Scots fought side by side as brothers to help defeat an apparently implacable foe.

Now a single opinion poll — suggesting that a majority will vote ‘Yes’ to secession in the Scottish referendum — raises the real prospect that in ten days what we know as Great Britain will be carved up.

The agents of what would be a traumatic act of disunion are not our traditional national enemies or rivals. They are the descendants of people who risked their lives over centuries to maintain our common identity: the Scots themselves.

I still can’t believe this will happen, but in one sense that is none of my business. The vote is only for those resident in Scotland; it is not even for people of Scottish descent living in England, who actually outnumber those enfranchised.

It is the Anglo-Scots, on both sides of what threatens to become a real border, whose emotional shock must be by far the greatest.

As the Canadian former politician Michael Ignatieff recently wrote, recalling how his country was so nearly torn apart by the referendum over independence for Quebec: ‘This is the moral sin of separatism.

Separatist politicians, desiring to be presidents or prime ministers of little countries, force their fellow citizens to make choices they should not have to make between identities they have combined, each in their own unique way, and now watch being ripped apart — one portion of themselves flung on one side of the border, a damaged remnant on the other.

‘If Scotland does secede, there will be many torn souls the day after.’

The Scottish case is still more perplexing. The Quebecois at least spoke a different language to the rest of Canada — French.

It is true the most aggressive campaigners in the Scottish referendum campaign — who organised abusive attacks on Labour’s former Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy — are a group called Siol nan Gaidheal (Seed of the Gaels).

But fewer than 60,000 Scots speak Gaelic. Siol nan Gaidheal present the English as colonial oppressors, a notion that has gained greater currency in Scotland well beyond this small and somewhat poisonous band. Yet Scotland was never like Ireland. It has never been a colony nor treated as one.

As the historian and now Supreme Court judge Lord Sumption pointed out in a magisterial lecture last year: ‘Except for a very short period in the late 13th and early 14th centuries, there has never been a sustained English occupation of Scotland.

‘For Scots, by far the most important reason for agreeing to the union was their desperate need for access to England’s rapidly growing markets.’

Far from being an English takeover, the Union left intact the indigenous institutions closest to the Scottish people: the Kirk, the judiciary, the schools system, the universities. All these continued to be run along distinctively Scottish lines, in many ways superior to those in the rest of the UK.

And as for being ‘oppressed’ by the British Empire, the Scots were pre-eminent in its expansion and in running it.

This is still evident from the disproportionately large number of Scottish surnames, rather than English ones, in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Sumption argues persuasively that it is in part the loss of attachment to and even interest in the Commonwealth (where economic ties were sundered to prepare for our entry into what was then the European Common Market) that has sown the seeds of Scots separatism:

‘British constitutional history has all but vanished from the curricula of university history courses.

Britain’s overseas empire, which was a source of pride while it lasted, has become a matter for embarrassment and apology among many who have only the haziest idea of its history.’

Thus the emblems of working-class British identification in Scotland, symbolised most obviously by marching displays of the Union Flag, are shunned by the official Better Together campaign.

They regard that as nothing else but dangerous emanations of Protestant sectarianism, a grass-roots Unionist force they would prefer to forget.

This is much more a Labour attitude than a Conservative one, but the point is that it is Labour — still by far the biggest party in Scotland — who are in charge of the Better Together campaign.

And it was the New Labour government that was most assiduous in reducing the idea of British identity to nothing more than ‘tolerance’.

Tolerance is an admirable trait, but tolerance on its own is just an empty smile.

Gordon Brown, who is desperately trying to maintain the union (so desperate that he is even prepared to sit on the same platform with his previously ostracised former Chancellor Alistair Darling) tried in 2006 to re-assert what he called ‘Britishness’.

But his arguments amounted to not much more than sermons about ‘diversity and inclusion’. As the cultural historian Robert Colls acidly remarked at the time: ‘To fill the historical vacuum, “diversity” became New Labour’s watchword. But diversity pleased no one and left nothing to build on.’

Scottish nationalism has rapidly filled that historical vacuum. To quote Lord Sumption again: ‘As a serious political movement it dates only from the 1960s.’

Of course, all nationalisms have needed to invent themselves. British nationalism is itself a construct, not something primordial or innate.

Yet there is something especially odd about Scottish nationalism in that so much of its symbolism was, in fact, invented by Southerners — some of them understandably driven by romantic attachment to the sheer beauty of the place.

What could be more Scottish than the kilt? Yet as the late Hugh Trevor-Roper pointed out in his essay The Coming Of The Kilt, it was invented by an 18th-century Lancashire ironmaster called Thomas Rawlinson. He had devised it as workwear for employees who felled trees and stoked his furnaces near Inverness.

This is not to say that the Scottish nation is a sham. But it would be dreadful if they should forget our auld acquaintance.


Think-tank criticises 'pointless' Labour rent cap scheme

Labour's proposal to cap rent increases will make Britain’s chronic housing shortage worse and push up costs for tenants, according to an influential think-tank.

The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) said Labour’s pledge to end “excessive” rent increases was a pointless policy that would distort the market and discourage landlords from repairing their properties or renting them out at all.

In a report published tomorrow, the IEA will argue that all forms of rent control reduce investment, push up costs and can even stop people from moving home because of the perceived benefit of a lower rent later in the tenancy.

Ed Miliband revealed in May that a Labour government would introduce an “upper limit” on rent increases based on average market rates. The Labour leader said that nder the proposals, a landlord would be free to set rents at the beginning of the contract, but would then be subject to a cap in increases.

However, the IEA said this would only increase the incentive for landlords to raise rents at the beginning of the contract, in order to compensate for the cap. “Tenancy rent controls would not be welfare enhancing and are, if anything, likely to increase the cost of living,” the report says. “The fact that beneficiaries are obvious and well-organised whilst those who suffer are dispersed would make this a potentially damaging policy, which could be very difficult to reverse.

“Since rents can alter between tenancies, tenancy rent controls cannot improve affordability for any group other than in the short term.”

While the IEA recognised that Labour’s proposals were nowhere near as harmful as rent controls introduced at the beginning of the 20th century, it said history showed direct rent controls led to a shortage in available housing for rent, while less severe caps also had a negative impact.

Labour has argued that Britain could learn lessons from Germany, which has successfully implemented rent controls. However, the IEA report showed that Europe’s largest economy had a much more abundant supply of housing, which had inevitably kept rents down.

“There are huge structural differences between Germany and the UK – not least that there is significantly more development of new dwellings in Germany, making rent levels lower in general,” the IEA said. “Even if land-use planning regulations prevent building in general and keep rents and property prices higher, capping increases in rents just provides landlords with an incentive to sell property that they otherwise might have let out, or to convert properties so that their tenure type falls outside the rent control framework.”

Experts have likened Labour’s rent control policy to the Government’s controversial Help to Buy scheme, which critics argue has attracted much attention without improving affordability.


The Biggest Winner in the Lose-Lose ‘Operation Protective Edge’

After weeks of combat in Gaza, pundits sort out “Who won?” The weak side (Hamas) claims points for just surviving, despite the massive hammering its leadership and its constituents endured, while the strong side (Israel), whatever its battle-field gains, lost the “cognitive war” — big time. In the topsy-turvy universe of Middle East politics, nothing succeeds like failure on the battlefield and nothing fails like military success.

As for the ancillary players, more losers all around: journalists’ credibility dangerously damaged; UNHRC and UNRWA behavior, embarrassingly partisan; Secretary of State Kerry and President Obama, astonishingly clueless and blundering; intellectual left shamefully right-wing in its embrace of anti-Semitic discourse. Consensus assessment of many analysts: Operation Protective Edge (OPE) has produced only losers and bigger losers.

Only one group emerged from OPE a grand winner: European Jihadis. During the weeks of Israel pounding Hamas while Hamas hid behind civilians, demonstrators spilled out into the streets of Western and Muslim cities the world over to protest “Israeli genocide of the Palestinians,” even as they shouted “Death to Jews!” #Hitlerwasright, “Jews to the ovens!” Shops ransacked, Jews refused medical services, attacked in riots, Jewish businesses boycotted. For Jihadis, OPE offered a whole new, and possibly permanent, level of public violence. In Germany: “Hamas! Hamas! Jews to the Gas!”; in France, “Death to Jews! Slit Jews Throats!” This time, the chant has become a battle cry for bands of “youths,” armed with metal bars, running after Jews. And European Jews are packing their bags.

In the Jewish diaspora community and Israel, the alarm was palpable. “Time to go?” asked Shmuel Trigano rhetorically about France. Why? Not only because once again, people killed and sought to kill Jews in the streets of Europe, but because the news media continually played down the amplitude of the violence and hatred, and the authorities, both police and judiciary, resisted it half-heartedly. In France, as in England, anti-Semites no longer hide; unafraid of police, they roam the streets like the brown shirts of yore. Is this the “beginning of the end” of a two-millennia-long Jewish presence in Europe?

Jihadis, of course, delight in these new levels of both hatred and violence. For them, it’s a quadruple win: 1) depict Israel as the Dajjal (Antichrist) to Western audiences; 2) roam through the streets of Western cities yelling Jihadi slogans; 3) accelerate the expulsion of Jews from Europe as preparation for its conquest; and 4) keep the Europeans thinking this violence only targets Jews, and only because of Israel. For Jihadis, these past weeks confirm what they have long believed: that this is the Muslim century in which, among others, Europe joins Dar al Islam.

How did this happen? How did it get so bad before we noticed it? Are we observing changes of civilizational magnitude?

Global Consequences of Lethal Journalism: The Muslim Street

The story of this episode of Jew-hatred, whose rage is not yet spent, begins in 2000 and continues apace during the aughts (2000-09) and well into the teens. Ironically, it seems to be the unintended consequence of a Palestinian asymmetrical war strategy designed to fight Israel, that has turned out to be another, much greater, boon for global Jihad. The spectacular success of Palestinian war propaganda, delivered to the West as news by journalists, activated a violent “Muslim Street,” whose presence, and whose dominant trope of Jew-hatred, stormed onto the stage of European civilization.

With the Palestinians started the “Al Aqsa Intifada” in late September 2000, they could count on journalists to blame Israel. These journalists saw their job as standing “shoulder to shoulder” with the Palestinians, or “leveling the playing field” by recycling Palestinian “lethal narratives” about the IDF deliberately targeting civilians, especially children. What they may not have calculated on was the explosive impact those lethal narratives would have on Western, especially on European society, the way they would systematically promote global Jihad.

The most dramatic, indeed explosive example of such lethal journalism comes on September 30, with France2’s airing of footage purporting, following instructions from the Palestinians, to show the IDF targeting and killing a Palestinian boy who died in the arms of his father. This particular lethal narrative had an immense impact, indeed, became the 21st century’s icon of hatred. It immediately triggered violent riots among Israeli Arabs, and the murderous attacks of the Oslo Intifada among Palestinians. Osama bin Laden almost immediately exploited the story to recruit for global Jihad: as war propaganda inspiring hatred of Israel, no image could compare for emotive power.

Stranger than the Jihadi reaction to this image but no less powerful, Post-Christian Europeans seized upon it as a “get-out-of-Holocaust-guilt-free” card. “This boy’s death” opined a prominent news anchor, “erased, replaced the image of the boy in the Warsaw Ghetto.” One can with difficulty imagine a more staggering case of moral disorientation: dubious video footage of a boy caught in a crossfire started by his own side, trumps an image symbolic of the deliberate murder of a million children by the Nazis? And yet, on the wings of this secular substitution theology, Zionazism entered the public sphere: Israelis become the new Nazis, and the Palestinians the new Jews.

Europeans, especially the French, reran the image repeatedly, “l’image choc” of the Intifada. But even as they did so to satisfy their own needs, they waved a flag of Jihad in front of their immigrant Muslim populations. Already in the first week of the violence that became known as the al Aqsa intifada, for example, Parisian “Leftists” and Muslims from the suburbs met in Place de la République to protest the murder of Muhammad al Durah. There, under a banner equating Israel to the Nazis, for the first time since the Holocaust, the cry “Death to Jews” was heard in a European capital.

In the coming weeks, months and years, stoked by a constant stream of pictures and stories about Palestinian suffering, the “intifada of the suburbs” imported the violence of the Middle East to Europe, especially the ZUS (zones urbaines sensibles) where furious and aggressive Muslims targeted a largely defenseless Jewish population. Starting quite specifically in early October 2000, the “new anti-Semitism” began to “rise from the muck” in France and throughout Europe.

Subsequently, each new outbreak of violence between Israel and its most implacable Jihadi enemies – Fatah, Hamas, Hizbullah, Islamic Jihad – has led to a wave of lethal journalism, which in turn has sparked widespread protests the world over, featuring vituperation against Israel that has spilled over readily into Jew-hatred. In 2 002, after weeks of false but ubiquitous media reports of a massacre at Jenin, Westerners, wearing mock suicide bomb-belts and carrying pictures of Sharon with a swastika on his forehead, marched through the streets of Europe, unaware that they were a parody of those who, in the movie Independence Day, welcomed the ETs about to blast them to bits. In 2006, Jostein Gaarder wrote a supersessionist screed against “God’s Chosen People”, and Judith Butler welcomed Hizbullah and Hamas into the embrace of the “global progressive left.” In 2009, members of the German Die Linke party marched in a gender-segregated march, shouting Allahu Akhbar, and Death to Israel, while members of the British protestors rallied to the cry, “We are Hamas,” and drove British police through the streets of London. And now, 2014.

So rapidly and powerfully did this street presence of protestors emerge, that already by 2003, some began to speak of the emergence in the West (especially in Europe) of a Muslim Street, possibly stronger and more intimidating than the famed and intimidating “Arab Street.” Nor was the Muslim Street limited to anti-Israel demonstrations. In February 2003, some 6-30 million people worldwide participated in protests against US President George Bush’s plans to invade Iraq, described by participants as “the largest peace rally” in history.

No incident better illustrates the way in which Jihadis coopted the “peace” movement than the militant tenor of these alleged anti-war rallies, with their huge posters of Saddam Hussein and Yasser Arafat, a development that stunned some observers into a realization that something disturbing had happened to the Left. Seduced by the vision of a global progressive left leading the world as a counter-weight to American imperial hegemony, secular, anti-imperialist progressives welcomed the support of the imperialist global Jihadis, virulent anti-Semitism and its twin anti-Americanism.

By the mid-aughts, the Muslim Street, buoyed by its enthusiastic welcome in the “anti-war” rallies against Israel and the US, went solo. The Ramadan Riots of November 2005 in France (below) began open hostilities between a neo-tribal Jihad for control of the ZUS – no-go zones in the heart of Europe, increasingly “lost territories of the Republic.” The Danish Cartoon Scandal, ginned by radicals with a forged cartoon of Muhammad as a pig, took the globe by storm. In the London demonstration in front of the Danish Embassy in February 2006, we see for the first time, the Jihadi Muslim Street formally protesting, under police protection. Next to a man wearing a fake suicide vest, only months after the London transport bombing (7-7-2005), and speeches about conquering Denmark and raping their women, men carried signs with messages like: EUROPE YOU WILL PAY YOUR EXTERMINATION IS ON THE WAY, and ISLAM WILL DOMINATE THE WORLD.

In hundreds of similar encounters all over Europe, the Muslim Street has grown bolder, more aggressive with each passing year. The anti-Jewish pogroms of 2014 represent the most openly aggressive of the manifestations of the Muslim Street in Europe today, and coincide with the most openly Jihadi discourse. “Never before,” editorialized one paper, “have the sympathizers of Islamic terror appeared so openly in Germany.” Amsterdam presided over a pro-ISIS rally shouting “death to Jews!” even as those Jihadis slaughter infidels who refused conversion to Islam. In Norway, Jihadis threaten their host country with “another 9-11” if they don’t create a separate Sharia-ruled section of the Oslo where Muslims need not “live with dirty beasts like you.”

I suspect that most Jihadis were taken by surprise with these successes in the aughts and beyond. Only a true believer in 2000 could imagine that the West would so extensively indulge open Islamist aggression, and cooperate so readily with broader Muslim demands to silence criticism. Even the most optimistic Jihadi did not expect his progressive allies – UN and “Human Rights” NGOs, post-colonial academics and journalists – who after all, differed with them on all principles and moral values except for their shared enemy, to open up the gates of the global public sphere to their war narrative (that targeted them), and keep that invitation open so long.

More HERE (See the original for links)


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 September, 2014

Multiculturalist being held to account

In a landmark case, on September 6, 2012, a Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Circuit Court Judge gave standing to an Australian woman to collect a Japanese civil judgment against a former US Navy sailor for raping her in Japan 11 years ago.

A civil judgment by a Tokyo court in 2004 ordered sailor Bloke T. Deans to pay 3 million yen in damages to Catherine Jane Fisher as compensation for emotional and physical harm from the rape. However, despite knowing of the Japanese court case against Deans, the US Navy issued Deans an honorable discharge and allowed him to leave Japan without informing either the Japanese court or Ms. Fisher.

For 10 years, Ms. Fisher searched for Mr. Deans and in 2011 she finally located him in Milwaukee. In May, 2012, Ms. Fisher filed a suit against Mr. Deans in Milwaukee Circuit Court.

Ms. Fisher's journey to hold her rapist accountable has been shown in the Australian TV documentary "The Power of One" on the national "60 Minutes" series.

The case is slowly proceeding toward resolution. 

On May 20, 2013, Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge William S. Pocan denied a motion for summary judgment filed by defendant Bloke Deans asking that the Court refuse to enforce a 2004 judgment entered by the Tokyo district court against Deans finding him liable for sexually assaulting Ms. Fisher in 2002. 

In denying Deans' motion, the Court found that Ms. Fisher was able to identify numerous factual disputes that, if resolved in Ms. Fisher's favor as part of any final trial in this case, would support entering judgment in her favor. By denying Dean's motion, the case will now be permitted to proceed toward final resolution, likely in late 2013. 

Ms. Fisher will now be able to proceed with the substance of the case, in which her legal team from the Madison, Wisconsin office of law firm Perkins Coie will argue that under the common law principles of comity, the Milwaukee court should recognize and enforce the Japanese judgment.

At the earlier hearing, Perkins Coie law firm attorney Christopher Hanewicz stated, "We are very satisfied with the Judge's decision, which is an important step in holding Mr. Deans accountable for his actions, bringing some sense of closure to Ms. Fisher's ten year ordeal." 

I attended that hearing and, while one in three women in the military are raped by fellow servicemen during their service, many civilian women living near US military bases in the United States and in other countries are also raped by US military personnel. This case gives hope for those living in other countries who have never been able to hold the rapist accountable because he has been able to leave the country.


