The creeping dictatorship of the Left...

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

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


30 September, 2019

Stop this foolish war on meat! Eating it could help save the planet

Last night, I ate a steak. Very good it was too. A plump, exquisitely marbled slab of sirloin, beautifully seasoned and cooked blushing pink. It had come from Martin Player, a proper Cardiff butcher, who takes his meat, as well as the animal’s welfare, very seriously indeed. Just like any other decent butcher.

Grass-fed, fully traceable and properly hung, it was a paean to not just fine flavour, but first- class farming practice too. Sensible, sustainable agriculture, where the welfare of the animal is every bit as important as its impact upon the environment.

Yet this magnificent piece of beef is no longer mere dinner. Instead it has become a pawn in the gathering war on meat: a hysterical, ill-informed, one-size-fits-all assault that demonises farmers, butchers and consumers alike. A weapon, if you like, of grass destruction.

Take the decision made by the University of Cambridge catering service to remove beef and lamb from its menus to cut food-related carbon emissions. The head of the service, Nick White, claimed this was because ‘sustainability is extremely important to our students and staff’ and scientists have claimed beef and lamb produce most farm greenhouse gasses.

A few weeks back, beef was also banned from the cafeteria of Goldsmiths College in London for the same reason, to ‘drastically’ cut its carbon footprint.

But the concerns are not only environmental. I have little time for witless attacks on vegans or vegetarians but there is undoubtedly a creeping spread of anti-meat militancy. This week it emerged the vice-chairman of the RSPCA – a vegan and co-founder of Animal Rebellion, an offshoot of the Extinction Rebellion environmental movement – was forced to step down after calling on animal rights protesters to shut down Smithfield meat market in London.

Jane Tredgett, 52, was in charge of training activists in ‘non-violent direct action’, while the group has compared its efforts to the struggles faced by Martin Luther King and the Suffragettes. Seriously.

Each week seems to bring a new threat or outrage, with meat-eaters being turned into social pariahs. Michael Mansfield, QC, a man who should know better, last week suggested that eating meat should be made illegal, with offenders thrown into jail. And he’s not alone in his extreme (and publicity-seeking) views.

Christiana Figueres, former Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, declared that meat-eaters should be treated like smokers and be made to sit outside restaurants. Because meat is ‘bad for the planet and our health’.

What next? Could meat become illegal, butchers forced to deal black pudding and chipolatas in back alleys and pub loos? Custodial sentences for eating chops? Life for a leg of lamb? Should we be eating meat at all?

The arguments against meat are so widespread, it’s no wonder they seem overwhelming. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has declared that we must drastically cut our meat consumption to save the planet. We must shift towards ‘healthy and sustainable’ diets ‘based on coarse grains, pulses and vegetables, and nuts and seeds’. The EAT-Lancet Commission, set up to look at how the world’s growing population can eat healthy, sustainable food, goes further still. Over three years, 37 scientists came up with the ultimate ‘plant-focused’ diet ‘for planetary health’. They argue this diet, which contains virtually no meat, would ‘transform’ the planet’s future. Under it we’re ‘allowed’ no more than one serving of red meat, a couple of servings of fish and an egg or two. Per week.

It’s an argument that meat is bad, plants are good. But not everything is quite so black and white. Far from it.

Many of the militants’ reasons for ditching meat are, in fact, completely misleading. Because properly farmed meat is not only entirely sustainable, but good for the environment and economy too. We should be celebrating good farming practice, not condemning it. There’s no doubt that there are some completely legitimate concerns about food production. Not all chickens, for example, are raised equally. On the one hand, you have an old-fashioned free-range chicken, allowed to scratch and peck outside. Slow growing, traditional breeds, bred for flavour. On the other, the wretched intensively farmed bird, which is crammed into vast, stinking sheds, with no more space than an A4 sheet of paper. Profit, not welfare, is its producer’s only concern.

The same goes for intensively farmed pigs, raised in cruelly confined squalor. We should be saving our ire and ammunition to rail against this factory farming. The long-term cost of intensively farmed meat is ruinously expensive, both for our health and for the environment. It follows, then, that the best quality meat will always be more expensive than the cheap, imported stuff. British farming standards are among the highest in the world, yet another reason to buy British meat.

And it’s important to recognise that, despite all the hand-wringing about carbon emissions, livestock production can actually be good for the environment.

Grassland absorbs carbon dioxide, reducing the amount of carbon that is released into the atmosphere. Two-thirds of the UK is still made up of grassland, and it is essential it remains that way to preserve the carbon in the soil. At the moment, traditional grass-fed cattle and sheep, kept at a low density, are helping to maintain that status quo. But if we reduce the demand for these animals in the food chain, then this delicate balance is bound to change.

We’re also reminded frequently about all the methane produced by cows and other ruminants. So doesn’t that damage the environment? There’s an immense difference between the emissions of the grain-fed cattle in American super lots and sustainably farmed, grass-fed British cattle. Patrick Holden, CEO of The Sustainable Food Trust, explains: ‘The methane emissions from those ruminants are offset by the carbon gain in the soil.’

He also points out that, to be useful for agriculture, arable land must go through a ‘fertility building phase’ lasting three or four years which involves it – by necessity – being grazed with animals such as cows and sheep. Lose those animals, the message is, and we lose that ability to keep our farmland versatile and healthy.

Also – and more controversially – does that mean you should eat MORE beef to save the planet?

‘Yes!’ comes the emphatic response from Holden. ‘Traditional grass-fed beef and lamb can help maintain the soil carbon bank.’

For years, I’ve believed the mantra of eat less meat, but eat better. It’s certainly a good starting point. There have already been huge changes to our diets in the past 100 years. At the start of the 20th Century, Holden points out, 80 per cent of our dietary fats came from animal sources, and only 20 per cent from plants. Today, it’s the other way around.

The surprising – and often overlooked – fact is this: the production of many of those plant fats can be just as environmentally unsound as those vast US intensive farming lots. According to Frédéric Leroy, a professor in food science and biotechnology at the VUB university in Brussels, a shift from animal products to ‘plant-based’ scenarios could make things worse.

They may have vast implications that will generate their own sets of serious concerns, including limiting the land’s ability to grow more than one crop, depleting top soil, using more fertilisers, the potential for nutritional deficiencies and the disturbance of ecosystems,’ Prof Leroy argues.

As far as methane emissions are concerned, he continues, they are real but need to be put in perspective. ‘If a Westerner goes vegetarian or vegan, this leads to only about a two to six per cent drop in their carbon footprint, which is far from being the best thing one can do for the planet.’

There are other, far more effective, ways to reduce carbon emissions – by reducing our reliance on air travel, for example.

Farmer and butcher Peter Hannan agrees. ‘Compared to our appetite for air travel alone, my beef farming pales into insignificance.’

What about the rest of us, then; the responsible meat lovers, caught in the scientific and moral crossfire? Is it really necessary for vegan activists to spray fake blood around McDonald’s? Or harangue and bully butchers and farmers – even Waitrose – in real life and on social media?

Of course not. Whatever happened to decency, common sense, and the ability to listen to both sides of a debate? It is possible to eat meat and have the utmost respect for vegans and vegetarians too. In fact, a couple of meat-free days a week is eminently sensible. So buy British, and the best you can afford. Trust in your butcher. And experiment with more unusual cuts too. Eat good meat and save the planet. Now THAT really is a radical idea.


California shocked to find bill decriminalizing retail theft resulted in… more retail theft

This is typical Leftist refusal to look ahead

A few years ago, California passed one in a series of bills aimed at emptying the jails and prisons. Proposition 47 carried the disingenuous name of “the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act and its stated purpose was to keep non-violent offenders out of jail. To achieve this goal, the state decriminalized a number of lesser offenses, including retail theft. The law raised the value of the amount of merchandise someone could steal while still only being charged with a misdemeanor to nearly one thousand dollars.

To the great surprise of the government, people noticed this change and began taking advantage of it. They have now recorded multiple years of steadily increasing, organized robbery. These plots are known as “mass grab and dash” thefts and they generally involve large numbers of young people all entering a store at the same time, grabbing armfuls of merchandise and dashing back out to their vehicles and hitting the highway. Not only are robberies on the rise, but arrests and prosecutions are down. Who could possibly have predicted this? (CBS Sacramento)

After searching police reports and arrest records, CBS13 found that while the rate of these grab and dash crimes is on the rise, the rate of arrest is down. We turned to law enforcement and the retail industry for answers. Both blame a California law intended to make “neighborhoods safe.”

“It’s a boldness like we’re seeing never before and just a disregard for fellow human beings,” said Lieutenant Mark Donaldson, Vacaville PD.

He explained these crimes have evolved into more than just shoplifting. It’s organized retail theft and he says it’s happening across the state. Cities like Vacaville, with outlets and shopping centers located near major freeways, tend to be a target for these organized retail crime rings.

Nobody is seriously contesting the numbers. The local and state police organizations blame prop 47. FBI crime data supports the contention. Retail sales organizations have tracked this trend and agree.

This is a trend that’s been building in a number of blue states and now it seems that the petty crime chickens are coming home to roost. The fact is that there are always going to be a certain number of people who will be willing to break the law if they don’t feel the risk of significant punishment is too high. An understanding of this fundamental principle is why the “broken windows” policies enacted in New York City and other municipalities in the 90s were so effective. If you crack down on even smaller crimes, you lower crime rates overall.

Sadly, liberal elected officials paint a picture of racism and inequity behind effective law enforcement initiatives. The people committing these thefts frequently end up being young black and Hispanic robbers because they are more likely to come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. This leads to laws like prop 47 hoping to keep more of them out of the “school to prison pipeline.”

But when you make it easier and less risky to steal larger amounts of goods, people will steal more merchandise. Did it really take a rocket scientist to figure this out? California basically incentivized crime and potential criminals answered the call. And since many of them were only getting the equivalent of a parking ticket for stealing 900 dollars worth of goods, police frequently didn’t expend much energy trying to catch them.

The ball’s in your court, California. Do you plan on doing something about this? Or will you essentially just legalize theft and tell the retailers that they’re on their own?


Once Again, Progressive Anti-Christian Bigotry Carries a Steep Legal Cost

Masterpiece Cakeshop continues to pay religious-liberty dividends.
Last summer, in the days after the Supreme Court decided Masterpiece Cakeshop on the narrow grounds that Colorado had violated Jack Phillips’s religious-liberty rights by specifically disparaging his religious beliefs, a bit of a skirmish broke out among conservative lawyers. How important was the ruling? Did it have any lasting precedential effect?

For those who don’t recall, the Supreme Court ruled for Phillips in large part because a commissioner of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission called Phillips’s claim that he enjoyed a religious-freedom right not to be forced to design a custom cake for a gay wedding a “despicable piece of rhetoric.” The commissioner also denigrated religious-liberty arguments as being used to justify slavery and the Holocaust.

While all agreed that it would have been preferable had the court simply ruled that creative professionals could not be required to produce art that conflicted with their sincerely held beliefs, the question was whether Justice Anthony Kennedy’s strong condemnation of anti-religious bigotry would resonate beyond the specific facts of the case. For example, what would happen if, in a different case, state officials called faithful Christians who seek to protect the religious freedom of Catholic adoption agencies “hate-mongers”?

In the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan, it turns out that such rhetoric has cost the state a crucial court ruling, granted a Catholic adoption agency a vital victory, and demonstrated — once again — that anti-religious bigotry can (and should) carry substantial legal costs.

The case is called Buck v. Gordon. My friends at Becket represent St. Vincent Catholic Charities, a former foster child, and the adoptive parents of five special-needs kids. The facts are relatively complicated, but here’s the short version: St. Vincent upholds Catholic teaching by referring same-sex and unmarried families who seek foster and adoption recommendations and endorsements to agencies that have no objection to providing those services. There is no evidence that St. Vincent has prevented any legally qualified family from adopting or fostering a child. In fact, same-sex couples “certified through different agencies” have been able to adopt children in St. Vincent’s care.

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In 2015 the state of Michigan passed a statute specifically designed to protect the religious liberty of private, religious adoption agencies. In 2018, however, Dana Nessel, a Democratic attorney general, took office. During her campaign, she declared that she would not defend the 2015 law in court, stating that its “only purpose” was “discriminatory animus.” She also described proponents of the law as “hate-mongers,” and the court noted that she believed proponents of the law “disliked gay people more than they cared about the constitution.”

Then, in 2019, the attorney general reached a legal settlement in pending litigation with the ACLU that essentially gutted the Michigan law, implementing a definitive requirement that religious agencies provide recommendations and endorsement to same-sex couples and banning referrals. The plaintiffs sued, seeking to enjoin the relevant terms of the settlement, and yesterday Judge Robert Jonker (a Bush appointee) granted their motion for a preliminary injunction.

His reasoning was simple. There was ample evidence from the record that the state of Michigan reversed its policy protecting religious freedom because it was motivated by hostility to the plaintiffs’ faith. Because Michigan’s targeted St. Vincent’s faith, its 2019 settlement agreement couldn’t be truly considered a “neutral” law of “general applicability” that would grant the state a high degree of deference in enforcement.

Instead, the state’s targeting led to strict scrutiny. Here’s Judge Jonker:

Defendant Nessel made St. Vincent’s belief and practice a campaign issue by calling it hate. She made the 2015 statute a campaign issue by contending that the only purpose of the statute is discriminatory animus. After Defendant Nessel took office, the State pivoted 180 degrees. . . . The State also threatened to terminate its contracts with St. Vincent. The Summary Statement’s conclusion – that if an agency accepts even one MDHHS child referral for case management or adoption services, the agency forfeits completely the right to refer new parental applicants to other agencies based on its sincerely held religious beliefs – is at odds with the language of the contracts, with the 2015 law, and with established State practice. Moreover, it actually undermines the State’s stated goals of preventing discriminatory conduct and maximizing available placements for children.

The last point is key. As stated above, there was no evidence that St. Vincent prevented any qualified couple from adopting. In fact, if the state forced St. Vincent’s to choose between upholding the teachings of its faith or maintaining its contractual relationship with the state, then it risked shrinking the available foster or adoption options in the state of Michigan. The state demonstrated that it was more interested in taking punitive action against people of faith than it was in maintaining broader access to foster and adoption services for its most vulnerable citizens.

The judge rightly called the state’s actions a “targeted attack on a sincerely held religious belief.” Once again, Masterpiece Cakeshop pays religious-liberty dividends. Once again, a court declares — in no uncertain terms — that in the conflict between private faith and public bigotry, religious liberty will prevail.


Australia: Do sharks have a right to eat us?

That seems to be the Queensland Labor government's position

FOR almost 60 years, the State Government's shark control program has been making Queensland beaches safer. The program has been one of very few public policies to have endured for such a time while remaining blessedly free from the foibles of partisan politics.

The reason for this has been simple. Who would dare argue with the results? From 1915 to 1962 there were 36 recorded cases of shark attacks in Queensland. These resulted in 19 deaths. But since the dragnet of baited drumlines was introduced in 1962, there's been only one fatal shark attack at a protected Queensland beach.

Little wonder the program has been gradually expanded. However, the program finally found a naysayer in the shape of fringe environmental group, the Humane Society. And inexplicably, the Federal Court has agreed with the group's view that the drumlines do little to protect swimmers.

How the court came to such a view simply beggars belief. Surely, they only had to look at the statistics of recent attacks in northern NSW where there are no permanent drumlines to realise how effective the Queensland program is? What was required here was a bipartisan approach and a plan to ensure swimmers were protected

The court's decision was clearly out of step with public sentiment and requires the politicians who've supported the program to fix it. Given the long history of bipartisan support, not to mention the implications for. Queensland's tourism industry, you'd like to think it would be a relatively quick fix.

However, what has ensued instead has been an unedifying display of pointless political point scoring that has done nothing but advertise to the world that some of the Sunshine State's most famous northern beaches are less safe now than they were a few weeks ago.

Much of the controversy has centred around the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries' decision to remove 160 drumlines from within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The court's decision only related to the marine park zone and that's why the department only removed drumlines in this area.

Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley has been particularly vocal. She's accused the Palaszczuk Government of choosing "public alarm over personal safety" by removing the drumlines when the court only said caught sharks should not be killed.

"Queensland should reinstate the existing drum lines, while increasing surveillance and exploring modern complementary technologies such as drones, smart drum lines and tags," she said.

There's ample reason for Ley to be sceptical about the Palaszczuk Government's motives in ordering the removal of the drumlines within hours of the court ruling. After all, the administration isn't exactly known for doing anything at pace.

And the States handling of last year's Cid Harbour shark attacks —when it first said drumlines were the answer but then recanted and claimed all it could do was erect signs instead — hardly inspired confidence.

However, what on Earth is Ley suggesting when she says the State Government should just drop the drumlines back in and increase surveillance? Is she saying to hell with what the court has ordered? Or does Ley reckon fisheries officers should just harden up and start arming themselves with a decent set of pliers so they can simply release the sharks?

It might be news to the minister but these officers are dealing with marine life a bit bigger than the cod they catch in the Murray River in her electorate. In fact, cutting a cranky 4m tiger shark loose from a hook is nearly as dangerous as getting between Ley and a bargain Gold Coast apartment buy, something she's somewhat famed for.

Yet, while Ley is happily ordering fisheries officers back into the water, the Morrison Government hasn't come up with a timeline for a legislative fix to what the court has ordered.

The LNP Opposition might be right when they say SMART drumlines, where sharks are caught and released,should be considered as temporary solution. However, it would take time to train officers and whether that's worthwhile depends primarily on how long it's going to take their federal colleagues to come up with a legislative answer.

Dropping in new drumlines at 17 locations just outside the marine park was a prudent move by the State but that still leaves 27 beaches no longer with protection.

However, what wasn't needed was State Fisheries Minister Mark Furner's ham-fisted suggestion that Ley would be blamed if there was an attack.

While the politicians squabble, the reputation of Queensland beaches is taking a further battering, the last thing the tourism industry needs after those terrible Cid Harbour attacks.

From the start, what was required here was a bipartisan approach and a plan to ensure swimmers were protected by drumlines again as soon as practical. Instead what happened was the political sharks began circling as soon as they saw an opportunity for a cheap feed.

"Courier Mail" 27 Sept. 2019


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

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

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


29 September, 2019

Man Behind Slogan Promoting French Preservation

"The great replacement has become a household word. I take responsibility for it. I believe in its relevance."

THOUGH the writer had already lived in his castle for a quarter of a century, it was only three years ago that he finally restored it to its original purpose as a fortress.

The writer, Renaud Camus, rebuilt the top 10 feet of the 14th-century tower, giving him an even more commanding view of his surroundings: the village of 40 souls below; the Pyrenees, faintly visible some 100 miles south despite the midsummer haze; and, in every direction, the peaceful, rolling hills of the “eternal France” that he describes as under assault from what he calls hordes of immigrants.

Up in his castle, the France that Mr. Camus imagines has made him one of the most influential thinkers on the far right in his own country and elsewhere. In his writings, he describes an ongoing “invasion” of France by immigrants bent on “conquest” of its white, European population. To him, the immigrants are “colonizing” France by giving birth to more children and making its cities, towns — and even villages — unlivable.

Others have espoused similar ideas. But Mr. Camus’s portrayal of demographic change — le “grand remplacement,” or the supposed “great replacement” of France’s original population by newer arrivals, mostly from Africa — has become an extremist talking point, cited by mass killers in distant parts of the world.

“It’s a slogan that dramatizes the situation, talking of great replacement the same way we speak of the great barbarian invasions,” said Rudy Reichstadt, an expert on political extremism at the Fondation Jean-Jaurès research institute in Paris. “Now, if you go to a horse race betting bar and talk politics, and you mention the great replacement, people will understand what you mean.”

The idea of the great replacement has directly influenced French politicians and thinkers. Interpreted and repackaged across the internet, it has resonated widely beyond France, including in white supremacist circles.

The men held in two recent mass shootings — at a Walmart in El Paso and at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand — both referred to the “great replacement” and the need to defend white populations against invading outsiders.

While decrying the killings, Mr. Camus said he had no regrets about coming up with the term.

“The great replacement has become a household word,” he said. “I take responsibility for it. I believe in its relevance.”

Stroking his white beard, Mr. Camus, who is not related to the 20th-century writer Albert Camus, sat in his expansive study — half the top floor of his castle filled with books and a handful of African masks. In contrast to the harsh words he chooses to describe France’s immigrants, he spoke softly, and sometimes with the mannerisms of another era. He and his partner of two decades, Pierre, addressed each other as “vous,” though they said they sometimes slipped into the informal “tu.”

Ensconced in his castle in southern France, in a village an hour’s drive across country roads from the nearest train station, Mr. Camus, 73, is perhaps an unlikely source of inspiration for the world’s far right and white supremacists. Until a few years ago, Mr. Camus was known, mainly by other French writers, as a novelist and a pioneering writer of gay literature. An early book about his sexual experiences, called “Tricks,” remains his most translated work.

Growing up in a conservative rural town in central France, Mr. Camus went to Paris in the 1960s and found a niche in the capital’s literary and artistic scene. He befriended Roland Barthes, who wrote the preface for “Tricks.” As a member of the Socialist Party, he became active in politics on the left.

Still, Mr. Camus longed to return to the countryside. He sold his Paris apartment and, in 1992, used the money to buy and restore the castle in Plieux, fulfilling a lifelong fantasy.

A few years after moving to Plieux, he had what he calls an epiphany that would shape his political views. While visiting a 1,000-year-old village in southern France, he said he saw a group of veiled women milling around a fountain.

“And in the ancient windows — beautiful, paired gothic windows — veiled women would appear all of a sudden,” he said. “It was really the population of eternal France that was changing.”

THAT led to the formation in 2002 of his own political party, l’In-nocence, which calls for an end to all immigration and promotes sending immigrants and their children back to their countries of origin.

But it was a decade later, when he publicly began using the term “great replacement” and wrote a book with the same title, that his influence in France began to be felt.

The great replacement, he wrote, indicates the “replacement of a people, the indigenous French people, by one or others; of its culture by the loss of its cultural identity through multiculturalism.”

He says he sees no contradiction between his earlier life as a gay writer on the left and his current role as an ideological beacon for the right, including violent extremists. He contends he has always told “the hard truths.”

Previous generations of European immigrants had been drawn by “love” for France, he wrote. But the newer arrivals since the 1970s — mostly from France’s former colonies in the Maghreb and in sub-Saharan Africa — didn’t come “as friends.” Instead, he declared, they came as conquerors, filled with hatred and a desire to punish France.

He singled out Muslims for “not wanting to integrate” into French society.

According to government data, immigrants now make up about 10 percent of France’s population, many of them nonwhite, up from about 7 percent in the 1970s, or 5 percent in 1946, the year of Mr. Camus’s birth — a steady rise, though far from the overwhelming one described by Mr. Camus…

Mr. Camus’s ideas — and his subsequent call to support Marine Le Pen, the far-right leader of the National Rally party — turned him into a pariah in France’s literary and media circles.

His longtime publishers dropped him, forcing him to publish on his own. “The Great Replacement” was never translated into English. Invitations from mainstream news shows dried up. Lifelong friendships came to an end.

But even as Mr. Camus became toxic, his phrase gained traction, first on French farright websites, like “Observatoire de Grand Remplacement.” Politicians on the right and far right, including Ms. Le Pen, used the term.

Then “great replacement” slipped into the right-wing mainstream. While Mr. Camus’s books went largely unsold, best-selling writers, like Eric Zemmour, have expounded on the idea.

Jean-Yves Camus, an expert on the far right at the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs, said that the author of “The Great Replacement” viewed the world from the perspective of a novelist and aesthete without recognition of realworld consequences.

“He should become aware that in our universe, where everything happens in real time, what you say from the position of an aesthete or a writer, can instantly be transformed into a gun and bullets,” said the expert, who is not related to Renaud Camus.

Isolated in his castle, Mr. Camus grew even more removed from the actual France he purported to describe — one filled, he believes, with people of Arab and African descent burning with hatred for France and plotting its conquest. In fact, he acknowledged that his understanding of such people was based mainly on Twitter and Facebook.

He said he almost never read newspapers or watched television.

“Distance is very, very necessary for observation,” he said.


My Book Defending Free Speech Has Been Pulled

James Flynn

I recently completed a book defending free speech. Emerald Press scheduled it for publication but then decided not to proceed. Here’s what it said about the book in Emerald’s September 2019 catalogue:

In Defense of Free Speech: The University as Censor
Author James R. Flynn, University of Otago, New Zealand

Synopsis: The good university is one that teaches students the intellectual skills they need to be intelligently critical—of their own beliefs and of the narratives presented by politicians and the media. Freedom to debate is essential to the development of critical thought, but on university campuses today free speech is restricted for fear of causing offence. In Defense of Free Speech surveys the underlying factors that circumscribe the ideas tolerated in our institutions of learning. James Flynn critically examines the way universities censor their teaching, how student activism tends to censor the opposing side and how academics censor themselves, and suggests that few, if any, universities can truly be seen as ‘good.’ In an age marred by fake news and social and political polarization, In Defense of Free Speech makes an impassioned argument for a return to critical thought.

I was notified of Emerald’s decision not to proceed by Tony Roche, Emerald’s publishing director, in an email on 10th June:

"I am contacting you in regard to your manuscript In Defense of Free Speech: The University as Censor. Emerald believes that its publication, in particular in the United Kingdom, would raise serious concerns. By the nature of its subject matter, the work addresses sensitive topics of race, religion, and gender. The challenging manner in which you handle these topics as author, particularly at the beginning of the work, whilst no doubt editorially powerful, increase the sensitivity and the risk of reaction and legal challenge. As a result, we have taken external legal advice on the contents of the manuscript and summarize our concerns below.

There are two main causes of concern for Emerald. Firstly, the work could be seen to incite racial hatred and stir up religious hatred under United Kingdom law. Clearly you have no intention of promoting racism but intent can be irrelevant. For example, one test is merely whether it is “likely” that racial hatred could be stirred up as a result of the work. This is a particular difficulty given modern means of digital media expression. The potential for circulation of the more controversial passages of the manuscript online, without the wider intellectual context of the work as a whole and to a very broad audience—in a manner beyond our control—represents a material legal risk for Emerald.

Secondly, there are many instances in the manuscript where the actions, conversations and behavior of identifiable individuals at specific named colleges are discussed in detail and at length in relation to controversial events. Given the sensitivity of the issues involved, there is both the potential for serious harm to Emerald’s reputation and the significant possibility of legal action. Substantial changes to the content and nature of the manuscript would need to be made, or Emerald would need to accept a high level of risk both reputational and legal. The practical costs and difficulty of managing any reputational or legal problems that did arise are of further concern to Emerald.

For the reasons outlined above, it is with regret that Emerald has taken the decision not to publish your manuscript. We have not taken this decision lightly, but following senior level discussions within the organization, and with the additional benefit of specialist legal advice. I realize that this decision will come as a disappointment to you and hope that you will be able to find an alternative publisher with whom to take the work to publication."

If the book is sober and responsible, and if Emerald’s letter is correct, that poses a question: Does Britain have free speech? The above letter inspired me to change the title from “In Defense of Free Speech: The University as Censor” to “A Banned Book: Free speech and universities.” I hope that some publishers will contact me (jim.flynn@otago.ac.nz), so they can decide whether the book is worthy of publication and whether it runs afoul of any of the U.K.’s laws. If a journalist gets in touch, I can also send them the text for their eyes only. Let me give an outline of its contents.

The benefits of free speech

First, I give a general defense of free speech and criticize Jason Stanley and Jeremy Waldron insofar as their views differ from my own. I then use the case of Charles Murray being denied a platform at Middlebury College to show what students and staff miss out on when they refuse to hear or read those who offend them:

[My] dividends from reading Arthur Jensen, Richard Lynn, and Charles Murray: a plausible case that genetic differences between the major races are unlikely to confer an advantage or a handicap for desirable personal traits; a far better understanding of black America; a method that sheds light on personal development and leaves room for personal autonomy; an understanding of how differently males and females respond to formal education; a case that genetic differences between the genders seem cognitively trivial; a somewhat better understanding of the Chinese both at home and in America; a case for affirmative action that does not depend on racial bias; and most of all, a better understanding of the dynamics of a truly humane and egalitarian society.

This is the sad fate that the mob at Middlebury wanted to save me from. If I had not read these “discredited” scholars, I would still have a half-educated mind full of passion about race and gender and class and not much else.

A history of oppression

I then chart the history of the sins of universities against free speech with an emphasis on the McCarthy era (when conservatives barred or fired those they considered suspect), through the transitional period of Vietnam, to the present (when many on the “left” do much the same, particularly student protest groups). I detail the use of speech codes, and trigger warnings, and departments that have a party line (“Walden codes”) to discipline, expel, fire, and, above all, to defend indoctrination rather than education.

I include among the latter some African American studies departments that will not assign books or papers by conservative thinkers, some women’s studies departments that reject incontrovertible social science that runs counter to the official feminist ideology, and some (almost all) education departments that define their purpose as sending out “missionaries” to convert schools to their vision of an egalitarian society. I also provide a history of America’s schoolteachers, tracing how the low status of their profession has made the schools susceptible to adopting a missionary role.

Finally, I criticize the failure of universities to provide their students with the critical intelligence they need to be autonomous human beings and good citizens, despite the fact that they all state this as their chief objective.

Is this book worth reading?

Well, it will not be read unless it is published. To discuss a point made in Emerald’s letter, every reference to a person is documented by citations of published material or material in the public domain. At present, I can only cite the testimony of distinguished scholars. Some of the following were referees who sent their opinions to Emerald and some read it to give me an informal assessment.

This book is an education in itself…It is a brilliant and courageous book.
—Thomas Bouchard

That’s shocking [the rejection] even by the standards of contemporary restrictions on free speech, and especially ironic given the subject of your book.
—Steven Pinker

It is ironic that a book critical of restrictions on free speech should itself be rejected by a publisher who is worried about the book falling afoul of UK laws on incitement to racial hatred.  In fact this is doubly ironic, given that the book is by Jim Flynn, after whom the “Flynn effect” is named, because the Flynn effect is all about the difference that culture and environment — rather than genes — makes to IQ scores. The draft I have seen has the potential to be an important and controversial work that will be very widely discussed.
—Peter Singer

I must admit I was shocked. Well, anyway, they have given you material for another chapter!
—John C. Loehlin

This is in-[expletive]-credible…Your book should not be considered even close to the fringes of politically correct discourse. If publishers are scared of your book, the censorship problem is a few orders of magnitude worse than I realized.
—Charles Murray


Discussing why free speech should extend to questions of race and gender necessarily involves presenting views (such as those of Jensen, Murray, and Lynn), if only for purposes of rebuttal, which upset those who believe that racial and sexual equality is self-evident. If upsetting students or staff or the public is a reason for banning speech, all such discussion is at an end. I end the book by quoting from George Orwell’s original preface to Animal Farm, which was itself rejected by Faber and Faber for being too critical of Stalin: “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

James R. Flynn is an intelligence researcher who gave his name to the Flynn Effect. He is Emeritus Professor of Political Studies at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand.


As Fundraising Shoots Up, Lawsuits Threaten Southern Poverty Law Center
The embattled far-left Southern Poverty Law Center flew past the half-billion-dollar mark in assets for the first time, ending the last tax year with $518.3 million in assets—after raking in $122.9 million that year, according to a newly disclosed IRS filing.

To provide a sense of scale, $518.3 million is more in assets than either the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation Inc. ($452.8 million) or Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc. ($446.3 million) had at the end of 2017.

Critics say the Montgomery, Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a public-interest law firm whose founder, Morris Dees, and president, Richard Cohen, were ousted earlier this year amid accusations of racial discrimination and employee abuse, unfairly tars conservatives as racist as a matter of policy, treats all opposition to illegal or legal immigration, open borders, and multiculturalism as hate, and all political expression of those views as hate speech.

The SPLC, critics also say, deliberately lumps together all sorts of groups on America’s political right in order to intimidate and “de-platform” non-leftists. Conservative, libertarian, anti-tax, immigration reductionist, and other groups are all viewed as legitimate targets for vilification.

The group has its defenders in the media who take its work seriously. For example, in Rolling Stone, Amelia McDonell-Parry wrote that “the SPLC has developed a reputation for being an authority on extremist hate groups, monitoring and exposing their activities to the public, media and law enforcement.”

The Center appears to have brought in donor dollars by blaming something it calls the “Trump Effect” for thousands of cases of alleged “prejudice,” “bullying,” and “hate crimes” in the nation’s schools. Within weeks of President Donald Trump’s election, the group released the results “of a new survey, answered by more than 10,000 teachers across the country detailing the negative effect the election has had on school climates.”

The SPLC called on the president-elect “to immediately and forcefully publicly denounce racism and bigotry and to call on Americans to stop all acts of hate” even though there was little evidence from across the country that Trump supporters had done anything wrong. To the contrary, media reports at the time were bursting with stories of Trump supporters and Make America Great Again hat-wearers being violently set upon by angry liberals and progressives.

As part of its mission, the SPLC brings civil rights lawsuits that attack school choice, tracks so-called hate groups, publishes newsletters, and provides educational materials and grant money to teachers in hopes of reaching young minds.

Among the conservative groups that the SPLC has labeled “hate groups” are the Center for Security Policy, David Horowitz Freedom Center, Alliance Defending Freedom, Liberty Counsel, and Christians and Jews United for Israel. SPLC official Mark Potok has said, “I want to say plainly that our aim in life is to destroy these groups, completely destroy them.”

Some groups resist the label. In June 2018, the SPLC paid more than $3 million as part of a legal settlement to former Muslim extremist Maajid Nawaz for wrongfully placing him and his London-based counter-extremism group, Quilliam, on an anti-Muslim hate list.

Although a federal judge recently dismissed a racketeering lawsuit brought by the nonpartisan Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) against SPLC leaders for blacklisting it as a “hate group,” other lawsuits appear to be in the making.

Liberty Counsel and 60 other organizations are considering filing defamation lawsuits against the SPLC, according to PJMedia.

In a lawsuit already filed, a federal judge in Missouri refused in July to dismiss a defamation lawsuit brought against the SPLC by Craig Nelsen a former heroin addict, who created the Robinson Jeffers Boxing Club (RJBC), a 13-week residency “life treatment” program for men with opioid addictions or other serious problems.

Nelsen said the program was “designed to address the specific challenges unique to white males in the United States, [but that] the program was open to, and would benefit, men in distress of any race.” True to form, the SPLC claimed Nelsen was a neo-Nazi, anti-immigrant, and racist, and that his club was for whites only.

Conservatives—and more than a few leftists—have long complained that the SPLC perennially hypes and exaggerates incidents involving racism in America in order to promote its radical agenda and raise a mountain of money.

JoAnn Wypijewski wrote in The Nation magazine that “No one has been more assiduous in inflating the profile of [hate] groups” than the center’s founder, Morris Dees.

The SPLC “spends most of its time—and money—on a relentless fundraising campaign, peddling memberships in the church of tolerance with all the zeal of a circuit rider passing the collection plate,” Ken Silverstein wrote in Harper’s magazine.

The $518.3-million figure for SPLC assets for the year ended Oct. 31, 2018, was up $41.3 million from $477 million the year before.

The Montgomery, Alabama-based SPLC also beefed up its workforce, reporting having 360 employees and 514 volunteers, compared to 302 employees and 197 volunteers the year before. As a result of the workforce expansion, the group paid out $29.2 million in salaries and benefits, compared to $23.9 million the year before, according to a Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (IRS Form 990) signed by the 501(c)(3) nonprofit’s secretary-treasurer, Teenie Hutchison on Jan. 31, 2019.

The SPLC acknowledges in the IRS filing that it “has ownership in several foreign corporations,” indirectly owns “several passive foreign investment companies,” and has financial dealings in the Cayman Islands, a tax haven in the Caribbean.

The SPLC famously ignited controversy when it labeled a conservative group, Family Research Council, a “hate group” because it opposes homosexuality on religious grounds. Liberal Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank called it “absurd” for the SPLC to place FRC, which he called “a mainstream conservative thinktank,” “in the same category as Aryan Nations, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Stormfront and the Westboro Baptist Church.”

But gay rights activist Floyd Lee Corkins acknowledged he acted based on the dubious hate group report, shooting up FRC national headquarters in 2012, nonfatally wounding building manager Leo Johnson before he was subdued. Corkins said he wanted to kill as many FRC employees as possible, after which he planned to rub Chick-fil-A sandwiches in their faces as they died. Chick-fil-A became a target of LGBT protests in 2012 when its CEO, Dan T. Cathy, acknowledged he was “guilty as charged” of supporting anti-gay-marriage initiatives.

The SPLC has tried to spread its radical views to the education sector through its Teaching Tolerance program, which critics say is a means of ideologically indoctrinating students.

In late 2017, the group started handing out money as part of its Educator Grants program “to support projects that promote affirming school climates and educate youth to thrive in a diverse democracy.” The grants “support social justice work at the classroom, school and district level.”

“Teachers and administrators know best how to come up with innovative ways to teach their students to fight bigotry and hate,” Maureen Costello, director of Teaching Tolerance said. “We want to help them turn those ideas into projects that will have a big impact on the way students see themselves and how they view and treat others.”

“Our hope is to build, over time, a network of educators who are enthusiastic about learning from each other and who will share their experiences fighting injustice in their schools with the broader Teaching Tolerance community,” Costello says. “Instead of allowing prejudice and hate to fester in the minds of our young people, we want to cultivate future generations with greater empathy, kindness and understanding for one another.”

On its IRS form, the Center disclosed having given more than $600,000 in grants.

What are educators doing with the money?

Grant recipient Amy Dickerson worked with her students in New Orleans on what should replace Confederate statues.

“We started the project with reflecting on our own identity and generating adjectives to describe ourselves,” Dickerson said. “Students studied the artist Nick Cave, who creates wearable pieces of art called Soundsuits that express his identity and views on social justice.”

In Boston, a grant was used to “empower” “black and brown girls” to “practice self-love, self-advocacy and sisterhood.” Ayanna Pressley, the first black woman elected to the Boston City Council, addressed the crowd. Pressley, a far-left Democrat, is now a U.S. representative from Massachusetts who is a member of the radical so-called Squad headed up by U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a self-described democratic socialist from New York.

Teaching Tolerance embraced the Global Climate Strike protest event Sept. 20.

“From the civil rights movement to recent youth-led movements to stop gun violence, we have asked educators to learn from young people’s activism and to instill students with an understanding of their power and value.”

Educators were encouraged to “introduce students to young people around the world who have truly been at the forefront of the fight for environmental justice—and made a difference in the face of apathy. Perhaps most famously, 16-year-old Greta Thunberg has helped inspire global action and conversation through her activism.”

Educators “should consider introducing students to the diverse coalition of young people calling for climate justice.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center did not respond to a request for comment.


Australia: Abortion is decriminalised in New South Wales after weeks of contentious debate and heated protests

This is a storm in a teacup.  Abortion has been decriminalized in NSW for years -- ever since the Heatherbrae case. The 1971 case of R v Wald ruled that abortions do not contravene the laws in certain circumstances.

That case involved a criminal trial of five people – most of whom were health care professionals. The five defendants were involved in performing an abortion at the Heatherbrae clinic in Bondi. All were charged under section 83 of the Crimes Act.

The trial judge found that an abortion is lawful if there is an ‘economic, social or medical ground or reason’ upon which the doctor could honestly and reasonably believe that an abortion could avoid a ‘serious danger to the pregnant woman’s life or her physical or mental health.’

All five defendants were ultimately found ‘not guilty’ on that basis – and the ruling opened the doors to women seeking to terminate a pregnancy for reasons such as financial disadvantage or instability, or fears of social stigma and judgment – factors which may negatively affect a woman’s mental wellbeing.

The judgment also affirmed that abortions do not need to be performed in hospitals – paving the way for women’s health clinics around the state.

NSW parliament has passed laws decriminalising abortion following a marathon debate and weeks of protest. There was applause in the lower house on Thursday as the Abortion Law Reform Act 2019 passed its final hurdle.

It comes after the controversial bill passed the upper house 26 votes to 14 on Wednesday night following nearly 40 hours of discussion - making it the third longest debate in the state's house of review.

The bill, presented to parliament in August by Independent MP Alex Greenwich, takes abortion out of the criminal code and allows terminations up to 22 weeks.

'Thank you to all members for the role you have played in this historic reform ... we can feel proud that part of our legacy will be the decriminalisation of abortion in NSW,' the Member for Sydney said. 

An amendment passed in the upper house recognised doctors performing abortions after 22 weeks could seek advice from a multi-disciplinary team or hospital advisory committee.

'With the passing of this bill, our parliament affirms that we trust women,' Labor MP and bill co-sponsor Jo Haylen said just before the final vote. 'We trust women to make decisions about their own lives and about their own bodies.'

The legislation was opposed by religious groups, anti-abortion activists and several MPs who raised concerns about late-term and sex-selective abortions, conscientious objection and the way the bill was introduced. 

Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce, and former prime minister Tony Abbott were both outspoken in their opposition of the bill.

Joyce described it as the 'slavery debate of our time,' while Abbott accused the NSW government of putting forward 'the most radical abortion laws in this country.'

Liberal and Labor MPs were allowed a conscience vote on the bill.

Tensions in the government reached a climax last week when Liberal MPs Tanya Davies, Mathew Mason-Cox and Lou Amato said they would move a leadership spill motion against Premier Gladys Berejiklian over her handling of the bill.

The rebel MPs, who ultimately withdrew the motion, said it had been made clear that 'at an absolute minimum' four key amendments were required to ensure continued Liberal Party membership.

Ms Davies on Thursday supported amendments made to the bill, saying they created more safeguards and brought the bill to a better place.  

Abortions after 22 weeks are allowed with the approval of two 'specialist medical practitioners.'

All terminations after 22 weeks will now have to be performed in a public hospital.

'Many of us within the Parliament, and also outside in our communities, had concerns with the original bill ... concessions, amendments, changes to the original bill were moved through both houses of Parliament and that is a good thing,' she said.

The legislation that passed on Thursday is more conservative than the initial bill that Greenwich introduced after changes were made following opposition.

Labor MP Penny Sharpe, who is one of 15 co-sponsors of the bill, on Wednesday night said the vote was 119 years in the making.

'The current law has meant women and doctors have a threat of 10 years in jail for making this decision and that not okay,' she told parliament. 'This is a massive step forward for women in this state.'



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

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

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


27 September, 2019

How Israelis could benefit from US-style politics

by Jeff Jacoby

FOR THE SECOND time in five months, Israeli voters last week reached the end of a hard-fought election campaign and went to the polls to choose a new government. And for the second time in five months, nobody knows what the new government will look like.

The complexity of Israeli elections can make even hardcore political junkies whimper. Since there are 120 seats in the Knesset, Israel's parliament, a government must have the support of at least 61 members. But no Israeli party has ever won an outright majority: After last week's election, the Blue & White party, headed by former general Benny Gantz, had 33 seats, edging Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party with 31.

Which means that Gantz or Netanyahu must assemble a coalition with smaller parties — or form a unity government and take turns as prime minister. So far, the obstacles to either path are formidable. Blue & White has vowed not to share power with Netanyahu as long as he faces potential corruption charges. Netanyahu has promised to keep the religious in any coalition he joins. Gantz says he will only a join a "secular" unity government that excludes religious parties. Israel's president, Reuven Rivlin, is pushing the two men to find a way to break the stalemate. And if they can't? Well, there are already rumblings about a third election.

What should Americans make of all this? What are the most important takeaways from the election? Here are four:

1. There are worse things than a two-party system.

With rare exceptions, every US election campaign is contested by Republicans and Democrats. The two parties have dominated American public life for more than 150 years, and the shortcomings of our system are well known — from the polarizing of political debate to the stifling of independent voices.

Yet for all its flaws, our two-party structure means that minor parties can never thwart the will of the electorate. In Israel, mainstream parties with broad public support are routinely held hostage by tiny parties more committed to their ideological purity and narrow parochial concerns. Indeed, it was the intransigence of just such a minor faction — Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beitenu party, which prevented the formation of a coalition after the April election — that forced Israel to hold a second election.

2. Prime ministers, like presidents, should be term-limited.

No American president can run for a third term — period. Even presidents who believe themselves indispensable must leave office after a few years. But there is no time limitation on Israeli prime ministers, and it was never Netanyahu's intention to step down voluntarily.

In many ways, "King Bibi" has been a first-rate leader. But his determination to stay in power led him to the belief, in the words of Israeli analyst Yossi Klein Halevy, "that his personal interests and the interests of the state converged." Instead of grooming potential successors, he repeatedly undercut anyone who seemed to be a rising Likud star. That kept Netanyahu unchallenged at the helm of the party. But it ensured that once his appeal faded, the party would pay the price. Which is just what happened: Likud effectively lost eight seats between the April election and last week's do-over.

3. On the biggest issue — security — Israelis aren't divided.

The media have been describing Blue & White, which is now the Knesset's largest party, as "center-left." That is true in some areas, especially when it comes to the influence that religious authorities and Orthodox Jewish rules should have on Israeli life. But Blue & White is led by three former Israel army chiefs of staff: Gantz, Moshe Ya'alon, and Gabi Ashkenazi. They are not starry-eyed peaceniks prepared to squander the country's security."Netanyahu's remarkable staying power," writes Halevy, "comes from one source: his ability to project power, to embody the Jewish will to survive." Many voters felt comfortable making the switch to Blue & White because they think Israeli safety and deterrence, so effectively tended to by Netanyahu, will be just as well maintained under new management.

4. A vibrant Middle East democracy? Only in Israel.

No other country in Israel's neighborhood has anything like the Jewish state's boisterous and entrenched democratic tradition. There are no competitive elections in Egypt and Syria. Voters have no influence in Lebanon and Jordan. Dictatorial regimes, not the people, control Iran and the Palestinian Authority. Only in Israel do the people go to the polls to chart their nation's course, in elections that are heatedly contested and democratic to the core. That core includes Israel's Arab citizens, who turned out in near-record numbers to vote, and won 13 seats — more than a tenth of the Knesset.

Americans stand with Israel because in it they recognize a liberal democracy much like their own. Last week's election leaves Israelis trying to figure out their immediate political future. But about their enduring commitment to liberty and self-government, there is no doubt at all.


Girls vs. Boys: Brain Differences Might Explain Tech Behaviors

Many parents of both boys and girls have witnessed striking differences in the way their kids use technology, with their sons generally gravitating to videogames and their daughters often spending more of their screen time scrolling through social media.Emerging research indicates that brain differences between males and females help account for the split.

“It is entirely plausible from a neurological perspective that there’s an underlying biological component to this difference people are seeing,” said Larry Cahill, a professor of neurobiology and behavior at the University of California, Irvine, who has spent decades researching gender differences in the brain.

In this column I’ve chronicled the aggression some boys exhibit when they have to shut off videogames as well as the problems some young men face when they go to college and have to juggle game time and school work without mom and dad’s help.

That led some readers to question why girls don’t appear to be having these problems. Of course, girls have issues of their own, such as smuggling “burner” phones to keep up with forbidden social media accounts. It’s just that when it comes to videogames, most girls seem to have a better handle on when to stop.

According to a 2017 survey conducted by Pew Research Center, 41% of teenage boys said they spend too much time playing videogames while only 11% of girls said they do.

Marc Potenza, a psychiatry professor at Yale University, teamed up with researchers at universities in China to find out why. Using functional MRIs, which measure brain activity by detecting changes in blood flow, the team studied neural responses in young male and female gamers, particularly in the parts of the brain associated with reward processing and craving— a motivating factor in addiction.

When the men and women were shown photos of people playing videogames, those parts of the men’s brains showed higher levels of activation than those parts of the women’s brains.

Brain regions that have been implicated in drug-addiction studies also were shown to be more highly activated in the men after gaming.

The researchers said the results suggest men could be more biologically prone than women to developing internet gaming disorder.

But girls and women aren’t free from problems when it comes to digital media. Data from Pew shows that, in general, women use social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest far more than men. Many girls and women are drawn to those photo-sharing sites because they like to form bonds and find similarities, says Rosanna Guadagno, a social psychologist at Stanford University.

Even if women only use those sites more than men because that is where their friends are, many experts and parents say they have found that girls appear to have a greater fear of missing out, which compels them to keep up with what their friends are posting.

Some studies show that girls feel the ill effects of too much social media use, such as depression and anxiety, more than boys do.

Liz Repking, a cyber safety expert and mother of three in suburban Chicago, has seen the differences in her own sons and daughter. This summer, her 15- year-old daughter said her phone was driving her crazy. She told her that she felt pressured to follow her friends’ Instagram stories and like and comment on their posts, and that it was eating up a lot of her time, Ms. Repking said.

Her sons, 18 and 21, use social media—Snapchat, in particular— mostly to communicate with friends but don’t feel compelled to keep up with what people are posting.

“There’s more peer pressure and validation I see with it for her than for the boys,” she said.In August, Ms. Repking’s daughter decided to impose some limits, such as being on her phone no more than three hours a day and checking Instagram less frequently.

“When I asked her a week later how that was going, she said, ‘I’m only looking at Instagram three times a day but I can’t catch up,’ “ Ms. Repking said.

One might argue that multiplayer videogames are the way boys connect with friends online.But it’s different. “Videogames can be social but there’s also a physical distance because you don’t see photos, and communication is largely through text, which is more consistent with the direct way men tend to communicate with each other,” Dr. Guadagno said.

Researchers at the University of Zurich looked at how differences in brain functioning can help explain why women tend to be more prosocial—that is, helpful, generous and cooperative—than men. In the 2017 study, they hypothesized that the areas of women’s brains related to reward processing are more active when they share rewards and that those areas in men are more active when receiving selfish rewards. Brain scans conducted on men and women, in which they chose between receiving a monetary reward only for themselves or one that involved sharing money with others, supported their theory.

Game Overload

Far more boys than girls say they spend toomuch time playing videogames

The Lego Group learned a lot about the prosocial nature of girls more than a decade ago when it conducted research on who buys the brick building kits. At the time, about 90% of the Lego sets purchased in the U.S. were intended for boys. That led the company to conduct more research with girls which revealed, among other things, that girls wanted more role-playing opportunities. Lego created a pastel-colored line called Friends, which sold well but was criticized by some consumer groups for reinforcing gender stereotypes.

