POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH
The creeping dictatorship of the Left...

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 This site is updated several times a month but is no longer updated daily.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


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

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

****************************************************************************************





13 March, 2015

An axe-wielding multiculturalist



Two shop workers managed to wrestle an axe-wielding armed raider as he attempted to rob a London convenience store.

Errol Woodger, 28, threatened one staff member behind the counter of the convenience store in Greenwich, south east London on October 13, last.

Woodger raced behind the counter and punched his victim. He then lashed out several times with his axe in a bid to force the man to open up the till.

The 28-year-old criminal waved the axe at a second man, believed to be a customer, before returning his attention to the man behind the till.

After 22 seconds, a second employee approached the scene was threatened by Woodger, who had a hooded top tightly secured around his head.

A few seconds later, the first employee manages to grab the end of the axe and Woodger panics and tries to flee.

The second worker races to the hatch at the end of the counter and tackles the raider. Both shop workers wrestle with Woodger, forcing him to the ground, narrowly avoiding a display of wine bottles.

During the assault, Woodger kicked the man behind the counter several time and lashed out at the cash register with the axe in an effort to smash it open.

Police arrived at the St Nicholas convenience store in Greenwich to find Woodger being pinned to the ground by the two shop assistants.

The men, who are both in their late 30s, were treated at the scene for minor injuries.

Woodger was later jailed for four years at Woolwich Crown Court  late last month for attempted robbery and possession of an offensive weapon.

Detective Constable Laura Hills of Greenwich CID said: 'This was a vicious attempt to rob the store and I would like to commend the victims for their extreme bravery in tackling and apprehending a man armed with an axe until police arrived. 'Greenwich will be a safer place with Woodger behind bars.'

SOURCE






Psychology Today No Longer Accepting Ads for Gay Conversion Therapy

It's true that the therapy has low rates of success but so does psychoanalysis.  Are they banning psychoanalysis too?

 Psychology Today announced last week that it will no longer accept ads from therapists who offer “conversion therapy” or “reparative therapy” to gays who want to leave the homosexual lifestyle.  The magazine has also deleted any medical practitioners who provide such treatment from its professional listings.

“Psychology Today does not endorse or publish ads for reparative therapy in print, online or in professionals’ profiles,” Charles Frank, who runs the magazine’s Therapy Directory, said in a March 3 statement.

“The Therapy Directory has removed the individual whose profile included a discussion of conversion therapy. We have informed all Directory professionals that those whose profiles offer conversion therapy will be delisted.”

The announcement came less than four hours after Frank emailed The Huffington Post saying that “we take care not to sit in judgment of others by allowing or denying individual participation” in the directory.

On February 23, Fred Sainz, vice president of communications and marketing for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a gay rights group, wrote a letter to the magazine’s CEO and publisher stating that “by offering a venue for these medically debunked practices, Psychology Today is lending them a veneer of credibility – propping up a fraudulent industry that takes advantage of vulnerable individuals, including children and families….

“These practices are based on the false idea that being LGBT is a mental illness than needs to be cured, an ideal that has been rejected by every major mental health group for decades,” Sainz wrote.

Gay conversion therapy for minors has been banned in New Jersey, California and the District of Columbia. A bill outlawing it passed the Colorado House on Monday.

The HRC letter specifically mentioned a therapist in California who provides gay conversion therapy as part of his practice.

“On February 14, 2015, HRC became aware that licensed Marriage & Family Therapist Thomas Schmierer was advertising conversion therapy services through the Psychology Today website,” the letter stated.

“Mr. Schmierer is based in California and the group therapy sessions offered are based in Riverside, California. While California law makes clear that these practices may not be offered to minors, the advertisement does not clarify that minors may not participate in the advertised sessions,” the letter said.

But Schmierer says he has broken no laws and has had “a lot of success” treating patients with unwanted same-sex attraction.

“What I’m doing is legal,” he told CNSNews.com in an email. “I have a state license to do it. I basically sit in a room with my clients and I talk and listen, mostly listen. I care for my client’s with a fatherly love. They feel that love and ultimately feel loved and lovable. This process is transformational. 

“I have a lot of success in treating those with unwanted same-sex attraction (SSA). At this point in my career, I actually expect my therapy to work as long as the client is willing to put in the work.

“Most of my clients with unwanted same-sex attraction (SSA) desire to be married to a woman and to have children with her. They want to decrease their same-sex feelings and increase their opposite-sex feelings. I accept my clients as they are. I don’t tell them what they should or should not believe. I affirm them,” Schmierer said.

“Psychology Today and the so-called Human Rights Campaign (HRC) do not accept my clients for who they are as individuals with unwanted same-sex attraction. They seem to want to rigidly force my clients to change so that they will hold the same beliefs as them, that one must embrace one’s homosexuality.

“I can’t do that. I’m not that rigid. I respect freedom and individuality too much,” Schmierer told CNSNews.com.

Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX) is urging the magazine to reconsider its decision, citing studies of twins on three continents that found that most identical co-twins did not share their siblings’ same-sex attractions.

“If an identical twin has same-sex attraction, the chances the co-twin has it are only about 11 percent for men and 14 percent for women. Because they have identical DNA, it ought to be 100 percent,” said Dr. Neil Whitehead, a biochemist and statistician from New Zealand.

“The predominant things that create homosexuality in one identical twin and not in the other have to be post-birth factors... Sexual orientation is not set in concrete,” he said.

“We are deeply disappointed that Psychology Today’s leadership chose to cave to the pressure of the pro-homosexual lobby rather than continue to offer individuals access to information that can help them in their journey towards overcoming unwanted same-sex attraction and gender confusion,” PFOX’s executive director, Regina Griggs, said in a statement.

“PFOX supports the right of every person to obtain the type of help that best meets their personal needs, and this includes the right to talk therapy. We urge Psychology Today to reconsider its decision and support the opportunity for individuals to access the help they decide is best for them.”

In a July 2013 oped published in USA Today, Nicholas Cummings, a former president of the American Psychological Association (APA) who sponsored the APA’s 1975 resolution that declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder, wrote that “contending that all same-sex attraction is immutable is a distortion of reality.

“Attempting to characterize all sexual reorientation therapy as ‘unethical’ violates patient choice and gives an outside party a veto over patients’ goals for their own treatment. A political agenda shouldn’t prevent gays and lesbians who desire to change from making their own decisions,” Cummings wrote.

SOURCE






The U.S. navy says Christian chaplains must not teach the Bible

If you think chaplains have some of the safest jobs in the military, think again. Men of the cloth are under some of the heaviest fire – and it’s coming from their own side! In the Navy, the message is clear: get on board with political correctness or lose your job. Like most Christians, Lt. Commander Wes Modder knew the military was changing. But he didn’t know how much until the battle landed on his doorstep. For years, Modder had served some of the most elite fighting forces in the military: Navy SEALs.

I say “had,” because the 19-year veteran has been stripped of his duties for sharing the good news he was hired to share. In a stunning turn of events, the chaplain was sabotaged by one of his own men, who secretly gathered enough information on Modder’s beliefs and private counseling sessions to file a formal complaint. Believe it or not, he was targeted by his own assistant – who Modder didn’t realize was gay. Looking back, the chaplain says the young officer asked a lot of questions about homosexuality, which Modder answered as most would expect: in accordance with the Bible’s teachings.

The mask finally slipped in December, when representatives with the Equal Opportunity office served Modder with papers accusing him of “discrimination.” Captain Jon Fahs – who five months earlier praised Modder as the “best of the best” – now insists that he “failed to show tolerance and respect.” Worse, he didn’t have a chance to defend himself. Almost immediately, the dad of four was relieved of his duties and told to clean out his office.

He was guilty before proven innocent. And of what? Fulfilling his job description? Modder’s attorney, Michael Berry, doesn’t deny that Chaplain Modder exercised his faith. It was, after all, his primary role! “To be clear,” Berry told Fox News’s Todd Starnes, “Chaplain Modder does not dispute that during private, one-on-one pastoral care and counseling sessions, he expressed his sincerely held religious beliefs that: sexual acts outside of marriage are contrary to biblical teaching.”

Shocked but not shaken, Modder says that he’ll push back. (Hear the story in his own words here.) “Every fiber in my being wants to run away from this – but if I do, I’m not being obedient to the Lord. I need to stand up for righteousness… It’s going to be hard for me, but it’s what God has called me to do.” Chaplain Modder knows that this isn’t just about him – but every service member who deserves the right to enjoy the religious liberty they’re fighting for. “Anytime somebody wants to live their faith out – there are people who say that is offensive,” Berry explained. But when a chaplain can’t speak on the tenets of his faith, what’s left to say? Why bother having chaplains at all?

Unfortunately, these are the consequences of the radical social policies President Obama has forced on the military. Now we have Bibles being tossed from Navy lodges, cadets ordered to erase Scripture from personal white boards, and chaplains hauled before boards of inquiry. It isn’t supposed to be this way – and it doesn’t have to be this way – if Americans who love their freedoms and their country will stand up and speak out! Click over to our petition to the Secretary of the Navy and Defense Secretary Ash Carter and demand Chaplain Modder’s reinstatement!

SOURCE





Believe it or not, people actually like  eating fatty food and smoking

Public information campaigns and nutritional labelling are good at informing people about what’s healthy and what isn’t, but don’t seem to have much impact on what they actually eat. That’s what a comprehensive review of 121 ‘healthy eating’ policies found, and I think it should make us rethink more heavy-handed policies to do with unhealthy food, tobacco and alcohol.

There are benefits as well as costs to every activity that public health groups want to discourage. We know there are benefits because people do them freely. But we know there are costs as well, like living a shorter and less healthy life.

The liberal view is that each person’s cost-benefit calculation is different, because they enjoy and dislike things differently. In this view there’s no case for stopping people from doing things unless they don’t actually have the information they need to make a judgement. We should want to make people’s lives better as they themselves understand ‘better’, not according to a single measure we’ve decided on, like lifespan.

So telling people that sugar makes them fatter may be a good policy, if they didn’t already know that. And policies that do that do seem to make people more informed. But what’s interesting is the impact they have on people’s diets – usually not much, and sometimes an unexpected one.

For example, a 2008 study found that people who used nutrition labels had big increases in fiber and iron intake, but no change to their total fat, saturated fat or cholesterol intake. The UK’s ‘five a day’ campaign about fruit and veg was very successful at getting people to think about eating more fruit and veg, but increased people’s intake by an average of 0.3 portions a day (which was not viewed as being a very good improvement). 44 studies of similar campaigns in the US and EU have shown about the same size effect.

To some people that might make it look like we need to do more. To me it looks as if people view the costs of changing their diet to something less enjoyable or convenient as being quite important, and are willing to forgo some level of health to avoid that.

Maybe this tells us something about cigarette regulation too – there is some evidence that smokers actually overestimate the risk of smoking and some that they underestimate it. If they do overestimate the risks, we’re ‘informing’ people so much that it’s become misleading.

It would be fair to respond to this that people have no real way of doing a proper cost-benefit analysis about eating sugary foods or smoking, but because the state can’t measure the benefits – that is, the pleasure – it is just as limited.

The fact that people do change their habits about iron and fibre, but not fats, suggests that they aren’t ignorant, they just don’t want to eat less fat! If that’s the case and we’re working to improve people’s lives on their terms, there is no case at all for more heavy-handed policies like taxes, ingredients restrictions and advertising bans.

SOURCE

*************************

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

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

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

***************************





12 March, 2015

More garbage from the United Nations

"Conservatives" stand in the way of equality between the sexes?  For an African woman like Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka to criticize ANYBODY for inequality is rich.  Inequality between the sexes is extreme in Africa.  As a broad generalization, African men sit around while women do the work.  And getting your clitoris cut off with a piece of broken glass is not terribly equal either.  Those who live in glass houses ...

Twenty years after a landmark U.N. conference on promoting gender equality, the head of the agency known as U.N. Women said Monday that a growing “conservative and extremist resistance” to equality between the sexes needs to be understood and confronted.

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka called the problem “one of the new dangers” in the way of efforts to pursue the goal of global gender equality.

Neither she, nor a major report prepared for the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) meeting she was addressing in New York, identified radical Islamic ideology as a leading factor, although surveys have found Muslim nations fare worst in gender equality rankings.

Mlambo-Ngcuka said the phenomenon was evident in ways like “ongoing attacks on girls’ education, women’s public participation and women’s control over their bodies.”

The report before the CSW meeting, submitted by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, also referred to the issue, but was equally vague about the types of countries and communities where it is most commonly seen.

“Extremism and conservatism are on the rise, manifested in diverse forms across different contexts,” it said, adding that examples include “tolerating or even promoting violence against women and limiting women’s and girls’ autonomy and engagement in the public sphere.”

Twenty years after the U.N. World Conference on Women in Beijing pledged to achieve gender equality by 2005, U.N. member states over the next two weeks are deliberating on how successful attempts to reach that goal have, in fact, been.

Hillary Clinton, who as first lady spoke in Beijing in 1995, is scheduled to address the event on Tuesday.

The report acknowledged progress in some areas, including legislative initiatives removing discrimination, higher rates of school enrollment and parliamentary representation for women, and some declines in the rate of child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM).

But violence against girls and women, it said, “persists at alarmingly high levels, in many forms, in public and private spaces.”

In several areas Ban’s report touched on problems that are common in Islamic contexts, where radical interpretations of religious texts, teachings by extremist clergy, the actions of jihadist groups and implementation of shari’a impact on women’s rights and freedoms. But it stopped short of identifying Islam as a factor:

--In advancing the agenda of women and security, “such emerging threats as the rise of violent extremism,” had limited and even set back progress.

--Many countries have legal systems that include “statutory, customary and/or religious law, which often do not work together to uphold the human rights of women.”

--Women human rights defenders face “stigmatization and ostracism by extremist and conservative groups, community leaders, families and communities who consider them to be challenging traditional notions of family and gender roles in the society and threatening religion, honor or culture through their work.”

Gap widest in Islamic countries

Every year the World Economic Forum (WEF) evaluates countries of the world for its “Global Gender Gap” report, which measures gaps between women and men in the areas of political empowerment, economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, and health and survival.

In 2014, 19 of the 20 countries with the lowest scores across those four areas were majority Islamic nations.

Worst was Yemen, followed by Pakistan, Chad, Syria, Mali, Iran, Cote d’Ivoire, Lebanon, Jordan, Morocco, Guinea, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Oman, Algeria, Turkey, Bahrain and Tunisia. The only non-Muslim state in the bottom 20 was Ethiopia, ranked 16th from the bottom, between Oman and Algeria.

A similar pattern was recorded in previous years’ surveys, when about 17 of the bottom 20 were Islamic states.

In two specific serious problem areas identified in the U.N. report – FGM and child marriage – Islamic countries are also disproportionately represented.

According to 2013 U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) data, FGM rates are highest in Somalia (estimated 98 percent prevalence), Djibouti (93), Egypt (91), Guinea (96), Mali (89), Eritrea (89), Sierra Leone (88) and Sudan (88).

With the exception of Eritrea, all are members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the bloc of Muslim-majority nations.

Ban’s new report states that while rates of child marriage have declined since the Beijing conference, in 2014 some 700 million girls were married before the age of 18, and 250 million were married under 15.

According to the “Girls Not Brides” campaign, the child marriage problem cuts across religions and cultures. Nonetheless, 10 of the 20 countries with the highest rates of marriage under the age of 18 are OIC states, including four of the top five (Niger, Chad, Bangladesh and Mali).

The OIC disputes that there is any link between Islam and practices like FGM and child marriage.

In a statement delivered during a CSW session in 2013, the Islamic bloc described FGM as a “cultural” practice that is “disguised as part of religious tradition.”

It also said that “child marriage, violence against women as well as other negative acts perpetuated are often misidentified as being part of Islamic tradition, whereas they are part of the local tradition and we should raise awareness at the local level to de-link these practices from religion.”

At that same 2013 CSW session, Egypt – then under a Muslim Brotherhood government – led a push to reject a draft declaration on violence against women, warning that it would “be the final step in the intellectual and cultural invasion of Muslim countries, eliminating the moral specificity that helps preserve cohesion of Islamic societies.”

SOURCE






The 'Disparate Impact' Racket

The U.S. Department of Justice issued two reports last week, both growing out of the Ferguson, Missouri shooting of Michael Brown. The first report, about “the shooting death of Michael Brown by Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson” ought to be read by every American.

It says in plain English what facts have been established by an autopsy on Michael Brown’s body – by three different pathologists, including one representing the family of Michael Brown – by DNA examination of officer Darren Wilson’s gun and police vehicle, by examination of the pattern of blood stains on the street where Brown died and by a medical report on officer Wilson, from the hospital where he went for treatment.

The bottom line is that all this hard evidence, and more, show what a complete lie was behind all the stories of Michael Brown being shot in the back or being shot while raising his hands in surrender. Yet that lie was repeated, and dramatized in demonstrations and riots from coast to coast, as well as in the media and even in the halls of Congress.

The other Justice Department report, issued the same day – “Investigation of the Ferguson Police Department” – was a complete contrast. Sweeping assumptions take the place of facts, and misleading statistics are thrown around recklessly. This second report is worth reading, just to get a sense of the contrast with the first.

According to the second report, law enforcement in Ferguson has a “disparate impact” on blacks and is “motivated” by “discriminatory intent.”

“Disparate impact” statistics have for decades been used, in many different contexts, to claim that discrimination was the reason why different groups are not equally represented as employees or in desirable positions or – as in this case – in undesirable positions as people arrested or fined.

Like many other uses of “disparate impact” statistics, the Justice Department’s evidence against the Ferguson police department consists of numbers showing that the percentage of people stopped by police or fined in court is larger than the percentage of blacks in the local population.

The implicit assumption is that such statistics about particular outcomes would normally reflect the percentage of people in the population. But, no matter how plausible this might seem on the surface, it is seldom found in real life, and those who use that standard are seldom, if ever, asked to produce hard evidence that it is factually correct, as distinct from politically correct.

Blacks are far more statistically “over-represented” among basketball stars in the NBA than among people stopped by police in Ferguson. Hispanics are similarly far more “over-represented” among baseball stars than in the general population. Asian Americans are likewise far more “over-represented” among students at leading engineering schools like M.I.T. and Cal Tech than in the population as a whole.

None of this is peculiar to the United States. You can find innumerable examples of such group disparities in countries around the world and throughout recorded history.

In 1802, for example, czarist Russia established a university in Estonia. For most of the 19th century, members of one ethnic group provided more of the students – and a majority of the professors – than any other. This was neither the local majority (Estonians) nor the national majority (Russians), but Germans.

An international study of the ethnic makeup of military forces around the world found that “militaries fall far short of mirroring, even roughly, the multi-ethnic societies” from which they come.

Even with things whose outcomes are not in human hands, “disparate impact” is common. Men are struck by lightning several times as often as women. Most of the tornadoes in the entire world occur in the middle of the United States.

Since the population of Ferguson is 67 percent black, the greatest possible “over-representation” of blacks among those stopped by police or fined by courts is 50 percent. That would not make the top 100 disparities in the United States or the top 1,000 in the world.

SOURCE






Should Pro-Life Organizations Be Forced to Hire Pro-Choice Employees?

Conservatives are urging Congress to overrule two pieces of legislation that could force religious and pro-life employers in the nation’s capital to do business in ways that go against their beliefs.

The first bill in question, called the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act (RHNDA), seeks to protect individuals from being discriminated against by an employer based on their reproductive health decision-making.

Because the language, as written, provides no exemption for religious or political groups, conservatives argue that it could force employers in the District of Columbia to hire employees regardless of their stance on abortion and religious freedom.

Originally, the bill also required all employers to provide coverage of abortion, but the D.C. Council is in the process of passing a solution that would add a emergency exemption for religious and moral objections.

Conservative groups argue the proposed emergency exemption—which would only last 225 days—is insufficient. They also say pro-life and religious organizations should be free to make employment decisions in accordance with their beliefs and central mission.

“We can’t exist if our purpose is to advocate for a pro-life position and we’re living under a regime which is telling us you can’t structure yourself as an organization and hire people to advocate for these issues,” Travis Weber, an attorney and Director of Family Research Council’s Center for Religious Liberty, told The Daily Signal. “It’s very controlling and it brings to mind an oppressive government monitoring of groups’ purposes.”

In addition to Family Research Council, Washington D.C. is home to some of the largest pro-life and faith-based organizations in the world, including The Susan B. Anthony List, March for Life, and the Archdiocese of Washington.

Conservatives argue this would infringe on the ability of private schools to operate according to their religious beliefs by forcing them to support a student-led gay pride parade despite the school’s stance on homosexuality, for example.

“Religiously-affiliated schools are not only obligated by their religion, but also permitted by the Constitution to freely teach and act according to their faith,” said Michael Scott, Director of the D.C. Catholic Conference, in a written response to the proposal.

But supporters, including Tommy Wells, D-Ward 6, who authored the legislation, argue that discriminating against gay and lesbian people “has no place in the District of Columbia.”

“A law that would allow such discrimination, including of transgender people, must be rejected. I’m proud to say this bill will do that,” Wells said during an Oct. 15 hearing of the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety.

On Dec. 2, former D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, a Democrat, warned that the legislation “raises serious concern under the Constitution and under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA).” He wrote:

If the Council wishes to adopt this Bill or similar legislation, it should clarify the Human Rights Act’s existing exemption for religious and political organizations to ensure that the exemption protects the religious and political liberty interests that the First Amendment and RFRA are designed to secure.

Yet, the newly-elected mayor of D.C., Muriel Bowser, also a Democrat, moved forward with the bills, submitting them to Congress late Friday night for review.

The Constitution grants Congress authority to overrule D.C. legislation with the support of both chambers and the president’s signature.  Congress now has 30 legislative days to pass a Resolution of Disapproval, which, if signed by the president, would overturn the legislation in question.  It is unclear whether President Obama would veto a Resolution of Disapproval, should one reach his desk.  If Congress does not act, the law will go into effect.