How the West drove Russia into Ukraine

Too many are blaming Putin for a mess of the West’s making

The mainstream story of the conflict in Ukraine is mind-meltingly simple: it was Russia wot dunnit. Since the fall of its Russian puppet of a president, Viktor Yanukovych, Russia has ceaselessly and relentlessly pursued a policy of military aggression against Ukraine. It really is that simple. Everything that is happening in Ukraine, from the displacement of nearly 300,000 people, to the killing of 2,200 more, is the fault of Russia and its chest-beating throwback of a president, Vladimir Putin.

Just listen to what Western politicians are saying. US president Barack Obama’s administration has talked darkly of Russia’s ‘pattern of escalating aggression’; Republican senator John McCain has spoken explicitly of the Russian ‘invasion’ as the work ‘an old KGB colonel [who] wants to restore the Russian empire’; and German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier admitted at the weekend that thanks to Russia’s ‘border infringements’, ‘the situation is slipping out of control’. Little wonder that The Times editorial talks in concerned tones of ‘Mr Putin’s war’. Because that’s what it looks like: a war planned out and pursued by Putin.

And why might Putin be waging this massively costly, destabilising war? Because, so the story goes, he and his cronies want to create a new Russian empire. This is clearly what one Guardian columnist has in mind when he writes that Putin has ‘a long-term plan to recreate a greater Russia by regaining control of Ukraine and other states in the “near abroad”’. According to a US academic in the Globe and Mail, it’s all part of Putin’s ‘dream of imperial restoration’, his ‘delusionary imperial ambitions’. And why the additional adjective ‘delusionary’? Because the key character in this brilliantly simple story of Russian aggression, Putin, is also undeniably mad. Why else would he be trying to act out his imperial dreams, runs the logic, if he didn’t have a screw loose? ‘Mr Putin is not rational’, states a New York Times op-ed: ‘Any rational leader would have reeled from the cost of Western sanctions.’ Slate goes further: ‘[Putin’s] actions are certainly consistent with the portrait of an enraged, hypernationalist, conspiratorial madman who is heedless of the consequences to Russia and to himself.’

So there you have it. The situation in Ukraine is the product of the machinations of the Moscow madman, and his circle of ex-KGB macho men. It is Russia’s fault. The bloodshed in Ukraine, its fragmentation, its region-shaking instability – all of it can be laid at Russia’s feet.

Or at least it could be if any of this were true. Yes, Russia did annex Crimea, a region of Ukraine with a mainly ethnically Russian population. Yes, there clearly are Russian soldiers operating in eastern Ukraine (reports estimate 1,000). And, yes, the pro-Russian separatists in places like Donetsk will have had support from Russia. But none of this is the result of Putin’s ‘dream of imperial restoration’, or his ‘hypernationalist, conspiratorial madness’. Russia is not realising any sort of pre-meditated plan at all. In fact, it is not determining events; it is responding to them. It saw anti-Russian protesters in Kiev violently replace Ukraine’s democratically elected leader, Yanukovych, with a pro-Western government complete with a faction of bona fide neo-fascists in February. And it watched on as Western leaders serenaded Ukraine’s new government with songs of approval. And seeing what happened, seeing Ukraine transformed into a strategic threat right on its own borders, Russia responded by swiftly taking back Crimea, and then attempted to shore up other parts of eastern Ukraine. Russia’s intervention in Ukraine isn’t madness; it’s a rational, realist response to what it correctly perceives as a geopolitical threat right there in its own backyard.

In fact, as we have consistently argued on spiked, the crisis in Ukraine owes far more to Western meddling than Russian. In fact, for the past 20 years, Western leaders have thoughtlessly, blunderingly provoked and frightened Russia over Ukraine. They have tried to pull Ukraine into the orbit of the EU, if not the EU itself. They have issued the half-baked offer of NATO membership to Ukraine, while simultaneously withdrawing it. And they have persistently, and self-aggrandisingly, talked of ‘promoting democracy’ in Ukraine and promulgating ‘Western values’. And what has made this so dangerous, what has led the region to the precipice, is that those selfsame Western actors pushing this policy-triad in the Ukraine don’t even recognise their intervention, their meddling, their clueless interference in Russia’s neighbour and one-time ally, for what it is: a provocation and a threat to Russia.

But that is precisely what it must appear as to Russian eyes. From Bill Clinton’s US administration of the mid-1990s pushing for NATO expansion (which led to the incorporation of such Eastern bloc stalwarts as Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Latvia between 1999 and 2004), to the Bush administration’s 2008 half-promise to Georgia and Ukraine that they ‘will become members of NATO’, Western leaders have long looked set on turning Ukraine into a military adversary of Russia. Then there’s the EU’s march eastwards, with its 2008 initiative, the Eastern Partnership scheme, designed to integrate Ukraine into European economy. And to ice these two layers of a distinctly Western cake to be served out on Russian borders, there has been the constant drum of pro-democracy rhetoric from the West, in which Ukraine is posited as an eastern outpost ripe for transformation into a Western-style liberal democracy. Indeed, US assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland has admitted that since 1991, the US has spent upwards of $5 billion on pro-democracy initiatives in Ukraine.

What happened at the end of last year, when anti-Russian, pro-EU demonstrators converged on Maidan Square in Kiev, and eventually drove the elected president from office, was not the beginning of Ukraine’s current conflict. Rather, those protests were fuelled by years of Western interference in the region, years of ‘pro-democracy’ propaganda, and years of economic / military promises. Given the West’s semi-unwitting role in fermenting the unrest, it is unsurprising that Western leaders blithely endorsed the protests and celebrated the downfall of Yanukovych. This, after all, was what they had long wanted.

That is why then German foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, thought nothing at the time of announcing that ‘the hearts of the people of Ukraine beat for the EU’. This is why Senator McCain happily undertook a backslapping tour of the protest camps in December, before declaring ‘We are here to support your just cause’. This is why then UK foreign secretary William Hague unthinkingly praised Ukraine’s anti-government protesters: ‘It is inspiring to see these people standing up for their vision of the future of Ukraine: a free, sovereign, democratic country with much closer ties to the European Union.’ It was the culmination of a years-long, blundering, blustering attempt to turn Ukraine Western. Not because it served a particular geopolitical purpose, but because it just seemed right. And with little really at stake in Ukraine, why not? All this righteous posturing certainly plays well to a domestic audience.

Now, tragically, the reason why not is painfully clear. A whole nation is being torn asunder as Russia desperately tries to manage the chaos the West has unleashed on its borders. This is not to endorse Russia’s response; its interventions are understandable, but they’re not helpful. Its continued military incursions are acting as a block to the one possibly useful and peaceful solution - a federal solution within Ukraine itself.

Be that as it may, there’s no doubt where the finger of blame should really be pointing as Ukraine continues to unravel. And that is to those Western leaders who continue to provoke Russia. And what makes this all the more dangerous is that they do so blindly, with little sense of geopolitics or strategic interests – indeed, with little sense of the real stuff of international politics. They continue to talk of Ukraine’s NATO membership; they continue to pull what’s left of Ukraine’s economy towards the EU; and they continue ever more shrilly to counterpose Western values, and Western progressiveness, to the dark un-PC traditionalism of their imagined Russia. And on top of that, they continue to paint Russia as the aggressor, as the source of all Ukraine’s problems.

Russia’s military involvement in Ukraine is dangerous; but more dangerous still are the Western drivers of regional instability who time and again intervene with no sense of consequence and no sense of responsibility.


One consequence of the constant drumming up of race consciousness by liberals

After my family arrives on the Cape May ferry for our annual vacation to the Jersey Shore, I take pictures of our two daughters on the ferry’s deck as we leave the harbor. I’ve been doing this since they were 3 and 4 years old. They are now 16 and 17. Each photo chronicles one year in the life of our family and our daughters’ growth into the beautiful young women they have become. Getting just the right exposure and interaction between the two has never been easy. They’ve gone from squirming toddlers to ambivalent teens who barely put up with their dad’s ongoing photography project.

But this year, everything was perfect. It has been an extraordinary summer in the Mid-Atlantic: mild heat with low humidity. On that first day of vacation, the sea was calm and the sky a brilliant blue. As I focused on the image in my camera’s viewfinder, the girls stood in their usual spot against the railing at the back of the boat. I was looking for just the right pose — often waiting for that perfect smile or pausing as they fixed their hair after a strong ocean breeze. I was trying to get just the right exposure and flash combination to bring out their faces in the harsh midday sun.

Totally engaged with the scene in front of me, I jumped when a man came up beside me and said to my daughters: “I would be remiss if I didn’t ask if you were okay.”

At first none of us understood what he was talking about. His polite tone and tourist attire of shorts, polo shirt and baseball cap threw us off. It took me a moment to figure out what he meant, but then it hit me: He thought I might be exploiting the girls, taking questionable photos for one of those “Exotic Beauties Want to Meet You!” Web sites or something just as unseemly. When I explained to my daughters what he was talking about, they were understandably confused. I told the man I was their father. He quickly apologized and turned away. But that perfect moment was ruined, and our annual photo shoot was over. (Only after we arrived at our rented condo did I find out I had gotten a great shot.)

As I was telling my wife what had happened, I saw the man again, scanning the horizon with his binoculars. The more I thought about what he had said, the more upset I became. My wife and I, both white, adopted our two daughters in China when they were infants. Over the years, as a transracial family, we have often gotten strange looks and intrusive questions from strangers, but nothing like this. Yet part of me understood what he was seeing: Here was this middle-aged white guy taking lots of pictures of two beautiful, young Asian women.

Would this man have approached us, I wondered, if I had been Asian, like my children, or if my daughters had been white? No, I didn’t think so. I knew I’d regret not going back to speak to him about what had happened. My wife warned me I might be asking for trouble, but I reassured her that I would be fine.

I walked outside to where he was standing and calmly said: “Excuse me, sir, but you just embarrassed me in front of my children and strangers. And what you said was racist.”

The man didn’t seem at all fazed. He replied: “I work for the Department of Homeland Security. And let me give you some advice: You were standing there taking photos of them hugging for 15 minutes.”

I see. So we didn’t fit the mold of what he considered a typical American family, and he thought my picture-taking was excessive, possibly depraved. How long should family snapshots take? He thought he was qualified to judge. I told him I was a professional photographer and take lots of photos.

“My wife’s a photographer,” he said. “I understand.”

“Then you should have known better,” I replied.

He agreed to consider everything I had said. But he didn’t sound very sincere. When I had questions about his observations, he deflected them, hoping to manage my reaction with simple apologies, except they weren’t simple at all: He apologized; he criticized; and he apologized again.

There was nothing more I could say, nor did I need to hear any more explanations from him. I thought about asking for his business card or his name, but instead I just walked away, feeling exposed.

I had to consider my daughters’ feelings as well as my own. My 17-year-old, usually the stoic one, told me she almost cried when she understood what he was asking. And all the while I kept wondering: Had he overreached when he approached us, or was he just being a good citizen, looking out for the welfare of two young women? Perhaps he was doing what his professional training had taught him to do: Look for things that seem out of place, and act on those observations. But what is normal and what is not?

Even if he thought something inappropriate was taking place, he certainly could have approached us more gently: “What a beautiful family you have there,” he might have said to me. If the girls had answered, “We’re not his family” or had even looked distressed by his statement, then he might have had cause to question them. Instead, his words were so intrusive, controlling and damaging. I would be remiss if I didn’t question them.

A week later, on the ferry ride home, as my oldest and I were walking on deck, I suggested that we imagine the other passengers through this man’s eyes. She grimaced but agreed. It was so easy to project suspicious stories onto the white woman trying to grab a black child — instead of seeing a mother running after her son. Or to suppose that an old man was taking inappropriate photos of a young girl — instead of seeing a grandfather capturing a special moment with his granddaughter. We talked about this as we walked around the deck.

The world and its suspicions had intruded on our family’s vacation as we crossed Delaware Bay. Racial profiling became personal that day. And while our experience was minimal compared with the constant profiling experienced by others, it left a repugnant taste in my mouth.

Homeland Security instructs Americans: “If you see something, say something.” But at what point do our instincts compel us to act? And when does our fear of getting involved stop us? What causes someone to perceive one thing when an entirely different thing is happening?

I’ve been thinking about this for weeks and have no clear answers. And that’s what disturbs me the most.


The obesity panic on life support

Ten years ago this month, celebrity-chef-cum-health-crusader Jamie Oliver started filming Jamie’s School Dinners, in which the mockney moralist aimed to transform school meals in a London comprehensive. The show became a huge talking point when it was shown in early 2005 and even earned Oliver some televised face time with the then UK prime minister, Tony Blair, who promised hundreds of millions of pounds to the school-meals service.

Such was the febrile atmosphere that obesity became an election issue. We were told that we faced an ‘obesity timebomb’, that children would die before their parents. Kids in Britain and America would carry on getting fatter and fatter, condemned to a future of disability, chronic disease and early death. Something had to be done.

A decade later, much of health policy and TV programming is still devoted to the problem of fatness, but the fever has abated. Did we become bored? Have we become fatalistic about our bulging waistlines as children drown in fat? Clearly what was needed was an even more dramatic statement from ‘top doctors’ to shake policymakers into action.

So it was that the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), in an open letter to England’s chief medical officer published on Sunday, declared a ‘state of emergency’ in relation to obesity. Dr Rachel Pryke, RCGP clinical lead for nutrition, said: ‘We are in danger of destroying the health of a whole generation of children. As parents and health professionals, we need to take responsibility and ensure that every child has a healthy and varied diet and regular exercise… We cannot allow our young people to become malnourished, squandering their childhood and vitality hunched over computer consoles and gorging on junk food.’

Except that the obesity timebomb never went off. According to the Health Survey for England, the number of children aged 11 to 15 who are obese or overweight fell from 41.7 per cent in 2004 to 35.2 per cent in 2012. The peak in adult obesity was reached in 2010 at 26.1 per cent, before falling to 24.7 per cent in 2012. Are those the kinds of figures – painting a picture of a problem in decline – that suggest a state of emergency?

But that didn’t stop Pryke from continuing with the martial theme: ‘A national Child Obesity Action Group will allow us to call up a “battalion” of health professionals to lead the fight for our children’s health.’ It’s a surprise the RCGP didn’t continue the theme and demand a curfew on fast-food joints. As it is, the RCGP is calling for more health professionals, more training and more monitoring of children’s weight.

In the same press release, Dr Richard Roope, RCGP clinical lead for cancer, weighed in with some other familiar tropes: ‘For the first time, we have a generation of patients who may predecease their parents. Only three per cent of the public associate weight with cancer, yet, after smoking, obesity is the biggest reversible factor in cancers. Radical steps need to be taken – at the very least levying tax on sugary drinks. We’ve seen this approach work with smoking where there was a notable fall in the number of smokers once prices were increased.’

The canard about children dying before their parents is nonsense. Of course, there have always been some children who died before their parents, and it is absolutely heartbreaking when it happens. Thankfully, it is becoming rarer and rarer. But Roope is talking about an entire generation.

Few, it seems, agree with this gloomy forecast. As Sir Richard Peto, professor of medical statistics at Oxford University, told the BBC Radio 4’s stat-checking show More or Less earlier this year: ‘If you’re not in the middle of a war, HIV epidemic or drinking gallons of vodka then overall death rates are going down and they are going down very fast.’ Peto pointed out that the kinds of things that obesity might cause – like heart disease – have been in decline for some time. ‘If you take Britain as an example, the probability of dying from the sorts of things caused by being overweight has gone down by a factor of four. If you go back 30 years then the chance we would die from a heart attack or stroke and diseases like that in middle age was 16 per cent, whereas it was four per cent in 2010.’

As for Doing Something about obesity – well, what exactly? Obesity is a very different problem from smoking. Lung cancer, for example, is caused by smoking; the threat is clear, specific and substantial. And the solution is simple: stop smoking, which is a hell of a lot easier to do than losing weight. People stop smoking mostly for health reasons, not for reasons of cost – although not having to spend a fortune on ‘coffin nails’ must be an added bonus. On the other hand, the health dangers of any particular food are not at all clear, specific or substantial, so consumers will remain unconvinced about giving it up. Introducing a soda tax may raise a bit of money for the Treasury, but it will do next to nothing for obesity rates.

The only state of emergency going on here is that the puffed-up medical profession – or, at least, its leaders – is getting beyond its station. Rather than scaremongering and demanding tax hikes, it would do better to prove it can do its real job – treating patients – and leave the obesity panic to pass away peacefully.



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

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

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


7 September, 2014

Another charming multiculturalist

There is a lot of insanity among Africans in Britain

The man accused of beheading a great-grandmother in her back garden is a would-be cage fighter who converted to Islam five years ago, it has emerged.

Nicholas Salvadore, 25, was charged late on Friday with the murder of 82-year-old Palmira Silva, who was hacked to death in an apparently random attack on Thursday afternoon. Mr Salvadore was also charged with assaulting a police officer.

Mrs Silva is understood to have been attacked by a suspect who had argued with his flatmates minutes earlier, prompting them to flee in terror in a car as he smashed one of its windows. The killer then beheaded two cats, ranting as he did so, before targeting Mrs Silva.

A neighbour said the suspect had told her a week ago: “The police are looking for me, but they can't find me, I'm going to hide.”
Neighbours said Mr Salvadore had been living with friends a few doors down from Mrs Silva in Edmonton, north London, for several months and was well known in the area, where he was nicknamed “Fat Nick”.

An hour before Mrs Silva’s murder, Mr Salvadore had been involved in an argument at the local Nightingale Café, where he ordered a takeaway burger and left without paying.

Fatima Altun, 20, who works in the cafe, said: "I went after him and said 'You haven't paid'. He gave me the money, it was £3, but he was a bit angry about it. To me he seemed a bit depressed or upset about something."

He was also involved in a row with a local taxi firm last year. A shopkeeper in Nightingale Road said: “I don't know what the argument was about but it ended up with him breaking a window.”

Khairul Islam, 40, who runs an Internet cafe close to Mrs Silva's home, said: “He'd come over quite a lot and search the internet for things like cars. He was one of these people that just hangs around, a bit of a ruffian but never violent to me. He seemed OK, just a loafer."

Lewis Young, 24, a tattoo artist who attended the local Nightingale Academy secondary school with Mr Salvadore, said: “At school he was just a normal bloke. He has seemed pretty cool. I just can’t believe he could have done something like this.”

Mr Salvadore had ambitions to become a cage fighter, but had gone off the rails and was known locally for dealing drugs.