Academics who study gender differences also have faced backlash for pointing out that boys and girls aren’t the same.”It’s not a debate that there are sex influences throughout the mammalian brain,” said Dr. Cahill.

“How they all play out is what we should responsibly explore.” Scientists say understanding those differences is critical to parents’ ability to help kids navigate the fast-changing world of tech.

Our brains haven’t caught up to modern times, says Dr. Guadagno, which is why kids’ digital behavior can feel so confusing and overwhelming to parents trying to manage it. “Human brains are wired for survival on the savanna,” she said. “They’re not wired for social media and videogames.”


Hundreds of doctors call for an urgent inquiry into risky treatment of children who believe they are transgender - as website of man who led the petition is sabotaged

More than 200 doctors have called for an urgent inquiry into the risky medical treatment of children who believed they were transgender.

John Whitehall, a professor of paediatrics at Western Sydney University, is taking a stand against minors being prescribed puberty blocker hormones as a precursor to getting a sex change in adulthood.

His petition to federal Health Minister Greg Hunt, calling for a parliamentary inquiry into childhood gender dysphoria, received 131 signatures on its first day earlier this week.

That number grew to 200 within three days, with doctors concerned about children as young as nine being rendered infertile as a result of taking the controversial medication.

Their Word Press site, however, has been sabotaged with hackers preventing it from accepting new signatures.

'The site has been subject to an attack, subsequent to it being publicised in the media, and the signatory page is suspended until we can work out how to prevent this,' it said on Wednesday. 'Apologies – watch this space for developments.'

Professor Whitehall also wants the inquiry to determine if puberty blockers had the potential to cause 'the irreversible loss' of fertility.

'I write to thank you for your concern about the rapidly increasing number of Australian children reported to be suffering from gender dysphoria and to express my concern at the lack of a scientific basis for the medical pathway of treatment of childhood gender dysphoria,' he said in his letter.

Shortly before noon on Wednesday, his Word Press website was sabotaged.

Transgender activists and the ABC's Media Watch program have been critical of Professor Whitehall, even though he has a medical career spanning 50 years.

Puberty blockers are a relatively new treatment but there is evidence they can affect fertility, with Professor Whitehall concerned at children as young as nine getting the medication.

He is leading the charge against the sharp rise in the number of children being prescribed these puberty blockers.

In his letter to Mr Hunt, he referred to evidence from Dr Robert Kosky, a former director of psychiatric services at Perth's Princess Margaret Hospital for Children and the state director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Services.

He noted that between 1979 and 1984, only eight gender-confused children sought help.

Now, two to three children were being presented to the Perth children's hospital every week.

'I respectfully propose that a parliamentary inquiry would be the best forum for the proper consideration of a social phenomenon that has emerged with such speed and caused such consternation,' Professor Whitehall said in his letter.

'It seems that public policy and medical "best practice" is being declared in haste without a sufficient foundation of fact and reflection, and a formal parliamentary inquiry could provide that foundation.'

The spokesman for the doctors' letter, Rob Pollnitz, a retired paediatrician with 50 years' experience, said he believed gender confusion in children and adolescents was chiefly a psychological issue, not biological.

'Before we give them unproven treatments with hormones and surgery, we ought to do our very best to sort out their psychological issues,' he said.

World-renowned child and adolescent psychiatrist Christopher Gillberg said the unproven treatment of gender-confused children was 'possibly one of the greatest scandal¬s in medical history'.

Last month Carlotta, Australia's first transgender woman to star in a TV drama show, spoke out against teenagers being prescribed puberty blockers.

The 76-year-old cabaret singer, also known as Carol Spencer, told the Studio 10 program she was 'strongly against' doctors approving hormone treatment for children before they had a true grasp of who they were.

The former television actress, who had a sex change in 1971, said children 'should not be put on treatments' until they have 'matured and are of age'.

Kirralie Smith, the director of the grassroots Binary group concerned about the de-gendering of society, said doctors needed to be allowed to speak frankly about puberty blockers.

'We need these doctors to be able to do the research, do the studies without being labelled or threatened in any way as bigots or bullies,' she told Daily Mail Australia.

'This enquiry needs to go ahead so that doctors can have the unhindered ability to look at the research without activists trying to shut them down.' 


The Epochal Challenge of Mass Immigration

Wolfgang Kasper

Allow me to begin on a personal note. When I was a child, my family was “ethnically cleansed” and, soon after that, we became refugees because my father had to flee for his liberty from the Soviet effort to “harvest” German engineers for the post-war reconstruction of the Russian Fatherland. Later, we became migrants. As an adult, I have been a guest worker in half a dozen countries. And over the past forty-six years I have lived in Australia, the country with the biggest share of foreign-born residents, bar Israel.

I therefore claim to know a thing or two about migration.

Migration and integration

The most important thing I know is that one cannot and must not discuss the act of migration without considering the subsequent process of integration. To me, integration means that the newcomers must make every effort to learn the host community’s rules of conduct in the public domain, and obey them. What meals they cook at home, to what gods they pray—that is left to their own private choice. Integration, though personally gratifying and potentially rewarding, is a huge challenge. It touches on deeply held feelings of personal identity and demands the adaptation of normally persistent cultural norms[1].

Insisting on the newcomers adopting the habits and modes of public behaviour of the host community is not racist. Racism is abhorrent, because it amounts to discrimination according to what we have been given by nature, characteristics which we cannot change. By contrast, habits and modes of behaviour come from nurture; they are cultural features, which are learnt and can be relearnt.

In this article I shall use the shorthand “the West” to describe the countries of Western Europe, North America and Australasia, which are the three pillars of Western civilisation. By and large, they are democratic and have capitalist market economies. I shall speak summarily of “the South” when I refer to Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and Latin America, namely the regions that are the main sources of the new mass migration.

The new mass migration

As of 2017, an unprecedented 260 million people (or 3.4 per cent of the world’s population) were living in nations other than where they were born. Among them are about 40 million illegal migrants, who are poorly adjusted to life in the West and have little prospect of being allowed to stay. It is these people that I am mainly concerned with here[2]. They are mainly young men from dysfunctional communities and polities. They are not dirt-poor, and they have some, albeit idealised, notions about life in the West. They are able to raise the US$10,000 to $30,000 that one has to pay people smugglers to be conveyed to the West. Last year, I had a long chat with two Nigerians in front of converted steel containers at the edge of a forest in Bavaria, which were their home. One of them had sold his trucking business to bankroll the journey after people smugglers had told him that Germany welcomed people like him. His friend had paid $30,000, which about twenty family and friends had pooled to get him on the way.

Traffickers play a big role in motivating people to migrate. They are well organised and well resourced thanks to previous experience in the international drugs and arms trades[3]. And they are alert entrepreneurs when it comes to finding customers and discovering new migration routes. For them, smuggling people is a good business model: unlike arms or drugs, smuggled people do not come with the costs and risks of distribution in the destination countries. People take care of themselves once landed on a beach or moved across a border. Moreover, the traffickers can often rely on the cost-saving help of do-gooder NGOs and government agencies who act as accessories to this criminal business.

If we look at recent trends, take account of opinion polls in Southern countries about intentions to migrate to the West[4], consider the prospect of chain migration—followers taking advantage of compatriots having created a beachhead, and family reunions[5]—I would guess that 5 per cent of the 2 billion people in the South, some million souls, could join us in the West over the next three to five years. This is the potential if nothing resolute is done. We may soon hum a new version of the Beatles song: “All the many people, where do they all belong?”

My two Nigerians looked, based on my research, typical of the new type of illegal mass migrant. Unemployed and bored, they dreaded their second Bavarian winter. They were disgusted with the selfishness of the Germans, who had huge television sets at home, but had given them only tiny sets on which it was hard to watch the soccer. Most people in the South come from a sharing culture; they have little or no understanding of private, exclusive property rights; people who do not share what they have are regarded as selfish and punished with contempt. The two migrants also expressed testosterone-infused disgust with the immodestly dressed German women. And I heard about frequent fights with their Iranian neighbours in the container settlement, because the Iranians were Shia unbelievers. Moreover, the German police were remiss in their duty to side with them, true Sunni believers. Despite all these misgivings, my two interlocutors would not return home, because that would amount to admitting failure and be insufferably shameful.

Most migrants from the South lack the basic behavioural attitudes, let alone the life and work skills, to fit into modern Western society. A recent study by an intelligence unit of the German criminal police about the many Arab and Turkish criminal clans now making headlines concluded that “archaic anarchism, inclinations to take violent revenge and contempt for outsiders … have led to ethnically shuttered communities”. The imported culture among an estimated 200,000 illegal Middle Eastern immigrants makes it near-impossible for clan members to escape the control of the elders and to refuse to engage in criminal activities. In return, young clan members are rewarded with status symbols, for example big BMWs to drive, despite being on the dole. While these cases are of course extreme, lesser but similar obstacles to integration are widespread. There is a real danger that a new underclass, hostile to the host country’s culture, will establish itself[6].

Some 10 per cent of migrants are genuine refugees in the definition of the original Geneva Convention, having justified fears for their life and liberty. These people deserve our sympathy and our support. However, many of them, once in a safe place, begin shopping for a more advantageous host country and then become illegal migrants.

The remainder of the newcomers from the South are either illegals or are accepted under orderly, official settlement programs to stay permanently or temporarily. Concepts such as “asylum seeker” and “economic refugee” are poorly defined weasel words, which should be avoided when discussing rational immigration policies.

Differing reactions

The reactions of the incumbents in Western societies are asymmetric.

On the one hand, the affluent elites and the social-media class, who benefit from globalisation, rarely come into direct contact with illegal migrants. They are aware of the demographic decline in most Western nations and see the newcomers as a cheap new workforce, as well as customers for run-down real estate. Many in the left-leaning and the libertarian elites also plead for open borders to signal their virtuous political correctness, some even falling prey to “noble-cause obsession”. Some insist that the newcomers add diversity and need not integrate themselves in the new country[7]. Many, who move in circles that consciously or unconsciously share neo-Marxist or postmodern worldviews and therefore reject our egalitarian democracy and the market economy, welcome destitute immigrants as yet another identity group of victims who demonstrate just how unjust and objectionable our society is[8].

On the other side of the spectrum are those whom some in Washington call “the deplorables”. In Australia we have a nicer expression: “the battlers”. Already struggling to come to grips with accelerating technical, economic and social changes, they now encounter illegal immigrants in their midst and discover that these strangers often behave in off-putting ways[9]. This causes additional stresses, real or imagined. Only visit places like downtown Palermo, police no-go zones in the banlieu of Paris, Lisbon’s Afro bairros or the inner West of Sydney, and you will understand that the ordinary folk who call these places home find it difficult to cope with the newcomers. The battlers regard the many new immigrants as competitors for affordable housing, in many places competitors even for sheer living space. They also see them as competitors for scarce, tax-financed health and education services[10]. And they get angry when illiterate and rebellious students from a migrant background lower the standards in the local school and teachers leave. Unsurprisingly, they feel dispossessed, confused and marginalised when they discover that traditional norms no longer apply—that the familiar order, which they treasured and trusted, is no more. These uncertainties may turn into existential fear[11].

The battlers feel particularly threatened when politicians, civil servants, police officers and judges treat the migrants preferentially or tolerate their breaches of familiar norms and laws. They are deeply upset when, as is for example the case in Germany, they see that 240,000 illegals have exhausted all appeals against deportation, but have their deportation suspended. They perceive this as a gross dereliction of the core duty of government, namely the protection of the citizens. They feel betrayed and let down. No amount of clever regression analysis in ivory towers and no argument by the media will convince them that their fears are irrational. Only orderly, limited immigration will restore their confidence.

The rise of atavistic populism

Add to this mix a few opportunistic, populist political entrepreneurs who appeal to our deep-seated, atavistic tribal instincts, offering salvation and protection[12]. They can be found mainly on the nationalist Right, but ever so often we now also encounter left-wing and Green populists who preach primitive paleo-Marxist ideas. This new crop of populists presents itself everywhere as the only legitimate voice of the people. They depict the opposite side of politics, as well as more moderate democrats, as outright enemies and reject all compromise. Long before Twitter and other social media, Thomas Hobbes—writing in Latin—described this type of political actor as puer robustus, which I’d translate as “immature elbow politician”, an unyielding, self-centred stirrer and, by being unpredictable and erratic, always in the limelight. These operators endanger the tender institutions of democracy and the decent, free society.

Add—on top of this—a drift towards populism in the major political parties, whose DNA in any case contains but few liberal genes, and you have to conclude that the liberal, open democratic order enjoyed by recent generations can no longer be taken for granted. The “Fukuyama moment” of the 1990s has passed. History and ideological conflict have resumed with a vengeance.

Shared institutional assets

To understand what is happening, we get no help from standard economics or the econometric models, which the UN and World Bank use to argue for open borders. We need Austrian economics, an approach that is based on realistic assumptions about psychology and sociology and that above all takes account of the central role of institutions, namely the informal, evolved rules of social co-operation, such as customs, habits and unwritten conventions, supplemented by the formal rules designed by legislation and administrative practice. What matters in particular are respected and enforced property rights and their free use under the law. There is of course not only private property. Clubs own shared property rights, as do wider communities and nations[13].

These institutions, which most of us take for granted and which therefore seem invisible to most observers, form valuable, intangible capital. If shared and broadly obeyed, these rules create confidence and trust, reducing the transaction costs in interacting with each other. They also encourage creative discoveries of good solutions to emerging problems. Most of these shared assets have evolved in the light of experience, and some may have been hammered out in conflicts, even civil wars. Our time-tested institutions make us feel safe and at home. The right institutions make the difference between wealth and poverty, social harmony and discord, confidence and distrust, joie de vivre and angst.

The institutional order breaks down when numerous newcomers cannot or will not spontaneously comply with the prevailing rules or when newcomers profit from breaking rules. Sustaining a good order is thus to a large extent a matter of numbers. What follows from this for immigration policy is that the number of immigrants needs to be limited, and orderly immigration needs to be enforced to uphold the loyalty of the entire resident community. Border crossers who have thrown their ID papers away or who come with invented, impossible-to-verify hardship stories are not welcome.

Upholding a good order also means that the laws must be enforced. This will often require resolute government action, but freedom and security are not always cost-free. Immigrants who have been found to be illegals must be promptly repatriated. The current weak-kneed attitude of most Western governments to deportations, because they are difficult or are opposed by international bodies such as the UN and do-gooder NGOs, makes a joke of the law. It destroys the confidence of the citizenry in democratic government.

Much more must and can be done. A combination of bribery in the form of foreign aid to persuade corrupt Southern governments to take returnees back and robust measures to protect the external borders can be highly effective in stopping mass migration. Disappointed deportees would spread the word that the traffickers are telling lies. Information campaigns in Southern source countries that tell potential migrants the truth have also proven effective. The Australian policy of ensuring that no illegal migrant attempting to come in by boat will ever be granted settlement rights—though criticised by open-border advocates at home and abroad—has de facto stopped people-smuggling. Yet, most Western governments have so far been reluctant to act resolutely.

Governments who want to limit how many migrants to admit per year have of course to be selective. This necessarily involves profiling, something liberals are rightly uncomfortable with. But I know no alternative. Based on experience with migrant integration around the world, families and young people, especially educated professionals, tend to integrate themselves better than singles and older people. Also, people from neighbouring cultures tend to fit in relatively easily. Immigrants from societies with cultural flexibility normally make better fellow citizens than those from communities with rigid cultural norms. To be candid: experience in all Western nations tells me that East Asians fit in better than West Asians, who often organise themselves politically to impose the rules of their failed home countries on the new hosts[14]. It should also be acknowledged that host societies with free-market economies fare better with peaceful integration than regulated economies, such as those of Europe. Mass immigration to welfare states causes endless political headaches.

If immigrant selection is pragmatic, if the host country invests in the human-capital formation of selected new residents[15], and if the markets for labour and capital, goods and services are open and competitive, then an annual migrant inflow equal to 1 per cent of the resident population can in my opinion be sustained, with 1.5 per cent as an upper limit, judging by historic experiences in successful immigrant nations.

Orderly migration policy also requires a resolute commitment to repatriating illegal migrants. That is difficult, but not impossible. The governments of source countries are often opposed to accepting their citizens, never mind that this breaches national and international laws. The UN and other international bodies, instead of promoting the law, tend to exert pressure to stop deportations. This should not deter governments that are committed to defending liberty from acting robustly. They can stop development aid to recalcitrant governments and suspend the issue of visitor visas to the elites of those countries, or make these favours conditional on co-operation in accepting failed illegal migrants back. The latter are of course reluctant to admit failure and return voluntarily. Policies to bribe them with resettlement grants have had limited effect, but drastic reductions of welfare hand-outs, as for example Swiss authorities now implement, and the forced expulsion of those who commit crimes would seem measures that signal to the citizens that their government is committed to upholding the law and a confidence-inspiring order.

All this reinforces the conclusion that immigration must be limited, selective and orderly. It does not mean zero immigration. After all, the lesson of history is that openness to newcomers has been a key driver in the progressive evolution of the rule of law and individual freedom, which are now the hallmarks of Western civilisation. European rulers had to constrain their predatory instincts when they tried to attract talented people and capital by guaranteeing newcomers certain rights. Inter-jurisdictional rivalry in providing reliable, citizen-friendly rules played, for example, a big role when thuggish Renaissance princes tried to attract Jewish merchants and artisans from Iberia, or later when princes rivalled with each other to attract well-to-do, skilled Huguenots in order to foster the growth of their tax base[16]. More recently, the freedom they offered was a critical factor in turning Switzerland, the United States and Australia into prospering places where migrants thrive and, in turn, where openness helps to foster freedom.


The rejection of open borders and the advocacy of limited, selective and orderly immigration meet with a number of objections.

First, radical libertarians argue that every person should have complete freedom to live where he wants. They deny that communities and nations have legitimate rights to exclusive group property. However, may I settle in the living room of their family and help myself to the contents of their fridge? May I just walk into their club to use the swimming pool and the tennis court? They tend to march in demos demanding the sovereign self-determination and secure living spaces for Palestinians, Tibetans and Uighurs, but deny the same rights to their own fellow citizens! This school of thought peddles childish, utopian tripe, only acceptable to people who appreciate neither history nor reality. In the final analysis, such anarcho-libertarianism is inimical to freedom because it drives voters into the populist camp.

Charitable souls want more open borders, possibly inspired by Judeo-Christian guilt feelings for the good life they enjoy. They argue that we must share our wealth. I applaud charity, but not when it comes at the expense of others. Moreover, I am reminded of Milton Friedman’s insight that the choice of equitable sharing over freedom ultimately leads to less that can be shared, whereas the choice of freedom over charitable sharing produces more resources, including some which may then be willingly shared. And besides, let’s not forget that Jesus said: “Love thy neighbour”—not all and sundry from far and wide!

Some argue for open borders because they are inspired by the successful immigration story of the US in the nineteenth century or the more recent example of Australia’s transformation and enduring prosperity. They overlook the fact that the cultural gaps between the new mass migrants and us in the West are much wider than in the above cases, mainly because the economies of the West now rely on complex technology. The Polish peasant who had walked behind an ox could quickly become highly productive when deploying four Clydesdales pulling a multi-furrow plough through Iowa soil. The English-speaking Irish immigrant could easily become a good publican or railway worker in the colony of New South Wales. The son of a Honduran witch doctor, by contrast, is unlikely to make a good Canadian pharmacist. And would you entrust a migrant Pakistani truck driver with a Greyhound bus on the US Inter-State?

Yet another objection one hears is that, admittedly, there are evident integration problems, but these are temporary. Eventually, the new migrants will become ordinary members of the host society. Yes, eventually! The Goths, Vandals, Avars, Franks, Saxons and Vikings, who finished off the internally weakened Greco-Roman civilisation, eventually became champions of Western civilisation—a few Dark Age centuries later.

Radical libertarians and UN econometricians object to migration limits with the argument that immigration controls prevent huge increases in world per-capita incomes, which could be realised if only poor people were able to move freely to areas where great wealth is being created[17]. Border controls prevent an almost effortless gain, they tell us, similar to “picking up hundred dollar bills from the pavement”. That assertion, which has a long standing in the literature, is based on the classical Marxist-materialist conceit that only material gain matters. But man does not live for GDP alone! Social harmony, peace, justice, freedom and security are fundamental values that matter as much to people as material prosperity. An immigration policy based on the assumption that these fundamental values do not matter is as rational as a transport policy based on the assumption of zero gravity. In reality, completely open borders would come with huge transaction costs—cultural fragmentation and societal fractiousness, social mayhem, linguistic cacophony, civil conflicts, dislocation and the destruction of all that is valuable in Western civilisation[18]. The only additional income generated would be through the employment of more security guards, more policing and profits from selling barbed wire and screening devices.

A better, less disruptive alternative to opening the borders to uncontrolled migration from the South is free trade. Economists have long shown that the free trade of goods and services is a substitute for the movement of people[19]. Of course, if Western protectionism prevents the produce and products coming in from the South, then the farmers and the workers will come. If US tariffs hinder the import of cars from Mexico, then Mexican workers will dig tunnels under the border wall to come in.

Finally, objections come from political pragmatists who see the demographic divergence between the South and the West and who believe that a migrant avalanche is by now inevitable[20]. These are lazy political opportunists who have given up on defending our freedom. We must expose them for what they are and we must explain anew the merits of a free society.

 A stress test for Western civilisation

The free, humane political order—inspired by the likes of John Locke, David Hume and our other heroes of the Enlightenment, given shape by the Fathers of the US Constitution and promoted by generations of members of the Mont Pèlerin Society—is now more threatened from within and without than at any time since the late 1940s, when Friedrich Hayek brought together some concerned friends on that mountain in Switzerland[21].

In this era of polarised politics and societal tribulations, migration-triggered populism subjects Western civilisation to a mighty stress test. No one can be sure that Western civilisation will be able to survive it intact. After all, the big lesson of history is that civilisations rise and fall.

We face an epochal challenge. Only the force of argument for freedom and a robust commitment to protective government will decide whether and where Western civilisation will survive.



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

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

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


26 September, 2019

Early experience, not genes, shapes child abusers (?)

So it is claimed below. It may be true that most child abusers were themselves abused in childhhod but it does not follow that abuse always makes one an abuser.  Rather to the contrary from some examples I have seen: People are often determined that their kids will have a better deal than they had. So precluding a genetic influence on child abusers is dumb and does, I believe, miss the big story:  Child abusers tend to be low IQ people, low IQ males in particular. So it would seem that child abusers will always be with us.  Eugenics no longer has a constituency.

Stories of children killed or disabled by those responsible for them always grieve me greatly but the one consolation I have is that the murdered kid would probably have turned out pretty dumb too -- though that is not at all certain.

I don't know if this study below by Darius Maestipieri, a primate expert at the University of Chicago, is really worth commenting on. It purports to show that child abusers get that way not by genetic inheritance (e.g. by being born stupid, uncontrolled or aggressive) but by being abused themselves as children. The research concerned, however, was based on a small group of Macaque monkeys and I cannot see how the results can be statistically significant, let alone meaningful in any other way.

And this finding would seem to contradict their conclusion anyway: "almost half of those raised by abusive mothers did not become abusers themselves." That seems to indicate genes at work to me. And I won't ask questions about measures taken to preclude observer bias. No good beating a dead horse

Child abuse may be more of a learnt behaviour than a genetic trait, new research on monkeys suggests. If true, the understanding may provide the opportunity to break the cycle of abuse that runs in some families.

As many as 70% of parents who abuse their children were themselves abused while growing up. Maternal abuse of offspring in macaque monkeys shares some similarities with child maltreatment in humans, including its transmission across generations. This pattern of abuse has led to speculation that it may have a genetic basis.

Darius Maestipieri, a primate expert at the University of Chicago, US, tested the theory by observing a population of macaques across two generations. He took some of the newborn female infants from the group and cross-fostered them among the mothers, about half of which were abusers.

In the next generation, he found that 9 of the 16 females who were abused in infancy by their biological or foster mothers turned out to be abusive towards their own offspring.

But none of the 15 females raised by their non-abusive biological or foster mothers maltreated their offspring, including those whose biological mothers were abusers. This indicates that intergenerational transmission of abuse is not genetically caused.

Protective personality

“This study into primate patterns of abuse can be directly related to human abuse,” argues Maestipieri. “What it shows is that the effect of experiencing abuse first-hand or through experiencing siblings being abused is very significant in determining whether somebody will become an abuser.

“But it’s also interesting to note that almost half of those raised by abusive mothers did not become abusers themselves,” he told New Scientist. “We should try to discover what it is about these infants’ personalities or socially supportive environment that protected them from abusive effects.”

Chris Cloke, head of child protection awareness at the UK’s National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, is wary of applying animal studies directly to humans. But he adds: “We know the damaging consequences of child abuse can last into adulthood and affect the way children are brought up. Experiences of abuse in infancy can be particularly important as the brain develops fast in the first year of life.

He also notes: “With the right sort of help people with abusive childhoods can often grow up to be loving parents.”

Maestipieri believes that while some abuse is learnt through direct or indirect experience, physiological changes incurred during abuse may predispose behaviour patterns. “There is evidence that early trauma causes people to become more susceptible to stress, and less able to cope with emotionally challenging situations, so that they could react more easily by ?losing it’,” he says.

Macaques who abuse their offspring do so early on, during the first three months of life. Abuse, which occurs about once an hour, is brief and takes the form of being overly controlling and violent towards the infant. Actions include biting infants or treating them like an inanimate object – dragging the baby around by its leg or tail, tossing it in the air, or stepping on it.

Journal reference: Proceedings of the National Academies of Science (DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0504122102)


Government Virtue-Signaling Severely Misallocates Resources

There are now 90 homeless camps in Oakland—more than one camp per square mile—most even worse than that pictured, each littered with unimaginable filth and trash.

Yet how does the government choose to allocate the resources it never fails to remind us are severely limited—it can’t pave the streets, educate kids, respond to 911 calls, or do anything to stop spiraling homelessness?

Patrolling private garbage cans and dumpsters.

We received via Certified Mail a notice bearing this badge, of our Violation of the “Mandatory Recycling and Plant Debris Disposal Ban Ordinances,” accompanied by seven photos of the outside and interior of our garbage dumpster, showing—horrors!—a cardboard box and some lunch room food waste included in our trash!

The following violations and fines were checked:

Disposal of Covered Materials – Recyclables Section 2012.01.4(a) $100.00

Provide information at least annually to tenants, employees, and contractors of their obligation to keep Covered Materials from garbage $300.00

One can only imagine the manpower going into such “dumpster-diving” of every dumpster in the county, recording multiple images for every one found with any items covered by the Ban, and the personnel, paperwork and Certified postage for its enforcement.

Meanwhile, we pay the following for garbage services, monthly:

* Regular garbage: $581.09
* Recycling: $95.00
* New “Organics” dumpster for food and plant waste: $183.01
* Lock fee (paid for the privilege of having padlocks on our dumpster to prevent their being filled with other people’s garbage): $56.18

In all, nearly $1,000/month for a small office building in which fewer than 30 people are employed.

Maybe we would consider it worth it—if we weren’t also paying private haulers to take away the items regularly illegally dumped here, and weren’t otherwise assaulted by piles of trash all over Oakland

Meanwhile, members of the private sector have been taking matters into their own hands–see, for example, Scott Presler’s #CleanUp movement that has done trash clean-up in Baltimore, Newark, Virginia Beach and Los Angeles; and Oakland’s Pothole Vigilantes.

The response by the powers-that-be?

Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf tells the Pothole Vigilantes via Twitter: Thanks PVs [Pothole Vigilantes], this job will be for in-house union pros.

While the Baltimore Sun’s editorial board questioned Presler’s motives for his group’s clean-up there, saying: Call us skeptical.... Whatever he says his motives were, Mr. Presler’s presence in Baltimore reinforces the tired image of our failing urban cores.

Yes, citizens, don’t help yourselves—that’s Gov’s job!


Thoughts on Housing Affordability and Homelessness in California

I am honored to have been invited to join a group of policy experts in the SoCal Policy Forum, a project of the Southern California News Group—which consists of 11 Southern California newspapers, including the Orange County Register, (Riverside) Press-Enterprise, Los Angeles Daily News, (Torrance) Daily Breeze, and Long Beach Press-Telegram—and the University of California, Riverside. The experts, who have a diverse set of viewpoints and backgrounds, are asked on a quarterly basis to briefly weigh in on issues of the day, and their responses are published on the project’s website. Other project contributions include full-length columns in the newspapers and community forums with the experts and state and local stakeholders.

The SoCal Policy Forum recently kicked off with its first set of issues, tackling housing affordability and homelessness. My responses are available at the project’s site, but I am copying them below since it is easier to see them all in one place, since the site organizes the experts’ responses randomly for each question, rather than by author.

Question 1: From your perspective, how are the problems of housing affordability and homelessness linked, and how are they different?

There is certainly a good deal of overlap between the housing affordability and homelessness crises, particularly here in California, because financial issues are one of the leading causes of homelessness, and housing is typically one’s greatest expenditure. But there are a number of other reasons people become homeless—including job loss, substance abuse, mental health issues, physical disabilities and medical emergencies, death of a loved one (particularly a head of household) and other family issues—so it is far from a perfect correlation.

According to San Francisco’s 2019 survey of the homeless, for example, the loss of a job was the No. 1 primary reason for homelessness (26 percent), followed by alcohol or drug abuse (18 percent), eviction (13 percent), being kicked out by family or friends (12 percent), and mental health issues (8 percent).

As a result, improving housing affordability (as well as other costs of living and making it easier for people to obtain sound employment) will significantly reduce homelessness, but it will not in itself solve the problem, just as focusing solely on substance abuse and mental health issues will not eliminate it. This is why homelessness, especially, is such a difficult problem, and why steps must be taken in a number of policy areas—from taxation and regulation to housing to job growth and economic opportunity—to adequately address these issues.

Question 2: From your perspective, what is missing in the HOUSING AFFORDABILITY conversation so far in Southern California? And in looking for solutions, what role should government (federal, state, or local) play? And what roles should the private sector and non-profits sector play?

There is a growing realization that California’s housing crisis is fundamentally a supply problem, but too many of the commonly proposed solutions fail to address the issues that discourage homebuilding in the state—and many would even make things worse.

Soaking taxpayers with expensive housing bonds will only add to their cost burdens, and making housing less profitable through rent control or affordable housing mandates only inhibits the investment needed for more housing. Even government-funded “affordable housing” developments average about $425,000 per unit, and can reach $700,000 or more per unit.

The state and local governments should, instead, simply remove the obstacles they have put in place that have driven up land and construction prices so much. Restrictive zoning limits the amount of land that can be developed, thus driving up prices, and has been used to discourage more affordable options like boarding houses. Development fees average more than $23,000 per single-family home—about three times the national average—and can be much higher in certain areas, topping $60,000 per home in Oakland and totaling roughly $150,000 per home in Irvine and Fremont. Prevailing (union) wage mandates drive up construction labor costs by as much as 30 percent. The California Environmental Quality Act has been used to squash or tie up developments for years and “greenmail” developers into adopting prevailing wage requirements and extract additional amenities and other concessions, further discouraging homebuilding. Excessive building code requirements also add to home prices, and the solar roof mandate will likely add another $10,000 to $20,000 to the cost of a home, beginning next year.

Getting rid of so many taxes, fees and regulations—which easily account for one-quarter or more of the price of a new home (see here and here)—would bring down housing costs substantially and spur the development needed to meet demand.

Question 3: From your perspective, what is missing in the HOMELESSNESS conversation so far in Southern California? And in looking for solutions, what role should government (federal, state, or local) play? And what roles should the private sector and non-profits sector play?

It strikes me that there are a couple of aspects of the homelessness problem that need more attention, one demographic and one economic.

The demographics of the homeless population are complex, and people become and remain homeless for a variety of reasons, which is why there is no single “silver bullet” to solving the problem. Some see homeless people as primarily those with drug and alcohol addiction problems or mental health issues, while others see people mainly down on their luck due to financial issues, oftentimes beyond their control, who just need a temporary helping hand. There is truth to both views, and both of these issues represent significant pieces to the puzzle, but the reality is more nuanced and varied, as noted in the response to the first question above.

Many acknowledge that securing a decent job is among the best ways for one to get himself or herself out of homelessness, but not enough attention is paid to the impediments that make this so much more difficult. Occupational licensing laws, for example, serve as a barrier to work by imposing government fees and oftentimes unnecessary education and training requirements, like hair braiders forced to attend expensive cosmetology schools to learn skills they will never use.

In addition, a job paying $10 an hour might allow a homeless person to live in a boarding house or stay temporarily in a flophouse until he can work his way up the economic ladder, but minimum wage laws and zoning restrictions prevent such arrangements. Even payday loans, though they may not be cheap and are often demonized, nonetheless help many get through short-term financial emergencies. These may not be ideal arrangements, but they are still much better alternatives than resorting to loan sharks or sleeping in one’s vehicle or on the street.

Question 4: Is there anything else you would like to add on the topic of affordable housing or homelessness?

As much as we would all like to eradicate homelessness altogether, we must recognize that some portion of the homeless population will refuse all help, and direct our scarce resources to those who can most likely benefit from them. The hard truth is that we cannot force assistance on those who reject it, and we cannot afford to waste time and money on them when those efforts could be so helpful to others willing to do what it takes to improve their situation.

Finally, precisely because our resources are scarce, it would be more effective for individuals concerned with the homelessness problem to direct their time and money to private charities, rather than large, sweeping government programs (with their large, sweeping government bureaucracies). Private charities generally are more responsive to the needs of their communities because they have greater local knowledge of what must be done, and they have greater incentives to show positive results in order to generate future donations. Heavy-handed government involvement, by contrast, relies on compulsion (i.e., taxation) instead of charity, and need not be effective in order to continue receiving its funding.


Ivanka Trump says her dad is 'politically correct' compared to mom Ivana who wore stilettos to construction sites – and NEVER let her get away with anything because she was from a harsh communist country

Ivanka Trump joked Monday that her mother – Donald Trump's first wife – makes the president look 'politically correct.'

Although Trump said that her mother Ivana is a 'tough,' 'strong' woman, she conceded that she has a great sense of humor that some view as insensitive.

'She's also really funny,' Trump told the crowd at the Concordia Summit in New York City on Monday. 'She makes my father look politically correct, it's fascinating.'

The audience, which was attending Trump's talk on the White House's Women's Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, responded to this revelation with laugher.

'All my friends would love to hear what my mom had to say on every topic,' Trump reminisced.

The host of Trump's remarks at the summit on global women empowerment said he recently learned that Ivana was a 'take-no-prisoners' type of woman. And Trump said that her mother's attitude and parenting style reflected her childhood growing up in communist Czechoslovakia.

'So my mom grew up in communist Czech Republic,' Trump explained, 'which means as a child I got away with nothing. So she is definitely tough, definitely take no prisoners.'

Trump said that Ivana, 70, is her 'role model' and attributed a 'good part' of her success to her sometimes loose-lipped mother.



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

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

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


25 September, 2019

Democrats hating on Christians again

Eight months into their control of the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) hasn’t missed many opportunities to draw a stark contrast between the two parties’ policies. From defending infanticide and trying to gut the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to the job-killing New Green Deal, hardly a day passes that the Left’s radicalism isn’t on display. But Thursdat, liberals took their extremism to new heights — demanding a tax on Bible-believing Americans.

Thursday’s hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee wasn’t the first time liberals have tried to use the IRS to do their dirty work — but it might be the most revealing. At a Thursday event that was either unnoticed by the press (or intentionally sidestepped by it), Democrats spent almost three hours bloviating on “How the Tax Code Subsidizes Hate.” Their solution? Strip mainstream Christian organizations — and anyone else guilty of the Left’s version of “hate” — of their tax-exempt status.

“Our tax code,” chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) insisted, “is no place for hate. Groups that propagate white supremacy, anti-Semitism, and hatred for the LGBTQ community, among others, do not deserve a government subsidy through tax exemption. Hate is not charitable…” Of course, it should come as no surprise that while the rest of society has written off the disgraced and discredited Southern Poverty Law Center, the Democratic Party still relies on the SPLC’s reckless labeling to define “hate” for them. That’s astounding, many would point out, since the one-time civil rights group was just revealed by its own staff to be one of the most bigoted organizations in the country. With its own leaders engulfed in decades of racist and sexist charges, only House liberals would continue using SPLC as a platform to launch their anti-conservative attacks.

When it was the Republican members’ turn to speak, one after another condemned the idea of hate and hate-motivated violence. Congressman Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) was clear that both parties could unite around the true animus is “repulsive.” He even understands the desire to “limit such offensive and disgusting views.” But, as his colleague Rep. Darin LaHood (R-Ill.) pointed out, the IRS isn’t the place to start.

Our tax code, he argued, “should not be used as a political tool to discriminate against organizations that differ in viewpoints or ideologies… This country is the beacon of freedom because of our First Amendment rights. And the First Amendment applies to all speech — not just speech we politically agree with. We can’t use political disagreement as a metric to define ‘hate.’ This type of labeling can and has led to violent acts targeting groups…”

LaHood brought up FRC, and how Floyd Lee Corkins walked into our headquarters with the intent to shoot and kill as many people as possible. Why? Because Corkins had seen us labeled as an “anti-gay hate group” on the SPLC website. Now, Democrats are willing to use that same bogus list — the same politically-motivated definition of “hate” — to single out Bible-believing Christians for punishment. Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) admitted as much when she said her party got the names of these 60 targeted organizations (including FRC and American Family Association) from the SPLC. “Taxpayers are subsidizing the continued operation of these organizations,” tweeted the Ways and Means Committee, quoting AFA’s scriptural views on marriage, sexuality, and gender. “These remarks are vile and only work to perpetuate hate crimes and stir division.”

This is exactly what conservatives warned about after Obergefell. Before the Supreme Court forced same-sex marriage on the country, President Obama’s solicitor general admitted that faith-based organizations would be the single most vulnerable group in America. When Justice Samuel Alito asked Donald Verrilli point blank if Christian institutions could lose their tax-exempt status for holding biblical views on marriage, he was frighteningly honest. “It’s certainly going to be an issue. I don’t deny that. I don’t deny that, Justice Alito. It is — it is going to be an issue.” If the Supreme Court found the invisible ink granting a “right” to same-sex marriage in the Constitution, we were told in advance: it will be a declaration of war on principled objectors. Any nonprofit that holds to a biblical view — the same definition Barack Obama held — would have a target on its back.

Now, Democrats want to weaponize the IRS against Christian nonprofits and others with whom they disagree. But don’t think for a second that they’ll stop with a list of 60. If they succeed in making the Bible “hate speech,” they’ll march on to America’s churches — and then to anyone with politically incorrect views. Imagine what’s happening to Oregon bakers Aaron and Melissa Klein occurring on a national scale to Christians. We thought Lois Lerner’s IRS was bad. But if the Left has its way, liberals will use the power of government to financially punish believers.


Dems Cook 10,500 Steaks While Lecturing Americans About Eating Less Meat

Several Democratic presidential candidates will be attending an annual steak fry event, despite lecturing Americans about the need to eat less meat because of climate change.

The organizers of the Iowa Polk County Democratic Party's annual steak fry will be grilling 10,500 steaks and 1,000 vegan burgers on 10 grills, during Saturday's event. Some of the candidates will grill steaks themselves.

Democratic candidates recently participated in a CNN climate town hall, where multiple candidates discussed the importance of reducing meat intake. Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) called for the U.S. government to create incentives to eat less meat.

"As a nation, we actually have to have a real priority at the highest level of government around what we eat and in terms of healthy eating because we have a problem in America," Harris said. "But there has to be also what we do in terms of creating incentives that we will eat in a healthy way, that we will encourage moderation and that we will be educated about the effect of our eating habits on our environment."

Andrew Yang said he would "modify Americans' diets over time" by increasing the price of beef to the point where Americans would buy less meat. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) and Mayor Pete Buttigieg are also in favor of adding a meat tax in order to decrease consumption.

Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.), who is a vegan, said "this planet simply can’t sustain" people eating meat.


With Millions in Dues at Stake Across US, One Man Fights His Union for a Refund

Francisco Molina got a refund check from his former union compensating him for dues collected after he resigned his membership.

This means that the money Molina earned on the job since that time can’t be used to finance union political activity he doesn’t support.

But what about the dues he paid as a social services aide for Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, prior to resigning from the union? This question remains unresolved.

But for Molina, and other public employees across the nation, the Supreme Court’s ruling in June 2018 in the case of Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees turned out to be a game-changer because it struck down mandatory dues and fees imposed by unions for government employees.

Liberty Justice Center and National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation represented Mark Janus, an Illinois state employee who objected to AFSCME’s political activities, in his case before the Supreme Court.

Molina told The Daily Signal in an interview that the Supreme Court ruling in favor of Janus provided him with the impetus to resign from the SEIU.

Although the federal court dismissed Molina’s complaint seeking dues collected since he resigned from the union, his case remains active because the judge said she is willing to entertain his complaint seeking refund of “preresignation dues,” and to consider the possibility that he didn’t get due process.

“It’s not the end of the case for a couple of reasons,” The Fairness Center’s Osborne said. “Molina raised due process arguments because he believes he was not properly informed of his rights, and he has also made a claim seeking dues going back for two years based on the fact that he believes the membership card he signed was invalid. So, his case is not dead.”

In the meantime, SEIU Local 668 appears to have dropped the “maintenance of membership” requirement in its new collective bargaining agreement for state employees over concerns that the state’s legal provision is unconstitutional.

The Daily Signal sought comment from SEIU 668 on the latest developments. The union had not responded by publication time.

National Impact

“Francisco [Molina] believes he’s entitled to a return of pre-Janus dues in part because the SEIU itself recognized that the membership card he signed prior to Janus was invalid,” Osborne said. “So Francisco could make a national impact with his case, but I’d describe the impact as establishing a foothold—not necessarily a right—for any other public employees who want to recover pre-Janus dues payments.”

While Molina and other government employees in Pennsylvania press their cases in court, some state lawmakers have introduced proposed changes to state law that would strike “maintenance of membership” requirements as unconstitutional in light of the high court’s Janus ruling.

State Rep. Kate Klunk, a York County Republican, introduced a measure (HB 785) that would require government employers to notify workers of their rights. State Rep. Greg Rothman, a Cumberland County Republican, introduced a bill (HB 506) to allow government employees to resign from a union anytime they like, without a window to do so or any other restrictions.

Commonwealth Foundation, a free-market think tank based in Harrisburg, released a new report that includes an online interactive database detailing public sector labor laws in all 50 states.

“The Janus decision was a watershed moment for workers’ rights, but our report shows that a lot of heavy lifting still needs to be done to ensure the ruling is enforced,” Charles Mitchell, president and CEO of Commonwealth Foundation, told The Daily Signal in an interview, adding:

Since Pennsylvania is not a right-to-work state, it stands out as one of the states most impacted by the decision. But our ‘maintenance of membership’ law represents a loophole allowing union leaders to keep public employees locked into paying dues and supporting political positions at odds with their own.

Thankfully, Pennsylvania lawmakers are proposing to do away with resignation restrictions. Other states, especially those friendly to worker freedom, should seize on the Janus ruling as an opportunity to update their own statutes. Union leaders will continue calling in political favors from their allies in government. We can’t let them undermine the workers’ constitutional rights.

More HERE 

Thirty million by 2030: Mass immigration will see Australia's population grow by 160,000 a YEAR - putting more pressure on home affordability and public services

The present population of Australia is just under 25 million.  Only a small part of the Australian continent is fully usable

More than 160,000 migrants are expected to arrive in Australia every year over the next four years putting unprecedented pressure on the nation's infrastructure.

A new report reveals government plans to spend billions of dollars on improving roads and transport to cope with exploding population numbers.  

Sydney, Melbourne and southeast Queensland have absorbed 75 per cent of the nation's population growth in the last 10 years.

The boom has taken its toll on public transport and roads, which are now overcrowded and congested, and the cost of housing has soared.

'The freeways have slowed, trains are sometimes at crush capacity and housing construction has not always kept pace,' said the report, called Planning for Australia's Future Population. 

 'Avoidable congestion is already estimated to cost $25 billion and is forecast to reach $40 billion by 2030 without further change.'

To cope with the growth the government has vowed to spend billions of dollars trying to relieve the congestion in the pressured capitals pledging a $4billion urban congestion fund to relieve pressure on the roads.

The government also plans to spend $4.5 billion on regional roads connecting ports, airports and freight routes, in an effort to boost regional employment.

And another $9.3 billion for an inland rail corridor stretching from Melbourne to Brisbane and $2 billion for a fast rail connection from Melbourne to Geelong.

Since 2010, migration rates have outstripped birthrates with about 59 per cent of Australia's total population growth coming from migration, the report said.

Of those migrating to Australia, the vast majority have moved to urban areas.

In the past 20 years, migrants have made up nearly two-thirds of Sydney's population increase and half of all population growth in Melbourne and Perth.

More than 1,400,000 international student visas granted since June 2015 according to Home Affairs department figures.

Population growth needs to be sustainable, the report said.

'It needs to occur at a rate where infrastructure and services can be put in place to match the growing population. If this does not occur, the result is increased congestion, housing pressures, pollution and lack of support and amenity. This has adverse consequences for quality of life.' 

Australia's total population is forecast to expand from 25 million to 29.5 million by 2029, the report said.  

Both Sydney and Melbourne are expected to add just over a million people each,  increasing to 6.4 million and 6.3 million respectively over the next decade.

The Morrison Government said on Monday that the permanent migration intake had been lowered from 190,000 per year, and it would try to deflect new migrants to regional areas in order to relieve the pressure on Sydney and Melbourne.

Population minister Alan Tudge said the 160,000 yearly cap would include 23,000 skills visas requiring people to work outside the big cities for three years before being eligible for permanent residency.

Seven Designated Area Migration Agreements have been made to allow regional employers to sponsor skilled workers.

Changes have also been made to the Temporary Graduate visa for international students who have completed their studies at a regional campus of a university, so they can continue to live and work in regional Australia, the report said.

Mr Tudge said the plan would also create incentives to encourage international students to go to regional areas and smaller cities to study.

Economist Leith Van Onselen, who worked for Treasury, Goldman Sachs and now writes for website Macrobusiness, was scathing about both the Coalition and Labor's plans to cope with mass migration through infrastructure spending or diversion to regional areas.

 'The only 'solution' to maintaining Australia's liveability is to slash immigration back to historical levels – well below 100,000 people a year – to allow housing and infrastructure to keep pace,' he wrote on Monday.

'Anything else is treating symptoms, not the cause, and are merely policy smokescreens.'

Daily Mail Australia has asked Mr Tudge's office for economic modelling to show the cost-benefit analysis of mass migration set at 160,000 per year. 



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

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

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


24 September, 2019

Left’s ‘civilising’ impulse driving us all to the brink of savagery

’A grand canyon has opened up in our world, the fissure, the crack grows wider every day, neither side can hear a word that the other shrieks, nor do they want to,’ Steven Fry said in a debate last year.

“When it does happen, the effect is sudden, deep and lasting. It takes a long time to understand what has taken place. You enter a period of mourning, trying to come to terms with the difference between the child you expected and longed for, and the reality that you now face. But like so many things to do with the human spirit, there is resilience you didn’t know you had. You feel such strong bonds of love, and such desire to protect this beautiful little creature.”

In his new book, For the Record, released this week, David Cameron recounts the birth, the short life and the death of his son Ivan, who was born with a rare neurological disorder that left him severely disabled.

The former British prime minister writes honestly about caring for a beautiful but helpless baby who was drenched in sweat daily after suffering up to 20 violent fits, unable to eat, or ever talk, or walk. In the end, the little boy who arrived into this world to the sounds of Barry White in the operating theatre died at the age of six from massive organ failure.

Within moments of extracts from the book being released, The Guardian labelled Cameron as man who knew only “privileged pain”. Cameron’s miserable time at boarding school, for example, was waved off as something that comes “with an assurance that only important people can suffer that way”. The newspaper then took aim at his experience with the British health system and caring for a severely disabled son was somehow different. Because Cameron is posh.

This wasn’t a half-baked comment by a half-tanked commentator in a communist rag. It wasn’t an anonymous tweet from a crank. Like editorials at other newspapers, this was probably discussed, tossed around in an editorial conference, then written up, subedited and re-read by more editors. Why didn’t someone along the way say, “Stop, this is wrong.”

The Guardian has since apologised. But some apologies don’t count as much as others. Not when words and actions are carefully considered, with lashings of contempt behind them.

When did we get so nasty? Why are some people so certain in their bile? Why would highly educated editors use political differences with Cameron to diminish his pain because of his “privilege”?

Last year, Stephen Fry joined with Jordan Peterson in a debate to argue that political correctness is not progress. Fry, a gentle man, challenged his two opposing interlocutors — radio host Michael Eric Dyson and blogger-author Michelle Goldberg — with a killer question: So, how’s it working out for you?

When the Munk Debate, held in Toronto twice yearly, quickly drifted into the morass of identity politics and never escaped, Fry asked the same question of people who share his left-liberal politics: So, how’s that working out for you? That being the ugly maelstrom of identity politics.

The other side didn’t answer. They repeated their arguments, their words fell flat, weighed down with unyielding certainty. Fry had made his point.

The left’s affiliation with identity politics is not going well. It has produced “this strange paradox in which the liberals are illiberal in their demand for liberality”, Fry said, adding: “They are exclusive in their demand for inclusivity, they are homogenous in their demand for heterogeneity, they are somehow un-diverse in their call for diversity, you can be diverse but not diverse in your opinions.”

Before we destroy ourselves, Fry implored both sides of politics to reject “rage, resentment, hostility, intolerance, above all, this with-us-or-against-us certainty”.

The evening descended into accusations back and forth. It is hard to recall what the other three said beyond a rambling performance by the blogger, the preachy Dyson labelling Peterson a “mean, mad white man”, and Peterson wasting time by taking the bait.

Fry’s ideas, his questions and observations have stayed with me. His mind is nimble, curious, generous, uncertain. He cited Bertrand Russell in the hope his wisdom might hover over the evening: “One of the painful things of our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision.” Fry concluded: “Let doubt ­prevail.”