In addition to passing a Resolution of Disapproval, Congress has the authority to attach riders to annual appropriations bills, which would prevent taxpayer money from being used to execute the legislation.  The tactic was recently used to stop D.C. from legalizing marijuana.

Both The Heritage Foundation, which is the parent organization of The Daily Signal, and its lobbying arm Heritage Action are urging Congress to address the issue promptly.

“Congress should do this because no governmental entity should force a citizen to promote or pay for abortion, or violate their beliefs that men and women are made for each other in marriage and that sexual relations are reserved for such a union,” wrote Ryan T. Anderson and Sarah Torre, two of Heritage’s leading experts in religion and civil society. “These policies will saddle religious organizations and employers with a choice between complying with coercive laws that force them to violate their religious beliefs and organizational missions and staying true to their beliefs in defiance of unjust laws.”

Weber said if the current legislation under review moves forward, organizations like the Family Research Council could find themselves in a difficult situation.

“No organization can live up to its purpose and fulfill its mission when that mission is contradictory to a law imposing such coverage and terms on the organization,” Weber said.

SOURCE






Israel Critic and Hamas Defender Named As Obama's New Mideast Coordinator

Three days after Israel’s prime minister stood before Congress questioning the wisdom of a key Obama administration foreign policy initiative, National Security Adviser Susan Rice on Friday named as head of her Mideast desk an official who has stoked controversy with past criticisms of Israel and by meeting with Hamas terrorists.

Robert Malley, who has been serving as NSC senior director for Iran, Iraq, Syria and the Gulf states, is set to succeed Philip Gordon as special assistant to the president and White House coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf region.

“There could be no better successor to Phil than Rob Malley, who is already one of my most trusted advisers and ideally placed to provide a seamless transition,” Rice said in a statement.

“One of our country’s most respected experts on the Middle East, since February 2014 Rob has played a critical role in forming our policy on Iran, Iraq, Syria, and the Gulf.  I look forward to working with him in his new role.”

Malley was serving as an informal Mideast adviser to the Obama presidential campaign in 2008 when it was reported he had held meetings with Hamas, a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization.

At the time Malley held a top Mideast post at the International Crisis Group (ICG) think tank, and he explained that in that position he met with “all kinds of people.”

That didn’t stop the campaign from cutting ties with him, however. The Times of London on May 10, 2008 quoted Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt as saying, “Rob Malley has, like hundreds of other experts, provided informal advice to the campaign in the past. He has no formal role in the campaign and he will not play any role in the future.”

Malley worked at the ICG as head of its Middle East program until early last year, when he took up the NSC post he has held until now. The promotion announced by Rice takes effect on April 6.

For some supporters of Israel, the concerns about Malley go back to an earlier stint in government, when he served as special assistant to President Clinton for Arab-Israeli affairs from 1998-2001, and was involved in the 2000 Camp David peace talks.

At those talks, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak made an unprecedented offer to the Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat of the Gaza Strip, around 95 percent of the West Bank, and parts of Jerusalem. The Temple Mount would remain under Israeli sovereignty, but the Palestinians would keep “custodianship.” Arafat balked, and the marathon talks ended in failure.

A year later, Malley published an assessment of the talks, challenging the general view that Arafat’s intransigence was largely to blame for the outcome. He said it was a “myth” that Israel’s offer had met most if not all of the Palestinians’ legitimate aspirations, and a “myth” that the P.A. had made no concessions.

After Hamas won legislative elections in the P.A. self-rule areas in 2006, Malley wrote that the victory could help the Palestinian terrorist group’s political transformation.

“If dealt with wisely, the Islamists’ victory could present an opportunity for the United States to promote its core interests without betraying its core principles,” he argued.

“The more Hamas exercises government responsibility, the less it is likely to revert to violence.”

In the event the U.S. and its Mideast “Quartet” partners laid down criteria for Hamas to have a political role – it must recognize Israel’s right to exist, renounce violence, and adhere to previous agreements signed between Israeli and P.A. leaders.

Hamas refused to comply – as it does to this day – and amid violent clashes with Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction, it seized control of the Gaza Strip the following year.

‘So much misinformation about’ Hamas

Interviewed as part of a pro-Palestinian filmmaker’s 2010 documentary, Cultures of Resistance,  Malley said it was a mistake to think of groups like Hamas and Hezbollah only “in terms of their terrorist violence dimension.”

“They’re social political movements, probably the most rooted movements in their respective societies.”

Hamas, he said, “has deep loyalty, it has a charity organization, a social branch – it’s not something you could defeat militarily either.”

“There’s so much misinformation about them,” Malley continued. “I speak to them, my colleagues speak to them. Now we may disagree with them, but they have their own rationale.”

“None of them are crazies,” he said. “They may do things that we consider belong to a different realm of rationality, but within their own system, it’s often very logical.”

SOURCE

*************************

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

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

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

***************************




11 March, 2015

Must everything be computerized?

I heartily agree with James Delingpole below.  Computers are being used in ways that make it HARDER to do things.  I no longer drive to places where I encounter computerized parking meters.  I just go where there is free car parking.  And I am no novice.  I have been working with computers since 1967 -- JR

When I was growing up, one of my favourite TV programmes was Tomorrow’s World — a show about the marvellous new high-tech gadgets destined to make our futures so much easier and more fun.

If there was ever a specific episode dedicated to the joys of the cashless society, I’m sure it would have got me every bit as excited as the ones about the pocket calculator, the personal stereo and that wondrous replacement for vinyl records (so robust, according to the Tomorrow’s World presenter, that you could even spread jam on it without making it unplayable) called a compact disc.

What, after all, could there possibly be not to like about a world where all your payments were processed electronically?

No more shrapnel weighing down your pockets. No more dirty coinage, which thousands of grubby fingers had touched before you. No more of those tatty banknotes which always seemed to fly out of your pockets whenever you pulled out your hankie.

Instead, all transactions would be conducted cleanly, swiftly and invisibly via things called ‘Credits’ — or perhaps ‘Creds’ for short — just like the ones Judge Dredd used in my favourite comic 2000AD.

Well, now that future is very nearly upon us — but I’m not at all convinced that it works.

The rot started a few years ago when it suddenly became impossible to use coins in our last surviving telephone boxes.

Next, London bus chiefs decided we could no longer pay for our journey in cash (‘legal tender’ as it used to be known). Passengers now can use only prepaid tickets or Oyster travelcards, contactless payment cards or concessionary tickets. This can make life very difficult for visitors to the city or vulnerable people who might be stranded late at night without the necessary pre-paid cards for transport.

Now, Brighton and Hove council has joined the war on real money by phasing out all its coin-operated parking ticket machines. Inevitably, other councils will soon follow.

Yes, I know we’re supposed to get excited about this new cashless world, but I’m not sure many of us are. In fact, for most of us, I suspect, the downsides far outweigh the benefits.

For me, the moment when the scales fell from my eyes came a while back in London, when I first tried using one of those cashless parking systems like the one they’re now trying to inflict on Brighton and Hove.

Simply finding a free space in the centre of the traffic-clogged capital is tricky enough. So you can imagine my frustration when, having at last eased my car into a precious spot, I then discovered I was unable to stay there.

Instead of a traditional coin-operated meter, the parking space simply gave me a phone number to call so that I could register my vehicle and then begin the laborious process of paying.

The experience was incredibly tedious, fiddly and time-consuming — rendered even more awkward by the fact that instead of typing in the details on my phone, I had to speak them into it.

The experience of using the parking system was incredibly tedious, fiddly and time-consuming    +3
The experience of using the parking system was incredibly tedious, fiddly and time-consuming

But the voice-recognition software at the other end of the line seemed incapable of understanding my English. (Maybe it was designed for Americans?)

So, the result was that I found myself standing by my car, unable to move (for fear of pouncing traffic wardens), increasingly late for my appointment, repeatedly, desperately enunciating my car number to an unsympathetic, utterly useless computer.

At least in the old days, when you had a real human being at the other end of the phone, you could eventually make yourself understood. But with a machine, there’s no room for negotiation, discussion or any kind of human sympathy.

If the software is flawed or the system is down, that’s you completely stuffed: yes, you may be more than eager to pay no matter how much for the right to stay in the space you’ve found — but when computer says ‘no’ you’re doomed.

And if it’s difficult enough for me, I’m pretty techno-illiterate but do at least know how to use an iPhone, imagine how much worse it is for the older generation, some of whom don’t have a mobile phone.

If they’re anything like my 80-something father-in-law, it will mean quite simply that they can no longer use a London (or a Brighton and Hove) parking space.

Which is most unfair for someone who has been used to driving freely in and out of London all his life. Now, thanks to the benefits of a technology which was supposed to make life easier, he has had his freedom arbitrarily snatched from him.

Another big worry with these new cashless parking tickets — again, especially for the elderly — is that you can never be 100 per cent sure whether or not you’re safely registered, or if you’re going to be ticketed or overcharged.

What, for example, if you accidentally typed in the wrong code number for your parking space and end up with a fine because your car wasn’t where the warden had been told the payment was made for?

What if — as happened to someone earlier this year — you mistakenly type in the location code of their parking bay as the number of hours of your stay and, instead of paying £15.30, you end up being billed for £5,340?

You might have guessed — but the council where this happened was . . . Brighton and Hove! Yes, you can probably get your money back in the end, as this driver did. But who in their right mind wants to go through the rigmarole of trying to negotiate a local council’s labyrinthine appeal system?

The whole point of these systems is that they seem to be designed to make the appeals process as unappealing as possible. That way, they get to keep more drivers’ money, which is, of course, what all of this is really about.

In what Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has called ‘daylight robbery’, many councils make millions from parking fees. Top of the list is the London borough of Westminster which now receives more from parking fees than council tax. (In 2013-14, it made £51.03 million.)

Even Green-controlled Brighton council isn’t doing badly out of the cars it professes to loathe: together with Hove, its revenues from motorists amounted to £18.09 million last year. All of this, of course, is merely a foretaste of the misery we can expect to experience as the cashless economy becomes more fully embedded in our culture.

You can see why the authorities are so keen to impose it on us: it cuts staffing costs and increases profits. It makes it easier to glean information on us via our credit card details and phone records. It vastly reduces the opportunities for tax evasion as it puts an end to the cash-in-hand black economy.

What’s much less obvious, though, is what exactly is in it for us. Do we really want to live in a world where, instead of a granny slipping a crisp £10 note into her granddaughter’s birthday card, she has to obtain a book token or iTunes gift card?

Must we say goodbye to the era when you could negotiate down the price of a second-hand car by offering a bundle of notes?

Surely, there must remain at least a few areas of life where our every purchase isn’t scrutinised by the taxman and snooped on by the authorities: what we paid, say, for a few old plates and some collectible postcards down at the car boot sale?

And it’s not — whatever Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls might say — that we’re all trying to use cash-in-hand to cheat Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs out of its rightful share of the economy.

Rather it’s that we’ve grown up using cash (starting from when we got our first pocket money) and we find it comfortingly familiar, convenient and somehow much more meaningful and real than its electronic equivalents.

Spend £1,000 on credit and it feels almost imaginary (which is probably why so many of us are so deeply in debt). Spend £1,000 in cash and there’s an inbuilt reality check: to lay out that much hard-earned cash you must want what you’re buying really badly.

One other thing cash does — and it’s why I think we’re going to miss it so much — is that it binds us to other human beings. Whether in the form of coins or banknotes, it’s something we can exchange with one another as a physical symbol of our transactions.

We use it in the same way all our ancestors have done, since time immemorial. And now the dictators of the State want to snatch it away from us. Is it any wonder we’re so resistant?

SOURCE






Sound fiscal management beats infrastructure

MARTIN HUTCHINSON is being very iconoclastic

The Indian budget on February 28 slackened the much needed effort to move that country’s fisc towards balance in order to spend more on infrastructure. It was accordingly much praised by the Keynesian media worldwide. While the Lord knows infrastructure is much needed in impoverished India, and its cost there is presumably not as bloated as in the West, this choice still betrays a misguided sense of priorities. Budget deficits suck resources from the private sector to the public sector and leave the private sector impoverished and feeble. A drastic cutback of the public sector, especially in its regulatory aspects, would do much more for the Indian economy than even the most attractive “stimulus” infrastructure spending. A fortiori, that is true for rich economies such as Japan and the United States where infrastructure is already adequate.

Public choice theory quickly shows us why large infrastructure projects may be highly economically damaging. Politicians don’t have to pay for them, yet get the glory of opening them and in some cases getting major projects named after them. Generations untold, for example, have a better opinion of the economically disastrous President Herbert Hoover by contemplating the sublime Hoover Dam (which by losing re-election in 1932 Hoover himself was unable to open). Built at a time when infrastructure projects were still moderately efficiently constructed, it has provided massive amounts of electricity to the western United States for 80 years. It thus epitomizes the case for infrastructure spending, although it should strictly be named the Coolidge Dam, construction having been authorized by Hoover’s modest and effective predecessor in 1928.

The British High Speed Rail 2 project is a classic example of the bloated infrastructure genre. Its economic benefits are modest at best, cutting around 30 minutes off the journey time from London to Manchester, yet its cost is estimated at an astronomical 43 billion pounds ($65 billion), even at the doubtless over-optimistic figures of its sponsoring government department. It will doubtless project great glory on the next prime minister but three at its opening in 2027 (it’s not clear why David Cameron favors it, since he’s most unlikely to attend the opening, except as a second-tier geriatric guest in the background.)

To see why this is a bad idea, consider the original railway line from London to Manchester, which took the form of three separate projects, the London to Birmingham Railway, the Grand Junction Railway and the original 1830 Liverpool to Manchester Railway. Both the later projects were approved by Parliament in 1833, and construction was begun on both later that year. The London to Birmingham was opened in September, 1838, while the Grand Junction had opened a year earlier in July 1837. The three lines merged in 1846, and the combine, including numerous branch lines and the Crewe construction facilities, a total of 535 miles of track, was capitalized a few years later, according to an 1853 “Shareholders’ Key” at 31 million pounds, being 21 million of equity and 10 million of debt – a sum equivalent to about $5 billion today (and at that time the largest capitalization of any company in Britain.)

Note the difference in planning and construction efficiency from today. In spite of the far less efficient construction methods used, the London/Manchester railway complex was built in less than 5 years for a cost of less than $5 billion equivalent – the “Shareholders’ Key” gives a cost for the three original lines of 12.4 million pounds, equivalent to about $1.9 billion today. A functionally equivalent railway today is expected to take 12 years to build – beyond the 6 years’ planning already taken – and to cost about 30 times as much, in real terms.

This is not solely because today’s railway is built through built-up areas – the areas concerned were already heavily populated in 1830. It’s partly due to the lower intrinsic efficiency of public sector projects against private sector enterprises, but above all it’s the result of the insane costs of bureaucracy and regulation that are added to large infrastructure projects in today’s world.

You can do the same calculation in respect of the proposed tunnel under the Hudson River recently killed by New Jersey governor Chris Christie versus the functionally identical Holland Tunnel opened in 1927, and come to the inexorable conclusion: In today’s world, at least in wealthy “developed” countries, large public sector projects cost at least ten times what they should cost, or (in real terms) would have cost a century ago.

The economic implication is thus clear: if infrastructure costs ten times as much as it should, because of regulatory, environmental and bureaucratic cost inflation, then the world should stop building infrastructure altogether unless its need is so painfully obvious that it can be built and funded by the private sector.

Such a moratorium on new infrastructure projects is a perfectly economically viable strategy for a reformist government. If an Interstate (say) becomes so overcrowded that traffic jams abound, then a private sector toll road will be highly profitable, without the government intervening at all. That toll road will be subject to regulatory and environmental nonsense, but it will at least avoid the political process and absurdities such as the 1931 Davis-Bacon Act requiring “prevailing wages” to be paid on federally funded or assisted public works contracts, which in practice imposes union featherbedding on such contracts.

As the infrastructure deteriorated, public demand would build up for infrastructure spending, which a wise government would resist, while undertaking studies identifying all the cost bloating factors that have caused infrastructure costs to soar, and introducing legislation eliminating as many as possible of those costs. Eventually the cost of infrastructure would be reduced to no more than twice its inflation-adjusted 1900 level, at which point public works could recommence.

Overpriced infrastructure is especially pernicious because of its effect on budgets. Politicians can convince themselves, if nobody else, that infrastructure boondoggles are really “investments” and therefore should not count in budget calculations. The result is that public debt soars uncontrollably, while the overpriced infrastructure makes losses (however it is priced, and especially if its use is not priced at all) and hence does nothing whatever to offset the cost of the debt raised to fund it. Eventually, the result is bankruptcy, either of the polity concerned or even (in the case of Greece, whose infrastructure boondoggles were mostly funded by the EU) of the larger entity funding the waste.

Japan is the cause celebre for infrastructure waste. Ever since the boom ended in 1990, the Japanese government has tried to stimulate the economy by endless Keynesian programs of “stimulus” infrastructure spending. By 2000, Japanese infrastructure spending had reached 6.5% of GDP, twice the level of France, the next most profligate country. Junichiro Koizumi brought it down, and went some way to solving Japan’s fiscal problem, but his successors, including notably Shinzo Abe since 2012, have reverted to infrastructure spending stimulus. For example Japan’s transport infrastructure spending alone in 2008-10 averaged 30% higher than the OECD average as a percentage of GDP, 38% higher than the OECD average, 50% higher than the United States (even in those years of the Obama stimulus) 70% higher than Germany and 25% higher than even France. Since Japan is a geographically compact country that has in the last two decades hopelessly over-“invested” in infrastructure, its current overspending is especially egregious.

In India, with its abundance of low-cost labor, it is of course possible that public sector infrastructure suffers less from the sort of cost bloat that blights Western programs, but knowing what we do about Indian levels of corruption it has to be said that such a claim is barely credible. We do know that in 2012 the country spent 4.7% of GDP on infrastructure, less than China but more than almost all rich countries. We also know that the Indian public sector deficit, including the central government and the states, peaked at close to 10% of GDP in 2013, and is probably running at 6% of GDP in 2015-16 (the Federal deficit is forecast at 3.9% of GDP.)

India’s two greatest economic needs are to scythe back the “permit raj” that has made investment in that country such a problematic process and to reduce the public sector’s drain on the country’s resources, which will cause trouble in the next global credit crunch, due soon. Infrastructure spending, such as the 100,000 km of new roads proposed in last week’s budget, should not be expanded until these objectives have been met. It is simply not a priority.

The wealthy world’s budgets are all in some difficulty, disguised by nearly a decade of pathological interest rate conditions, with fatuous “stimulus” programs in many countries never having been properly reversed. Given the excessive cost of infrastructure in rich countries, and the need to control public spending, it would be sensible to allow a few bridges to fall down, while forcing the vested interests surrounding infrastructure provision to disgorge their ill-gotten gains and return its costs towards nineteenth century levels.

Public infrastructure provision has failed. It needs to be eliminated, and provision made for the private sector to step in, at much lower cost, where there is a need.

SOURCE






Tony Abbott: Australians 'sick of being lectured to' by United Nations, after report finds anti-torture breach

United Nations special rapporteurs are regular producers of anti-Western rubbish

Australians are "sick of being lectured to by the United Nations", Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said after a report found Australia's treatment of asylum seekers breaches an international anti-torture convention.

Mr Abbott's criticism of the UN follows his attack last month of Australian Human Rights Commission President Gillian Triggs, in which he called the report she commissioned on children in detention a "political stitch-up".

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has rejected a report from the UN that says Australia has breached its obligations on the anti-torture convention.

The United Nations report, by the UN's special rapporteur on torture, finds Australia is violating the rights of asylum seekers on multiple fronts under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Special rapporteur on torture Juan Mendez found the detention of children, escalating violence in offshore processing centres, and the detention and proposed deportation of two groups of Sri Lankan and Tamil asylum seekers were in breach of Australia's international obligations.

The report, which will be tabled at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday, has been rejected outright by the government.

In extraordinary comments on Monday afternoon, Mr Abbott attacked the UN and said its representatives would "have a lot more credibility if they were to give some credit to the Australian government" for stopping boat arrivals.

"I really think Australians are sick of being lectured to by the United Nations, particularly, particularly given that we have stopped the boats, and by stopping the boats, we have ended the deaths at sea," Mr Abbott said.

"The most humanitarian, the most decent, the most compassionate thing you can do is stop these boats because hundreds, we think about 1200 in fact, drowned at sea during the flourishing of the people smuggling trade under the former government."

Mr Abbott said the best thing the government could do to "uphold the universal decencies of mankind" was to stop boat arrivals. "And that's exactly what we've done," he said.

"I think the UN's representatives would have a lot more credibility if they were to give some credit to the Australian government for what we've been able to achieve in this area."

Last month, the government made a series of personal attacks on Professor Triggs, the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission – Australia's human rights watchdog.

Mr Abbott branded a commission report on children in detention that revealed alarmingly high rates of sexual and physical abuse a "transparent stitch-up" and Attorney-General George Brandis said he had asked Professor Triggs to resign.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said on Monday the government "rejects the views of the special rapporteur that the treatment of illegal maritime arrivals in detention breaches international conventions".

"Australia is meeting all its international obligations and with other regional nations provides a range of services to people who have attempted to enter Australia illegally," Mr Dutton said.

Mr Mendez says in his report that the Abbott government had failed to adequately address concerns raised under the convention about four specific incidents.

Among the concerns raised was that escalating violence on Manus Island, and the "intimidation and ill-treatment of two asylum seekers" who gave statements about last year's violent clash at the centre was in breach of the convention.

The report also finds that recent changes to the Maritime Powers Act to give the government the power to detain asylum seekers at sea and return them violated the convention.

Mr Abbott said on Monday that the needs of all asylum seekers on Manus Island "for food, for clothing, for shelter, for safety are being more than met".

"The conditions on Manus Island are reasonable under all the circumstances. All of the basic needs of the people on Manus Island are being met and, as I said, I think the UN would be much better served by giving credit to the Australian government for what has been achieved in terms of stopping the boats," Mr Abbott said.

As a result of the government's failure to "sufficiently" answer questions, Mr Mendez concludes in his report that "the government fails to fully and expeditiously cooperate" with the Human Rights Council's mandate.