Another acquaintance of Mr Salvadore said: “He was having problems at work. He's just been sacked. He'd had problems with drink and drugs in the past.”

Dave Jensen, 52, a builder who once employed Mr Salvadore as a labourer, said he had converted to Islam five years ago.
However he added that he had never behaved aggressively regarding his religion or beliefs.

Mr Jensen said: "Nick told me in passing he'd turned to Islam, about five years ago. But he wasn't in your face about it. He didn't try and convert others or talk about religion and politics at all.

"He worked for me off and on, labouring and clearing rubbish in houses round here.”

Police disclosed that it took almost half an hour to arrest the suspect after the first 999 call was received at 1.07pm on Thursday. A police helicopter was overhead by 1.12pm, by which time it is thought Mrs Silva was already dead, and officers on the ground “contained” the suspect as he roamed between back gardens before he was finally cornered in a house and arrested at 1.35pm.

Witnesses said two young boys were in the house where the suspect was held, and described police smashing a window so their mother could hand them to officers and then scramble clear of the house herself.

The alleged killer was shot with a Taser during his arrest, and spent Thursday night in hospital being treated for injuries sustained in a struggle with police, but was discharged on Friday morning and taken to a police station for questioning. Scotland Yard said the murder was not related to terrorism.

Jason Griffiths, 21, told how his three-year-old son Mason had been playing in the front garden with his niece, Brooke, five, just yards from where the killer struck.

He said: "It's terifying to think they could have been attacked too. The madman was running around for at least 20 minutes slashing at anything that moved with a machete. "Thank God the children were OK. My ex-partner grabbed them and got them inside.”

After arguing with his housemates and chasing them into the streets, the killer is said to have grabbed a machete and shouted: “Where are the cats?” and “The cats have stolen my lighter.”

Witnesses said he went from his own back garden into the next door garden, where he beheaded a cat before going into the street and butchering another cat. He then ran through the front door of a house that had been left open, got into the back garden and from there went into Mrs Silva’s garden.

 One woman, Maame Afaidze-Hayford, 23, said: "I often see him pacing around late at night outside his flat when I got home from night shifts. I never spoke to him but I recognised his picture in the paper."

Floral tributes were laid by well-wishers at Silva’s Café, which Mrs Silva had run for decades with her late husband Domenico, and where she still helped out every day after it was taken over by younger family members.

Dave Smith, 49, a customer at Silva’s Cafe for 28 years, described Mrs Silva as a "kind and gentle" woman who was a "wonderful" cook.  He added: "I'd come here for her excellent spaghetti and lasagne. It's some of the finest Italian food I've tasted. I'm angry at who did this. Prison is too good for them."

The Metropolitan Police released a statement late on Friday night confirming the charges against Mr Salvadore of murder and assault of a police officer. He is due to appear at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court in north London on Saturday.


Inconvenient research about "profiling"

By Ann Coulter

In an article about police shootings in last Sunday’s New York Times (8/31), Michael Wines disputes the conventional wisdom about a disproportionate number of African-Americans being shot by police, saying there are no data one way or another. But Wines revives the canard about blacks being disproportionately targeted in traffic stops.

There actually is a study for that.

Throughout the 1990s, the nation was fixated on tales of jack-booted New Jersey state troopers who were stopping speeders on the turnpike just because they were black! In a 2000 primary debate, Vice President Al Gore sneered at then-New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley, saying, “Racial profiling practically began in New Jersey, Senator Bradley.”

Attorney General Eric Holder recently paid tribute to the myth, claiming that when he was in college, he had been stopped “driving from New York to Washington.” He didn’t mention how fast he was going.

The story never made sense. How could the troopers tell the race of drivers in speeding cars? Did they wait until the driver rolled down his window and, if he was white, say, “Oh, sorry – have a nice day!”

But the Clinton administration was slapping consent decrees for racial profiling on police departments across the country, and the N.J. highway patrol was its prime evidence, based on a study that a child wouldn’t believe.

As is usually the case with bogus race studies, the pivotal 1993 survey compared speed stops on the New Jersey turnpike to the population of all drivers on the turnpike – not with the population of all speeders on the turnpike.

Such meaningless studies are popular on the left, where it is assumed that people of different races, genders and ethnicities will always behave identically in all respects.

If fewer women pass the physical test to become firefighters, that can only be because of sexism. If fewer blacks pass the written test – that’s racism. If fewer whites play professional basketball – no, forget that one. Sports are important. (Unlike arson or vehicular homicide.)

Nonetheless, based on the assumption that blacks speed just as much as whites – because to believe otherwise would be racist! – Temple University’s John Lamberth announced that while only 13.5 percent of drivers along a particular stretch of the New Jersey Turnpike were black, 46 percent of those stopped for speeding were black.

Racial profiling, Q.E.D.

The New York Times ran a dozen articles trumpeting the nonsense study, proclaiming it “the most thorough documentation of the contention that the police regularly pulled over black drivers.” Lamberth himself praised his research for ruling out the possibility of coincidence – and if you can’t trust Lamberth on his own study, who can you trust?

Largely on the basis of that investigation, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Robert E. Francis threw out the contraband evidence seized from 19 African-American men in traffic stops on the turnpike. New Jersey’s ninny governor, Christie Todd Whitman, pronounced her state’s troopers guilty of racial profiling and agreed to a consent decree with the Department of Justice (DOJ) that basically prohibited the troopers from doing their jobs.

Statisticians, and other people with common sense, tried to explain to liberals that human beings are not identical. Any study purporting to show that too many blacks are stopped for speeding must first determine how many speeders are black.

Being denounced as virtual Klansmen, the state troopers demanded a real study.

Confident that any new study would merely serve to confirm the troopers' racism, the DOJ and the New Jersey attorney general commissioned a statistical investigation from the Public Services Research Institute in Maryland.

The institute’s study was a spectacular thing. Using expensive monitors with high-speed cameras and radar detectors, they clocked the speeds of nearly 40,000 drivers on the relevant section of the turnpike. Three researchers then examined the photos to determine the race of the driver – without knowing whether the driver was speeding, which was defined as going more than 80 mph in 65 mph zones.

The result: No racial profiling.

Blacks constituted 25 percent of all speeders and they were 23 percent of drivers stopped for speeding. Controlling for age and gender, blacks sped at about twice the rate of whites. The racial disparity was even greater for drivers exceeding 90 mph.

Inasmuch as the study was irrefutable, Mark Posner, a lefty Clinton holdover in the Bush Justice Department, tried to block it from being released, continuously demanding more information.

But no matter how statisticians fiddled with the data, the results were identical: Blacks were twice as likely to speed as whites – and at much higher speeds. The troopers were completely vindicated.

When the study finally leaked – over Posner’s objections – he informed the press it wasn’t “valid” without articulating any actual problems with it. The attorney general of New Jersey, David Samson, nonsensically said the results didn’t matter because New Jersey had already admitted its troopers were engaging in racial profiling.

Perhaps the Times is right and there is no comprehensive study of police shootings by race. But it’s also possible that there is one, it didn’t come out as planned, so it has never seen the light of day.


The UN’s refugee welfare racket

In the West, it’s known as welfare fraud. In the Palestinian Territories, it’s called refugee relief. In both places, the fraud can become a way of life, seen as an entitlement that children and then grandchildren adopt. Only in the Palestinian Territories, though, does the welfare agency see its goal as putting more people on welfare and keeping them there, the better to keep “the Palestinian refugee crisis” alive.

That welfare agency is called the United Nations Relief and Aid Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, or UNRWA as it’s commonly known. UNRWA doesn’t focus its efforts on resettling Palestinian refugees in foreign countries that would welcome them, as might be expected of a refugee agency, or even on resettling them in their own homeland when possible.

UNRWA doesn’t even limit its efforts to what most people, and all dictionaries, would consider “refugees” — in UNRWA’s books, a refugee can be just about anyone who wants to be one. As a result, the number of Palestinian “refugees,” rather than diminishing to nothing, has grown like topsy over the decades.

UNRWA didn’t always have a create-new-refugees mission. Founded in 1949 as a temporary organization to alleviate the plight of Palestinian refugees fleeing Israel, its laudable goal included emergency relief and “the economic integration of the refugees in host countries.” By funding nearby development projects that would employ the refugees, UNRWA intended to “make them self-sufficient to a point where their names could be deleted from the relief rolls.” UNWRA initially even culled its lists of fraudulent applications, thought to number in the tens of thousands, by people using false births and duplicate registrations with variations of their names.

But UNRWA’s goals soon changed, both because Arab states generally refused to accept the Palestinian refugees that would accompany the development projects and because many refugees themselves balked at being resettled.

When Foreign Affairs Minister Manley offered to resettle Palestinians in Canada, Palestinians responded by burning Manley in effigy

UNRWA then morphed from a temporary organization into a permanent “huge welfare agency, prolonging its beneficiaries’ dependence instead of giving them tools to become self-sufficient,” according a report by James G. Lindsay, a former legal advisor and general counsel for UNRWA, who lamented “the agency’s funding of food rations to large numbers of refugees who were perfectly capable of providing for their own sustenance.”

To expand its reach, UNRWA redefined who would be eligible for welfare. Its definition of “refugee,” always a politically determined moving target, changed from its early version: “a person whose normal residence had been Palestine for a minimum of two years preceding the 1948 conflict and who, as a result, had lost both his home and means of livelihood.”

UNRWA decided to treat homeless Palestinians who hadn’t fled Israel as refugees. Then less needy Palestinians who hadn’t fled Israel and hadn’t even lost their homes received refugee status — Palestinians who had always lived outside Israel could now receive refugee status, even if they lived continuously in the same home they, their fathers and grandfathers had inhabited.

Then UNRWA expanded the definition of refugee to include needy nomadic Bedouins and Arab villagers who lived in Palestine but had used fields that became part of Israel, and to include needy urban residents of Palestine who had held jobs in Israel. UNRWA also counted some needy non-Palestinians in neighbouring Lebanon. Then UNRWA dropped the requirement to be needy. Also the requirement to have continuously resided in the Palestinian territories after the 1948 war with Israel — a Palestinian who had moved to Canada, decided after a few years he preferred Gaza, and then moved back could now have his refugee status, and entitlements, reinstated. Finally, UNRWA changed the definition of refugee to include the grandchildren and great grandchildren of refugees. Not surprisingly, the number of official refugees soared, from an original official estimate of 726,000 (unofficial estimates are as low as 500,000) to more than 5 million official UNRWA refugees today.


The Deadly Israeli House Strikes Again

There are few weapons as deadly as the Israeli house. When its brick and mortar are combined together, the house, whether it is one of those modest one story hilltop affairs or a five floor apartment building complete with hot and cold running water, becomes far more dangerous than anything green and glowing that comes out of the Iranian centrifuges.

Forget the cluster bomb and the mine, the poison gas shell and even tailored viruses. Iran can keep its nuclear bombs. They don't impress anyone in Europe or in Washington. Genocide is a minor matter when in the presence of the fearsome weapon of terror that is an Israeli family of four moving into a new apartment.

Sudan may have built a small mountain of African corpses, but it can't expect to command the full and undivided attention of the world until it does something truly outrageous like building a house and filling it with Jews. Since the Sudanese Jews are as gone as the Jews of Egypt, Iraq, Syria and good old Afghanistan, the chances of Bashir the Butcher pulling off that trick are rather slim.

Due to the Muslim world's shortsightedness in driving out its Jews from Cairo, Aleppo and Baghdad  to Jerusalem, the ultimate weapon in international affairs is entirely controlled by the Jewish State. The Jewish State's stockpile of Jews should worry the international community far more than its hypothetical stockpiles of nuclear weapons. No one besides Israel, and possibly Saudi Arabia, cares much about the Iranian bomb. But when Israel builds a house, then the international community tears its clothes, wails, threatens to recall its ambassadors and boycott Israeli peaches.

Angry British men in red Keffiyahs hold up signs about the Holocaust in front of Jewish cosmetics stores in London. Marginalized French youth, by way of Algeria and Tunisia, hurl stones at synagogues. John Kerry interrupts a speech on the dangers of Global Warming as an aide notifies him of an even bigger threat to the world. David just made a down payment on a two bedroom in Gvaot.

You can spit on the White House carpets and steal all the gold in Greece. You can blow up anything you like and threaten anyone you will, but you had better not lift a drill near the hills from which Balaam tried and failed to curse the Jewish people. Where the old Mesopotamian warlock failed, his successors in the United Nations follow in his footsteps by cursing Israel every day of the week.

Some may think that nuclear weapons are the ultimate weapons, but as we see, time and time again, the ultimate weapon is a hammer and a fistful of nails in a Jewish hand.

Obama has yet to dig up a strategy for ISIS and can't think of what to do about Putin in the Ukraine, but there's always a final status solution strategy for Israel which involves destroying as many Jewish houses as possible and driving out the families living inside them.

Everyone has their standards. There are things that we all cannot abide. And for all the Miss America answers about ending war, hunger and people who wear plaid in public, the one thing that everyone will stand up against or sit down in opposition to is the Israeli house.

China announcing that there would be no democracy in Hong Kong, ISIS losing a battle to Iraqi forces and Jihadists occupying the US embassy in Tripoli were all minor stories thoroughly buried by the horrifying report that Israel might "seize" 988 acres of land for housing.

From the amount of media coverage you might have thought that Israel had conquered France or Kuwait instead of allocating some land the size of a farm or a ranch for housing. If Israel had only allocated 2,000 acres, then aliens could have landed in Berkeley and the news would have been buried under coverage of the houses which might be build and on which Jews might one day live.

The land being "seized" had belonged to Israel and had no prior claims against it. If Qatar had decided to finance a Muslim construction project on the site, no one would have been opposed. But there are different rules for the Jews. There have always been different rules about where the Jews can live. International law is the new ghetto. Its enforcers are diplomats and BDS.

The State Department has claimed that building houses is "counterproductive" to peace. On the other hand the Palestinian Authority's funding of terrorists never seems to be counterproductive. The legal decision about the land was made in accordance with the existing Ottoman law of the Muslim empire. But Muslim laws are only supposed to be applied when they advantage Muslims.

White House officials have in the past claimed that Netanyahu "humiliated" Obama by authorizing the building of houses. While Russia may threaten nuclear war against the United States, and Iran  may play Obama for a fool, only Israel has managed to achieve official recognition for "humiliating" Obama, without even trying, proving once again that the Jewish race is so talented that it often achieves things that other peoples may only dream of without even realizing that it is doing it.

Now that Netanyahu has gone to the mattresses, literally, by authorizing new housing, the media will begin braying that Israel has humiliated Obama all over again. They say that every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings. But every time an Israeli jackhammer roars, Obama stands, like that famous trash-mourning fake Indian, with a tear slowly making its way down one glistening cheek at the sight of another humiliating Israeli house.

According to the New York Times, which is never wrong, building more houses makes peace impossible. Peace, which is not in any way obstructed by rockets, suicide bombers, unilateral statehood bids and declarations of war, comes up against only one obstacle. The stout unyielding wall of the Israeli house.

You can shell Israeli houses, bomb them and break inside to massacre the people living inside, but then after all that, Israel goes and builds more of those damn things.

Hamas shoots thousands of rockets and Israel builds thousands of houses. But Israeli houses generally stay where they're built, while Hamas rockets are as likely to kill Gazans as they are to put holes in the roofs of those dastardly houses. And in the arms race between houses and rockets, the Israelis appear to be winning. And that's not good for peace.

If Israelis get the dangerous idea that they can just keep building houses and outlast all the talented rocketeers who spend their time with the Koran in front of one eye and the Anarchist's Cookbook in front of the other, what hope is there for peace?

That is why no one cares much about Hamas rockets, which mostly kill Israelis, who most reasonable people in London, Paris and Brussels think have it coming anyway, but get into a foaming lather about an Israeli house.

Killing Israelis has never been any obstacle to peace. Twenty years of killing Israelis has not dissuaded a single Israeli government from sitting down at the table to dicker with the terrorists. But an Israeli family living in a house is holding down territory that it will be harder to then cede to terrorists when the angels have blown their horns, the seas have all gone dry and peace is carried in on a golden platter by 72 virgins accompanied by their flying suicide bomber mates.

The problem is an old one. Pharaoh struggled with it. So did Hitler. And so does Hamas. What do you do when there are too many Jews living. The answer is usually obvious.

Israel's Peace Partners tried to go back to the time-honored Egyptian tradition of throwing all the Jews into the sea. But despite an entire officer corps temporarily "on leave" from the armed forces of the United Kingdom, they only got as far as half of Jerusalem, where they blew up every synagogue, and took the West Bank of Israel, or as the non-indigenous Zionist invaders with no roots in the region call it, Judea and Samaria.

Nineteen years later, Israel's Peace Partners had traded in their British officer corps for a Soviet officer corps, and lost Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, proving that when it came to killing Jews, the Communists were better at it when the Jews weren't shooting back. Ever since then the world, or those portions of it populated entirely by diplomats and the better class of journalists, has been urging Israel to give back the land to an imaginary country to be populated entirely by terrorists.

This peace plan, which has worked as well as fighting fire with gasoline, has not in any way been endangered by two decades of terror, but trembles down to its toes every time an Israeli hammer falls on an Israeli nail. Because that land must go back so that rockets can be shot from it into Israel, so that Israel can invade it and reclaim it, and then sit down for another peace process to return the land from which the rockets will be fired, which will be invaded, which will be given back... for peace.

And Israeli houses endanger this cycle of peace and violence. They endanger it by creating "facts on the ground", a piquant phrase that only seems to apply to houses with Jews. Muslim houses in no way create facts on the ground, even though they are built out of the same material and filled with people. Or perhaps they create the good kind of facts on the ground. The kind of preemption of negotiations that the professional peacemakers approve of.

But it's hard to know what exactly the peacemakers approve of, because their arguments and their definitions keep changing all the time. All that we know is that they disapprove of Israeli houses.

The United States repeatedly assured Israel that Jerusalem would in no way be endangered by the peace process. No less a personality than Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. co-sponsored three Senate resolutions urging that Jerusalem should remain Israel's undivided capital. Then like all good politicians, he was horribly offended when the Israelis actually took him at his word.

Obama gave an election speech where he declared that Jerusalem should be undivided. A day later he explained that he meant "undivided" in some spiritual sense that did not preclude it from actually being physically divided.

UN Chief Ban Ki-moon has declared Israeli houses to be an "almost fatal blow" to the peace process. It is, of course, only an "almost fatal blow"  because the peace process, like Dracula, cannot be killed. Israeli houses, fearsome as they may be with their balconies and poor heating in winter, are never quite enough to kill it.