We live in a dangerous age of blinding certainty about our own moral superiority. In an increasingly secular society, politics has become infused with an unyielding morality that is driving a new sectarianism. Rich against poor, black against white, one creed against another, men against women, feminism is cracking up under the pressure from the transgender movement. These are not fringe skirmishes. Mainstream politics, and media, are the battlegrounds.

As Fry said: “A grand canyon has opened up in our world, the fissure, the crack grows wider every day, neither side can hear a word that the other shrieks, nor do they want to.”

That is how a group of well-educated journalists decided that describing Cameron’s pain, during the short life and death of his little boy, as “privileged” would likely suit the tenor of our times.

The Guardian deserves the public shellacking it received. It points to more and more people saying enough is enough, time to mend tensions between groups, not to throw more fuel on the fire.

During the Munk Debate, Fry pointed to ordinary people “in the enormous space in between both sides” trying to get on with their lives, “alternately baffled, bored and betrayed by horrible noises and explosions that echo all around”.

Fry admitted he is “ a lefty, a soft lefty, a liberal of the most hand-wringing, milksop, milquetoast variety … I’ve been on marches but I’ve never quite dared wave placards or banners”.

He is a social justice warrior because he doesn’t like social injustice. But he is manning the barricade against his side’s descent into illiberalism.

He said that as much as he loathes the “piety, self-righteousness, heresy-hunting, denunciation, shaming, assertion without evidence, accusation, inquisition censoring” of his side, his basic objection is that he doesn’t think political correctness works.

“Let’s be empirical about this,” he said to those on the opposing team. “The reason that Trump and Brexit in Britain and all kinds of nativists all over Europe are succeeding is not the triumph of the right. It’s the catastrophic failure of the left. It’s our fault.

“My point is not that I’ve turned to the right or anything like that or that I’m nice and fluffy and want everybody to be decent. I’m saying: F..k political correctness. Resist. Fight. If you have a point of view, fight it in a proper manner, using democracy as it should be, not channels of education or language. At the moment you are recruiting sergeants for the right, by annoying and upsetting instead of … persuading.”

More than a year later, the horrible noise of unyielding politics, masquerading as moral certainty, continues. Last weekend, The New York Times tried to slander a US Supreme Court judge, knowing it had no evidence. In a piece drawn from a new book about Brett Kavanaugh, the newspaper ran new allegations of sexual misconduct during the judge’s time at Yale, promoted with a tweet about having a “penis thrust in your face”. The paper did not report two essential facts that destroyed the story — the female student declined to be interviewed and denied any memory of the alleged misconduct.

What has happened to fair reporting, solid evidence and the presumption of innocence — a bulwark against the state, the powerful, the corrupt and the incompetent? The New York Times posted an “editor’s note” correcting the story. But the damage was done. A little note won’t correct the modern propensity to smear people with different views in an attempt to censor their contributions, to shut them up.

An Australian incident

Last week, indigenous woman Jacinta Price was shouted down at a public event in Coffs Harbour on the NSW mid-north coast.  Price advocates personal respons­ibility, empowerment through real solutions rather than token gestures and confected cultural allegories. She says “welcome to country” routines are a “modern construct”.

Local ABC presenter Fiona Poole described Price as “someone who has cosied up with the right side of politics”. As Chris Kenny detailed this week, another ABC reporter, Claire Lindsay, quoted from a media release put out by the Gumbaynggirr community that declared Price as “unwelcome” because she spread “racist vitriol, vilifies and ridicules Aboriginal people and cultures”. The local ABC station did not invite Price to put her views against these wild allegations. It admitted it was wrong not to, but only after Kenny and Price raised objections.

The left’s project to civilise is horribly uncivil. Sections of the media act as mouthpieces, deriding a posh white man’s pain, smearing a conservative judge with unsubstantiated claims of sexual abuse, carrying the can for those trying to censor an indigenous woman for not toeing the orthodox indigenous line.

More than rank incivility, the left’s project to civilise is killing curiosity. The blind certainty holds us back, drags us down. It is also contagious, both sides in a dead-end race to the bottom.

Fry said it was a pity the debate was not a shining example of “how people of all different kinds of political outlooks can speak with humour, and wit and a lightness of touch”. He drew from GK Chesterton: “Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.”

Fry said: “We should take ourselves a little bit more lightly — not to be too earnest, too pompous, too serious, and not to be too certain.”

Blind certainty is behind the propensity to smear, to shame, to censor. It will kill progress unless more people with beautiful minds, people such as Fry — driven from their political homes by illiberal madness — steer their own side to a more liberal and a more civil world.


Eating meat is a crime against humanity and could be banned, says QC as he calls for new offence of 'ecocide'

A leading barrister [trial lawyer] says eating meat could become illegal, because it is so bad for the environment.

Michael Mansfield, the Left-wing lawyer known as ‘Moneybags Mansfield’ for his huge earnings from high-profile cases, is expected to call for a crime of ‘ecocide’ today.

Mr Mansfield, a self-styled ‘radical lawyer’ who has represented the victims of the Grenfell Tower and Hillsborough disasters, will speak at the launch of a vegan campaign at the Labour Party conference in Brighton today.

Vegan charity Viva! publicised part of his speech last night.

Mr Mansfield will say: ‘I think when we look at the damage eating meat is doing to the planet, it is not preposterous to think that one day it will become illegal.

‘There are plenty of things that were once commonplace that are now illegal, such as smoking inside.’

The 77-year-old will make the comments as part of a panel debating the effects of livestock farming on climate change, at the launch of Viva!’s Vegan Now project.

He is also expected to call for legislation to criminalise the destruction of nature, which he compares to a ‘crime against humanity’.

Mr Mansfield will say: ‘We know that the top 3,000 companies in the world are responsible for more than £1.5 trillion worth of damage to the environment, with meat and dairy production high on the list.

'We know that because the UN has told us so. It is time for a new law on ecocide to go alongside genocide and the other crimes against humanity.’


Huge University Holds White Privilege Workshop. Only 9 Students Show Up

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte — home to 30,000 students — held a white privilege workshop last week.

Only nine students showed up.

The event was titled "White Consciousness Conversations for Students," and on the UNC page, organizers said it was for "students only."

"Understanding the meaning and implications of whiteness and engaging in anti-racist practice is crucial in creating racial equity. This space is for all undergraduate and graduate students at UNC Charlotte who are interested in engaging in conversations to assist in their understanding of how racism is perpetuated individually, culturally, and systemically. This space is intended to be group-based, meaning we would love for participants to attend all sessions. Join in conversation with IEE staff as we work toward racial equity," the page said.

By the way, the "IEE" is the Office of Identity, Equity, and Engagement. Yes, UNC has one of those.

"The total number of students in the audience for the first 'White Consciousness Conversation,' held Sept. 10, was nine — but two were students there not as participants but as journalists mainly to observe," the College Fix reported. " One was from The College Fix and another from the Niner Times campus newspaper."

"Of the remaining seven students, five are members of the university's conservative Young Americans for Freedom chapter, who were there more out of curiosity and concern about the nature of the seminar and its taxpayer-funded narrative as opposed to learning about how they allegedly perpetuate racism and inequality as Americans with white skin. Finally, the other two students attended because their professors offered them extra credit to do so, they told The Fix."

UNC Charlotte hosted the same type of event in 2018. In advertisements, only white people were invited. Campus officials were forced to reword the ads.

The two-hour meeting was led by two campus diversity facilitators who spoke on topics such as feminism, white privilege, toxic masculinity and LGBTQ equality, and outlined their own definition of racism, one that claims that while racial discrimination can be targeted at anyone, by anyone, racism itself stems inherently from white people and their “whiteness.”

At the end of the workshop, at least two conservative students said the information presented seemed focused on blaming white people and whiteness for racism.

“I went into the event with an open mind, I wanted to learn what my peers thought about how the concept of whiteness ties into racism, whether or not it is an issue on our campus, and how we, as students, can create change if it was necessary,” YAF member Kelly VonEnde told The College Fix.

Other colleges have held similar events. The University of Rhode Island hosted an event "with speakers discussing topics such as 'White Accountability,' 'Addressing Microaggressions,' and more" in 2018, Campus Reform reported.

This past June, Rutgers University hosted a workshop seeking to dismantle "white organizational culture."

"Throughout the event, attendees will be taught to 'understand what is white United States-ian culture; understand the beliefs and values of white United State-ian culture; recognize characteristics of white United States-ian culture in organizations; begin to explore the impact the culture has on professionals in the field; and learn antidotes to dismantling white organizational culture,'" Campus Reform reported.


Tas council ditches Australia Day events


A council in Tasmania's north will scrap official Australia Day celebrations and move citizenship ceremonies to another date.

Launceston City Council on Thursday voted unanimously for the changes, made in respect of the nation's indigenous people. "(We did this) to be an inclusive council and city where we recognise the Aboriginal community," Mayor Albert van Zetten told AAP.

Citizenship ceremonies won't be performed in the municipality on January 26 and will instead be held the day before.

"We're not stopping anyone from celebrating on the 26th, if that's what they want to do," Mr van Zetten said.

"Yes there will be people who are disappointed and who don't understand.

"I'd just like to remind people, go back and have a look at the history. "Try and understand how you would feel if that was a day your family was on this lovely country and you were invaded and taken over."

The council has also replaced its National Australia Day Awards program with a community awards ceremony, now to be held on January 25.

"The voice of Tasmanian Aborigines are being heard," Graeme Gardner, from the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania, told the ABC.

"What we would want to see is the country collectively change its whole perception of what it is to celebrate Australia and make it a celebration of all history."

But the changes may be overruled by the Morrison government, who earlier this year pledged to introduce legislation making it mandatory for councils to hold citizenship ceremonies on January 26.

Several Victorian councils have been stripped of the power to hold citizenship ceremonies after shunning Australia Day.

Mr van Zetten said the council would follow any directions from the federal government. "They're aware of our position (but) we've got to do what we feel is best, as a council, and that's what we've done," he said.

Launceston is the second Tasmanian council to shift Australia Day events, following the Flinders Island Council in 2013.



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

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

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


23 September, 2019

The psychology of hate

Sandro Galea has come along way since his origins in Malta.  He has authored over 800 academic publications and is now Dean of the School of Public Health at Boston university, a large private university with a strong research orientation.  He is a registered do-gooder, having spent some time in his youth "helping" the benighted people of New Guinea.

Below is a press release announcing his talk on hate.  I will have some comments at the foot of it.

Global experts to examine hate as a public health issue

Professor Sandro Galea, a global expert on public health, talks about the under-represented topic of hate as a contributing factor in health and health equity.

The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre (the Prevention Centre) hosts world-leader in research and discourse on public health, Professor Sandro Galea from Boston University. Professor Galea will lead the conversation on hate as a public health issue at an event on 30 September 2019.

His research shows that hate is a contributor to poor physical and mental health at both the level of the individual and then at societal level.

“Hate such as the kind we witnessed in the aftermath of the Charlottesville violence is like a disease, spreading among populations and undermining health in a manner eerily similar to that of a pathogen,” said Professor Galea.

“When a society is infected by hate, it is not hard to see how it can affect our bodies and minds. Being hated is stressful. It makes a person fear for her safety, resent her lack of respect, and worry about what the future holds for herself and her family. People who feel hated are more likely to experience major depression, and the fruits of hate – prejudice, discrimination, segregation, and interpersonal antagonism – sicken and kill Americans every day,” he said.

“Chronic disease, mental illness and drug use,” said Professor Galea. “None of these can be successfully addressed without discussing the injustice and racism that may be at their source. No matter how great our hospitals or advanced our technology, health is limited by the world in which people live.”

“The first step is to change the way we talk about health at a grassroots as well as at a policy level. Seeing health for what it is – a result of factors embedded in everyday life – is just as important as investing in a new hospital or MRI machine.”

So what a fine person Professor Galea is -- talking about what is undoubtedly an important issue.  As I often put up on my blogs news articles about hate, I was greatly interested to hear of him.  I looked forward to seeing his research on the subject. So I checked his list of publications on ResearhGate but, lo and behold, I could not find any!  There were articles in the popular press which consisted largely of bloviation and virtue signalling but that was it. He does do proper scientific articles but not on hate.

Nonetheless, I do agree with him that hate is toxic.  But I also think he is missing the elephant in the room.  And what a big elephant it is!  A veritable mammoth.  We see a virtual  torrent of hate being poured out constantly at Donald J. Trump by the Left. The disapproval of Third World immigration coming from the Right is very pale stuff compared with the hate that seems to come from every pore of the Left.  Hate is what they do these days. They seem to hate just about everything.

And it seems clear that their chronic hate has completely deranged the Left, if the recent Democrat primary debates are anything to go by.  Most of the policy proposals put forward there seem completely out of touch with reality.  And loss of reality contact is the prime symptom of psychosis.

The hate motivation of the Left is all too obvious to need much research but I am sure Prof. Galea could find something to research there if he got serious about the topic.

I give below a moderate and balanced comment on the current political scene from a prominent Leftist commentator.  The Right would have a hard job of matching it.  But perhaps Prof. Galea could find an example of a prominent conservative being so eloquent:

The way the Left describe as hate even the mildest expression of disapproval coming from conservatives is an example of projection that Freud would celebrate.  The Left assume that others have hearts as black as theirs -- JR

Writer Freaks Out Over People Eating Delicious Chick-fil-A: 'They’re Eating Fried Chicken SPITEFULLY!'

A Canadian publication, The Star, has printed an unintentionally hilarious editorial by a very disgruntled LGBTQWTF writer, Andrew Wheeler. Mr. Wheeler is very upset. His outrage and dismay have been caused by your love of delicious chicken from Chick-fil-A. How dare you??? In an essay entitled “Chick-fil-A is ideologically opposed to my existence,” Wheeler rails against the insensitivity of people who love chicken and waffle fries because it hurts his feelings, or something.

"This past weekend I saw something that made me unexpectedly queasy; a young woman slurping soda out of a fast food cup.It upset me because it was a Chick-fil-A cup.

Chick-fil-A is an anti-LGBTQ2 organization, not just because the founder publicly opposed same-sex marriage (he believed in a “biblical definition of marriage,” which doesn’t exist), but because company profits are donated to charities that oppress and marginalize queer people, especially queer youth."

I don’t know what LGBTQ2 is, and I don’t want to know. What I do know is that Wheeler here has never read a Bible. If he had bothered to even try, he wouldn’t have had far to go. The definition of marriage is in the very first book, in the second chapter: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24  It’s not hard to discern what this means.

What it doesn’t say is what bothers people like Wheeler the most. It does not say “Therefore a man (or non-binary trans-alien furry) shall leave his fathers or mothers and hold fast to the otherkin of his choice.” Now THAT is not in there. Despite that, your personal and deeply held beliefs must change to satisfy this whiny guy.

"Chick-fil-A is ideologically opposed to my existence | The Star
Buy a meal from Chick-fil-A and it will use your money to increase the suffering of queer kids."

Luckily for Wheeler, none of us want to force him to read or believe the Bible, like he wants to force us to stop reading and believing it. We just want our chicken sandwiches and diet lemonade without having to wade through screaming protesters. (Although, as he points out, that won’t stop us either.)

LGBTQ2 activists protested Chick-fil-A’s opening on Friday, but people were happy to cross the protest line. Some also tried to tell the protesters that they weren’t bad people. A lady yelled, “You think I’m homophobic? I have gay friends.” One man told me he voted for Trudeau. A smirking guy hiding behind large sunglasses insisted that McDonald’s is just as bad.

I bet it would make Wheeler’s head explode if I told him that I have gay friends... who eat at Chick-fil-A! And they don’t hate themselves, they just love fried chicken. But I will agree with Wheeler that the smirking guy should be arrested. Where does he think he is? A free country? It’s Canada.

Wheeler went on to expose the real goal of Chick-fil-A, which is not to provide excellent and cheerful service with a side of the best dipping sauce on earth, but a dastardly plan to hurt gay children. “Buy a meal from them, and they’ll use your money to increase the suffering of queer kids,” claims Wheeler. There really are people who think that Chick-fil-A executives sit around a smoke-filled board room devising ways to make gay children suffer. This has to be some kind of mental illness. Wheeler continued, “I will not support a company that is ideologically opposed to my existence, and that uses the money spent there to campaign against my existence.”

That would be a surprise to the survivors of the Pulse Nightclub in Florida who were met by Chick-fil-A workers handing out free food and bottled water in the aftermath of the shooting. Or the protesters who staged a kiss-in at a Chick-fil-A and were offered free lemonade. It’s almost as if Chick-fil-A wants to serve everyone some of its scrumptious offerings.

But maybe it’s not the company that Wheeler really has a problem with. No. I think it’s you. Your’e an a-hole.

Of course, people are not just going to Chick-fil-A to eat fried chicken. They’re eating fried chicken spitefully. They’re defiantly standing in line with all the other freethinkers because they’ve been asked not to. They know that going to Chick-fil-A hurts queer people, but they’ve never thought much about queer people before and they’re not going to start now. It’s a strange form of identity politics where the identity is “a--hole.” The line to get into Chick-fil-A is the a--hole pride parade.

This is the whole reason why the LGBTQWTF mafia is never going to win over rational people. They want to force you to agree with them on every single issue and they think they’re going to get there by insulting and canceling you. If you don’t celebrate their existence (instead of ignoring the attention-seeking activists) they want you punished, silenced, shut down, shamed, and unable to put food on the table. Wheeler has these inner fears that people hate him and don’t want him to exist and so he acts in a way that makes normal people hate him and not want him to exist. It’s not because he’s gay. It’s because he’s the a-hole who can’t even let people like a chicken restaurant of their choice.

When it comes down to it, there are lots of people who have lots of beliefs that are foreign to us. They’re allowed to have them. And it’s none of my business what those beliefs are. I wish a bunch of people didn’t exist, like communists and those people at the mall who try to put a straightening iron in my hair as I’m walking by. And yes, the LGBTQWTF outrage mob. I wish they didn’t exist, mostly because they are the ones hurting queer kids.

They are making it very difficult for the majority of straight people to give a crap about the plight of gay people. Most of us just want them to shut up now and get back in the closet because they're annoying. When you try to shame people for eating chicken, you’re not being a good ambassador for your cause. In fact, this kind of behavior only increases the division between us and reinforces the belief that giving in to any demands by the Lavender Mafia is signing our own death warrant.


The Good News the Mainstream Media Doesn’t Report

John Stossel

I rarely watch cable news anymore. It’s all hysteria, all the time.

CNN: “We are destroying the planet.”

MSNBC: “The middle class is disappearing!”

President Donald Trump says drug trafficking “is worse than ever!”

I’m glad my favorite magazine, Reason, cuts through the gloom and tells us the truth:

There is less war and more food. We live healthier and longer lives. HIV will soon be history. We are increasingly free to be whoever we are and love whom we want. Even work has become more pleasant.

It’s a surprising message, since most journalists tell us everything’s terrible.

“They’re wrong,” says Katherine Mangu-Ward, Reason’s editor-in-chief, in my new video.

Why is the media so negative?

Mangu-Ward says evolution wired us to see a world in which things are bad. “If you are a caveman who hears a little rustling in the weeds and you say, ‘Oh, it’s probably fine’ and the other guy says, ‘It’s probably a tiger!’ that’s the guy who lives. That guy was our ancestor.”

So today, as life gets better, my profession wins clicks and ratings points by hyping whatever makes us afraid. Reporters ignore gradual improvement and, sometimes, miracles.

“We live in a world of reliable miracles,” says Mangu-Ward. “When I’m having a bad day, I trawl the internet for videos of happy cyborgs … hearing-impaired people getting cochlear implants turned on for the first time … paraplegics walking with the help of adaptive prosthetics, infants getting their first pair of coke-bottle glasses … things that, in another era, would have caused the founding of an entire religion!”

Even food is better. Meatless meat tastes as good as meat from an animal because “people want to make money by selling you a burger that didn’t hurt a cow,” says Mangu-Ward.

OK, so science moves forward, but how will we pay for it? News anchors tell us “the middle class is shrinking.”

That’s true, says Mangu-Ward, “because people are getting richer!” A chart in Reason shows that Americans moving out of the middle class mostly moved up. There are more high-income people than ever before and fewer low-income households.

Another Reason article points out that “pestilence, war, famine and death are all on the decline.” You wouldn’t know it from other news sources, but it’s true. Deaths from war have declined dramatically.

I pushed back, pointing out that American life expectancy dropped recently. Suicide among white men is up about 40%.

“Still, overall, that is the tiniest blip,” said Mangu-Ward. “People are living longer, healthier lives.”

Even work got better.

“If you watch the news, you would think absolutely everyone [in] America is laboring in an Amazon factory, crying while they fill boxes. That’s just not, on average, what work looks like,” says Mangu-Ward.

“A couple hundred years ago, work was dangerous. It was very easy to die at work,” she reminds us. “Work was extremely boring, even for people that had good jobs. Jobs are pretty interesting now, and they mostly don’t kill you, and we should be grateful for that.”

Reason’s writers aren’t dumb. They don’t pretend everything is rosy.

The magazine includes reporting on “the terrifying rise of authoritarian populism,” threats to a free internet, and worries that “Americans aren’t saving nearly enough.” But Reason is the rare publication that also points out good news.

When looking at that, Mangu-Ward sees a pattern.

“Everything that’s bad is politics; everything that’s good is the market.”

Markets allow every individual a choice. Products and services must improve, or you won’t buy them. That’s why market competition brings us gradual improvements.

Politics, by contrast, gives us just two choices. Then it forces everyone to obey whatever the majority chose.

“At Reason [we] describe why everyone should have less power over each other … because people are going to make mistakes and hurt each other. Better that they shouldn’t do it with the force of the state behind them,” concludes Mangu-Ward.

She suspects life will continue to get better “if we can just manage to keep politicians from screwing it up.”


What I love about McDonald’s

Ignore the snobs – Maccy D’s is a sociable, diverse and nice place to hang out.

Like the village inhabited by Asterix and Obelix, the British county of Rutland styles itself as the last part of the country to have resisted invasion and occupation by a mighty empire. For Rutland is the only county in Britain not to have a branch of McDonald’s, in a Britain that boasts 1,249 outlets, ever since the first Golden Arches arrived on these shores in 1974.

Until now. McDonald’s could soon achieve total domination. Rutland County Council is now considering plans for a drive-through McDonald’s restaurant in Oakham, the pretty market town. And not everybody is happy about this. The plans have attracted more than 50 objections from locals, with many fearing McDonald’s would not be in keeping with the farmers’ market and gourmet restaurants.

Others have complained about the ‘obvious eyesore of a high-profile golden arch’ or the detrimental effect on house prices. One protestor told The Times: ‘It’s a shame the council have bowed to the big corporations. It doesn’t suit our town and our way of living . It will be an eyesore and attract the wrong sort of people.’

Whoa… Say that again? ‘The wrong sort of people’? This man’s comment may not be representative of your average anti-McDonald’s type, but it does hint at a truth: that behind all the fine anti-corporation sermonising, certain posh, middle-class, usually left-wing types dislike McDonald’s because it is where poor people go. That’s where the ghastly proletariat hang out and gorge on their revolting, greasy fare.

I often wonder whether people who make fun of Wetherspoons have ever been to one. Likewise, I ask myself whether people who berate and demonise McDonald’s have been in one of the restaurants. I often go to McDonald’s in Canterbury, Folkestone and London’s Shaftesbury Avenue, and, while the restaurants can get smelly, the atmosphere is usually genial and with a mixed demographic. You see office workers, builders, schoolkids and tourists, all eating side by side. You see all races. The staff are nearly always unfailingly polite. The coffee is great value. In a society that purports to celebrate tolerance and inclusivity, McDonald’s is an exemplar.

In a society that also constantly frets that teenagers spend too much time alone on social media, getting bullied, being prematurely sexualised or being made to feel ever-more insecure about their bodies, it is worth keeping in mind that McDonald’s functions as a social arena for teenagers to interact and hang out with each other. This may be a pain if you’re trying to get a good value coffee at 4pm, but surely it is overall a good thing.

The well-to-do, health-conscious middle classes will point you to the deleterious effect to one’s body of eating McDonald’s and other fast food. The chain is still recovering from Morgan Spurlock’s 2004 documentary Super Size Me, in which Spurlock ate nothing but McDonald’s three times a day for 30 days, with dire effects upon himself. Conclusion? Fast food is junk food.

Yet this was false science. If you ate nothing but salad for a month, or nothing but fruit for a month, you would also emerge a sorry state, deprived of protein and iron. There is nothing wrong with enjoying the occasional McDonald’s as part of a balanced diet. There is no such thing as junk food. There is only junk diet.

Sure, a McDonald’s probably wouldn’t be in keeping with the appearance of Rutland’s pretty market towns, but the planned outlet is on the bypass in Oakham, which isn’t going to affect traffic.

Rutland’s well-to-do should really lighten up and lose the snobbish Asterix complex.



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

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

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


22 September, 2019

Deciphering "gender"

I have known about gender for over 50 years.  It was that pesky continental habit of assigning sex to words.  In German, for instance, a dinner fork is feminine (die Gabel), spoons are masculine (der Loeffel) and knives are neuter (das Messer).  So Germans have pretty sexy dinner tables.

In English, of course, we have no such nonsense.  We do other crazy things, like spelling our words according to how they were pronounced 600 years ago (all the "silent" letters in "knight" were once pronounced, for instance)

So for centuries "gender" was a property of words, foreign words in our case.  Around two decades go, however, the Left, with their usual abuse of words, decided to use "gender" as a description of people.  Your preferred use for your penis was described as your gender. If you made normal use of that organ you were "cis", for some obscure reason. 

But the sex drive is a strong one, as Freud emphasized, so the sex urge did occasionally get derailed in various ways for various reasons.  And your preferred derailment became your gender, according to the Left.  So the BBC recently announced that there are 100 genders.

Being myself very "cis", such extensive creativity rather surprises me but I can see no obvious harm in it.  Why the rest of us need to be bothered by it, however, I have no idea. All I can make out of it is that the derailed folk want to be praised for their derailment.  Good luck with that!

So let the Left prattle on about gender.  I suppose it draws our attention to the fact that there are a variety of sexual practices -- but we have always known that -- JR.

Why Nothing is Near Your Office

How Land Use Rules Make Life Inconvenient

It’s 11 a.m. You’re at your desk. Your stomach rumbles. You could use a hamburger. You work until 5:30, with enough time to pick up your kid before the daycare starts charging late fees at 6. Soccer practice starts at 7:30. Somewhere in between, you need to pick up the dry cleaning and get cash from an ATM. Your stomach rumbles again, a reminder that you need to feed everyone at some point. It’s going to be another whirlwind evening. You slouch into your chair with a peanut butter sandwich, resigned to the fact that you’ll spend hours in traffic after a long day of work.

Days like this play out all the time in America. Even when commutes are short, the retail establishments we frequent often aren’t close to our jobs, and some types of stores are clustered in far-flung parts of town. That’s by design. For a century, the foundation of American land use policy has been the separation of different land uses from each other under the belief that this minimizes negative spillover effects. But the legal separation of land uses makes life inconvenient, paid for in late nights, long drives, and errands that never get done.

Separating uses does have benefits. Keeping development patterns uniform in small areas is convenient for the public. It helps keep demand for infrastructure predictable and stable, making heated debates over traffic, water, power and such less frequent. Keeping commerce out of neighborhoods tempers complaints about noise and parking—landmine issues for local politicians. But use-based zoning restrictions aren’t the only way to manage local infrastructure debates, and we have alternative options for dealing with negative spillovers from mixing homes and places of commerce and industry.

State and local politicians could make a number of changes in land use regulation to tip the scales toward a mix that favors convenience over minimizing negative spillover effects. The most complete reform would be for states to endorse a form of hierarchical zoning, where zoning is based on the intensity of activity rather than the use itself. High intensity activities generate noxious spillover effects—heavy industry being the highest intensity activity of all—while residential uses generate the least intense activity. In a hierarchical system, developers are allowed to build any type of building up to the maximum intensity category. This allows housing to be built in areas home to more-intense activities like retail and office complexes, and allows retail to be built in areas home to primarily industrial uses.

Japan has long used a hierarchical zoning system, and has largely avoided the high rents people face in most large American cities. Given its success in keeping rents stable in a region as large as Tokyo, states should consider legislation to make hierarchical zoning the predominant mechanism used by municipalities when they undertake substantial zoning reform.

But for shorter, more convenient trips, zoning reform need not be a large, state-led overhaul of municipal zoning laws. In states with home rule powers, municipalities have broad discretion to implement their own land use regulations with limited interference from state governments. In these states, changing existing zones to allow more uses would open the door to more retail near offices and industrial concerns as well as more homes near retail. These changes could happen in two ways. First, towns could expand existing mixed-use zones to include most or all retail areas in an effort to allow more homes within a walk or short drive from neighborhood-serving retail. Second, towns could expand the list of allowed uses in existing zones, granting the right to develop new types of buildings in existing industrial or office areas.

American governments have been overly cautious in organizing land uses to separate our homes from where we work and where we shop. Life is easier when the places you need to go are close to each other, when you can find an ATM and a dry cleaner close to home and have time to run errands and make dinner in the evening. With zoning reform—either a new hierarchical system or an expansion of allowed uses—you could swap the peanut butter sandwich for the burger you really want.


Muslim barbarism

Three “canoodling” couples were cruelly whipped in a humiliating public punishment in Indonesia for violating local sharia law.

After the backs of the six men and women had been flogged more than 20 times each, some collapsed, bleeding, crying with severe pain and had to be carried off stage.

The couples were punished in Banda Aceh for showing affection in public, and their whipping — using a rattan cane — came after they’d already been jailed for several months, according to Gulf News.

They were beaten by a masked officer for behaving “amorously”.

Merdeka reports the “Islamic sharia violators” were whipped at Bustanus Salatin Park “in the middle of the city”, near the town hall.

The publication said not many residents attended the punishment, but students from Malaysia, studying at the Ar-Raniry State Islamic University, witnessed the distressing beating.

Wincing with pain, some collapsed after the caning, while one man was so badly injured paramedics tried to stretcher him off the stage, but he refused, and was instead carried down by police.

The mayor of Banda Aceh, Animulla Usman, said the aim of flogging the couples in public was to “make them repent”.

He said carrying out the whipping in the middle of a park, on a stage, was not to encourage people “to laugh at the perpetrators but to serve as a lesson to us all”.

Mr Usman said none of the couples were local residents but had violated strict sharia laws while in the city of Banda Aceh.

The Indonesian province routinely flogs gamblers, adulterers and homosexuals.

Mr Usman told children they were banned from watching the punishment, as it could affect their “psychological development”.

Amnesty International says caning is an “inhuman and degrading form of punishment that may amount to torture which should never be used in any circumstances”.

“The Aceh authorities’ decision to cane unmarried couples and sex workers, in front of hundreds of spectators, is an act of utmost cruelty,” Amnesty International Indonesia executive director Usman Hamid said.


Groundbreaking $4.8M Lawsuit Threatens to Unearth SPLC's Secrets

Over the past two years, the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has faced numerous lawsuits for defamation and other claims. The SPLC earned its reputation by suing the Ku Klux Klan, and in recent decades it has accused various organizations of being "hate groups," listing them along with the KKK in a cynical attempt to raise money and destroy its political enemies. While the SPLC paid a $3.375 million settlement to Muslim reformer Maajid Nawaz last year, none of the many lawsuits against the SPLC has threatened to reveal its secrets — until now.

Every lawsuit against the SPLC has been stalled or dismissed or settled, with none reaching the discovery process — a legal process by which a plaintiff can investigate the internal documents of the organization or person he or she is suing. On Tuesday, a judge dismissed a Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) lawsuit, claiming CIS attempted to shoehorn a defamation claim into a racketeering claim. CIS Executive Director Mark Krikorian told PJ Media his group is considering an appeal.

The discovery process threatens to reveal the SPLC's hidden documents. This is a big deal because the organization had a serious shake-up in March, when it fired its co-founder and cleaned house at the top in response to claims of sexual harassment and racial discrimination. The secretive SPLC did not even reveal the employee letter that led to this massive shake-up, and there is likely more dirt still to be uncovered.

In July, District Court Judge Roseann Ketchmark in the Western District of Missouri rejected part of the SPLC's motion to dismiss a defamation lawsuit, allowing the case to enter the discovery process. Yet this huge news has received almost no media attention, presumably because there is no big law firm behind this lawsuit.

In Craig Nelsen v. Southern Poverty Law Center, the Kansas City-based pro se plaintiff Craig Nelsen is suing the SPLC for defamation and asking $4.755 million in damages. Nelsen, a former heroin addict, had started the Robinson Jeffers Boxing Club (RJBC), a 13-week residency "life treatment" program for men with opioid addictions or who are otherwise in distress. The program called for a healthy diet, morning exercise, and a rigorous academic program with math, philosophy, literature, music, history, and poetry. The core of the program centered on a daily two-hour intensive boxing training, in order to give men confidence to face the world.

Nelsen attempted to start the program in late 2017 in the small town of Lexington, Mo., with specifically white males in mind. Yet RJBC was always open to people of all races, and Nelsen had made that clear from the get-go.

According to the lawsuit, Nelsen "expressed his theory that, as evidenced by official statistics on suicide and opioid abuse, white males were in a crisis of self-loathing. He argued that the Robinson Jeffers Boxing Club—designed to address the particular challenges faced by white males in modern America—could save lives, repair broken families, and help alleviate the ocean of suffering across the country."

On his website and in literature for RJBC, Nelsen made it clear that while the program was "designed to address the specific challenges unique to white males in the United States, the program was open to, and would benefit, men in distress of any race."

Unfortunately, some Lexington residents got the wrong impression, fearing that RJBC was a white supremacist organization. This was absurd, since Sherman Davis, a black resident of Washington, D.C., came to Lexington to help Nelsen launch the program. The lawsuit notes that it is "impossible to imagine that Davis, an African-American, would uproot himself from his home town and set out with Nelsen on a journey halfway across the country in the dead of winter on a speculative effort to establish a beachhead for white supremacy."

Yet Lexington resident Deborah Starke Bullock found 15- to 20-year-old SPLC attacks against Nelsen, which claimed he was an anti-immigrant racist supported by neo-Nazis. She shared them on a Facebook group and ginned up a mob against Nelsen. The SPLC piled on with a new article restating the old attacks and claiming that Nelsen "isn't convincing anyone" that his club is open to non-whites.

The backlash was deafening. A popular football coach who had supported RJBC and made a fundraising video for the program denounced Nelsen and said he had been hoodwinked. The City of Lexington filed a stop-work order — even though Nelsen hadn't started renovating the site for RJBC, a former grocery store. Pat Welch, the owner of the property and a supporter of the project, said it was time to throw in the towel.

During this public battle, Nelsen and Davis met Ryan Wilson, a 24-year-old man described in the lawsuit as "intelligent, addicted to heroin, and the father of an infant boy." He was excited about RJBC. It was a cold night, and Nelsen wanted to invite Wilson to spend the night in the store, but decided against it — since residents had posted online messages saying they would take matters into their own hands if the city would not get rid of the "Nazis on Main St." He thought taking Wilson in would give the authorities an excuse to arrest him.

Wilson was killed by a hit-and-run driver that evening.

"In the wake of Wilson's death, Nelsen and Davis's frustration grew at the sheer needlessness of it. He and Davis had traveled to Lexington expressly to help distressed men like Wilson, but had been prevented for political reasons—reasons supplied primarily by the SPLC's and Bill Sellers' false and defamatory statements. It was an outrage that the SPLC could do so much damage with such impunity," the lawsuit states.

After an aborted attempt to launch RJBC in Baltimore, Davis returned to D.C. and Nelsen lived in his van on the streets of Baltimore. The SPLC attack has done Nelsen continued damage, as potential business partners have googled his name and discovered the SPLC article.

Last November, Nelsen sued the SPLC on six counts of defamation, claiming the SPLC attempted to slander him as a neo-Nazi, anti-immigrant, and racist — and specifically accusing him of opening a whites-only club.

Judge Ketchmark struck down the suggestions that Nelson is a neo-Nazi, anti-immigrant, and racist, but she allowed Nelsen's lawsuit to move forward on the SPLC's false claim that Nelsen was opening a whites-only club.

Indeed, the article reads, "Nelsen claimed the club is open to all races, but he isn't convincing anyone." The lawsuit dissects this sentence in detail, explaining that the sentence is a blatantly false assertion of objective fact. Not only was the SPLC accusing Nelsen of lying, but that statement arguably revealed actual malice against the former addict.

According to the lawsuit, the SPLC knew that statement was false, since the article concluded with this sentence: "The meeting drew a large crowd, but in the week since, Nelsen has only resorted to getting in virtual boxing matches with residents and his grand plan for Lexington remains, at least for now, between rounds."

According to the lawsuit, the SPLC "could only make the statement if it was monitoring the Facebook group" where the debate about RJBC was taking place. "Among those participating in the Facebook discussion were those who counseled a more moderate position, who had read the website, recognized the potential for good and the undeniable need for something to be done, and who pointed out that the RJBC was open to men of any race. In other words, they were 'convinced' by [Nelsen]. Therefore, [the SPLC] knew that its claim that [Nelsen]wasn't convincing anyone was false."

The SPLC embedded this allegedly defamatory claim in an article insinuating that Nelsen is anti-immigrant, racist, and neo-Nazi. Nelsen had run the group ProjectUSA, which advocated for an immigration time-out to give the "assimilation magic a chance to work." According to Nelsen, the U.S. has experienced many waves of immigration, often punctuated by a time-out period allowing immigrants to assimilate.

"Organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center label those who advocate for remaining true to the traditional immigration pattern as hate groups and extremists and stealth Nazis," Nelsen claims in the lawsuit. He notes that the SPLC savages "anyone who suggests a time-out or any reduction at all in either legal or illegal immigration as anti-immigrant and a 'hate group.'"

Indeed, the SPLC attacks a broad swath of organizations as "anti-immigrant hate groups." The article attacking Nelsen notes that he sat on the advisory board for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which the SPLC accuses of being a "hate group."

"The SPLC seems to think that any deviation from their political ideology amounts to hate," FAIR Media Director Ira Mehlman told PJ Media. While the SPLC goes to great lengths to connect FAIR with racism, Mehlman insisted that "there’s nothing in FAIR’s record that we discriminate for or against any immigration based on race, religion, ethnicity. We believe immigration needs to be more limited, that people need to obey our laws and we need an immigration policy that selects people based on some rational basis, they need to contribute."

He insisted that FAIR welcomes "qualified people" from "just about any place on Earth."

Interestingly, the SPLC attack on Nelsen does not just note his connection with FAIR but also cites a Lexington resident who compared Nelsen to a neo-Nazi who moved to North Dakota to set up a colony. As the lawsuit notes, this is "not only guilt by association, it's guilt by association even where there is no association."

Nelsen's entering the discovery process has huge implications for lawsuits against the SPLC. In addition to Nelsen and CIS, D. James Kennedy Ministries, Baltimore lawyer Glen Keith Allen, and Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes have sued the far-left group.

Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, a Christian nonprofit branded a "hate group" by the SPLC, told PJ Media that more than 60 organizations are considering their own lawsuits against the SPLC. He said Nelsen's lawsuit will likely "bolster other cases; there's no question about it."

Staver noted that any documents Nelsen files in court are public record for others to inspect, report on, or use in other lawsuits — unless they're sealed.

After CIS filed its RICO lawsuit, the SPLC asked the court to penalize CIS for filing a frivolous lawsuit. While the judge struck down the lawsuit, she did not say it was frivolous and did not penalize CIS. This development also bodes well for those considering a lawsuit against the SPLC.

"I think that the SPLC itself is inspiring more people to file lawsuits by its reckless labeling of people 'hate groups,'" Staver told PJ Media. "The SPLC is the real inspiration for these lawsuits."

He noted that litigation often follows a "typical pattern of suits that were not successful and then began to get some traction and eventually began to get a significant amount of traction."

Citing the SPLC's settlement with Nawaz, Staver said the lawsuits against the SPLC may be crossing the threshold. "There's more traction building," he insisted.



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

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

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


20 September, 2019

Comedians endangered

A podcast from September 2018 was circulated in which Shane Gillis mocked Chinese people and described his remarks as "nice racism". In another episode from the same month, Mr Gillis was heard using homophobic slurs to describe Hollywood producer Judd Apatow and comedian Chris Gethard

I hope this offends someone...

Ed Driscoll put it best on Instapundit yesterday when he said, "Cancel Culture Collects Another Scalp." In case you missed it, a young comedian just had the career opportunity of a lifetime taken away because some emotionally-limited morons were determined to be aggrieved:

The details of Gillis's supposed transgressions are all over the internet, but they are irrelevant to the point I am going to make here.

It doesn't matter what he said. I don't care what the subject matter was or what kind of pathetic, poorly-parented emotional weaklings were offended by it. Heck, I don't care if he was talking about my mom. In fact, I hope that after this, Gillis goes on tour and does jokes about everyone's moms.

Of the myriad assaults on free speech -- most of which are coming from politically correct leftist scolds -- the assault on stand-up comedy is the most ominous. And I'm not just saying that because I'm a comic.

Just around this time last year, I wrote a lengthy post about the PC crowd's full-frontal assault on stand-up, noting that the slippery slope to the death of free speech gets much more slippery if they're successful in shutting up comedians.

Lorne Michaels' posturing via a spokesperson (at the Instapundit link) was timid, pathetic, and disturbing.

"Saturday Night Live" was once cutting-edge sketch comedy and satire. Now it's firing people for upsetting some snot-nosed Twitter scolds.

I am forever grateful that social media wasn't around during my early days as a comic. I'm pretty sure everything I did for the first five years on stage could have offended someone enough to ruin my career. I'm proud of that too.

Cancel culture needs to be canceled. The future of entertainment is well and truly bleak if left to these perpetually outraged emotional midgets.


California’s Travel Bans Are the Lamest Virtue-Signaling Tactic Yet

California is becoming an unhappy mix of serious problems and unserious policy ideas.

The Golden State is grappling with skyrocketing homelessness rates, net negative migration, nation-leading poverty rates, and an outbreak of disease that hearkens back to the Dark Ages.

It’s the perfect storm of ugly circumstances that cry out for bold leadership.

But rather than tackle these problems, state leaders are shifting the focus to other states who apparently deserve a moral lecture from California: The state has now added Iowa to its “travel ban” list.

According to Fox News, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced that as of Oct. 4, “California will no longer offer taxpayer-funded trips to Iowa for any public employee or student at a state-run university.”

Why? Because the state will no longer spend Medicaid dollars on gender transition surgeries, thanks to a newly passed Iowa law.

Becerra said in a statement:

The Iowa Legislature has reversed course on what was settled law under the Iowa Civil Rights Act, repealing protections for those seeking gender-affirming health care. California has taken an unambiguous stand against discrimination and government actions that would enable it.

Apparently, not paying for someone else’s transgender surgery is beyond the pale.

This isn’t the first time California has issued a travel ban.

In 2017, the state announced a ban on taxpayer-funded travel to states deemed “discriminatory” toward LGBT people. The list of banned states has grown to 11 with the recent addition of Iowa.

No surprise, those states are almost entirely red or red-leaning.

The policy may be getting lots of press, but it’s barely having any impact. Though the policy prohibits public universities from partaking in events in states on the list, it hasn’t interfered with the college sports schedule, according to The Sacramento Bee.

And, no surprise, the law makes clear exceptions for tax collectors traveling out of state.

Apparently, social justice takes a back seat to good ole cash revenue.

As I noted when California first started implementing this law, it was telling that California placed a ban on these states while suing the Trump administration for its own travel ban on terrorist hotbeds like Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen, where same-sex sexual activity is illegal and in some cases is punishable by death.

Apparently, California sees red states as more of a threat than terror states.

This laughable double standard was noted by Assembly Minority Leader Marie Waldron, a Republican. She pointed to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s April trip to El Salvador, which is not exactly a gay-friendly country.

“El Salvador doesn’t allow same-sex couples to marry or adopt children and discrimination is rampant. Where was the outrage from legislative Democrats when Gov. Newsom traveled there?” Waldron asked, according to the Los Angeles Times.

She called the governor’s trip “virtue-signaling at its worst.”

California’s travel-ban frenzy is full of irony. If anything, other states have better reasons to place California on a travel ban.

As mentioned, California is reeling from an outbreak of infectious diseases, and its residents are fleeing by the thousands. Moreover, when they leave, they take their political ideology with them to their newly adopted homes—which are often in red states.

Be careful, California: You might just find yourself on the receiving end of a travel ban.


Baltimore’s Police Exam Isn’t Racist

The U.S. Department of Justice has recently sued the Baltimore County government alleging that its written test for police officer recruits was unfairly biased against black applicants.

It turns out that black applicants failed the written test at a rate much greater than white applicants. That results in fewer blacks being trained and hired as police officers.

John A. Olszewski Jr., Baltimore County executive, said: “A law enforcement agency should look like the community it serves. As I have said repeatedly since taking office, I am committed to increasing diversity in the county’s police department.”

Baltimore City uses the Municipal Police Selection Test. You can examine some sample questions at its website. I’d like to know which of the questions are either unrelated to police work or racist.

Many jurisdictions use The National Police Officer Selection Test. You can examine some of the sample questions at its website. Again, I’d like to know which of the questions are unrelated to police work or are racially biased questions.

In addition, it has been found that MPST and POST are successful predictors of law enforcement training success and job performance.

Black performance on police exams is simply the tip of the iceberg of a truly tragic cruelty. That cruelty stands front and center when one examines the education that most blacks in Baltimore receive.

Several years ago, Project Baltimore began an investigation of Baltimore’s school system. What it found was an utter disgrace.

In 19 of Baltimore’s high schools, out of 3,804 students, only 14 of them, or less than 1%, were proficient in math. In 13 of Baltimore’s 39 high schools, not a single student scored proficient in math. In five Baltimore City high schools, not a single student scored proficient in math or reading. Despite these academic deficiencies, about 70% of the students graduate and are conferred a high school diploma.

A high school diploma attests that the holder can read, write, and compute at a 12th-grade level. Obviously, the diplomas conferred on students who have not mastered reading, writing, and computing are fraudulent.

When a person who cannot read, write, and compute very well takes a written employment exam, including that to become a police officer, he is going to encounter difficulties. His difficulties are not caused by any racially discriminatory aspect of the test. His difficulties are a result of not having acquired what he should have acquired by the time he finished high school.

But that is not how such a person sees it. He sees that he has a high school diploma just as a white applicant has a high school diploma. To him, any difference in treatment and outcomes must be the result of racial discrimination. Thus, the U.S. Department of Justice sued, claiming that the written test for police officer recruits was unfairly biased against black applicants.

The conclusion that Baltimore County’s written test for police officer recruits was unfairly biased against black applicants is tragic. It allows Baltimore public schools to continue to produce fraudulent education.

You say: “Hold it, Williams! You can’t blame everything on schools.” You’re right. One cannot blame schools and teachers for students who are hostile to the education process. One cannot blame schools and teachers for a rotten home environment or derelict parents.

But there is one thing entirely within the control of educators. That’s their power to issue diplomas. When they confer high school diplomas on youngsters who cannot read, write, and compute at or near a 12th-grade level, they are engaging in fraudulent conduct.

Thomas Sowell’s research in “Education: Assumptions Versus History” documents academic excellence at Baltimore’s Frederick Douglass High School and others. This academic excellence occurred during an era when blacks were much poorer and faced gross racial discrimination. It’s worthwhile reading for black people to learn the capabilities of other blacks facing so many challenging circumstances.

I’m wondering when the black community will demand an end to an educational environment that condemns so many youngsters to mediocrity.


Australia: Jacinta Price not the first indigenous person to fall foul of Coffs Harbour City Council

When the Coffs Harbour City Council last week attempted to ban Warlpiri/Celtic woman, Alice Springs councillor and former Coalition federal candidate Jacinta Nampijinpa Price from speaking on her Mind the Gap tour, it was merely continuing a long tradition of being seen to act in the best interests of indigenous people.

For example, nearly 70 years ago, one Councillor (President) Harry Bailey told the Dorrigo Shore Council, as it was then, that it was wrong for the NSW Government to accommodate Aboriginals within the town, or nearby for that matter.

“The aborigines are a vanishing race and we owe a great deal to them,” said Bailey, as quoted in the Coffs Harbour Advocate on November 19, 1948. “They should be treated with all the consideration and kindness we can bestow on them.” According to him, this involved allocating them “a natural setting — an area of land close to a beach, served with a stream or two and with some natural brush in which they could erect some dwellings and fish and work and live in keeping with their way of life”.

Bailey was wrong in believing the demise of indigenous people was nigh. Nonetheless, his romanticised and simplistic depiction, together with his belief that isolation and patronising were the answer, mirrors the views of many other officials, activists, and commentators today who purport to speak on behalf of indigenous people. Less enlightened folk refer to this phenomenon as the racism of low expectations.

Bailey, sometimes referred to as “the father of modern Coffs Harbour” died in office in 1965 but the WH Bailey Memorial City Library still bears his name, or at least it will until some professional offence-taker discovers his “vanishing race” utterance. Now a female mayor, Denise Knight, heads the council. No doubt she too would say it was acting as with consideration and kindness this month in writing to Price, who had booked the Jetty Memorial Theatre for her tour, saying it would “appreciate” her “requesting permission from Gumbaynggirr Aboriginal people to enter the land”.

A question for the non-indigenous folk who have stayed in Coffs Harbour — was your visit preceded by a similar instruction from council or were you allowed to go about your business as if you were an adult with the ability to make decisions for yourself? Memo to Mayor Knight and her mostly fair-skinned fellow councillors: the days of indigenous people not being allowed to travel unless they have a permit from a white government inspector are long gone.

Price has ample grounds to make a complaint of racial discrimination to the Australian Human Rights Commission, although for some unknown reason the normally noisy so-called anti-racists have not urged her to do so.

This is the same mayor who said only last month: “It’s vital in an inclusive community that we learn as much as we can about each other’s cultures so that we can better understand the different ways we view the world.”

The occasion was the launching of ‘Yandaarra — Shifting Camp Together’, an “Aboriginal cultural awareness and engagement guide”. Get ready for a good laugh: the guide specifies: “It is important that the Aboriginal community is provided with opportunities to openly share information and discuss issues that may impact on their community, culture, heritage and traditional lore.”