He said Australia was not complying with its international legal obligations to promptly investigate and prosecute acts of torture or cruel or degrading treatment.

Labor said on Monday the Prime Minister was "absurd" for attacking a globally respected organisation for not giving more credit to his government.

"Instead of launching a cheap attack on the report's author – Tony Abbott should be providing an assurance that all the processing facilities Australia funds are run in a safe, humane and proper manner," Labor's immigration spokesman Richard Marles said.

"A critical part of that is ensuring Australian-funded facilities process people's refugee claims without delay."

Human Rights Law Centre director of legal advocacy Daniel Webb said the report made it clear Australia's policies and actions were in breach of international law.

"The government always assures the Australian people that it complies with its international human rights obligations. But here we have the United Nations once again, in very clear terms , telling the government that Australia's asylum seeker policies are in breach of international law," Mr Webb said.

"Australia signed up to the Convention Against Torture 30 years ago. We did so because as a nation we agreed with the important minimum standards of treatment it guaranteed. Yet here we are 30 years on, knowingly breaching those standards and causing serious damage to our reputation."

Human rights lawyer Greg Barns says he is working with Tasmanian independent MP Andrew Wilkie on seeking that the International Criminal Court launch an investigation into crimes against humanity by members of the Abbott government in relation to the treatment of asylum seekers.

SOURCE






'Britain's white jihadi' a teen from Australia

A westerner pictured alongside Islamic State group fighters and dubbed by media as "Britain's white jihadi" is in fact a teenager from Australia who converted to Islam, a report said Monday.

A picture of the meek-looking youth, holding a rifle and sitting in between two jihadists with a black IS flag in the background, emerged on Twitter in late December.

At the time the militant group, which has run rampant through swathes of Iraq and Syria, hailed his recruitment as "a major coup" with the British media dubbing him "Britain's white jihadi".

Doubts about the authenticity of the picture subsequently emerged after a blogger claimed he had fabricated the image to hoax the British press.

But Australia's Fairfax Media said the photograph had now been positively identified by friends of the teenager and members of two mosques in Melbourne.

It identified him as a former high-achieving 18-year-old student called Jake, declining to reveal his full name at the request of a family member.

He was described as a maths whiz who attended the Craigieburn Secondary College in Melbourne but dropped out in the middle of last year after converting to Islam and buying a one-way ticket to Istanbul en route to Iraq and Syria.

His identification came after Australia stopped two teenage brothers at Sydney airport believed to be heading to the Middle East to fight, amid growing concern in Western countries over young people joining jihadist groups.

That case followed three British schoolgirls leaving their London homes to join IS in Syria in February.

"He used to come here when we had a big lecture," Abu Zaid, a committee member of the Hume Islamic Youth Centre in Coolaroo, told Fairfax Media of Jake.

"He was a very quiet guy, he stuck to himself. We weren't close to him. I didn't see any of the people (getting) close to him."

The newspaper said the youth now goes by the Islamic names Abdur Raheem or Abu Abdullah.

It said that two months after his disappearance, he contacted his family to tell them he was in Iraq training for a "martyrdom mission" with a suicide vest.

He later called again to say he was "too scared to do it and he prefers being a soldier" and was planning to travel to Syria.

Around 140 Australians have travelled to fight with IS and other terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq, with another 150 supporting them at home, the government has said.

Former immigration minister Scott Morrison said the case showed indoctrination was happening in unexpected places.

"It's very hard to make assumptions on who's going to fall prey to the death cult," he said of IS, adding that the government needed "every available tool to stop people joining the fight overseas".

SOURCE

*************************

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

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

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

***************************







10 March, 2015

Multiculturalists who used the names of more than 200 dead children to launder profits from attempted £1m VAT fraud jailed for more than 16 years



Even if they are not much good for anything else, multiculturalists often seem to work hard at fraud

Three fraudsters who used the names of more than 200 dead children to launder profits from an attempted £1m VAT fraud have been jailed for more than 16 years.

Saheed Oyeneye, 35, Rasaq Omotunde, 38, and Oluwakemi Adesaogun, 38, all from south east London, set up hundreds of bogus online HMRC accounts to ‘get rich quick’ off the public purse.

The Nigerian-born adopted false identities of hundreds of unsuspecting victims, mirroring the tactic employed by the assassin in The Day of the Jackal, as part of his plot to shoot French president Charles de Gaulle.

In a scenario similar to that of the Frederick Forsyth novel, the trio men stole the identities of more than 200 dead British babies, before using their names to bombard the government with tax repayment applications.

They also adopted the identities of sports personalities, including cricketers and rugby union stars, by scouring the internet for their personal details and cobbling together a fake profile.

The three men also targeted thousands of members of the public as they attempted to swindle £1m, Southwark Crown Court was told.

In total, the gang managed to pocket around £250,000, which was banked across hundreds of accounts which had been set up under false names.

But the trio were rumbled early on by HMRC and did not pay out more than three-quarters of the money.

When their homes were searched, investigators discovered the personal details of more than 200 dead children were stored on computers, the court heard.

Oyeneye, from Hither Green, Omotunde, from Sydenham and Adesaogun, from Woolwich, all pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud.

Today, Judge Stephen Robbins jailed Oyeneye for five and a half years, Omotunde for six years and Adesaogun for five years.

After the sentencing, Christopher Gill, Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation, HMRC, said: ‘This trio thought they were running a high-tech and sophisticated fraud using a series of addresses and internet cafes to set up accounts using stolen data.

‘They bombarded the system with applications for tax repayments from these fake accounts, in the hope of getting rich quick.

‘These fraudsters thought the anonymity of the internet would protect them.'  He added: 'This case demonstrates that we can and will track down and prosecute those who attack our online systems.

‘This was nothing but a common repayment fraud attempt which our systems quickly identified as bogus. HMRC shuts down the vast majority of bogus repayment applications.’

The trio will face confiscation proceedings at a later date but most of the money has already vanished.

SOURCE






Pansy British firemen

Firemen refused to risk their safety by rescuing a cat that had been stuck in a tree for six days – so two young men stepped in to save the day.

The pair climbed about 50ft to bring down Spot from a leylandii in Stroud, Gloucestershire, after firefighters said the branches were too thin to support their weight.

Several attempts were made to lure her down and the fire service visited the scene twice, after the RSPCA was called. 

Gloucestershire’s deputy chief fire officer, Andy Hermiston, said: 'This is the second time we were called out because a cat was stuck 50ft up a tree. The first time, a month ago, the cat managed to get down itself.

'On both occasions, we quickly discovered that the branches at the top of the tree where the cat was stuck were too thin to support the weight of a firefighter.

'While rescuing animals is an important part of our work, it cannot be at the risk of our firefighter's safety.

'Although the service cannot condone members of the public putting themselves at risk we're pleased the cat has been safely returned to its owner and that the young people involved were not injured whilst carrying out the rescue.

Spot's owner Sarah Mills was relieved and eager to thank the rescuers, who climbed the adjacent trees with torches at around 8pm, and plucked the tortoiseshell to safety.

'I would like to thank them, I don't know who they are,' she said, adding that she will be keeping Spot indoors and will take her to a vet for a check-up. 'She is a bit thinner but I think she will be OK.'

SOURCE






A very privileged apologist for evil



The grand residence, complete with picturesque porch, gable and verandah, is situated on an exclusive private development in the Surrey suburbs.

You arrive at the £700,000 property, set over three stunning floors, via a tree-lined avenue in immaculate contoured grounds that include tennis courts, nature trails and cycle paths.

This affluent enclave on the outskirts of London could be a film set or a location for a designer fashion shoot. It is here — in the splendour of the aforementioned house (the biggest and most expensive in the close) — that Asim Qureshi leads a very middle-class existence.

Bearded Qureshi, chief mouthpiece for Muslim ‘human rights’ group Cage, introduced himself and his poisonous organisation to the world in that now infamous press conference last week after Jihadi John, the butcher who beheaded Western hostages, was finally identified as Mohammed Emwazi from West London.

Cage research director Qureshi, who has advocated the creation of a medieval Islamic Caliphate in the UK, defended the IS executioner, calling him a ‘beautiful, gentle young man’.

But the gap between the rhetoric and the reality of his privileged lifestyle, which allows him to luxuriate in the trappings of infidel decadence, might surprise even Qureshi’s most fanatical supporters.

Qureshi married into money. Wife Samira — born in Britain to Pakistani parents — is from the fabulously wealthy Ahmed dynasty. The Ahmeds ran a cash-and-carry empire in South Wales, supplying restaurants and takeaways from Cardiff to Swansea. The business had a turnover in excess of £100 million when it was sold last year.

Asim Qureshi, who has two young sons, has benefited from this gilded family connection. The marital home was purchased by his wife (and sister-in-law); it is in their names, not his. The sisters own a second house, worth just under £500,000, a few miles away.

Their late father Bashir, who founded the cash-and-carry enterprise after arriving on these shores from Pakistan with just £5 in his pocket more than 40 years ago, epitomised the vast majority of decent, hard-working Muslims who have contributed so much to the nation. But the opposite is true of Qureshi and Cage.

In an interview with U.S. researchers four years ago, Qureshi admitted he did not feel ‘any kind of obligation or sense of thankfulness’ towards the country of his birth, the country that welcomed his parents from Pakistan in the Seventies, the country that subsidised his education at a leading public school.

Instead, he devotes his life to Cage, an organisation which, in the words of one commentator, is now ‘part of a closely connected network of extremists relentlessly — and successfully — lying to young British Muslims that they are hated and persecuted by their fellow citizens in order to make them supporters of terror’.

This narrative culminated in Qureshi’s preposterous claim last week that harassment by MI5 was responsible for turning Mohammed Emwazi into Jihadi John.

Cage has an active ‘outreach’ programme in British mosques, community groups and campuses. Note the use of the word ‘outreach’, as if those spreading Cage’s message were social workers or health professionals, not zealots indoctrinating students with lectures about jihad (holy war).

Shamefully, the group continues to be treated as a credible partner by organisations such as Amnesty and enjoys the patronage of the wider liberal establishment. Qureshi represents Cage on the organisation Rights Watch (UK), where he is a trustee. Rights Watch provides ‘support and services to anyone whose human rights are violated as a result of conflict’.

Qureshi excelled at cricket and played squash at county level but underachieved academically because, by his own admission, he was a ‘very, very, very lazy student’, who spent much of his teenage years listening to gangster rappers such as Tupac Shakur.

He managed to scrape into London Guildhall University to study law, where he ‘started to choose an Islamic identity for myself’. This coincided with the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers in New York in 2001.

 Asim Qureshi sparked further outrage after repeatedly refusing to condemn the stoning women on the BBC's This Week programme     +8
Asim Qureshi sparked further outrage after repeatedly refusing to condemn the stoning women on the BBC's This Week programme

‘I do not like using the word radicalise,’ Qureshi told researchers from Columbia, ‘because I do not think being radical is a bad thing, but I was effectively radicalised by Guantanamo [the U.S. detention facility in Cuba where terror suspects are held without trial].

‘When I saw the images from Guantanamo it really hit a nerve because we have grown up with a certain conception that the Western world provides justice but unfortunately what I saw was the world’s leading superpower effectively send the message to the rest of the world that behaviour like this [ignoring due legal process] is acceptable.’

In the holidays, Qureshi visited the West Bank and spent three weeks touring Taliban and Afghan refugee camps in northern Pakistan. ‘They [the Taliban] made mistakes, yes, like all human beings do,’ he declared. ‘Should they be shipped off to Guantanamo and abused and tortured because of it? No, I don’t think so.’

Cage has been sustained with private cash donations from Muslims and support from organisations such as the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, which has made three grants to it totalling £305,000 since 2007, and The Roddick Foundation, a charity set up by the late Body Shop founder Dame Anita Roddick, which gave Cage £35,000 a year in the financial years ending March 2012 and 2013, and £25,000 a year in the financial years ending March 2010 and 2011.

But yesterday both organisations agreed to withdraw funding. It is understood officials at the Charity Commission threatened to launch a statutory inquiry into both groups unless they did so.

The Charity Commission had already launched an investigation into whether Cage’s funders had ensured that their money was used for purposes in line with their objectives.

Many of the terrorist prisoners on Qureshi’s and Cage’s files turn out to have been convicted, not by kangaroo courts, but by juries in properly constituted trials.

In the eyes of many, both Asim Qureshi and Cage have questions to answer, not just about their ‘relationship’ with Jihadi John, but also about the poisonous anti-British propaganda they are spreading against the country that so welcomed them.

SOURCE








BBC defends all-white cast for Australian history series

The first fleet was British (though there were a couple of black convicts) so picturing them as white is accurate.  They did of course have some contact with Aborigines but on only a very small scale


A new seven-part BBC drama series about the arrival of the first fleet in Sydney has drawn big TV audiences in the UK, despite the surprising decision not to include any indigenous cast members.

Banished, filmed partly in Sydney and starring David Wenham as Governor Arthur Phillip, won its timeslot on Thursday with 3.4 million viewers on BBC Two.

However, the series, which is plainly aimed at an English audience, will not screen here until a date yet to be decided in June.

Co-producer Jimmy McGovern has defended the decision to omit indigenous people from the series.

"It is difficult to exaggerate how important is it to get the portrayal of indigenous Australians right," he said. "In recent years I have been fortunate enough to work with a group of aboriginal people as story editor on Redfern Now, a contemporary urban drama.

"The time-frame in Banished is very short – something just over two weeks – and there is not sufficient time to develop and do justice to indigenous characters. Hopefully if there's another series there would be time to collaborate and get any representation right."

Banished, which also stars Russell Tovey (Being Human), MyAnna Buring (Ripper Street) and Ryan Corr (Wolf Creek 2), was filmed on location at Manly Dam and in Sydney's Royal National Park, with the interiors shot in Manchester.

Described as being "loosely inspired" by the events of 1788, Wenham said he was initially cautious about issues of historical accuracy in the series.

"I was concerned about it at first but having reading the script I'm actually surprised how much of it that is supposedly fiction in the script did in fact exist," he says. "Some of those characters that I thought were fictional did exist. "It's not taking huge liberties at all."

Co-producer Sita Williams also insisted that Banished has no pretensions to strict historical accuracy.  "This is our 1788," she says, "...it isn't a historical drama, this is a drama inspired by the arrival of the first fleet in 1788."

So far, the series has received only mixed reviews from British critics

SOURCE

*************************

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

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

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

***************************




9 March, 2015

HMS Pinafore and the British class system

I have always been a classical music devotee but now that I am in my 8th decade I have been watching a fair bit of light opera, mainly Viennese operetta and England's Gilbert & Sullivan.  And I enjoy it greatly. 

All light opera seems to be about obstacles on the road to romance but W.S. Gilbert also includes some rather biting social commentary within his madcap humor.  Perhaps sadly, however, the commentary is on the Britain of his day so most people these days probably miss a lot of the satire. 

For instance who today has heard of Garnet Wolseley, the 1st Viscount Wolseley?  Yet in the late 19th century when Gilbert wrote, Wolseley was the most distinguished British soldier and military leader of his day.  He was renowned for his intelligence and efficiency and served with distinction and bravery in many of Britain's 19th century wars -- wars which are now mostly forgotten.  And a reader has suggested to me (pursuant to an earlier post on G&S) with some cogency that the "modern major general" in "Pirates of Penzance" is mockery of the ultra-efficient Wolseley.

But the target of Gilbert's satire in "Pinafore" is impossible to miss.  The obstacle to true love there is the British class system.  To this day, you CANNOT understand Britain without a grasp of the class system.  Yet the odd thing is that it is almost never publicly discussed. How are you to find out about it if no-one will tell you about it?  I found out about it almost by osmosis.  From childhood on I read untold numbers of British books.  So I lived to a considerable extent in a British mental world.

And that world and the world outside my window were very different. In books I read about sea-birds such as whimbrels and snipes and other acclaimed birds such as skylarks and nightingales, whereas my environment in tropical Australia included deadly snakes such as Taipans and colorful fruit that would send you blind of you ate it (Finger Cherries).  Not to mention huge crocodiles and sharks that could eat you and jellyfish that could sting you to death when you went swimming.  It was a long way from the daffodils of England.

And the books I read in my early life were mostly written before WWII so were also rather alien in some of the social attitudes expressed.  Even in my early teens I remember being struck by the expression: "That's very white of you", where "white" was an expression of appreciation that meant something along the lines of civilized, kind and generous.  Such an expression would be toweringly politically incorrect these days but back then it was common enough. It was an expression of racial pride and reflected an adverse judgment of the morals and ethics of darker races.

But in the last two or three decades, some bold British writers have written explicitly about their class system, the social anthropologist, Kate Fox, most notably.  And Fox lays it all bare down to the tiniest detail.  As I wrote a couple of years ago:

"I have recently been reading Kate Fox's book on the English so passed on a few things that she had reminded me of. "Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour" is, I think,  the funniest book I have ever read.  It repeatedly has me in tears of laughter.  As an Australian who knows the English well, I can recognize the truth of her observations without being embarrassed by them.  And there is one sentence from her book that sums up the English well: "Everything is embarrassing"." There is an update of her observations here.

And such is the genius of W.S. Gilbert that, in his madcap and exaggerated way, he too makes the English class system seem hilarious.

Thankfully, the class system in Britain today is less blatant  than it was in Gilbert's day. But that is no thanks to Britain's various Labour party governments of the postwar era.  Leftists, of course, all have a mania about equality, though some pigs are more equal than others, naturally (to quote Orwell).  And successive British Leftist governments (mostly run by people from privileged backgrounds) have vowed to tear down class barriers in pursuit of equality.

And in the typical Leftist way, they have achieved exactly the opposite of that objective.  One could argue that their actions were a deliberate strategy designed to preserve their own privileged stations in life but, although I don't dismiss that thought, it seems to me to be mainly just another example of Leftist stupidity. 

Leftist stupidity is a special class of stupidity. The people concerned are mostly not stupid in general but they have a character defect (mostly arrogance) that makes them impatient with complexity and unwilling to study it.  So they repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot;  They fail to attain their objectives.  The world IS complex so a simplistic approach to it CANNOT work.

The big British Labour Party blunder from the point of view of  someone who genuinely values greater equality was the attack on "Grammar" schools. Britain once had many such schools.  They were taxpayer-funded ("State") schools that were run on lines very similar to Britain's famous and excellent "Public" (meaning private) schools such as Eton, Harrow and many others.  Mainly because of the cost, only about 7% of Britons complete the schooling of their teenage years in private schools, so the availability of schools of private school standard that were "free" to the user did open up a path to social mobility for many bright children from poor families. And many of the leading figures in British life to this day are products of a Grammar School education.

Access to a State Grammar school was via the "11 Plus" examination.  It was an academic ability test heavily loaded with IQ.  Pupils sat the exam at age 11 to determine their educational path through their teenage years.  Probably correctly, only the brightest quarter of the population were deemed able to cope with the demands of the sort of education that had long prevailed in Britain's private schools.

And the Grammar schools were a great success in enabling social mobility.  A Grammar school education was rightly regarded as close to a private school education in excellence and, even though they came from impoverished backgrounds, Grammar school graduates had almost the same easy path through life that had always characterized graduates from the great private schools.  Many Grammar school graduates made it to Britain's leading universities, Oxford and Cambridge.  Grammar schools were the main path upwards for able people from humble backgrounds. Equality of opportunity for the whole English population was greatly enhanced by them.

So what objection could there be to that?  There was a BIG objection: the recognition in the form of the "11 Plus" exam that some people are brighter than others.  That offended greatly against the "equality" mania of the Left.  So except for some local pockets of resistance, the Labour party ABOLISHED the State-funded Grammar schools. 

In the name of equality they abolished the main means of achieving more equality.  How perverse is that? Only a Leftist could see it as reasonable.  But even Leftist parties have to make some show of rationality, so how did they justify their destructive policy?  They said that they were going to bring ALL schools up to Grammar school standard.  It sounded good but was of course impossible.  Certainly, nothing like it has ever been achieved in the many years since.

When Tony Blair first gained office as Labour party Prime Minister he said his three top priorities were education, education and education -- and he vowed to increase social mobility through his policies.  What his government actually did was to dumb down both State school education and the exams used to assess it.  So for 13 years the apparent educational attainments among English children soared.  But it was one big fraud.  A good education became virtually unattainable for many British children and so social mobility in fact FELL under Blair. 

So the British class structure is now more extreme in its exclusivity than it was 50 years ago.  England is now a place where the young people are mostly poorly educated in all senses and where the 7% of the population who went to private schools run just about everything in the country and dominate in all avenues of attainment.  Even Britain's successful athletes in the most recent Summer Olympic games were disproportionately from private school backgrounds.

W.S. Gilbert would find the underlying class structure of England today not greatly different from the late  19th century structure that he satirized.  And the hypocrisy about it that he so vividly noted  is still there too -- JR.






Dr. Ben Carson: "Being Gay Is a Choice"

I think for some people it's not much of a choice and for some it is.  The point however is legal rights for homosexual couples --  and civil unions would seem to confer such rights without calling the union a marriage. 

An interesting arrangement that has been suggested in Australia is to distinguish between "Marriage" and "Homosexual Marriage".  The wedding certificates would be otherwise identical but would be headed in either one of those two ways, as the situation requires. 

In theory that should satisy everyone but in fact Australian homosexuals are apparently aghast at the possibility.  It shows that the whole issue is respect.  Homosexuals want their unions given the same respect as a normal marriage.  I doubt that that will ever be widely achieved, no matter how much bullying is used to pursue it

And to the extent that respect is the main aim, I think lascivious Mardi Gras parades are probably on balance counter-productive.  They rather clearly proclaim deviance.

There is also an issue over homosexual proselytism.  There is a lot of that about these days, particularly in the schools.  Homosexuality is presented as admirable and "cool".  I see no justification for governments taking any interest in what happens between consenting adults in their bedrooms but promoting an unhealthy lifestyle seems to me to be irresponsible and wrong. Just the very high incidence of partner abuse among homosexual couples should be enough reason for it not to be officially encouraged -- JR 


“A lot of people who go into prison, go into prison straight, and when they come out, they’re gay. So did something happen while they were in there?” Carson said, who has said marriage should be between a man and a woman.