Like the monster of a horror movie, the peace process always comes back and no matter how many blows the Israeli house delivers to it, a year later there's a sequel where the Israeli house is being stalked by the peace process monster all over again.

The army of lethal Israeli houses, which may not be built for another five years, if ever, seem formidable in the black newsprint of the New York Times and in the fulminations of Guardian columnists, but their actual potency is limited to housing Jewish families and infuriating international diplomats and their media coathangers.

Europe is furious, Obama is seething, the UN is energized, and somewhere in Iraq, the Caliph of ISIS wipes the grease out of his beard and wonders what he could do to get this much attention. He briefly scribbles down some thoughts on a napkin but then dismisses them as being too implausible.

As much as it might get the world's attention, there is no way ISIS can build houses for Jews in Israel. 



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 September, 2014

Amicable divorce 'is just as damaging for children': Impact of a split on youngsters is same if couple remain friends or not (?)

Groan!  More lazy and hence inconclusive research.  The data was parental reports, nothing else.  It shows that all divorced parents are prone to see their kids as damaged but it tells you nothing about which were in fact damaged.  The journal article is "Postdivorce Coparenting Typologies and Children's Adjustment"

Divorcing parents who try to maintain an amicable relationship for the sake of their children are doing nothing to help them, a major study suggests.

The impact of the split on youngsters is the same whether or not the mother and father keep cordial links, it found.

The findings undermine a Government-backed consensus that the harm caused to children by separating parents can be limited if the couple remain friends.

Three Whitehall ministries are currently ploughing money into supporting a policy on divorce and family break-up which says that it is conflict between the parents and not their separation itself that harms children. The new study, the first in 20 years to examine how the behaviour of separated parents affects their children, was carried out by US academics.

It covered 270 parents who were divorced or separated between 1998 and 2004 in an unnamed US state that compels divorcees to take part in an education programme on ‘co-operative co-parenting’.

Of these, 31 per cent considered their relationship with their ex-spouse as ‘co-operative and involved’; 45 per cent were ‘moderately engaged’ with their divorced partner, with some conflict between them; and 24 per cent said their co-operation was ‘infrequent but conflictual’.

They were asked to say how their break-up had affected the youngest child in their family. The average age of children involved was eight years.

The study, published in the academic journal Family Relations, said that children of divorced parents are more likely than others to suffer ‘external’ symptoms such as behaviour problems or drug abuse, more likely to have ‘internal’ difficulties like anxiety or depression, and more likely to do badly at school.

But the researchers, headed by Dr Jonathon Beckmeyer of Indiana University, found that these children’s problems were no worse if their parents continued to row and bicker with each other after the divorce.

The study said ‘despite the expectation that children fare better’ if their divorced parents develop a co-operative relationship, the behaviour of children as assessed by their parents ‘did not significantly differ’ between the friendly and the fighting groups of divorcees.

Divorced parents should be reassured that their children will not be more seriously harmed if they fail to establish a cordial and co-operative relationship with their former husband or wife, it added.


Paul Ryan Has Answer for Ferguson

Economist Milton Friedman said “The economic race should not be arranged so everyone arrives at the finish line at the same time but so that everyone starts at the starting line at the same time.”

Those on the left and the right have always contended whether economic outcomes for any given set of individuals is the business of government. But few, on the left or right, dispute that government should work to assure that every American starts the game under fair conditions.

It’s the latter point, fairness at the beginning of the game, that defines the motivation behind Republican Congressman Paul Ryan’s vast and sweeping new set of ideas for taking on poverty in our nation.

According to the Census Bureau, there are almost 50 million Americans living under the poverty line.

Since President Johnson’s “War on Poverty” half century ago, government has spent $15 trillion dollars fighting poverty. The federal government now spends $800 billion per year on means-tested anti-poverty programs.

Yet, we see no change. The incidence of poverty has remained constantly at around 15 percent of the population. And the racial component has been constant, with black poverty rates consistently at three times the rate of white poverty.

Paul Ryan’s important contribution here is to show that not only are these vast government anti-poverty programs not working, but also they themselves contribute to the persistence of the problem.

Because these programs are means-tested – they’re tied to how much money you earn – they perversely discourage work and advancement because earning more means losing a huge array of benefits.

Beyond creating a universe of disincentives to work and advancement, many of these individual programs create their own unique perversities.

HUD housing vouchers, for instance, simply subsidize slumlords and build ghettos because they can’t be used freely anywhere, but only with landlords authorized by HUD.

The end of it all is we wind up with entrenched areas of poverty, which foster crime, drugs, unemployment, frustrated youth, and then, inevitably, tragic incidents like we just witnessed in Ferguson, Missouri.

The left yells racism and calls for more government, more money, even though this is most often the source of the problem, not the solution.

If we are going to spend the money, says Congressman Ryan, let’s try to do it in a way that will lead people out of poverty, rather than perpetuate it.

Ryan is proposing experimental programs – Opportunity Grants – that consolidates 11 distinct government anti-poverty programs into one cash grant to states, allowing states flexibility to propose new and creative ways to use these funds.

I am currently working with state legislators in Oklahoma, led by Senator Rob Standridge, to show how government assistance for the poor can encourage, rather than discourage, work, marriage and family, education, and savings.

Low-income families with children would get matching grants from the state up to an annual income of $30,000. So as a married couple earns more, government grants kick in – up to $30,000. For every year the couple stays married, $2500 is deposited in a household retirement account, $2500 in a housing down payment account, and $5000 in an education savings account. A monthly housing grant of $500 is provided while household income is under $50,000.

Ten hours of monthly volunteer service at a community non-profit would create eligibility for prizes at monthly raffles.

Beyond this, minimum wage laws that discourage employment should be addressed, as well as taxes and regulations that discourage opening businesses in low-income neighborhoods.

Low wage workers and America’s poor need freedom to labor, not laws that penalize businesses that come to their communities or laws that keep them from moving to the second or third rung of the economic ladder. They need freedom from policies that keep their kids trapped in government subsidized, union controlled schools, and government housing policies that keep them trapped in ghettos.


Oxfam and BDS Hypocrisy

The definition of peace between the Palestinians and Israelis is when the two can work alongside each other, earning equal wages, benefits, and economically energizing their neighborhoods, in a ‘so called' peaceful environment.

Peace broke out in Maale Adumim, West Bank at the SodaStream factory 15 minutes west of Jerusalem.  600 West Bank Palestinians, 300 East Jerusalem Arabs, and 300 Israeli Jews entered, without knowing, into a voluntary peace deal at SodaStream.  All this achieved without outside interference from the United Nations, United States, and UK.

The SodaStream factory had an on-site synagogue and mosque.  Jew and Palestinian break bread everyday sharing the same cafeteria in peace and harmony.  The economy of Maale Adumim, West Bank was benefiting from the positive financial benefits as SodaStream's Palestinian workers were building homes, buying local goods, and saving money for their future.

How Did This Peace Work?

Al Monitor asked SodaStream's President Daniel Birnbaum to explain how this peace worked between Israeli and Palestinian.

"You know, as far as many of them(Palestinians) are concerned, the only Israelis they know are settlers and the policemen at checkpoints. Most of them had never even been to Israel until I took them on a tour last summer. Then they saw Israelis on the beach and in the street. They saw plain, ordinary people.

On the other hand, it was also an opportunity for us to break through the barriers of hatred and to get to know the other side, so that we could finally recognize that not every Palestinian is a terrorist. I'm proud of that. I want people to finally realize that we're talking about people and that peace is possible, despite the politicians. If there were another hundred companies like us extending a hand to the other side, we would have a peace agreement, because everybody wants it, including the Palestinians."

This SodaStream economic peace effort was a glimmer of light at the end of a very dark and bloody tunnel.  Then, out of nowhere, Oxfam and BDS Movement came into play with a world wide action which at the end of the day is hurting over 3,500 Palestinians.

900 Palestinians and Arabs Betrayed By Oxfam and BDS' Nonsense

The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement (BDS) is a global campaign to increase economic and political pressure on Israel i.e. branding Israel as an apartheid state. BDS puts public pressure on companies like SodaStream by protesting and intimidating retailers around the world for selling their products.

The BDS movement has evolved into a non-affiliated arm of Palestinian terrorism. Oxfam/BDS are hell bent on Israel's economic destruction.  Sacrificing the economic future of 900 Palestinian workers was a very small matter to the BDS movement.


Oxfam's mission statement: "Working with thousands of local partner organizations, we work with people living in poverty striving to exercise their human rights, assert their dignity as full citizens and take control of their lives."
Oxfam International in its zeal to hurt SodaStream violated its own mission statement.

Oxfam went on a personal rampage mission to destroy SodaStream, in January 2014, after their international spokesperson, Ms. Scarlett Johansson, appeared in a SodaStream worldwide TV ad campaign.
Oxfam got hot under the collar when Ms. Johansson's publicist gave this reason for leaving Oxfam. 

"Ms. Johansson, respectfully decided to end her ambassador role with Oxfam after eight years... She and Oxfam have a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement."

In a January 30, 2014 Oxfam press release the ‘aid' groups politics become crystal clear, "Oxfam believes that businesses, such as SodaStream, that operate in settlements further the ongoing poverty and denial of rights of the Palestinian communities that we work to support.  Oxfam is opposed to all trade from Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law."

Oxfam International, with an operating budget of $1.2 Billion US and net assets of $396 Million, decided to exact their pound of flesh from SodaStream.   Ms. Scarlett Johansson publicly exposed Oxfam's political bias against the State of Israel in favor of the BDS Movement.  The only one's who got hurt at the end of the day were the 900 Palestinian and Arab workers who were earning four times more than the average wage in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria).

Back To Square One

JTA reports, Daniel Birnbaum, SodaStream CEO said, "We are committed to continue serving as a bridge and to sowing hope"  The flames of that hope were extinguished because of outside influences  from Oxfam International and BDS, both showing their anti-semitism.

"SodaStream's case, some say, is one example of how boycotting an Israeli company doing business in the West Bank can end up hurting the very goals that boycott proponents say they are trying to achieve: Palestinian rights and Israel-Palestinian peace."


SodaStream will soon be closing their West Bank plant and moving it to the Be'er Sheva area in the Negev.  With an average of 4 people per household approximately 3,600 Palestinians and Arab workers are being directly impacted by the SodaStream West Bank plant closing.

Many of these Palestinian and Arab workers had been earning enough money with SodaStream to apply for mortgages and building homes.  When those mortgage payments can't be paid and the foreclosures start there will be much anger and frustration in these West Bank communities.  There is no work in the West Bank for these Palestinians to move into comparable earning jobs and support their families.

Now there are 3,600 additional frustrated and angry Palestinians in the West Bank.  Their anger, strangely enough, will not be focused on Oxfam International and the BDS Movement who are responsible for them losing their livelihood.

That anger will be focused like a laser on the Jews and Israel.  If I was a Palestinian community organizer I would be channeling this anti Jew/Israel anger by building more violent terrorist cells in the West Bank and East Jerusalem with all these now unemployed SodaStream workers.

Qatar would be smart to give these families a little bit of money and food to tide them over for a short time instead of financing a Gaza weapons buying spree.  When the money and food runs out, desperation sets in.  Generosity in the Arab world comes with a very high price tag.

The payment will almost certainly be the radicalization of these once proud Palestinian SodaStream workers.

Sadly, there are no profits in peace between the Palestinians and Israelis for groups like Oxfam and the BDS Movement who thrive on poverty and misery.

The Big Picture

The idiocy of Oxfam BDS campaign created a situation where some EU and USA large wholesalers had to cancel orders of Israeli products.  The unintended consequence is that Russia is now buying up from Israel what the EU and USA are unfortunately boycotting.


Why Conservatism Inc. Complained When Ann Coulter Called Out Christian Cowards

A lot of mainstream conservatives in both America and the UK now bow  down to political correctness.  Ann doesn't

In 1980s film Repo Man, Emilio Estevez’s protagonist Otto Maddox asks his pot smoking parents for a promised $1,000. His mother replies they can no longer help because, “Your father gave all our extra money to the Reverend’s telethon; we’re sending Bibles to El Salvador.”

Otto asks: “Well what about me?” His father responds: “You’re on the Honor Roll of the Chariots Of Fire. Same as us, Otto. It was a gift. From all of us jointly.”

I thought of this line recently while reading Ann Coulter’s much-denounced column criticizing Ebola infected missionary Kent Brantly for going to the Third World instead of helping and evangelizing fellow Americans. After all, though the Good Book commands , “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel,” it also says, “For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’”

Prominent conservative Christians responded with the usual vitriolic outrage they use for MargaretSanger or John Tanton—which is mysteriously never deployed against the likes of anti-Christian bigots like gay columnist Dan Savage. The occasionally sensible Jim Treacher called it “absolute horsecrap.” [Ann Coulter is wrong about Kent Brantly, Daily Caller, August 7, 2014] Channeling Rick Perry, the always squishy Rod Dreher wrote that anyone with “a heart, or a soul” would “hate” Coulter’s column. [Ann Coulter, Dr. Kent Brantly, & Telescopic Philanthropy, American Conservative, August 6, 2014]

Most of Coulter’s antagonists focused on the title of the column, which called Brantly an “idiot.” However, it was Steve Berman’s moderate reaction that truly crystalized how Coulter’s critics missed the point. He asked, “How many Americans, in an age of growing hostility to Christians, might see his sacrifice and pick up their own crosses?” [Ann Coulter is great, but I'd rather be like Kent Brantly, RedState, August 7, 2014]

But Coulter’s main argument was not that Brantly was stupid, but that he was cowardly. As Coulter notes, contemporary Christians flock are

"tired of fighting the culture war in the U.S., tired of being called homophobes, racists, sexists and bigots. So they slink off to Third World countries, away from American culture to do good works"

…rather than setting an example for other Americans.

Though I’m not especially religious, I can support Coulter’s analysis with my own experience. A good friend’s father was a Southern Baptist minister who spent decades setting up dozens of schools and congregations in Africa. He died (of cancer, not Ebola) and I attended the funeral. There was not a single African or African-American mourner in attendance—but the hundreds of white Southerners in attendance sang Swahili gospel hymns.

The minister’s death occurred shortly before the 2008 election and politics mixed with mourning during the reception. When Barack Obama’s name came up, the Southern Baptists would talk about how the recently-deceased did more for blacks than Barack Obama ever did, and they wished that all the liberals who call Republicans racists could have seen it.

This same impulse leads many Christian conservatives to try to reframe their socially conservative beliefs as “anti-racism.” Pro-lifers often justify opposition to abortion by calling it “black genocide,” utilizing “disparate impact” arguments about black abortion rates and out-of-context quotes from eugenicists a century ago.

Instead of criticizing the licentious culture that creates unwanted pregnancies, many conservative Christians praise welfare moms with multiple baby daddies as heroes for “choosing life.” They also pretend those who abort their children had no agency and are simply victims of racist liberals.

“Molotov” Mitchell, a white evangelical Christian and video columnist for World Net Daily, embraced the absurd of the reductio ad absurdum when he created a film called Gates of Hell, which creates a black power terrorist organization called the “Zulu 9” that starts murdering abortion doctors once when they realize the “racist” roots of Planned Parenthood.

For all his faults, Mitchell is at least against illegal immigration. However, this can’t be said of the leadership of most conservative Christian organizations in the country. The heads of almost all conservative Catholic and Evangelical organizations, to say nothing of mainline Protestants and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops support Amnesty, as do leaders of f the National Organization for Marriage like Maggie Gallagher and Robert P. George.

Is this inevitable? Oswald Spengler famously wrote that “Christian theology is the grandmother of Bolshevism.” Spengler, and many other right wing critics of Christianity, believed that the scripture’s endorsement of universalism, a brotherhood of man, and peace on earth, helped legitimize Marxist ideology.

Or, to quote Repo Man, this time Harry Dean Stanton’s hardened and amphetamine-abusing repo veteran Bud: “I don’t want no commies in my car. No Christians either.”

Most anti-Christian Rightists will argue that decidedly non-wimpy and very Western Christianity of the Middle Ages and Renaissance—known as Christendom—was a product of Germanic, Norse, and Celtic Pagan traditions, which Northern Europeans heathens incorporated into Christianity when they converted. Many build on immigration patriot and conservative Catholic James C. Russell’s book The Germanization of Medieval Christianity. The late Sam Francis in his review described the implication of Russell’s book:

Christianity is both the grandmother of Bolshevism (in its early universalist, non-Western form) and a pillar of social stabilization and order (through the values and world-view imported into it through contact with the ancient barbarians).
But this does not explain the cowardice that Coulter identifies. The pre-Germanized Christians were willing to stand against the dominant Roman and pagan culture despite facing death for practicing their faith. The cowardly Christians of today promote adopting half the Third World simply out of fear of being called names like anti-Semitic, racist, and homophobic.

A conservative Catholic acquaintance of mine used to be an immigration patriot, but has since switched to supporting Open Borders (his words, not my pejorative.) When we last discussed his switch, he stated the ultimate political goal was saving souls and we could save more souls with more Catholics in America, regardless of other social costs.

Some anti-Christian Rightists would argue that this is logical conclusion to adopting a universalist and egalitarian Christian theology. But my acquaintance was not proselytizing to the Mexican masses, working at a pregnancy crisis center, or laboring at some religious institution. Instead, his shift in position coincided with climbing up the ranks of Conservatism Inc. as he promotes free market dogma at odds with centuries of Catholic Social Thought.

Last year, I rejected the idea that political cowardice is explained by stupidity. But cowardice and careerism can often explain malice.

The ignominious fact is that many of Ann Coulter’s Christian critics are less concerned with saving souls than trying to salvage their own reputation in the eyes of people who already hate them.



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

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

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


4 September, 2014

Men smoke shisha pipe in middle of busy London street

A group of nonchalant young men attracted a lot of attention by smoking a shisha pipe in the middle of Knightsbridge's busiest street.

The relaxed smokers angered motorists after setting up two foldable wooden chairs in between two lanes of traffic on Sunday evening.

They were spotted casually drinking and smoking as motorists watched on.

Police responded to reports of four men obstructing traffic outside Harrods on Brompton Road, west London, but the group had already left when officers arrived.

Social media users have criticised the men after pictures of the incident were posted online.

“To me this is unacceptable in my area and I hope the police dealt with them,” said one commenter.

Another added: “That’s pretty dangerous… It would just take one Russian in an armoured plated Mercedes G Wagon to squash them.”