That is exactly what Price’s tour is about, thus proving that Coffs’ council chambers are full of mealy-mouthed hypocrites. Admittedly Price has some controversial views, for example, she says indigenous empowerment is realised through people taking responsibility for themselves rather than rely on government welfare. She also maintains colonisation is used to excuse epidemic levels of violence by indigenous men against women and children, and that the vulnerable in these communities are silenced through intimidation. Those views are uncomfortable facts, otherwise known in progressive parlance as “hate speech”.

Price is also dismissive of that ancient indigenous ritual, the so-called “Welcome to Country” ceremony. So ancient in fact that the two indigenous men who invented it, Ernie Dingo and Richard Walley, are still alive. The custom has become so widespread that no official function can claim moral legitimacy if it dispenses with it. And as the council’s guide specifies: “In providing cultural services such as Welcome to Country, artistic performances … it is important to acknowledge the intellectual property of the Aboriginal people through appropriate payment for their services.”

The ceremony serves two purposes. First, it reinforces the guilt industry by continually reminding whitey he is stained by the sins of his forefathers; and second, it makes for much moolah in return for doing very little. For example, in 2013, Matilda House of the Ngambri clan was paid $10,500 for officiating at the opening of the 44th Parliament. No wonder so many indigenous activists loathe Price. As Herald-Sun columnist Andrew Bolt pointed out last year, some of the foulest misogyny directed at her — including exhortations she “die a painful death” — was from indigenous men paid by government departments to conduct these ceremonies.

Price herself knows only too well the threat of impending death. In 2008 her then-partner struck her in the head with a lamp. Bleeding profusely, she escaped from the house, fearing she would be murdered if she did not. Her message is that men in her community must take action to end domestic violence. If she were a white woman, she would be feted by the leftist commentariat.

Instead Fiona Poole, an ABC Coffs Coast presenter who attended Price’s function, described her as “very divisive”. Her ABC colleague Claire Lindsay spoke with members of the Gumbaynggirr community groups who had objected to Price’s visit. As national affairs associate editor Chris Kenny noted this week, neither journalist sought Price’s input. In addition, Lindsay blithely repeated on air a defamatory excerpt from an indigenous community media release that Price “spreads racist vitriol, vilifies and ridicules Aboriginal people and cultures”. The ABC later released a statement, saying the organisation was “remiss in not offering Ms Price the opportunity to respond to criticism”.

As for the ABC dissing an indigenous woman on the grounds she is “very divisive”, this must be a new thing. There was no such criticism from the national broadcaster when indigenous activist Tarneen Onus-Williams declared at an “Invasion Day” rally in Melbourne last year “F**k Australia, hope it burns to the ground”. In a column titled “Australia Is Tearing Down Another Woman of Colour for Daring to Have an Opinion,” then Junkee news and political editor Osman Faruqi defended her from conservative critics, stating: “The goal is not just to silence Onus-Williams, but to discourage anyone like her from speaking up.” Faruqi is now deputy editor of ABC Life. Surely any day now it will be running his article: “Progressive Australia is Tearing Down a Woman of Colour for Daring to Have a Contrary Opinion”. Right?

Then there is the case of indigenous woman, actor and playwright Nakkiah Lui. In 2016, the star of ABC’s “Black Comedy” tweeted: “My main concern in Indigenous Affairs atm is our use of the saying ‘White Dogs’. Dogs are innocent, sweet and loyal. Let’s not insult dogs.” All in the name of reconciliation, I am sure. Interviewed on ABC Radio National regarding a negative review of her play How to Rule the World by Daily Review critic and ABC senior producer Jason Whittaker this year, Lui attributed this to “white supremacy”, and suggested he no longer be allowed to review any works by “people of colour”.

Joining her in the studio and metaphorically holding her hand as Lui told of how Whittaker had “hurt” her “feelings” was Gamilaroi/Eualeyai woman, academic, and host of ABC’s Speaking Out, Larissa Behrendt. You might remember in 2011 she tweeted “I watched a show where a guy had sex with a horse and I’m sure it was less offensive than Bess Price,” referring to Jacinta’s mother, who like her daughter is outspoken about reducing Aboriginal violence and who supported the Northern Territory intervention. But of all these indigenous women it is only the Prices who are divisive, at least in the eyes of Aunty.

As to why this is the case, it is best explained by the reality that many indigenous activists see perpetual bemoaning of the status quo as a livelihood, and a lucrative one at that. Working in tandem with them is a sympathetic progressive media eager to portray itself as the stalwart defender of the wretched. Any indigenous person who publicly challenges that narrative can expect to be labelled a pariah by the former and treated with cold indifference by the latter. The fact that even local government now takes part in this bullying, ostracising and groupthink shows how pervasive the censorious ideology of identity politics has become.



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

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

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


19 September, 2019

Another rapid slide away from reality by the Left

During the third Democratic debate on Thursday, ABC News ran an obnoxious ad from the Sinclair Media Group. The ad opened with the face of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) getting lit on fire, revealing the skulls of people killed under Pol Pot's horrific regime in Cambodia. While the ad's imagery deserves to be condemned, it aimed to make an important point about command and control big-government regimes.

Rather than addressing the concerns that socialism gives way to communism and government tyranny, AOC attacked the ad as racist.

"Know that this wasn’t an ad for young conservatives of color - that was the pretense. What you just watched was a love letter to the GOP’s white supremacist [base]," AOC tweeted.

Setting AOC's face on fire is incendiary rhetoric, and it comes at a time when both liberal and conservative politicians have faced threats to their lives. But the optic was not about racism — it was about ideology. In fact, Cambodian-American Elizabeth Heng, a woman of color whose father almost died in the horrors of Pol Pot's regime, narrates the video.

Heng took offense at AOC's suggestion that she was abetting white supremacy. "Not Republicans. Me. Are you really calling me a racist [AOC]? I’m calling all Democrats out for supporting an evil ideology. Or are you just in Congress to hang out with celebrities and tweet out ridiculous ideas like the green new deal?" the Cambodian American tweeted.

Heng later claimed that AOC's "response is the Democratic party in a nutshell. They are more offended by truthful words than the acts of their political ideology that has killed millions of innocent victims. I don't care about [AOC's] feelings - I care about stopping her lies about the lies of socialism."

During the debate, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who pioneered the "proud democratic socialist" argument that AOC has embraced, claimed that his view of democratic socialism is entirely different from the socialism practiced by Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro.

"Anybody who does what Maduro does is a vicious tyrant. What we need now is international and regional cooperation for free elections in Venezuela so that the people of that country can make -- can create their own future. In terms of democratic socialism, to equate what goes on in Venezuela with what I believe is extremely unfair. I'll tell you what I believe in terms of democratic socialism," Sanders said.

"I agree with what goes on in Canada and in Scandinavia, guaranteeing health care to all people as a human right. I believe that the United States should not be the only major country on earth not to provide paid family and medical leave. I believe that every worker in this country deserves a living wage and that we expand the trade union movement," he added.

Yet Sanders historically embraced the communism of the Soviet Union. He and his wife took their honeymoon in the Soviet Union during the Cold War. As for Bernie's constant refrain about America falling behind every other "major country son Earth" — by which he means OECD countries, excluding Russia, China, and India, among others — America's poorest 20 percent consumes more resources than the average person in 64 percent of OECD countries.

The U.S. is not a tiny, largely culturally and ethnically homogenous country like those in Scandinavia. Ironically, Scandinavian countries like Denmark are reforming in the direction of free markets, moving away from socialism. Furthermore, America has a unique role in the modern world, providing protection for Europe — a position that affords European countries the ability to spend more money on social programs.

If America were to become a socialist country, with its tremendous military apparatus, it would be less like European socialism. In order to mandate government control of industry, the government may have to use force. Democratic socialists like AOC and Bernie Sanders do not have anywhere near the evil radical agenda of Pol Pot, but power corrupts — and liberals are already trying to redefine American history as a story of evil rather than of expanding liberty.

Nationalization of industries in the style of Venezuela would arguably result in poverty like Venezuela currently experiences. Worse, America has the world's largest economy, so derailing the U.S. economy with socialism would have a ripple effect across the world.

Most importantly, Americans take our unprecedented freedom and prosperity for granted. We easily forget that the natural human condition is poverty and tyranny. Governments abused their monopoly of force, using it to force subjects to construct monuments to the glory of kings rather than allowing the people to live as they pleased. We easily forget that conveniences like running water, central air and heat, refrigeration, and microwaves represent a level of wealth unimaginable even just 200 years ago. The institutions of liberty, free markets, and limited government grew up over time, and can be lost quickly.

In the 20th century, totalitarian ideologies like Nazism, Soviet communism, and the communism of Pol Pot reared their ugly heads — proving that modern humans are still susceptible to the same forces of tyranny that dominated the pre-modern world. In the 1920s, some of these command-and-control tyrants were seen as pioneers of the future. They grew from socialist movements that aimed to bring back state control and a pre-modern collectivism seen as the answer to modern angst.

The fact that these totalitarian governments fell should not give lovers of liberty and prosperity a false hope. China has embraced a new form of communism, and even after the death of the Soviet Union, the college professors Russia aimed to indoctrinate are teaching American youth about the virtues of big government.

Bernie Sanders and AOC are no Pol Pot. But the big government socialist "Revolution" they seek to bring to America would open the path for a communist tyranny to prevail even in this country.

The very fact that AOC rushed to connect Elizabeth Heng's video to white supremacy shows just how insistent liberals like her are in their efforts to redefine America's past and present. If a Cambodian American woman of color can be accused of supporting white supremacy, then white supremacy has lost its meaning. Heng did not attempt to set up a system of government where whites are in control over other races — she attempted to warn against the threats to liberty and prosperity that big government movements like socialism really do pose.

Heng's imagery went too far, but it had nothing to do with white supremacy. AOC's rush to those terms suggests the kind of totalitarian insistence on redefining everything according to a power-seeking ideology. Pol Pot erased Cambodia's history using such an ideology, and the left's tactics are eerily similar.

Rather than just rightly complaining about the optics, AOC had to link the video to white supremacy — even though the woman behind the video is a woman of color.


NYC to Drop 'Conversion Therapy' Ban after Jewish Therapist Mounts Legal Challenge

New York City will act swiftly to repeal a ban on psychotherapy to address unwanted same-sex attraction, New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson announced last week. Johnson, who is himself gay, insisted that he would rather not repeal the "conversion therapy" ban, but he insisted that a legal challenge forced his hand.

"Obviously I didn’t want to repeal this. I don’t want to be someone who is giving in to these right-wing groups," Johnson told The New York Times. "But the Supreme Court has become conservative; the Second Circuit, which oversees New York, has become more conservative. We think this is the most responsible, prudent course."

The law, enacted in December 2017, prohibited psychotherapists from charging patients for "services intended to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity." Therapists would be fined $1,000 for each violation.

In January, Dr. David Schwartz, an Orthodox Jewish therapist based in New York, filed a legal challenge to the bill. The lawsuit attacked the ban on free speech and religious freedom grounds, condemning it as "the Counseling Censorship Law." The New York City Council reportedly put out bulletins seeking anonymous complainants. Schwartz faced a threat of up to $10,000 in fines.

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is representing Schwartz. In a statement to PJ Media on Monday, ADF senior counsel Roger Brooks celebrated the city's move to strike the counseling censorship law.

"All New Yorkers and all Americans deserve the right to private conversations, free from government control. By trying to regulate and censor private sessions between an adult and his counselor, New York City directly violated freedom of speech—a core right protected by the First Amendment," Brooks said. "The city council appears to have realized its error and correctly concluded that this censorship is unconstitutional. The city council’s move toward repeal is a win for Dr. Schwartz, his patients, and all New Yorkers."

"The patient-psychotherapist relationship requires giving patients the ability to express themselves without fear of reprisal and allowing therapists the freedom to respond to that expression with understanding; it is the last possible place where the government should be dictating what topics or ideas are off limits," the lawsuit states.

Psychotherapists should have the freedom to explore a wide range of issues in therapy. Unwanted same-sex attraction or gender confusion often has psychological roots. People who previously identified as transgender but grew to reject that identity discovered that abuse in childhood had contributed to their gender confusion.

Yet LGBT activists stigmatize therapy that seeks to address issues behind unwanted same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria. The term "conversion therapy" is itself a weapon against therapy freedom.

Arthur Goldberg, founder of the therapy referral service Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH) objected to the term. "Conversion therapy is not even a term of art. It’s a misnomer. It’s a pejorative term that talks about emotional trauma and physical trauma," he told PJ Media last month. JONAH did not recommend or carry out so-called "conversion therapy." It gave people "references for therapy for underlying issues which may result in same-sex attraction."

As ex-gay leader Christopher Doyle explains in his book The War on Psychotherapy, "One of the strategies that far-left advocacy and gay activist organizations use to smear professional psychotherapists assisting clients distressed by sexual and gender identity conflicts is to intentionally conflate professional therapy with religious practice and/or unlicensed, unregulated counseling. They do this by labeling all efforts—therapeutic, religious, or otherwise—to help clients distressed by sexual and gender identity conflicts [as] ‘conversion therapy.'"

Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, a Christian law firm defending ex-gays who challenge counseling censorship bans, explained that these laws have "prohibited counselors from providing — and clients from receiving — any counsel to change their unwanted same-sex attractions, behavior, or identity, or gender confusion. This forces counselors to override the objective and autonomous will of the client when the client asks them to help counsel the to change behavior and address their unwanted feelings."

Contrary to the fears of LGBT activists, "counselors don't push clients in a direction they don't want to go," the Liberty Counsel chairman insisted. "They're kind of like a GPS. The client sets the destination, and the counselor guides them to it."

These restrictive laws impede counselors from doing their jobs, Staver argued. "These laws are so intrusive that counselors are afraid to even counsel underlying issue with these individuals who are seeking to change or to align their feelings or behavior with their religious and moral objectives," he said.

Lawsuits against "conversion therapy" bans received a new lease on life thanks to the Supreme Court ruling NIFLA v. Becerra last June. In that decision, Justice Clarence Thomas explicitly struck down California's law forcing crisis pregnancy centers to advertise abortion under the argument that states can regulate "professional speech." In striking down California's law, Thomas referenced a case (King v. Governor of New Jersey) involving bans on sexual orientation change efforts.

"The Supreme Court cited the King case in New Jersey by name, rejected the professional speech category," Staver told PJ Media. Last year, he had interpreted the NIFLA case to mean that "the handwriting is on the wall that laws banning counsel for unwanted same-sex attractions, behavior, or identity will fall under the First Amendment Free Speech Clause."

Dr. Schwartz is far from the first to challenge these restrictive counseling bans, and it seems unlikely he will be the last. The New York City Council may be willing to overturn its restrictive speech ban in order to prevent a legal precedent that could challenge more of these bans across the country. In doing so, the city may have merely delayed the inevitable.

Therapists should have the liberty to help their clients address any psychological issues, and that includes a struggle with unwanted same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria. While many people with these conditions find community and affirmation in the LGBT movement, not all Americans with these conditions wish to join that movement.

One final note: The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) spearheaded lawsuits to effectively ban "conversion therapy" by getting certain types of counseling declared in violation of consumer protection laws. In March, the SPLC had a devastating scandal involving claims of racial discrimination and sexual harassment. That scandal also revealed that its list of "hate groups" is a cynical fundraising scheme. The SPLC has attacked both ADF and Liberty Counsel as "hate groups," and it has bragged about getting JONAH shut down.

Amazon has blacklisted organizations the SPLC has accused of being "hate groups." In July, the website removed counseling books that offered hope to those struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria.

The New York victory for Dr. Schwartz represents a key setback for the SPLC's legal strategy, but the far-left group will likely strike back. The battle against therapy censorship is far from over.


Media Hyped ‘Wrong’ Study Linking Trump Rallies To Hate Crimes, Then Ignored Second Study Debunking It

Establishment media outlets like The Washington Post hyped a now-disputed study that linked President Donald Trump’s campaign rallies to a spike in hate crimes, but they’ve yet to cover a second study that debunked the first one.

The first study, which three Texas university professors conducted, said counties that hosted Trump rallies in 2016 saw a 226% spike in hate crimes compared to places that didn’t host Trump rallies. Harvard University researchers found the political scientists had gotten it wrong when they tried to replicate the study.

“The study is wrong, and yet journalists ran with it anyway,” Harvard researchers Matthew Lilley and Brian Wheaton wrote on Sept. 6 in Reason, a libertarian magazine.

Establishment media outlets spread the first study’s conclusions but have largely ignored the second.

The Texas researchers published their findings in March in the Post in an analysis titled, “Counties that hosted a 2016 Trump rally saw a 226 percent increase in hate crimes.” The Post cited the study in several articles published since then.

Other media outlets echoed the analysis.

“US counties where President Donald Trump held a campaign rally saw a 226% increase in reported hate crimes over similar counties that did not hold a rally,” Business Insider reported in March, citing the article.

“Hate crimes reportedly jumped by 226 percent in counties that hosted Trump campaign rallies,” Vox reported in March.

The Associated Press cited the study in an August article titled, “Trump words linked to more hate crime? Some experts think so.”

CNN host John Avlon similarly promoted the apparently flawed study in an August segment titled “#RealityCheck.”

The Harvard University researchers found that “adding a simple statistical control for county population to the original analysis causes the estimated effect of Trump rallies on reported hate incidents to become statistically indistinguishable from zero.”

Lilley and Wheaton found using the criteria relied upon for the first study that rallies for former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton “contribute to an even greater increase in hate incidents than Trump rallies.”

“Given how little scrutiny was required to reveal the flaws in the thesis that Trump rallies cause hate incidents, one cannot help but wonder whether its viral status was aided by journalists predisposed to believe its message,” they added.

Only Business Insider has updated its coverage as of Wednesday.

“In September 2019, two Harvard researchers published a refutation of this study in the Libertarian-leaning publication Reason,” reads the update, which Business Insider posted at the bottom of the article Wednesday following an inquiry from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Molly Gannon, a spokeswoman for the Post, said the original article was published on The Monkey Cage, an academic blog that runs on the Post’s website.

Gannon said the blog “operates independently” and directed the DCNF to the blog’s editor, John Sides. Sides declined to comment other than to recommend reaching out to the original study’s authors.

“The truth that is being masked by this entire back and forth is that to confirm model validity often requires many hours (and days) of testing and retesting. The idea that transforming a single variable invalidates a whole series of analyses and models produced by Ph.D. holding researchers lacks face validity,” Ayal Feinberg, one of the Texas researchers, told the DCNF in an email.

Feinberg said that “there are several methodological questions that [Lilley and Wheaton] have not answered and claims where we fundamentally disagree.”

The AP, Vox and CNN didn’t return the DCNF’s inquiries on whether they would update their coverage of the disputed study.


Australia: Vegan who wants to dictate to other people accuses OTHERS of Fascism

An animal rights activist, who wore a pigs mask and spread fake blood across the floor at a McDonalds resturant, has accused the legal system of 'wasting public money' after she was sentenced to 60 hours unpaid work.

Dylan Roffey, 24, who marched into a Brighton branch of the fast-food chain with around 10 to 20 protesters in May, also said that people should not be arrested for 'having basic compassion'.

The actress was convicted of criminal damage at Brighton Magistrates' court this month and ordered to pay £250 court costs, £50 compensation to McDonald's and an £85 victim surcharge, along with her unpaid work requirement.

It comes after the vegan was sentenced to 150 hours unpaid work for an unrelated incident, where she called a woman a 'piece of s***' and allegedly spat in her face at Brighton station after noticing she was wearing a £750 Canada Goose fur coat.

Speaking exclusively to Femail, Dylan branded the decision to arrest her 'ridiculous'. 'I think it's ridiculous that people's time and money was spent on people who are trying to save lives, instead of doing something about people who are profiting from people being killed,' she said, referring to the animals.

'I don't think people should be arrested for protests, or for having basic compassion, and that thinking that killing non-human people is an unacceptable thing to do.

'There isn't a gentle way to macerate a chick for the egg industry, or a passionate way to slit someone's throat. 'We're facing such fascism and animal exploitation on a scale that we've never seen before.'

Photos and videos from the protest in May show Ms Roffey sitting in a pool of fake blood, an edible mixture of flour and food dye, surrounded by activists.

They are holding up pictures of cows, chickens and pigs emblazoned with the phrase 'I want to live'.

She was arrested at the scene by police after making no attempt to move, and was later charged with criminal damage and resisting a police officer.

'I knew going into it I would be arrested', she said, 'that's why I stayed'. 'I knew it would get more attention and get more eyes on what's happening. 'And make people think that this isn't something that is done on a whim but something that people are really horrified by.'

During the hearing judge Amanda Kelly threw out the charge of resisting arrest, but sentenced Dylan for criminal damage.

'Not withstanding the fact that the mixture was flour, water and food dye... the damage need not be permanent in order to be criminal,' she explained, reported Sky News.

The judge went on to say that she was 'absolutely sure' that Miss Dylan' intention was to damage. 'I find that Miss Roffey's purpose was to raise awareness and attract publicity for her cause but that these purposes are too far removed from providing the animals' immediate protection.

'I have a lot of respect for a young woman with strong principles, which you clearly do, but this is not the way to go about it.'

Dylan became a vegan almost four years ago after deciding it would be 'morally inconsistent' to care for animals while she continued to 'hurt them' by eating them.

She has been an animal lover ever since she was small. At the age of two Dylan told off a group of hare-hunters, her mother fondly remembers.

Dylan was also convicted earlier this month for spitting in a woman's face. She was ordered to pay £500 court costs, £150 compensation to Ms Boyle and an £85 surcharge.

Although the CCTV footage was unclear, judge Kelly said the accounts of the two witnesses were compelling, reports The Daily Express.  'I am absolutely sure that Dylan Roffey did spit at Ms Boyle because she was angry and upset at not being listened to. She lost her temper.

'It may have been completely out of character. She is a pleasant young woman with strong beliefs. But to deliberately spit at someone is a serious offence.'



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

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

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


18 September, 2019

Docs cheered for standing up for 'trans' children

Several medical associations are urging the U.S. surgeon general, Dr. Jerome Adams, to issue a warning over transgender surgeries for children.

The letter to Dr. Adams was penned by the American College of Pediatricians.

ACP executive director Dr. Michelle Cretella tells OneNewsNow that sex-change hormones and life-altering surgeries are not backed by scientific research. Instead, children are subjected to sterility, blood clots, strokes, malignancy, elevated rates of suicide, and more.

"There is no science,” she insists, “to establish that this is safe or effective in children."

Medical groups in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Sweden have also issued warnings, she says, and that takes courage to do so because it means standing up to far-left, trans-affirming activists.

"These physicians who are standing up and going against the tide,” she says, “are risking their very careers and social standing."


Transgender group Mermaids says children as young as 12 who question their gender should be offered puberty-blocking medication

Children as young as 12 who question their gender identity should be offered puberty blockers, according to a transgender group.

Teachers were told in a training session led by a trainer for the group Mermaids the hormones give the children 'immense relief' and are 'completely reversible'.

The meeting was held at Newman University in Birmingham last December with around 20 teachers and pastoral staff.

A recording obtained by the Sunday Times was made by an audience member in which the trainer says: 'Puberty blocker medication doesn't make any changes, so [is] completely reversible.

'What it does is put a pause button on the pituitary gland and freezes puberty where it is. Not growth, just puberty. Take the blockers away and biological puberty will recommence.'

The training session is believed to be a blueprint for Mermaid's training in schools nationwide.

The advice have been criticised by an Oxford academic who said it could push children towards early medical intervention.

Michael Biggs, associate professor of sociology at St Cross College, also pointed to evidence which shows most children who are prescribed blockers at a young age progress to surgery.

He said he has unpublished evidence that children experience psychological problems a year on from taking blockers.

Professor Biggs has previously been accused of transphobia by the Oxford Student newspaper after allegedly posting offensive tweets on a pseudonymous account.

One tweet from the account said: 'Transphobia is a word created by fascists, and used by cowards, to manipulate morons.'

Michael Conroy, who took the recording of the training session, has worked in pastoral support in schools for 15 years.

He said he fears Mermaids is encouraging children to believe they are born in the wrong body.

School Girls Enter And Leave Church (stock)    +2
Mermaids said the blockers are reversible and can give children relief if they are experiencing gender dysphoria

Information on Mermaid's website states: 'The blockers do not change your child’s body, but they do pause puberty to give them time to explore their gender further without the adolescent physical changes that can bring great distress.

'If a young person decides that they are happy in their birth gender then they can stop the treatment.'

They also point out that the earlier the intervention, the less surgery will be required later on, allowing trans people to appear more as their chosen gender.

Mermaids said in a statement: 'The information in our sessions is based on a wealth of international scientific study and 25 years of experience in this field.

'Since this training session in 2018, we have been funded by the Department for Education in a schools training programme overseen by the Government Equalities Office.'


British census to let you CHOOSE your sex: Experts warn that new trans-friendly guidelines could wreck crucial plans for Britain's future

People filling in the national census are to be told officially that they can say their sex is different from the one on their birth certificate.

The new guidance runs the risk of affecting vital data regarding the population the Government needs to plan for the future.

The advice for England and Wales is set to come in from the next census, to be held in 2021.

Transgender people will be told that when asked in the survey if they are ‘male’ or ‘female’ they can choose whichever option they feel best describes their sex.

The advice will apply to both adults and children, with parents being able to choose to record a sex for their child that differs from the one on their birth certificate.

It will also be applicable to individuals who are ‘non-binary’, meaning they do not identify as either men or women, and people who have both male and female sex characteristics – known commonly as ‘intersex’.

The move by the Office for National Statistics is a departure from the last census where no such written guidelines were provided and typically people would opt for the sex they were born.

It reflects a growing trend among public bodies such as the NHS, prisons and schools to allow individuals to erase their biological sex from official records and register as the gender they feel they are – even if they have not undergone any physical changes.

The guidance is set to accompany census questions when for the first time they are sent out electronically rather than in the post to 26 million households in March 2021.

An ‘information paper’ published by the ONS this month revealed that the compulsory question which is likely to be posed is ‘What is your sex?’. The response options – as has been the case in previous censuses – will be ‘male’ or ‘female’.

But in its advice on answering this question, an accompanying statement says: ‘If you are one or more of non-binary, transgender, have variations of sex characteristics, sometimes also known as intersex, the answer you give can be different from what is on your birth certificate. If you’re not sure how to answer, use the sex registered on your official documents, such as passport or driving licence, or whichever describes your sex.’

Last night, legal and medical experts warned that failing to accurately record the numbers of females and males in the population could lead the Government to misallocate funds for vital services.

NHS paediatrician Dr Julie Maxwell said: ‘Almost every kind of illness behaves differently in men and women. If the national statistics are skewed in this way so you don’t know how many biological men or women there are, and if you add on to that the fact people are already changing their sex on medical records, you lose any meaningful knowledge of how often health problems are happening in men and women.

‘And my biggest fear for children is they are not going to get appropriate health services allocated for their needs because of messing around with statistics.’

Professor Rosa Freedman, an expert on LGBT human rights law, added: ‘To understand how ludicrous this is – if people could just pick a race or disability, we would all be up in arms.

‘The purpose of the census is to understand what the population is and plan for those demographics. The census is not there to validate someone’s gender identity. The census is there to allow the Government to plan for the next ten years in terms of its funding for programmes and where it should focus its resources. Conflating gender with sex as the ONS are doing with this guidance does not allow for population planning.’

The next census is also set to ask adults over 16 an additional ‘voluntary’ question on whether their gender is the same as the sex they were registered at birth for the first time. If the answer to this question is ‘no’ they are given the option to enter a term they use to describe their gender. The ONS said it was advised by a number of transgender lobby groups in devising this question on gender such as Mermaids, which supports young people, but also consulted potential objectors such as feminists.

It insisted that while there has never been written guidance for transgender people on how to answer the question on sex, there had been no change in their advice. A spokesman said if a trans person called one of their advisers on how to answer this section in the last 2011 census, they would have been verbally told to select the sex they believed was correct for them.

Mermaids also advised ITV in the making of a series on transgender children called Butterfly – a drama last year in which Anna Friel played a mother who supports her 11-year-old son to begin living as a girl called Maxine.


Where has our resilience gone?

How Australians live has changed over time. Much of it is for the better. We are richer, more worldly, better travelled, more inclusive: the advancement of women, for starters, has transformed the way we live and work. But we seem to be lacking one important quality that was there in spades a generation ago: resilience. Last century, small communities across Australia were not only resilient, they were also mightily creative and cooperative.

I grew up in just such a community. Terang, 200km west of Melbourne, had just 2400 people in the 1960s. No one locked their cars in Terang. When we went to the beach for a week in January, we didn’t lock the house. You might think this was an extraordinarily trusting thing to do, but there was nothing of value in the house to steal.

On some weekends, my father and three of his mates would borrow a flat-tray truck from work and collect and cut firewood for their families. They pooled funds to buy a chainsaw to make the job easier. There was such joie de vivre about the excursion: packing lunches in a sugar bag; preparing flasks of tea; the unfailing cheeriness of the men; the celebratory beer at the end of the day as they laughed and joked – and smoked – around the kitchen table.

It seemed that the whole community was endlessly engaged in organising working bees, contributing to cake stalls, attending Mother’s Club meetings. Everyone had a place and a purpose. A neighbour did the flowers for Sunday mass. People met in church halls to play euchre. On Saturday nights, the “young ones” would attend dances in country halls.

In 1963, we were one of the first families in our clutch of Housing Commission houses to get a television set. A neighbour’s teenage daughter would come to our house to watch Bonanza on a Monday night. When the TV went “on the blink”, another neighbour who had trained in electronics back in England would arrive with a visor and soldering iron to fix it. Today we would call this “building stronger communities” but back then it was just something everyone did. You shared, you co-operated, you pooled expertise.

There was football, netball, swimming, cycling, cricket, tennis and golf as well as music, including a pipe band, a brass band, Caledonian and Irish dancing, an amateur theatrical society. I am surprised any work was done, such was the social and sporting vitality of the town. And I don’t recall anyone complaining about the lack of facilities. The mindset seemed to be to at least try to help yourself first through cooperative effort. It was like living in an Australian kibbutz.

The town had its stratification, of course. The Catholics and Protestants; the doctors, pharmacists, lawyers and business owners who lived on the hill, and those of us who lived on the flat. The district had its landed gentry, too. But there didn’t seem to be any enmity; everyone got on. The local co-op had a staff picnic, there was an agricultural show, Anzac Day parades and an Australia Day parade of floats down the main street.

A few generations later we seem to be struggling to build the self-reliance, the resilience we had in that post-war era. Our town was remote; we had to make do, to get along, to make our own fun, to find and share pooled knowledge. There’s a lot about this era, such as smoking, that is best left in the past but there are other things, like an esprit de corps, a community camaraderie, that remains truly inspiring. I wonder what older Australians of the 2060s will recall as being truly inspiring about our way of life today.



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

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

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


17 September, 2019  

Deceptive feminist fiction

The position of women in the UK has changed beyond recognition in my lifetime, mostly for the better, and mostly in ways I very much approve of.

In education, the workplace, politics, the law, the church and the media, in advertising and in their portrayal in films and on TV, the transformation has been gigantic. In our school and university system, girls are now better off than boys, with most forms of selection tilted in their favour.

The question of equal pay for equal work has also been solved as far as humanly possible, as Kate Andrews of the Institute of Economic Affairs has shown and will patiently explain to anyone who doubts it. But those who doubt it do so because they want to doubt it, so they are uninterested in facts. I'll come to that.

So why are we being subjected to a great flood of media pigswill about how the oppression of women is a great and growing problem?

Well, partly it is thanks to the frantic, overblown promotion of a tiresome and rather embarrassing book by Margaret Atwood, The Testaments. Enter any bookshop and it is piled upon the front table. The BBC is giving it the free promotion it reserves for those books it deeply approves of.

The Atwood dragon

Women garbed in red dressing gowns and white lampshades are roaming London to publicise it.

Ms Atwood is actually an accomplished author, and her 1985 book The Handmaid's Tale was a clever fantasy about a world in which women's liberation went into reverse.

Well, actually it wasn't much of a fantasy. It was clearly based on the 1979 revolution in Iran, which (as well as being murderously repressive) imposed a stifling version of Islam on men and women alike.

The Iranian Ayatollahs forced that country's women to huddle and cringe in black veils and robes, after many years in which they had been free to dress as they liked.

It might also have referred to Saudi Arabia, but in that country the status of women has always been pretty strictly controlled.

In more recent years it might more justly have described the growing pressure on formerly free women in such countries as Egypt and Iraq to adopt the hijab and niqab and accept second-class citizenship. Or even the appearance on the streets of Western cities of women in black veils.

By setting it in America, she made it all the more shocking. But it was also a nonsense. Did anyone really believe, in 1985, that the USA was going to start forcing women to go about in shrouds? Of course not. Nor do they now.

I know of no significant Christian sect or church that even believes in any such thing. But they pretend to.

Here, from the esteemed columnist in the London Times, Alice Thomson, is a possible explanation.

Ms Thomson declared last week: 'Since I read The Handmaid's Tale as a student 33 years ago, women's rights have progressed, only to regress.' She added: 'It was the #MeToo movement that made women realise just how little had changed and introduced my daughter as well as three sons to feminism.

'But it also created a backlash. 'We pretend that women's rights are still progressing, with more jobs for the girls and in some areas more equal pay, but in many ways Britain feels increasingly like Atwood's theocracy of Gilead.'

This is pure drivel. The fictional Gilead, which most people have discovered through a nasty, explicitly anti-Christian sensationalised TV series rather than through the duller, more tempered book, is a totalitarian terror state of torture and arbitrary executions in which women are banned from the professions and power, denied education, subjected to licensed rape and reduced to domestic servitude.

The TV version contains scenes of almost pornographic cruelty involving chains, muzzles and torture, plus a profanity-flecked mockery of the Lord's Prayer. The heroine is raped.

Just in case any of us didn't get the message, the crime takes place to the background of church organ music.

In case any viewers still don't understand the point (Christians are bad!), the rapist reads chunks out of the Bible as he proceeds.

In what way, Alice, does Britain resemble or 'feel like' this? Do tell. Can you find me a single significant Christian who advocates such a society?

How did you escape from your misogynist captors for long enough to write this comical drivel? How did you then get it published in a national newspaper?

Talk about Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

There is another important aspect of this, which I have to keep mentioning. There are places where women are indeed oppressed.

There is a religion which – in some versions – expects women to be veiled and submissive and gives them legal rights inferior to those of men.

But the liberal intelligentsia, always happy to pelt the Christian faith with slime, is strangely reluctant to mention this.

Odd that the supposed champions of women's freedom fall silent on this subject. Odder still that, having won so much, they still pretend they are oppressed losers.

I'm not even sure that these third-wave feminists care all that much about women. Their aim is not the improvement of the lot of women, but a complete overthrow of the Christian society in which we live. 


Liberal Pro-LGBT Church Hosts Pagan Idol in Art Exhibit

Last week, a fifteen-foot-tall totem meant to represent a pagan god from Eastern Europe was put on display in a historic 200-year-old mainline Protestant church in Binghamton, N.Y. The church hosted the image of the idol as part of the LUMA Projection Arts Festival.

"Sviatovid will materialize on the altar of Binghamton United Presbyterian Church with additional content," the festival website announced. "In an homage to the striking 19th century architecture of the church, the students of the BARTKRESA academy will build an original 3.5 minute pre-show. The church spire, pipe organ and stained glass inform the new work."

Theologically, Presbyterian churches do not have altars, but rather communion tables. As Juicy Ecumenism's Josiah Aden pointed out, the pagan image was displayed in the church's chancel, not on its nonexistent altar. The prominent placement of the idol — and the claim that the church's spire, pipe organ, and stained glass "inform the new work" — are worrisome, however.

"A fifteen-foot-tall faceted totem, Sviatovid is inspired by a ninth century Slavic deity and a medieval sculpture of the same name. With four faces, Sviatovid was not omniscient, but could take in the world from literally all four cardinal directions," the LUMA festival website explained. "In keeping with the deity’s origin story, Sviatovid is on an intercontinental expedition to bring people closer together."

As Aden explained, the totem is based on an archaeological artifact discovered near the Zbruch River in Western Ukraine. While it is possible the idol was a forgery, some scholars have argued that it depicts the pagan god Perun, the god of war, fertility, and abundance — a god historically viewed as being in competition with the Christian God.

"According to the early Ruthenian chronicles, Prince Vladimir the Great erected a cult statue of Perun (along with other Pagan idols) outside of his palace in Kiev shortly after he started his rule in 980," Miko?aj Gli?ski wrote for Poland's culture web portal. "As the greatest Slavic god, Perun was considered equal in power to the new Christian God. This however was no mitigating circumstance, as in 988 shortly after the Kiev Duchy adopted Christianity, the same ruler ordered that the pagan idols be destroyed. The greatest of them, Perun, was tied to a horse, dragged down a hill, and repeatedly beaten with sticks, before being eventually thrown into the Dnieper River. Vladimir then ordered that the statue be floated downstream until it passed the Dnieper Rapids."

Yet Binghamton United Presbyterian Church displayed an image of this idol inside the church on September 7 and 8.

The first of the Ten Commandments reads, "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image ... You shall not bow down to them or serve them" (Exodus 20:2-5).

When asked "What is the great commandment in the law?" Jesus replied, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 22:36-40).

In the second century B.C., the Seleucid King Antiochus IV Epiphanes set up an altar to Zeus in the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and set up an idol of Zeus made after his own likeness. According to some reports, he also sacrificed pigs. This desecration led the Jews to revolt under Judas Maccabeus, establishing an independent Israel for the first time in more than 100 years.

Christians consider the true church of Jesus — His body — to be the believers, not the physical church buildings (1 Corinthians 6:19, 12:27). Even so, there is something sacrilegious about a church hosting an image of a pagan idol in a building dedicated to the worship of God.

The church may have agreed to host the idol in the spirit of multiculturalism or as a celebration of art. If so, this seems to illustrate the danger of going too far to embrace foreign cultures and forgetting that Jesus is the only way to God (John 14:6). Many liberal congregations have embraced universalism, the doctrine that people can be saved without Jesus. This doctrine is a clear rejection of the Bible's teaching, and it belittles Jesus' Death and Resurrection.

Many prominent Christians have drifted away from the faith as they reject the claims that Jesus is the only way to salvation and embrace the culturally popular LGBT sexual morality.

For its part, Binghamton United Presbyterian Church affiliates itself with More Light Presbyterians, a pro-LGBT group of Presbyterians that advocates for same-sex marriage, rejecting the Bible's teaching of marriage as between one man and one woman. It describes itself as a "proudly open and affirming congregation" welcoming to "nontraditional families."

A member of the PC(USA) liberal denomination, Binghamton United Presbyterian Church experienced a drop in its congregation from 2013-2017 (from 220 to 178 members, 19 percent), while Sunday attendance declined from 64 to 53 (17 percent). While the church prizes diversity, the congregation is not diverse. It only includes four nonwhite members, with 72 percent of members age 65 or older.

The church did not respond to PJ Media's request for comment by press time.


Urban Agglomeration: More Growth, More Benefits

This is an alternative to the failed Leftist idea of "smart growth"

As Urbanized Areas Grow, They Develop Complex Economies that Further Drive Innovation and Prosperity.

Can urban areas grow too much? The answer is subject to people’s lifestyle preference, based on where they want to live and what tradeoffs in time and money they’ll accept. But according to one theory, the answer, economically speaking, is no. The bigger an area gets in space and population, the more that businesses and people increase their productivity. The name of the theory is “economies of agglomeration”, or for this column’s purposes, “urban agglomeration.”

Economist Edward Glaeser, a proponent of the theory, defines urban agglomeration as “the benefits that come when firms and people locate near one another together in cities and industrial clusters.” Similar to network effects and economies of scale, agglomerations develop through proximity. Continues Glaeser:

The only real difference between a nearby firm and one across the continent is that it is easier to connect with a neighbor. Of course, transportation costs must be interpreted broadly, and they include the difficulties in exchanging goods, people, and ideas. The connection between agglomeration economies and transport costs would seem to suggest that agglomerations should become less important, as transportation and communication costs have fallen. Yet, a central paradox of our time is that in cities, industrial agglomerations remain remarkably vital, despite ever easier movement of goods and knowledge across space.

Agglomerations happen, adds Chuanglin Fang, an urban planner for the Chinese Academy of Sciences, “when the relationships among cities shift from mainly competition to both competition and cooperation.”

That is to say, it happens when separate urban areas have enough outward growth and collaboration that they become part of the same region. Or it occurs through further growth within a given metropolitan area. The agglomeration in either case provides four benefits, writes Nicolae Sfetcu, of the consulting blog Setthings.com.

It lowers transportation costs, since local supply chains are closer to each other.

It develops local markets, by bringing a larger customer base into an area.

It gathers a labor force that is larger, more specialized, and easier to access.

It creates knowledge spillovers between firms, sparking ideas and innovation.

Here are microeconomic examples of how agglomerations work: fast food chains locate (as Americans have probably noticed) near each other. People who like McDonalds also likely enjoy Burger King and Wendy’s, and by clustering, the chains benefit from each other’s customers. Or a tech startup locates in Silicon Valley to access educated workers and advanced machinery, which is already there thanks to existing tech firms. Or a poor rural migrant emigrates to an urban area to find a menial job, and after working awhile, develops more advanced skills due to tutoring from her co-workers. At macroeconomic level, urban agglomerations infuse whole regions or countries with this economic complexity, in ways that benefit everybody.

“The effect of a city’s population on wages is highly significant and large in magnitude,” writes economist Harry Krashinsky. “Various studies have demonstrated that doubling the population of an individual’s city would cause wages to rise by three to seven percent, and moving from a city of less than 500,000 people to one with more than half-a-million residents would increase wages by over 20 percent.”

The downside of urban agglomerations is that they can be victims of their own success. The population increase inflates housing costs (perhaps offsetting the higher wages); creates congestion (perhaps offsetting the proximity advantages); and leads to the growth of large, unaccountable governments. Some economists think urban regions become less productive once growing above a certain population.

Some of the world’s largest agglomerations include places like Jakarta and Manila, perhaps validating that point. In America, our agglomerations aren’t as intense, and vary in size. For example, metro Charleston, WV (pop. 211,000) is one place not in full agglomeration mode; it’s hemmed in by mountains, reliant on the state government, and does not intensively partner with nearby rival metros like Pittsburgh and Columbus.

The Big Four metros in Texas – Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio – may have once viewed each other as rivals. But they’ve now nearly grown into each other, and are now thought of as the “Texas Triangle” megaregion. When a big corporation moves to Dallas, it doesn’t hurt the other three metros; they too attract many corporations, which is partly a spillover result of Dallas’ growth. By contrast, Oklahoma City, which is 200 miles north of Dallas, still views itself as a competitor to the Texas Triangle. It would not be surprising, though, if a decade from now, the further growth of both areas causes them to merge, creating an informal Texas-Oklahoma megaregion.

America’s more long-standing agglomerations – New York City, Southern California, The Bay Area, Washington-Baltimore-Northern Virginia – have larger economic output than others nationwide. But they are also where the disadvantages are clearer, as they have higher home prices and more congestion. Much of my work is dedicated to figuring out how they can continue to grow while mitigating these problems. It will mostly involve letting markets work, so that housing supply meets population growth, and transport infrastructure uses price mechanisms to manage congestion and increase capacity.

But either way, these urban agglomerations are crucial. They may be sprawling, congested, and somewhat ugly. But they drive our economy and create opportunity. Their further growth should be encouraged.


Crowds running us over a cliff

Courtesy of the Left, many once marginal ideas are now once widely preached -- leading to widespread conflict and destroying social harmony.  The Leftist talent for destruction did not end with the downfall of the Soviet Union

We are going through a great crowd derangement. In public and in private, both online and off, people are behaving in ways that are increasingly irrational, feverish, herd-like and simply unpleasant. The daily news cycle is filled with the consequences.

Yet while we see the symptoms everywhere, we do not see the causes. Various explanations have been given. These tend to suggest that any and all madnesses are the consequence of a presidential election or a referendum. But none of these explanations gets to the root of what is happening.

For far beneath these day-to-day events are much greater movements and much bigger events. It is time we began to confront the true causes of what is going wrong. Even the origin of this condition is rarely acknowledged. This is the simple fact we have been living through a period of more than a quarter of a century in which all our grand narratives have collapsed.

One by one, the narratives we had were refuted, became unpopular to defend or impossible to sustain. The explanations for our existence that used to be provided by religion went first, falling away from the 19th century onwards.

Then over the past century the secular hopes held out by all political ideologies began to follow in its wake. In the latter part of the 20th century we entered the postmodern era. An era that defined itself, and was defined, by its suspicion towards all grand narratives. However, as all schoolchildren learn, nature abhors a vacuum, and into the postmodern vacuum new ideas began to creep, with the intention of providing explanations and meanings of their own.

It was inevitable that some pitch would be made for the deserted ground. People in wealthy Western democracies today could not simply remain the first people in recorded history to have absolutely no explanation for what we are doing here and no story to give life purpose.

Whatever else they lacked, the grand narratives of the past at least gave life meaning. The question of what exactly are we meant to do now, other than get rich where we can and have whatever fun is on offer, was going to have to be answered by something.

The answer that has presented itself in recent years is to engage in new battles, ever fiercer campaigns and ever more niche demands. To find meaning by waging a constant war against anybody who seems to be on the wrong side of a question that may itself have just been reframed and the answer to which has only just been altered.

The unbelievable speed of this process has been principally caused by the fact a handful of businesses in Silicon Valley (notably Google, Twitter and Facebook) now have the power not just to direct what most people in the world know, think and say, but have a business model that has accurately been described as relying on finding “customers ready to pay to modify someone else’s behaviour’’.

Yet although we are being aggravated by a tech world that is running faster than our legs are able to carry us to keep up with it, these wars are not being fought aimlessly. They are consistently being fought in a particular direction. And that direction has a purpose that is vast. The purpose — unknowing in some people, deliberate in others — is to embed a new metaphysics into our societies: a new religion, if you will.

Although the foundations had been laid for several decades, it is only since the financial crash of 2008 that there has been a march into the mainstream of ideas that were previously known solely on the obscurest fringes of academia. The attractions of this new set of beliefs are obvious enough. It is not clear why a generation that can’t accumulate capital should have any great love of capitalism. Likewise it isn’t hard to work out why a generation who believe they may never own a home could be attracted to an ideological world view that promises to sort out every inequity, not just in their own lives but every inequity on earth.

The interpretation of the world through the lens of “social justice”, “identity group politics” and “intersectionalism” is probably the most audacious and comprehensive effort since the end of the Cold War at creating a new ideology.

To date “social justice” has run the furthest because it sounds — and in some versions is — attractive. Even the term itself is set up to be anti-oppositional. “You’re opposed to social justice? What do you want, social injustice?” “Identity politics”, meanwhile, has become the place where social justice finds its caucuses. It atomises society into different interest groups according to sex (or gender), race, sexual preference and more. It presumes that such characteristics are the main, or only, relevant attributes of their holders and that they bring with them some bonus.

For example (as American writer Coleman Hughes has put it), the assumption that there is “a heightened moral knowledge” that comes with being black or female or gay. It is the cause of the propensity of people to start questions or statements with “Speaking as a …”. And it is something people living and dead need to be on the right side of. It is why there are calls to pull down the statues of historical figures viewed as being on the wrong side and it is why the past needs to be rewritten for anyone you wish to save. Identity politics is where minority groups are encouraged to simultaneously atomise, organise and pronounce.

The least attractive-sounding of this trinity is the concept of “intersectionality”. This is the invitation to spend the rest of our lives attempting to work out each and every identity and vulnerability claim in ourselves and others and then organise along whichever system of justice emerges from the perpetually moving hierarchy we uncover.

It is a system that is not just unworkable but dementing, making demands that are impossible towards ends that are unachievable.

But today intersectionality has broken out from the social science departments of the liberal arts colleges from which it originated. It is now taken seriously by a generation of young people and has been embedded through employment law (specifically through a “commitment to diversity”) in all the major corporations and governments. New heuristics have been required to force people to ingest the new presumptions.

The speed at which they have been mainstreamed is staggering. As economist and writer Eric Weinstein has pointed out, phrases such as “LGBTQ”, “white privilege” and “transphobia” went from not being used at all to becoming mainstream. As he went on, while there is nothing wrong with trying out new ideas and phrases, “you have to be pretty damn reckless to be leaning this hard on so many untested heuristics your parents came up with in untested fields that aren’t even 50 years old”.

Similarly, Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt have pointed out (in their 2018 book The Coddling of the American Mind) how new the means of policing and enforcing these new heuristics have become. Phrases such as “triggered” and “feeling unsafe” and claims that words that do not fit the new religion cause “harm” really started to spike in usage only from 2013 onwards.

It is as though having worked out what it wanted, the new metaphysics took a further half-decade to work out how to intimidate its followers into the mainstream. But it has done so, with huge success.

The results can be seen in every day’s news. It is behind the news that the American Psychological Association feels the need to advise its members on how to train harmful “traditional masculinity” out of boys and men.

It is why a previously completely unknown programmer at Google — James Damore — can be sacked for writing a memo suggesting that some jobs in tech appeal more to men than they do to women. And it is why the number of Americans who view racism as a “big problem” doubled between 2011 and 2017.

Having begun to view everything through the new lenses we have been provided with, everything is then weaponised through the resulting prism — with consequences that are deranged as well as dementing. It is why The New York Times decides to run a piece by a black author with the title: “Can my Children be Friends with White People?” And why even a piece about cycling deaths in London written by a woman can be framed through the headline, “Roads Designed by Men are Killing Women”. Such rhetoric exacerbates any existing divisions and each time creates a number of new ones.

And for what purpose? Rather than showing how we can all get along better, the lessons of the past decade appear to be exacerbating a sense that in fact we aren’t very good at living with each other.

For most people some awareness of this new system of values has become clear not so much by trial as by very public error. Because one thing that everybody has begun to at least sense in recent years is that a set of trip-wires has been laid across the culture. Whether placed by individuals, collectives or some divine satirist, there they have been waiting for one person after another to walk into them. Sometimes a person’s foot has unwittingly nicked the trip-wire and they have been immediately blown up. On other occasions people have watched some brave madman walking straight into the no-man’s land, fully aware of what they were doing. After each resulting detonation there is some disputation (including the occasional “coo” of admiration) and then the world moves on, accepting that another victim has been notched up to the odd, apparently improvisatory values system of our time.