CNN host Chris Cuomo countered Carson’s statement, saying: “Most people never go to prison, and you know there’s a whole theory of dominance.”

“Wait a minute. I said a lot of people who go in come out [gay]. Are you denying that that’s true?” Carson asked.

“I am not denying that that’s true, but I am denying that that’s as a basis of understanding homosexuality,” Cuomo responded.

“If in fact that is the case, then it obviously thwarts what you just said,” Carson said.

“A lot of people go into jail as a drug addict, and they come out as a criminal. Does that mean that all drug addicts are criminals?” Cuomo asked.

Carson said the issue of gay marriage is one of legal rights in cases of property and visitation.

“Here’s what’s important: Why do gay people want to get married? Because they want to have various rights – property rights, visitation rights,” he said.

“They want their commitment to count just like mine and my wife’s,” Cuomo said.

“Why can’t any two human beings--I don’t care what their sexual orientation is--why can’t they have the legal right to do those things?” Carson asked.

“That’s what they’re fighting for,” Cuomo said.

“Okay, that does not require changing the definition of marriage,” Carson said.

“But it would require covering that union as you do others, which is called marriage in our society,” Cuomo said.

“I don’t think so,” Carson responded.

Earlier in the interview, Cuomo asked: “One issue: same-sex marriage. You have equal protection. It’s working its way through the courts. The decisions are getting more and more uniform, but then you have people of faith who say, ‘Marriage is ours. God says it is a man and a woman. The Bible says, my faith says…’ Which one wins with Dr. Carson?”

“Here’s what I would do. I would do what the Constitution says. Constitution says: civil issue of that nature should be determined at the state level. Why does it say that? Because the judicial system at the state level has to answer to the people,” Carson responded.

“What if people of the state vote for a law 100 to 0 that winds up infringing on the rights of a minority, like happened very often with slavery, like many would argue is happening now with people who are gay?” CNN host Chris Cuomo asked.

“And our Constitution was followed, and we corrected those things,” Carson said.

“And isn’t that what’s happening right now? Same-sex marriage is being corrected as a form of violation of equal protection,” Cuomo said.

Carson said that comparison is invalid, “because people have no control over their race, for instance,” but they “absolutely” have control over their sexuality.

SOURCE






We were wrong to try to ban racism out of existence, says former British equality chief

A former equality chief has branded his years working to stamp out racial discrimination as 'utterly wrong'.  Writer and broadcaster Trevor Phillips said efforts made under the Blair government turned anti-racism into an 'ugly new doctrine'.

Mr Phillips is the former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission and has waged a 30-year campaign to tackle issues around discrimination and equality.

In an upcoming Channel 4 documentary, called Things We Won't Say About Race That Are True, he says attempts to stop prejudice instead encouraged abuse and endangered lives as well as contributed to the rise of parties like Ukip.

In the 75-minute documentary, he delves into Britain's racial tensions and stereotypes as well as hostilities towards immigrants.

He explains: 'It was my job to to make sure that different racial and religious groups got on.  'Campaigners like me seriously believed that if we could prevent people expressing prejudiced ideas then eventually they would stop thinking them.  'But now I'm convinced we were utterly wrong.'

Mr Phillips, a Labour party member, says anti-racism began with good intentions but turned into 'thought control'.

He says the London 2005 bombing by British Muslims, forced him to do rethink his views.

Now, he insists that only a willingness to talk more openly about race, despite risk of causing offence, will help those in need.

In the documentary, which airs on March 19, Mr Phillips asks Nigel Farage whether attempts to embrace diversity have led to the rise of Ukip.

He also also talks to Tony Blair about how the work begun by New Labour in support of diversity and equality can be revived.

Former England footballer Les Ferdinand will also feature in the documentary to highlight racial issues in the sport.

And former home secretary Jack Straw, who is also interviewed, tells Mr Phillips that many MPs are wary of expressing their views for fear of being branded racist.

But Mr Phillips insists people should be free to use racial stereotypes, such as that many Jews are rich or that black people are more likely to be convicted for robbery, because they are true.

Explaining the issue, he said: 'The dividing lines of race, religion and culture are probably the most dangerous flashpoints in Britain today, but they're also the ones we find hardest to talk about in public.

'This film points to ways in which we can say what's on our minds without being accused of being bigots.' 

Channel 4 head of specialist factual David Glover, who commissioned the documentary, said: 'This film contains some very uncomfortable facts about race.

'Trevor Phillips now strongly believes that it's important to get them out there, so ultimately we can understand and tackle them.

'Trevor is arguably the best-qualified person in the country to examine these issues,' he continued.

'What's fascinating is that having thought so deeply about them, he now has a very different approach to the subject than he used to.'

SOURCE






The incorrectness of recreational hunting



A 'sexy' Czech hunter who was criticised after posting sickening selfies with her big game trophies has ignored calls to stop - and uploaded a video showing how to cook zebra.

Michaela Fialova travels all over the world to hunt and regularly posts pictures on Facebook of herself with the dead animals.

She has been slammed for the photos and a campaign was even launched to close down the 27-year-old's page and ban her from entering Africa.

But the brunette has caused further outrage after continuing to gloat about fresh kills including giraffe and zebra.

Ms Fialova, who has been hunting since she was 13 years old, has already travelled to Slovakia and Hungary this year, where she shot boar, capercaillie and muflon.

She is currently in South Africa and has already posted pictures of herself with a giraffe, hyena and water buck.

The brunette, who is from Litomerice, Czech Republic, spends the rest of her time working as a personal trainer, kick-boxer and guide for other hunters in Africa and Europe.

She wrote on her page earlier this year: 'Have you ever dreamed of hunting in Africa but always thought you couldn't afford it?

'For the price of a good Elk or Red stag, you can go to Africa and take a few animals for the same price and have memories that will last a lifetime.'

Ms Fialova is sometimes snapped brandishing the trophies alongside female friends, but in one is seen kissing an ex-boyfriend while holding a monkey.

She gains most of her ammunition and clothing through sponsoring. Her page has already gained more than 20,500 'likes'.

Her antics have resulted in an online petition on website change.org titled 'Ban Michaela Michaelka Fialova from Africa and shut down her Facebook page promoting trophy hunting as being a glamorous thing to do'.

It was created by Alice Harding, from Dartmouth, England, who described hunting as 'despicable'.  She said: 'It's repulsive to glorify trophy hunting and sadistic practices such as bow hunting and posing with dead bodies of animals as if hunting is an appealing and desirable thing to do.  'Killing animals for fun is just plain wrong and must be stopped.'

But despite criticism Ms Fialova, who refers to those against hunting as 'antis', wrote on Facebook on February 24: 'Hey antis, do you really think this will stop me? I WILL NEVER STOP HUNTING.'

And in a video posted at the beginning of March, she explained: 'The difference between this meat and your meat is your meat is usually from slaughterhouses.  'The animal has a right to live a proper life and until its end it doesn't know about being hunted' (sic).

The petition was started on February 18 and has been signed by nearly 6,000 supporters. 

SOURCE

*************************

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

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

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

***************************




8 March, 2015

Hating modernity, hating the Jews: a reckoning with Heidegger

The Green/Left love the old Nazi navel-gazer

The eternally recurring Heidegger controversy always misses the point. There is no doubt he was a Nazi. There is no doubt he was an unapologetic anti-Semite, right to the last. He was ‘a small man’, lamented George Steiner. But the point at issue, the point that we must grapple with, is the relationship between his anti-Semitism and the thought that has entranced so many.

Because make no mistake, Heidegger is one of the most compelling and formidable thinkers of the twentieth century. In Being and Time he offered nothing less than a philosophical refutation of philosophy, and, more than that, he offered a vision of what it is to be, of how we come to know the world, of how it comes to appear and mean something to us (in short, we come to know the world not through the contemplation of a world apart from us. Rather, we come to know it through our dealings with it, through the way we use things, through our everyday praxis). But he offered something else, too, something that was to resonate so profoundly with successive generations of intellectuals in Europe and elsewhere. He offered a critique – a critique of modernity, of Western civilisation. He not only showed how we come to think about and use the world around us – he condemned how we come to think about and use the world around us.

For Heidegger, Western civilisation, from Plato and Aristotle onwards, has forgotten the question of being, the Seinsfrage. ‘The being for whom being is a question’, as he put it in Being and Time, has taken to accepting easy answers. Why? Because we have inherited this metaphysical idea that man is a rational animal, a zoon politikon, and, as such, we have tended to view the world instrumentally, as something which we can know and use for our ends. Man is assumed to be the measure of all things. And as humanity has ‘grown up both into and in a traditional way of interpreting itself’, with each generation advancing the course of Western metaphysics, extending this way of seeing and using the world, so we have lost ourselves, have forgotten to ask what it is to be. The modern age is merely the latest, most dangerous instalment in this history of ontological forgetfulness. Technological and instrumental, rational and calculating, the modern way is assumed to be the only way.

Even our language has been reduced ‘to being an instrument of domination over beings’, as Heidegger put it in the Letter on Humanism (1946). Heidegger continued this criticism of humanist instrumentalism in The Question Concerning Technology: ‘[We put] to nature the unreasonable demand that it supply energy which can be extracted and stored as such.’ We no longer let beings be - we enslave everything to our ends. And that, argues Heidegger, goes for other humans, too. We are ‘subservient’ to ‘enframing’ - subservient, that is, to the rational, technological, calculating imperatives of modernity. We have become, like all other beings, a mere means for rational, technological, calculating ends. ‘“Life” is a business’, notes Heidegger in Being and Time, ‘whether or not it covers its costs’.

And this is where the Schwarze Hefte are revealing. Heidegger’s anti-Semitism is not incidental to his critique of modernity and the instrumental reason which is destined to hold us in its thrall. It is essential. For Heidegger, Jews, alongside Bolsheviks, are the agents of modernity, and, as such, they are the harbingers of our destruction, the ‘type of humanity’ that has assumed ‘the world-historical “task” of uprooting all beings from Being’. Jews, he continues, belong to ‘the metaphysics of the West’. They have helped to spread both ‘empty rationality’ and ‘a capacity for calculation’, and they are intent on realising ‘a rootless, homogeneous, technological mass society’.

What the Schwarze Hefte show, then, is that Heidegger’s anti-Semitism was entwined with his anti-modernity. His critique of the modern world, which was so attractive to so many, always went hand in hand with his critique of the Jews, which has proved discomfiting for so many. But his anti-Semitism can’t be ignored. Only when this association is grasped, only when Heidegger’s identification of Jewry with everything that he loathes about the modern world – its rootlessness, its instrumentalism, and, yes, its human-centredness – becomes clear, does his initially shocking suggestion that the Jews effectively brought the Holocaust on themselves make sense. If the systematic extermination of Jewry is presented as the logical endpoint of humanity’s rootless, technological, calculative trajectory (our ‘destiny’), then the Jews, as the agents of rootless, technological calculative rationality, are indeed the architects of their own downfall.

It’s a revealing moment for those accustomed today to rehearsing platitudes about how meaningless, unfulfilling and destructive the modern world is. Environmentalists and avowed lefties love to spew out sub-Heideggerian theses on the irrational rationality of economic development, of people’s duped immersion in an unsustainable way of life, and of our impending climate-driven comeuppance.

But is there not another echo of Heidegger’s thought in that strange, obsessive antipathy towards Israel which is so prevalent among the right-on and left-leaning? If there’s a stench of anti-modernity among too many of today’s self-styled radicals, is there not also a whiff of that peculiar brand of Heidegger-style anti-Semitism, too? Strangely enough, then, the Heidegger case sheds light on a contemporary species of anti-Semitism. It’s not the biological version, in which certain races are deemed superior to others. It’s not even the ‘Jews control the world’ one, although that persists.

No, it’s the sense that at some level, Jews, in the form of Israel, embody modernity, embody, that is, the very things – the cruel rationality, the uprootedness, the technological ambition, the comfort with capitalism – that so many just love to loathe. Hating Jews, then, still goes hand in hand with an intense disillusionment with modernity.

Heidegger’s champions are right. He needs to be read today regardless of the revelations in black. But he needs to be read, not because he is right, but because his thinking is, in a sense, our thinking. He needs to be read because his profound rejection of modernity has proved too resonant to be ignored. He needs to be read because his stripe of anti-Semitism is in the process of being rehabilitated. He needs to be read because he needs to be reckoned with.

SOURCE







UK: Vote Labour, get press censorship

John Cleese was not joking last week when he compared journalists to murderers at a rally in Westminster where, as reported on spiked, ‘the hysteria and intolerance of Hacked Off were on full display’.

Even worse than the ranting of the former funny man was the contribution to that rally of Labour’s deputy leader, Harriet Harman, who nobody could ever accuse of cracking a joke. Harman’s speech gave the official stamp of Labour Party approval to the hysteria and intolerance of the press-bashing lobby.

Harman assured the select group of Hacked Off supporters gathered in Westminster that if Labour wins the UK General Election in May, it will not hesitate to impose the full system of state-backed regulation of the press proposed in Lord Justice Leveson’s report. ‘We are absolutely committed to what Leveson proposed and we do not think that business as usual is acceptable’, declared Harman. What is more, she insisted, winning the election would give Labour a mandate to ‘follow through on Leveson’.

Such is the degraded state of our democracy when it comes to a vital issue such as the freedom of the press. Labour Party leaders can make private plans for what they will do to the press after the election – to be discussed in passing with a handful of Hacked Off celebrities and lobbyists, but not seriously with the electorate. Then, after the election is over, they plan to claim a mandate to ‘follow through’ and dump on press freedom.

Lord Justice Leveson might not be dirtying his hands by standing for election in May. But it is clear that the unelected, unaccountable lord justice will be the eminence gris behind a Labour government, having already effectively written the party’s plans to turn the ‘colourful’ UK press grey. A quick reminder, then, of some of the ‘Leveson principles’ to which Labour now claims to subscribe. Key proposals in the 2,000-page report of the Leveson Inquiry, published in November 2012 and designed to sanitise the entire ‘culture, ethics and practice’ of the media, include:

— A state-backed ‘independent’ regulator, underpinned by the power of the law, to police and punish the unruly press — rewriting the editors’ code, issuing fines of up to £1million — and reward tame, well-behaved newspapers with a health-and-safety style ‘kite mark’ of official approval. Leveson wants this regulatory system to be overseen by Ofcom, the quango stuffed with government appointees that makes sure the BBC remains the Bland Broadcasting Corporation.

— A complainants’ charter, under which the new state-backed arbitrator would hear complaints not only from individuals alleging press mistreatment, but from ‘representative groups’ and third parties who don’t like something/anything they have seen or read. The members of the great and good on the panel would have the power to order the publication of a correction or apology, and to determine how and where it is printed. Look forward to future front pages edited by judges.

— A more secret state, where the police could not give the media off-the-record briefings and the press would be barred from naming arrested suspects. (These proposals have largely been implemented already in a post-Leveson environment where the police have been far keener on hacking reporters’ phone records and arresting tabloid journalists than letting the press know what they’re up to.)

— The further criminalisation of investigative journalism. Leveson proposes tightening the 1998 Data Protection Act to give journalists less protection and jail those who break the new rules for up to two years, and amending the 1984 Police and Criminal Evidence Act to remove the ‘journalistic exemption’ for material that has been ‘stolen’ — which would mean most information leaked by whistleblowers — and let the police or even the Financial Services Authority go into newspaper offices and seize it.

— The Fox-in-Charge-Of-the-Chicken Coop Act. Leveson proposes a law to ‘guarantee media freedom’ by, err, giving the government the right to intervene in media affairs ‘insofar as it is for a legitimate purpose and is necessary in a democratic society’. That’s all right, then; the state can interfere with the freedom of the press only when the authorities decide it is ‘for a legitimate purpose’. What could possibly go wrong?

This is apparently what you can expect to get if you vote for a Labour government. Just don’t necessarily expect them to spell it out before the election.

Just now it might seem as if the struggle over the future of press freedom in the UK has been suspended, if not ended. As a high-profile political issue it has certainly been kicked into the long grass since the press refused to sign up to a regulator recognised by Royal Charter — the deal that was stitched up between the political parties and Hacked Off in 2013. Yet there are snakes lurking in that long grass, getting ready to strike after May.

The Hacked Off elitists have been lobbying in their usual behind-closed-doors fashion to get the political parties to sign up to a tougher state-backed system. Last August, the tabloid-bashing group’s new executive director, the snobbish jobbing journalist Joan Smith, smugly observed in an interview that the state of press regulation ‘might be in a very different position’ after the General Election. If the press has not bent the knee to regulation by Royal Charter, she said, ‘we would then expect that to trigger a failure report to the government saying the Royal Charter has been set up and the newspaper industry has basically stuck two fingers up against it’. At which point a fully fledged Leveson Law would be expected to follow.

To that end, Smith assured the Press Gazette, the Hugh Grant-fronted lobby group was twisting UK politicians’ arms to make a manifesto commitment to creating a regulator backed by the state. She was sure that the Lib Dems were already signed up, and that Labour ‘are sympathetic, but we’d like more of a commitment about what’s actually going to go in the manifesto’. Hacked Off, she wanted to assure them all, will ‘keep going until we see quite dramatic improvements in sections of the press’. In other words, until the press submits to meeting the standards set for it by Ms Smith and Mr Grant.

Labour, the traditional top-down party of state socialism turned managerial machine, has never been a friend of press freedom and seems the natural ally of the Hacked Off clique. Harman’s previous insistence that her party is ‘not the political wing of Hacked Off’ prompted thoughts that the deputy leader doth protest too much. On the other side of that alliance, Hacked Off seems relatively unmoved by current revelations of widespread phone-hacking by the Labour-supporting Mirror newspapers, certainly compared to its feather-spitting hysteria over lesser offences by the despised, New Labour-deserting Murdoch press.

There is no need to imagine that the Conservatives are the freedom-friendly alternative to Labour and the Lib Dems (despite the presence of chief whip Michael Gove, the one politician to tell the Leveson Inquiry that press freedom was not in the gift of the good lord justice). The Conservatives are no more of a positive alternative to Labour than IPSO, the ‘tough’ regulator set up by the newspaper industry, is better than the system of regulation-by-Royal Charter. Both IPSO and the Tories have publicly swallowed the ‘Leveson principles’.

It was Tory prime minister David Cameron, after all, who set up the Leveson Inquiry/inquisition in 2011, haughtily announcing that, while it’s all well and good for the press to speak truth to power, ‘it is equally vital that those in power can tell truth to the press’. Cameron’s Tories were party, along with the Labour and Lib Dem leaders, to the late-night deal with Hacked Off that agreed the Royal Charter two years ago — the first system of state-backed press regulation in Britain since 1695.

However, this sorry tale should give serious pause to anybody with an ounce of feeling for freedom of speech and of the press who still imagines there might be a reason for voting Labour as the more progressive/radical/liberating alternative. You have been warned by no less an authority than the Labour Party’s once-and-possibly-future deputy prime minister: Vote Labour, get Lord Justice Leveson. (Or whatever version of his proposals Ms Harman and Labour leader Ed Miliband might ultimately have the nerve to implement.)

The fool formerly known as Basil Fawlty might have risked ridicule by comparing journalists to murderers. But it was the Right Honourable Harriet Harman QC MP who pledged in all po-faced seriousness that a Labour government would carry out Judge Leveson’s death sentence on press freedom.

It would be better by far if all this could be brought out into the open and the freedom of speech and of the press turned into election issues. Any politician out there willing to, in the horrified words of Hacked Off, ‘basically stick two fingers up’ to the Royal Charter, state-backed regulation of the press and all of the stultifying ‘Leveson principles’ would get my vote.

SOURCE






'Fight the Jewish scum!' Shocking anti-Semitism on streets of BRITAIN as Jewish journalist is spat at, abused and even stalked

With as many as 45 per cent of British Jews fearing they 'may not have a future in Britain', according to a survey by the Campaign Against Antisemitism - and following an experiment by Israeli Zvika Klein on the streets of Paris, British journalist Jonathan Kalmus decided to test the levels of prejudice in two British cities with shocking results. Volunteers in Copenhagen and Rome also suffered some abuse, as well as welcoming reactions, while Jewish journalists in Stockholm and Berlin walked for hours without incident.

'You Jew' was the anti-Semitic scream which came from a passing car. My shaken wife tried to explain it away to my seven-year-old daughter as a very large sneeze. They were simply playing in a local park in Manchester a few weeks ago when the incident ripped through what should have been a peaceful and wholesome time for any mother and child.

'Fight the Jewish scum' and 'Jew, Jew, Jew... Run', were the more vicious threats hurled at me in the past few days, however, when I decided to secretly film and find out whether 'Jew-hatred' really is alive and kicking on British streets.

The answer to that question is a resounding and heart-sinking yes.

I took the inspiration from the viral videos of Israeli journalist Zvika Klein, who filmed himself being threatened on the streets of Paris, and Muslim Hamdy Mahisen, who filmed himself getting abuse in Milan.

Zvika walked in Paris for 10 hours, Hamdy in Milan for five. It took me just one minute. One minute of walking one single, busy major street in Manchester before abuse was flung at me.

In 25 minutes on that one single street in Longsight, I was spat at by one man and called 'a Jew' multiple times by passers by, even by a young boy walking with his father. 

I was just walking in the street testing the effect of being clearly identifiable as a Jew by wearing a small traditional Jewish head covering called a kippah.

David Cameron today hit out at the 'shocking' discrimination filmed in Manchester and Bradford.

The Prime Minister, speaking to MailOnline, said: ‘There are no excuses for the shocking anti-Semitism revealed in this report.

‘The idea that Jewish people feel unsafe again in Europe strikes at the heart of everything we stand for.

‘We must fight anti-Semitism with everything we have got and make sure Britain remains a country that our Jewish communities are proud to call home.’

Labour leader Ed Miliband told MailOnline: ‘Any act of anti-Semitism on our streets brings shame on those who demonstrate hatred and intolerance towards each other.