The Steeple Times suggests the men are from the Middle East and in the capital for the ‘Ramadan rush’.

London fashion blogger Ashley Agedah posted a picture of a gold and black Bugatti parked near to where men were smoking.


Institutional political correctness' probe ordered by Theresa May into Rotherham child abuse scandal

The Government is set to launch a probe into “institutionalised political correctness” in the wake of the Rotherham child abuse scandal, Theresa May has said.

The Home Secretary was responding to a report last week by Professor Alexis Jay which found that at least 1,400 children had been victims of sex abuse in Rotherham over a period of more than a decade.

The announcement came as local police said that 12 new victims had come forward in the five days since the publication of the Jay report.

The Jay Report last week detailed harrowing examples of girls from Rotherham - many of them in local authority care - who were raped, trafficked and threatened with extreme violence, and found that senior council officers, elected members and police officers were aware of the problem for years but failed to tackle it.

Mrs May said that “a number” of police investigations were now underway, encompassing the allegations of hundreds of the victims.

She said that Communities Secretary Eric Pickles was likely to launch an inquiry into Rotherham Council’s handling of criminal allegations, amid concerns that officials were unwilling to pursue the cases because of fear of offending cultural sensitivities.

“The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government shares my concerns over the failings by Rotherham Council that have been identified,” Mrs May told MPs in the House of Commons.

“This includes the inadequate scrutiny by councillors, institutionalised political correctness, the covering up of information and the failure to take action against gross misconduct.”

Mrs May denounced the “complete dereliction of duty” of Rotherham Council and the local police over their treatment of the 1,400 children and young people in the town.

She said that “the fear of being seen as racist” over tackling the perpetators, many of whom were Asian.

Labour's shadow Home secretary Yvette Cooper had been granted an Urgent Question on the issue after her party suspended four members in response to the scandal.

Miss Cooper challenged Mrs May to bring in a new mandatory reporting law to force teachers and other professionals to report child abuse suspicions or face prosecution.

Mrs May confirmed that the Government was looking at changing the law to force a legal duty on institutions like hospitals, children's homes and boarding schools to report abuse.

But she said she was concerned the change could mean fewer children are protected because authorities were overwhelmed with reports of false claims of child abuse.

It was important “that we properly look at the evidence at whether this actually is effective in terms of protection of children”.

Mrs May said: “The question that has been raised in other countries is that what happens in other countries with mandatory reporting is that the number of reports goes up significantly but many of those reports are actually not justified.

“What you do is you diminish the ability to deal with the serious reports and to actually protect children. So it is a very complex issue.

“It is a serious question that needs to be looked at but I think we need to look at it very carefully and look at the evidence from countries like Australia and the United States where the evidence to its effectiveness in improving the ability to deal with these issues is mixed.”

Three current and one former councillor have been suspended pending an investigation, while under-fire South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright will need to receive permission if he wishes to rejoin the party.

Both Mr Wright and South Yorkshire Police chief David Crompton are being called to give evidence on the scandal to the Home Affairs select committee.

In evidence to the same committee on Tuesday, Mr Crompton said his officers had opened 12 new cases since the Jay report was published last week.

Promising that police will “go wherever the evidence takes us”, he said: “We have had 12 new cases brought forward since Alexis Jay's report was published.”

There had been “clear failures” in how the force had dealt with abuse allegations, he said. “We are acting, but nobody is complacent. This is a huge wake-up call,” he said.


Marxist Feminism’s Ruined Lives

by Mallory Millett

Mallory Millett resides in New York City with her husband of over twenty years. She is CFO for several corporations.  Famous feminist Kate Millett is her sister

“When women go wrong men go right after them.” – Mae West

“Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy; its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”  Winston Churchill wrote this over a century ago.

During my junior year in high school, the nuns asked about our plans for after we graduated. When I said I was going to attend State University, I noticed their disappointment.  I asked my favorite nun, “Why?” She answered, “That means you’ll leave four years later a communist and an atheist!”

What a giggle we girls had over that. “How ridiculously unsophisticated these nuns are,” we thought. Then I went to the university and four years later walked out a communist and an atheist, just as my sister Katie had six years before me.

Sometime later, I was a young divorcee with a small child. At the urging of my sister, I relocated to NYC after spending years married to an American executive stationed in Southeast Asia. The marriage over, I was making a new life for my daughter and me.  Katie said, “Come to New York.  We’re making revolution! Some of us are starting the National Organization of Women and you can be part of it.”

I hadn’t seen her for years.  Although she had tormented me when we were youngsters, those memories were faint after my Asian traumas and the break-up of my marriage.  I foolishly mistook her for sanctuary in a storm. With so much time and distance between us, I had forgotten her emotional instability.

And so began my period as an unwitting witness to history. I stayed with Kate and her lovable Japanese husband, Fumio, in a dilapidated loft on The Bowery as she finished her first book, a PhD thesis for Columbia University, “Sexual Politics.”

It was 1969. Kate invited me to join her for a gathering at the home of her friend, Lila Karp. They called the assemblage a “consciousness-raising-group,” a typical communist exercise, something practiced in Maoist China.  We gathered at a large table as the chairperson opened the meeting with a back-and-forth recitation, like a Litany, a type of prayer done in Catholic Church. But now it was Marxism, the Church of the Left, mimicking religious practice:

“Why are we here today?” she asked.
“To make revolution,” they answered.
“What kind of revolution?” she replied.
“The Cultural Revolution,” they chanted.
“And how do we make Cultural Revolution?” she demanded.
“By destroying the American family!” they answered.
“How do we destroy the family?” she came back.
“By destroying the American Patriarch,” they cried exuberantly.
“And how do we destroy the American Patriarch?” she replied.
“By taking away his power!”
“How do we do that?”
“By destroying monogamy!” they shouted.
“How can we destroy monogamy?”

Their answer left me dumbstruck, breathless, disbelieving my ears.  Was I on planet earth?  Who were these people?

“By promoting promiscuity, eroticism, prostitution and homosexuality!” they resounded.

They proceeded with a long discussion on how to advance these goals by establishing The National Organization of Women.  It was clear they desired nothing less than the utter deconstruction of Western society. The upshot was that the only way to do this was “to invade every American institution.  Every one must be permeated with ‘The Revolution’”: The media, the educational system, universities, high schools, K-12, school boards, etc.; then, the judiciary, the legislatures, the executive branches and even the library system.

It fell on my ears as a ludicrous scheme, as if they were a band of highly imaginative children planning a Brinks robbery; a lark trumped up on a snowy night amongst a group of spoiled brats over booze and hashish.

To me, this sounded silly.  I was enduring culture shock after having been cut-off from my homeland, living in Third-World countries for years with not one trip back to the United States. I was one of those people who, upon returning to American soil, fell out of the plane blubbering with ecstasy at being home in the USA. I knelt on the ground covering it with kisses.  I had learned just exactly how delicious was the land of my birth and didn’t care what anyone thought because they just hadn’t seen what I had or been where I had been.  I had seen factory workers and sex-slaves chained to walls.

How could they know?  Asia is beyond our ken and, as they say, utterly inscrutable, and a kind of hell I never intended to revisit.  I lived there, not junketed, not visited like sweet little tourists — I’d conducted households and tried to raise a child. I had outgrown the communism of my university days and was clumsily groping my way back to God.

How could twelve American women who were the most respectable types imaginable — clean and privileged graduates of esteemed institutions: Columbia, Radcliffe, Smith, Wellesley, Vassar; the uncle of one was Secretary of War under Franklin Roosevelt — plot such a thing?  Most had advanced degrees and appeared cogent, bright, reasonable and good. How did these people rationally believe they could succeed with such vicious grandiosity?  And why?

I dismissed it as academic-lounge air-castle-building.  I continued with my new life in New York while my sister became famous publishing her books, featured on the cover of “Time Magazine.” “Time” called her “the Karl Marx of the Women’s Movement.”  This was because her book laid out a course in Marxism 101 for women.  Her thesis: The family is a den of slavery with the man as the Bourgeoisie and the woman and children as the Proletariat.  The only hope for women’s “liberation” (communism’s favorite word for leading minions into inextricable slavery; “liberation,” and much like “collective” – please run from it, run for your life) was this new “Women’s Movement.”  Her books captivated the academic classes and soon “Women’s Studies” courses were installed in colleges in a steady wave across the nation with Kate Millett books as required reading.

Imagine this: a girl of seventeen or eighteen at the kitchen table with Mom studying the syllabus for her first year of college and there’s a class called “Women’s Studies.” “Hmmm, this could be interesting,” says Mom. “Maybe you could get something out of this.”

Seems innocuous to her.  How could she suspect this is a class in which her innocent daughter will be taught that her father is a villain?  Her mother is a fool who allowed a man to enslave her into barbaric practices like monogamy and family life and motherhood, which is a waste of her talents.  She mustn’t follow in her mother’s footsteps. That would be submitting to life as a mindless drone for some domineering man, the oppressor, who has mesmerized her with tricks like romantic love.  Never be lured into this chicanery, she will be taught.  Although men are no damned good, she should use them for her own orgasmic gratification; sleep with as many men as possible in order to keep herself unattached and free. There’s hardly a seventeen-year-old girl without a grudge from high school against a Jimmy or Jason who broke her heart.  Boys are learning, too, and they can be careless during high school, that torment of courting dances for both sexes.

By the time Women’s Studies professors finish with your daughter, she will be a shell of the innocent girl you knew, who’s soon convinced that although she should be flopping down with every boy she fancies, she should not, by any means, get pregnant.  And so, as a practitioner of promiscuity, she becomes a wizard of prevention techniques, especially abortion.

The goal of Women’s Liberation is to wear each female down to losing all empathy for boys, men or babies. The tenderest aspects of her soul are roughened into a rock pile of cynicism, where she will think nothing of murdering her baby in the warm protective nest of her little-girl womb.  She will be taught that she, in order to free herself, must become an outlaw. This is only reasonable because all Western law, since Magna Carta and even before, is a concoction of the evil white man whose true purpose is to press her into slavery.

Be an outlaw! Rebel! Be defiant!  (Think Madonna, Lady Gaga, Lois Lerner, Elizabeth Warren.) “All women are prostitutes,” she will be told.  You’re either really smart and use sex by being promiscuous for your own pleasures and development as a full free human being “just like men” or you can be a professional prostitute, a viable business for women, which is “empowering” or you can be duped like your mother and prostitute yourself to one man exclusively whereby you fall under the heavy thumb of “the oppressor.”  All wives are just “one-man whores.”

She is to be heartless in this.  No sentimental stuff about courting. No empathy for either boy or baby.  She has a life to live and no one is to get in her way.  And if the boy or man doesn’t “get it” then no sex for him; “making love” becomes “having sex.” “I’m not ‘having sex’ with any jerk who doesn’t believe I can kill his son or daughter at my whim.  He has no say in it because it’s my body!” (Strange logic as who has ever heard of a body with two heads, two hearts, four arms, four feet?)

There’s no end to the absurdities your young girl will be convinced to swallow.  “I plan to leap from guy to guy as much as I please and no one can stop me because I’m liberated!”  In other words, these people will turn your daughter into a slut with my sister’s books as instruction manuals. (“Slut is a good word. Be proud of it!”)  She’ll be telling you, “I’m probably never getting married and if I do it will be after I’ve established my career,” which nowadays often means never. “I’ll keep my own name and I don’t really want kids.  They’re such a bother and only get in the way.”  They’ll tell her, “Don’t let any guy degrade you by allowing him to open doors for you. To be called ‘a lady’ is an insult. Chivalry is a means of ownership.”

Thus, the females, who are fundamentally the arbiters of society go on to harden their young men with such pillow-talk in the same way they’ve been hardened because, “Wow, man, I’ve gotta get laid and she won’t do it if I don’t agree to let her kill the kid if she gets knocked-up!” Oppressed? Woman has always had power. Consider the eternal paradigm: only after Eve convinced Adam to eat the fruit did mankind fall. I.e., man does anything to make woman happy, even if it’s in defiance of God. There’s power for ya! Without a decent womankind, mankind is lost. As Mae West said, “When women go wrong men go right after them!”

I’ve known women who fell for this creed in their youth who now, in their fifties and sixties, cry themselves to sleep decades of countless nights grieving for the children they’ll never have and the ones they coldly murdered because they were protecting the empty loveless futures they now live with no way of going back.  “Where are my children?  Where are my grandchildren?” they cry to me.

“Your sister’s books destroyed my sister’s life!”  I’ve heard numerous times. “She was happily married with four kids and after she read those books, walked out on a bewildered man and didn’t look back.”  The man fell into despairing rack and ruin. The children were stunted, set off their tracks, deeply harmed; the family profoundly dislocated and there was “no putting Humpty-Dumpty together again.”

Throughout the same time these women were “invading” our institutions, the character of the American woman transformed drastically from models portrayed for us by Rosalind Russell, Bette Davis, Deborah Kerr, Eve Arden, Donna Reed, Barbara Stanwyck, Claudette Colbert, Irene Dunn, Greer Garson.  These were outstanding women needing no empowerment lessons and whose own personalities, as well as the characters they interpreted, were strong, resilient and clearly carved.  Their voices were so different you could pick them out by that alone.  We all knew Rita Hayworth’s voice.  We all knew Katherine Hepburn’s voice.

I dare you to identify the voices of the cookie-cutter post-women’s-liberation types from Hollywood today. How did these “liberated” women fall into such an indistinguishable pile of mush? They all look exactly the same with few individuating characteristics and their voices sound identical, these Julies and Jessicas!  My friend, Father George Rutler, calls them “the chirping fledglings of the new Dark Ages.”  The character of the American woman has been distorted by this pernicious movement. From where did this foul mouthed, tattooed, outlaw creature, who murders her baby without blinking an eye and goes partying without conscience or remorse come?  And, in such a short little phase in history?

Never before have we heard of so many women murdering their children: Casey Anthony killing her little Caylee and partying-hearty for weeks; Susan Smith driving her beautiful little boys into a lake, leaving them strapped in the water to die torturous deaths; that woman who drowned her five children in the bathtub?  “Hey, if I can kill my baby at six months of gestation why not six months post-birth, just call it late late-term abortion.”

I insist that woman always has been the arbiter of society and when those women at Lila Karp’s table in Greenwich Village set their minds to destroying the American Family by talking young women into being outlaws, perpetrators of infanticide, and haters of Western law, men and marriage, they accomplished just what they intended.  Their desire — and I witnessed it at subsequent meetings till I got pretty sick of their unbridled hate — was to tear American society apart along with the family and the “Patriarchal Slave-Master,” the American husband.

We’re all so busy congratulating each other because Ronald Reagan “won the Cold War without firing a shot” entirely missing the bare truth which is that Mao, with his Little Red Book and the Soviets, won the Cold War without firing a shot by taking over our women, our young and the minds of everyone tutored by Noam Chomsky and the textbooks of Howard Zinn. Post-graduate Junior is Peter Pan trapped in the Never Neverland of Mom’s (she’s divorced now) basement. Christina Hoff Sommers says, “Moms and dads, be afraid for your sons. There’s a ‘war on men’ that started a long time ago in gender studies classes and in women’s advocacy groups eager to believe that men are toxic… Many ‘educated women’ in the U.S. have drunk from the gender feminist Kool Aid.  Girls at Yale, Haverford and Swarthmore see themselves as oppressed.  This is madness.”

If you see something traitorous in this, a betrayal of my sister, I have come to identify with such people as Svetlana Stalin or Juanita Castro; coming out to speak plainly about a particularly harmful member of my family.  Loyalty can be highly destructive.  What about Muslims who refuse to speak out right now?  I was one of the silent but at last I’m “spilling the beans.” The girls have been up to something for years and it’s really not good. It’s evil. We should be sick to our souls over it.  I know I am. And so, mass destruction, the inevitable outcome of all socialist/communist experiments, leaves behind its signature trail of wreckage.

So much grace, femininity and beauty lost.

So many ruined lives.


Arresting Parents for Letting Kids Play

Unaccompanied minors have become a major problem in this country. But we’re not talking about the tens of thousands of illegal minors pouring across our southern border and then being released to sponsor families around the nation. We mean children left playing on neighborhood playgrounds – gasp – unattended by adults.

In recent weeks, there have been numerous stories of parents being arrested for leaving their children to play without supervision. Lenore Skenazy, author of “Free-Range Kids,” writes, “In another era, it not only would have been normal for a child to say, ‘Goodbye, mom!’ and go off to spend a summer’s day there [at the playground], it would have been odd to consider that child ‘unsupervised.’ After all, she was surrounded by other kids, parents, and park personnel. Apparently now only a private security detail is considered safe enough.”

This is not an argument for abandoning one’s children for hours on end with no available supervision. One mother was arrested for leaving her nine-year-old at a park in order to work a shift at McDonald’s. But while the merits of her babysitting strategy are dubious, we’re not convinced it was worthy of 17 days behind bars, much less the potential 10-year prison sentence.

Yet a Reason/Rupe poll revealed that 68% of Americans think there ought to be a law prohibiting kids nine and under from unsupervised play. For 12-year-olds, some 43% still think a law is needed, and even letting a 10-year-old play alone in their own front yard is frowned upon. Who knew helicopter parenting was this popular?

Common knowledge (62% of those polled) says the world is more dangerous than a generation or two ago, but the truth is that crime is at its lowest levels since World War II. Child abduction is no more common now than 40 years ago, and today’s kidnappings are often committed by estranged spouses. And as the Christian Science Monitor noted in 2012, “[T]he last time the crime rate for serious crime – murder, rape, robbery, assault – fell to these levels, gasoline cost 29 cents a gallon and the average income for a working American was $5,807.”

Crime is still serious, even at a lower rate. And appropriate precautions with children are always in order. But why the overabundance of fear? Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, blames the 24-hour news cycle. Turn on the news, he says, “and all you have to do is watch how they take a handful of terrible crimes against children and repeat that same handful over and over. And then they repeat the trial over and over, and so we’re conditioned to live in a state of fear.” After all, who wants to become the subject of one of those stories? According to the Reason poll, more than two-thirds think news coverage is either accurate or underestimated.

Other factors could be at play, including the prevailing culture of lawsuits for every real and perceived injury – that’s why playgrounds themselves are so different today. Also, the breakdown of the family and communities has left many mothers parenting alone and turning to the government. Or maybe we’ve gotten so overprotective simply because kids are so expensive. According to the USDA, raising a child in a middle-class home can cost $245,000.