It took a little while for the delineation of these trip-wires to become clear, but they are clear now. Among the first was anything to do with homosexuality. In the latter half of the 20th century there was a fight for gay equality that was tremendously successful, reversing terrible historic injustice. Then, the war having been won, it became clear that it wasn’t stopping. Indeed it was morphing. GLB (gay, lesbian, bi) became LGB so as not to diminish the visibility of lesbians. Then a T got added. Then a Q and then some stars and asterisks.

And as the gay alphabet grew, so something changed within the movement. It began to behave — in victory — as its opponents once did. When the boot was on the other foot something ugly happened. A decade ago almost nobody was supportive of gay marriage. A few years down the road and it has been made into a foundational value of modern liberalism. People may agree with that rights claim, or disagree, but to shift mores so fast needs to be done with extraordinary sensitivity and some deep thought. Yet we seem content to steam past, engaging in neither.

Instead, other issues followed a similar pattern.

Women’s rights had — like gay rights — been steadily accumulated throughout the 20th century. They, too, appeared to be arriving at some sort of settlement. Then just as the train appeared to be reaching its desired destination it suddenly picked up steam and went crashing off down the tracks and into the distance. What had been barely disputed until yesterday became a cause to destroy someone’s life today.

Whole careers were scattered and strewn as the train careered along its path. Phrases such as “toxic masculinity” entered common use. What was the virtue of making relations between the sexes so fraught that the male half of the species could be treated as though it was cancerous? Or the development of the idea that men had no right to talk about the female sex? Why, when women had broken through more glass ceilings than at any time in history, did talk of “the patriarchy” and “man­splaining” seep out of the feminist fringes and into the heart of places such as the Australian Senate?

In a similar fashion the civil rights movement in America, which had started to right perhaps the most appalling of all historic wrongs, looked as if it were moving towards some hoped-for resolution. But yet again, near the point of victory everything seemed to sour. Just as things appeared better than ever, the rhetoric began to suggest that things had never been worse. Suddenly — after most of us had hoped it had become a non-issue — everything seemed to have become about race.

As with all the other trip-wire issues, only a fool or a madman would think of even speculating — let alone disputing — this turnaround of events.

Then finally we all stumbled, baffled, into the most uncharted territory of all. This was the claim that there lived among us a considerable number of people who were in the wrong bodies and that as a consequence what certainties remained in our societies (including certainties rooted in science and language) needed to be utterly reframed.

In some ways the debate around the trans question is the most suggestive of all. Although the newest of the rights questions also affects by far the fewest number of people, it is nevertheless fought over with an almost unequalled ferocity and rage. Women who got on the wrong side of the issue have been hounded by people who used to be men. Parents who voice what was common belief until yesterday have their fitness to be parents questioned.

Among the things these issues all have in common is that they have started as legitimate human rights campaigns. This is why they have come so far.

But at some point all went through the crash barrier. Not content with being equal, they have started to settle on unsustainable positions such as “better”. Some may counter that the aim is simply to spend a certain amount of time on “better” to level the historical playing field.

What everyone does know are the things that people will be called if their foot even nicks against these freshly laid trip-wires. “Bigot”, “homophobe”, “sexist”, “misogynist”, “racist” and “transphobe” are just for starters. The rights fights of our time have centred on these toxic and explosive issues.

But in the process these rights issues have moved from being a product of a system to being the foundations of a new one. To demonstrate affiliation with the system people must prove their credentials and their commitment.

How might somebody demonstrate virtue in this new world? By being “anti-racist”, clearly. By being an “ally” to LGBT people, obviously. By stressing how ardent your desire is — whether you are a man or a woman — to bring down the patriarchy.

And this creates an auditioning problem, where public avowals of loyalty to the system must be volubly made whether there is a need for them or not.

But there is more trouble in all of this, and it is the reason I take each of the bases of these new metaphysics not just seriously but one by one. With each of these issues an increasing number of people, with the law on their side, pretend that both their issue and indeed all these issues are shut down and agreed upon. The case is very much otherwise.

The nature of what is meant to be agreed upon cannot in fact be agreed upon. Each of these issues is infinitely more complex and unstable than our societies are currently willing to admit. Which is why, put together as the foundation blocks of a new morality and metaphysics, they form the basis for a general madness.

Indeed a more unstable basis for social harmony could hardly be imagined. For while racial equality, minority rights and women’s rights are among the best products of liberalism, they make the most destabilising foundations. The products of the system cannot reproduce even the stability of the system that produced them. If for no other reason than that each of these issues is a deeply unstable component in itself.

And so we are asked to agree to things we cannot believe. It is the central cause of the ugliness of both online and real-life discussion. For we are being asked to perform a set of leaps and jumps that we cannot, and are perhaps ill-advised to, make.

We are asked to believe things that are unbelievable and being told not to object to things most people feel a strong objection to. The pain that comes from being expected to remain silent on some important matters and perform impossible leaps on others is tremendous, not least because the problems (including the internal contradictions) are so evident.

As anyone who has lived under totalitarianism can attest, there is something demeaning and eventually soul-destroying about being expected to go along with claims you do not believe to be true and yet cannot hold to be true. That distraction — or crowd madness — is something we are in the middle of and something we need to try to find our way out from. If we fail then the direction of travel is already clear. We face not just a future of ever-greater atomisation, rage and violence, but a future in which the possibility of a backlash against all rights advances — including the good ones — grows more likely.



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

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

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


16 September, 2019

French Employer Found Liable For This Worker’s Death. If You Call This Working

According to a French court, a railway construction and maintenance company is to be held liable for the work-related death of an employee — but wait until you read what work he was doing when he died.

Having sex with a woman he met on a business trip.

The employee of TSO, identified as Xavier, died February 21, 2013 in Meung-sur-Loire, in the woman's home. TSO logically reasoned that the death was not work-related, because rather than happening in the hotel room they had booked for him, it occurred in the woman's home.

But the French state health insurance CPAM went to court in 2013, asserting the death was the company's responsibility; CPAM deals with cases in which a death or injury occurs away from the job itself.

TSO lost in court in June 2016, then appealed the decision. The company stated that the employee's death was "not as a result of his work but because of the sexual act he had with a complete stranger." CPAM countered that sexual relations were as normal as "taking a shower or eating a meal." The court ruled by citing a law stating that employees are covered for their entire business trip, "whether the accident happened during a professional action or an everyday action."

France 3 reported that, in May 2019, the justice stated the death was an accident at work, ruling that the employee "performing a mission is entitled to the protection provided by Article L 411 -1 of the Social Security Code during the entire time of the mission he performs for his employer." France 3 added that the sexual liaison was an "adulterous sexual relationship," and that attorney Sarah Balluet called the decision "very surprising," adding that "the employer has the opportunity to demonstrate that this accident was unrelated to the professional activity." She said, "This solution is new and deserves that the Court of Cassation decides on this point."

The New York Times reported that Aurélien Boulanger, a lawyer at Gide, an international law firm based in Paris, stated, "There are even more extraordinary cases like that of an employee stung by a wasp while driving a car, considered as a work accident." The Times wrote, "Once it was established that the accident had happened at a place of employment or during time spent on business, it was up to the employer to prove that the event had nothing to do with work, which could be very difficult," he added.

The Times also stated that the French national health insurance fund decrees that the partner of a person who dies in a work-related accident is entitled to 40% of the deceased's annual income as well as some of funeral costs.

There may be cause for hope for French employers: Forbes reported in November 2017, "According to the results of a new study, having sex is rarely the cause of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). In fact, when researchers examined more than 4,500 cases of cardiac arrest occurring in Portland, Oregon over a 10 year span, they found that only 34 of the cases were linked to having sex in the hour before."


'F**ked Up Bigoted Trash!' Trans Barista Boots Conservative From Coffee Shop

It's clear who was the bigot here

On Wednesday, a transgender barista booted a young conservative woman from a coffee shop in Lincoln, Neb., attacking her for her political principles. The coffee shop later apologized to the conservative woman and fired the impolite barista — in a move the barista interpreted as evidence of discrimination against transgender people.

"This morning, I was asked to leave Cultiva Coffee and never come back because of my conservative principles," Marilyn Synek, a communications specialist at the Nebraska Family Alliance, wrote on Facebook. Synek had a weekly tradition of eating breakfast at Cultiva. Yet on Wednesday, a barista attacked her for her political views, kicking her out of the shop.

"Today, an employee of the shop approached me and said, 'Marilyn Synek! I didn’t recognize you until now, but I just realized who you are, what you stand for, and the work you do. You are f****** bigoted trash, and we do not want you in our restaurant. Over 80% of the people who work here are queer. You are not f****** wanted in our restaurant, so get out and don’t come back! If you do try to come back, we will all refuse any service to you.' The cafe was busy with other customers who watched the incident transpire," Synek wrote.

"I’ve never broadcasted my political opinions in the shop before, and I have always treated the employees of Cultiva with respect and courtesy. While we, as Americans, can disagree politically, it is very important to maintain civility when interacting with people who hold different world views. Tolerance goes both ways, and the division in our current political climate will perpetuate if we neglect basic civility," she concluded.


The Center for Freedom and Prosperity Announces Creation of "Stop Biased Banking"

Today, the Center for Freedom and Prosperity announces the creation of their new initiative - "Stop Biased Banking," a branded advocacy platform to organize grassroots opposition to the left-wing activism that is creeping into America's financial services sector.

The project, hosted at www.stopbiasedbanking.com, will serve as a watchdog for left-wing pressure groups that seek to advance their political agendas by forcing banks to sever ties with legal industries that liberal activists deem unsavory.

"The growing pressure on banks to sever their relationships with lawful companies is in direct conflict with free market capitalism," said Center for Freedom and Prosperity President Andrew F. Quinlan. "These activist campaigns seek to starve legitimate industries of their access to the financial system, threatening the principles of consumer choice and competition that underpin our capitalist system. The biased banking movement must end."

In 2012, the Obama administration launched Operation Choke Point which aimed to encourage banks to avoid relationships with a broad list of "high risk" industries such as short-term lenders and gun manufacturers. Though this orchestrated abuse of power has since been ended for good by the Trump administration, the push to separate lawful industries from access to financial services is only intensifying.

In recent years, liberal elitists have gradually intensified their pressure on financial institutions for their relationships with the NRA, for financing the oil and gas infrastructure, and for working with companies operating private detention facilities. This pressure has expanded beyond vocal social media accounts and is now a committed effort of some politicians like Rep. Carolyn Maloney and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

This represents a gross abuse of power with implications far beyond the nation's gun control and private prison debates. It gets to the question of whether America is governed by the rule of law or if one group of like-minded individuals can decide industry winners and losers. Our nation's economic success and way of life is dependent on the answer.

To learn more about this initiative, visit the Stop Biased Banking website.

For more updates, follow us:

Twitter - @NoBiasedBanking

Facebook - Stop Biased Banking

About the Center for Freedom and Prosperity

The Center for Freedom and Prosperity (CF&P) is a non-profit organization created in October of 2000 to advance market liberalization. The CF&P Foundation and CF&P seek to promote economic prosperity by advocating competitive markets and limited government. The organization accomplishes its goals by educating the American people and its elected representatives.


The Australian Human Rights Commission’s recommendations for discrimination law reform — which look like they wish to reverse the onus of proof — should concern everyone

In their pursuit to achieve a society devoid of discrimination, they risk undermining natural justice.

Discrimination laws exist to provide redress for victims of egregious acts of discrimination. Given the potential consequences (stress, loss of time and money) that both a plaintiff and accused endure, the process should be appropriately difficult.

However, according to a recent Australian Human Rights Commission discussion paper, the complaints handling process “…should operate in a manner that ensures the availability and accessibility of the process.”

Seemingly innocuous but — when taken in conjunction with their recommendations in the same discussion paper — it reads as if they want to make it easier for people to bring complaints.

The AHRC believes “Consideration should…be given to whether there should be any change to discrimination laws regarding the evidentiary onus of proof.”

Details on this point are scarce. However, previous attempts to alter Australia’s federal discrimination laws provide an insight into the potential make-up of such changes.

A clause proposed in the Gillard Government’s Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012 was interpreted by many as reversing the onus of proof.

That is, once a prima facie case has been established — although Labor could not say definitively if it was a prima facie test — respondents would need to prove their conduct was not unlawfully discriminatory.

Under this model, those accused of discrimination would be required to prove their innocence. This unacceptable infringement on the presumption of innocence was thankfully avoided at the time.

The aim of discrimination law should not be to make it easier to make complaints.

Any suggestion that the evidentiary burden of proof needs amending should be immediately abandoned



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

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

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


15 September, 2019

Why are Americans dying younger?

The following article confirms the overall decline and speculates that it is because of increased use of illicit drugs and more dangerous illicit drugs (such as fentanyl). I too would see that as the most probable cause. Note however that the overall decline was tiny -- .19 of a year or 69 days, which  could well not survive replication and is in any case of little practical importance.

It is however interesting that people with a college degree defied the trend and lived longer. My interpretation of that would be that the college people were smarter and hence more judicious in their use of drugs, so that drugs had little impact on their health.  They therefore experienced the normal growth in lifespan that is characteristic of recent decades. The dummies by contrast had a higher proportion of heavy drug users among them who largely killed themselves one way or another by their high drug use

Association Between Educational Attainment and Causes of Death Among White and Black US Adults, 2010-2017

By Isaac Sasson et al


Importance:  There are substantial and increasing educational differences in US adult life expectancy. To reduce social inequalities in mortality, it is important to understand how specific causes of death have contributed to increasing educational differences in adult life expectancy in recent years.

Objective:  To estimate the relationship of specific causes of death with increasing educational differences in adult life expectancy from 2010 to 2017.

Design, Setting, and Participants:  Serial cross-sectional study of 4?690?729 deaths recorded in the US National Vital Statistics System in 2010 and 2017.

Exposures:  Sex, race/ethnicity, and educational attainment.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  Life expectancy at age 25 years and years of life lost between ages 25 and 84 years by cause of death.

Results:  The analysis included a total of 2?211?633 deaths in 2010 and 2?479?096 deaths in 2017. Between 2010 and 2017, life expectancy at age 25 significantly declined among white and black non-Hispanic US residents from an expected age at death of 79.34 to 79.15 years (difference, ?0.18 [95% CI, ?0.23 to ?0.14]).

Greater decreases were observed among persons with a high school degree or less (white men: ?1.05 years [95% CI, ?1.15 to ?0.94], white women: ?1.14 years [95% CI, ?1.24 to ?1.04], and black men: ?0.30 years [95% CI, ?0.56 to ?0.04]). White adults with some college education but no 4-year college degree experienced similar declines in life expectancy (men: ?0.89 years [95% CI, ?1.07 to ?0.73], women: ?0.59 years [95% CI, ?0.77 to ?0.42]).

In contrast, life expectancy at age 25 significantly increased among the college-educated (white men: 0.58 years [95% CI, 0.42 to 0.73], white women: 0.78 years [95% CI, 0.57 to 1.00], and black women: 1.70 years [95% CI, 0.91 to 2.53]).

The difference between high- and low-education groups increased from 2010 to 2017, largely because life-years lost to drug use increased among those with a high school degree or less (white men: 0.93 years [95% CI, 0.90 to 0.96], white women: 0.50 years [95% CI, 0.47 to 0.52], black men: 0.75 years [95% CI, 0.71 to 0.79], and black women: 0.28 years [95% CI, 0.25 to 0.31]).

Conclusions and Relevance:  In this serial cross-sectional study, estimated life expectancy at age 25 years declined overall between 2010 and 2017; however, it declined among persons without a 4-year college degree and increased among college-educated persons. Much of the increasing educational differences in years of life lost may be related to deaths attributed to drug use.


Mass incarceration saved black America

The left has the luxury of having lost the argument on crime for the past few decades and, as a consequence, the electorate has no recollection of the living nightmare produced by Great Liberal Ideas About Crime.

Brooklyn hipsters blithely go about their business, completely unaware that their trendy neighborhoods were war zones in the 1970s, 1980s -- and well into the 1990s. Walking those streets meant you were taking your life into your hands.

Thanks to Republicans’ aggressive law-and-order policies, today, most U.S. cities are astonishingly safe. Crime is at its lowest level in decades. Life is possible again!

But Joe Biden, the leading Democratic candidate for president, is said to be hurt by the fact that, as The New York Times puts it, “he championed the 1994 crime bill that many experts now associate with mass incarceration.”

Point One: What’s the matter with “mass incarceration”?

Are we supposed to stop incarcerating people who commit crimes? Is that the argument? If there are hundreds of innocent people in prison, why do liberals keep giving us the fake sob stories -- the cases they lie about, forcing me to look up the facts, as illustrated in several of my recent columns?

Point Two: By “many experts,” the Times means “raving lunatics we keep on speed-dial for when we need a quote we agree with.”

In fact, the only theory by which Biden’s crime bill -- technically the “Clinton Crime Bill” -- attacked crime was by ushering in the first Republican Congress in 40 years, as a result of including the "assault weapons" ban in the bill.

In the very next election, just two months after the bill was signed, long-serving Democrats lost their seats, one after another after another.

Apart from that, the 1994 Crime Bill didn’t do much. There was “midnight basketball”; the “Violence Against Women Act” (feminist nonsense, later held unconstitutional by the Supreme Court); loads of pointless federal funding for local law enforcement; innumerable death penalties added for capital offenses committed on this or that federal property; and the aforementioned “assault weapons ban,” or “Gift From God to the GOP.”

But Biden and Clinton were at least savvy enough to know that Democrats had to try to steal the crime issue from Republicans, even if only with meaningless gestures.

Not today’s Democrats! Biden’s opponents seem to be competing for the title of “Candidate Most Likely to Return Murder and Mayhem to Our Streets”!

As with all the left’s insane ideas, they’re packaging this as an attack on “racism.” Let’s take a stroll down memory lane, for a reminder of who bears the brunt of cretinous liberal crime policies.

In the late 1980s, it was the Congressional Black Caucus that was demanding tougher policies in the war on drugs. At a three-day Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Weekend in September 1989, Rep. Charlie Rangel held hearing after hearing on the devastation crack cocaine was raining on the black community.

The CBC being Democrats, the gist of the hearing was to attack President George H.W. Bush ... for not fighting the war on drugs with sufficient ferocity. Thus, Rev. Jesse Jackson testified:

“(P)resident Bush's plan ... greatly underestimates the military arsenals and viciousness of the drug lords and pushers who not only have deadly firepower from AK-47s to Uzis, superior to the weapons of the police, they have a reckless attitude and no respect for human life. ...

“(Drug) pushers are terrorists. Those who consume drugs are engaged in treason against themselves, their families and their communities. ...

“We demand a right to volunteer in the army -- (audience applause) -- to fight a war on drugs.”

Throughout the 1980s, The New York Times was full of reports about the scourge of crack cocaine in neighborhoods “where Americans -- especially minorities -- do worst.”

There were stories of dealers preying on “poor blacks” who “coughed up enough $5 bills” for a vial of crack; an account of two little girls in the Bronx, children of crack-addicted mothers, “resorting to prostitution and falling prey to a (65-year-old) neighborhood man for $5 or $10”; and reports of dealers who “offered two-for-one deals and 'Mother's Day' specials timed to coincide with the arrival of welfare checks.”

A Washington Post-ABC News Poll, taken after President Bush gave a speech in 1989 announcing his “War on Drugs,” showed that 68% of black respondents approved of his plan -- or six times as many as voted for him. While only about half of white respondents characterized drugs as a “crisis” in their neighborhoods, two-thirds of African Americans did.

And then, in 1993, Rudy Giuliani became mayor of New York and saved the “ungovernable city." By the end of his two terms in office, murders in the city -- mostly blacks killing other blacks -- had been slashed from about 2,500 a year to 900. With subsequent mayors continuing his policies, whether with enthusiasm or out of fear of the voters, the murder rate has continued to fall.

Thousands of black people are alive today who otherwise would not be because of Giuliani’s tough-on-crime policies. As the Rev. Calvin Butts, pastor of Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church, put it, without Giuliani, “we would have been overrun.”

If Jordan Peele wants a new idea for a conspiracy movie involving race, how about this one: Powerful liberals conspire to kill off black Americans and replace them with Mexicans by pushing lenient crime policies that put violent criminals into black neighborhoods, while simultaneously demanding open-borders immigration policies.

He can pick up some script ideas this Thursday, at the third Democratic presidential debate.


CNN's Psychotic 9/11 Take: White Right-Wingers Are the Real Terrorists

It was a real race to the bottom between CNN and The New York Times on Wednesday to see which could have the most God-awful hot take on the eighteenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

CNN senior political analyst John Avlon wrote an opinion piece that began well enough but then went off the rails:

"And here's a startling statistic: since the 9/11 attacks, right-wing terrorists have killed more people in America than jihadist terrorists, according to the  New America think tank.
There are some folks who, for their own political purposes, would like to keep the focus on one form of political violence over another."

The New America study cited is a bit problematic. It takes every white guy nut job who's committed violence in the last eighteen years and lumps them into an amorphous ideological blob. Many were "reportedly" tied to this or that fringe group.

I'm not intending to trivialize any deaths, but the body count numbers cited in the study are 107 and 104. So, basically the same. The only big difference is that one side represents a disparate group of lunatics motivated by a variety of things, and the other all by the same thing. That means that the latter group is still by far the biggest danger.

Lumping every racist and anti-Semite in America into the "right-wing" is also a bit of a stretch, but you do you, CNN.

While Avlon used the phrase "right-wing terrorists" in the op-ed post, he and the CNN folks became a little more economical with their words when he was talking about it on-air:

By almost any interpretation of the phrase, I am a "right-winger," as are many of you reading this. We're all terrorists according to CNN!

This is the kind of media sleight of hand that is frequently used to demonize anyone who doesn't subscribe to leftist hive mind orthodoxy. Avlon likes to tout his credentials as a speechwriter for Rudy Giuliani as proof that he isn't out on a left limb, but he is working for CNN in the Trump era, so that notion can be dispensed with rather quickly.

That Avlon and CNN looked at 9/11 as a golden opportunity to advance a garbage political narrative says enough about how awful they are. That the narrative is only supportable if we ignore the almost 3000 people murdered by jihadists on the date being commemorated makes them complete and utter scum.


How dare the BBC teach children that there are ‘100 genders’?

“What are the different gender identities?” asks a little boy in one of the nine new BBC Teach films put out to support the personal, social and health education (PSHE) curriculum in schools – to which his head teacher replies: “That’s a really, really exciting question…”

Actually, it’s not. And the answer is still less exciting.

Which is perhaps why rather than give the boy a bald, biological and distinctly boring fact – “two” – the video cuts to a Relationships and Sex Education teacher, hopped-up on her own gaping-mindedness: “You know, there are so many gender identities,” she enthuses. “We know that we have got male and female, but there are over 100, if not more, gender identities now.”

Even by today’s Emperor’s New Clothes gender diversity narrative, 100 is pushing it. ‘Woke’ Facebook currently lists 71 complex and hilariously repetitive options for those who feel manacled by the oh-so-reductive ‘male’ and ‘female’.

And, despite four years at medical school (where you’d hope the basics had been covered), your local GP will ‘only’ recognise six genders: male, female, gender-neutral, non-binary, gender-fluid and gender-queer.

But children, insists the BBC’s Relationships and Sex Education teacher Kate Daniels in the film, might well find these too limiting and think to themselves: “‘I don’t really want to be anything in particular. I am just going to be me.’”

Chart the gender-diversity madness back to its origins and you’ll find that “I am just going to be me” – ironically, a concept young, agenda-free children naturally embrace – is at the root of it all.

And beyond my horror at the propagation of misinformation and the upholding of this noxious nonsense by a corporation whose journalistic duty it is to deal not in fads, but facts, is the fear that we’ll make this new generation of children as self-obsessed as the supposed grown-ups wilfully warping their minds.

Self-expression may have been prized since Ancient Egyptians first began daubing hieroglyphics, but not until the 1960s did it start becoming fetishised in the way it is today, when ‘expressing yourself’ no longer means appreciating individuality and producing something of wider cultural value to be enjoyed by others – a work of art, say, that might enrich the world around you – but folding in on yourself and behaving in an unashamedly selfish way.

So like teenagers (with far more tools of ‘self-expression’ at their disposal than the old hair-dye, piercings and tattoos we had to make do with), people will play around with their identities and pronouns well into adulthood: going into work dressed as Alex one day and Alexia the next. Because they’ve been told they can.

Never mind that the client has no idea who they’ll be meeting from one day to the next, and that taking your personal whimsies into the workplace is the apotheosis of unprofessionalism, you’re just “expressing yourself”, aren’t you? Along with all the myriad incarnations of that wonderful, bottomless you.

Likewise, the health and nutritional idiosyncrasies we all now like to shout from the rooftops – “I can’t eat that! I’m vegan/Keto/5:2-ing” – are pure self-expression, and therefore hallowed. So whereas I was brought up to leave anything I couldn’t or wouldn’t eat discreetly on the side of the plate, we must all now be made to know and care about other people’s foibles.

As women, we’re encouraged to express ourselves by “locating our period pride” and brandishing tampons in the office, before “talking loud and proud” about the menopause once we start going through that. And perhaps I’d find all this self-expression a little more exciting in exactly the way that Relationships and Sex Education teacher found the idea of 100+ genders if it were focussed on something less superficial and narcissistic.

And, of course, it’s all a lie. Because what the 9 to 12-year-old children in those BBC videos weren’t told was that they would only be free to express themselves in one way: the right way.

So that if one of the girls later chose to express herself in a more traditional manner – say, by wearing a skirt – secondary schools like Lewes’s now infamous Priory School, which this term made “gender-neutral” trousers compulsory for new and existing students, that would not be allowed. In fact, she would be turned away at the school gates.

All of which is likely to leave us with a generation of lost, confused and angry young adults asking a question we will find it very difficult to answer: “How did you let this happen?”


Australia: Indigenous TV host claims she was racially profiled by police while buying a bottle of wine in Australia's Outback.  But was she?

A reader writes: "I have noticed that police in Northern Australia are generally friendly and chatty with the public.

I expect that in conversation with the female police officer in the bottle shop, Ms Grant informed her that she is filming a documentary in some areas around Alice Springs in which the police officer knew to be areas where alcohol is banned.

And the police officer would know that Ms Grant is from Sydney and may be unfamiliar with alcohol banned areas around Alice Springs. So the police officer considerately reminded Ms Grant not to take alcohol into those areas as penalties apply... Just a police officer doing her job.

In calling it racist, I expect Ms Grant has taken it the wrong way, either knowingly as part of maintaining a sense of victimhood, or, as an innocent misunderstanding.

However, Ms Grant is a smart, educated and well informed news presenter and documentary maker, who, for a living, encourages others to feel victimised and outraged, so I would bet money that she is playing the victim and knows very well the police officer was just kindly doing her job. And if so, then that would make Ms Grant the racist"

An indigenous TV host claims she was racially profiled by a police officer while buying a bottle of wine in the Northern Territory.

Karla Grant, the host of SBS program Living Black, said she was targeted by a female police officer at a BWS Alice Springs who thought she was illegally buying alcohol to re-sell.

Grant told the Women In Media national conference on the Gold Coast on Friday that what followed was 'totally racist,' ABC reported.

'She focused in on me and said "have you got any ID? where are you staying?" I was so shocked and she didn't ask for my producer's ID, she just asked me, she really focused in on me,' Grant said.

Karla Black, the host of SBS program Living Black, said she was stopped by a police officer in Alice Springs who thought she was illegally buying alcohol to re-sell    +2
Karla Black, the host of SBS program Living Black, said she was stopped by a police officer in Alice Springs who thought she was illegally buying alcohol to re-sell

'She said "you know there's penalties for this?" She was implying I was a grog runner, that I was getting alcohol to take to a restricted area,' Grant said.

Grant said the police officer continued to harass her, asking her where she was staying and why she was there.

The TV host said her producer was 'fuming' from the police officer's attitude. 

'He was like "oh my God, this is so racist". I happened to run into a friend who was coming into the alcohol store as well and I told him what happened and … he said "it happens to us all the time".

Grant said that while racism in Alice Springs is on the decline, it's still an underlying problem within the community.

Northern Territory Police said they weren't 'aware' of the incident.

Grant said that when driving around Sydney and other big cities, she will detour to avoid police cars out of fear of being harassed. She said being racially targeted by police is common concern for indigenous people.



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

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

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


13 September, 2019

Why everyone's talking about emergency `grab bags'

British police forces have tweeted that we need to be prepared for an emergency. What do they know that we don't, asks Damian Whitworth. Plus, what Bear Grylls has in his bag

Quick! Get out! Tin hats on. Now, where's your emergency grab bag? What, you don't have one? Where have you been? Not on Twitter that's for sure.

On Sunday night a new viral hashtag began sweeping social media, started by, of all people, the British police. A number of forces put out messages and videos urging people to gather the contents for an emergency "grab bag". In a tweet hashtagged BePrepared, Police Scotland urged us to get packing. "September is preparedness month. Emergencies can happen at any time and it's recommended to have a #GrabBag ready containing essential items including medication, copies of important documents, food/water, torch, radio and other personal items." An accompanying diagram of a backpack included, among other things, a whistle, a radio and a first aid kit. Other forces put out videos.

The tweets sparked an immediate reaction, ranging from panic and puzzlement to satire and outright mockery. Did the police know something the rest of us didn't - were we just preparing for a War of the Worlds-style apocalypse? And did any of this have anything to do with Brexit?

Soon on social media the bag was being re-packed with small dogs, bows and arrows, Mo‰t & Chandon champagne, positive thoughts and sunlit uplands. Brexit emergency grab bags tended to be empty. A Rees-Mogg bag was stuffed with a top hat, a Victorian writing bureau and a piece of the True Cross. Some would-be survivalists contended that they could tackle whatever Armageddon threw their way as long as they had Tom Hardy stowed in their knapsack. Some just tweeted an image of a bag of crisps.

The tweets from police forces were in fact part of a month-long campaign on emergency preparedness - hashtagged 30Days30WaysUK - apparently inspired by similar campaigns in America. "The messaging is part of a general resilience-awareness campaign that runs each year during September which emergency services and partners across Britain are taking part in," Police Scotland said in a subsequent statement, but the damage was done.

There were complaints that the campaign was scaremongering and some inevitably suspected a conspiracy; that the authorities knew something catastrophic was about to occur and weren't telling us the full story. Mostly, though, the response came in memes.

Despite the humour, not everyone thinks that serious grab-baggers are sad sacks. "I have both a grab bag and a contingency of where I will go with my family," says Ben Fogle, the explorer and TV presenter. "I don't think it's over-the-top at all. On the contrary, I think it's rather sensible. You have a grab bag on a boat. You have one if you are mountaineering. Why not have one at home? I won't reveal the full contents, but it includes a battery-powered radio. A spare phone and battery pack. An EPIRB. Cash."

An EPIRB is an emergency position-indicating radiobeacon, useful for Fogle in the sort of wild places where he spends half his life (he is emailing from Iceland), but the rest of us could probably safely fill that spot in the bag with a couple of packets of digestives.

Not all explorers have a bag packed and ready to go. "I think it's bollocks," says David Hempleman-Adams, the polar adventurer, mountaineer and record-breaking balloonist. "If you are on a sailing boat it's common sense to have a grab bag so you've got all the stuff if you hit a whale or you are in a storm. You always take emergency stuff if you are on a mountain.

"But you see a `grab bag for Brexit' and you think: `This is just a money-making thing.' " He believes there are consequences to promoting such precautions. "I think people are going to go raiding shops. And some of these things [in emergency packs] have a six-month life. You don't want to drink water in a plastic bottle after six months. I think it's a marketing gimmick."

He even suggests that a grab bag could create exactly the sort of complication it is intended to prevent. "It's a frickin' nonsense. You know, when you need it you forget where it is. If it's that urgent to get out of an emergency situation like that, you have got to get out quick. If you are hunting around for a grab bag that can probably be more dangerous than having one."

The 30Days30Ways campaign, it transpires, originated in the US state of Washington, a part of the world that sits pretty low on the disaster-league table. Then again, in Clark County, where the emergency services started this 11 years ago, there were tornado warnings yesterday, so they do seem to have cast-iron excuses for packing grab-and-go bags there.

It is understandable that this was born in the USA, where many regard stockpiling as a national pastime and some see a looming disaster as an excellent excuse to buy assault rifles, dig their own well and fantasise about the feds knocking on the door. Silicon Valley billionaires have funded a bunker-building boom in remote corners of New Zealand. Perhaps with our love of Bear Grylls survival shows and pre-Brexit wine stockpiling there's a little bit of us too that loves a touch of disaster planning. At festivals this summer teenagers were all diving into the mosh pit wearing fanny packs - I'm pretty sure they weren't that well-prepared at Woodstock.

On its website 30Days30WaysUK doesn't discuss the importance of fannypack prepping for Glastonbury, but it does asks us to think beyond the headlines of terror attacks, storms and flooding, and global natural disasters and focus on the things most likely to affect us: power cuts, gas leaks, fires, transport strikes and road closures.

It's something that we are generally quite bad at, reckons Andrew Gissing, a disaster-management expert with Risk Frontiers, a global research company. About a quarter of us make contingency plans for the biggest risks he says we face, which in Britain are a pandemic or flooding.

The most confusing thing about the grab-bag graphic that went viral was the "emergency plan", which was inaccessibly stashed at the bottom of the pack. Dip into local-emergency responder websites and you find - once you get past the dismaying realisation that you don't store your important documents above flood level in a fireproof box - that there are a lot of "do you have a plan?" questions. These put me in mind of antenatal classes and their earnest talk of creating a "birthing plan" (after some thought we devised a birthing plan: "have the baby").

"An emergency plan is what you are going to do if something bad happens - a flood, or a bad storm or a fire. How you are going to prepare in advance and how you are going to recover," Gissing says. And yes a grab bag should be part of that plan.

If you want one but can't be bothered to prepare it yourself, you can always buy one from Bushcraft Lab, a Cambridge company that offers a Two-Person SHTF (shit hits the fan) emergency bag for œ219.99. This includes rations, water, a 15m rope, survival shelter, bivouac bags and a condom (for carrying water. There will be no time for any of the other when the SHTF).

"There's a certain type of person that gets into this," says Gareth Macfarlane, who owns the outfitter. "Wargamers, that type of guy, who lives with their parents. They tend to be into the prepper kind of thing."

Although his bags have been steady sellers, in the past six months demand has dried up and he hasn't flogged a single grab bag. Perhaps all this grab-bag talk will be a boon for his business. "I'm waiting for it to implode on Brexit and I will be laughing," he says.

He's laughing when he says this. It's a joke. Repeat, joke. He is not part of a prepper Brexit conspiracy.

By Bear Grylls

"You can do this quietly and effectively without a big fuss but the words `just in case' have saved many a survivor. And it is the small things that can make a huge difference. Above all survival is always about a determined and resourceful spirit. NGU: Never give up."

What you need

 *  Water - one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
 *  Food - at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
 *  Battery-powered or hand crank radio and an NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
 *  Flashlight
 *  First aid kit
 *  Extra batteries
 *  Whistle
 *  Dust mask
 *  Plastic sheeting
 *  Duct tape
 *  Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
 *  Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
 *  Manual can opener for food
 *  Local maps
 *  Cell phone with chargers and a back-up battery
 *  Pet food (for your pet)


San Antonio to Face the Music for Chick-fil-A Airport Ban

On Thursday, five Texans who frequent the San Antonio airport and wish to eat Chick-fil-A there filed a lawsuit against the City of San Antonio under S.B. 1978, a new Texas law dubbed the "Save Chick-fil-A Bill." The new law forbids government actors from discriminating against religious groups or those associated with them, and removes government legal immunity from agencies that do so. The law's passage followed the San Antonio airport's ban on Chick-fil-A, citing "a legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior" and calling the fast-food chain "a symbol of hate."

"The city's continued exclusion of Chick-fil-A is based 'wholly or partly' on Chick-fil-A's past and present contributions, donations, and support for certain religious organizations, including the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which it provides through WinShape, its charitable foundation," the lawsuit explains, citing the new law directly.

In the suit, the plaintiffs ask the court: to declare that San Antonio violated the law and continues to do so; to issue an injunction to prevent the city and the company Paradies LagardŠre from excluding Chick-fil-A from the airport; to issue another injunction compelling the city to install a Chick-fil-A in the airport; to issue a third injunction preventing the city from "taking any adverse action against Chick-fil-A or any other person or entity, which is based wholly or partly on that person or entity's support for religious organizations that oppose homosexual behavior;" and to order the city to pay attorneys' fees and other appropriate relief.

"If you thought we were bluffing, now you know we're not," Jonathan Saenz, Esq., president of the Texas Values Coalition, said in a statement on the lawsuit. "This is just one of many lawsuits that we expect to be filed against the San Antonio City Council for their illegal ban of Chick-fil-A. The continued religious ban on Chick-fil-A by the San Antonio City Council has by left citizens with no choice but to take this case to court.  Any other vendor that tries to replace Chick-fil-A at the airport will be doing so under a major cloud of long and costly litigation with the city."

The lawsuit presents the entire story of liberal outrage at Chick-fil-A. In 2010, the restaurant company gave over $8 million to the WinShape Foundation, a charitable organization run by the family of late Chick-fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy. WinShape donated some of that money to Bible-believing Christian organizations such as the Family Research Council (FRC), Exodus International, Alliance Defense Fund (now Alliance Defending Freedom), the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and more.

In 2011, Equality Matters published a report about these donations. Liberal outlets seized on it. In 2012, Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy said, "I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.' I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about."

After this, liberal mayors of Boston and San Francisco said that their cities had no room for Chick-fil-A. Chicago alderman Joe Moreno said he would block Chick-fil-A from entering that city, and then-mayor Rahm Emanuel supported him, saying, "Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values." WinShape caved, dropping its support for FRC, Focus on the Family, Exodus International, and others.

Yet liberals continued to demonize Chick-fil-A over WinShape's donations to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Salvation Army. These organizations hold to Christian teaching on sexuality, but activists acted as though any organization holding to the Bible on LGBT issues must be alienated and blacklisted.

This lawsuit is welcome news, and it should encourage WinShape to reconsider its decision not to fund more controversial Christian organizations. FRC and Alliance Defending Freedom are wrongly accused of being "hate groups" by the corrupt Southern Poverty Law Center. WinShape should take a stand by choosing to support them once again.


Nurse Testifies Infants Surviving Abortion Left to Die in Hospital ‘Soiled Utility Room’

Registered nurse Jill Stanek testified before a House committee that she cared for an infant with Down syndrome who had survived an abortion and was left to die in the hospital’s “soiled utility room.”

In her prepared testimony on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, Stanek, who now serves as national campaign chair at the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, described an incident 20 years ago when she worked at Christ Hospital in Illinois.

Stanek said she became aware Christ Hospital “committed abortions into the second and third trimesters,” a procedure known as induced labor abortion, which sometimes resulted in babies born alive.

“In the event a baby was aborted alive, he or she received no medical assessments or care but was only given what my hospital called ‘comfort care,’” Stanek continued.

Calling attention to the fact that babies do, indeed, survive abortions, Stanek described a significant incident:

One night, a nursing co-worker was transporting a baby who had been aborted because he had Down syndrome to our Soiled Utility Room to die – because that’s where survivors were taken.

I could not bear the thought of this suffering child dying alone, so I rocked him for the 45 minutes that he lived. He was 21 to 22 weeks old, weighed about 1/2 pound, and was about the size of my hand. He was too weak to move very much, expending all his energy attempting to breathe. Toward the end he was so quiet I couldn’t tell if he was still alive unless I held him up to the light to see if his heart was still beating through his chest wall.

After he was pronounced dead, I folded his little arms across his chest, wrapped him in a tiny shroud, and carried him to the hospital morgue where we took all our dead patients.

Stanek said Christ Hospital “readily admitted babies there survived abortions.”

As she wrote in a column at LifeSiteNews, a spokesman told the Chicago Sun-Times “between 10 percent and 20 percent” of aborted babies with genetic defects “survive for short periods outside the womb.”

“From what I observed, it was not uncommon for a live aborted baby to linger for an hour or two or even longer,” Stanek testified. “One abortion survivor I was aware of lived for almost eight hours.”

She added:

Of 16 babies Christ Hospital aborted during the year 2000, four that I knew of were aborted alive. Each of those babies – two boys and two girls – lived between 1-1/2 and 3 hours. One baby was 28 weeks’ gestation – 7 months old – and weighed two pounds, seven ounces.

Stanek used this incident to refer back to the words of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D), who said during an interview in January that an abortion bill introduced in his state’s House of Delegates would permit an “infant” to be “delivered” and “resuscitated, if that’s what the mother and the family desired,” until the physicians and mother discussed whether the baby should be allowed to live or die.

“If a mother is in labor...the infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians & mother"

“When I heard Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a pediatric neurologist, describe during an interview the process by which doctors determine to shelve unwanted newborns to die, it hit painfully home to me,” Stanek told committee members during the hearing. “He said, quoting, ‘If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired.’”

“Gov. Northam was right,” she said. “That is exactly what happens.”

House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (LA) and his colleagues Reps. Ann Wagner (MO) and pro-life caucus chair Chris Smith (NJ) announced a hearing on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act legislation, which would protect babies born alive after abortion from infanticide.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other Democrat leaders have blocked a vote on the bill more than 80 times.

Scalise and Wagner filed a discharge petition on the legislation in April. All 197 House Republicans, but only three Democrats, have signed onto the petition. In order to bypass Pelosi and force a vote on the Born-Alive Act, House Republicans need 17 more signatures — which they hope to obtain after the hearing presents the facts to Americans, provided by experts on abortion.


‘Anti-semitism’ driving far-Leftist challenge to Australian treasurer

NSW Senator Andrew Bragg has attacked the “disgraceful challenge” against Josh Frydenberg’s eligibility to sit in parliament and said it was underpinned by “anti-semitism”.

Speaking in the Senate this afternoon under parliamentary privilege, Senator Bragg described the Section 44 legal challenge against the Treasurer as “illegitimate” and driven by “people who have an obsession with the Holocaust”.

Senator Bragg said Michael Staindl, who has launched a High Court challenge testing Mr Frydenberg’s re-election, failed Kooyong candidate Oliver Yates and lawyer Trevor Poulton — who has written a book called The Holocaust Denier — should “be ashamed of themselves for their appalling behaviour”.

“They are band together in the shadows to try and unseat the son of a Holocaust survivor,” Senator Bragg told parliament. “They are pretending that they are not working together when they clearly are. The basis for this challenge is anti-semitism.”

Senator Bragg, who said he studied genocide at university, also warned of a “rising tide of anti-semitism in Australia”.  “I believe anti-semitism is a rising problem in NSW and across Australia. Anti-semitic incidents have increased by 60 per cent in the past year. There has been extraordinarily large increases on email threats, telephone based threats, and vandalism,” he said.

Senator Bragg accused Mr Staindl, Mr Poulton and Mr Yates of being involved with an “outrageous attempt” to challenge Mr Frydenberg’s citizenship. “His mother Erica Straus fled the Holocaust and arrived in Australia from Hungary in 1950.”

Senator Bragg, who referenced the case of Jewish Liberal MP Julian Leeser who has been subject to “anti-semitic behaviour”, said Mr Yates — who claimed only 8.98 per cent of the Kooyong vote at the May 18 election — was “involved in this outrage”.

“We are proud of Jewish Australians. They have risen to the highest offices in the land. We are proud of Josh Frydenberg, he is a great Australian, and a great friend who is well regarded across this parliament. The Liberals will always call out racism.

“I call on our education sector to keep teaching the truth about the Holocaust. We cannot afford to forget. What begins with the Jews never ends with the Jews. I call on all Australia’s community and political leaders to never walk past anti-semitism or racism in any form. “Racism is a sickness of the heart and the mind, it should never be tolerated.”



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

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

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


12 September, 2019

Star Wars 'Last Jedi' Director Rian Johnson Brings 'Knives Out' Against Trump Voters

In his first major motion picture since annoying and disappointing generations of Star Wars fans with The Last Jedi, writer-director-progressive Rian Johnson is poised to do the same to an even larger slice of the American public with next month's Knives Out. And lefty movie critics couldn't be more thrilled, according to the latest from Society Reviews.

SR reports that "critics at the Toronto International Film Festival [are] gushing about the film's shared hatred for Trump and his voters," which is about as subtle as a knife to the throat.

Never mind that Trump was put into office by working-class voters in the Rust Belt, who switched allegiance from Obama to Trump following eight years of Democratic neglect. Hollywood has its narrative, and it's going to charge you at least ten bucks a ticket for the privilege of getting pummeled by Johnson's version of it.

My wife and I saw the Knives Out trailer on the big screen earlier this summer, and it's being sold as a star-studded, darkly comic, murder mystery -- a sort-of 21st-century Clue. There's nothing overtly (or even covertly) political about the trailer. Some slightly NSFW language, but watch:

Whether or not the trailer makes you want to see the movie, there's nothing in it that tells you anything like this about it, from Collider senior editor Matt Goldberg:

"KNIVES OUT is a total delight from start to finish. It's also a scathing indictment of American greed in the Trump era. I'll have more on that when the movie opens in November"

Pro Tip: Any movie advertising itself as a "scathing indictment" is generally not a movie you'll want to see. Which is maybe why Lionsgate has left all the anti-Trump-voter stuff out of the promotional materials. If you want to make an anti-Trump movie, or even an anti-Trump-voter movie, fine. But be honest about it and market what you're selling. Carla Renata, "The Curvy Critic," thinks the movie will be a "healthy hit," thanks in part to its "constant digs at Trumpites." Lionsgate might make money in the short run, but the movie also might poison relations between Hollywood and Flyover Country even further. If word doesn't get out in a big way before Knives Out is released, a lot of viewers are going to be more than a little angry at having been made the butt of Johnson's joke twice: For two hours on the screen, and for ten or twelve bucks at the box office.

Based on the trailer, I was willing to give this one a chance. The marketing geniuses had me thinking that just maybe Johnson had learned from his Last Jedi blunder, and had made an entertaining movie targeted at a wide audience. Instead, he's given in to his anger and let the hate flow through him, directly onto movie screens in every Red State.

Emperor Palpatine, who will apparently return in some form or other in the next (not Rian Johnson-written-or-directed) Star Wars movie, would be pleased.

Knives Out will be released on November 27. I'll take a hard pass on this one.


Businesses Are Becoming Entirely Too Political

The "woke" business model of catering to every leftist whim is going to turn out badly.

Walmart's recent decision to stop selling ammunition for handguns and some rifles is the latest example of a shifting corporate culture in which American companies are inserting themselves into political and social issues. This is an increasingly common occurrence that is further harming our public discourse.

Companies do have a responsibility to produce and sell safe products. They also must respond to pubic demand, particularly if they want consumers to buy their products and services. In recent years, however, corporations, led by "woke" CEOs or left-of-center shareholder activists, have been wading into the political fray.

Companies used to stay out of political discourse as a matter of policy. Now, companies that try to stay silent on controversial issues can also face the wrath of the Left. Those that want to avoid embarrassing press coverage, boycotts, and picket lines often overcompensate to please what is ultimately a minority of citizens.

For instance, it wasn't enough for Walmart to stop selling ammunition (once current inventory is exhausted, of course). Company CEO Doug McMillon also took the opportunity to "encourage our nation's leaders to move forward and strengthen background checks and to remove weapons from those who have been determined to pose an imminent danger." Imagine a country where we take our guidance on Second Amendment issues from our largest consumer retailer.

Walmart's reliance on cheap Chinese products has driven many smaller retailers out of business over the years. It keeps a vast number of its employees part-time so it does not have to pay their insurance benefits. It was this business model that for years made Walmart the bane of the Left. Or at least that was the excuse at the time. Now, the Left loves Walmart, just like it loves any company that will push a "woke" agenda.

Whether it be stopping the sales of firearms, shielding illegal immigrants from the law, or promoting social justice, companies are now adding their voice to the public discourse. The problem is that this is the voice of the Left. By leaning on these companies, the Left is using commerce itself as another means of pushing its agenda. Sometimes this is done through the threat of public action, sometimes because activist leftists have wormed their way onto corporate boards and can influence decisions.

The American public does not need the corporate sector to be the voice of the people. People are perfectly capable of voting for their elected leaders at the ballot box. And we can vote for the companies we choose to support by purchasing their products. In short, people can make up their own minds. Leftists don't like that, which is why they're so interested in strong-arming American business. Not because they are concerned about the economy, but because they see it as another lever of power with which to enact their socialist agenda.

Companies that decide to go "woke" are merely following a trend. If CEOs choose to take their organizations into the political fray, then they will find themselves as political players. Being a political player may make a company popular with certain segments of society, but it will no longer be neutral in the eyes of the public. And what happens when the political winds shift, as they always do? What will be more important then, popularity with a base of leftist elites or staying in business?


Vegan activist who rescued rabbits from farm accused of killing hundreds of baby bunnies

A vegan activist, who posted online about being attacked by farmers while raiding a rabbit farm in Spain, has been accused of killing almost 100 rabbits and baby bunnies.

The deaths came after the activist, known as "Mythical Mia", stormed the farm last Sunday night with a group of activists, and stole over a dozen rabbits, some of whom were reportedly new mothers to vulnerable baby bunnies.

Mia made international headlines last week, after sharing videos showing herself bleeding from the face, claiming she'd been shot at by the farmers whose properties she'd entered to "rescue" the rabbits on the evening of September 1.

"This is what has just happened to us, look, I'm documenting the whole thing," the activist said in a video posted to her Instagram last week.

"I'm covered in blood," she said. "This is what the farmers have done. They shot through our window and chased us down the motorway. Oh my God, I'm literally covered in blood."

After the incident, Mia said online she'd been forced to "leave thousands of mothers and babies behind".

Mia's group had entered a farm in Osona, in Catalonia, in north east Spain, to retrieve what she claimed was 16 rabbits from the farm.

Since the incident, Catalonia Police have contested details reported by Mia, including that the group's car was shot at.