‘We need to renew our vigilance and ensure every family of every faith can be secure in our country.

‘We must defend loud and clear and with defiance and determination the values we believe in: tolerance, diversity, freedom of speech and freedom of faith.’

A spokesman for the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said: 'Many who are visibly Jewish do suffer this kind of abuse and anti-Semitism and figures from the Community Security Trust (CST) indicate that these kinds of incidents are on the increase.'

However, a spokesman for the CST revealed even it was shocked by the number of comments in the time.

‘The fact incidents like this take place of that nature still takes place does not surprise us. The frequency with which they took place – he experience 10 in an hour’s walking – that is worrying,' the spokesman said.

'It suggest lots of these types of incidents maybe going unreported.’

In Bradford the situation was more shameful. It took 13 minutes, during which I was stalked by a man who repeatedly took pictures of me. He followed me on foot for five minutes and thirty seconds according to my footage.

There was a shout of 'you Jew' at me as I crossed the road to Bradford City Park. Minutes later a man turned his head and yelled 'fight the Jewish scum' just behind my back.

Some time later three youths shouted at me across a street repeatedly, 'You're a Jew, not a Muslim...Jew, Jew, Jew run!'

I was prepared to walk for hours and expected to get nothing on camera. On Manchester's curry mile, a haven of mixed cultures and skin colour, it took two-and-half-minutes for a young lad on a bike to ride up to me and shout, 'You're a Jew' in my face. I was left speechless that anti-Semitism is so obvious.

In total, between the two cities I suffered a series of anti-Semitic hate incidents, more than those in Zvika Klein's video and achieved in one-tenth of the time here in Britain. What a horrible reality.

Why did I pick Bradford? For a simple reason. Last summer during the height of another Gaza conflict between Israel and Palestinians, 5,000 people, predominantly young Muslim men, gathered for a mass rally in Bradford City Park. The city's MP, George Galloway, spoke while flanked by two butch men wearing T-shirts emblazoned 'Palestine's army you are not alone'.

Mr Galloway has repeated on many, many occasions that his message and political struggle is with Israel and Israelis, not Jews. Despite that, statistics show that bringing the Middle East's struggles onto the streets of Britain has a direct effect on how people treat Jews.

No one could accuse me of targeting Muslim neighbourhoods to provoke a reaction. This was the centre of an ordinary English city and I was minding my own business.

No one could accuse me of wearing something provocative or political. A Jewish person or any peaceful person walking in a British street anywhere, let alone a city centre, should be welcome.

SOURCE







Google’s fact checking scheme: A war on truth

Google to become final arbiter of “facts”?

Google recently published a research paper proposing that the world’s largest search engine change its ranking algorithms to dampen sites with a high number of “false facts”. The paper specifically uses the example of Barack Obama’s nationality, and New Scientist uses the specific example of “anti-vaccination sites”,  leading some to speculate this is an effort to target “conspiracy theories” and alternative news.

It’s a worthy concern. Facebook not long ago launched a feature to do just that. When people don’t like a story that’s getting around, they can report it as false, and Facebook will dampen that link, no matter who shares it. I’m going to speak anecdotally about my own experience here for a moment, but I hope you’ll come to see the bigger picture.

For those of us who make enemies on social media, this presents a pretty serious problem, because Facebook does not check these reports, at least not thoroughly. I have been banned from Facebook dozens of times, and usually it is because somebody reported something I posted as containing nudity, violence, or racism, where none existed. Those reports are made by ideological rivals for ideological purposes, and my voice is repeatedly and severely diminished as a result.

Whether the issue at hand is Facebook’s reporting system, or Google’s fact checking, those of us with unpopular ideas are going to be contradicting the vast majority of people out there, and a system that punishes us for doing so is troubling to say the least.

For me, Facebook is my top referrer for traffic to this website, Google is my second. I imagine that I’m not alone in this. Algorithm changes of any sort damage my business and my voice, and they happen more frequently than you might imagine if you don’t monitor these things. Were the standard for relevancy to change to credibility, and to be measured by “how many people agree with him” I would essentially be erased from the Internet. That might sound like a good idea to some people, but I’m not the one you need to be concerned about.

What I do here, for better or for worse, is start conversations. This works out pretty well in the present paradigm where the primary ranking indicator is popularity in terms of who is linking to and talking about you. I’ve long said that there is no such thing as bad press, in part because all “bad press” does is drive up your relevancy on search engines and social media. I certainly prefer people say nice things about me, but I prefer them to say bad things, than to say nothing at all.

This doesn’t always work out so well on a system like Reddit, where there is a reputation system that includes a downvote. There are coalitions of people on the web who hate me so viciously that they will do anything to damage my reputation and diminish my distribution.

One such coalition exists on Reddit, and downvotes anything posted there from this website, without even reading the content. The fact that it comes from my domain is enough. This has caused Redditers to delete posts from this website, because the downvotes on my content damage their reputation on Reddit. Other times it causes the content to become labeled as controversial, and the competition between upvotes and downvotes causes the content to appear more popular, driving a great deal of traffic to this website. In large part, it just depends on who gets to it first, but it has almost nothing to do with the quality, much less the factual accuracy, of the content in question. Point being, agreement has no bearing on quality or accuracy.

Potential Upside

Rather than paint this as all doom and gloom, I should point out that this could be used for good. We’ll talk about problems with the fact checking algorithm later, but for a moment let’s consider the value of a “truth meter”. Presuming one existed and was accurate, this could be an excellent tool.

The paper proposes a similar model to Google’s “Knowledge Vault”. If you ask Google a question, Google will often give you an answer that doesn’t require you to click through to another site. When I want to check the exchange rate of Bitcoin for example, I search Google for “Bitcoin price” and Google displays the current average from Coinbase.com, updated every three minutes. This is fine with me, because I consider Coinbase to be a reputable source for this data. If I search for “cure for cold” I get some information from the Mayo Clinic on cold remedies. Even though we all know there is no cure for the common cold, this is about as close as we’re going to get to an answer to my question.

There are other reputation metrics on the web right now, and clearly there is nothing wrong with that. Web of Trust for example is a browser plugin with over 131 million downloads. It checks the reputation of the website you’re visiting “based on a unique crowdsourcing approach that collects ratings and reviews from a global community of millions of users who rate and comment on websites based on their personal experiences”. That store with the prices that seem too good to be true? WOT might save you from a frustrating and time consuming battle with identity theft. LazyTruth is a browser plugin that checks if the email you’re reading is some kind of chain letter hoax by comparing it against FactCheck.org and PolitiFact, which are themselves a sort of reputation metric.

If Google wants to get into the fact checking business, they could save me the trouble of installing yet another browser plugin, or searching for topics on fact checking sites, similarly to how they save me the trouble of visiting Coinbase or Mayo Clinic now. That’s a valuable service which a lot of people might appreciate.

Additionally, ranking a site highly just because it is already popular might not be the best way to determine the quality of the content, factual or not. New websites pop up every day, and some method of promoting them over a popular competitor whose quality is in decline might be of great benefit to content producers and consumers alike. Fact checking could be one way of establishing that quality.

Mission Creep

The primary problem as I see it, is that Google, Facebook, and other services we use to get ourselves connected to information have largely served to connect us with the information we want by determining what others have found relevant. This is a very specific task, and changing it to fact checking is a dramatic change in protocol. It is a completely different business model that in no way resembles the service you originally signed up for.

As stated earlier, there are already reputation metrics available for people who want to use them. These are specific services provided by entities who specialize in providing it. If they aren’t doing a good job, you just stop using that service, or go to a competitor. You lose nothing other than their fact checking service by leaving that website.

If Google gets into the fact checking business, and does a bad job, you lose your search engine. If Facebook gets into it and does a bad job, you lose your social network. More importantly since the idea behind these algorithms is to prevent you from seeing the content in the first place, you’ll never actually know if the content is fact or fiction, because you’ll never even see it. When the services that connect us to content start hiding it from us because they disagree with it, we never get the opportunity to find out of the service provider is doing a bad job. If we don’t find out that they are doing a bad job, then we lack the information necessary to make the decision to choose a different service provider.

I would have next to no problem with “Google Truth” or “Facebook Reputation” services. Even if they did a poor job, I could always choose a different service, or compete with them if I saw fit. They might wrongly slander and harm the reputations of good people, but if they did so on a large enough scale, it would in turn damage the reputation of those services.

Take for example, the Southern Poverty Law Center. They smear people as violent racists and sexists and gay bashers all the time, often on very flimsy evidence. This type of institution gains a lot of sway with race baiters and social justice warriors, but they are despised by most conservatives and libertarians. We just make a value judgement on whose word we’re going to accept and move on for the most part.

The SPLC on the other hand isn’t deciding whether or not I see the content of the people they smear. Google and Facebook do. That presents a far more serious problem, which makes me inclined to stop doing business with them.

Chilling Effect

Let us say that Google takes the position that widgets do not cause cancer. Let us also say that some smaller source says that widgets do cause cancer. Now there is a dispute between these two institutions on the factual accuracy of the question.

As a content producer, I see that Google sends me a great deal of traffic. I am dependent on that traffic for my livelihood. I also see that the smaller source provides me with no traffic at all, because they are not a search engine, that is not their function. Should I come to the side of the smaller entity, Google will punish me by pushing my site down in the search results. Potentially not only the article in question, but the entire domain could become discredited and even content Google sees as credible would be pushed down in the rankings, dramatically injuring my business. This makes content producers extraordinarily unlikely to disagree with Google.

Let us say someone does defy Google, and gets their business ruined as a result. Someone else sees that happening. They know that Google is constantly adding new “facts” to their database, and contradicting those facts will punish your search engine placement. A statement they make today, could be deemed false by Google tomorrow. Even if the content producer who Google punished yesterday was factually incorrect, even if he deserved to be erased from the Internet, doing that to him will have a dramatic impact on other well meaning content producers. They will be weary of challenging main stream narratives in general.

Google’s research paper mentioned the “Birther” conspiracy, and this provides a perfect example. Let us pretend that in 2016 there emerged a presidential candidate whose nationality really was in question. Content producers would be inclined not to report on the issue, for fear of being silenced by the world’s largest search engine, a system they rely on to put food on their tables.

New Scientist mentioned “anti-vaccination” sites. Well, if Google were to take the position that vaccines were safe and anybody who said they weren’t was a liar, then the emergence of a dangerous vaccine at some point in the future would not be as widely reported on due to fears of censorship by their biggest driver of traffic and advertising revenue. The real fact on vaccines is that they are not as safe as marijuana, so would pro vaccine sites that say “vaccines are safe” as a blanket statement be flushed? I have a hard time imagining that this would result in anything positive.

In short, Google would not just be driving down the emergence of incorrect information, they would have a dramatic impact on what people said before they said it. That goes contrary to everything we’ve come to enjoy about the Internet as a place for the exchange of ideas, and competition for hearts and minds.

The Myth of Neutrality

As I recently remarked, there is no such thing as neutral. We all have certain biases, and the best that we can hope for is to make those biases known and let people decide for themselves how to interpret data. The FCC cannot make the net “neutral” they can only control it in the way they see fit. There is no such thing as an unbiased news source, because to even say a thing is news is to take a position on an issue. The pages of Wikipedia are fraught with left wing and feminist bias that has been well reported on by many, not the least of which was to label “Cultural Marxism” as a conspiracy theory.

To decide whether or not a thing is true, and to flush the untrue statement to the bottom of search results, necessarily would make Google an arbiter of debates. Google might make some attempt to appear neutral in that, but the biases of their developers would bleed through in some way no matter what. Say a developer implements a fact checking system, sees results he does not agree with, and then alters the fact checking algorithm to fit his world view. If Wikipedia, a system that anybody can edit, will throw cultural Marxism into the conspiracy theory dumpster, then let us not pretend that a more tightly controlled mechanism like Google’s search algorithms won’t be subject to the same biases.

Were Google search results to begin flushing “conspiracy theories” down the toilet on wikipedia standards, just imagine how many conservative and libertarian websites would cease to have a voice on the world’s largest search engine.

Popularity By Any Other Name

Ultimately, Google is incapable of actually being the arbiter of truth. The proposed method of determining the factual accuracy of a given statement is actually just a different measurement of popularity than they currently use. Instead of determining popularity based on how many people are linking to the content, they would judge the popularity based on how many people were saying the same thing, and call that factual accuracy. This itself, is factually inaccurate, as popularity and truth are often worlds apart.

Per the research paper from Google:

    "We propose using Knowledge-Based Trust (KBT) to estimate source trustworthiness as follows. We extract a plurality of facts from many pages using information extraction techniques. We then jointly estimate the correctness of these facts and the accuracy of the sources using inference in a probabilistic model. Inference is an iterative process, since we believe a source is accurate if its facts are correct, and we believe the facts are correct if they are extracted from an accurate source. We leverage the redundancy of information on the web to break the symmetry. Furthermore, we show how to initialize our estimate of the accuracy of sources based on authoritative information, in order to ensure that this iterative process converges to a good solution."

Facts are accurate because they come from a reputable source, and a source is reputable because it is accurate. They determine if it is accurate based on how many people are saying the same thing. This is just another popularity contest using a different yard stick. Instead of judging relevancy based on inbound links, they are determining “accuracy” based on similar thought processes. This of course, is no measure of accuracy at all.

For a great deal of time it was thought that tomatoes were evil. This very popular notion parroted by many of the time, turned out to be complete nonsense. It took awhile for people to figure out that aristocrats were dying of lead poisoning, not tomatoes themselves. Imagine that phenomenon in the age of Google fact checking, any site that said tomatoes were safe, would quickly be flushed to the bottom of the search results.

Think about the hysteria that followed the release of “Reefer Madness” in the 30’s. That nonsense went largely unrefuted, and was in no small part responsible for the countless cages and coffins now filled due to the war on drugs. Challenging those ideas on the Internet is why Washington, Colorado, Alaska, and Washington DC have legalized marijuana in defiance of the federal government, and states like New Hampshire are moving towards decriminalization. Now imagine that trying to take place in an era of Google “fact checking” where to disagree with the notion that marijuana leads to rape and murder, would flush you to the bottom of the search engine rankings.

Trying to pass off popularity, however your measurement is taken, as accuracy is a fundamental flaw in the way human beings think. Our confirmation bias is a huge problem in discussions on all sorts of topics from politics, to economics, to health, and beyond. It is specifically because things like Google and Facebook have operated in the way they operate that we’re able to overcome some portion of that hazard, and the proposal by Google’s researchers would put a huge dent in that progress while competitors struggled to gain market share back with better ranking policies.

That doesn’t just harm businesses or screw up your enjoyment of the Internet. That costs lives, fills prisons, and steers nations to war.

SOURCE

*************************

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

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

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

***************************








6 March, 2015

Costco accommodated a Muslim employee who refused to work with pork. Now he's suing them for religious discrimination

A former Muslim employee at a Brooklyn, NY Costco refused work with pork, so he was reassigned to gathering carts outside.

Now, he's suing the company for religious discrimination.

Jean Camara told ABC News he was working as a cashier's assistant when pork came across the conveyor belt. He then told his managers he couldn't touch pork or alcohol because his Islamic beliefs forbid him from doing so.

Camara was then reassigned to gathering shopping carts outside, but claims his mangers never told him why he was reassigned.

He also reportedly kept asking to work in the electronics department inside, but was denied because there positions were not available.

This prompted Camara to file a human rights complaint against the company. He was fired 16 days later for insubordinate conduct.

“Just because you have a different belief, that doesn’t give anybody the right to treat you different,” Camara told ABC News.

Camara's attorney, Chauncey Henry, added, “It’s not OK to discriminate against someone for their religion. It isn’t OK. It isn’t OK to treat them differently from others because of what they believe.”

So, according to Henry, should Costco have made Camara continue to work as a cashier's assistant despite the fact he refused to work with pork? Is reassigning him away from a position where he'd work with pork discriminatory?

Or is denying him a position in the electronics department discriminatory?

“I think that as the case progresses in the trial we are in now, I think the facts are going to come out and they’re going to speak for themselves,” Henry said.

I guess we'll see won't we?

SOURCE







Black Christians love Israel

Dr. King was outspoken in his support of Israel and today there is a street named for him in Jerusalem

In April 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. landed in jail in Birmingham, Alabama for violating a local injunction against demonstrations.  Sitting in jail, he learned that local white clergy advised against "outsiders coming in," calling King's activities "unwise and untimely."

In response, King wrote his famous "Letter from a Birmingham Jail."

In the pages-long, handwritten letter, he lays out the logic and theology of his activities. He explains that, like the prophets and apostles, he was compelled "to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my home town."

King concludes saying that "...when these disinherited children of God sat down at lunch counters, they were in reality standing up for what is best in the American dream and for the most sacred values in our Judeo Christian heritage, thereby bringing our nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in the formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence."

We are witnessing today a bizarre role reversal of those events in 1963.

We live in a dangerous world and America has enemies. We must have a clear sense of the nature of these threats so we may act properly.

In this spirit, House Speaker John Boehner has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress to convey his thoughts about the dangers of a nuclear- armed Iran.

But members of the Congressional Black Caucus are protesting, saying they will not attend.

Black members of congress, those allegedly carrying on the civil rights movement that Dr. King led, are now the ones protesting "outsiders coming in" and saying that expression in the pursuit of truth, in our free country, is "unwise and untimely."

The U.S. State Department has listed Iran as a State Sponsor of Terrorism since 1984. Freedom House in Washington, DC designates Iran as an "Unfree" country.

In a new Gallup poll, 77 percent of Americans call development of nuclear weapons by Iran a "critical threat."

All Americans should welcome with enthusiasm the thoughts of the Israeli Prime Minister, who leads a nation that has fought for its survival in the Middle East every single day since its founding.

Black caucus members walking out on the Prime Minister violate the principles of freedom of our nation, for which Dr. King fought.

They also betray the unique relationship of black Christians, and America in general, to the Jewish people and the state of Israel.

In a Pew Research survey in 2013, in answer to the question "Was Israel given to the Jewish people by God?", 40 percent of Jewish Americans said yes, 44 percent of all Americans said yes, and 51 percent of black Protestants said yes.

Dr. King was outspoken in his support of Israel and today there is a street named for him in Jerusalem.

The civil rights movement was animated by imagery from the Book of Exodus in the Old Testament. Historian Taylor Branch's biographic trilogy about Dr. King's movement are called "Parting the Waters", "Pillar of Fire," and "At Canaan's Edge."

The words inscribed on the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia - "Proclaim liberty throughout the land to the inhabitants thereof" - are from the book of Leviticus.

The Black Caucus is out of step with black Christians by not welcoming this visitor bringing the "gospel of freedom" from abroad. They should recognize that welcoming Mr. Netanyahu means, in the words of Dr. King, "standing up for what is best in the American dream and for the most sacred values of our Judeo-Christian heritage."

SOURCE





In Danger: Free Speech

FREEDOM of speech. What is it worth? Without it we can lose everything including our lives. Imagine what life would be like if radical Islam eliminates free speech. You will not be able to express your opinion.

According to Wikipedia the Pakistan Penal Code (295 and 298) prohibits blasphemy against any recognized religion. This includes defaming the Muslims' prophet Muhammad. The penalty ranges from a fine to death.

Danish Palestinian poet, Vahya Hassan, said, "Muslims love to take advantage of free speech. As soon as there is someone saying something critical against Islam, they want to restrict it."

The Charlie Hebdo magazine published a series of satirical cartoons of the prophet Muhammad.   Most, if not all, Muslims consider a picture or cartoon of Muhammad forbidden. An Islamic response to the cartoons was a sentence (fatwa) issued on the lives of the cartoonists and the magazine.  Years later, Islamic gunmen executed the fatwa killing twelve Hedbo cartoonists and its publisher.

Days after the massacre a magazine spokesperson said "We will not give in otherwise all this won't have meant anything." This time, in Pakistan, Islamic groups placed a bounty of $1,000,000 for the lives of Charlie Hebdo magazine's cartoonists.

Throughout the world the actions of millions of Muslims, openly and adamantly, protest the showing of Muhammad cartoons and freedom of speech. In some of these demonstrations violence and deaths of non-Muslims resulted.

"The Seattle Globalist" reported a group of Somali Muslim Americans gathered to demand the resignation of a teacher who showed the cartoons to her teenage students.

In a Dearborn city council meeting a Muslim man proposed implementing Sharia morals patrols and restriction of free speech.

In Iran, immediately following Friday prayers, tens of thousands took to the streets to condemn the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo shouting "Death to France, death to Israel, death to Britain, death to Charlie Hebdo while carrying flags saying "To Hell with Free Speech."

ABC News quoted Iranian lawmaker, Ahmad Tavakoli, who blamed the West for the Charlie Hebdo attack. Addressing Westerners, he shouted, "This is the fruit of your own action." A few days later, with government encouragement, the protests were repeated by tens of thousands in cities and countries around the world.

The following is a list of a few of the areas, around the world, where demonstrations occurred protesting the caricature of Muhammad and thereby objecting to free speech. Afghanistan, Srinagar, Karachi, Pakistan, United Kingdom, Banako, Mali, Niger, Australia, Algeria, Asia and Africa.

The size of demonstrations ranged from hundreds to thousands. The highest estimate reported was by the Russian Interior Minister. He estimated that 800,000 protesters attended the January 19th demonstration against criticism of Muhammad.

Take a moment and Imagine what life would be like if radical Islam succeeds and eliminates free speech. Without free speech they can enforce brutal laws like the Pakistan Penal Code which allows a death verdict. You will not be able to protest and express your opinion nor practice the religion of your choice.

Civilized people, must stop trying to appease people who live by 1500 year old barbaric laws. They demand that we must also live by their Sharia laws.  Appeasement has not worked in the past. There is no realistic way to assume appeasement will work now. If we continue making the same mistakes we will lose everything including our lives.

SOURCE





Are Islam's conservative social values a potential support for conservative political parties?

The writer below thinks that Muslims should be recruitable by Australia's conservative political parties.  He overlooks much, however.  It is true that Muslim values are conservative in some ways but Islam is also a supremacist religion that regards all non-Muslims as inferior and unworthy of support or respect.  It is a hate-based religion.  To anybody with Christian traditions that seems incredible but a reading of the Koran (start at Surah 9) will confirm it.