There are important implications of this shift in thought, and they’re not limited to children or parenting. Take ObamaCare for example. Democrats are correct that, while the law as a whole and as implemented is not looked upon favorably, some of its individual provisions – like keeping “children” on parents' insurance until age 26 – are popular. In fact, most government programs that “take care of people” enjoy wide public support, which is why responsible fiscal management of those programs is nearly impossible.

Children may well be marginally safer in this tightly controlled environment, but they also may not be learning critical life skills such as responsibility, problem-solving and independence. Hence, when they grow up, they want government to do things for them.

And sometimes, children never actually do grow up, which is why statists are so successful at fomenting envy among various constituent groups. Petty jealousy is a prevalent trait among five-year-olds, and leftists know just how to cultivate it into adulthood.

One key to breaking this cycle of dependence is for parents to raise their children with a bit more independence and responsibility. Start small but keep growing. America was birthed with the Declaration of Independence, and in order to recapture its greatness, our children must learn autonomy. Maybe even by going to the playground on their own



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

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

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


3 September, 2014

Sesame Street now not suitable for children

Thrillingly, the early episodes of Sesame Street have just been released on DVD, but be warned - those shows are dangerous! Slapped across the front of the case is the message, "These early Sesame Street episodes are intended for grown-ups, and may not suit the needs of today's preschool child." And looking at the wobbly sets and be-stringed puppets, they probably are better suited to sentimental adults than kids raised on Pixar. But this sticker is an expression of concern.

It's not the psychedelic nature of the programme in its 70s incarnation that worries, but the behaviour it might encourage. Children dancing in the street! Grown men reading storybooks to kids - for no apparent reason!

Cookie Monster is the number one problem, not because he is a monster, but because he eats cookies (encourages obesity), and when his addiction takes a special stranglehold, the plate (might hurt). His alter ego, Alistair Cookie, used to smoke a pipe before eating it, which, Sesame Street producer Carol-Lynn Parente explained to the New York Times, "modelled the wrong behaviour", and so Alistair was, tragically, dropped, and he now probably munches down on pipes in bitterness in illegal pipe dens.

The clearly depressed Oscar the Grouch is another problem: "We might not be able to create a character like Oscar today," said Parente, which is possibly one of the most depressing sentences I have read in my life.

For those of us reared on Sesame Street, the degree to which the show is embedded in our psyche is hard to overstate. My favourite segment was the 1979 one when the Muppet band the Beetles, suitably mop-topped, if a little fuzzier of face than the originals, sang their poignant ballad Letter B (sample lyric: "When I find I can't remember/What comes after A and before C/ My mother always whispers, 'Letter B'," and yes, I am quoting from memory). But 30 years on, the perils here are overwhelming: their hair is in their eyes! They're playing electrical instruments! And, my God, one is playing the drums without any protective clothing! Frankly, it's astonishing I managed to grow up unscathed.


In Maryland, a Soviet-Style Punishment for a Novelist

A 23-year-old teacher at a Cambridge, Md. middle school has been placed on leave and—in the words of a local news report—"taken in for an emergency medical evaluation" for publishing, under a pseudonym, a novel about a school shooting. The novelist, Patrick McLaw, an eighth-grade language-arts teacher at the Mace's Lane Middle School, was placed on leave by the Dorchester County Board of Education, and is being investigated by the Dorchester County Sheriff's Office, according to news reports from Maryland's Eastern Shore. The novel, by the way, is set 900 years in the future.

Here is part of a breathless, law enforcement-friendly report from WBOC, which describes itself as "Delmarva's News Leader":

He's a man with many names, and the books he has written have raised the concerns of the Dorchester County Board of Education and the Dorchester County Sheriff's Office.

Early last week the school board was alerted that one of its eighth grade language arts teachers at Mace's Lane Middle School had several aliases.  Police said that under those names, he wrote two fictional books about the largest school shooting in the country's history set in the future.  Now, Patrick McLaw is placed on leave.

Dr. K.S. Voltaer is better known by some in Dorchester County as Patrick McLaw, or even Patrick Beale.  Not only was he a teacher at Mace's Lane Middle School in Cambridge, but according to Dorchester Sheriff James Phillips, McLaw is also the author of two books: "The Insurrectionist" and its sequel, "Lillith's Heir."

Those books are what caught the attention of police and school board officials in Dorchester County.  "The Insurrectionist" is about two school shootings set in the future, the largest in the country's history.

Phillips said McLaw was taken in for an emergency medical evaluation. The sheriff would not disclose where McLaw is now, but he did say that he is not on the Eastern Shore. The same day that McLaw was taken in for an evaluation, police swept Mace's Lane Middle School for bombs and guns, coming up empty.

Imagine that—a novelist who didn't store bombs and guns at the school at which he taught. How improbable! Especially considering that he uses an "alias," which is apparently the law-enforcement term for "nom de plume." (Here is the Amazon page for The Insurrectionist, by the way. Please note that the book was published in 2011, before McLaw was hired.)

According to an equally credulous and breathless report in the Star-Democrat, which is published in Easton, Md., the combined efforts of multiple law-enforcement agencies have made area children safe from fiction. Sheriff Phillips told the newspaper that, in addition to a K-9 sweep of the school (!), investigators also raided McLaw's home. "The residence of the teacher in Wicomico County was searched by personnel,” Phillips said, with no weapons found. “A further check of Maryland State Police databases also proved to be negative as to any weapons registered to him. McLaw was suspended by the Dorchester County Board of Education pending an investigation and is no longer in the area. He is currently at a location known to law enforcement and does not currently have the ability to travel anywhere.”

I've tried to reach the sheriff, so far unsuccessfully, to learn whether McLaw's "inability to travel anywhere" means that he is under arrest. It is somewhat amazing that local news reports on this case don't make clear whether McLaw is under arrest, and if so, on what charge. It is equally astonishing that the reporters on this story don't seem to have used the words "First Amendment" in their questioning of law-enforcement officials, and also astonishing they don't question the Soviet-sounding practice of ordering an apparently sane person who has been deemed unacceptable by state authorities to undergo a psychological evaluation.

It would be useful to know if McLaw is under investigation for behavior other than writing two novels—and perhaps he will be shown to be a miscreant of some sort—but so far, there is no indication that he is guilty of anything other than having an imagination, although on Maryland's Eastern Shore, as news reports make clear, his imagination is considered an active threat.

Dorchester County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Henry Wagner told WBO that police will be present at the middle school "for as long as we deem it necessary," and the sheriff said that law-enforcement officials across the Delmarva peninsula have been given McLaw's photo in case he shows up in their jurisdictions—though again, it is not clear if he is, in fact, in police custody at the moment.

If law-enforcement authorities in Dorchester County have additional information that implicates McLaw in a crime, or in the planning of a crime, it is imperative that they release it immediately. As it stands now, they appear to be violating the constitutional rights of a citizen, and also, by the way, teaching the children of their county something awful about the power of fear over reason.


The Great Resurgence of Academic Art

Though I attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna for nearly six years, I didn't want their degree. When I was enrolled, back in the early 80s, you graduated with a piece of paper that conferred upon you the title of 'Akademische Maler' or Academic Painter. In working towards my earlier 1977 Bachelor's degree in the States, every art history course, and most of the studio painting courses, agreed that Academic painting was the worst crime against art ever committed. In my sophomore year at a small Midwestern liberal arts university this manifested itself in vandalism against the 19th century academic paintings that had the bad luck to hang in the same auditorium where art history lectures were delivered. A large Bouguereau painting received a dozen puncture wounds from the pens and pencils of the righteous. By the time I got to Vienna the last thing I wanted to be was an Academic Painter.

At the time the term Academic Art referred to those classically trained artists of the 19th century who had learned their craft in academies, came up through the rigors of proscribed teaching methods, and created content to fit the tastes of the ever-widening bourgeoisie. In my art history classes it was the French version that came in for the strongest criticism, with painters like William-Adolphe Bouguereau held up as the decadent boogieman that Impressionism, and then Modernism, rebelled against. When Pablo Picasso painted his great "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon" the purge of the former century's academic decadence was complete. That was 1907.

The decadence of today's art world makes the excesses of the 19th century seem quaint by comparison. Even art critics who helped to build the current edifice are appalled by dealers, billionaires and auction houses who manipulate the system, and by the the shallow, slick work that is passed off as the best that contemporary culture has to offer. Museums, galleries and art critics have all been complicit in creating a contemporary art scene that expects minimal creative effort from its artists and delivers little of value to society at large. With none of the rigor of 19th century training, university art departments and art schools roll out thousands of wannabe artists annually in what must be one of the greatest educational scams ever perpetrated. At least the 19th century Beaux Arts painters were trained to make a living of it.

The school system that births the Academic Art of today is the end product of the age old desire of artists to be more than artisans. Da Vinci, Poussin, Watteau, et al, shared a desire to elevate the mind above the hand, and to move up the social ladder as intellect equated with nobility, manual labor with the masses. The apotheosis of this tendency has come in the last decades as academia has removed skill of any kind as a quality necessary in the creation of art. As art has moved from being an organic function of society and into the hallowed halls of academia, it has shifted from being something that artists did to bring meaning to their communities, into self-reflective gestures aimed at a highly-specialized intellectual elite. In the process art has lost its relevance to the society from which it springs.

The push in university departments to make art into a profession similar to those you'll find in the sciences, medicine or law has resulted in a tremendous glut of academic artists with scant venues to show their work, and an almost complete lack of career opportunities. Since the 1950s MFA programs have proliferated like mold on a rotting orange. Those with MFAs confer more MFAs, operating from secure professorships that enable the production of a purely academic art of interest only to other academics. They train their students to make the same kind of art, but in this over-saturated employment arena they aren't going to find the same cushy tenure positions occupied by their mentors, positions that allow for an academic style free of the need for sales. A small handful of well-connected schools, with powerful faculty, can choose a tiny number of their favorite students and propel them into the art market, but what about the other 250 MFA programs across the country? What happens to the thousands of newly minted MFA grads they churn out each year?

The educational system that spawns this surfeit is an entrenched and potent force. Who decides which academic artists are worthy of attention? Others with similar academic degrees. The gates to academic and artworld success are controlled by those educated through the same process, indoctrinated by the same ideologies, instilled with the same ideas about what art is or isn't. Academic Art, as practiced in western culture, has now colonized the entire world. Cultures that once had vibrant, homegrown arts communities connected to their ethnic populations, now produce the art of the academies. From New York to Paris, from Istanbul to Dubai, from Tehran to Mumbai, from Moscow to Shanghai, all the art looks like it came out of the same MFA program. It is all academic.


Why Jews are worried

AN old Jewish joke goes like this: “What’s the definition of a Jewish telegram? ‘Start worrying. Details to follow.’ ”

I am often asked by fellow Jews about contemporary manifestations of anti-Semitism, particularly in Europe. “Is this just like 1939? Are we on the cusp of another Holocaust?” Until now, my answer has been an unequivocal “no.” I have criticized community leaders who, either out of genuine concern or to advance their own purposes, use Holocaust analogies to describe contemporary conditions. These claims are ahistorical. They overstate what is going on now and completely understate the situation in 1939.

The differences between then and now are legion. When there is an outbreak of anti-Semitism today, officials condemn it. This is light-years away from the 1930s and 1940s, when governments were not only silent but complicit. Memory also distinguishes the present from previous events. Now, in contrast to the 1930s, we know matters can escalate. Jews today are resolute in their determination: “Never again.”

And despite all this I wonder if I am too sanguine. Last month, pro-Gaza protesters on Kurfürstendamm, the legendary avenue in Berlin, chanted, “Jews, Jews, cowardly swine.” Demonstrators in Dortmund and Frankfurt chanted, “Hamas, Hamas; Jews to the gas!” And a pro-Hamas marcher in Berlin broke away from the crowd and assaulted an older man who was quietly standing on a corner holding an Israeli flag.

On the eve of Bastille Day, a group of Parisian Jews were trapped in a synagogue by pro-Palestinian rioters and had to be rescued by the police. A few weeks ago signs were posted in Rome urging a boycott of 50 Jewish-owned businesses. In central London last week, anti-Israel protesters targeted a Sainsbury’s grocery, and the manager reflexively pulled kosher products off the shelves. (The supermarket chain later apologized.)

It would be simple to link all this outrage to events in Gaza. But this trend has been evident for a while. In March 2012, four people were killed at a Jewish day school in Toulouse, France. (Last month, a Jewish community center there was firebombed.) In December 2012, Israeli officials warned Jewish men who wanted to visit synagogues in Denmark not to don their skullcaps until they were inside the building. It is increasingly common for Jewish tourists in Western Europe to avoid carrying anything that might distinguish them as such. A shooting at the Jewish Museum in Brussels in May, a month before the latest Gaza conflict began, killed four people.

I am unpersuaded by those who try to dismiss what is happening as “just rhetoric.” It is language, after all, that’s at the heart of the ubiquitous slippage from anger at Israeli military action to hatred of Jews.

Nor am I comforted by the explanation that these actions are being taken by “disgruntled Muslim youth.” (By one estimate, 95 percent of anti-Semitic actions in France are committed by youths of Arab or African descent.) Many of these Muslims were born in Europe, and many of those who weren’t are the parents of a new generation of Europeans.

It’s true that this is not the anti-Semitism of the 1930s, which came from the right and was rooted in longstanding Christian views that demonized the Jews. Traditionally, Islam did not treat Jews this way. But in the past century a distinct strain of Muslim anti-Semitism has emerged. Built on a foundation of antipathy toward non-Muslims, it mixes Christian anti-Semitism — imported to the Middle East by European missionaries — and a more leftist, secular form of anti-Semitism. It is evident in political cartoons, editorials, television shows and newspaper articles.

Those of us who are of good will and not antisemites would find it a lot easier to speak up and demonstrate against the fringe of Jew haters...

The Hamas charter is an example. It contains references to “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” a notorious forgery created by Russian czarist police officers in 1903 and later used as Nazi propaganda. The charter accuses Jews of relying on secret societies to foment global economic and political disasters. It calls on adherents to prepare for “the next round with the Jews, the merchants of war.”

The rationales — “it’s just rhetoric,” “it’s just Muslims” — bother me almost as much as the outrages. Instead of explaining away these actions, cultural, religious and academic leaders in all the countries where these events have occurred should be shaken to the core, not just about the safety of their Jewish neighbors, but about the future of the seemingly liberal, enlightened societies they belong to. Yet when a Hamas spokesman recently stood by his statement that Jews used the blood of non-Jewish children for their matzos — one of the oldest anti-Semitic canards around — European elites were largely silent.

Seventy years after the Holocaust, many Jews in Europe no longer feel safe. Hiring an armed guard to protect people coming for weekly prayer is not the action of a secure people. In too many cities worldwide, directions to the local synagogue conclude with, “You will recognize it by the police car in front of the building.” France has seen a sharp rise in the number of Jews who have decided to emigrate (though the figures are still fairly small).

The telegram has arrived. Jews are worrying. It is time for those who value a free, democratic, open, multicultural and enlightened society to do so, too. This is not another Holocaust, but it’s bad enough.



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 September, 2014

The strange definition of "racism"

( https://www.youtube.com/embed/RWcVguB0GaY )

Lord Neuberger: giving democracy a hammering

When a UK judge makes a speech about human rights, the UK press will gleefully report anything he says about pesky foreign judges in Strasbourg. So long as he stands up for UK judges sitting in London, the press will be onside. This is unfortunate because UK democracy is being reordered by values and ideas stemming from within the UK and which have now got little to do with judgements given by the European Court of Human Rights. The Strasbourg court has become a convenient whipping boy for British politicians and the press. Yet while the press reports the whipping, it ignores the far more significant impact that human rights are having on UK democracy.

The Strasbourg court is a much maligned and weakened institution. This became clear earlier this month with its decision to award no compensation and no costs to 10 UK prisoners who claimed that being banned from voting was a breach of their human rights. Since the Strasbourg court had previously held that prisoners’ disenfranchisement was a breach of human rights, this decision shows that, as the former Justice Secretary Jack Straw MP observed, ‘the Strasbourg court looked over the abyss and backed off’ in order to avoid ‘a whirlwind of opposition on a scale that could well have undermined its legitimacy’. In future, the rule of law from Strasbourg can be expected to yield to a parliament that speaks with a clear voice and which is led by a prime minister who would be ‘physically ill’ if a contentious Strasbourg law were enforced.

Speaking shortly before the Strasbourg court’s capitulation on prisoner votes, Lord Neuberger, president of the UK Supreme Court, made his own modest criticism of the ‘inconsistent decisions’ made by the ECHR over the years, noting that the UK judiciary should ‘be more ready not to follow Strasbourg chamber decisions’.

Because the Strasbourg court has overreached itself by making a number of politically controversial decisions in recent years, the UK’s judiciary is keen to distance itself from that tainted institution. The objective being to avoid what former UK home secretary Jack Straw described as the undermining of ‘basic human rights’. By urging UK courts to exercise a little more independence from Strasbourg, Lord Neuberger has sought to insulate domestic human-rights jurisprudence from the criticism that is attached to many Strasbourg decisions.

Lord Neuberger’s modest Eurosceptic tone was heeded by the UK press, which reported the speech with these headlines: ‘Judges “too ready” to follow Strasbourg rulings says Lord Neuberger’ (Daily Telegraph);  ‘British courts “too ready” to follow European Court of Human Rights’ rules’ (the Guardian); ‘British courts should be “more ready” to ignore human-rights rulings made in Europe, says the UK’s top judge Lord Neuberger’ (Daily Mail); ‘Have confidence to overrule Strasbourg, says UK’s top judge’ (The Times).  The articles written under these headlines took their cue from one paragraph out of Lord Neuberger’s 43-paragraph speech.

Yet, contrary to the way Lord Neuberger’s speech was reported in the UK, modest Euroscepticism was neither the main nor most significant point made by ‘the UK’s top judge’. Lord Neuberger used the speech to make clear his enthusiastic support of human-rights laws. He described parliament’s passing of the Human Rights Act in 1998 as the start of ‘the age of enlightenment’. Lord Neuberger’s justification for human-rights laws was far more newsworthy than his remarks on Strasbourg. The most significant part of his speech was this passage on human-rights laws:

‘Particularly in the light of their recent history, mainland European countries appreciate the need for checks and balances, and realise that undiluted democracy is risky. The tyranny of the majority is bad enough and, as the past century demonstrated, it can lead to far worse things. However, you only have to look at the history of Germany over the past 100 years to see how valuable it can be for judges to be given a substantial role, supported by the rule of law, in protecting individuals against the might of the modern state.’