A translation of a report from Spanish news website La Van Gaurdia indicated that after the stress of the incident, where the activists took pregnant and nursing rabbits from the farm, further bunnies suffered from ruptured spines, and miscarried their unborn baby bunnies.

A report obtained from a local veterinarian said five of the rabbits who were pregnant died after the incident, killing their unborn offspring.

A further 90 of the baby bunnies, who had been left without their mother rabbits died following the theft.

Catalonia Police also said while the activists' car did suffer a broken window, it's unlikely the farmers shot at the car. In their comments, they disputed the number of rabbits taken by Mia, saying the activists had 14, not 16 rabbits, as Mia had claimed in posts online.

"On Sunday, September 1 at 7.30pm, a group of activists entered a farm in Gurb, Osona, and took 14 rabbits," a Catalonia police spokesperson told The Sun.

"When Mossos d'Esquadra (Catalonia Police) arrived at the site, the activists were outside.

"The 14 rabbits have not been found. There were some farmers at the scene and there was tension between the two groups.

"Mossos separated them and escorted them from the premises to avoid further conflict.

"Just before 11pm, we were informed that one of the windows of an activist's car had suffered an impact - and that a girl had injuries to her face as a result of the broken glass.

"The window was most likely struck by a forceful object, due to the nature of the impact, rather than a shot from a shotgun."

Following the incident, Mia set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds for vet bills, bedding and food for the rabbits taken from the farm.

"In the end, we managed to save 16 lives and they are all now in a safe place," the page reads. "We need help raising money for the vet bills, sanctuary costs including transportation, bedding, food, etc, that are currently 650 euros ($A1050)" Mia continued, claiming the rabbits were living in "filthy conditions" and many had injuries, infections and parasites.

The page has raised $A1151 (_715) from 52 separate donors over the last seven days.

Mythical Mia's Instagram page, where she original posted the video of the incident, has now been set to private. She has over 41,000 Instagram followers.


The strange priorities of Australia's main public broadcaster

Let's have a look at ABC Life, what Aunty calls a "new digital storytelling project created to reach new audiences in an innovative and engaging way".

It provides advice on food, money, travel, style, family, work, well-being, sex and relationships.

Some attention came its way last year when former Junkee political editor and former Greens candidate Osman Faruqi was appointed Life's deputy editor, just when the ABC was cutting 20 jobs elsewhere, apparently to be "fully fit for the modern media environment".

So what does this "modern media environment" look like, you ask?

This month we saw: "From Aladdin to Breakfast at Tiffany's, is it OK to keep watching problematic old films?"

And: "How do we reconcile the fact that our child or teenage self didn't pick up on blatant sexism, racism or homophobia?"

What fun these ABC Life people must be, judging every old movie or song on a current wokeness indicator.

Last month, ABC Life told us it was "time to close the masturbation gap". Yes, you heard correctly, the public broadcaster has finally got me to say ABC and masturbation in the same sentence.

Apparently, Life tells us, only one in every four women is masturbating regularly, and our national broadcaster has hang-ups about that. "Blame the patriarchy . and religion", it wanks on.

Also last month, this story was produced: "Why we get earworms and how to shake them off". Helpfully, the author explained: "Although not literally worms, the process of having a song stuck in your head affects most of the population."

And here I was thinking they were like tapeworms, only louder.

Just a month earlier Life got into fantasies, and no, they weren't referring to ABC election predictions. "Faking orgasms could be contributing to the orgasm gap" was the alarming spin.  "Men, this is where you can help by being open to honest feedback," we were told.

Well, we're here to help, I think, but all that's a big step up from the gender pay gap.

We've also had: "I fell in love with my hairdresser" which makes this site look like a trashy supermarket magazine.

And this week they asked the tough questions about urinating.  "You're racing out the front door, when you stop and ask yourself: `Should I go to the toilet now, so I don't have to worry about it later?' Do you head back inside to the loo? Or keep walking?"

I can assure you, this is what they published. This is your tax dollars at work.

They have even given us the incredible health news that if you don't drink you don't have hangovers and that makes being a morning person a lot easier. Now that's sobering information, isn't it?

We asked the ABC what specific part of their Charter these articles are intended to meet, what the site cost and how many people it employed.

They said their Charter demands a mix of programs and content of wide appeal and specialised interest.

They didn't give us anything on staffing or budgets but claimed the overwhelming majority of their audience is satisfied with the content and believes it fits with the ABC.

But why are taxpayers dollars spent on generating more of the dross that is available everywhere else, online, anytime, for free?  Isn't the ABC supposed to use our money to improve the quality of information available, to provide something we would not otherwise have?

This looks for all the world like the ABC playing with itself at our expense.



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

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

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


11 September, 2019

The Trayvon Hoax That Divided America Is About to Be Exposed

On Monday. September 16, Joel Gilbert will preview his new documentary, "The Trayvon Hoax," in the 500-seat Ballroom of the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The screening begins at 1 p.m. Admission is free, and Gilbert is encouraging all interested parties to come see for themselves what could be a game-changer in the way the media report racially-charged news. Gilbert's findings are that significant.

Having written a book on the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin - If I Had a Son-- I have been following Gilbert's progress with interest. In fact, I introduced Gilbert to George Zimmerman, the man who shot Martin. Those who have followed the case know that not since the Scottsboro boys has any ordinary citizen endured the kind of malicious and conspicuously false reporting Zimmerman has. My hope was that Gilbert would set the record straight.

Gilbert has done that and more. In the course of his relentless research into the shooting and subsequent trial, I can say without risk of overstatement that he has unearthed a legal fraud the likes of which I know no parallel. Not only has Gilbert discovered it, but he has also proved it six ways from Sunday, including DNA and handwriting analysis.

If I were Trayvon Martin's parents or his family's attorneys, I would be very nervous right now. If I were Florida state attorneys who prosecuted the case, I would be more nervous still. And if I were the media who covered this case - are you listening Matt Gutman and Lisa Bloom? - I would prepare to be mortified. The coverage of this case was a disgrace from day one.

To uncover this staggering fraud, Gilbert did what reporters used to do. He immersed himself in the milieu that produced Trayvon Martin. He mastered the patois of urban black Miami. He reviewed the thousands of text messages, tweets, Facebook and Instagram postings sent and received by Martin and his friends. He interviewed George Zimmerman and heard, from the only person who knew, Martin's final words, words that revealed the cause of Martin's tragic downward spiral.

Gilbert did some serious shoe leather reporting as well. He visited all the relevant Miami-area high schools, the neighborhoods where Martin and his friends hung out, the streets of Miami's Little Haiti, and the town community where Martin died.

At the end of his research, Gilbert knew Trayvon Martin better than his parents did, literally. As their deposition revealed, they had no idea how Martin's life had descended into a violent mix of street fighting, guns, drugs, burglary, and sex. Although both parents made good incomes, their separate lives created an abyss where a home should have been, and their once promising son fell straight to the bottom of it.

Unwilling to accept their own responsibility for his demise, they took the bait promised by the family attorneys and sweetened by the media and projected their guilt on to George Zimmerman. Although an Obama supporter and civil rights activist, the half-Hispanic Zimmerman proved to be just white enough to play the "racist" killer role in the unholy melodrama that followed.

In the documentary and even more so in the accompanying book of the same name, the Trayvon Hoax, Gilbert shows how politicians - are you listening Andrew Gillum and Barack Obama? -- exploited the ensuing racial divisions to further their political goals. The gratuitous anger the media and political class stoked throughout this case led to the creation of Black Lives Matter, the parallel Ferguson hoax, and a crime wave that that has devastated black America.

All of this was based on one spectacular fraud, and Joel Gilbert uncovered it. The film trailer and website will be live on Thursday, Sept 12. "The Trayvon Hoax," book and documentary, will be released and available on Amazon later this week in DVD, digital, paperback, and ebook formats.


LGBT Activists Seek to Destroy Christianity

Quarterback Drew Brees came under brutal attack last week for having the audacity to appear in a video encouraging Christian students to bring Bibles to school.

The pretext for the attack was that he supported a project by Focus on the Family, a Christian organization that believes in the Bible, to include the biblical concept of marriage and sexuality.

Note that Brees did not say or do anything that could be even remotely construed as being anti-LGBT.  In fact, he has previously appeared in anti-bullying ads supporting that community.

But his guilt was twofold: it is the guilt of association liberals love to use to attack what they hate and the even greater guilt of asking children to read the Bible, a book that many in this community despise.  In his critics' view, arguing against bullying LGBT members is good, but so is actually bullying Christians.

CNN headlined that "Drew Brees says he doesn't support a conservative Christian organization after appearing in a video they made."  That's what constitutes news at the apple is an apple network.  They must have been really inspired to break into their endless and breathless coverage over a map of Alabama....or Mississippi...to push the anti-Christian agenda.

For too long, many Americans have misunderstood the goals of the LGBT community, particularly its activist leaders.  The majority of Americans thought this movement was about winning acceptance and tolerance of gay Americans, something few people found objectionable.

But that was never the goal.  It was only an intermediary step.  The goal was always about forcing Americans to celebrate and bow before the full and ever-expanding LGBT agenda while detaching America from its Judeo-Christian heritage and moral framework.  The destruction of Christianity in society is the goal.

Note that liberals are always the aggressors on this issue.  While many Christians do not want to be forced to celebrate what they believe to be sin, they are not attacking or discriminating against members of that community.  Most Christians rarely think about this issue at all.  But they also don't want to be forced to violate their own deeply held religious beliefs, which is where they become vulnerable for attack.  Since they don't celebrate the LGBT agenda, they are the enemy.

The vile "Equality Act" Taylor Swift is tirelessly championing can be understood within this context.  It is not about equality.  That proposed law seeks to accomplish two goals: to insert sexual orientation and gender identity into the Civil Rights Act and to significantly expand the definition of public accommodations.

This is intended as a direct assault on Christianity and other people of faith.  That expanded definition of public accommodation will almost certainly include Christian places of worship and Christian institutions.  That's the desired target.

The evil implications are mind-boggling.  Explicitly Christian institutions will be forced to service acts they find sinful or be driven out of business.  Imagine Christian schools being forced to offer bathrooms of choice where everyone gets to decide his preferred sex.  Imagine Christian teachers being forced to teach and accept dozens of "gender identifications" in their classrooms within a Christian school.

If you think religious people who have moral objections will be able to opt out, think again.  The bill is written to ensure that that is not an option.  The act states, "The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 ... shall not provide a claim concerning, or a defense to claim under, a covered title, or provide a basis for challenging the application of enforcement of a covered title."

That part of the act gives the game up, revealing the true target.  When and if this act goes into effect, an army of lawyers will immediately go into action to attack Bible-believing Christians.  That's the whole point.

Before this passed the Democrat-controlled House, a number of Republican congressmen proposed amendments to both protect sanity and prevent the worst outrages.  The four amendments included not forcing a health care provider to affirm the self-professed gender identity of a minor, not requiring a female to face competition from a male in any sporting event, protection of a parent's right to be involved in his minor child's medical care, and protection of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which the proposed new law nullifies.  These were uniformly rejected by their Democrat colleagues, again providing proof of the true objective.  Liberals view all of these potential outrages as positive developments.

The good news is that as long as Republicans hold the Senate and presidency, this outrage is a pipe dream.  But if and when Democrats gain government control, it will be rushed into law.

The LGBT movement will not be happy until Christianity is completely driven from the public square and criminalized.  This is why Christian bakers, photographers, florists, and business-owners are being sued under the most outrageous pretexts.  These cases are almost always deliberately set up by extreme activists seeking a pretext to destroy what they hate.  They often succeed.

The goal is to either beat the Christian business-owner in court or bankrupt him through the legal process.  The burdensome and expensive process alone within the administrative state is often punishment enough to accomplish the goal.  The Equality Act intends to take these vile state and local anti-Christian efforts and to codify them into federal law.

A common Christian mantra is to love the sinner but hate the sin.  Many leftists take the opposite approach and fiercely hate people who don't believe as they do or serve the same master.

Incidentally, Islam also has strong teachings against all elements of the LGBT agenda, which is why homosexuality is criminalized in many Muslim-majority countries.  But Islam is mostly left alone due to the temporary alliance between liberals and Islam in America, built largely around foolish intersectionality grievance hierarchies and blatant anti-Semitism.

The LGBT activists won't stop until Christian and Jewish religious leaders can no longer read certain scriptural passages in places of worship because to do so is considered criminal hate speech.  Imagine the state forcing parents to embrace their young children's chosen "gender preference" or risk losing them.

These activists also will not stop until Christian-owned business, such as Chick-Fil-A, are driven into oblivion.  This week, Chick-Fil-A opened its first restaurant in Canada and was met by hateful protest.  The angry, hate-filled, and irony-challenged protesters declared that they would not allow hateful rhetoric into their community.  Chick-Fil-A doesn't bring rhetoric at all, other than perhaps asking if a customer would like a refill on his iced tea, offered with a smile.  That's quite the expression of hatred.  They don't refuse service to people based upon religious belief or sexual orientation.  But being owned and overseen by Christians is crime enough for liberals.

We've got to stand firm against the intolerance and hatred of the Left.  In the liberal hive mind, Americans who don't celebrate and champion the worst of perversions are a declared enemies who must be destroyed.  Right now, their aim is fixed squarely on Christianity.  They are coming not just for Drew Brees, Focus on the Family, and Chick-Fil-A.


Straight People Are Rejecting Transgenders: Activists Demand Government Intervenes

I thought at first that this was a spoof but there is actually a journal article behind it

Transgender people are being sexually rejected by almost all straight people and most gays and lesbians, according to a recent study. The survey, conducted by pro-trans advocates, found that roughly 97 percent of heterosexuals are not sexually attracted to transgenders.

Now, a group of transgender activists is demanding that the government intervenes due to the difficulty people are having finding a partner after switching gender. Activists argue that "trans individuals" should not be "treated differently" from "cisgender" (a person who "identifies" with the same gender they were born with) people by heterosexuals. They blame the lack of sexual interest on the idea of "compulsory heterosexuality" and are now demanding the government takes action to "include" transgenders in straight dating.

"Why should the resultance to date trans individuals be treated differently than the coercive and regulating effects of compulsory heterosexuality?" says the 2019 study, titled "Transgender Exclusion from the World of Dating."

In a just society, the authors declare, men who present themselves as transgender women should face no unusual obstacle to romance with men or women: While education often aims to increase tolerance and inclusion, simply increasing acceptance in public places, such as schoolyards, workplaces, and washrooms is ultimately insufficient, it is equally important to consider the extent to which trans folks are included in broader social systems, such as dating and relationships, given that relationship are an import source of social support and well-being. 

According to Breitbart, the government intervention is needed because the authors admit their survey of 956 people shows that transgender people are sexually unattractive.The survey contained a disproportionately large share of young female Canadian graduates and American sexual minorities, but only 3.1 percent of the straight men and women said they would date transgender people.


From changing Australia's constitution to boycotting the national anthem: How rugby league has been hijacked by social do-gooders pushing political causes that have nothing to do with the game - and why fans are furious

Rugby league football was once a straight-forward game which sprang from humble roots to provide entertainment for legions of largely working class supporters.

But in the past couple of years its governing body has alienated many of those loyal fans as it pushes itself into political debates which have nothing to do with the sport.

The NRL has campaigned for same-sex marriage, called for recognition of Aborigines in the Constitution and backed indigenous players who do not want to sing the national anthem.

Critics say instead of attending to grassroots needs like promoting bush rugby league, the NRL is spending too much time, energy and money forcing their left-wing views onto others.

Former federal Labor leader and rugby league follower Mark Latham reckons the NRL should stick to running a football competition and stay out of divisive social issues.

Mr Latham said the game's fans were not consulted before the NRL chose to publicly support any of these causes.

'I just think it's a disaster for the fans,' Mr Latham told Daily Mail Australia. 'Where's all that come from? No one goes to the footy for any of these things. 'In fact, people go to the footy to get away from arguments about religion and politics and virtue signalling. They go to watch sport.'

Mr Latham has also asked how the NRL can stand down players yet to be found guilty of criminal offences then ban Israel Folau from returning to the code for quoting the Bible.

Few within rugby league will openly criticise the NRL's obsession with taking on social issues unrelated to football.

Former Knights five-eighth turned commentator Matthew Johns won't even let loose his footy dinosaur alter-ego Reg Reagan any more.

In these times of heightened sensitivity and political correctness Johns has retired the character who famously wanted to 'Bring back the biff'.

While the NRL is happy to publicly hitch itself to controversial causes it would not respond to criticism it was unduly politicising sport.

The NSW One Nation leader has aimed much of his criticism of the game's political posturing at Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) chairman and former Queensland Labor premier Peter Beattie.

'It used to be footy and now it's a sub-branch for the Labor Party and the Greens under Peter Beattie,' Mr Latham said. 'He should stay right out of the politics.

'They've campaigned for same sex marriage - that's got nothing to do with footy. 'They're campaigning for the Uluru statement - that's got nothing to do with footy.

'Peter Beattie's lost perspective. He still thinks he's premier of Queensland.'

Broadcaster Alan Jones, who coached Balmain and was manager of football operations at Souths after guiding the Wallabies for four years, agreed.

'Who's he speaking for?' Jones recently asked about Mr Beattie. 'What mandate does he have to even speak on it?'

Mr Beattie has said: 'Any game has to have tolerance of the different points of view, and rugby league has demonstrated that with what we did with our grand final in 2017.' 'We're about being inclusive and tolerant, and we believe in that strongly. That's the future of any game.'

But there was no tolerating of Israel Folau

Israel Folau, who played rugby league for Australia before his conversion to union, was banned from returning to the NRL after posting a Bible quote on social media stating unrepentant homosexuals would go to hell.

Mr Latham compared the NRL's treatment of Folau with the fate of players who do stupid things while intoxicated or commit criminal offences. 'The bloke who quotes the Bible is banned,' he said.

'Players can have all sorts of drug scandals and sex with dogs - simulated sex with dogs - all of these sorts of scandals and be a State of Origin hero a couple of years later.'



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

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

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


10 September, 2019

Now chicken is bad for you

Everything is bad for you if you read the epidemiological literature for long.  I found the abstract for the report here and the full article here

The article says that "All analyses were adjusted for socio-demographic, lifestyle and women-specific factors" but the article gives no details of that.  I am 99% certain that they did not adjust for income or social class and that vitiates their conclusions.  Poor people both eat more chicken and have worse health so it was a poverty effect that they found, not a diet effect

Eating chicken puts consumers at a higher risk of a rare form of blood cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, as well as prostate cancer in men, according to researchers from Oxford University.

The research involved tracking 475,000 middle-aged Britons over a period of eight years between 2006 and 2014. Their diets were analysed alongside the diseases and illnesses they suffered with.

Around 23,000 of them developed cancer.

'Poultry intake was positively associated with risk for malignant melanoma, prostate cancer and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma', according to the paper published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

The research that was carried out was an 'association study'.

This means that it only shows the correlation between eating chicken and the certain types of cancers, rather than investigating the reasons why.

There are a number of factors that could cause this link. It could mean that the meat itself contains a carcinogen but it could even come down to how the meat is cooked.  Up until now, chicken has been widely regarded as a healthy alternative to red meat. 

Red meat is known to raise health risks including breast, prostate and colorectal cancer because of how the blood from the meat product is digested.


Want to seem more authentic? Use politically incorrect language

Politically incorrect speakers seem less calculated and more "real," according to the authors of a new Berkeley study

The study involved nearly 5,000 participants across nine experiments, which found that both liberals and conservatives viewed politically incorrect speakers as more authentic.
The results also suggest that political incorrectness can offend liberals and conservatives - it just depends on the issue.
About 80 percent of Americans believe political correctness is a problem in the U.S., according to a 2018 study.

Speaking in a politically correct manner might help you to avoid offending people. It might lower your chances of making waves at work. But one thing political correctness won't help you with, according to new research, is appear authentic to others - on both sides of the aisle.

The findings - they come from researchers at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business and are set to be published in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology - suggest that using politically incorrect language like "illegal" versus "undocumented" immigrants makes a speaker come off as more authentic and less persuadable by others.

"The cost of political incorrectness is that the speaker seems less warm, but they also appear less strategic and more 'real,'" Juliana Schroeder, co-author of the paper, told Haas Newsroom. "The result may be that people may feel less hesitant in following politically incorrect leaders because they appear more committed to their beliefs."

The forthcoming study involves some 5,000 participants across nine studies, in which political correctness is defined as "using language or behavior to seem sensitive to others' feelings, especially those others who seem socially disadvantaged." In addition to other tasks in the experiments, all participants were asked about their ideological backgrounds.

The results suggest that liberals and conservatives are about equally likely to get offended by political incorrectness. But it varies by subject matter: Calling poor white people "white trash," for example, is more likely to offend conservatives than liberals.

"Political incorrectness is frequently applied toward groups that liberals tend to feel more sympathy toward, such as immigrants or LGBTQ individuals, so liberals tend to view it negatively and conservatives tend to think it's authentic," Michael Rosenblum, the lead author of the paper, told Haas Newsroom. "But we found that the opposite can be true when such language is applied to groups that conservatives feel sympathy for - like using words such as 'Bible thumper' or 'redneck.'"

But the perception that politically-incorrect people are relatively hard to persuade didn't seem to hold up. In one experiment, the researchers asked 500 pairs of people to have an online debate about funding for historically black churches, a topic that had about a 50-50 split among the participants, with no significant support along racial, ideological or religious lines. The researchers instructed one of the participants to use either politically correct or politically incorrect language with their debate partner.

After, participants were more likely to say they were effectively persuasive in the debate when their partners were politically correct. However, the results showed no significant difference in which group was more easily persuaded, suggesting it's a good idea to be skeptical about initial perceptions about the persuadability of people based on political correctness.

The study also revealed two other findings:

Participants tended to think they could better predict the opinions of politically incorrect speakers, because they believed in the speaker's convictions.

Though ditching the morally coded language of political correctness seems to help people appear more authentic, the results also indicated that people tend to think that speakers who use politically incorrect language are older.

Most Americans think political correctness is problem

A 2018 study found that 80 percent of the American general population believe that "political correctness is a problem" in the U.S. The responses varied by group, with devoted conservatives reporting the highest level of agreement (97 percent) and progressive activists the lowest (30 percent). But in general, the majority of people in nearly every group - moderates, liberals and conservatives, and a majority of people in every racial group - agreed that political correctness is a problem.

As one 40-year-old American Indian in Oklahoma told the researchers:

"It seems like every day you wake up something has changed. . . Do you say Jew? Or Jewish? Is it a black guy? African-American? . You are on your toes because you never know what to say. So political correctness in that sense is scary."


AEI's Christina Sommers Picks Apart Feminist Victimhood on 'Real Time'

American Enterprise Institute resident scholar Christina Hoff Sommers joined Bill Maher on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" for very interesting and well-reasoned discussion about where Third Wave Feminism has gone awry.

Those expecting this to be a contentious interview will be disappointed. Sommers and Maher go back to his days hosting "Politically Incorrect" (a brilliant show, by the way) and Maher agrees with pretty much everything Sommers has to say.

The two spend most of the time pointing out and ridiculing the absurdity of leftist victim culture. The greatest example Sommers provides of just how broken and nonsensical the Left has become is when she details how she is now treated when she speaks on college campuses, where she not only needs security, but the universities set up "safe rooms" for the poor dears who are subjected to some opinions differing from their own.

Maher's language gets salty a couple of times near the end, but most of the video clean. For those unfamiliar with Sommers, she's always worth listening to.


Tlaib Meets With Controversial Anti-Israel, Terrorism-Supporting Group - Media Doesn't Bat An Eye

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) recently met with a controversial pro-Palestinian organization that has encouraged violence against Israel, justified the use of terrorism against the Jewish state, and has called for the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers, according to online postings on social media.

Tlaib, who has been under fire for her hatred of Israel and support for the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement was pictured meeting with members of the Palestine Youth Movement during the Arab Texas Festival held recently in Dallas. The PYM organization is known for its vitriolic rhetoric against Israelis and Jews and has been caught in the past glorifying the leaders of anti-Semitic terrorist organizations.

Tlaib's interaction with the group is unlikely to come as a surprise to the pro-Israel community, but is further evidence of her willingness as a member of Congress to associate with some of the most radical and fringe anti-Israel groups.

Is it any different than if a Republican Congressman met with a group of Nazis?

Not really.



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

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

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


9 September, 2019

Marriage rates are on the decline because of fewer 'economically-attractive' men as women are focused to choose between remaining single or 'settling' for less successful partners

It is perfectly reasonable and utterly traditional for women to want a competent partner -- and economic competence is part of that.  And it is undoubtedly true that modern-day women experience a shortage of economically competent men. They have been complaining bitterly about it for some years now.  So how come? 

It's all down to feminism.  Political feminism is largely anti-man and their destructive aims do have some fulfilment in various ways.  And the first way is that women are being pushed into traditionally male jobs. And for every woman who gets such a job a man is pushed out and may never get as good a job again.  So the woman can be pleased with her new job but will she be pleased with the reduced availability of appealing partners?

Another way feminism hurts women who want a normal marriage is the feminization of education from grade school on. That feminization tends to push men out of the education system and thus greatly reduces their job prospects.  A majority of graduates are now women. So again feminism damages the economic competence of men.  Once again feminism has hurt female marriage prospects.

Thirdly, feminist activism has created a minefield of politically correct expectations for men.  Normal male reactions to women -- even compliments -- are often deemed unacceptable and may lose the man his job.  And in such circumstance it may be very difficult to get a new job.  Smart men can navigate the verbal obstacles but average men who could be perfectly competent breadwinners in a more permissive age can easily be thrown on the scrapheap.  A considerable range of potential suitable partners will thus not make the cut.

In the circumstances, men can very easily get tired of women from their own ethnicity.  I have seen several high quality men go to the Republic of the Philippines for brides.  Asian women tend to have very little in the way of feminist hangups so very easily take men off the marriage market and promptly have children. Such relationships are not necessarily a bed of roses but the children keep them going, as they do in many Western families. So even women who are less feminist lose out to foreign competition.

And Australia is an interesting example of that.  Australia is fortunate in that its largest ethnic minority is East Asian. About 5% of the Australian population is of Han Chinese ancestry plus there are significant numbers from Australia's other Asian neighbours -- Vietnamese in particular.  Where I shop in suburban Brisbane, about a third of the faces I see are Asian.

And the Han are mostly from Southern China, who are quite short in stature.  So the many young Asian females walking about must feel at times as if they are among a race of giants  Even the Caucasian females walking about are often 6' tall, against the S.E. Asian norm of about 5'. 

So in their own minds the ladies concerned clearly become quite determined that their children will not be such shrimps.  But there is only one way they can have tall children:  They have to get themselves a tall husband.  But there are very few tall Asian males around.  But there is a plentiful supply of tall Caucasian men, including not a few over 6' tall.  So those determined little Asian ladies set out to get one of them.  And being generally smart they get what they want.  If you see a small Asian lady on the arm of a man where I hang out the man will normally be Caucasian, a tall Caucasian.  A couple where both are Asian is much rarer.  And even then the Chinese man concerned will be a TAll Chinese man.  There is no mistaking what is going on

And a major reason why the Chinese ladies snag a Caucasian man so readily is because when the man finds a well presented lady saying  nice things to him instead of feminist crap, it is like water on dry ground. How does "I will do anything for you" sound? It sounds very persuasive to any man. So again feminism has taken an eligible man off the market and feminist-inspired women can go whistle.

I gather that similar things happen in parts ofthe USA where there is a substantial Chinese presence, for instance in the universities.

But perhaps the greatest damage that feminism does is the unrealistic expectations it puts on men.  Women are taught that they should look for female virtues in men. They will often not find them -- particularly in economically competent men, who will usually be independent-minded.  So even if the man is actually economically competent he may well be rejected, producing an ever-shrinking pool of eligibles.

And once a woman has found a man who ticks all her boxes comes the big challenge, getting him to marry her. Thanks to Britain's savage feminist-inspired divorce laws, no well-advised  Englishman would ever marry, and many don't.  About half of all births in England today are ex-nuptial

Political feminism is the dire enemy of normal marriage-minded women.  Many women are feminist but to a much lesser degree than the political feminists -- but it is the politically active feminists who get the attention and dominate the culture

Marriage rates are on the decline due to a lack of 'economically attractive' men with steady jobs for single to women to meet

The study found that married men had incomes that were 58% higher and were 30% more likely to be employed than unmarried men who are still available

Researchers at Cornell University found that women may instead 'settle' for a potential husband or remain unmarried altogether

Black women and other minorities face serious shortages of potential marital partners, as do unmarried women, the study found

Marriage rates are on the decline due to a lack of 'economically attractive' men with steady jobs for single to women to meet, according to a study.

Researchers analysed data on recent marriages between 2007-2012 and 2013-2017 and concluded that there are fewer men with stable jobs and a good income available for unmarried women to match with. 

The study from Cornell University examined characteristics of unmarried women's perfect or 'synthetic' spouses which were comparable to real life husbands of married women. 

Authors found that so-called 'dream' husbands had an average income that was 58 per cent higher than the average unmarried man.

Women's perfect husbands were also were 30 per cent more likely to be employed and 19 per cent more likely to have a college degree than the average single American man, according to the study titled: 'Do Unmarried Women Face Shortages of Partners in the U.S. Marriage Market?.'

As a result, women may instead 'settle' for a match that falls short of their aspirations in a husband, the study suggests.

Women also may struggle to marry if they are of either a low or high socioeconomic status. 

The study also found that women faced serious shortages of potential black or minority marital partners.

The authors also pointed to research which shows that the 'mass incarceration of black men' has depleted the pool of unmarried men in inner-city urban neighborhoods, which has greatly reduced the prospect of marriage for black women.

On average, black men are roughly seven times more likely than white men to be incarcerated.

Race remains a significant demographic dimension of national and local marriage market mismatches, especially as educational and income constraints are amplified within many low-income and segregated minority populations.

It concluded: 'This study reveals large deficits in the supply of potential male spouses. One implication is that the unmarried may remain unmarried or marry less well-suited partners.'

The study reinforced the commonplace view that women in modern society face new marriage trade-offs at a time when finding a suitable match has become more difficult.

Daniel T. Lichter, the study's lead author and researcher with Cornell University, said: 'Most American women hope to marry but current shortages of marriageable men-men with a stable job and a good income-make this increasingly difficult, especially in the current gig economy of unstable low-paying service jobs.

'Marriage is still based on love, but it also is fundamentally an economic transaction. Many young men today have little to bring to the marriage bargain, especially as young women's educational levels on average now exceed their male suitors.'

Authors found that traditional patterns of mating have shifted, switching from a tendency in 1980 for women to 'marry up' in socioeconomic status to a current trend of 'marrying down.'

It found that women face overall shortages of economically attractive partners with either a bachelor's degree or incomes of more than $40,000 a year.

They said the findings reiterated previous research finding that mismatches in the marriage market in the form of shortages of economically attractive men may exacerbate uncertainty and heighten disincentives to marriage.

They said this comes at a time of rising education and growing financial independence among American women.

One solution, the study states, is  that promoting good jobs may be the best marriage promotion policy rather than marriage education courses that teach new relationship skills.

Women who are highly-educated fare worse due to gender imbalances , as they will either increasingly remain unmarried or they will match with men of a lower social status both in education and financially.

The study noted that the average total income of married men is $70,000 compared with $35,000 for unmarried men. Nearly 40 per cent of married men are college graduates compared with only 25 per cent of unmarried men.

Although the difference is small in absolute terms, the relative difference in employment status is large.

About twice as many unmarried women are unemployed compared to married women.   


Feminist: 'heterosexuality is just not working'

It will come as no news to FrontPage Mag readers that feminism, like every facet of Progressivism, has gone completely off the rails since the triggering ascension of Donald Trump to the White House, but it's worth an occasional reminder to grasp fully just how desperate and detached from reality feminism is. The latest case in point: a self-described lesbian feminist columnist has declared that pop singer Miley Cyrus, "suicided" sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, and the mass shooters in Dayton and El Paso are examples of how heterosexuality "is just not working."

In an opinion piece for NBC News, Marcie Bianco curiously claims that recent trending news stories - Epstein's downfall; the "toxic masculinity" of male mass shooters; the bisexual Cyrus's marital breakup; and entertainer Julianne Hough's public announcement that she's "not straight" - present "a snapshot of 2019 America" which depicts "an American patriarchy on the edge of a nervous breakdown."

Bianco - a columnist at the Women's Media Center, a nonprofit created by Jane Fonda, Gloria Steinem, and radical activist Robin Morgan to "raise the visibility, viability and decision-making power of women and girls in media" - observes that Cyrus' separation from actor Liam Hemsworth and her subsequent dalliance with at least one other woman is more significant than just another failed celebrity relationship. It's "a blow to the patriarchy." I am skeptical that it was even a blow to Hemsworth, much less to the entire so-called patriarchy, but the collapse of any marriage, no matter how "consciously uncoupled," is nothing to celebrate.

Bianco approvingly quotes Cyrus' redefinition of "what a relationship in this generation looks like. Sexuality and gender identity are completely separate from partnership." Considering that Hemsworth's and Cyrus's "partnership" dissolved, perhaps the lesson here is that indulging a trendy sexuality that is at odds with your partner's isn't the best way to redefine a relationship - and doesn't bode well for this generation. Bianco also praises Julianne Hough's self-empowering revelation to her husband that she's not straight. Although Hough's initially-surprised husband seems supportive of her thus far, anyone who thinks a marriage can survive in which the sexuality of one partner is "completely separate" from the other is living in an ideological fantasy utterly divorced (pun intended) from the reality of human nature - which of course, feminism is.

In any case, both these celebs and their proud proclamations of sexual liberation are evidence for Bianco that "girls and women are challenging heterosexuality, and even absconding from it altogether." They are "questioning the foundation of the patriarchy - heterosexuality - that has kept them blindly subordinate for centuries." Clearly, as "the status quo, heterosexuality is just not working," she concludes.

As evidence, she points to a recent Gallup poll which shows that "a record 4.5 percent of American adults identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender." Bianco would have us believe that this figure indicates that females are fleeing heterosexuality en masse, when in fact it merely demonstrates the degree to which the cultural Marxists in education, entertainment, and the news media have intentionally and successfully inculcated an anti-family gender confusion in many young people.

For those cultural Marxists, everything must fit the paradigm of oppressor-versus-oppressed. Hence, as Bianco argues, "[m]en need heterosexuality to maintain their societal dominance over women. Women, on the other hand, are increasingly realizing not only that they don't need heterosexuality, but that it also is often the bedrock of their global oppression."

She continues: "Historically, women have been conditioned to believe that heterosexuality is natural or innate, just as they have been conditioned to believe that their main purpose is to make babies - and if they fail to do so, they are condemned as not `real,' or as bad, women." This is pure misandrist, feminist poppycock. Bianco is declaring that heterosexuality is unnatural, and that men everywhere, throughout history, have conspired somehow to brainwash women into being attracted to the opposite sex in order to oppress them. This is what poet and lesbian feminist Adrienne Rich - whom Bianco cites - referred to in her influential 1980 essay as "compulsory heterosexuality."

Bianco goes on to state that lesbians or bisexuals like Cyrus and Hough define their freedom differently from how the word is understood by conservatives, who conflate it "with domination. In this context, freedom is actually possessed by a select few, as it is dependent upon the oppression - rather than the liberation - of disempowered people, particularly women and minorities." Her sole evidence for this claim is President Trump's private boast that women will let you do anything if you're famous. From that she extrapolates that conservatives (whom she equates with white males, of course) believe freedom means their right to oppress minorities. Conservatives (who come in all colors and both sexes, by the way) believe no such thing; indeed, in direct contradiction to Bianco, it is the right that emphasizes the personal responsibilities that come with freedom, while the left promotes narcissistic behaviors literally designed to deconstruct the natural order that has prevailed since the beginning of mankind.

Bianco doesn't elaborate on how Epstein and mass shooters are emblematic of this failing heterosexuality, except to point out that "[m]en continue to coerce, harass, rape and kill girls and women - and go to extreme lengths to avoid responsibility for their actions" - a grotesque generalization that would draw howls of Progressive outrage if she were referring to any other demographic except for white males. (Imagine if she had made such a sweeping denigration of Muslims or blacks or transgenders. Men, on the other hand, are fair game for the open contempt and bigoted smears of hateful feminists, and have been for decades.)

Epstein was nothing more nor less than a sick pimp for the powerful. He no more represents men in general than Cyrus represents all young American ladies. Neither does he represent heterosexuality, but a perversion of it. As for the mass shooters, there is no indication that their motives involved propping up the patriarchy or punishing lesbianism.

Bianco closes by quoting Adrienne Rich, who wrote that a "feminist critique of compulsory heterosexual orientation for women is long overdue." Bianco triumphantly declares that "It looks like this critique has finally arrived in the mainstream."

In fact, her cherry-picked instances of celebrity deviance are not anywhere near the American mainstream. Despite the desperate efforts of feminists to eradicate it, heterosexuality is alive and well, as it has been for all of history. Hollywood is not America. Miley Cyrus is not representative of any demographic in the United States other than, perhaps, damaged Disney child stars. If she is an exemplar of anything, it is the degrading libertinism that the misogynist Left encourages in all young women in the name of their "liberation" from the "oppression" of husbands and children. Contrary to Bianco's claim that the tongue-wagging Cyrus has seized control of her bodily autonomy and sexuality, the former "Hannah Montana" is not and never has been in control of her own life. A young victim of the succubus of fame, Cyrus is simply adrift without a moral center, surrounded by sycophants, a standard bearer for nothing but her own unbounded appetites, propped up by the destructive lies of NBC News opinion pieces.


World's top personality test doesn't really work - should we ditch it?

I have never been a fan of the "Big 5" and have never used it in my research.  Human personaity is far to complex to be whittled down in that way.  It's only a quick and dirty recourse when you don't know what you are looking for. My approach as been to construct tests for the specifc trait you are interested in and go from there.  I have in that way often got unusually high vaidities (Would you believe a validity coeficent of .79?) for what I was measuring

Personality tests are used by researchers, employers and even to shape policy, but a new study has found that the most widely-used test of personality doesn't seem work for people in low- and middle-income countries. Meanwhile, another study has found that even in Western countries, it may only work for specific age groups. So why are we still using it?

The "Big Five" personality traits are openness to experiences, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. The theory goes that all human personality traits fall into one of these categories. They tend to be measured using questionnaires that ask people how much certain statements describe them, such as "I have lots of ideas".

Since it was developed in the 1980s, this model has become the standard way of measuring personality. It has been used in multiple studies to link personality to income, job outcomes, education level, wellbeing, and even mortality, and companies use it in recruitment.

"Policy makers seem to care a lot about this, and more and more so," says Karen Macours at the Paris School of Economics in France. "So we want to make sure that it actually works."

But when Macours and her colleagues looked at survey results across 23 low- and middle-income countries, they found that it didn't. A set of questions developed to test for a specific trait, such as conscientiousness, would be expected to give similar scores in any individual. But that didn't happen across the 23 countries studied.

There are plenty of reasons why this might be the case. A person's culture could influence the way they describe themselves, and differences in language could play a role. The first Big Five tests were developed from an English dictionary search of adjectives that could be used to describe personality. Perhaps not everything translates.

In another study, David Condon at the University of Oregon and his colleagues have found that the model doesn't even apply to everyone in Western countries. While it seems to work for young adults, it fails in older populations, perhaps because the Big Five model was originally developed by studying university students.

Given all of this, and the fact that an individual's personality can change over time, some researchers are starting to ask questions about the viability of the Big Five model.

For a start, can human personality traits really be whittled down to five categories, which ignore goals, values and interests? It depends who you ask. Luke Smillie at the University of Melbourne thinks there are "between 4 and 7". The HEXACO model, which expands on the Big Five by including an additional "honesty-humility" trait is gaining ground. But Condon's team have developed a model to cover 27 traits.

Simply measuring more traits won't help, however, as survey responses are also problematic. No one can be expected to give a brutally honest and unbiased assessment of their own personality. Often, researchers corroborate responses by asking the person's close friends or family members - but these individuals will have their own biases.

Despite this, many researchers still defend the Big Five model. It works in some groups, and has harmonised personality research, allowing academics to share and compare their work, they say. "The question is: to what extent do we need to modify it or be aware of its limitations?" says Erik Gahner Larsen at the University of Kent.


A Texas Town Votes to End `Drag Queen Story Hour'

A city council in Texas has voted to stop renting out space at the local library to public organizations, essentially canceling the town's ability to have a "Drag Queen Story Time" for children, a move hailed by pro-family advocates.

"These are people who are actually employed at adult nightclubs," Mary Elizabeth Castle, a policy adviser for Texas Values, a nonprofit organization that promotes faith, family, and freedom, said of the drag queens.

The City Council of Leander, Texas, 22 miles northwest of Austin, voted 5-2 at its Aug. 15 meeting to stop renting out meeting rooms at the library to the public.

"We brought in $1,800 in rental fees and we spent $20,000 in security," Leander Mayor Troy Hill said, apparently referring to the drag queen event. "That's not good math to me."

While "Drag Queen Story Time" didn't end up happening in Leander due to a scheduling conflict, it came very close.

"Originally the Leander Public Library scheduled a `Drag Queen Story Time,' but that event was canceled by the City Council," James Wesolek, a communications associate for Texas Values, told The Daily Signal in an email.

"Then a so-called `church' rented the library and scheduled their own `Drag Queen Story Hour'; however, the drag queen canceled at the last minute due to an unavoidable work conflict, and the event became a family pride festival."

The idea of a drag queen event for children in the town of about 49,000 sparked protests, The Austin Chronicle reported.

Castle, of Texas Values, said the drag queens who often headline such events are not family-friendly or child-friendly.

"I've done some research and . their day job, without going further into, you know, anything personal, if you just Google them you can find out that they work at adult nightclubs," Castle said. "And so those people shouldn't be reading to children."

Council member Jason Shaw, who voted to end the practice of renting out space, said that doing so was not only economically sound but a socially wise choice.

"I hate that we're having to do this, to take it away," Shaw said of the vote to stop renting out space.

"But people are going to attack. If we don't just make it even across the board, people are going to attack and they're going to probe," he said. "It's going to cost the city and eventually somebody's going to get hurt. Things are going to escalate and somebody's going to get hurt."

Council member Christine Sederquist, who voted against the change, said the new policy is not inclusive.

"We already have things in place to protect our citizens and ensure costs," Sederquist said during the debate. "There's no reason to take away something from them."

Castle told The Daily Signal that the content of the drag queen story hours is inappropriate, but the American Library Association is "pushing" the event.

The American Library Association, Castle said, "has been behind a lot of the story hours along with the national `Drag Queen Story Hour' nonprofit and trying to have these `Drag Queen Story Hours' across the country."

The Daily Signal sought comment from the American Library Association, but it did not reply by publication time.

Castle said the events are woefully inappropriate for children.

"These drag queens are told to read stories, you know, about gender transitioning and about sexual orientation to young kids as young as infant age," she said.

Leander as a whole also wasn't too keen on the development, Castle said.

"I think the majority of the city disagrees with these events because of the cost and kind of the chaos that came with having that event," she said. "I think the city . wants to protect their children, and for the most part they seem to be against the `Drag Queen Story Hours.'"

Emilie Kao, director of the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal in an email that the trend of "Drag Queen Story Hours" is doing everything to harm and nothing to help children.

"`Drag Queen Story Hours' are contributing to the inappropriate and early sexualization of children," Kao said. "Parents, communities, and local libraries have the right to protect their children by refusing to host adult entertainment in spaces designed for kids."


Australia: Gender-bred lessons for kids

Teens taught biology not tied to sexual identity


TEENS are being taught their gender is not tied to their biological sex, in a controversial "Genderbread Person" lecture funded by taxpayers. Queensland Health is sending a sexual health doctor to some Brisbane high schools to "expand the idea of sexuality beyond the narrow focus of sex and genitals".

The teen sex talk, the "Genderbread Person", is based on a concept by self-described "social justice comedian" Sam Killermann, who has declared that  boys who identify as male are "privileged". Genderbread.org states that "gender identity, gender expression, biological sex, and sexual orientation exist independent of one another". It says gender identity can be anywhere on a scale from "woman-ness" to "man-ness" and includes terms such as "two-spirit", "genderqueer', "amender", "bigender", "third-gender" and "transgender".

"If someone is born with male reproductive organs and genitalia, he is very likely to be raised as a boy, identify as a man, and express himself masculinely," the website states. "We call this identity "cis-gender" - when your biological sex aligns with how you identify and it grants a lot of privilege."

The lecture is presented by Queensland Health's Metro North co-ordinator of sexual health, HIV and hepatitis, Dr Joseph Debattista. In his note to schools, Dr Debattista says he will "pres-ent the concept of the Gender-bread Person as a model for understanding sexuality".

"Firstly, it will be important to expand the idea of sexuality beyond the narrow focus of `sex and genitals', and view it as the innate ability of all humans to share themselves and communicate who they are with others," he states. "To understand ourselves as individuals, we will be looking at the four layers of sexuality as presented in the Gender-bread Model: biological sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, and gender expression, and exploring the nature and diversity of each layer."

A Queensland Health spokeswoman said two or three schools each year asked for the gender lesson, which "is not part of the Genderbread program". "It's important for young people to learn about sexual health and safe sexual behav-iour," she said. "Young people who identify as LGBTI+ are more likely to attempt suicide. "This education aims to promote understanding and respect for the dignity of all people."

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said the Gender-bread program was banned in NSW schools three years ago. "Suicide prevention and awareness is important, but this discredited politically correct propaganda is not the answer," she said.

 An Education Department spokesman said school principals could request the gender lectures, and parents and students could opt out.

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - 2019-09-08


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

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

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


8 September, 2019

A Papal bigot

I have lived through a number of papacies and saw all as good and holy men -- until this one.  He is just an empty-headed Leftist, as shallow as a birdbath.  He lacks even basic prudence -- once a hallmark of Popes.  He clearly no longer is interested in the church's basic goal -- saving souls.  Instead of reaching out to all men, he is a pastor to Leftists only

Think of the uproar if Donald Trump tweeted that it was an honour to be attacked by Argentinians. Pope Francis's comment that "it's an honour that Americans attack me'' has raised the ire of Christians in the US and the Anglosphere.

He made the throwaway remark to journalists aboard the Papal flight to Mozambique on Wednesday, when asked about a new book by Nicolas Seneze, Rome correspondent for the French Catholic daily newspaper, La Croix.

The book claims wealthy, conservative Catholics have stepped into the vacuum of authority left by sex abuse scandals in the US. The hostility fanned by Francis's comment, widely reported in church media, is a far cry from the close friendship between Saint John Paul II and Ronald Reagan, that underpinned the demise of eastern European Communism 30 years ago.

Francis also upset US Catholics last week by omitting American prelates leading major archdioceses from his latest list of new cardinals.

Applaud it or abhor it, the list of 10 new voting cardinals was a political masterstroke for a Pontiff determined to drive the church further out to the green-Left.

Regardless of their theological merits, or lack of them, a question being hotly debated in church circles, the political and social sympathies of many of the new "red hats'' are clear.

Their support for a range of causes, including feminist and LGBTI theology, open borders and free flowing immigration, anti-capitalism, environmentalism and dialogue with Islam are well established. The appointments will make the green-left direction Francis has imposed on the church harder to reverse in future.

As in his five previous consistories, Francis has again ignored the leaders of major archdioceses traditionally led by cardinals. These include Paris, Los Angeles (the largest Catholic city in the US), Philadelphia, Turin and Venice, the city that produced three 20th century popes. This is the second consistory in a row where no US clerics were included.

The new cardinals will receive their red hats on October 5, on the eve of the controversial Amazonian synod, which will focus on the environment, indigenous spirituality and the ordination of mature married men to the priesthood.

No general meeting of cardinals will be held to coincide with the consistory, which would have been almost unprecedented under previous popes. Refusing to bring the College of Cardinals together, however, has been Francis's practice for five years.

In recent months, two experienced cardinals, both sacked from senior Vatican jobs by Francis - Raymond Burke from the US and Gerhard Mueller from Germany - have told The Australian that the College of Cardinals is in a "very bad way'' because it was never allowed it to meet. In separate interviews, both men said that many of those who would eventually elect Francis's successor had never met, which would make voting problematic.

Post consistory, the College of Cardinals will comprise a majority of voting members, 67, chosen by Francis, with 42 appointed by Benedict XVI and 19 by Saint John Paul II.

The incoming voting cardinals include two Jesuits. One, Archbishop Jean-Claude H”llerich of Luxembourg, recently lamented the "disgrace'' of "populist'' politicians "exploiting'' the public's fears over immigration, security and Islam. His fellow Jesuit, Czechoslovakian-born Father Michael Czerny, who jumps several ranks moving from priest to caridnal, is a Vatican official specialising in migrants, refugees, social justice and the environment.

Another curial official promoted, Spanish Bishop Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, heads the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue was also on the list. Bishop Ayuso, an Arab speaker was one of the authors of the controversial "Chrislam'' document signed in February by Francis and Sheik Ahmad el-Tayeb, grand imam of Egypt's al-Azhar mosque. It said "pluralism and the diversity of religions" are "willed by God in His wisdom". That claim sparked a bitter war of words between two German cardinals, who hurled accusations about "promoting schism'' and an "anti-Christ'' influence in current debates.

Vatican librarian and archivist, Archbishop Jos‚ Tolentino de Mendon‡a, was also on the list of new cardinals. The Portuguese prelate, selected to preach Francis's Lenten retreat last year, is the author of an introduction to a book on feminist theology by Spanish nun Sister Maria Teresa Forcada. Dubbed "Europe's most radical nun'' by the BBC, she is anti-capitalist, pro-female ordination and pro-choice as regards abortion. In his introduction, the archbishop praised her lack of "dogmatic ties'' and rejection of "rigid and codified rules''.

In a positive move for Australia's largest northern neighbour, Francis has promoted the Archbishop of Jakarta, Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo, to the College of Cardinals. He is a member of the Vatican's Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

The promotion of Italian archbishop Matteo Zuppi, warmly regarded as a "priest of the streets" for his outreach to the elderly, immigrants, gypsies and drug addicts was widely welcomed in Italy. Another appointee, Cuban archbishop Juan de la Caridad Garc¡a Rodr¡guez of Havana is more political, insisting he does not want capitalism to come to Cuba, but favours "a progressing socialism".