The ALP is however also a hate-based party, as all Leftist parties are, so Muslim votes for it show where their deep motivations lie. Both the Left and Islam want to "fundamentally transform" (to use Obama's phrase) the countries in which they live. And the gentle values of Christian teaching simply seem weak and foolish to Muslims


During the 2013 election the Australian Broadcasting Corporation commissioned an online poll known as “Vote Compass” where voters were asked their opinion on several hot-button issues in Australian politics. This article uses those published results as a source.

When I ask people where they think the most conservative electorates of Australia are, their answers are usually the same. They are quick to mention electorates like Maranoa in Queensland, good rural voters in the capable hands of my party, the National Party. It is true that on most issues of traditional family and moral values the electorate of Maranoa or ones like it in Australia usually hold firm in respecting the values that have forged us as a nation.

On the issue of gay marriage, Maranoa is the most strongly opposed. On whether Australia should become a Republic, the voters of Maranoa are the most strongly opposed. On another issue of great concern to Australians, whether terminating the life of an unborn child should be less accessible – Maranoa comes in third.

Neighbouring Groom (another stalwart Liberal-National seat) leads the country in voters who reject the notion that a child should be killed for being inconvenient to their mother. You might not guess which electorate holds second place…

I am of course speaking of the Western-Sydney division of Chifley. The seat is named after an icon of the ALP, Ben Chifley (often called the founder of the modern Labor Party) and has been firmly held by the Labor Party since it’s creation in 1969. What the electorate has become famous, or even infamous for in recent years is being the seat of Labor MP Ed Husic, the first Muslim member of Australian Parliament and the first Minister of any Australian Government sworn in on the Quran. I do not consider this a positive or a negative event in our democratic history, merely a reflection of changing times and demographics in this country.

A change that shows what it takes for the Australian Labor Party to field a socially conservative candidate in its modern student-pandering era. A change that shows the heart of Labor conservatism is no longer truly at the hands of Catholic trade unionists behind closed doors, but Muslim voters on the streets and in the houses and businesses of places like Western Sydney.

A quick look at those of the Labor front-bench who voted against their publicity advisor’s wishes (a great crime in Labor circles) and supported traditional marriage in the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd government shows that so called Labor conservatives like Chris Bowen, Tony Burke and Ed Husic are respecting the wishes of their large Muslim constituent bases by supporting causes like the protection of marriage and the unborn. For this small glimmer of hope in the social policy of the Labor government, we have them (this minority of Muslim voters) to thank.

Why is it though, that in these majority Muslim divisions we see the re-election of progressive political parties? Sure, people like Bowen, Burke and Husic respect the wishes of their electorates and support causes relevant to Christian and Muslim families alike – but by voting for the Labor Party, Muslim voters are outright rejecting the national preservation of traditional family and moral values.

I honestly believe that the reason Muslims turn so often to the Labor Party is due to the outright xenophobia produced in the media and by many members (and some MP’s) of the Liberal and National parties towards Muslim-Australians. While the ALP in a shrewd political move races to accept Muslims and cater for them at a political level, it seems that the right of Australian politics does all it can to foster a jingoistic fear of all Muslims as terrorists, unable to integrate with multicultural Australia or even as backward and insular – perhaps so far as morally or religiously bankrupt. In my experience with the Australian Muslim community, nothing could be further from the truth.

The Muslim community I know and have grown to love are caring, devoted family people, a true community and one that by and large respects the religious and moral traditions set forth by the Quran and to a large degree also presented in our own Christian Bible. As seen by the Vote Compass results, Muslim communities reject abortion, gay marriage and euthanasia. They value time with their family, fight to retain their traditions and culture – and most of all love and treasure their religious freedoms and teachings.

I ask you how this is different to the Australian Christian? We should all be devoted to preserving the traditional family unit, fighting for the rights of the unborn and giving everyone the right to worship in peace and respect. This is why I will ask every one of you reading who is a member of a conservative political party – Nationals, Liberals, Katterites or Family First – to find a Muslim, a good-hearted, Australian Muslim connected to his or her community, sit them down for lunch or dinner and by the end of the conversation sign them up to your party.

At a time when half the membership of the Liberal Party would scoff at the idea of regular church attendance or call you an extremist for merely supporting the right to life of a child – we need these committed conservatives and family-people. We need to visit our local mosques like we visit our local churches, to find fast friends in the Muslim community of Australia and to convince them that we (the Coalition or conservatives generally) are not their enemy.

We need to field good, conservative Muslim candidates in electorates like Chifley, McMahon and Watson because there is nothing intrinsically holding Labor to these seats. We need to inspire the new generations of migrant, refugee and minority that we are the party for them, the movement for them. We need to show Muslim-Australians that the Coalition is there to support them in owning a home, starting a business and caring for their family like we did for Italian, Greek, Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees before them, among others.

These candidates will be all you could ask for in a good conservative Liberal. Supportive of a child’s right to life, supportive of traditional marriage, supportive of freedoms of religion and religious expression – and to support the principles of good mainstream Australian moral values.

Within the next ten years, we can see traditional Labor holdouts turn blue as our new members embrace the economic opportunities that the Coalition offers while still maintaining their traditional cultural and religious views and values. We can help turn the tide of a continued shift to the left within our own party ranks with this fresh injection of traditionalism, and most importantly we can fight the ugly head of racism and xenophobia within the conservative movement.

Many people say you only fear what you do not know, so I say to all young conservatives in this nation – go and get to know your local Muslim community, you may well have more in common than you first thought.

SOURCE

*************************

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

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

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

***************************




5 March, 2015

Useless British social workers again

Harassing middle class families over trivialities is all they are good for. Raping little girls is fine but if you join the wrong political party your kids can be taken off you. I'm neither joking nor exaggerating

More than 300 young people in Oxfordshire were groomed, raped and sometimes forced into 'sex slavery' by gangs over the last 15 years, a damning report will reveal tomorrow.

In a scandal startlingly similar to the one in Rotherham, police and social services will be criticised for failing to protect vulnerable children from sexual abuse.

One gang of Asian men was responsible for abusing and enslaving 50 girls, mainly from Oxford, but the men were also able to sexually torture girls as young as 11 for eight years after a series of missed opportunities to stop them.

Tomorrow the county's safeguarding children's board will publish a review into 15 years of child exploitation, which will be 'brutal' in its condemnation of the authorities.

The victims, who were mainly girls under the age of 16 in the care system, were targeted by men from mainly Asian gangs who raped, tortured and trafficked them for sex between 1999 and 2014.

Some were abused for up to eight years despite asking for help from the authorities, who instead refused to believe them or blamed them.

Their abusers fed them drink and drugs before taking them to graveyards, a B&B and flats rented just for the rape and torture of children.  

According to the Guardian, one 12-year-old girl was taken to a Reading house for a backstreet abortion during a six-year period where she was passed between groups of men who raped her in what she called 'torture sex'.

The plight of the victims was laid bare in 2013 when seven members of a sadistic gang were jailed for a total of 95 years for their 'depraved' and 'evil' abuse of vulnerable girls.

Five gang members were given life sentences and two others were jailed for seven years for 'crimes of the utmost gravity'.

The paedophile network groomed more than 50 vulnerable girls in Oxford between 2004 and 2012 with gifts, alcohol and drugs before subjecting them to extreme physical and sexual violence.

They used knives, meat cleavers and baseball bats to inflict severe pain on the girls for their twisted pleasure.

But a catalogue of opportunities to stop the abuse was missed as early as May 2005.

On numerous occasions girls told police officers, social workers and care staff in children's homes how they were raped or seriously sexually abused – but no charges were brought against the gang.

Three of the girls who gave evidence at the trial were reported missing from residential care on 254 occasions.

And the judge in the case, Judge Peter Rook, said 'police and social services missed tell-tale signs' about the abuse that was taking place.

One social worker had earlier told the trial that 'nine out of ten' people who were meant to be caring for the girls 'knew what was going on'.

Life sentences were handed to Akhtar Dogar, 32, and his brother Anjum, 31, who were both jailed for a minimum of 17 years, Mohammed Karrar, 38, who will serve a minimum of 20 years, his brother Bassam, 33, jailed for a minimum of 15 years and Kamar Jamil, 27, jailed for a minimum of 12 years. Assad Hussain, 32, and Zeeshan Ahmed, 27, were jailed for seven years.

The latest serious case review came weeks after true scale of abuse in Rotherham was revealed, where at least 1,400 girls fell into the clutches of paedophiles, mainly from Pakistani backgrounds.

Whistleblowers who tried to raise concerns lost their jobs, and  police officers often did not seem to believe the girls, their families or those who reported problems, and did not treat them as victims.

One former police officer said: 'They were running scared of the race issue… there is no doubt that in Rotherham, this has been a problem with Pakistani men for years and years. People were scared of being called racist.'

Similar paedophile rings were uncovered in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, and Derby.

SOURCE






I couldn't tell if my girl was more at risk from sex predators or the social workers: Mother of victim of Oxfordshire paedophile gang tells how she begged for help

A mother has told how she questioned her own sanity as she begged social workers and police for years to help stop her daughter from being repeatedly sexually abused.

In the end she feared the girl was at as big a risk from social workers as she was from the gang who groomed her.

The woman would often spend her nights searching the streets of Oxford for her missing daughter because the police and social services would not.

But the victim, who was groomed, drugged and sold into abuse more than 150 times, says social workers saw her as a nuisance and treated her like a piece of meat rather than a child being abused.

Her mother, now in her 60s, adopted her from a life of physical and sexual abuse when the girl was 11. But she struggled to get on at secondary school and was expelled at 12.  She soon fell into the grip of the grooming gang and would regularly go missing.

Yet her mother said social workers were unwilling to acknowledge the problem and help. She said: ‘It was an absolute nightmare. It got me doubting my own sanity. The whole world was turned upside down. Everything that I thought should be happening was not.

‘All of the way along [social workers] were more of a hindrance and a problem than a help. At the time I didn’t know whether she was more at risk with the men or social services.’

The woman, who cannot be named, said she first asked for help in 2004 but social services refused to act because her daughter was not originally from the Oxford area.

Her pleas for help were met with no empathy from ‘robot’ social workers, she said.  ‘She was going missing more and more. When they did decide to get involved all they did was take her into care and send her to outside the county.’

Her daughter was sent to a Devon children’s home, away from her family and friends, where she was trafficked to London to meet strangers for sex. 

But social services told the girl they would take her away from her mother or take her to a secure unit if she did not stop misbehaving, she said.

‘They just couldn’t have cared less. I didn’t feel like we were dealing with human beings. They were cold, they were not interested.  ‘They had no skills in communicating with young people.  ‘They could not begin to understand what was going on with these girls.

‘Along the way we didn’t meet many evil people, just a lot of ignorance, arrogance and complacency.’ Her daughter admitted she was a difficult teenager but social workers had no idea how to deal with her.  ‘They were vile. I was nothing. They didn’t want me in their county. I was a problem.  ‘They said I should never have been adopted when I actually hadn’t done anything wrong – I was the one being let down.

‘They told me I was a nuisance. If they had seen me as a person who was obviously hurting, things would have been a lot different. ‘I was nothing to anyone apart from my mum and a few police officers. Then I saw myself like that. They set me up to fail.

‘All I wanted was for people to prove I was not nothing. They did not want even to remotely try to understand. Not at all.’

‘They should have done their jobs and they weren’t doing their jobs. Even if it was one single sexual assault they should have dealt with that. As soon as a child said no I am fine they just left it.’

The victim also insisted that there were at least another 15 men she could think of who escaped prosecution – along with hundreds of their customers.

She said: ‘If I went to Oxford now I would see hundreds of people that were involved. That’s why I wouldn’t go.’

SOURCE






Jihadi John family's 20 years on benefits: How it's cost taxpayers up to £400k to house fanatic and his relatives

Jihadi John and his asylum-seeking family have milked the British benefits system for 20 years, the Mail can reveal today.

Housing the Islamic State executioner and his relatives in affluent parts of London has cost taxpayers up to £400,000.

One landlord said Mohammed Emwazi’s family were ‘parasites’ and ‘tenants from hell’. Incredibly, they are still believed to be pocketing £40,000 a year in handouts despite there being no sign of them in Britain.

Emwazi’s father Jasem, who has six children, is back in his native Kuwait – the country he claimed he fled fearing for his life.

Westminster City Council is still paying the rent on the family’s £600,000 flat even though the rules say housing benefit should normally be stopped after 13 weeks.

MPs said they were horrified that the child of a family given refugee status, citizenship and benefits had returned the favour by orchestrating the murder of two of its citizens.

‘They are abusing our hospitality,’ said Philip Hollobone. ‘The rules are quite clear. If there has been any abuse of the system here, money should be paid back.

'Mohammed Emwazi’s offences are worse than murder or terrorism. They are an assault on the British way of life.’

David Davies, a fellow Tory MP, said: ‘This is an absolute outrage and a disgrace. We should stop their housing benefit immediately. Mr Emwazi clearly doesn’t need asylum in this country.’

Emwazi’s father Jasem, 51, and his wife Ghaneya brought their family – including Mohammed, then aged six – to Britain in 1994.

The couple successfully argued that because they are ‘Bedoon’ – stateless people denied citizenship by Kuwait – they should be granted asylum. The award of British citizenship allowed the whole family to make regular trips back to Kuwait.

SOURCE






DOJ's Racial Witch Hunt Isn't Over

The Justice Department will soon release its final investigative report on the Ferguson Police Department, and chatter suggests the report will accuse Ferguson police of engaging in sustained discriminatory practices against the black population. Surprise! The report will allegedly also claim these practices led to years of racial animosity in the city, culminating in last summer's shooting of Michael Brown and months of racial unrest.

According to recent data from the Missouri attorney general, blacks accounted for 86% of traffic stops in 2013, but make up 63% of the population. Black drivers were twice as likely to be searched during a stop, yet searches were more likely to turn up contraband with white drivers.

The fines collected from such traffic stops are Ferguson's second largest source of revenue. The Justice Department report goes so far as to suggest that the city uses disproportionate traffic stops against blacks to meet municipal budget shortfalls.

The final report will likely include a list of recommended changes Ferguson will need to implement. Otherwise, the city could face a federal lawsuit to force compliance -- just like the four open lawsuits against cities that have not rolled over. Most cities facing such actions comply with the Justice Department's demands. During Eric Holder's time as attorney general, the DOJ has gone after more than 50 police departments for some form of discrimination or another, often at the behest of the NAACP or the ACLU.

"This is about expanding federal power in the police departments," former DOJ attorney Hans von Spakovsky told The Wall Street Journal. "The lawyers at Justice believe they are the ones who should be promulgating national standards of how cops should behave. And police departments are so afraid of bad publicity that they agree to settle the case with all kinds of rules that Justice wants to impose."

It is within the responsibility of the Justice Department to investigate matters in which discrimination may be taking place, but, when the AG is someone who sees everything through a racial prism like Holder, the potential for trouble escalates. For example, Holder is so motivated by his own racial grievances that he resolutely refuses to address the outrageous number of murders of blacks by other blacks.

FBI statistics from 2012 show that 2,614 whites were killed by other whites that year, and 2,412 blacks were killed by other blacks. If Holder were as concerned about proportionality as he demonstrates when comparing white and blacks, then one would think he would have been troubled by these numbers. As a portion of the population, black-on-black murder remains substantially higher than white-on-white murder. And the FBI numbers for 2012 combined white and Hispanic murder rates, making the disparity even greater than at first glance.

Yet, throughout his tenure at Justice, Holder has maintained his focus on race, letting himself get mixed up with professional race hustlers like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. He has followed their pattern by continually blaming racism and discrimination for the plight of the black community. The actions of his Justice Department confirm Holder's view that blacks are targeted for their skin color, not because of their behavior.

Perhaps that's why Sharpton says, "No other U.S. attorney general has a civil rights record equal to Holder's."

Amy Wax, a former DOJ official teaching at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, wrote, "Contrary to frequently voiced accusations and despite a voluminous literature intent upon demonstrating discrimination at every turn, there is almost no reliable evidence of racial bias in the criminal justice system's handling of ordinary violent and non-violent offenses. Rather, the facts overwhelmingly show that blacks go to prison more often because blacks commit more crimes."

The Justice Department's months of investigating did not bring up enough evidence to charge Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson with civil rights violations in the death of Michael Brown. Similarly, they were not able to pin such charges on George Zimmerman for the death of Trayvon Martin.

In fact, for all of Holder's posturing, all Justice has really been able to accomplish is perpetuating the same problem they claim to be addressing. The pattern of racial indignation set by Sharpton and Co. that has been picked up by Holder's Justice Department has only served to make police less likely to engage in minority neighborhoods. This won't make inner cities less violent, and it won't make lives better for blacks.

Shortly after taking office, Holder accused America of being a nation of "cowards" for not engaging in a frank discussion about race. As he prepares to step down in a few weeks, Holder still has not engaged in that discussion, either. He'd rather place blame and wag his finger because that's what makes headlines and turns out the aggrieved vote. As for the real work that it will take to reduce black-on-black crime and make minority neighborhoods safer, well, apparently that's just not worth his time.

SOURCE

*************************

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

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

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

***************************





4 March, 2015

Why Are Lawmakers Attacking This Archbishop for Requiring Catholic Teachers to Not Slam Catholicism?

If McDonald’s told its employees that it was unacceptable to diss its fast food as gross, disgusting or unhealthy at either McDonald’s or in a public setting, would it elicit a heated reaction from lawmakers? Probably not.

So why are lawmakers getting involved in a Catholic bishop’s decision to tell diocesan employees he expected them to not publicly object to church teachings?

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone is under fire for adding new clauses to archdiocese’s high school teachers contract that require “Catholic teachers in their professional and public lives uphold Catholic teaching,” according to the diocesan newspaper Catholic San Francisco.

Acknowledging not all teachers are personally Catholic, the archdiocese is pushing that its public and classroom statements and behavior reflect Catholic teaching on matters ranging from abortion to contraception to the Eucharist being the real presence of Jesus Christ.

Enter, after public controversy, California state lawmakers.

Last week, eight California assemblymen and state senators, representing the areas in the archdiocese, sent Cordileone a letter, saying the new clauses “conflict with settled areas of law and foment a discriminatory environment in the communities we serve.” They continued:

Although your position wields discretion over working conditions at schools affiliated with the Catholic Church, the standards within the morality clauses would be illegal for any other [sic] employer. Your proposal goes beyond regulating behavior in the workplace and infringes upon the personal freedoms of your employees.

Let’s remember a few facts.

First, no one has to work for the San Francisco archdiocese. Plenty of people would find the clauses far too restrictive—and they can choose to never work at these Catholic high schools or to quit their current jobs there.

Second, it’s fairly typical for people to want to hire employees who are comfortable with and in agreement with the mission of the person or company—or who at least won’t publicly bash the company line. In his response to the eight lawmakers, Cordileone made that case, writing, “Would you hire a campaign manager who advocates policies contrary to those that you stand for, and who shows disrespect toward you and the Democratic Party in general?” He added:

On the other hand, if you knew a brilliant campaign manager who, although a Republican, was willing to work for you and not speak or act in public contrary to you or your party—would you hire such a person? If your answer to the first question is “no,” and to the second question is “yes,” then we are actually in agreement on the principal point in debate here.

Two of the San Francisco lawmakers, Assemblymen Phil Ting and Kevin Mullin, who assigned the initial letter weren’t happy with Cordileone’s response.

On Monday, they asked the California Assembly Labor and Employment Committee and the Assembly Judiciary Committee to investigate the archdiocese’s actions. In particular, Ting and Mullin questioned the archdiocese’s decision to classify high school teachers as “ministers”—a classification that matters because of the 2012 Supreme Court decision in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Michael Stokes Paulsen, a law professor at the University of St. Thomas, explained in a 2012 Public Discourse article how the Supreme Court decision broadened the definition of ministers:

The principle established by the First Amendment is that a religious group has the “right to shape its own faith and mission through its appointments” and thus has plenary “control over the selection of those who will personify [its] beliefs.” This includes teachers, lay leaders, and persons who perform a mix of religious and seemingly “secular” functions. The right extends to those whom a religious community, operating under its own system of rules, designates as central to its religious mission and identity. The court’s one-word descriptor perhaps says it best: those persons that the community identifies as personifying its religious identity. The court decided only the case before it, but it made clear that the right itself is one of religious community autonomy, broadly understood. It is not a right limited to pastors alone.

It seems clear that the archdiocese has legal precedent to call high school teachers at Catholic schools “ministers.”

This week, however, the archdiocese suggested that it would no longer push for the teachers to be called ministers. The National Catholic Register reported an archdiocesan priest “clarified that while the archbishop is no longer considering the use of the word ‘ministers’ to describe the Catholic teachers, he is now using the word ‘ministry’ instead to define their work.”

Regardless of the legal terms the archdiocese ultimately uses, what’s clear is that it is not unreasonable—or illegal—for a religion to ask teachers in its schools to adhere to certain practices. As written in the Hosanna-Tabor decision:

By forbidding the “establishment of religion” and guaranteeing the “free exercise thereof,” the religion clauses ensured that the new federal government—unlike the English crown—would have no role in filling ecclesiastical offices. The establishment clause prevents the government from appointing ministers, and the free exercise clause prevents it from interfering with the freedom of religious groups to select their own.

Ting, Mullin and the other six lawmakers may vehemently disagree with Cordileone’s decision—and that’s their prerogative. But it should concern all religious or religion-friendly Americans that a religious leader’s decision to ask teachers employed by the religion to refrain from public bashing of that religion has elicited such a strong reaction and a request of a probe from lawmakers.

Religious leaders should be free to make such decisions without worrying about interference from the government.

SOURCE






Decline of the stay at home mother: Just one woman in ten is a full time mother

Only one woman in ten now stays at home to raise a family.  Official figures show the proportion of women who are stay-at-home mothers has dropped by more than a third in the past two decades to a historic low.