As a lawyer who has spent decades finessing arguments to make them sound persuasive, Lord Neuberger knows that it is better to be against something implied to be bad (‘undiluted democracy’) than to be against something good (‘democracy’). He also knows that it is desirable to attack something framed as bad (‘the tyranny of the majority’) rather than to attack something good (‘democracy’). And it is felicitous to deploy phrases that are self-evidently good (‘checks and balances’) as cover for something different (judicial collaboration with parliament over the making of laws). It is also powerful to imply that your argument could somehow have hindered German aggression and Nazism.

Despite the skilful use of these lawyerly devices, the gravamen of Lord Neuberger’s argument is clear. Democracy, in the form of parliament being sovereign to determine the law free of legal collaboration, ‘is risky’. Enacting laws on the basis of majority support is a ‘tyranny of the majority’. Without constitutional judicial oversight of Parliament, 100 years of Germany history may be repeated. In order to avoid this appalling vista, democracy needs to be diluted: democracy needs to be overseen by the judiciary using human-rights laws to protect the people.

Lord Neuberger’s approach is best understood with the example he gives of the Supreme Court’s recent consideration of the Tony Nicklinson assisted-suicide case. He notes how parliament has used the criminal law to impose a blanket ban on assisted suicide with primary legislation, the Suicide Act 1961 (which has been considered, updated and retained by parliament on subsequent occasions). He then posed this interesting question: ‘The point is whether that [act of parliament] means that the law on the topic is purely for parliament or whether the courts can say that, even though there is a clear statutory prohibition [on assisted suicide]… the court can say to parliament that that is contrary to the [European Convention on Human Rights] as it applies in the UK.’ He answered the question in favour of judicial involvement by noting that in ‘our recent decision of Nicklinson, we unanimously held that the courts did have that power’. A power, that is, to tell parliament that its legislation on this contentious issue of public policy is contrary to human-rights laws.

For various reasons, the Supreme Court did not declare the assisted-suicide law to be contrary to human-rights laws but a significant factor was that, as Lord Neuberger put it, ‘the courts should hold off giving a declaration of incompatibility so that parliament could consider the issue with the benefit of our judgements’. The Supreme Court has warned parliament that unless the law is changed it may be moved to declare the blanket ban on assisted suicide to be contrary to human-rights laws.

What we have here is a form of democracy where judicial opinions on matters of public policy are given particular weight. Laws are not simply made in parliament by elected representatives, for they require MPs to consider the views of learned members of the judiciary. As one judge of Supreme Court, Lord Wilson, put it, there is now a ‘collaboration between the courts and the legislature’. Or, as Professor Roger Masterman put it, ‘at the heart of [human-rights laws] lies the attempted reconciliation of judicial and political power, or – put another way – of interpretive and legislative power’ (1).

The relationship between parliament and the judiciary is now opaque. The UK judiciary cannot declare a law to be unlawful but it can declare a law to be incompatible with a human right. In theory, parliament can disregard such a declaration as the courts cannot require parliament to change the offending law. But Lord Neuberger drew attention to the practical reality of this process by noting that ‘the power now given to judges in the UK by… the Human Rights Act is demonstrated by the fact that, with one exception, parliament has always acted on every such [declaration] and cured any incompatibility’.  In theory, parliament retains its sovereignty, but in practice parliament exercises it after considering any judicial guidance that has been given.

In Lord Neuberger’s ‘age of enlightenment’, the judiciary’s powers have increased considerably. The constitutional relationship used to be that parliament made the law (save where parliament allowed the judiciary to develop the common law) and the judiciary interpreted it. This clear separation of responsibilities has broken down. Nowadays, the judiciary still interpret the law but they also have a ‘collaborative’ role in shaping it. Lord Neuberger noted that the Human Rights Act has effectively conferred ‘a law making function on the judiciary’.

Under the Human Rights Act, parliament’s powers are, in practice, diluted and the judiciary’s powers are strengthened. Democracy is degraded as the will of the majority is seen as risky. Lord Neuberger’s criticism of ‘undiluted democracy’ is effectively a criticism of the unfettered ability of parliament to make and change laws. This matters because parliament is an elected body. MPs derive their authority from the ballot box. An MP’s views are subject to public scrutiny and debate, with the electorate ultimately having the last word. MPs win or lose support on the basis of their political view of society.

The judiciary is not elected (and neither should it be). Judges derive their authority on the basis of their technical ability to understand and apply the law. Their judgements are formed after hearing submissions from lawyers about the law. Judges do not, at least not openly, form judgements on the basis of a political view of society.

The issue of assisted suicide highlights the key problem here. When MPs debate assisted suicide they make clear their moral and political standpoints, which means the public can engage with these arguments and ultimately vote the holder of a particular opinion in or out of parliament. Nine Supreme Court judges recently considered the issue of assisted suicide; they considered it with 16 learned members of the bar. Six months later they produced a judgement the length of a book. Few members of the public will read it. Their lordships were constrained to address the issue of assisted suicide within a legal framework rather than from a freely chosen moral and political framework.  The judges who made this ‘law’ are beyond democratic accountability. In a democracy, issues of public policy, such as assisted suicide, should be decided by elected representatives who should be engaging with the public and not collaborating with the judiciary.

The judiciary did not initiate this process; parliament gave the judiciary its new powers by enacting the Human Rights Act 1998. But the process that parliament initiated is now acquiring a momentum of its own, and speeches like Lord Neuberger’s warrant a serious public debate. Framing the discussion on human-rights laws simply in terms of Euroscepticism will only avoid or confuse the debate. What happens in the Strasbourg court is far less important that what is happening in courts north of the English Channel.


The NSPCC’s war on youth culture

The charity’s new anti-gang initiative sounds suspiciously like an assault on young people.

Following the widespread riots that plagued English cities in the summer of 2011, the Home Office published a report entitled Ending Gang and Youth Violence. Rather than blaming the riots on the provocations of a hostile police force, Westminster looked to the role that professional criminal outfits had played in encouraging the looting and criminal damage that spread through cities that summer.

Of those arrested in the riots, one in five were identified as gang members – considering the number of people who protested peacefully and consequently didn’t face arrest, the story of a criminally organised uprising seems more than a little threadbare. The Home Office reported that in London – the area with greatest concentration of gangs in the UK – only 22 per cent of violent crime more generally is gang-related. This proportion shrinks dramatically for the rest of the country. What’s more, there are no associated statistics to suggest that children or young people are particularly involved in these activities. In fact, one might safely assume that these actions are largely carried out by organised crime syndicates run by adults.

Why, then, has the NSPCC launched a national helpline to protect children from a gang culture that, though alive in some form, is hardly thriving? This week, the NSPCC, backed by the Home Office, set up a helpline to provide advice for parents concerned about their children’s involvement in gangs. The NSPCC’s statistical justification for the campaign is that one-in-six young people aged between 13 and 15 claims to know a gang member, yet it is startlingly vague about what being a gang member entails. It fails to clarify whether or not the adolescents surveyed are acquainted with members of violent criminal gangs or if some of their friends simply wear matching hoodies and spraypaint rude words on underpasses.

The helpline’s homepage lists supposedly telltale signs of gang association for parents to look out for. These include your child spending time with people you don’t know; coming home with unexplained injuries; getting into trouble at school; becoming secretive; and staying out late. The list does go on to include ‘evidence of violent or criminal activity’ as an indicator, but otherwise it reads rather like a rundown of the general behaviour to expect from any adolescent worthy of the name. It seems that the NSPCC’s latest crusade is not about tackling a criminal underworld that sucks in children; rather, it’s a concerted assault on the habits of young people and the elements of youth culture that pearl-clutching parents find distasteful.

Ever since teenagers have been a recognisable cultural force, young people have been drawn to gangs and sub-cultures. Admittedly, the NSPCC is fairly accurate in its assessment of the reasons for this. Gangs and youth movements provide young people with a rebellious outlet – a sense of identity and excitement that is made more attractive by a tinge of the illicit. Each new generation gives birth to a new youth culture – mods, rockers, punks, skinheads, casuals – and each new culture is immediately decried as criminal and violent. In every case, there exists a kernel of truth in the allegation of gang-style behaviour, but only a few of the young people involved in a particular sub-culture will ever engage in serious criminal activity; most stop at casual substance use, with occasional forays into dealing drugs. Serious violence is rarely as widespread as the attendant media panic would have you believe, and the young men billed as a threat to the nation’s moral fibre become a footnote in British cultural history within 10 years or so.

The NSPCC’s project indulges this timeless hysteria, as shown by the structure and spirit of its policy. A programme that earnestly sought to diffuse gang violence and impact the lives of at-risk children would presumably begin with those children in gangs. If sincere steps were being taken to end youth gang violence then helping community workers engage directly with gang members would doubtless be the first priority. Yet the NSPCC’s big idea is to provide an outlet for concerned parents.

In a statement about the project, John Cameron, NSPCC head of child protection, explained the charity’s decision to tackle gang violence, before adding: ‘Parents, carers and other adults often struggle to know where to turn when faced with a young person who they think might be involved in a gang.’

The NSPCC is quite clearly putting the cart before the horse here. After dubiously identifying gang violence as one of the key problems facing children in Britain, it goes on to explain a system that it has devised to alleviate the burden for parents and guardians. Confronted by the spectral presence of ‘kids with guns’, the NSPCC has responded with a 24-hour freephone helpline for worried parents.

This appeal to concerned parents betrays a deep-seated social conservatism at the heart of this new project. The reason the NSPCC finds gangs so barbaric is not solely because of the effect they have on vulnerable children, but because of their distasteful and anti-social presence in Britain’s cities and towns. Citing the involvement of children in gangs is a way of policing the idle young people who play alienating music from garish cars. The charity conflates the urban youth culture that their patrons find unseemly with the violent gang culture that affects very few children. In doing so, it does both groups a huge disservice. The cultural association and congregation of groups of young people is criminalised by a silent army of net-curtain-twitching vigilantes. And the few young gang members who genuinely need the charity’s help are offered the meagre comfort of a 24-hour phoneline.


Kick the thought police out of football - and smartphones

There is a scandal unfolding, involving football manager Malky Mackay, his sidekick Iain Moody and a series of ‘sexist, racist and homophobic’ text messages. But not quite in the way that has been widely reported.

    It is a scandal that a top law firm representing a private company, Cardiff City football club, should be able to get a High Court order empowering its ‘investigators’ to mount a dawn raid on the home of a former employee – Moody – seize his computers and smartphones and take digital images of ‘evidence’. This is a private financial dispute, between Cardiff owner Vincent Tan and the manager and head of recruitment he had sacked, over some allegedly suspect transfer deals. It is not the police pursuing terror suspects. What next – court orders enabling private goons to impound phones to see who has been tweeting rude things about their bosses or teachers?

    It is a scandal that a few of the thousands of private text messages which investigators found on the snatched phones should be reported to the Football Association, leaked to the media, and used to brand Mackay and Moody as ‘sick’ and ‘vile’ racists, sexists and homophobes, costing them new jobs at Crystal Palace and possible bans from football. If what we say or think in private is to be used as public evidence of a Thought Crime, they are going to have to turn football stadiums into prison camps to hold all the wrongdoers.

    It is a scandal that moral and media crusaders seeking to sanitise football have seized upon a handful of words in the highlighted texts as ‘proof’ that the beautiful game remains a secret hotbed of ugly bigotry. Having failed to find much racism or homophobia on the pitch or in the stands, these self-righteous prigs are delighted they might have discovered some inside a football man’s mind; they now want all players, officials and fans subjected to a re-education programme to teach us the correct groupthink.

Amid all the expressions of outrage about the vile, sick etc texts, few questions have been asked about any of this. Nobody even seems to have noted the irony of law giants Mishcon de Reya – a firm in the frontline of suing newspapers for alleged phone-hacking and invasions of privacy – acting as legalised hackers and invaders by trawling through Moody’s 70,000 texts and 100,000 emails, the cherry-picked details of which then end up all over the media. Instead, it has been a deluge of denunciations of Mackay and Moody, in a ‘debate’ about as one-sided as the Real Madrid forward line versus Cardiff City’s defence.

Sure, the few texts splashed across the news make unedifying reading (though they would surely only be shocking to the easily shocked). Mackay and Moody (it has not even been made clear who sent which text to whom) did themselves no favours by tapping in such messages as ‘Fkin chinkys’, ‘He’s a snake. A gay snake’, ‘Go on fat Phil. Nothing like a Jew who sees money slipping through his fingers’, ‘Not many white faces in that lot’ or ‘I bet you’d love a bounce on her falsies’. Guilty of private outbursts of puerile stupidity, m’lud.

But the notion that they should be sacked, publicly humiliated, if not hanged, and drummed out of football for these texts is far more outrageous and dangerous than any of their snickering text messages. It is not as if they used those words on a football pitch or in a board meeting. It was private correspondence between friends and close colleagues. We need not approve of what they said at all, but we should defend their right not to be put in the stocks for the digital equivalent of whispering to one another at the back of the class.

Treating the public and private spheres differently is vital to the healthy maintenance of both. Most of us – and especially some of us – will rant and rave about life and other people in private in a way that we would not in public. The private sphere is a refuge from the tough examination of life outside, and also where we formulate the things we want to say to the world and how we wish to say them.

In recent years, however, the distinction between the public and the private has become as blurred as a muddy touchline. Our voyeuristic political and media class increasingly demands that we be made accountable for what we do in private. Meanwhile exhibitionist public figures have turned their private lives into a profession.

The Mackay-Moody show reveals that things have now gone further still. Lord Ouseley is head of the government-and-FA-backed Kick It Out lobby, the witch-finder general in the phoney moral crusade against racism and homophobia in football. He seized upon the publication of those text messages with relish. ‘What you see at face value is not always reflective of the attitudes which are actually held deep down’, declared Ouseley. ‘It’s easy to present yourself as being reasonable and fair, and to behave in ways that hide prejudice and bias. However, any in-depth forensic examination or analysis of hidden views would be likely to reveal otherwise. That is what makes it difficult to eliminate and eradicate such prejudices, bigotry and even hatred.’

For Ouseley and Co, it seems, any public displays of decency are just a façade put up to disguise our inner bigot. What is real are people’s ‘hidden views’ based on ‘prejudices, bigotry and even hatred’. Thus we should be judged, not on our public words and deeds, but on the private prejudices that we do not express, but which can be discovered by ‘forensic analysis’ of our innermost thoughts. Then no doubt those who are somehow immune to prejudice, such as Lord Ouseley, can try to ‘eliminate and eradicate’ the racist within through a re-education programme.

Kick It Out and its media fan club have also been quick to use the Mackay-Moody scandal to give football another good kicking, insisting that those few texts are just the tip of the iceberg of ugly bigotry that is bringing the beautiful game into disrepute. Having spent years desperately trying and failing to find the spectre of serious racism in British football, the ghost-hunters have now fallen about a few stray private texts as ‘proof’ that the problem is rife. We might reasonably draw the opposite conclusion: that this overblown circus shows how rare incidents of real racism are around modern football, and that if anything brings the game into disrepute it is the shrill scaremongering of the phoney moral crusaders. But presumably that will only prove that we are at best in denial, and at worst part of the secret racist conspiracy.

Of course, nobody wants to endorse bigotry – although we surely ought to defend the freedom of thought and speech for pillocks, too, particularly in the privacy of their own home/phone. But this sort of manufactured outrage is likely to have a wider chilling effect on what people feel free to say or even think anywhere.

The dangerous trend towards policing private words and thoughts in sport and society, highlighted recently on spiked, inevitably brings to mind the descriptions of the Thought Police and thoughtcrime from George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. And as ever, there is more to Orwell’s insight than is often assumed. The purpose of the Thought Police is not simply to punish those found guilty of mentally erring from the politically correct state diktat. It is also to encourage the rest to practice ‘crimestop’ – described by Big Brother’s public enemy number one, Emmanuel Goldstein, as ‘the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought… Crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity.’

Thanks, but I’ll take the risk of living in a relatively free world where there might be dodgy private texts lurking on somebody’s smartphone, rather than one where everybody’s inner thoughts are laid bare and we are safe in a blanket of collective ‘protective stupidity’.



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 September, 2014

Football and its followers are not PC

Jim Davidson has become known for his use of controversial jokes about women, ethnic minorities, homosexuals and the disabled, but he rejects accusations that he is prejudiced against these groups

I've spent this month reviewing shows at the Edinburgh Fringe for The Daily Mirror and it really brings issues about what you can and can't say into focus.

I'm sure if a manager had sent a text using the c-word, this would have been held up as deeply offensive and possibly misogynistic. It is a word that is seen as utterly unacceptable by many and yet it is used by lots of people every day of their lives. Certainly, the majority of comedians I've seen in the last month use that word liberally and in every context imaginable without censure. Americans, in particular, are amazed that it's 'allowed'.

But who is right and who is wrong and who decides? Language is a tricky thing.

I went to see Jim Davidson, who played a Fringe show for the whole of this month. Despite growing up in the 70s, I have to admit to knowing very little about him. 'Chalky', snooker, liking ELP and being arrested, pretty much covered it. The one thing I do know is that I'm not supposed to like him.

Obviously, he's the bête noire of the liberal left and a whole generation grew up with Davidson as the establishment Tory against which to kick. My favourite comedians are Jerry Seinfeld, George Carlin and Bill Hicks. One of my favourite shows at the Fringe this year was by fantastic feminist comedian, Bridget Christie. I say this just to illustrate how Jim Davidson is not in my cultural universe.

Yet I didn't see any comedian better received. The audience of about 500 gave him a standing ovation and did so, from what I'm told, every night for a month. They laughed uproariously at what he said and were on his side throughout. However, by contrast, reviewers were very sniffy, calling him a 'throwback to an era comedy forgot'. If this is true of him, it is also true of many younger, modern comedians who perform very similar broad humour without criticism. It's a huge double standard. I have seen far less controversial comics perform far more 'offensive' material without attracting any ire at all. Davidson's critics were clearly reviewing the man and not the act.

When you see over 40 comedians within three weeks, it's not hard to spot those with the ability to amuse and those who don't and Davidson has it. He has superb technique (though I found it all a bit predictable and, as a result, a bit dull) but if you expected to see a tirade of sexist, racist comedy (and some reviewers clearly did), it wasn't that or at least, it was no more that than many performers' acts are. As I say, it was received to huge acclaim and it'd be easy to say this was because his audience were nasty, vicious bigots, but standing amongst them they obviously weren't, or at least, no more than any public gathering. They were largely working class and drawn from all ages.