Criminologists Mislead Us

Walter E. Williams

John Paul Wright, professor at University of Cincinnati, and Matthew DeLisi, professor at Iowa State University, have penned a powerful article titled "What Criminologists Don't Say, and Why," in City Journal, Summer 2017. There is significant bias among criminologists.

The reason for that bias is that political leanings of academic criminologists are liberal. Liberal criminologists outnumber their conservative counterparts by a ratio of 30-to-1. Ideology almost perfectly predicts the position of criminologists on issues from gun control to capital punishment to harsh sentencing.

Liberal criminologists march in step for gun control, oppose punitive prison sentences, and are vehemently against the death penalty.

In 2012, the National Academy of Sciences commissioned a study on the growth of incarceration. It showed that from 1928 until 1960, crime rates rose slowly each year. After the 1960s, crime rates exploded to unprecedented levels of violence until the 1990s.

Prior to 1980, only 40% of individuals arrested for murder were sentenced to prison and those that were served an average of five years. In 1981, less than 10% of those arrested for sexual assault were sentenced to prison. Those who were sentenced served an average of 3.4 years.

Liberal criminologists probably believe that light sentencing for murderers and rapists is just.

If criminologists have the guts to even talk about a race-crime connection, it's behind closed doors and in guarded language. Any discussion about race and crime sets one up for accusations of racism and that can mean the destruction of one's professional career.

Wright and DeLisi say that liberal criminologists avoid discussing even explicit racist examples of black-on-white crime such as flash-mob assaults, "polar bear hunting," and the "knockout game." These are cases where black youth seek out white people to physically attack.

According to Wright and DeLisi:

Disproportionate black involvement in violent crime represents the elephant in the room amid the current controversy over policing in the United States. Homicide numbers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation Supplementary Homicide Reports, 1976-2005 indicate that young African American males account for homicide victims at levels that are ten to 20 times greater than their proportion of the population and account for homicide offenders at levels that are 15 to 35 times greater than their proportion of the population. The black-white gap in armed-robbery offending has historically ranged between 10 to 1 and 15 to 1. For all racial groups, violent crime is strongly intraracial, and the intraracial dynamic is most pronounced among blacks.

That means the primary victims of black crime are other black people. In more than 90% of homicides, for example, both the victim and the perpetrator are black.

Between 1991 and 2017, the nationwide violent crime rate fell from 758 cases to 382 cases per 100,000 people. Despite the evidence that higher incarceration reduces crime rates, many criminologists argue that "mass incarceration" has actually "took minority men out of their neighborhoods, stripped them of voting rights, destabilized families, and sapped already-paltry economic resources from struggling communities."

Wright and DeLisi say that "Such claims could seem plausible only if one believes-contrary to evidence and common sense-that career criminals contribute positively to their neighborhoods, enjoy stable and functional families, vote, and work. What they did, in reality, was to prey on their neighbors."

Crime is a major problem for the black community. But in addition to incarcerating those who prey on the black community, what can be done?

The answer is easy, though implementation poses a challenge. We should re-adopt the values and practices of our ancestors.

Black families of yesteryear were mainly two-parent and stable, even during slavery. Black people didn't tolerate property destruction. There were few school fights. Disrespect and assaults on teachers were virtually unknown. These are now all too common.

The strong character of black people is responsible for the great progress made from emancipation to today. Find a 70-, 80-, or 90-year-old black person and ask him whether today's conduct among black youth would have been tolerated yesteryear.

I guarantee you that no will be their answer.


WaPo Defends Stay-at-Home Moms and Dads: They're Laborers Too!

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Labor Day is focused on "the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country." As I wrote yesterday, it's a ridiculous holiday and Marxist on top of it. If there's one holiday we should get rid of, it's this one.

Having said that, the Washington Post's Christopher Ingraham makes a strong case for actually expanding Labor Day to focus on more "workers": "the uncompensated labor of moms and dads whose primary occupation is child-rearing and managing their households." He writes:

As any stay-at-home parent will tell you, there's little down time. There's the obvious work of caring for a child, which is particularly intensive in the years before he or she starts school. But the job also typically requires maintaining a household, fulfilling a host of duties such as cleaning, shopping, meal prep and managing the family's finances and schedules. It's not uncommon, either, for stay-at-home parents to take on elder-care duties when relatives become infirm.
Since the Department of Labor focuses on workers' contributions to the economy, however, Ingraham finds it important to try and calculate how much stay-at-home moms and dads add:

In Washington, for instance, infant care averages out to about $24,000 per year, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a progressive think tank. The average cost for a year of day care for a 4-year-old is about $19,122. Multiply those figures by the number of kids in the home and you get a pretty good sense of the economic value of stay-at-home parenting.
And that's not all. As he also explains, several studies have found that there are significant benefits for children who spend more time with their parents, "especially for children in two-parent, middle-income households." Happy children often grow up to be happy and productive adults. And happy adults add significantly to the economy. Yay!

So? Let's include stay-at-home moms and dads in the Labor Day festivities?

No. As I argued yesterday, let's get rid of Labor Day altogether. There's no need for such a Marxist holiday in a free, capitalist country.

Having a day dedicated to the moms and dads who choose to stay at home to take care of their kids, however? Now that's a marvelous idea!


In Boston, activists march to protest companies doing business with ICE

These people have got it ass-backwards to see ICE detention centres as akin to Nazi concentration camps.  Under Hitler, people were LEAVING Germany, not flocking to come in.  Illegals are VOLUNTARILY risking detention when they cross the border.  Nobody volunteered for Hitler's camps

A spirited group of hundreds of Jewish activists and their allies marched from downtown Boston to Amazon's Cambridge office Thursday evening, gathering to protest private companies doing business with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

"Never again means abolish ICE," the protesters chanted as they walked past rush hour commuters and cars stopped in their tracks.

"I was just following orders," read one sign. "Close the camps," read others.

Many wore white because it is a color of mourning, said Ari Fertig, one of the organizers. A woman near the front blew a shofar, a ram's horn that will be used in High Holiday services this month, as the crowd inched forward from the New England Holocaust Memorial in the center of the city.

Twelve people were arrested on trespassing charges by Cambridge police after sitting down in the lobby of the Amazon offices following the march. Each of the arrested protesters was led out a back door in plastic ties, while other demonstrators stood outside the glass lobby doors, chanting their support and filming the scene on their phones.

The protest was planned by Never Again Action, a nationwide group of Jewish activists that formed about two months ago. Their first protest in Boston in early July shut down traffic during rush hour to protest immigration detention in the city. In August, while the group was protesting in front of a detention center in Rhode Island, a captain at the prison allegedly drove his truck into the crowd. Never Again Action activists have also led protests in cities around the country, including San Francisco, Chicago, and Baltimore.

Their main rallying cry, "close the camps," draws on the language of concentration camps to denounce migrant camps at the US border, which lawmakers and lawyers have described as overcrowded, squalid, and inhumane.

Of course, those border camps were more than 2,300 miles away from those who marched Thursday evening. But the activists said their goal was to make Bostonians realize that the issue of immigrant detention is not confined to the border. Disruption - blocking traffic, chanting, singing, and potentially getting arrested - is part of the point.

As of 5:40 p.m., aerial news footage of the demonstration showed dozens of marchers blocking traffic near the holocaust memorial. The march snarled traffic on the mile-and-a-half route to Amazon's office located a short walk away from the Kendall T stop.

Protesters filled the roadway into Cambridge on the Longfellow Bridge shortly after 6 p.m. Three police cars with blinking blue lights followed the crowds onto the otherwise empty bridge, which spans the Charles River, and a line of cars followed the police.

Participants with Never Again Action often refer to their own family histories, and the horror stories about the Holocaust that they learned in synagogue or Hebrew school, to explain why they are in the streets.

"I really feel like this is the future of the Jewish people," said Susan Abramson, rabbi at Temple Shalom Emeth in Burlington. She leads monthly rallies against ICE and had come to learn from the young group about how to "up the ante" at her own community's protests.

"Our businesses here in Boston are actively collaborating with ICE," said Maya Yair, 27, one of the organizers of the march. "This is no time for business as usual." She said she hoped the public pressure from the march would make local businesses "feel people are watching."

The protest ended at Amazon's office, where activists filed into the lobby of the office building chanting "The whole world is watching!" They dropped a banner next to the building reading, "Never Again means # No Tech for ICE" and told the crowd about the history of IBM's collaboration with the German government during World War II.

"Private companies and tech companies need to stop collaborating with ICE," said Elizabeth Weinbloom, a Somerville resident.

Boston resident Ben Lorber said this was not the time "to be on the sidelines."

"As a Jewish person, we've seen this before. I had ancestors killed in the Holocaust. We feel this in our bones," he said. "We need to mobilize."

The activists chose to march to the Amazon office because, they say, the company makes it easier for ICE to detain and deport immigrants. In June 2018, Amazon employees wrote a letter to company executives detailing their own concerns about the company's relationship with ICE. The employees specifically asked Amazon to cut ties with the data-mining company Palantir, which provides much of the technological backbone for ICE's detention and deportations; Palantir runs on Amazon Web Services, according to the employees.

Last year, Amazon pitched its facial-recognition system to ICE officials as a way for the agency to target or identify immigrants, according to The Washington Post.



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

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

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


6 September, 2019

Why 'Joker' Is Being Called A 'Toxic Rallying Cry For Incels'

People seem to be universally condemning this film.  They also recognize however that there is a reality behind it.  There ARE incels (males unable to form heterosexual relationships) and they are often very angry.  It seems a pity the film has not become a stimulus for thinking about the incel phenomenon.

And it is not hard to see why the incel phenomenon has arisen so strongly in recent times.  There have always been socially incompetent males who become relationship failures just by reason of how they are made, but now that males and maleness are regularly denigrated by the dominant feminist culture, many more males than before have been cast adrift. 

Strong, confident males will always do well.  They can scoff at at feminist idiocies and form healthy bonds with women.  But less assertive men will not be able to defy the abnormal expectations built up by feminist doctrine and will be forced into relationship failure.  Only a small minority of incels go on a killing spree but feminism bears much of the blame when they do.  The contempt that feminists have for normal maleness engenders contempt for the feminist values dominating society at large and a shooting spree is one way of expressing that.

Once upon a time incels suffered in silence, resigned to being life-long "bachelors" but the damage done by feminism has not only increased the number of incels but generated among them feelings of being unjustly treated -- and that is a time bomb waiting to go off

The Joker has been interpreted multiple times over the last 50+ years. First with Cesar Romero's goofy portrayal in the initial Batman and Robin film, then Jack Nicholson's more charmingly witty take in the 1989 Tim Burton film, and of course, the infamously cunning and maniacal depiction courtesy of the late Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight.

Todd Phillips is the first director to take the character and devote an entire film to his origin story in Joker and if the early reviews are to be believed, comic book films `will never be the same again'.

The film, having premiered at the Venice Film Festival over the weekend, has already inspired millions (probably billions) of words to be written about it. Starring Joaquin Phoenix in the titular role, the film tells the story of Arthur Fleck, a clown for hire and aspiring stand-up comedian who still lives with his ailing mother and resents the fact that the world won't pay him as much attention as he believes he deserves. Sound familiar?

The critics are divided on the topic of Phoenix's performance, with some lauding him for a `career best' turn and others claiming that he actually acts too hard in order to be able to take the film as seriously as it wants to be taken.

But while they disagree about the quality of his performance, what they are almost unanimous in is their assertion that the film is confused in figuring out whether it's satire or propaganda of white men who, feeling rejected by the world, turn to violence and hatred as the answer to those problems. According to the early reviews, the film walks a thin line that could be potentially harmful if received in the wrong way. It doesn't seem to handle the themes with the necessary caution it needs in order to avoid glorifying incels and their sometimes violent behaviour.

David Ehrlich of IndieWire called the film "a toxic rallying cry for self-pitying incels," and believes that it "lacks the discipline or nuance to responsibly handle such hazardous material" in a world of Reddit trolls and maniacal Marvel fans.

Likewise, Jessica Kiang for Playlist wrote that it's "a film so disturbing it feels almost dangerous: whatever about its hard-R rating, they should maybe think about background checks and a mandatory three-day waiting period at theatres."

Continuing, she writes, "Joker, based on recognisable IP, and now given the seal of critical and possible awards-consideration approval too, is so aesthetically impressive, effective, and persuasive of its own reality that you see clearly how easily it could be (mis)interpreted and co-opted by the very 4Chan/Incel/"mentally ill loner" element it purports to darkly satirise."

Vanity Fair's Richard Lawson opened his own review by noting society's current obsession with dissecting and finding causation for the motivations of "disaffected white men who've turned violent".

"Whether that violence is born of mental illness, isolation, the culminated rage of masculine identity, or all those bound together in some hideous knot, we seem certain that there is some salvable cause," he writes, going on to explain that he himself couldn't stop thinking about this obsession while watching Joker because of the parallels between those `disaffected white men' and Arthur.

Likewise, in a damning review for TIME, Stephanie Zacharek writes that the film is a `prime example' of the `emptiness of our culture'. "In America, there's a mass shooting or attempted act of violence by a guy like Arthur practically every other week. And yet we're supposed to feel some sympathy for Arthur, the troubled lamb; he just hasn't had enough love," she said. "He could easily be adopted as the patron saint of incels."

With Oscar buzz already thrumming for Phoenix, this will no doubt only be the beginning of the discussion around the film and what it says about incels, masculinity, mental health and violence.


Chicago Mayor Enraged at Ted Cruz for Telling the Truth About Gun Violence in Her City

It's totally understandable that Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is touchy about gun violence in her city. The city is a shooting gallery with citizens little more than clay pigeons.

Last weekend was a typical holiday weekend in Chicago: 7 dead, 41 shot. Lightfoot's answer to the violence? More gun control, of course.

Senator Ted Cruz tweeted a response to that idea:

Gun control doesn't work. Look at Chicago. Disarming law-abiding citizens isn't the answer. Stopping violent criminals-prosecuting & getting them off the street-BEFORE they commit more violent crimes is the most effective way to reduce murder rates. Let's protect our citizens.

The comment struck a nerve with Lightfoot -- not just because Cruz is right, but because of who he is: a pro-gun, Republican conservative. Lightfoot lost it.

60% of illegal firearms recovered in Chicago come from outside IL-mostly from states dominated by coward Republicans like you who refuse to enact commonsense gun legislation. Keep our name out of your mouth

"Keep our name out of your mouth"? Cruz didn't tweet anything revolutionary. All he did was point out the obvious: gun laws don't affect the ease with which criminals can get their hands on a weapon. All the gun control measures in the world -- any and all laws ever proposed by any anti-gun hysteric -- will not lower Chicago's murder rate. Putting violent offenders behind bars will.

Lightfoot's incoherent rant contradicted the words of her own police chief:

Washington Times:

"We know who a lot of these people are. And how do we know that? Because we keep arresting them over and over and over and over and over again," Mr. Johnson  said after a weekend in which 52 people were shot. "It's just a vicious cycle. So until we hold violent offenders accountable in the way that they should be, we're going to continue to see this."

It's quite unseemly for a politician to act like a two-year-old and throw a tantrum like this. Besides, what in the wide, wide, world of sports does where the guns come from have to do with anything? Lightfoot is desperate to deflect blame from city politicians, whose only response to the escalating violence is more gun control. They, like their national counterparts in the gun control lobby, are totally bereft of new ideas. They are a broken record, repeating the same mantra over and over.

Meanwhile, the body counts grow.


Australia: How one in three child sex offenders don't spend a DAY behind bars - as the Government prepares tough new laws to jail paedophiles for LIFE

For two years, Leftist quibbles have delayed the legislation.  The Left has a long history of being sympathetic to criminals

Child sex offenders could face life behind bars under laws to be re-introduced to federal parliament next week, as it's revealed one in three don't spend a day in jail. 

The draft bill means paedophiles face mandatory minimum sentences, while repeat offenders would find it much harder to get bail.

Attorney-General Christian Porter said sentencing of paedophiles needed an urgent overhaul.

'It simply beggars belief that 28 per cent of all offenders sentenced last year (for federal crimes) were not required to spend a single day behind bars,' he said.  'And when jail terms were handed out, the average length of time that offenders spent in custody was just 18 months.'

Of nearly 300 paedophiles convicted for Commonwealth offences last year, almost 100 walked free.

'These changes will ensure that a jail term becomes the starting point for all child sex offenders, including a new life term for the worst offenders,' Mr Porter added.

Sonya Ryan, the mother of murdered schoolgirl Holly Ryan, is calling for an even tougher crackdown.

'We remain concerned the mandatory minimums in this bill won't result in the harshest of penalties, especially when a guilty plea is entered which reduces the minimum,' she said.

Under current laws, offenders face between seven and 24 years behind bars for using the internet to groom a child or teenager, having sex with a child outside Australia and transmitting child exploitation material online.

Communicating indecently with a child online, importing child exploitation material into Australia and operating a child exploitation website also carries the same sentence guideline.   

Home Minister Peter Dutton said the number of exploitation reports, involving Australian children or sex offenders has almost doubled to 18,000 last year compared to the year before. 

'The message we are sending to paedophiles is that it won't matter how good their lawyer is, a prison cell will be waiting for them when they are convicted,' Mr Dutton told The Daily Telegraph.

Mr Dutton said once the legislation is passed, judges will be able to impose cumulative sentences for multiple offences.

The new laws would also stop juries and judges from taking someone's good character into account. 

The coalition tried to pass similar legislation in 2017, but it was knocked back after Labor baulked at the inflexible nature of the mandatory sanctions included in the bill. 

Labor argued juries would be less likely to convict if they knew judges had no discretion on sentencing.

But Mr Dutton was perplexed by Labor's stance, saying the Opposition has supported mandatory sentencing in other areas of the law in the past.  

'The message we are sending to paedophiles is that it won't matter how good their lawyer is, a prison cell will be waiting for them when they are convicted,' he said.

'We need to be realistic about the threat and we need to lock up those people that are doing the wrong thing.'

The legislation will be introduced to parliament next Wednesday.


Boston Judge refuses to dismiss charges against protesters at Straight Pride Parade

Again and again, as [Leftist] protesters arrested at the Straight Pride Parade in Boston came before a judge Tuesday, a Suffolk County prosecutor asked for leniency - for dismissal of the charges or release without bail.

And again and again, Boston Municipal Court Judge Richard J. Sinnott said no.

The courtroom scene represented a striking role reversal, with a prosecutor assuming the unusual stance of pushing for dismissals while the judge took it upon himself to keep the charges intact. After three dozen protesters were arrested at the weekend rally, which ended with a clash with officers in downtown Boston, it was the latest flashpoint between courts and reform-minded Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins, who has come under previous criticism for declining to prosecute certain low-level cases.

Tuesday night, Rollins defended her office and said, "The judge punished the exercise of individuals' First Amendment right to protest.''

Rollins said that some of the people were appropriately handled by the judge and "will be held accountable for actions that put the safety of the public and law enforcement at risk.''

"For those people now tangled in the criminal justice system for exercising their right to free speech - many of whom had no prior criminal record - I will use the legal process to remedy the judge's overstepping of his role," she said in a statement.

As members of the police union looked on, Sinnott agreed to drop charges against just two of the 16 protesters who came before him Tuesday: a 63-year-old Vermont woman charged with disorderly conduct and a 21-year-old man from Worcester accused of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Prosecutors asked for dismissal of nonviolent charges against seven more people, most in exchange for eight hours of community service. Sinnott denied the requests. Prosecutors did not ask Sinnott to drop any charges of assault or of violence against police.

Five more people were held on bails ranging from $100 to $750. One man, 31-year-old Joshua Abrams of Stoneham, was held without bail because he faces charges in another county. He was accused of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Sinnott released the other nine without bail and scheduled court dates for November.

In one sharp exchange, prosecutor Jessica Erickson asked Sinnott to dismiss disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges against a 26-year-old Lowell man accused of forming a human chain with other protesters.

His behavior was "not appropriate," she said, but prosecuting him would not make the community any safer.

"Not appropriate? It sounds like he picked up the wrong fork at dinner," Sinnott replied tartly. The charges would stand.

"I think the general flavor of the room is that not even the district attorney's office is deeply invested in these cases," said Christopher Basso, a defense attorney who volunteered his time to represent some of the protesters.

Lawrence A. Calderone, vice president of the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association, said he was pleased to hear Sinnott imposing bails and declining to dismiss charges as prosecutors wished.

"We think that these offenders that are here, most of them outside of the city of Boston, not residents of Boston, came here as agitators. Here for a specific reason, here to create havoc, not only for the Police Department but for the general citizenry that are around, for the visitors that are in downtown Boston trying to enjoy the last weekend of the summer,'' Calderone said.

He noted that previous district attorneys have also sought to dismiss disorderly conduct charges. "This DA's office is doing the same thing, but the judge on the bench has taken a different position."

Also Tuesday, three other people - Timothy Rego, Benjamin Boyd, and Kenneth Kraft Jr. - appeared before Judge Thomas R. Horgan, all on charges of assault and battery on a police officer. Horgan did not dismiss the charges.

He allowed their release but ordered them not to come into downtown Boston except for work.

The officer who patted Kraft down, Captain John Danilecki, was "operating with the knowledge that these groups advocate violence and armed `militant resistance,' " an officer wrote in an arrest affidavit.

As protesters made their first appearances, questions arose about police conduct as videos from the march circulated online showing officers used pepper spray on protesters.

Boston police officials said they plan to review officers' conduct, as they routinely do whenever officers use force.

The department's policy on the use of an incapacitating agent like pepper spray requires that officers "generally confine" its use to defend themselves or another person, or when an officer is met with active resistance.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh, in a statement on Sunday, said he takes "any accusation of police misconduct seriously."

"I also want to be clear that sowing division between people is exactly the goal of Straight Pride organizers, and I will not stand for it," Walsh said. "Just as the people of Boston work to make our values of love, inclusion, and acceptance known to all, our public safety officials work tirelessly to keep people safe from harm every single day of the year, and that will never change."

The 1-mile parade drew about 200 marchers Saturday, who were heckled by some 600 protesters from Copley Square to City Hall Plaza.

The parade, which included a Trump 2020 float, was organized by a group called Super Happy Fun America. Parade organizer Mark Sahady is part of Resist Marxism, a group founded by an alt-right leader that has a history of violence. That group had helped organize a "free speech" rally in Boston in 2017 that critics said attracted white nationalists.

After the parade ended, some protesters turned their anger toward police, accusing them of protecting the marchers.

Police on motorcycles drove up Congress Street to disperse the crowd, but protesters moved into the road to block their path. Officers moved into the crowd and grappled with protesters, in some cases using pepper spray. At least eight people could be seen being led away by police, including a woman who was limping.

Four police officers were injured.



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

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

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


5 September, 2019

Another Leftist housing scheme fails

Leftist governments are always pledging to "solve" the housing shortage and build lots of "affordable" housing.  It is always a fiasco, with little housing built and virtually none of it affordable.  The latest example below.

Why are the Left so clueless about housing?  There was even a drastic shortage of it in the old Soviet Union, where they had their hands on all the levers.

It's because housing is intrinsically expensive so cost minimization is vital.  And only private enterprise can cut costs to the bone.  Once government gets involved everybody relaxes and does everything the bureaucratic way, which is slow, inefficient and costly.  Time is money -- but not to bureaucrats

And all sorts of Leftist policies add to the costs -- environmental and safety mandates for a start.  Leftist governments  CREATE high costs for housing.  It is only where government mandates and regulations are minimized that costs can be slashed.  It's the difference in regulations that makes housing in Texas half the price of housing in California

See also here for how NIMBYs use the laws to keep housing prices up

The New Zealand government has performed a spectacular mea culpa on one of Labour's signature election policies, walking away from a pledge to build 100,000 affordable new homes within a decade.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's government insists their commitment to low-cost housing remains, announcing on Wednesday a raft of changes to their "KiwiBuild" policy suite.

"KiwiBuild isn't working so we are changing it," Housing Minister Megan Woods said. "As a government, we have a commitment to not bloody-mindedly pursuing a policy because we said it a few years ago. "We're actually having the courage to call time on it, say it hasn't worked, and make the necessary changes. "When policies aren't working we are honest about that and fix them."

KiwiBuild is one of the Ardern government's flagship policies, and the prime minister is hopeful that today's "KiwiBuild reset", first announced in January, will change the course of the ailing $2 billion housing programme.

The ambitious goal-setting and spending, in partnership with developers, was aimed at helping first homebuyers crack the property market - as well as providing an economic stimulus and apprenticeships.

One year into the planned decade of house-building, just 141 houses had been constructed, well short of the first benchmark of 1,000

Targets of 5,000 by June 2020 and 10,000 by June 2021 have now been discarded.

"When I lifted up the hood and had a look at what was happening with Kiwibuild, the targets were providing some perverse outcomes," Ms Woods said. That included unsold properties and developers ignoring the needs of larger families.

Opposition Housing spokesperson Judith Collins lashed the changes as "a massive retreat".

While Ms Ardern embraced the KiwiBuild policy, the plan preceded her leadership by five years; first announced in 2012 by then-leader David Shearer.

Four Labour leaders and two elections later, Ms Ardern found herself in the position to implement it after building a coalition government with NZ First and the Greens.

Her first Housing Minister, Phil Twyford, was moved on from the role in June, leaving Ms Woods with the patch-up job.

Other changes announced on Wednesday include a reduction of the deposit needed for a government-backed mortgage and a requirement for small home buyers to live in those properties for just one year.

The Greens have also succeeded in shifting $NZ400 million of KiwiBuild funding into a progressive home ownership scheme.


More than 13,000 people in the UK have been born out of 'extreme inbreeding' and the illegal incestuous trysts of close relatives, study claims

We must not of course mention the religion of most of the people involved -- a religion that makes cousin marriage largely mandatory.  Abnormal births are frequent among them, creating a great burden on the health services

Scientists believe that more than 13,000 people in the UK have DNA which indicates they are the result of 'extreme inbreeding'. 

Analysis of the UK Biobank data-bank by researchers at the University of Queensland uncovered evidence of people with whose parents are considered to be first- or second-degree relatives.

This includes children created when parents and their offspring (first degree) have a child.

It also assessed children born from the intercourse of half-siblings (second degree).

The researchers say scaling up the research is difficult due to the limitations of the data-set, but claim the real number may be even higher than the extrapolated 13,200 figure from the paper.

People born out of such extreme inbreeding often suffer myriad health concerns, the researchers confirm. 

This includes reduced lung function, fertility, cognitive function and a 44 per cent higher risk of all diseases.

In many countries, mating between close relatives is forbidden by law.

For example, mating between first- or second-degree relatives is explicitly prohibited by the Sexual Offences Act (2003) in the UK.

Nevertheless, law enforcement records in the UK and other countries show that EI does occur.

These few cases are likely under-reported because of the social stigma attached to them, experts say.

The analysis into inbreeding and its potential effects on health are published in the journal Nature Communications.

Dr Loic Yengo led the research and estimated the prevalence of extreme inbreeding using anonymous data from 456,414 individuals in the UK Biobank.

It looked for an unusually high amount of homozygosity, the term given to stretches of the genetic code that are identical and therefore must have been inherited from both the mother, and the father.

If this is significantly higher than normal, it can indicate a person's parents are closely related.

'These runs of homozygosity are identical sections of DNA and can be used by geneticists to study the association between the proportion of a person's genome that is homozygous and measurements on that individual.

'This is the first time that ten per cent or more homozygosity in the genome has been quantified in a sample of nearly half a million people,' said Dr Yengo.

The authors chose the threshold of ten per cent because, according to the guidelines from the American College of Medical Genetics, extreme inbreeding can be suspected if over ten per cent of the DNA sequence in an individual has runs of homozygosity.

They then looked at whether this was associated with a number of health outcomes.

Among the participants included in the study, the authors found 125 individuals whose genetic data suggested that they were offspring of first- or second-degree relatives.

However, the researchers warn that this percentage of approximately 0.02 per cent may not be comparable to the entire population, and could well be higher.

The researchers were unavailable for interview, but said in a statement: 'The extent to which our estimate reflects the true prevalence of [extreme inbreeding] in the entire UK population is a difficult question.

'The UK Biobank is known to have over-representation from healthy and highly educated individuals which likely biases our estimates.

'Highly inbred individuals who suffer severe health consequences may be less likely to participate in a study such as the UK Biobank. 'Therefore, our estimate of the prevalence might be too low.' 

It also found that these people have rather a bleak health outlook, and the study confirms previous research on the impact of incest.

The authors write: 'We confirmed previous findings suggesting that inbreeding leads to reduced stature, cognitive ability, lung function and fertility.

'Moreover, we found that these 125 participants were approximately 44 per cent more at risk of any kind of disease, as compared to the rest of the study participants.

'We also found that the effect of EI on these traits can be predicted using observations from less extreme forms of inbreeding (e.g. between first-cousins).'


Vegan activists separate chickens from cockerels on Spanish farm 'so the hens aren't raped' because they do not give 'consent

Vegans were once just sad people who ate a lot of nuts.  Now they seem to have become the nuts

The video was released by the Spanish vegan group Almas Veganas (Vegan Souls), based in Girona in the north-eastern Spanish region of Catalonia. They published the video on Twitter where it has been viewed 570,000 times.

On their Twitter page, the activists describe themselves as 'anti-speciesist' and 'transfeminist.' Anti-speciesists believe that judging types of animals as different to each other, or humans, is wrong. They also believe that humans favour and treat some species better, like dogs, which we shouldn't do.

Transfeminism is created by and aimed at transgender women and says that the freedom of trans women is coupled with the liberation of all women.

It also says that any individual should be able to express and define themselves in whichever way they choose without fear of retaliation. 

In the footage, the two activists can be seen smashing eggs on the ground because 'they belong to the hens.'

The vegans then reveal that 'we separated the cocks because we don't want the hens to get raped.'

In another video, the activists said that they based their decision on 'the notion of consent.'

The vegans add: 'The hens do not want to be mounted and always try to escape. They are sometimes seriously injured by the cocks' claws as well.'

They also say the hens 'are genetically modified to make them lay more eggs' and they want to 'prevent them from reproducing.'

'Either you are vegan or you help to finance animal slavery. Eating animals is fascist,' they added.

According to reports, the vegan group has recently appeared on several Spanish television shows including the popular talk show 'Todo Es Una Mentira' ('Everything Is A Lie') where they believed they were 'ridiculed' by the presenter.

The footage prompted comments on social media such as 'is this a joke?,' 'there is no room for more morons' and 'you have to be frigging crazy.'

They said afterwards: 'We knew they would make fun of us, but we wanted to use the platform to spread our message anyway.'


Tattoos mark people as hasty and reckless, economists find

People who have a visible tattoo are more likely to act in haste and to fail to think through the consequences of their actions, according to a study of more than 1,000 people.

The research was conducted because of an apparent paradox. Numerous studies have shown that employers and society at large discriminate against tattooed people. Yet the tattoo, once "largely reserved for criminals, sailors and circus freaks", has undergone a rise in popularity that "constitutes one of the most significant cultural trends in the West", the economists behind the research write.

Nearly a third of 25 to 39-year-olds in Britain have a tattoo, and a fifth of the population as a whole have one. Why, the researchers said in the Journal of Economic Behaviour and Organization, would so many people willingly "affix a visible stigma to one's identity"?

"I'm an economist. From an economic perspective this decision to have a tattoo is puzzling," Bradley Ruffle, from McMaster University, Canada, said. "Tattoos are about making some kind of statement. But why not just dye your hair or get a personalised T-shirt you can remove?"

In his research he found that people who got tattoos, especially visible ones, were precisely those less likely to consider the implications of their decision.

The researchers subjected 781 people without tattoos and 255 with tattoos, 68 of which were still visible when clothed, to tests to measure how "future-oriented" or short-sighted they were.

These included an economic game, in which people were given two options: receiving a dollar in 18 hours or a larger sum, steadily increasing from $1.05 to $2.50, in three weeks. The researchers were interested in when the second option, involving deferred gratification, became more attractive to people.

People without a tattoo switched to this larger sum sooner, stalling until they received $1.55 to decide that it was worth waiting. People with a visible tattoo required $2 to make the same decision and also behaved more irrationally afterwards - sometimes switching back to the first option at higher amounts.

Another test looked at impulsivity. The same group of people were asked simple questions in which the obvious answer was incorrect, such as: "You're competing in a five-mile run. In the last mile of the race you pass the person in 96th position. In which position did you finish?" The correct answer is 96th, but tattooed people were more likely to answer without thinking and say "95".

People with visible tattoos have been shown to be 13 per cent less likely to be called back for a second job interview, are offered lower salaries if they are hired and are generally viewed as less well qualified. One implication of the findings is that this may not be a wholly irrational prejudice.

Professor Ruffle said he hoped the findings "might give pause" to people considering getting a tattoo. However, he added that it was important to realise that impulsivity was not always a negative trait.

"Sometimes it's good to make decisions fast. If you're a professional basketball player and you need to decide whether to shoot or pass, you don't want someone who stands there and deliberates," he said.

Henrik Hogh-Olesen, a psychology professor from Aarhus University in Denmark, has studied the social history of tattoos, which have been used by humans since the Stone Age. He said: "In business and commerce tattoos may be negative stigmas. In other areas such as film, sports, music, bar tending where `edginess' may be positively valued, the stigma may be positive."



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

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

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


4 September, 2019

Preaching Race-Bait Hate

Instead of working to fix our community, "faith leaders" are protesting the police.

In my hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee, a recent incident involving black suspects and white law-enforcement officers is proving to be yet another case study of how perennial race-baiting agitators wait for any opening to promote themselves.

The opportunities for such self-aggrandizement have been slim lately, but finally, opportunity rang. Two white Hamilton County deputies stopped a vehicle for having unlawfully dark window tinting - which is to say they could not see inside the vehicle - always dangerous to officers making a stop, which is one of the reasons window tinting is regulated. Because the officers could not see the occupants of the vehicle, it would be difficult to make a "racial profiling" case, but crack cocaine was found in the underwear of a black occupant (a favorite place for concealment) and that is the basis for the race hustlers' complaint.

The usual race-baiters have their panties in a wad, claiming the suspect, who as it turns out has 40 prior arrests, was "strip searched" in public and subjected to a "cavity search," despite the fact video footage from two camera angles negates those claims. After a meeting of black community faith leaders convened, most pastors declined to participate in this charade. But a small group of the loudest agitators, along with the leader of hater Louis Farrakhan's local Nation of Islam cadre, are calling for Sheriff Jim Hammond's resignation.

My friend Mark Alexander, who has a background in law enforcement, has known Jim Hammond for 30 years, and notes, "Jim is a man with an impeccable color-blind career, an ethical and faithful man who is the most professional Sheriff in HCSO's history - by a measure of magnitude." But leftists never let facts get in the way of their agenda.

Meanwhile, Chattanooga, like most urban centers Democrat mayors are turning into slums, had one of the bloodiest weekends of 2019. Among the murder victims was a pregnant 19-year-old and mother of a two-«-year-old girl. But the agitators and community are not coming together to find the assailant or demand justice for this young mother; they are on the government steps blasting the officers that have sworn to protect and serve them.

Pastors and ministers are not called to be race-bait hustlers but peacemakers. Peacemakers are not partial and prejudiced. Ironically, the racially biased behavior exhibited by these local "men of faith" is the same behavior they claim they oppose.

Of course, race-baiting hustlers are nothing new.

Writing about such race agitators in his 1911 book, My Larger Education, Booker T. Washington wrote the following words that are even more relevant to present-day race agitators: "There is [a] class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs - partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays."

Washington continued: "Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs. There is a certain class of race-problem solvers who do not want the patient to get well, because as long as the disease holds out they have not only an easy means of making a living, but also an easy medium through which to make themselves prominent before the public."

The real tragedy in this unfortunate situation is that young black men are dying at an alarming rate, most murdered by other young black men.

Pastors, where is your concern for the souls of these citizens? Where is the call to repentance? Where is the strategy to build flourishing Christian families? Where is the Good News of the Gospel that gives your community hope? These are valid questions that challenge these race-bait agitators. Instead of fulfilling the Great Commission, these pastors have been indoctrinated with hatred and black tribalism, fomented by today's Democrat Party and its cadres of social justice warriors who thrive on dividing us by race and every other measure.

Truth is, the great majority of Hamilton County citizens support our law enforcement, as do real pastors doing the real work of the cross. We will not stand idly by while radical Islamists and agitators sow racial discord in our community. We have worked too hard and too long to build a peaceful city.

As Washington wrote, "Great men cultivate love. . Only little men cherish a spirit of hatred."


'The Bible Stays!' Trump Admin Stands Up to Anti-Christian Bullies
For eight years the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and the Obama administration waged a relentless war on religious liberty within the ranks of the Armed Forces.

Nativity scenes were removed from military bases, airmen were punished because of their religious beliefs, and VA hospitals imposed draconian rules that even forbade school children from distributing Christmas cards that included the words "Merry Christmas."

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation's most recent attack came in May when it filed a federal lawsuit demanding that a World War II veteran's family Bible be removed from a Missing Man Table at the VA Medical Center in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Herman Streitburger, who recently turned 100 years old, was captured by German fighters in 1944 and held as a prisoner of war. Mr. Streitburger donated his family Bible to the table honoring missing military personnel and prisoners of war.

But the MRFF claims the inclusion of the World War II veteran's Bible on the Missing Man Table is a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

It was not the first time it made such an accusation, and more often than not VA hospitals capitulated to its demands without even putting up a fight.

On Wednesday, the Trump administration dispatched Vice President Mike Pence to tell the nation it was time to fight back.

"We will always respect the freedom of religion of every veteran of every faith," the vice president said in remarks to the American Legion. "And my message to the New Hampshire VA hospital is: The Bible stays."

The vice president affirmed what I have been reporting for over a decade at Fox News - the Obama administration was no friend to people of faith.

"It's really no surprise because, under the last administration, VA hospitals were removing Bibles and even banning Christmas carols in an effort to be politically correct," he said.

The vice president vowed that the Trump administration would always respect the freedom of religion of every veteran of every faith. "But let me be clear: Under this administration, VA hospitals will not be religion-free zones," he said.

Mikey Weinstein, the founder of the MRFF, was enraged by the vice president's remarks.

"Mike Pence is one of the most repulsive and repellent fundamentalist Christian supremacists and bullies on the scene today," he said in a prepared statement. "It is hardly surprising that he is lending his ugly bigotry and pervasive prejudice in support of keeping that Christian bible bolted down on that POW/MIA table."

VA Secretary Robert Wilkie refused to be bullied by Weinstein's lawsuit or the Obama administration's attempt to eliminate religious symbols from VA facilities.

"They did not know the makeup of the force," Wilkie told the Washington Examiner. "They did not know the history of this country when it came to religious foundations, the religious support for those in uniform."

In July the Department of Veterans Affairs announced an overhaul of Obama-era policies that limited religious liberty.

Moving forward, children will be able to send veterans religious-themed Christmas cards and patients will be able to use sacred texts during visits to VA chapels. And Bibles will be included on Missing Man Tables.

"It is offensive to me that we send our troops into the most godforsaken places on the planet, and yet we have people suing us because they're offended by the presence of a Bible at a table memorializing missing soldiers," he told the Examiner.

People of all faiths, especially Christians, owe the Trump White House a debt of gratitude for defending religious liberty and rolling back the anti-Christian infestation that took root during the previous administration.

Mr. Weinstein once bragged that his organization's influence was so vast during the Obama administration that he had a hotline to the Pentagon. Well, it looks like President Trump just disconnected the line.



Why the silence over the behaviour of pro-Remain protesters?

Remainers are the British "swamp"

If you call Anna Soubry a `fascist', you get arrested. If you call pro-Brexit protesters `fascists'... nothing.

A clip emerged last night on Twitter of two men unfurling a banner at the Westminster #StopTheCoup demo. It read `Brexit Now' on a blue background that mirrored the logo of the Brexit Party. The Remainer protesters went batshit crazy. The men carrying the banner were surrounded. The crowd started yelling `fascists out' and grabbing at the banner. One protester tried to set it on fire. It really did look like the men were about to be attacked. The police were forced to intervene and even told the men that they `should leave'. They eventually moved the men further into Parliament Square and away from the main group of Remainer protesters, who applauded as the men were moved on.

Compare this clip to the clips that circulated in January showing abuse being hurled at Anna Soubry MP and Guardian journalist Owen Jones. In January, Soubry was apoplectic when a small group of protesters chanted `Soubry is a Nazi' from a distance, interrupting her BBC interview. She said the behaviour was `astonishing'. `This is what has happened to our country', she said. She was then approached by the protesters as she walked towards parliament. They questioned her on her Brexit stance and called her a fascist again. Owen Jones encountered the same protesters in Westminster. They called him, among other things, a `tampon' and a `horrible little man'.

The reaction to these incidents involving Soubry and Jones, both of whom campaigned for Remain, was instant. MPs called for tougher laws. Nicola Sturgeon called the incidents `appalling' and said `we all have a duty to stand against this kind of behaviour'. David Lammy MP said the abuse was `not only appalling' but also `historically illiterate'. There were immediate calls for legal reform. Dozens of MPs wrote to the Metropolitan Police expressing `serious concerns' about the `deteriorating public order and security situation' in Westminster. Two of the protesters, James Goddard and Brian Phillips, were eventually arrested, charged and convicted for the incidents involving Soubry. Both men received suspended prison sentences.

Yet, so far, there is silence from MPs about the treatment of the Brexiteer protesters yesterday. On one level, this is good. No one should be arrested for spirited protest. But there is also a remarkable double standard. The behaviour of those Remain protesters yesterday was far worse than that of the `yellow vest' protesters who confronted Jones and Soubry. Yet there have been no calls for `tougher laws'. No calls for arrests. No one pointing out how historically illiterate it is to call pro-Brexit people fascists.

The hypocrisy is astonishing. Remainers are happy for Brexiteers to be mobbed, but cry `harassment' the moment a Remainer MP or journalist is approached in the street. They are happy if Brexiteer banners get vandalised, or if Brexit-leaning MPs get milkshaked. They are certainly happy to call Brexiteers `Nazis' and `fascists', while calling for anyone who uses the same language against Remainers to be locked up. Remainers use the law to their own ends, which is why Brexiteers are arrested and prosecuted for what they say while Remainers are left alone. What a dreadful double standard.


We must not introduce new blasphemy laws

The clampdown on `Islamophobia' poses a grave threat to free speech.

The UK schools exam board OCR recently disqualified a GCSE student for making what it called `obscene racial comments'. It turned out the student had called halal slaughter disgusting, and OCR ruled that this act of `Islamophobia' constituted a `malpractice offence'.

When it was brought to OCR's attention that the criticisms were made from the student's perspective as a principled vegetarian, it promptly apologised. But what is truly chilling is the implication that it would have been less merciful had she been criticising an Islamic practice in its own right.

Indeed, OCR seems relaxed about policing students' opinions, saying it `takes all incidences of suspected offensive material against a religious group in exams very seriously'. Apparently, there are `rules which are set out for all exam boards in such cases'.

Do we want students to be afraid of applying their own critical thinking to anything and everything? Surely, in an academic context especially, religious practices and beliefs should be freely discussed?

Such censoriousness runs deep. It is increasingly accepted in certain quarters that there are such things as `illegitimate opinions' that must be silenced, and that we must search for the unseen motives of those who hold them to determine the extent of their guilt.

Historically, the accusation of Islamophobia has been employed like a blasphemy law to silence criticism and discussion of Islamic practices. It has been wielded against journalists and researchers investigating issues of public interest - from grooming gangs to Islamist activity - as well as against liberal Muslims, who are tarred as `Uncle Toms' for working to counter extremism.

In November last year, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims published its report on the definition of Islamophobia. The definition has already been adopted by political parties and councils. But it has not faced proper scrutiny. And it should. Because it could have potentially insidious effects on civil liberties. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and that is certainly true of this definition.

The APPG defines Islamophobia as being `rooted in racism' and as `a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness'. This vague, expansive definition rests on the confused concept of `cultural racism' - a form of racism that supposedly expresses itself through aversion to cultural practices. The Islamophobia definition therefore conflates anti-Muslim discrimination and mere criticism of beliefs and practices.

Criticising what is thought to be a symbol of Muslim culture - the hijab, for example - could, under this definition, be perceived as targeting expressions of Muslimness. Sound unlikely? Ofsted was accused of racism last year after it raised concerns about very young female pupils wearing the hijab to school (girls wearing the hijab from a young age can be construed as a form of sexualisation). For this, it was accused of Islamophobic racism.

The APPG definition attempts to draw a distinction between `legitimate' and `illegitimate' criticisms of Islamic belief and practice. But such a distinction cannot be easily drawn, and I dread to think who might present themselves as the one to draw it.

In May, a diverse group of more than 40 experts, activists and religious leaders signed an open letter objecting to the APPG's definition on the grounds that it would harm free speech and silence criticism of Islam. Others have warned that it has the potential to limit historical research.

The APPG insists that the definition won't trample on free speech. But the report itself is dismissive of free speech, stating that `the recourse to the notion of free speech and a supposed right to criticise Islam results in nothing more than another subtle form of anti-Muslim racism, whereby the criticism humiliates, marginalises and stigmatises Muslims' (my emphasis). `Giving up the term Islamophobia - and with it the possibility of creating legal instruments to tackle it - simply because of the perceived risk that may limit free speech would be highly misguided', it goes on.

It is particularly worrying that the police are now calling on the prime minister to accept the definition, having previously expressed concerns that the definition would undermine counterterrorism efforts.

So far the government has showed more caution than most by rejecting the definition. But in the final months of her premiership, Theresa May set the wheels in motion towards adopting some definition of Islamophobia. She appointed Imam Qari Asim as an adviser. He had previously criticised Boris Johnson for fanning the flames of Islamophobia.

We have no reason to hope that any new definition reached by the government would be any less damaging than the last. Concerns are being expressed from all directions. But there is a real risk they will be swept under the carpet, and our civil liberties with them.

There are many ways to deal with the discrimination faced by Muslims, as a new Civitas anthology explores, but chilling free speech is not one of 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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


3 September, 2019

The incorrectness of attractive women

Boxing promoter Dean Lonergan has reacted to concern about the presence of ring girls at Saturday night's fight between Jeff Horn and Michael Zerafa by replacing them with men.

A local councillor objected to the planned use of ring girls at the event in Bendigo, saying it was "not respectful of women."

Lonergan responded by saying the women had applied for and been given the job, but were now being prevented from working.

The promoter said he would be employing "fight progress managers" in the role instead.

Come fight night, various men stepped in to the ring to hold the round cards, with announcer Dan Hennessey discussing the change with the fans in Bendigo.

"In reference to rings girls, these roles will now be known as 'fight progress managers'," Hennessey said.

"Secondly, the women who applied and were selected to be fight progress managers will be replaced by men, notwithstanding, the three ladies have been paid."


Why Did a Baltimore Command Officer Call off the Pursuit of a Suspect Who Shot at Cops?

Seldom does one see the folly of timidity demonstrated so quickly or with such clarity. Would that police managers across the nation heed the lesson provided this week in Baltimore.

Here's what happened: At 1:16 a.m. Tuesday morning, a police officer was on a traffic stop in West Baltimore. Without apparent provocation, a man passing by in a silver SUV tried to run over the officer. The officer escaped injury and broadcast a description of the car, which another officer spotted about a mile away. When that officer made a traffic stop, the driver exited the SUV and began firing at the officer with a handgun. The officer was not hit and a car chase ensued, with the SUV leading police on city streets until reaching Interstate 295, at which time a police major ordered the pursuit terminated over "safety concerns."

The officers involved in the pursuit, indeed officers everywhere, were flabbergasted. Here they had a suspect who had attempted to kill two police officers, and yet he was allowed to escape because some desk-bound major was afraid of what might happen if the chase had continued.

What those pursuing cops understood, what any cop should understand, but what that major clearly did not, was that the escaped suspect, if unidentified, would be free to roam the city until he perceived the next opportunity to kill some unsuspecting cop. And if the suspect was identified, officers would have to search for and arrest him, perhaps at a time and place that offered him advantages he did not have when the chase was imprudently called off.

And as fate would have it, it was less than 48 hours later that officers encountered the man once again, this time in East Baltimore, chasing him through the streets before shooting and killing him. A police officer was shot in the leg and a woman was injured, either by a bullet or shrapnel. Officers recovered the suspect's gun at the scene.

All in all, a satisfactory outcome under the circumstances, with the suspect dead and non-life-threatening injuries to a police officer and a passerby.  But it might have turned out far worse, and if it had, that cowardly major would have borne some share of responsibility. I don't know anything about this major, but I'm confident I know his type, for I have seen the likes of him slithering into positions of responsibility over the course of my police career.

I have written on this subject before, but this incident in Baltimore prompts a revisit.  To outsiders, all cops might seem more or less interchangeable. But cops themselves know they can be assorted into three categories: Real Cops, Slugs, and Climbers. Real Cops are those who can be called upon to handle the most dangerous and complicated aspects of police work. Slugs are those who show up to work and do the bare minimum required to earn their biweekly paycheck. And Climbers are those whose eyes are on the next rank, doing whatever it takes to pass the tests and move up the chain of command. To achieve this they must share some traits with both the Real Cops and the Slugs. They must do enough police work to claim some shred of credibility before the promotional boards, but they must be cautious enough to avoid the kind of controversial incidents that stall advancement and doom cops to a career in patrol, which to a Climber is a fate worse than death.

And what a Climber fears most is being held responsible when something bad happens. That's how you get people like that Baltimore P.D. major calling off a pursuit down a freeway at one in the morning. Yes, the suspect had tried to kill two cops, and yes, there was little traffic at that hour of the night, but if the suspect had crashed and injured some innocent motorist or pedestrian, the decision to continue the pursuit would have been questioned. What is never questioned is what might happen after the pursuit is called off. From that major's perspective, if the suspect goes on to injure or kill a cop or someone else, well, those are the breaks, but at least he can't be blamed for it.

It is this attitude, the one that assumes anytime a cop is involved in a shooting or use of force he must have somehow erred, that has permeated the upper ranks of many police departments, apparently to include Baltimore's. It is the same attitude that engenders incidents in which police officers are doused with water, resulting in humiliation for the dousees but no repercussions for the dousers.