But there has been no compensating movement towards staying at home among men. Just over one man in 100 brings up his children full-time.

The findings, published in an Office for National Statistics report, come at a time of continuing controversy over the pressure on mothers to go out to work and warnings over the welfare of children.

Specifically, the figures detail those who give their occupation as ‘looking after family or home’. It does not include unemployed women, who are classed as looking for work.

Last year Chancellor George Osborne published plans to encourage up to half a million more women into work by the start of 2016. He said he wanted to ‘support women who want to work’ by increasing access to child care.

But at the time critics warned that the Government risked ‘stigmatising’ stay-at-home mothers. A childcare voucher scheme worth up to £1,200 to parents will go into operation next month.

The report said the number of adult women who are ‘economically inactive’ – in other words they neither work nor want to work – has dropped fast since 1980.

It said: ‘There are many reasons for economic inactivity, such as study, looking after the family or home, sickness or disability, or not needing to work.

‘However the main reason for the decline in female inactivity rates over the longer period has been a decline in the share of women staying out of work to look after the family or home.’

The report said the proportion of women aged between 16 and 64 who are economically inactive because they are looking after the family or the home was 15.9 per cent in the spring of 1993, but fell by last autumn to 10.1 per cent.

The figures showed the share of adult women who were stay-at-home mothers dropped below 15 per cent in 1995 and had reached 13.5 per cent when Tony Blair entered Downing Street in May 1997.

The proportion of women who are stay-at-home mothers briefly dropped below 10 per cent last summer, and stood at 10.1 per cent at the end of 2014, the report said.

By contrast, the proportion of men who choose to become house-husbands has remained low, despite the encouragement of politicians who believe men should take a larger share of childcare duties.

In the spring of 1993 just 0.6 per cent of men were economically inactive because they were looking after family or home. While the proportion doubled over the next two decades, that still meant that just 1.2 per cent spent their days looking after home or children last year.

The march of women into the labour market follows the increasing importance of education and jobs to girls, and the pressure on women to remain in work to pay ever-higher mortgages and keep up with the cost of living.

But critics accuse successive governments of doing nothing to help those who want to bring up their own children since the decision to tax married couples separately in the late 1980s first left stay-at-home mothers without any support in the tax system.

While working mothers have gained heavily from tax credits, increasing maternity leave, and state-subsidised childcare, those who stay at home with their children have no help from the benefits system.

Laura Perrins, of Mothers At Home Matter, said: ‘It is a reflection of Government policy that women have to look for work when many want to look after their children instead.

‘The Government is only interested in income tax revenue. It has no interest in the wishes of mothers or the welfare of their children.’

Research for the Department for Education last year found more than a third of working mothers would like to give up their jobs and stay at home with their children.

More than two out of three women are now in employment – 68.5 per cent in the last three months of last year, according to the ONS. At the beginning of the 1980s the level of working among women was barely over half.

The percentages mean there are now more than 14million women in work, but only two million are full-time mothers or homemakers.

SOURCE






Discrimination against Christians ‘ignored’ across Europe

Discrimination against Christians is being “ignored” by governments and courts, MPs from across Europe have warned in the wake of a string of cases involving the rights of British workers to wear crosses or discuss their beliefs.

The parliamentary arm of the Council of Europe has issued a formal declaration urging states to recognise the principle of “reasonable accommodation” for the beliefs of traditionalist Christians on issues such as homosexuality for the first time.

The first test of the new call will come as early as this week with the opening of an employment tribunal case involving a London nursery worker who claims she was dismissed for telling a lesbian colleague her beliefs on same-sex marriage.

Sarah Mbuyi denies claims that she harassed the woman, who cannot be named for legal during the conversation in January last year.

She also alleges that she was asked to act against her beliefs by reading stories about same-sex couples to children

Ms Mbuyi is supported in her case by the Christian Legal Centre which has instructed the human rights barrister Paul Diamond to represent her at the tribunal in Watford.

The legal team is planning to cite a new declaration issued through the Council of Europe, the international body which operates the European Court of Human Rights, insisting that Christians are now subject to “intolerance and discrimination” across the continent.

Members of the Council’s Parliamentary Assembly, made up of MPs from national parliaments, passed the resolution in response to a report detailing a series of cases involving British Christians.

They include Gary McFarlane, a former Relate counsellor, and Lillian Ladele, a marriage registrar, who both resisted performing tasks they believed would amount to condoning homosexuality which they believe is against the teaching of the Bible, and Shirley Chaplin, a nurse who was forbidden from wearing a cross at work.

The three challenged their treatment at the European Court of Human Rights but lost. However the court upheld a claim from Nadia Eweida, a BA check-in clerk who was sent home because the small cross she wore contravened the airline’s uniform policy.

“Numerous acts of hostility, violence and vandalism have been recorded in recent years against Christians and their places of worship, but these acts are often overlooked by the national authorities,” the declaration says.

“Expression of faith is sometimes unduly limited by national legislation and policies which do not allow the accommodation of religious beliefs and practices.”

It goes on to urge countries to adopt the principle of “reasonable accommodation” meaning that workers should be able to conscientiously object to tasks which conflict with their beliefs if practically possible.

“The reasonable accommodation of religious beliefs and practices constitutes a pragmatic means of ensuring the effective and full enjoyment of freedom of religion.

“When it is applied in a spirit of tolerance, reasonable accommodation allows all religious groups to live in harmony in the respect and acceptance of their diversity.”

Ms Mbuyi said: “In a Christian country one should be free to explain what Christians believe on issues if asked.

“And in any country, to state the agreed view of the historic Abrahamic Faiths on sexuality should simply be a matter of fact and history, and not taken by anyone, whether employee, or employer as personal or abusive.”

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre said: “This is a straightforward case of an employer not respecting the religious rights and freedoms of an employee and deciding to favour the views of homosexuals over the historic factual teaching of the of the world’s major faiths.

“In court, the panel will also be advised that her employers also required Ms Mbuyi to act in violation of her faith by the promotion of same sex unions to children.

“Ms Mbuyi was dismissed simply for holding and expressing a view on homosexuality, based on her religion, in a conversation.

“Whether or not her employers could lawfully penalise her for holding and expressing such a view is the central issue of this claim.”

SOURCE






"The Jews" as a scapegoat lives on in the form of Israel

When bad things happened that people did not understand, it was customary for many centuries to blame "The Jews" for the problem.  Hating Israel is the modern form of that

by Matti Friedman

I have been writing from and about Israel for most of the past 20 years, since I moved there from Toronto at age 17. During the five and a half years I spent as part of the international press corps as a reporter for the American news agency The Associated Press, between 2006 and 2011, I gradually began to be aware of certain malfunctions in the coverage of the Israel story – recurring omissions, recurring inflations, decisions made according to considerations that were not journalistic but political, all in the context of a story staffed and reported more than any other international story on earth. When I worked in the AP’s Jerusalem bureau, the Israel story was covered by more AP news staff than China, or India, or all of the fifty-odd countries of sub-Saharan Africa combined. This is representative of the industry as a whole.

In early 2009, to give one fairly routine example of an editorial decision of the kind I mean, I was instructed by my superiors to report a second-hand story taken from an Israeli newspaper about offensive T-shirts supposedly worn by Israeli soldiers. We had no confirmation of our own of the story’s veracity, and one doesn’t see much coverage of things US Marines or British infantrymen have tattooed on their chests or arms. And yet T-shirts worn by Israeli soldiers were newsworthy in the eyes of one of the world’s most powerful news organizations. This was because we sought to hint or say outright that Israeli soldiers were war criminals, and every detail supporting that portrayal was to be seized upon. Much of the international press corps covered the T-shirt story. At around the same time, several Israeli soldiers were quoted anonymously in a school newsletter speaking of abuses they had supposedly witnessed while fighting in Gaza; we wrote no fewer than three separate stories about this, although the use of sources whose identity isn’t known to reporters is banned for good reason by the AP’s own in-house rules. This story, too, was very much one that we wanted to tell. By the time the soldiers came forward to say they hadn’t actually witnessed the events they supposedly described, and were trying to make a point to young students about the horrors and moral challenges of warfare, it was, of course, too late.

Also in those same months, in early 2009, two reporters in our bureau obtained details of a peace offer made by the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, to the Palestinians several months before, and deemed by the Palestinians to be insufficient. The offer proposed a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza with a capital in a shared Jerusalem. This should have been one of the year’s biggest stories. But an Israeli peace offer and its rejection by the Palestinians didn’t suit OUR story. The bureau chief ordered both reporters to ignore the Olmert offer, and they did, despite a furious protest from one of them, who later termed this decision “the biggest fiasco I’ve seen in 50 years of journalism.” But it was very much in keeping not only with the practice at the AP, but in the press corps in general. Soldiers’ vile t-shirts were worth a story. Anonymous and unverifiable testimonies of abuses were worth three. A peace proposal from the Israeli prime minister to the Palestinian president was not to be reported at all.

Vandalism of Palestinian property is a story. Neo-Nazi rallies at Palestinian universities or in Palestinian cities are not -- I saw images of such rallies suppressed on more than one occasion. Jewish hatred of Arabs is a story. Arab hatred of Jews is not. Our policy, for example, was not to mention the assertion in the Hamas founding charter that Jews were responsible for engineering both world wars and the Russian and French revolutions, despite the obvious insight this provides into the thinking of one of the most influential actors in the conflict.

100 houses in a West Bank settlement are a story. 100 rockets smuggled into Gaza are not. The Hamas military buildup amid and under the civilian population of Gaza is not a story. But Israeli military action responding to that threat – that is a story, as we all saw this summer. Israel’s responsibility for the deaths of civilians as a result – that’s a story. Hamas’s responsibility for those deaths is not. Any reporter from the international press corps in Israel, whether he or she works for the AP, Reuters, CNN, the BBC, or elsewhere, will recognize the examples I’ve cited here of what is newsworthy and what is not as standard operating procedure.

In my time in the press corps I saw, from the inside, how Israel’s flaws were dissected and magnified, while the flaws of its enemies were purposely erased. I saw how the threats facing Israel were disregarded or even mocked as figments of the Israeli imagination, even as these threats repeatedly materialized. I saw how a fictional image of Israel and of its enemies was manufactured, polished, and propagated to devastating effect by inflating certain details, ignoring others, and presenting the result as an accurate picture of reality. Lest we think this is something that has never happened before, we might remember Orwell’s observation about journalism from the Spanish civil war: “Early in life,” he wrote, “I had noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper, but in Spain, for the first time, I saw newspaper reports which do not bear any relation to the facts, not even the relationship which is implied in an ordinary lie. … I saw, in fact, history being written not in terms of what had happened but of what ought to have happened according to various ‘party lines.’” That was in 1942.

Over time, I came to understand that the malfunctions I was witnessing, and in which I was playing a part, were not limited to the AP. I saw that they were rather part of a broader problem in the way the press functioned, and in how it saw its job. The international press in Israel had become less an observer of the conflict than a player in it. It had moved away from careful explanation and toward a kind of political character assassination on behalf of the side it identified as being right. It valued a kind of ideological uniformity from which you were not allowed to stray. So having begun with limited criticism of certain editorial decisions, I now found myself with a broad critique of the press.

Eventually, however, I realized that even the press wasn’t the whole story. The press was playing a key role in an intellectual phenomenon taking root in the West, but it wasn’t the cause, or not the only cause – it was both blown on a certain course by the prevailing ideological winds, and causing those winds to blow with greater force. Many journalists would like you to believe that the news is created by a kind of algorithm – that it’s a mechanical, even scientific process in which events are inserted, processed, and presented. But of course the news is an imperfect and entirely human affair, the result of interactions between sources, reporters, and editors, all of whom bear the baggage of their background and who reflect, as we all do to some extent, the prejudices of their peers.

In the aftermath of last summer’s Gaza war, and in light of events in Europe in recent months, it should be clear that something deep and toxic is going on. Understanding what that is, it seems to me, will help us understand something important not only about journalism but about the Western mind and the way it sees the world.

What presents itself as political criticism, as analysis, or as journalism, is coming to sound more and more like a new version of a much older complaint – that Jews are troublemakers, a negative force in world events, and that if these people, as a collective, could somehow be made to vanish, we would all be better off. This is, or should be, a cause for alarm, and not only among people sympathetic to Israel or concerned with Jewish affairs. What is in play right now has less to do with the world of politics than with the worlds of psychology and religion, and less to do with Israel than with those condemning Israel.

The occupation of the West Bank, with which I opened, would seem to be at the heart of the story, the root cause, as it were, of the conflict portrayed as the most important on earth. A few words, then, about this occupation.

The occupation was created in the 1967 Mideast war. The occupation is not the conflict, which of course predates the occupation. It is a symptom of the conflict, a conflict that would remain even if the symptom were somehow solved. If we look at the West Bank, the only Palestinian area currently occupied by Israel, and if we include Jerusalem, we see that the conflict in these areas claimed 60 lives last year – Palestinian and Israeli.

An end to this occupation would free Palestinians from Israeli rule, and free Israelis from ruling people who do not wish to be ruled. Observers of the Middle East in 2015 understand, too, that an end to the occupation will create a power vacuum that will be filled, as all power vacuums in the region have been, not by the forces of democracy and modernity, which in our region range from weak to negligible, but by the powerful and ruthless, by the extremists. This is what we’ve learned from the unraveling of the Middle East in recent years. This is what happened in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and Egypt, and before that in Gaza and southern Lebanon. My home in Jerusalem is within an easy day’s drive of both Aleppo and Baghdad. Creating a new playground for these forces will bring the black-masked soldiers of radical Islam within yards of Israeli homes with mortars, rockets, and tunneling implements. Many thousands will die.

Beyond the obvious threat to Palestinian Christians, women, gays, and liberals, who will be the first to suffer, this threatens to render much or all of Israel unlivable, ending the only safe progressive space in the Middle East, the only secure minority refuge in the Middle East, and the only Jewish country on earth. No international investment or guarantees, no Western-backed government or Western-trained military will be able to keep that from happening, as we have just seen in Iraq. The world will greet this outcome with sincere expressions of sympathy. Only several years ago I, like many on the left, might have dismissed this as an apocalyptic scenario. It isn’t. It is the most likely scenario.

People observing this conflict from afar have been led to believe that Israel faces a simple choice between occupation and peace. That choice is fiction. The Palestinian choice, it is said, is between Israeli occupation and an independent democracy. That choice, too, is fiction. Neither side faces a clear choice, or clear outcomes. Here we have a conflict in a region of conflict, with no clear villain, no clear victim, and no clear solution, one of many hundreds or thousands of ethnic, national, and religious disputes on earth.

The only group of people subject to a systematic boycott at present in the Western world is Jews, appearing now under the convenient euphemism “Israelis.” The only country that has its own “apartheid week” on campuses is the Jewish country. Protesters have interfered with the unloading of Israeli shipping on the West Coast of the United States, and there are regular calls for a boycott of anything produced in the Jewish state. No similar tactics are currently employed against any other ethnic group or nationality, no matter how egregious the human rights violations attributed to that group’s country of origin.

Anyone who questions why this is so will be greeted with shouts of “the occupation!”, as if this were explanation enough. It is not. Many who would like to question these phenomena don’t dare, for fear that they will somehow be expressing support for this occupation, which has been inflated from a geopolitical dilemma of modest scope by global standards into the world’s premier violation of human rights.

The human costs of the Middle Eastern adventures of America and Britain in this century have been far higher, and far harder to explain, than anything Israel has ever done. They have involved occupations, and the violence they unleashed continues as I speak here this evening. No one boycotts American or British professors. Turkey is a democracy, and a NATO member, and yet its occupation of northern Cyprus and long conflict with the stateless Kurds – many of whom see themselves as occupied – are viewed with a yawn; there is no “Turkish Apartheid Week.” The world is full of injustice. Billions of people are oppressed. In Congo, 5 million people are dead. The time has come for everyone to admit that the fashionable disgust for Israel among many in the West is not liberal but is selective, disproportionate, and discriminatory.

There are simply too many voices coming from too many places, expressing themselves in too poisonous a way, for us to conclude that this is a narrow criticism of the occupation. It’s time for the people making these charges to look closely at themselves, and for us to look closely at them.

Naming and understanding this sentiment is important, as it is becoming one of the key intellectual trends of our time. We might think of it as the “Cult of the Occupation.” This belief system, for that it what it is, uses the occupation as a way of talking about other things.

As usual with Western religions, the center of this one is in the Holy Land. The dogma posits that the occupation is not a conflict like any other, but that it is the very symbol of conflict: that the minute state inhabited by a persecuted minority in the Middle East is in fact a symbol of the ills of the West – colonialism, nationalism, militarism, and racism. In the recent riots in Ferguson, Missouri, for example, a sign hoisted by marchers linked the unrest between African Americans and the police to Israeli rule over Palestinians.

The cult’s priesthood can be found among the activists, NGO experts, and ideological journalists who have turned coverage of this conflict into a catalogue of Jewish moral failings, as if Israeli society were different from any other group of people on earth, as if Jews deserve to be mocked for having suffered and failed to be perfect as a result.

Most of my former colleagues in the press corps aren’t full-fledged members of this group. They aren’t true believers. But boycotts of Israel, and only of Israel, which are one of the cult’s most important practices, have significant support in the press, including among editors who were my superiors. Sympathy for Israel’s predicament is highly unpopular in the relevant social circles, and is something to be avoided by anyone wishing to be invited to the right dinner parties, or to be promoted. The cult and its belief system are in control of the narrative, just as the popular kids in a school and those who decide what clothes or music are acceptable. In the social milieu of the reporters, NGO workers, and activists, which is the same social world, these are the correct opinions. This guides the coverage. This explains why the events in Gaza this summer were portrayed not as a complicated war like many others fought in this century, but as a massacre of innocents. And it explains much else.

So prevalent has this kind of thinking become that participating in liberal intellectual life in the West increasingly requires you to subscribe at least outwardly to this dogma, particularly if you’re a Jew and thus suspected of the wrong sympathies. If you’re a Jew from Israel, your participation is increasingly conditional on an abject and public display of self-flagellation. Your participation, indeed, is increasingly unwelcome.

What, exactly, is going on?

Observers of Western history understand that at times of confusion and unhappiness, and of great ideological ferment, negative sentiment tends to coagulate around Jews. Discussions of the great topics of the time often end up as discussions about Jews.

In the late 1800s, for example, French society was riven by the clash between the old France of the church and army, and the new France of liberalism and the rule of law. The French were preoccupied with the question of who is French, and who is not. They were smarting from their military humiliation by the Prussians. All of this sentiment erupted around the figure of a Jew, Alfred Dreyfus, accused of betraying France as a spy for Germany. His accusers knew he was innocent, but that didn’t matter; he was a symbol of everything they wanted to condemn.

To give another example: Germans in the 1920s and ‘30s were preoccupied with their humiliation in the Great War. This became a discussion of Jewish traitors who had stabbed Germany in the back. Germans were preoccupied as well with the woes of their economy – this became a discussion of Jewish wealth, and Jewish bankers.

In the years of the rise of Communism and the Cold War, communists concerned with their ideological opponents talked about Jewish capitalists and cosmopolitans, or Jewish doctors plotting against the state. At the very same time, in capitalist societies threatened by communism, people condemned Jewish Bolsheviks.

This is the face of this recurring obsession. As the journalist Charles Maurras wrote, approvingly, in 1911: “Everything seems impossible, or frighteningly difficult, without the providential arrival of anti-Semitism, through which all things fall into place and are simplified.”

The West today is preoccupied with a feeling of guilt about the use of power. That’s why the Jews, in their state, are now held up in the press and elsewhere as the prime example of the abuse of power. That’s why for so many the global villain, as portrayed in newspapers and on TV, is none other than the Jewish soldier, or the Jewish settler. This is not because the Jewish settler or soldier is responsible for more harm than anyone else on earth – no sane person would make that claim. It is rather because these are the heirs to the Jewish banker or Jewish commissar of the past. It is because when moral failure raises its head in the Western imagination, the head tends to wear a skullcap.

One would expect the growing scale and complexity of the conflict in the Middle East over the past decade to have eclipsed the fixation on Israel in the eyes of the press and other observers. Israel is, after all, a sideshow: The death toll in Syria in less than four years far exceeds the toll in the Israel-Arab conflict in a century. The annual death toll in the West Bank and Jerusalem is a morning in Iraq.

And yet it is precisely in these years that the obsession has grown worse.

This makes little sense, unless we understand that people aren’t fixated on Israel despite everything else going on – but rather because of everything else going on. As Maurras wrote, when you use the Jew as the symbol of what is wrong, “all things fall into place and are simplified.”

The last few decades have brought the West into conflict with the Islamic world. Terrorists have attacked New York, Washington, London, Madrid, and now Paris. America and Britain caused the unraveling of Iraq, and hundreds of thousands of people are dead there. Afghanistan was occupied and thousands of Western soldiers killed, along with countless civilians – but the Taliban are alive and well, undeterred. Ghaddafi was removed, and Libya is no better off. All of this is confusing and discouraging. It causes people to search for answers and explanations, and these are hard to come by. It is in this context that the Cult of the Occupation has caught on. The idea is that the problems in the Middle East have something to do with Jewish arrogance and perfidy, that the sins of one’s own country can be projected upon the Western world’s old blank screen. This is the idea increasingly reflected on campuses, in labor unions, and in the media fixation on Israel. It’s a projection, one whose chief instrument is the press.

As one BBC reporter informed a Jewish interviewee on camera several weeks ago, after a Muslim terrorist murdered four Jewish shoppers at a Paris supermarket, “Many critics of Israel’s policy would suggest that the Palestinians suffered hugely at Jewish hands as well.” Everything, that is, can be linked to the occupation, and Jews can be blamed even for the attacks against them. This isn’t the voice of the perpetrators, but of the enablers. The voice of the enablers is less honest than that of the perpetrators, and more dangerous for being disguised in respectable English. This voice is confident and growing in volume. This is why the year 2015 finds many Jews in Western Europe eyeing their suitcases again.