Where this informs the football debate is that Davidson has clearly become emblematic for his audience. They see him as standing against the people who are sometimes called liberal fascists who, they feel, tell them what they can and can't say or think. They feel culturally dictated to by a self-appointed elite of people. They don't want to be told what to say, how to say it, or how to behave by these people. They don't want to be told they're misogynists, racists or homophobes when they feel they're genuinely not. Davidson rails against the 'PC liberal lefties' even though I'm pretty sure, this being Scotland, almost none of his audience vote Tory and most are probably on the left to some degree. This is all about the cultural, not the political.

This seems to be the same thing at the core of some of the more visceral responses in defence of the 'real football man' (as though working in football is in and of itself proof of your moral worth) Malky Mackay. Some feel it's not like he's committed a great crime; some feel that there is a witch hunt by over-precious people who are merely looking for an opportunity to be offended, people for whom their righteous indignation is forever on the point of boiling over. And, let's be honest, anyone who has been patronised by someone telling you to 'check your privilege' has probably felt some sympathy with that view. There can be an over-focus on expression rather than intent or belief. But as we know, words are tricky things.

Yet all this being said, I found those Mackay texts profoundly depressing and suspect they really do reveal the driving cultural tides in our football culture and in our society too. They reveal what most of us already know - that people say one thing for public consumption, but think another. It wasn't a mistake, he just didn't think it was wrong. We have to deal with the fact that in wanting to create a less divisive, bigoted culture, we have helped create a covert culture where the 'wrong' views are still held and expressed. Just shouting people down won't change that, indeed, it may help perpetuate it.

Talk of 'rehabilitating' him, as though he is ill, smacks of Brave New World mind control, but defending it with that most heinous of words, banter (a word we have long railed against here), is dumb too.

Extreme reactions - and the internet specialises in extreme reactions - make dealing with the issues these texts raise all the more difficult, as a result, most just keep quiet, scared that they put their foot in it and say something thought to be wrong.

We're all part of football culture and we need to sort this out and we won't do that if we just resort to calling each other names and trying to be superior. All sides need to exercise more understanding because I think we can agree we've all had enough of anger and intolerance. And anyone who disagrees is a c**t.


Caliph Cameron brings ISIS-style intolerance to Britain

Our rulers’ authoritarian response to ISIS is trashing freedom and tolerance

We know from their Four Lions-style Twitterfeeds and video statements that some ISIS members dream of co-opting Britain into their unforgiving caliphate. They fantasise about raising their black flag over Downing Street and enforcing harsh sharia law on us, doing away with what they see as our foolish traditions of tolerance and democracy. But it turns out they don’t need to. They don’t have to traipse across Europe to London, for our leaders have proved themselves willing to trash tolerance and democracy on ISIS’s behalf. Giving new meaning to the word irony, in the name of tackling the threat posed by the Islamic State David Cameron and Co are adopting some of the methods of the Islamic State, undermining free speech, free movement and universal justice.

It speaks volumes about the UK government that the only solution it can come up with to the problem of young Brits going off to fight with ISIS is draconianism. PM David Cameron got the ball rolling in mid-August with his promise to use censorship to try to stem the flow of British Muslims to ISIS’s ranks. He announced that anyone spotted waving the ISIS flag in Britain will be arrested. Also, anyone who praises ISIS – that is, who ‘glorifies terrorism’, which is a crime in England and Wales under the authoritarian Terrorism Act of 2006 – faces arrest, too. He boasted that 28,000 ‘terrorist materials’, including 46 ISIS videos, have been unilaterally removed from the internet by police. Some of these ‘terrorist materials’ have nothing to do with recruiting people to ISIS or explaining how to make bombs or anything like that – they merely express a favourable view of ISIS and other groups; that is, they ‘glorify terrorism’, they express an opinion. Yet they’ve been banned. As Cameron unashamedly says, there are limits to British tolerance: ‘We are a tolerant people, but no tolerance should allow the room for this sort of poisonous extremism in our country.’ So supposedly tolerant Britain will not tolerate the expression of disturbing views.

Home secretary Theresa May followed hot on Cameron’s heels by proposing the punishment of speech crimes committed by radical Islamists. May wants to re-introduce ‘banning orders’ against those whose words and ideas currently ‘fall short of the legal threshold for terrorism proscription’ – that is, against people who do not recruit for terrorist organisations, and who don’t even glorify terrorism, but who merely express hotheaded Islamist ideas. If a targeted Islamist breaks his banning order and gives one of his speeches about kuffars, then he will face arrest and imprisonment. For speaking his mind. This is intolerance in action. It sets a very dangerous precedent. If we allow May to rewrite the law to ban certain extremists from preaching or speaking in public, what’s to stop her from targeting other extremists in the future? Political extremists, perhaps, or eco-extremists, or Millwall-loving extremists.

Meanwhile, Tory backbencher David Davis, once hilariously thought of as a libertarian, has suggested British citizens who travel to fight with ISIS should be stripped of their citizenship – that is, made stateless. Not to be outdone, Conservative London mayor Boris Johnson, who also once posed as liberal, has suggested trashing hundreds of years of universal justice in the name of tackling the problem of Brits hooking up with ISIS. Any Brit who travels to Syria or Iraq should, through a ‘swift and minor’ change to the law, be presumed guilty of terrorism until they can prove otherwise, he says. There would be nothing ‘minor’ about such a change to the law; it would represent the undermining of one of the key planks of any system of law that considers itself democratic – that we should all be presumed innocent until such a time as the state has proven beyond reasonable doubt that we are guilty of an offence. ISIS must be delighted as it watches Boris score a low blow against our pansy, kuffar laws.

So, our rulers’ plans for Doing Something about the problem of Brits going to fight with ISIS is to restrict freedom of thought and speech, rein in tolerance, and overhaul Enlightened law. That our leaders have so speedily suggested a mass ditching of the values of the Enlightenment cannot be explained by the problem of ISIS alone, or by the videoed beheading of the American journalist James Foley by a Brit. After all, there have been beheading videos before, including ones executed by Britons (most notoriously the beheading of the American journalist Daniel Pearl by Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, a one-time student at the London School of Economics). Rather, it is our politicians’ already-existing discomfort with what they see as the dangerous nature of liberty that propelled them post-Foley to undermine freedom and tolerance even further. Clearly viewing unfettered freedom as a moral bad, as the potential corrupter of fragile minds, they have allowed their illiberal prejudices to come to the fore in the wake of ISIS’s rise.

They are doing ISIS’s dirty work for it. Indeed, it is striking how closely our leaders’ proposed clampdowns on liberty echo ISIS’s own allergy to freedom. In banning extremist ideas on the basis that they might warp young minds, Tory politicians express the same fear of words and lack of faith in individual free will as can be found in ISIS’s propaganda. In the latest issue of its magazine, ISIS talks about ‘polluted ideologies’ and calls into question ‘the notion that the people can choose’, particularly the notion that they can choose ‘whether to follow the truth or to embark on a falsehood’. This is a very similar censoriousness to Cameron’s, being driven by a conviction that ordinary people cannot distinguish truth from falsity, and thus must be protected from foul ideologies, because ‘every time choice is allowed it will result in misguidance’, as ISIS says.

Our elites’ transformation of ‘radicalisation’ into something that just happens to people, like brainwashing, echoes ISIS’s conviction that there is no such thing as free choice. Indeed, ISIS says it wants to ‘eradicate the principle of “free choice”’, believing that it allows people to be overcome by ‘shirk, misguidance or heresy’. Fundamentally, authoritarian ISIS is driven by a view of people as weak-willed and requiring protection from ‘polluted ideologies’. There is ‘widespread ignorance amongst the people’, its magazine says: people are ‘like camels’. This is a less PC version of what the Caliph Cameron is saying – that certain ideologies pollute people’s minds, and so we must limit people’s free choice because they are incapable of deciding ‘whether to follow the truth or to embark on a falsehood’ (ISIS’s words, not Cameron’s, though I know it can be hard to tell).

This is the terrible irony of the draconian response to the ISIS / British Muslim problem: it actually imports ISIS-style illiberalism into the UK. It creates a secular Caliphate-on-the-Thames. It does to Britain what ISIS has only dreamt of doing to us, rubbishing our freedom and tolerance in the name of holding back ‘polluting ideologies’.

There are two massive problems with the draconian response to the ISIS issue. The first is its denting of liberty, not only for Muslims but for us all, where the home secretary might soon be able to decide if we are ‘extremists’ and imprison us on that basis alone. And the second is that it dodges the only thing that might truly address the problem of Brits signing up for ISIS: the battle of ideas, the fight to win the hearts and minds of British youth through demonstrating what is good and virtuous about our society and why they should stay here rather than travel to the misanthropic pseudo-state set up by ISIS. The key problem is our failure to enthuse young Brits with a moral vision, not the magical allure of Them over there. Which is why the draconianism of Cameron and Co is the worst possible response. We should become more liberal and tolerant and freedom-loving in response to the ISIS problem, not less, precisely as a way of communicating to our youths what our values are and why they are so superior to the people-hating, illiberal project of the Islamic State.


Tory MP claims Enoch Powell's 'Rivers of Blood' speech was right

A veteran Conservative MP has claimed that Enoch Powell was right to warn against immigration in his controversial "rivers of blood" speech.

Sir Gerald Howarth, a former defence minister, said that the Tory MP was correct in saying that the influx of immigrants of a "non-Christian" faith has presented a "challenge" to British society.

In a letter to a constituent, Sir Gerald said that the Trojan Horse plot in which extremists attempted to take over schools in Birmingham highlighted the problems.

He said: "Clearly, the arrival of so many people of a non-Christian faith has presented a challenge as so many of us, including the late Enoch Powell, warned decades ago.

"Recent events have illustrated that some of these new arrivals have a very different ethos from traditional Christian schools and we were right to intervene to prevent them from teaching divisive ideology to children born here."

Sir Gerald said that he stood by the letter and said his views had been reinforced by the child sex abuse scandal in Rotherham, where gangs of Asian men groomed and abused children.

He said that it is time for England to "fight back" against political correctness, adding: "If you don't like it, go live somewhere else."

He added: "For 40 years we have been subjected to a left wing political correctness which has stopped the British people from expressing perfectly legitimate and reasonable views. More than 1,400 children in Rochdale have paid the price for decades of political correctness and now people are speaking up."

Mr Powell delivered his 'Rivers of Blood' speech in Birmingham in April 1968, calling for the "repatriation" of non-white immigrants and claiming that the increased diversity would lead to riots. There is no suggestion that Sir Gerald advocated repatriation in his letter to a constituent.

Mr Powell was immediately sacked from the shadow cabinet after his comments by Edward Heath, the then Conservative leader.


Don't use the A-word: BBC accused of censorship over Rotherham child abuse by failing to mention that gangs were Asian

In current British usage, "Asian" means someone from the Indian sub-continent

The BBC has enraged licence fee-payers by allegedly downplaying the role of Pakistani gangs in Rotherham's sex abuse scandal.

Yesterday's landmark report singled out Pakistani men as the main perpetrators in the sexual exploitation of at least 1,400 children over 16 years - and warned council staff's fear of acknowledging their race compounded the scandal.

But this morning, four of BBC News Online's seven articles on the report made no reference to Pakistani men.

Blasting the BBC's omission as 'spineless and gutless', Jane Collins, Ukip's Yorkshire and Humber MEP, told MailOnline: 'Are they worried about being racist?

'There is no way around it: the people involved in this scandal were from the Pakistani and Kahmiri communities. 'We have to be brave. It's not about racism, it's about welfare.

'Unfortunately the people involved in this worried about being called racist. We have to face up to that fact and tackle this head-on in the community.'

Professor Alexis Jay, author of the council-commissioned report, highlighted political correctness as a key factor in the long-running scandal.

She warned police and council officials suppressed evidence of the crimes because they feared being labelled racist. 

Concerns about damage to community cohesion were put above the need to protect the vulnerable, the report said.

Readers took to social media in anger accusing the Corporation of sanitising its online coverage.

Reference was made to Pakistani men in the BBC's evening news broadcasts and this morning's radio. However, the lead articles online this morning simply referred to the perpetrators as 'criminal gangs'.

One commenter tweeted: 'BBC unable to even say "Pakistani" & point fingers. If your name is Cliff Richard however, they'll send a TV helicopter. #rotherham'.

Another said: 'The reference to perpetrators being virtually all Pakistani has been removed from the BBC piece #Rotherham'.

And one wrote: 'Main BBC News website story on #Rotherham does not mention Asian/Pakistani once, they are "criminal gangs"'.

The report stated: 'The issue of race, regardless of ethic group, should be tackled as an absolute priority if it is known to be a significant factor in the criminal activity of organised abuse in any local community.'

Council staff were given ‘clear directions’ from managers to downplay the ‘ethnic dimension’ of the abuse despite almost all the perpetrators being of Pakistani heritage.

Three separate reports warning of the scale of the abuse were ‘suppressed or ignored’ by the council because it was ‘in denial’ about the crimes.

Despite the appalling failures in the case, no one in authority has been sacked or even disciplined. MPs and charities said the scale of the abuse was almost ‘incomprehensible’ and called for a criminal investigation into those who helped cover it up.

And at least six victims have now launched a class action against Rotherham council and could be in line for millions of pounds in compensation.

A BBC spokesman said: 'Any suggestion we’ve sanitised our reporting is nonsense.  'Our coverage on BBC News, including online, has made it clear that the abusers were predominately Asian and that council staff feared being labelled racist.

'Stories on the website are constantly evolving but all have clear links to articles which explain the full context.

'We spoke to members of the Pakistani community in Rotherham on Today, BBC Radio 5 live, the BBC News Channel and more reaction is expected online later.

'As the story has evolved we have covered other key developments such as the resignation of the council leader and calls for the resignation of South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner and we’ll continue to explore all the different angles.'


Council of Muslim Organizations Thinks Americans Are Stupid

The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO) public condemnation of ISIS press release is clever propaganda that doesn't say anything of substance against Islamic Jihadi Doctrine but does threaten every Americans right to free speech.

You will learn how CAIR, Muslim American Society (MAS), Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Muslim Legal Fund of America, American Muslims For Palestine, Muslim Ummah of North America, and the other USCMO member organizations think the American people are stupid. (see press release at end of this article)

USCMO Lies About The Qur'an

US Council of Muslim Organization (USCMO) are amateur propagandists as they denounce the ‘IS' Islamic State for the beheading of journalist James Foley.

Oussama Jammal, USCMO Secretary General wrote in their press statement,  "It states in the Qur'an (5:32) that the taking of one life is the equivalent of killing of all humankind and the saving of one life is equivalent to the saving of all humankind."  Mr. Jammal is lying by omission because this 5:32 does not apply to those Islam deems as "spreading mischief in the land."   Those who "spread mischief in the land" refers to non-Muslims. Mr. Jammal must think the American people are too stupid to read Qur'an verse 5:32 and the following verse 5:33 which gives the reader full context.

???????? ??????? ????????? ???????????? ??????? ??????????? ???????????? ??? ???????? ???????? ???? ??????????? ???? ??????????? ???? ????????? ??????????? ?????????????? ???? ?????? ???? ????????? ???? ???????? ?????? ?????? ?????? ??? ?????????? ???????? ??? ????????? ??????? ???????

Qur'an 5:33 states, "The recompense of those who fight Allah and His messenger, and seek to make corruption in the land, is that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from alternate sides or that they be banished from the land; that is their disgrace in this world and in the Hereafter they will have a great torment."

Mr. Jammal, do you really think we Americans don't see what you are trying to do here?  You are parading a partial translation of verse 5:32 for American consumption but everyone knows the political Islamists practice 5:33 in the Islamic active kinetic war zones in the Middle East, Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Indonesia, Syria, etc....

If the USCMO would be honest, they would condemn verse 5:33 as an important factor too the continuous bloodlust of the Jihadis around the world. 

Having It Both Ways

The USCMO press release says, "condemn ISIS and rejects its ideology and actions...doesn't speak for 1.5 billion Muslims...and contravenes all aspects and tenets of Islam."

Here is the rub, most of the groups, in this USCMO alliance, support the terrorist organization Hamas.  Hamas,  The Muslim Brotherhood, and ISIS are all two sides of the same Islamic terrorist coin according to Arsen Ostrovsky  Huffington Post article.

"One need only read Hamas' own Charter and observe their methods, including using their own children as human shields, while openly professing to Israel "We desire death as you desire life," to see they are in word and deed made of the same terrorist cloth as ISIS." Ostrovsky writes.

It doesn't take any investigative skill to conclude that the USCMO will say and do anything to advance the false narrative implying political Islam in America is harmless.

The USCMO Warns America

The USCMO press release says, " The USCMO also warns the public to avoid spreading Islamophobia by using the actions of ISIS to characterize and demonize all Muslims, globally and here in the United States."

First, nobody in their right mind demonizes ‘All' of anything.  It is impossible to know what lies deep in an individuals heart but it is perfectly legitimate and necessary to question the motivations of Islamist political groups like the USCMO.

Mr. Jammal,   American people don't respond well to threats - What exactly are you going to do to us if we say something you don't like?  Are you going to publicly demonize us, have your member group the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) file a bogus lawsuits to try and stop our right to free speech, or will we be officially violating Qur'an verse 5:33 requiring exactly the violent actions you falsely condemn in your press release?


It's offensive that you, Mr. Jammal and the USCMO, would be so arrogant as to  threaten the American people to ‘conform' to your world view ‘or else'... what Mr. Jammal what do you mean by ‘else'?  Every warning has a consequence yet you are too cowardly to say what that is.

Your tactic of intimidation, Mr. Jammal, may work in the Middle East but it won't work here in the United States of America.



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


Examining political correctness around the world and its stifling of liberty and sense. Chronicling a slowly developing dictatorship

BIO for John Ray

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 chidren 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

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.

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."

The Supreme Court of the United States is now and always has been a judicial abomination. Its guiding principles have always been political rather than judicial. It is not as political as Stalin's courts but its respect for the constitution is little better. Some recent abuses: The "equal treatment" provision of the 14th amendment was specifically written to outlaw racial discrimination yet the court has allowed various forms of "affirmative action" for decades -- when all such policies should have been completely stuck down immediately. The 2nd. amendment says that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed yet gun control laws infringe it in every State in the union. The 1st amedment provides that speech shall be freely exercised yet the court has upheld various restrictions on the financing and display of political advertising. The court has found a right to abortion in the constitution when the word abortion is not even mentioned there. The court invents rights that do not exist and denies rights that do.

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.

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

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

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To be continued ....
Queensland Police -- A barrel with lots of bad apples
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Of Interest


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