And now, in a matter of just a few short weeks, we've gone from water to bullets, and a major in the Baltimore Police Department thinks it's too risky - on a freeway at one in the morning - to pursue the man who had just tried to kill two of his officers.

Baltimore has recorded 227 homicides so far this year, a rate of almost one per day. It will never improve as long as the city's cops are hamstrung by timid managers as they were Tuesday morning.


Kirsten Gillibrand's Exit Proves Abortion Isn't Enough to Win 2020

Kirsten Gillibrand was applauded by many in the media as the Democratic presidential candidate focused on "women's rights," or, more specifically, abortion. But, in the end, that wasn't enough to win Democratic voters - never mind general-election voters.

On August 28, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand ended her presidential bid after failing to qualify for the next Democratic presidential candidate debate, scheduled for September 12.

"I wanted you to hear from me first, that after more than eight incredible months, I am ending my presidential campaign," she announced to her supporters in a video posted on social media.

While the other Democratic candidates pinpointed abortion as a major 2020 issue, Gillibrand made it her campaign's foundation.

The senator "entered the race pitching herself as the voice of feminism and the defender of families and women's equality," New York Times' political reporter Shane Goldmacher recognized on August 29. That's because Gillibrand "championed a new `Family Bill of Rights,' pioneered a new litmus test to select only judges who supported Roe v. Wade and traveled to Republican-controlled states to protest new restrictions on abortion."

And yet, Goldmacher added, "of the six female candidates, she was the first to call it quits."

On Gillibrand's campaign website, her first priority listed is "fighting for women and families." And the first way she planned to do that was by stressing, "We need to protect women's rights and access to the health care they need." In other words, abortion.

According to her site, Gillibrand argued that "Reproductive rights are civil rights" while expressing support for Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

"Kirsten has pledged to only nominate judges who will commit to upholding Roe, and she was the first candidate to put out a comprehensive reproductive rights agenda," the site continued.

If elected president, Gillibrand promised not only to "codify Roe into law," but also to end the Hyde Amendment, which generally bars federal funding for abortion. She also vowed to "protect Title X funding and Planned Parenthood." This was a new fight: the nation's largest abortion provider refused millions in Title X federal family-planning funding in August after new regulations prohibited the funding from going toward organizations connected to abortion.

Last, but not least, her site reads, Gillibrand would "guarantee access to reproductive health care?-?including abortion?-nationwide."

In her fight, Gillibrand saw the pro-life movement as the enemy. In early June, she made headlines after going so far as to liken abortion opposition to racism.

At the same time, Gillibrand assumed all women were with her, at least in her language. Later that month, she won applause from many in the media after her performance in the first round of debates where she made lengthy comments about abortion - comments "to America's women and to the men who love them."

"Women's reproductive rights are under assault by President Trump and the Republican Party," she began on June 27, before criticizing states for trying to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Gillibrand also identified herself as the "fiercest advocate for women's reproductive freedom for over a decade," even though, she later admitted, other women were energized. In other words, all American women "are on fire."

"Our rights are under attack like never before by President Trump and the Republicans who want to repeal Roe v. Wade, which is why I went to the front lines in Georgia," she continued.

And that she had.

In May, Gillibrand visited Georgia to protest the state's new abortion restrictions, and repeated her promise to nominate Supreme Court justices who backed Roe v. Wade. For her efforts, media recognized her as the "first 2020 White House hopeful to say she'd nominate only Supreme Court justices who consider the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion settled law." Three months later, on August 18, she traveled to St. Louis to criticize to Missouri's new abortion ban too.

She also proved herself an ally to Planned Parenthood. When Planned Parenthood refused millions in Title X funding rather than stop performing or referring abortions, Gillibrand accused the Trump administration of "trying to hold health care providers hostage."

Of the Democratic candidates, Gillibrand has by far received the most money from Planned Parenthood while serving as a federal candidate. According to Center for Responsive Politics data, the senator has gotten more than $50,000 from Planned Parenthood since 2006.

She had support - just not enough.

The reason "why her candidacy never picked up steam was always a little bit of a mystery," according to FiveThirtyEight writer Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux.

Thomson-DeVeaux suggested that Gillibrand "was running against a number of other women who are also strong on issues like abortion rights and equal pay" and "Without another signature issue to help her stand out, she often got lost in the melee of the primary."

Supporting unrestricted abortion, in other words, isn't enough for Democratic voters. And it's certainly not enough for American voters in general, the majority of whom want restrictions on abortion.


TV Stations Across America To Bring Back National Anthem

It's about time this tradition came back. Patriotism wasn't controversial yesteryear. American was good. Communism was bad. The Bible was true. People worked hard. Marriages stayed together. Kids got spanked. Life was good.

And it's not like life is bad now. By every conceivable measure, we are materially better off (even if our souls appear to be withering at an alarming rate).

Air conditioning is pretty much everywhere (except in crazy New England). TVs are either 70 inches wide or fit on our refrigerator doors. We have satellite uplinks to every piece of knowledge humanity has formalized since, oh, Alexandria - and the uplinks fit in our pockets.

Hearts can be transplanted. Cars are safer and more comfortable (though decidedly less cool).

But material prosperity does very little for the soul.

And, it turns out, it does very little for loyalty to one's country as well. Just look at developed countries - it seems that as wealth increases, loyalty to one's country decreases.

Patriotism has been - and continues - dropping, the New York Post reported in July.

Nexstar Media Group, however, wants to reverse that, at least in part.

The 171 Nexstar TV stations across the country are going to bring the national anthem back to the public airwaves - a place the anthem has been missing from for far too long.

When television first began to spread across the country, stations regularly closed the broadcast day by airing test patterns and "The Star-Spangled Banner."

As 24-hour programming grew in popularity, the opportunity to close out the broadcast day shrunk, and eventually the idea of the national anthem being played on TV "just because" was lost entirely.

I had to explain this to my own children not very long ago.

I'm not sure which baffled them more - a seemingly random playing of a song at the same time every day or the idea that things didn't air on TV 24 hours a day, seven days a week. (By the end of our conversation, they knew that the song and the playing of it was not random.)

Beginning on Sept. 2, Nexstar stations will begin playing the anthem again, but this time at the beginning of the day.

Nexstar has also added a brilliant twist to the revived tradition. Each morning, a unique version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" will play, performed by up-and-coming musicians, according to KSN News in Oklahoma.

"Nexstar's core mission is to provide exceptional service to the local communities where we operate across America through our organization-wide commitment to localism, unbiased local broadcast journalism and telling the local stories that matter to our viewers and their families," Tim Busch, president of Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc., said in a news release, according to The Hill.

"Nexstar's local teams take great pride in their ability to bring the local communities they serve together and that is why we are excited to partner with BMI and Belmont University to broadcast this new daily series featuring the Star-Spangled Banner that will air 365 days of each year," Busch said.

"This unique collaboration supports higher education in business for the music and entertainment industry, while providing aspiring professional artists and songwriters a national distribution platform to showcase their respective talents."

The collaboration between the network and musicians will not only bring back a patriotic tradition, but it will also provide a chance for aspiring artists to get national exposure.

As globalism and attacks on America's history and founding (like The New York Times' "1619 Project") increase, patriotism will decrease even faster than it has been.

One remedy for that, however, is to bring patriotism back to the forefront of the entertainment industry. Showing pride in this country and our traditions will help reinvigorate that lost patriotic spirit.

Returning the national anthem to TV daily can help make that happen.



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

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

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


2 September, 2019

States to launch antitrust investigation into big tech companies, reports say

The state attorneys in more than a dozen states are preparing to begin an antitrust investigation of the tech giants, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times reported Monday, putting the spotlight on an industry that is already facing federal scrutiny.

The bipartisan group of attorneys from as many as 20 states is expected to formally launch a probe as soon as next month to assess whether tech companies are using their dominant market position to hurt competition, the WSJ reported.

If true, the move follows the Department of Justice, which last month announced its own antitrust review of how online platforms scaled to their gigantic sizes and whether they are using their power to curb competition and stifle innovation. Earlier this year, the Federal Trade Commission formed a task force to monitor competition among tech platforms.

It won't be unprecedented for a group of states to look at a technology giant. In 1998, 20 states joined the Justice Department in suing Microsoft . The states could play a key role in building evidence and garnering public support for major investigations.

Because the tentacles of Google,  Facebook, Amazon and Apple reach so many industries, any investigation into them could last for years.

Apple and Google pointed the Times to their previous official statements on the matter, in which they have argued that they have been vastly innovative and created an environment that has benefited the consumers. Amazon and Facebook did not comment.

Also on Monday, Joseph Simons, the chairman of FTC, warned that Facebook's planned effort to integrate Instagram and WhatsApp could stymie any attempt by the agency to break up the social media giant.

"If they're maintaining separate business structures and infrastructure, it's much easier to have a divestiture in that circumstance than in where they're completely enmeshed and all the eggs are scrambled," Simons told Financial Times.


Trump Court Nominee Rebuts Rachel Maddow's `Racial Purity' Charge

A White House lawyer nominated for a federal judgeship sharply defended himself Friday from accusations based on a 2010 law review article that he, the son and grandson of Jewish immigrants, is an advocate of "racial purity."

President Donald Trump nominated Steven Menashi on Wednesday to a seat on the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

"I take seriously the role of the United States as a nation of immigrants and of Israel as a home for the Jewish people, both of which are important because of suffering that has been caused by ethnic nationalism," Menashi, currently a senior associate counsel to the president in the White House, said in an email obtained by The Daily Signal.

A former acting general counsel at the Department of Education, Menashi noted that his father was an Iraqi Jew born in Iran and his mother's parents were Jewish refugees from the Soviet Union.

Some on the left, particularly MSNBC host and commentator Rachel Maddow, zeroed in Thursday on the focus of Menashi's 2010 article on "ethnonationalism."

Maddow called passages in the article a "highbrow argument for racial purity."

The 66-page article, titled "Ethnonationalism and Liberal Democracy," appeared in the University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law.

In it, Menashi defended Israel's status as both a Jewish state and a liberal democracy, contending that ethnic diversity is not a precondition for liberalism. The article did not oppose ethnic diversity.

Republican Jewish Coalition Executive Director Matt Brooks tweeted that Maddow and MSNBC "need to apologize for this anti-Semitic attack."

Menashi previously was an assistant law professor at George Mason University in Virginia, where he taught courses in administrative law and civil procedure.

Before that, he was a partner at the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis in New York. He was a research fellow at the New York University School of Law.

Menashi is a former law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito and a graduate of Stanford University Law School, where he was senior articles editor of the Stanford Law Review.

The attacks against Menashi are misguided and dishonest, Thomas Jipping, deputy director of the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal.

"The attacks against this superbly qualified nominee are not only misguided, they are dishonest," Jipping said. "Steve Menashi's critics simply aren't telling the truth about his past work and are trying to mislead the American people about the kind of judge he will be."

Carrie Severino, general counsel for the Judicial Crisis Network, tweeted about Maddow: "Had she actually read his law-review article, she would know that Menashi says the exact opposite of what Maddow claims. Intentional distortion?"


Preaching the Bible in a blue state capital

SACRAMENTO - Pastor Roger Jimenez implored his congregation at Verity Baptist Church to separate themselves from the ways of a modern, wicked world.

Burn your Harry Potter books. Trash your rock 'n' roll CDs. Don't vaccinate your babies. Stay away from gay people.

"The United States of America is on a rainbow- colored boat, and we've gotta shake that boat up," Jimenez said.

Speaking to some 400 people in an overflow crowd that included dozens of young children staring intently at Bibles and giggling when pastors yelled, Jimenez was met with shouts of "Amen!" and "Let 'er rip!"

"If I go down in history as the hardest preacher against homos, praise the Lord," he added.

Here in the capital of the state that is the vanguard for the so-called liberal resistance, parishioners gathered last month for the Red Hot Preaching Conference, featuring some of the most virulently anti-gay pastors in the country. Jimenez started the conference in 2016 after gaining national notoriety for praising the mass shooting of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla.

The conference's seven preachers are part of a network of about 30 churches called the New Independent Fundamental Baptist Movement, which, experts on hate and extremism say, is growing and spreading violent rhetoric over the internet in an era when hate crimes against LGBTQ people are increasing.

The conference took place in Jimenez's storefront church six miles from the state Capitol. Several pastors, including Jimenez, had called for the U.S. government to start executing LGBTQ people.

"It's certainly not the case that they're in some out-of-the-way place like small-town Alabama," said Heidi Beirich, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has labeled several New Independent Fundamental Baptist churches hate groups.

"They're in major cities like Houston, Sacramento, Los Angeles. They have found inroads in places where you might not expect this kind of extremism."

Although California is famously left-leaning, there are large swaths of social and political conservatism, including in parts of Sacramento County. Some 4.5 million people in the Golden State backed President Trump in 2016, and there are movements to create a "sanctuary city" for guns and to carve a separate State of Jefferson out of California's rural, conservative northern counties.

When it comes to gay rights, the state spent years in court battling the voter-approved Proposition 8, the 2008 measure that banned same-sex marriage until it was overturned in 2013.

A New IFB church recently opened in El Monte. Another will open in Fresno in August.

The New IFB Movement was started by Steven L. Anderson, a Sacramento native and the pastor of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Ariz., who garnered headlines in 2009 for telling congregants he prayed for the death of President Obama. A day later, a congregant went to an Obama appearance in Phoenix carrying an AR-15 assault rifle.

Among the pastors associated with Anderson's network is Grayson Fritts, a Knoxville, Tenn., pastor and detective with the Knox County Sheriff's Office who, in June, called for the arrest and execution of LGBTQ people. Fritts took a buyout from the sheriff's office in July and continues to preach.

In Sacramento, most of the pastors were fresh off another event held in June just outside Orlando: the Make America Straight Again Conference.

Jimenez, 33, opened it by saying that although the media depict gay people as "a little flamboyant" and "kind of funny," he believed they were a danger to children. (That belief - also cited by Catholic bishops seeking a scapegoat for sexual abuse by priests - has long been discredited by studies showing no connection between homosexuality and pedophilia.)

"We're not advocating taking the law into your hands, but here's what we're saying: If the government would put them to death, it would make America safe again," Jimenez said. "Here's all we're saying is that when they die, we don't feel bad about it."


The questions that linger after Cardinal Pell's appeal

It has always seemed clear to me that His Eminence was railroaded -- convicted for the sins of his church, not for anything he personally did.  And for those who are concerned about such things, I am an atheist of Protestant background --  JR

By Gerard Bradley

The Court of Appeal of the state of Victoria dismissed George Cardinal Pell's appeal on Wednesday 21 August in Australia from his sexual abuse conviction.

That conviction came at the end of a second trial on five counts of indecency with a minor, after a first jury could not agree on a verdict.

He was sentenced to six years, without the possibility of parole until November, 2022. Cardinal Pell's lawyers are yet to decide a further appeal to the Australian High Court. That process is likely to take up to a year. During the interim, the cardinal will remain in a Victorian prison.

Because the trials were conducted in closed sessions and under a press "gag" order, accounts of the evidence against the cardinal have been incomplete and even sketchy. Until now.

It was long widely known that the case involved allegations of assaults on two choirboys, both aged 13 when the crimes supposedly occurred in late 1996.

The setting was said to be just after then-Archbishop Pell celebrated Mass at St Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne.

One of the boys died accidentally a few years ago. The surviving complainant said nothing to anyone of his horrendous story until 2015. (The other boy died without ever claiming to have been abused; in fact, he expressly denied that any such thing happened to him when his mother in 2001 pointedly asked him.)

Improbable allegations

It has long been apparent, too, that the allegations against Cardinal Pell were so inherently improbable as to be, on their face, almost fantastic. Nonetheless, the prosecutors pressed on. They finally got a jury to return the verdict they wanted.

Knowing the cardinal as I do, and evaluating the evidence reported in light of my years as a Manhattan trial prosecutor, I have always confidently believed that Cardinal Pell is innocent.

One small mercy of this unwelcome appellate setback is that I am now certain that Cardinal Pell is innocent.

After the appeal: how things look

Another consolation is that the appellate decision supplies reasonable grounds to hope that the High Court will finally correct this awful miscarriage of justice if the Cardinal seeks leave to appeal. The basis for affirming Cardinal Pell's innocence lies in the evidence now recounted in extraordinary detail across the 325 pages of the appellate corpus.

The court split 2-1. The dissenting judge - an Oxford-educated lawyer named Mark Weinberg - never quite said that he believed that Cardinal Pell was innocent.

The closest Weinberg J came to saying so might be this sentence: "[T]o my mind, [there is] a `significant possibility' that the applicant in this case may not have committed these offences."

Reading between the lines

Perhaps Weinberg J came closer when he addressed the second of the two assaults alleged by the surviving claimant:

"The complainant's account of the second incident seems to me to take brazenness to new heights, the like of which, I have not seen . I would have thought that any prosecutor would be wary of bringing a charge of this gravity against anyone, based upon the implausible notion that a sexual assault of this kind would take place in public, and in the presence of numerous potential witnesses.

"Had the incident occurred in the way that the complainant alleged, it seems to me highly unlikely that none of those many persons present would have seen what was happening, or reported it in some way."  None did. Weinberg J directed the reader to the next logical inference: If the complainant made up (for reasons we shall likely never know, or at least not ever fully understand) one of the two assaults, then no reasonable person should credit just on his say-so that the first incident ever occurred, either.

Yet that is exactly what the prosecutors maintained.

Justice Weinberg wrote, quite accurately, that the "prosecution relied entirely upon the evidence of the complainant to establish guilt, and nothing more.

"There was no supporting evidence of any kind from any other witness. Indeed, there was no supporting evidence of any kind at all. These convictions were based upon the jury's assessment of the complainant as a witness, and nothing more."

"Indeed," Weinberg J added, the prosecutor not only "did not shrink" from making it his whole case at trial. The prosecutor "invited the members of this Court to approach this ground of appeal in exactly the same way."

A strong dissenting voice

Justice Weinberg's opinion is masterful and cogent. It supplies (though he did not expressly say it) overwhelming proof that George Pell is an innocent man.

There is another encouraging thought: The path to reversal on further appeal if pursued is now in view.

According to Australian procedure, much of the appellate judges' job in a case such as Cardinal Pell's (where the gravamen of the appeal is the sufficiency of the evidence to convict at the trial) is to simply use common sense to weigh the evidence presented to the jury.

This the three jurists did; the entire trial was videotaped and transcribed as well. Two members of the court said that they agreed with the jury's verdict. So they voted to affirm the conviction.

Their common sense is obviously poor and their practical judgment, worse.

A simple mistake of this sort would probably not, however, warrant reversal by the High Court.

Legal error?

But they made a specifically legal error as well. On this ground at least one may reasonably hope that sometime within the next 12 months George Pell will be again a free man.

Justice Weinberg identified the majority's mistake. Their error rested upon the two judges' acceptance of the prosecutor's invitation to decide first and in isolation - that is, without regard for all the other evidence, notably including the cogent exculpatory evidence offered by the Cardinal's lawyers - whether the complainant's testimony was "compelling."

The term is not spot-on apt in this context. Hamlet is "compelling." It is nonetheless fiction.

The majority judges seem to have adopted the term anyway as a synonym for not only believable, but for true, accurate.

Then these judges compounded the error: they used their isolated (and, in that sense, totally uncritical) validation of the complainant's testimony as the criterion by which they rejected, as ineffectual or just plain false, the abundant evidence of Pell's innocence.

They seemed to have reasoned thus: because the complainant's story is true (we have concluded by, according to their own account, its apparent sincerity and drama), the evidence offered by the defendant which contradicts the complainant's allegations must therefore be false.

Or, at a minimum, they judged that because the defence evidence did not demonstrate that the claimant's story was simply impossible, it did not for that reason raise a reasonable doubt.

Justice Weinberg saw the mistake.

Weighing up witnesses

The complainant's credibility and thus the accuracy of his story must instead be evaluated in light of the competing evidence of Cardinal Pell's innocence.

He wrote that it "is, of course, entirely legitimate for the prosecution to [rely upon the complainant's allegations] in answer to the challenge to these convictions.

"They must be weighed in the scale, but they must also be considered in the light of the evidence as a whole. That includes the body of clearly exculpatory material elicited from the various witnesses called by the prosecution.

"And one should not ignore the applicant's own strong denials of any wrongdoing, as alleged, in his record of interview."

In other words, a reasonable juror (and appellate judge!) would have to conclude that the defence case made the complainant's story so implausible that a reasonable doubt was inescapably present.

A conscientious juror (or appellate judge sitting in review) must not conclude that a complainant is speaking truthfully until after he or she critically compares what that witness says to what the other witnesses say.

The critical evaluation incumbent on jurors is not the majority's sequence - if looking only at the complainant's testimony, it seems true, then all the evidence exonerating the Cardinal must be false - but rather Justice Weinberg's dialectic (if you will), where the juror tacks back and forth across the evidence, using this bit to test the veracity of that, and that bit to evaluate the truthfulness of this.

That is simply what looking "at all the evidence" means. And herein is the majority's legal mistake.

Put differently: The key issue on appeal was whether the jury's verdict of guilty was reasonable.

Because the standard of proof in criminal cases in Australia is (as it is in America) "beyond a reasonable doubt," there is some danger of confounding readers by using too many cognates of the word seeking definition - reason.

The plainest way to put the matter is probably this: Would a sensible, intelligent, conscientious juror who considered with an unbiased mind all of the evidence have to have a "reasonable doubt" about the Cardinal's guilt?

Sufficient doubt

That doubt would be sufficient to require an acquittal if it attached to even just one essential element of the offenses charged.

Justice Weinberg concluded that, "in my respectful opinion, these convictions cannot be permitted to stand. The only order that can properly be made is that the applicant be acquitted on each charge."

Indeed. And so one hopes, and perhaps dares to expect, the Australian High Court to conclude as well, some months from now.



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

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

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


1 September, 2019

How Important Is Today's Racial Discrimination?
There is discrimination of all sorts, and that includes racial discrimination. Thus, it's somewhat foolhardy to debate the existence of racial discrimination yesteryear or today. From a policy point of view, a far more useful question to ask is: How much of the plight of many blacks can be explained by current racial discrimination? Let's examine some of today's most devastating problems of many black people with an eye toward addressing discrimination of the past and present.

At the root of most of the problems black people face is the breakdown of the family structure. Slightly over 70% of black children are raised in female-headed households. According to statistics about fatherless homes, 90% of homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes; 71% of pregnant teenagers lack a father figure; 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes; 71% of high school dropouts come from fatherless homes; and 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions have no father. Furthermore, fatherless boys and girls are twice as likely to drop out of high school and twice as likely to end up in jail.

One might say, "Williams, one cannot ignore the legacy of slavery and the gross racism and denial of civil rights in yesteryear!" Let's look at whether black fatherless homes are a result of a "legacy of slavery" and racial discrimination. In the late 1800s, depending on the city, 70% to 80% of black households were two-parent. Dr. Thomas Sowell has argued, "The black family, which had survived centuries of slavery and discrimination, began rapidly disintegrating in the liberal welfare state that subsidized unwed pregnancy and changed welfare from an emergency rescue to a way of life."

As late as 1950, only 18% of black households were single parent. From 1890 to 1940, a slightly higher percentage of black adults had married than white adults. In 1938, black illegitimacy was about 11% instead of today's 75%. In 1925, 85% of black households in New York City were two-parent. Today, the black family is a mere shadow of its past.

Let's ask a couple of questions about crime and education and racial discrimination. It turns out that each year more than 7,000 blacks are victims of homicide. That's slightly over 50% of U.S. homicide victims. Ninety-four percent of the time, the perpetrator is another black person. Along with being most of the nation's homicide victims, blacks are most of the victims of violent personal crimes such as assault and robbery. At many predominantly black schools, chaos is the order of the day. There is a high rate of assaults on students and teachers. Youngsters who are hostile to the educational process are permitted to make education impossible for those who are prepared to learn. As a result, overall black educational achievement is a disaster.

Here are my questions to those who blame racial discrimination for the problems of black people: Is it necessary for us to await some kind of moral rejuvenation among white people before measures can be taken to end or at least reduce the kind of behavior that spells socioeconomic disaster in so many black communities? Is it a requirement that we await moral rejuvenation among white people before we stop permitting some black youngsters from making education impossible for other black youngsters? Blacks were not the only people discriminated against in America. While Jews and Asians were not enslaved, they encountered gross discrimination. Nonetheless, neither Jews nor Asians felt that they had to await the end of discrimination before they took measures to gain upward mobility.

Intellectuals and political hustlers who blame the plight of so many blacks on poverty, racial discrimination and the "legacy of slavery" are complicit in the socioeconomic and moral decay. Black people must ignore the liberal agenda that suggests that we must await government money before measures can be taken to improve the tragic living conditions in so many of our urban communities. Black and white intellectuals and politicians suggesting that black people await government solutions wouldn't begin to live in the same high-crime, dangerous communities and send their children to the dangerous schools that so many black children attend.


Hasbro Has a New 'Monopoly: Socialism' Game and Socialists Are Not Happy

A few weeks ago, my wife and I took a deep breath and then reluctantly replied "sure" to our kids' request that we play Monopoly for family game night. As most of us can attest, Monopoly requires a level of commitment that no family game night should require, and it's not really that fun to begin with. Hasbro's new "Monopoly: Socialism," though, sounds like a hoot and a great way to continue to teach my kids why socialism is for the math-, economics-, and history-challenged among us.

Sadly, I have been completely unaware of this new game that mocks socialism as only a brilliant capitalist company can. It was only after stumbling across a Twitter thread composed by a deeply offended socialist that "Monopoly: Socialism" entered my consciousness. So, thank you, Twitter and upset socialist dude.

Since I apparently harbor some socialist tendencies in my own heart, I want to share this with you. Of course, the capitalist in me recognizes that I will be helping a business make money on the free market. Maybe I should submit Hasbro a bill for my advertising services. Frankly, I would settle for nothing more than a free copy of "Monopoly: Socialism," because, as I'm sure you'll agree after reading the unintentionally funny tweets below, the game sounds awesome!

Twitter user Nick Kapur - who "only tweet[s] extremely interesting things," according to his bio - "bought a copy of Hasbro's mean-spirited and woefully ill-informed MONOPOLY: SOCIALISM board game so you don't have to."

So I "don't have to," Nick? Why, I wanted to buy the game from the moment I read your tweet, "From the tagline 'Winning is for capitalists' we can see right away that this game is not going to be friendly to whatever it deems 'socialism' to be." So, again, thank you.

If your second tweet wasn't enough to piqued my interest in "Monopoly: Socialism," your comment deep into your Twitter rant-that "There are also tons of references to health food and veganism, despite the lack of any clear connection to socialism, apparently because what they share in common is that they are odious things that are fun to mock" - would have sealed the deal for me. Because I agree that health food and veganism have nothing in common with socialism except providing great targets for much mockery. I do love mocking vegans. And socialists, as I'm sure is evident by now.

Although, now that I think about it, veganism and socialism probably do have a connection. I mean, once socialism bankrupts our society and reduces everyone but Comrade Bernie and AOC to subsistence living, all we'll be eating will be whatever shriveled roots we can pull out of the dirt. I'm sure that a study somewhere proves that socialism leads to veganism. There's the connection. Hasbro, am I right?

And, Nick, by the time I read, "when you pass go, you get a $50 'living wage,' which was presumably reduced from the usual $200 to emphasize that 'socialism makes everyone poorer' or somesuch," I knew that I would be making a patriarchal rule that the only game played in my house on game night henceforth will be Hasbro's Monopoly: Socialism. Thanks to your Twitter meltdown, I get to incorporate both fun and education into family game night.


Men Beware: Following the Billy Graham Rule Could Get You Fired. It Happened to a N.C. Sheriff

A former sheriff's deputy in Lee County, N.C., says he was fired from his job for following the so-called Billy Graham rule and asking to be excused from spending a significant amount of time alone with a female trainee. Late last month, Manuel Torres filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S  District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Western Division, claiming his firing was the result of religious discrimination.

Torres, who worked for the Lee County Sheriff's Office (LCSO) from 2012 until he was fired in 2017, filed a complaint on July 31 accusing Sheriff Tracy Lynn Carter of discriminating against him by terminating his employment after he requested a reasonable religious accommodation based on his Christian beliefs - namely, Torres asked that he not be forced to spend time alone with a female coworker whom he was assigned to train. Torres is seeking "equitable and monetary relief in the form of present and future lost wages and benefits, compensatory damages for emotional distress and other injuries, and punitive and/or liquidated damages, as provided by law."

The Billy Graham rule dates back to the 1940s, when Southern Baptist evangelist Billy Graham, who was spending long stretches of time on the road away from his family, made a pact with several other men involved in ministry, called the Modesto Manifesto, vowing to "avoid any situation that would have even the appearance of compromise or suspicion," according to Graham's autobiography. The idea behind the rule was to obey the Bible's command to "abstain from every form of evil" (sometimes translated "abstain from all appearance of evil"). Graham's desire was that no one should be able to accuse him of sexual misconduct as a result of being spotted alone with a woman. Vice President Mike Pence also follows a variation of the rule and has been the object of much scorn and mockery for his "antiquated" religious beliefs.

Torres, 51, filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commissions (EEOC) in 2017, alleging that the sheriff's office had "engaged in unlawful religious discrimination and retaliation against him in denying his requests for religious accommodations." The EEOC issued a Notice of Right to Sue notice earlier this year, paving the way for Torres' federal lawsuit.

According to the complaint, Torres "holds to Christian religious beliefs and regularly attends and serves as a deacon at East Sanford Baptist Church in Sanford, North Carolina" and "holds the strong and sincere religious belief that the Holy Bible prohibits him, as a married man, from being alone for extended periods with a female who is not his wife."

During the course of his employment with the LCSO, Torres was "ordered to train a female deputy, which would include the requirement that he spend significant periods of time alone in his patrol car with the female officer trainee," according to the complaint. "The job duty of training female deputies, in such a manner, violates Plaintiff's religious beliefs against being alone for periods of time with female(s) who is/are not his wife and leaving the appearance of sinful conduct on his part."

Torres' request for a reasonable religious accommodation from his employer was at first granted, but subsequently denied, and he was later terminated.

Before his termination, the former deputy claims that he was retaliated against as the result of his decision to take his request to his superiors. Torres claims - and this is terrifying - that his sergeant "failed to respond to Torres's call for backup during Torres's covering of a multi-vehicle accident in an unsafe area in which Torres had to tase two fighting suspects, and a gun was present on the scene." When the LCSO  "refused or neglected" backup for nearly 30 minutes,  an officer from a neighboring jurisdiction had to step in to assist Torres at the scene.

But it didn't end there. Torres claims that the LCSO "provided false and negative referrals to prospective employers" in Siler City and Apex, N.C., which are also named as defendants in the suit. Torres alleges that both those cities offered him positions, but rescinded them after the LCSO made false and derogatory comments about his job performance to his prospective employers.

Torres claims that he has suffered "a loss of income and benefits; loss of quality and enjoyment of life; loss of reputation; and other damages."

The complaint notes that it is the public policy of the State of North Carolina "that all persons shall be able to seek, obtain, and hold employment without discrimination or abridgment on account of race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex, or handicap by employers" and that Torres' religion "is a protected category in North Carolina." The former deputy is seeking $300,000 in compensatory damages for the loss of income and benefits and the emotional distress he's suffered, along with $15,000 in punitive damages.

While many have accused proponents of the Billy Graham rule - and this is especially true of the vice president - of being misogynist or discriminating against women by refusing to be alone with them, such a decision seems like a no-brainer in the era of #MeToo. After all, we've been lectured constantly over the last few years that we must believe all women -- whether or not the facts back up the accusations. As we saw with the hearings to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, there's a movement afoot (actually, it's in full swing) to discard due process in favor of a system that gives the word of a woman more credibility than that of a man, whether or not the evidence substantiates her claims. (PJM's Megan Fox wrote a whole book about it, called Believe Evidence. I highly recommend it.)

In the current climate, men who spend time alone with women risk being falsely accused and having their reputations and careers destroyed and their lives turned upside down based on little or no evidence. Who could blame a man for being terrified to spend time alone with women when they've seen what can happen to a man like Kavanaugh at the highest levels of government? Maybe that does put women at a disadvantage in the workplace, but this is the bed feminists have made for themselves and now they're complaining about being forced to lie in it. When you treat men as if they're all predators and make them the enemy, don't be surprised if they return the favor.


Ignore the Straight Pride Parade or fight it? LGBTQ community divided over how to respond

Despite marriage equality, LGBTQ Americans in 2019 still face many challenges, including higher rates of teen suicide and the prospect of being denied homes or losing jobs over their sexual orientation.

But to Samson Racioppi and fellow organizers of a Straight Pride Parade on Saturday in Boston - an event expected to draw dozens of supporters and perhaps 800 counterprotesters - heterosexuals are victims, too.

Straight people have "been disregarded, and that's a form of attack," Racioppi said, citing a Netflix show about drag queens and his friend's preteen daughter questioning her gender. "People need to be reassured that even though there's all this mixed messaging, it's still perfectly natural to identify as a heterosexual."

LGBTQ leaders, however, say that the parade - despite organizers' insistence that they seek to celebrate straight people, not tear down others - is led by radical bigots and predicated on an insidious, inaccurate idea: that LGBTQ Americans already enjoy full equality, and that attempts to celebrate them or end discrimination somehow come at the expense of straight Americans.

"We're not there yet," said Logan Casey, of the LGBTQ policy and research group Movement Advancement Project. "In many places across the country, it remains perfectly legal for LGBTQ people to be discriminated against in housing, in employment, in public places and businesses, in health care, in education, and many other contexts."

The LGBTQ community, though, appears split on how to respond to the event, which has been skewered by many public figures, from comedian Stephen Colbert to US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Some groups - including Boston Pride, which organizes the city's massive annual LGBTQ pride parade - are trying to ignore the provocation.

"It has become increasingly clear that the Straight Pride Parade is organized by a group of white supremacists and is an attempt to bait the Boston LGBTQ community," the organization said. "It's a trolling event, designed to get a rise out of vulnerable communities."

Others insist Boston-area residents must stand up against hatred. "These people are fascists and Nazis," said Elvin Mackelston, of the group Solidarity Against Hate-Boston, which is organizing a counterprotest. "We will be getting together the biggest, proudest group we can."

Super Happy Fun America , the group behind the parade, denies that the parade or its organizers are bigoted, pointing to their inclusion of black and gay speakers. Yet its members have close ties to the far right.

One of the parade's scheduled speakers is the leader of the Proud Boys, which the Anti-Defamation League describes as violent extremists who attended the August 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va.

Parade organizer Mark Sahady is part of Resist Marxism, a group founded by an alt-right leader with a history of violence. That group helped organize the Boston "free speech" rally in 2017 that critics said attracted white nationalists. Sahady said he is Arab and condemns racism.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh has said his administration couldn't deny a permit based on the views of an event's organizers, but added that Boston values "respect, diversity, and acceptance of all." Boston police said they planned "a large presence of both uniformed and undercover officers."

The parade, happening amid the chaos of Boston's busy college move-in weekend, will include a pro-Trump vehicle and floats. It will proceed from Copley Square to City Hall Plaza, where participants plan to raise their pink-and-blue "straight pride" flag, conduct a costume contest, and showcase speakers including Milo Yiannopoulos, a former editor at Breitbart, the alt-right website, who has been banned from Facebook and Twitter for hate speech.

Organizers estimated Saturday's parade would draw 2,000 participants, but only about 90 people said on Facebook they would attend. The 2017 "free speech" event attracted a few dozen supporters - but tens of thousands of counterprotesters.

Emerson College, located by the parade route, said it would postpone an orientation event and ban visitors from campus buildings until 3 p.m.

The idea for the parade began in April, when Sahady, 44, of Malden, and John Hugo, 56, of Woburn, decided to test whether Boston City Hall would fly their "straight pride" flag. The city often grants requests to feature different flags, but rejected the group, citing officials' sole discretion over "government speech."

In response, Sahady, Hugo, and Racioppi - a 37-year-old law student and Army veteran from Salisbury - decided to plan a parade to further test the city's treatment of people with views that differed from the mayor's.

The group's website says heterosexuals are "an oppressed majority" that have "languished in the shadows for decades," and that until the letter "S" is added to the acronym, "LGBTQ pride will continue to be a system of oppression designed to systematically erase straight people."

That unwarranted feeling of exclusion is the same impulse behind the white supremacist movement and other hateful ideologies, said Casey, who serves as a policy researcher for the Movement Advancement Project.

"There's a sense of `us versus them,' no matter what the issue is," he said. "It's like, `If they're getting a rainbow logo, how come I'm not getting a straight logo?' "

A majority of LGBTQ Americans have suffered violence, threats, or harassment, according to a 2017 poll released by NPR. Transgender people, meanwhile, face record levels of violence and frequently report being denied health care.

Casey and other critics believe "straight pride" events are simply the latest manifestation of anti-LGBTQ bigotry, in which overt slurs and attacks have been replaced with insinuations inspired by Internet trolls. They observe that "straight pride" supporters rarely debate the substance of issues facing LGBTQ people, and instead obsess over such superficial concerns as positive portrayals of LGBTQ characters in TV shows or growing corporate support for pride events.

In mocking LGBTQ events and organizations, Casey added, "straight pride" supporters are ignoring the history of anti-LGBTQ violence and of gay pride events. They also falsely insinuate that LGBTQ people desire special privileges or to be celebrated simply for existing, he said.

"Pride parades have been an incredibly important space and practice to build community and strength in the face of adversity," Casey said. "These so-called straight pride parades . . . pose the hypothetical question, `What do [LGBTQ people] have to complain about?' Well, actually, objectively, quite a bit."

Following a widespread backlash to the parade's announcement in June, organizers said the event's purpose has shifted to fighting what they call "liberal groupthink," identity politics, and a perceived lack of tolerance for conservative ideas.

As evidence that they are being targeted, the group's members pointed to a series of setbacks: police confiscated Sahady's three guns after his license expired; PayPal shut down their fund-raiser; their website has been suspended; their employers and parents have received phone calls; and the organizers were mailed envelopes of powder - which turned out to be glitter - prompting bomb squad calls.

"As soon as I opened my mouth about it, there he is - he's Hitler," Hugo said, adding that while he supports gay rights, he disagrees with the way schools, workplaces, and sports leagues have handled transgender issues. "The pendulum has swung too far."

Critics say the free-speech rhetoric is just rebranding bigotry. Emerson College president Lee Pelton told students Wednesday that the parade was really "meant to objectify the `other' as unworthy, as deformed, as disfigured and, most horribly, as something other than human."

Racioppi was recently forced to resign as the board chairman of the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition, or MassCann, after directors, volunteers, and vendors quit the group's annual pro-marijuana "Freedom Rally" over his involvement.

Some MassCann members sympathized with Racioppi, seeing his events as somewhat tongue-in-cheek affairs with a tinge of civil disobedience. But others, including former MassCann director Shannon Jones, found his views objectionable.

"It definitely weakened the group," said Jones, who resigned over concerns about the organization's direction. "I consider him a friend, but people from the community - especially other black people - have come up to me and said, `What's up with this guy? How can you defend him?'"

Though the parade has yet to take place, Jones believes Racioppi has already "won" by generating media coverage.  "He talked to me a lot about how their cause was just to show how the media can take one little thing and just explode it," she said.



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

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

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


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(Isaiah 62:1)

A 19th century Democrat political poster below:

Leftist tolerance


JFK knew Leftist dogmatism

-- Geert Wilders

The most beautiful woman in the world? I think she was. Yes: It's Agnetha Fältskog

A beautiful baby is king -- with blue eyes, blond hair and white skin. How incorrect can you get?

Kristina Pimenova, said to be the most beautiful girl in the world. Note blue eyes and blonde hair

Enough said

Islamic terrorism isn’t a perversion of Islam. It’s the implementation of Islam. It is not a religion of the persecuted, but the persecutors. Its theology is violent supremacism.

There really is an actress named Donna Air. She seems a pleasant enough woman, though

What feminism has wrought:

There's actually some wisdom there. The dreamy lady says she is holding out for someone who meets her standards. The other lady reasonably replies "There's nobody there". Standards can be unrealistically high and feminists have laboured mightily to make them so

Some bright spark occasionally decides that Leftism is feminine and conservatism is masculine. That totally misses the point. If true, how come the vote in American presidential elections usually shows something close to a 50/50 split between men and women? And in the 2016 Presidential election, Trump won 53 percent of white women, despite allegations focused on his past treatment of some women.

Political correctness is Fascism pretending to be manners

Political Correctness is as big a threat to free speech as Communism and Fascism. All 3 were/are socialist.

The problem with minorities is not race but culture. For instance, many American black males fit in well with the majority culture. They go to college, work legally for their living, marry and support the mother of their children, go to church, abstain from crime and are considerate towards others. Who could reasonably object to such people? It is people who subscribe to minority cultures -- black, Latino or Muslim -- who can give rise to concern. If antisocial attitudes and/or behaviour become pervasive among a group, however, policies may reasonably devised to deal with that group as a whole

Black lives DON'T matter -- to other blacks. The leading cause of death among young black males is attack by other young black males

Psychological defence mechanisms such as projection play a large part in Leftist thinking and discourse. So their frantic search for evil in the words and deeds of others is easily understandable. The evil is in themselves. Leftist motivations are fundamentally Fascist. They want to "fundamentally transform" the lives of their fellow citizens, which is as authoritarian as you can get. We saw where it led in Russia and China. The "compassion" that Leftists parade is just a cloak for their ghastly real motivations

Occasionally I put up on this blog complaints about the privileged position of homosexuals in today's world. I look forward to the day when the pendulum swings back and homosexuals are treated as equals before the law. To a simple Leftist mind, that makes me "homophobic", even though I have no fear of any kind of homosexuals.

But I thought it might be useful for me to point out a few things. For a start, I am not unwise enough to say that some of my best friends are homosexual. None are, in fact. Though there are two homosexuals in my normal social circle whom I get on well with and whom I think well of.

Of possible relevance: My late sister was a homosexual; I loved Liberace's sense of humour and I thought that Robert Helpmann was marvellous as Don Quixote in the Nureyev ballet of that name.

Bible references on homosexuality: Jude 1:7; 1 Timothy 1:8-11; Mark 10:6-9; 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11; 1 Corinthians 7:2; Leviticus 18:32; Leviticus 20:13

I record on this blog many examples of negligent, inefficient and reprehensible behaviour on the part of British police. After 13 years of Labour party rule they have become highly politicized, with values that reflect the demands made on them by the political Left rather than than what the community expects of them. They have become lazy and cowardly and avoid dealing with real crime wherever possible -- preferring instead to harass normal decent people for minor infractions -- particularly offences against political correctness. They are an excellent example of the destruction that can be brought about by Leftist meddling.

I also record on this blog much social worker evil -- particularly British social worker evil. The evil is neither negligent nor random. It follows exactly the pattern you would expect from the Marxist-oriented indoctrination they get in social work school -- where the middle class is seen as the enemy and the underclass is seen as virtuous. So social workers are lightning fast to take children away from normal decent parents on the basis of of minor or imaginary infractions while turning a blind eye to gross child abuse by the underclass

Racial differences in temperament: Chinese are more passive even as little babies

The genetics of crime: I have been pointing out for some time the evidence that there is a substantial genetic element in criminality. Some people are born bad. See here, here, here, here (DOI: 10.1111/jcpp.12581) and here, for instance"

Gender is a property of words, not of people. Using it otherwise is just another politically correct distortion -- though not as pernicious as calling racial discrimination "Affirmative action"

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

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

So why do Leftists say "There is no such thing as right and wrong" when backed into a rhetorical corner? They say it because that is the predominant conclusion of analytic philosophers. And, as Keynes said: "Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back”

Children are the best thing in life. See also here.

Juergen Habermas, a veteran leftist German philosopher stunned his admirers not long ago by proclaiming, "Christianity, and nothing else, is the ultimate foundation of liberty, conscience, human rights, and democracy, the benchmarks of Western civilization. To this day, we have no other options [than Christianity]. We continue to nourish ourselves from this source. Everything else is postmodern chatter."

Consider two "jokes" below:

Q. "Why are Leftists always standing up for blacks and homosexuals?

A. Because for all three groups their only God is their penis"

Pretty offensive, right? So consider this one:

Q. "Why are evangelical Christians like the Taliban?

A. They are both religious fundamentalists"

The latter "joke" is not a joke at all, of course. It is a comparison routinely touted by Leftists. Both "jokes" are greatly offensive and unfair to the parties targeted but one gets a pass without question while the other would bring great wrath on the head of anyone uttering it. Why? Because political correctness is in fact just Leftist bigotry. Bigotry is unfairly favouring one or more groups of people over others -- usually justified as "truth".

One of my more amusing memories is from the time when the Soviet Union still existed and I was teaching sociology in a major Australian university. On one memorable occasion, we had a representative of the Soviet Womens' organization visit us -- a stout and heavily made-up lady of mature years. When she was ushered into our conference room, she was greeted with something like adulation by the local Marxists. In question time after her talk, however, someone asked her how homosexuals were treated in the USSR. She replied: "We don't have any. That was before the revolution". The consternation and confusion that produced among my Leftist colleagues was hilarious to behold and still lives vividly in my memory. The more things change, the more they remain the same, however. In Sept. 2007 President Ahmadinejad told Columbia university that there are no homosexuals in Iran.

It is widely agreed (with mainly Lesbians dissenting) that boys need their fathers. What needs much wider recognition is that girls need their fathers too. The relationship between a "Daddy's girl" and her father is perhaps the most beautiful human relationship there is. It can help give the girl concerned inner strength for the rest of her life.

A modern feminist complains: "We are so far from “having it all” that “we barely even have a slice of the pie, which we probably baked ourselves while sobbing into the pastry at 4am”."

Patriotism does NOT in general go with hostilty towards others. See e.g. here and here and even here ("Ethnocentrism and Xenophobia: A Cross-Cultural Study" by anthropologist Elizabeth Cashdan. In Current Anthropology Vol. 42, No. 5, December 2001).

The love of bureaucracy is very Leftist and hence "correct". Who said this? "Account must be taken of every single article, every pound of grain, because what socialism implies above all is keeping account of everything". It was V.I. Lenin

"An objection I hear frequently is: ‘Why should we tolerate intolerance?’ The assumption is that tolerating views that you don’t agree with is like a gift, an act of kindness. It suggests we’re doing people a favour by tolerating their view. My argument is that tolerance is vital to us, to you and I, because it’s actually the presupposition of all our freedoms. You cannot be free in any meaningful sense unless there is a recognition that we are free to act on our beliefs, we’re free to think what we want and express ourselves freely. Unless we have that freedom, all those other freedoms that we have on paper mean nothing" -- SOURCE


Although it is a popular traditional chant, the "Kol Nidre" should be abandoned by modern Jewish congregations. It was totally understandable where it originated in the Middle Ages but is morally obnoxious in the modern world and vivid "proof" of all sorts of antisemitic stereotypes

What the Bible says about homosexuality:

"Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind; It is abomination" -- Lev. 18:22

In his great diatribe against the pagan Romans, the apostle Paul included homosexuality among their sins:

"For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature. And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.... Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them" -- Romans 1:26,27,32.

So churches that condone homosexuality are clearly post-Christian

Although I am an atheist, I have great respect for the wisdom of ancient times as collected in the Bible. And its condemnation of homosexuality makes considerable sense to me. In an era when family values are under constant assault, such a return to the basics could be helpful. Nonetheless, I approve of St. Paul's advice in the second chapter of his epistle to the Romans that it is for God to punish them, not us. In secular terms, homosexuality between consenting adults in private should not be penalized but nor should it be promoted or praised. In Christian terms, "Gay pride" is of the Devil

The homosexuals of Gibeah (Judges 19 & 20) set in train a series of events which brought down great wrath and destruction on their tribe. The tribe of Benjamin was almost wiped out when it would not disown its homosexuals. Are we seeing a related process in the woes presently being experienced by the amoral Western world? Note that there was one Western country that was not affected by the global financial crisis and subsequently had no debt problems: Australia. In September 2012 the Australian federal parliament considered a bill to implement homosexual marriage. It was rejected by a large majority -- including members from both major political parties

Religion is deeply human. The recent discoveries at Gobekli Tepe suggest that it was religion not farming that gave birth to civilization. Early civilizations were at any rate all very religious. Atheism is mainly a very modern development and is even now very much a minority opinion

"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" - Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)

I think it's not unreasonable to see Islam as the religion of the Devil. Any religion that loves death or leads to parents rejoicing when their children blow themselves up is surely of the Devil -- however you conceive of the Devil. Whether he is a man in a red suit with horns and a tail, a fallen spirit being, or simply the evil side of human nature hardly matters. In all cases Islam is clearly anti-life and only the Devil or his disciples could rejoice in that.

And there surely could be few lower forms of human behaviour than to give abuse and harm in return for help. The compassionate practices of countries with Christian traditions have led many such countries to give a new home to Muslim refugees and seekers after a better life. It's basic humanity that such kindness should attract gratitude and appreciation. But do Muslims appreciate it? They most commonly show contempt for the countries and societies concerned. That's another sign of Satanic influence.

And how's this for demonic thinking?: "Asian father whose daughter drowned in Dubai sea 'stopped lifeguards from saving her because he didn't want her touched and dishonoured by strange men'

And where Muslims tell us that they love death, the great Christian celebration is of the birth of a baby -- the monogenes theos (only begotten god) as John 1:18 describes it in the original Greek -- Christmas!

No wonder so many Muslims are hostile and angry. They have little companionship from women and not even any companionship from dogs -- which are emotionally important in most other cultures. Dogs are "unclean"

Some advice from Martin Luther: Esto peccator et pecca fortiter, sed fortius fide et gaude in christo qui victor est peccati, mortis et mundi: peccandum est quam diu sic sumus. Vita haec non est habitatio justitiae

On all my blogs, I express my view of what is important primarily by the readings that I select for posting. I do however on occasions add personal comments in italicized form at the beginning of an article.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age.

I imagine that the the RD is still sending mailouts to my 1950s address!

Germaine Greer is a stupid old Harpy who is notable only for the depth and extent of her hatreds

Even Mahatma Gandhi was profoundly unimpressed by Africans

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