The Jews of the Middle East are outnumbered by the Arabs of the Middle East 60 to 1, and by the world’s Muslims 200 to 1. Half of the Jews in Israel are there because their families were forced from their homes in the 20th century not by Christians in Europe, but by Muslims in the Middle East. Israel currently has Hezbollah on its northern border, al-Qaeda on its northeastern and southern borders, and Hamas in Gaza. None of these groups seek an end to the occupation, but rather openly wish to destroy Israel. But it is naïve to point out these facts. The facts don’t matter: We are in the world of symbols. In this world, Israel has become a symbol of what is wrong – not Hamas, not Hezbollah, not Great Britain, not America, not Russia.

I believe it’s important to recognize the pathologies at play in order to make sense of things. In this context it’s worth pointing out that I’m hardly the first to identify a problem – Jewish communities like this one, and particularly organizations like Bicom, identified a problem long ago, and have been expending immense efforts to correct it. I wish this wasn’t necessary, and it shouldn’t be necessary, but it undoubtedly is necessary, and becoming more so, and I have great respect for these efforts. Many people, particularly young people, are having trouble maintaining their balance amid this ideological onslaught, which is successfully disguised as journalism or analysis, and is phrased in the language of progressive politics. I would like to help them keep their bearings.

I don’t believe, however, that anyone should make a feeling of persecution the center of their identity, of their Judaism, or of their relationship with Israel. The obsession is a fact, but it isn’t a new fact, and it shouldn’t immobilize us in anger, or force us into a defensive crouch. It shouldn’t make us less willing to seek to improve our situation, to behave with compassion to our neighbors, or to continue building the model society that Israel’s founders had in mind.

I was in Tel Aviv not long ago, on Rothschild Boulevard. The city was humming with life. Signs of prosperity were everywhere, in the renovated Bauhaus buildings, in the clothes, the stores. I watched the people go by: Kids with old bikes and tattoos, businesspeople, men with women, women with women, men with men, all speaking the language of the Bible and Jewish prayer. The summer’s Hamas rockets were already a memory, just a few months old but subsumed in the frantic, irrepressible life of the country. There were cranes everywhere, raising new buildings. There were schoolchildren with oversize knapsacks, and parents with strollers. I heard Arabic, Russian, and French, and the country went about its business with a potent cheer and determination that you miss if all you see are threats and hatred. There have always been threats and hatred, and it has never stopped us. We have enemies, and we have friends. The dogs bark, as the saying goes, and the convoy rolls by.

One of the questions presented to us by the wars of the modern age is what now constitutes victory. In the 21st century, when a battlefield is no longer conquered or lost, when land isn’t changing hands and no one ever surrenders, what does it mean to win?

The answer is that victory is no longer determined on the battlefield. It’s determined in the center, in the society itself. Who has built a better society? Who has provided better lives for people? Where is there the most optimism? Where can the most happy people be found? One report on world happiness ranked Israel as the 11th happiest country on earth. The UK was 22nd.

Israel’s intellectual opponents can rant about the moral failings of the Jews, obscuring their obsession in whatever sophisticated way they choose. The gunmen of Hamas and their allies can stand on heaps of rubble and declare victory. They can fire rockets, and shoot up supermarkets. But if you look at Tel Aviv, or at any thriving neighborhood in Jerusalem, Netanya, Rishon Letzion, or Haifa, you understand that this is victory. This is where we’ve won, and where we win every day.

SOURCE

*************************

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

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

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

***************************







3 March, 2015

England excels at one thing... hypocrisy

That the English are hypocritical is an old accusation that goes back long before the era of political correctness.  I believe it is correct.  I also believe, however, that it arose from a long tradition of British politeness -- an instinctive desire to be diplomatic and not antagonize people.  It arose from a desire not to hurt people's feelings if at all possible.  That may explain why political correctness is now so powerful in Britain

England gave the world Shakespeare, the steam locomotive, the computer, Isaac Newton and photography.  But when it comes to what the country excels at, Alan Bennett believes there is only one answer. Hypocrisy.

Playwright and author Bennett, who penned The History Boys and Talking Heads, claims that no other country in the world is so adept at saying one thing and doing another.

Bennett made the comments in a BBC Radio 4 broadcast to mark the 50th anniversary of the World at One. As part of the celebrations, 50 public figures have been asked to decide what sets Britain apart from the rest of the world.

The playwright said he had debated choosing Swaledale, in the Yorkshire Dales, medieval churches or even the National Trust for his nomination, but what he really felt England is best at, “better than all the rest” is ‘hypocrisy’

“In England, what we do best is lip service,” he told presenter Martha Kearney. “A substantial minority of our children receive a better education than the rest because of the social situation of the parents.  “Then we wonder why things at the top do not change or society improve. But we know why. It’s because we are hypocrites.”

Bennett said language was a good example of refined hypocrisy where we want to have it both ways. “Words which start off as good and meaningful, terms like environment and energy saving, rapidly lose any credence because converted into political or PR slogans, ending up the clichéd stuff of an estate agents’ brochure. A manual for hypocrisy.”

And warning listeners not to grumble – Bennett held his hands up and said he didn’t exempt himself from these criticisms. “How should I?” he says. “I am English, I am a hypocrite.”

In January the World at One heard nominations from the Prime Minister David Cameron and Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband and other party leaders.

Mr Cameron said Britain could be most proud of its science and its universities, an area where the country was ‘still first class’ and has the potential to ‘solve the problems we face.’

“Whether exploring the first moments of the universe of the genetic code, Britain is great at it,” he said.

Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minster and Liberal Democrat Leader, said Britain excelled at civil rights and the law. He said it was ‘marvellous’ that the UK has ‘settled, quiet habits of liberty.’

Labour leader Ed Miliband said the NHS was Britain’s biggest achievement. “It’s so important we protect it for the future,” he told the programme in January.

UKIPs Nigel Farage said the UK justice system was the envy of the world, while green leader Natalie Bennett said British apples deserved recognition.

SOURCE







British supermarket chain bans customers using the words 'Christ' and 'Jesus Christ' in messages when they are ordering flowers online - but jihad is okay

The words 'Christ' and 'Jesus Christ' have been placed on a list of banned words by Marks & Spencer and cannot be used in gift messages.

Customers buying a bunch of flowers who try to add a free message containing them are prevented from completing their order. An on-screen notification, which pops up if any blocked words are entered, reads: 'Sorry, there's something in your message we can't write.'

'Christ' and 'Jesus Christ' join other banned words including 'f***' and 'gay' - but some terms including jihad, Buddha and Allah are accepted.  'Terrorist' and 'd**k' can also be included in messages.

The policy emerged earlier today after one customer was stopped from buying a £35 bouquet for a funeral because she said in the gift message that it was from a family in 'Christ Church Teddington'.

When Gerardine Stockford, 53, phoned customer services an employee told her that it must be a blocked word, according to The Sunday Times.

Lord Carey, a former Archbishop of Canterbury, was shocked. He said: 'If Christ becomes an offensive word in a Christian land then all of us should be alarmed.'

Despite the supermarket giant being made aware of the issue yesterday, it still has not changed the facility.  A spokesman for Marks & Spencer said: 'An automatic phrase checker is in place to prevent the use and misuse of certain words and it includes hundreds of words of varying nature. 'The words Jesus and Christ are included to prevent their misuse.'

SOURCE





Knock the shine off Shiner

Human rights lawyers smeared British soldiers with false accusations of the torture and murder or innocent Iraqis, a government dossier claims.

A report drawn up on the Prime Minister's orders claims Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) pursued claims against soldiers despite realising the allegations of abuse might have been 'untrue'.

It comes after a public inquiry spent £31million exonerating British soldiers of claims they went they went on a killing and torture spree following a fierce battle in southern Iraq in 2004.

After five years of investigations, the Al-Sweady inquiry in December concluded there were some breaches of the Geneva convention following the battle. But it also ruled allegations of murder and torture were based on 'deliberate lies, reckless speculation and ingrained hostility'.

Now the government is gearing up to sue law firms for millions of pounds in legal costs and calling for the PIL's chief lawyer, Phil Shiner, to be struck off.

The MoD's dossier, seen by at least two Sunday newspapers, accuses PIL and another law firm, Leigh Day, of continuing to pursue the case even after evidence emerged that the allegations may be untrue.

It suggests PIL had doubts about the credibility of its clients' evidence as early as March 2013 but failed to withdraw the allegations for another 12 months, Tim Ross of the Sunday Telegraph reported.

That led investigators to take evidence from around 100 further witnesses, costing taxpayers an extra £780,000, the paper reported the Government's dossier as saying.

It is also alleged that PIL used a local 'agent' to trawl Basra for potential victims, a breach of a ban on solicitors touting for business that brought hundreds of extra claims against the Army.

The Birmingham-based law firm even continued to represent one claimant in a separate judicial review after he admitted to Al-Sweady investigators he had lied about his sister dying on the battlefield, the dossier alleges.

Leigh Day are accused of failing to disclose a key document for six years, according to the Sun on Sunday.

The claims came after the Battle of Danny Boy on May 14 2004, a fierce firefight which erupted when insurgents from the Mahdi Army ambushed a patrol of Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

Their reinforcements, the 1st Battalion of the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment, were also ambushed and after three hours of fighting 28 Iraqi fighters had been killed.

Claims which subsequently emerged that enraged British soldiers had tortured and executed innocent local people in the aftermath of the battle were dismissed by the Al-Sweady inquiry, which was named for an alleged teenage victim.

Former 1st Battalion the Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment corporal Brian Wood has previously told the Daily Mail he felt he and his colleagues who fought in thad 'done the right thing'.

Mr Wood, 34, who was awarded the Military Cross for his role in the battle, according to the paper, said: 'We have been dragged through five years of hell. That in my view is a betrayal of our service.  'We did what we had to do as soldiers and we did the right thing.'

Ann Hoolin, 50, the mother of soldier Scott Hoolin, told the paper her son was 'upset and disturbed' following the inquiry.  'To be accused of wrongdoing in the aftermath of what happened is disgraceful,' she said.

Sir Thayne Forbes, the retired judge who led the Al-Sweady inquiry, did find that there had been instances of ill-treatment during 'tactical questioning' of the detainees at Camp Abu Naji, near Majar-al-Kabir in southern Iraq, on the night of May 14/15.

These included depriving the prisoners of sight, food and sleep, and using threatening interrogation techniques contrary to the Geneva Convention.  It amounted to ill-treatment and fell below the high standard to be expected of the British Army, Sir Thayne said.

After Sir Thayne's report, Public Interest Lawyers insisted the inquiry had been 'legally necessary, morally justified and politically required'.

Responding to a request for comment on the allegations against PIL and Leigh Day, an MoD spokesman told MailOnline: 'The MoD is assisting the Solicitors Regulation Authority, which is investigating issues that came to light as a result of the Al-Sweady Inquiry.'

PIL said last night in a statement seen by the Sunday Telegraph: 'The Al-Sweady inquiry thoroughly investigated the subject of these matters during which no criticisms were made of Public Interest Lawyers or Phil Shiner by the chair.'

'It is not appropriate to comment any further while SRA proceedings are ongoing. 'PIL and Mr Shiner are confident that they have acted in accordance with their professional obligations.'

SOURCE







Muslim Australia:  19-year-old man charged over 'wedding' to 15-year-old

A backyard Islamic marriage between an 18-year-old man and a 15-year-old girl was only discovered when the young bride took herself to a western Sydney hospital believing she had suffered a miscarriage, police allege.

Mustafa Abdel Ghany, 19, was charged on Wednesday with marrying a 15-year-old girl in the backyard of her father's Sydney home in November.

A sheikh allegedly officiated over the ceremony and the couple moved into a granny flat at Abdel Ghany's parents' home in south-west Sydney soon after.

Detectives from the Child Abuse Squad were alerted to the marriage when the 15-year-old attended Bankstown Hospital on January 20 believing she had suffered a miscarriage.

It is the first time the state's Child Abuse Squad has charged a man with marrying an underage girl.

Abdel Ghany was granted strict bail in Bankstown Local Court on Wednesday and ordered not to go near his wife, not to drink alcohol or take drugs and to abide by an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order taken out against him.

His 15-year-old wife, who cannot be identified, had stopped attending high school at the time of her marriage and was not working, police said in documents tendered to the court.

Her parents did not know where she had been living for the past four to five months and had had little contact with her when police spoke to them in January.

When her horrified mother found out about the union, she confronted the couple and was allegedly told by her new son-in-law that he would "finish" her.

"What's done is done. She's my wife. If you want to start a war, I'll finish it," he allegedly told the mother when she questioned why he married her daughter in such a manner.

Police allege that the bride's father, who was present when they married, told police they were simply engaged.

In early February, Abdel Ghany and his parents grew suspicious that his in-laws were speaking to the police.

An intercepted phone call allegedly revealed he planned to harm his bride's parents, police documents state.

In other phone calls, detectives also allegedly heard Abdel Ghany's parents telling him to move his wife's belonging out of the granny flat and into the main house to hide the relationship.

Just days ago, however, Abdel Ghany struck up a relationship with another woman while his young wife was visiting his family in Canberra, police documents state.

"Police allege the accused has stated that he is considering divorcing the victim," the documents state. "The victim is unaware of the extent of the [new] relationship and is hoping that she and the accused will continue to live as husband and wife."

Abdel Ghany, who was 18 at the time of the marriage, denied that the ceremony took place when interviewed by police on Wednesday and has denied having sex with the 15-year-old girl.

A recent report estimated there were around 250 child bride cases across Australia.

NSW police made their first child bride arrest last year.

A 26 year-old man was convicted of several sexual abuse matters after marrying a 12-year-old girl in a backyard ceremony. The imam who oversaw the marriage was also convicted.

SOURCE

*************************

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

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

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

***************************





2 March, 2015

Former soldier who lost friends in Iraq and Afghanistan wars is refused service in a Scottish pub because of 'offensive' Union Flag shirt

A former soldier who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan claims he was turned away from a pub in Scotland because workers said the union flag on his top was offensive.

Richard Monteith was told he would not be served again in the Black Bull pub in Polmont, Falkirk, unless he turned down the collar of his Hackett Boat Race polo shirt, which exposed a Union Jack , because it was seen as offensive.

The 36-year-old served 17 years with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and lost several friends and colleagues during tours of the Middle East, Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Kosovo.

He said he was upset with the reaction because he had been in the army and had to deal with seeing a lot of friends draped in the flag after dying in service. 

The incident took place last Friday. Mr Monteith said: 'I had a couple of sips of my pint and was told unless I turned my collar down I wouldn't be served again.

'I asked why and they said the Union Jack and red, white and blue colours were offensive.  'When I asked why the woman just laughed and said 'because it is'.

'I just don't see how the flag or even the colours could be so offensive to anybody. 'To say red, white and blue are offensive is laughable. It was really silly comments, to be honest.'

Mr Monteith, now a security consultant, added: 'Being in the army I have carried quite a few friends that are draped in these colours so I find it very offensive.

'I wear it with pride for them, nothing else. It was me who was shocked and deeply offended.'

Mr Monteith refused to react to the statement or turn down his collar and left the pub.  They walked into one across the road and no issues were raised. 

The father-of-two said he had been unable to get a full explanation from the Black Bull since the incident, despite leaving messages for the manager.

A spokesman for the pub said: 'We are carrying out an investigation into the allegation, but cannot comment further until we speak to all of the members of staff who were working on Friday evening.'

SOURCE






Race Is Just a Social Construct, Except …When DNA Solves Crimes

There were no known eyewitnesses to the murder of a young woman and her 3-year-old daughter four years ago. No security cameras caught a figure coming or going.

Nonetheless, the police in Columbia, S.C., last month released a sketch of a possible suspect. Rather than an artist’s rendering based on witness descriptions, the face was generated by a computer relying solely on DNA found at the scene of the crime.

It may be the first time a suspect’s face has been put before the public in this way, but it will not be the last. Investigators are increasingly able to determine the physical characteristics of crime suspects from the DNA they leave behind, providing what could become a powerful new tool for law enforcement.

Already genetic sleuths can determine a suspect’s eye and hair color fairly accurately. It is also possible, or might soon be, to predict skin color, freckling, baldness, hair curliness, tooth shape and age.

Computers may eventually be able to match faces generated from DNA to those in a database of mug shots. Even if it does not immediately find the culprit, the genetic witness, so to speak, can be useful, researchers say.

“That at least narrows down the suspects,” said Susan Walsh, an assistant professor of biology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis who recently won a $1.1 million grant from the Department of Justice to develop such tools.

But forensic DNA phenotyping, as it is called, is also raising concerns. Some scientists question the accuracy of the technology, especially its ability to recreate facial images. Others say use of these techniques could exacerbate racial profiling among law enforcement agencies and infringe on privacy.

“This is another of these areas where the technology is ahead of the popular debate and discussion,” said Erin Murphy, a professor of law at New York University.

DNA, of course, has been used for more than two decades to hunt for suspects or to convict or exonerate people. But until now, that meant matching a suspect’s DNA to that found at the crime scene, or trying to find a match in a government database.

DNA phenotyping is different: an attempt to determine physical traits from genetic material left at the scene when no match is found in the conventional way. …

Gender has long been ascertained from crime scene DNA. About 15 years ago, some police departments began trying to determine the geographic ancestry of suspects, as well, by using tests like the ones consumers order to learn about their genetic heritage.

In 2003, such information helped redirect the search for a serial killer in Louisiana. Police had been looking for a white man based on a witness account and on psychological profiles.

But DNA found at the site of one of the murders indicated the person’s ancestry was 85 percent sub-Saharan African. Eventually, a black man was convicted of the crimes.

Now researchers are closing in on specific physical traits, like eye and hair color.

But I’ve been hearing for 15 years that two individuals of different races are more genetically similar than two individuals of the same race. I’ve read that in comments sections hundreds of times. Could we have been misled?

SOURCE






500 new cases of female genital mutilation in one month are 'just the tip of the iceberg', campaigners warn

Five hundred women and girls living in England have been identified as victims of female genital mutilation in just one month, new figures show.

And campaigners have warned the numbers represent 'just the tip of the iceberg', estimating more than 130,000 women and girls in the country are affected by the issue.

Female genital mutilation (FGM), is a harmful traditional practice that involves the partial or total removal of the female genitalia.

Campaigners told MailOnline today these figures will 'increase significantly' as more women access health care.

The statistics, published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, include data from 126 eligible acute NHS trusts in England.

They reveal 2,242 active cases, where women and girls are currently being treated for FGM, while 499 new cases were identified in January.

Mary Wandia, FGM programme manager at campaign group Equality Now, told MailOnline that FGM is 'child abuse and an extreme human rights violation'.

'Today's figures are just the tip of the iceberg,' she warned. 'We will see these figures increasing significantly as more women access healthcare.

'The figures also show that training of those who come in contact with girls at risk of FGM - and those affected by it - is urgently needed.

'Health, social and education professionals don't have clear pathways and don't always know what to do.

'FGM is child abuse, a human rights violation and an extreme human rights violation.

'We have made huge progress on ensuring a joined-up approach to preventing it in the UK. It is no longer in the shadows and has is clearly on the national agenda.

'We just need to keep working to ensure that the law is properly implemented and that every single girl is protected.'

Ms Wandia said training for medical professionals is 'essential' in helping them recognise those women and girls affected - as well as those at risk.

She said: 'Survivors of FGM urgently need physical, emotional and psychological support.' 

Last year, Home Secretary Theresa May said that in the UK, 137,000 women are living with the consequences of FGM and a 60,000 are at risk.

The figures she cited, from a report from City University London in collaboration with Equality Now, estimated that 10,000 girls aged under 15 who migrated to England and Wales are likely to have undergone FGM.

In July, the Government launched a £1.4 million programme to tackle FGM, with the aim of ending the practice within a generation. 

This included bringing in laws to prosecute parents if they fail to prevent their daughters being cut.

It also requires collecting data about FGM in hospitals in England and training both health professionals and police officers to respond appropriately to cases of FGM.

Ms Wandia said: 'This is not an issue that can be ignored any longer.

'We also found that 60,000 girls born to mothers affected by FGM, lived in England and Wales in 2011.

'African countries like Kenya and Burkina Faso have led the way on ending FGM globally.

'We can end it within this generation but we need to continue to keep up the pressure to ensure governments are held accountable to their obligations.'

Meanwhile the children's charity, the NSPCC, said since setting up FGM dedicated helpline in June 2013, they have received 521 calls from the public and professionals.

Of those, 214 of the cases have been referred to the police and children's services.

John Cameron, head of child protection operations at the NSPCC, said: 'FGM is a live public health issue and it is vital all health professionals are trained to spot the signs of FGM, and that girls who are subjected to this brutal practice get the post-traumatic support they deserve.

'We need to ensure doctors, midwives and other healthcare professionals are working effectively together with children’s services to support and protect FGM victims and their family members.'

The World Health Organisation recognise FGM as a 'violation of the human rights of girls and women'.  'It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women,' the agency said.

'The practice violates a person's rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.'

Today's figures are just the tip of the iceberg. We will see these figures increasing significantly as more women access health care
Mary Wandia, Equality Now
It is estimated that between 100 and 140 million girls and women around the world have undergone genital mutilation.

FGM has been a crime in the UK for 30 years, but there have been no convictions for the practice.

SOURCE






Police Chief Cops Out on Freedom

At the Salt Lake Police Department, the only thing officers are handcuffing is freedom. Like most Americans, Eric Moutsos never dreamed that his faith would cost him his job. But that’s exactly what happened last summer after the long-time policeman asked for a different post at the city’s gay pride event.

He was asked, along with other members of the team, to lead the motorcycle brigade at the very front of the parade. Moutsos said he “felt uncomfortable doing what he considered celebratory circles with other motorcycles leading the parade because of his religious views” and asked to be placed somewhere else at the event. “It is unquestionably my duty as a police officer to protect everyone’s right to hold a parade or other event, but is it also my duty to celebrate everyone’s parade?” For that particular assignment, he explained, “It looks like we and I are in support of this parade. I said I would feel the same way if this was an abortion parade. I would feel the same way if it was a marijuana parade.”

Not once did he refuse to work the parade – yet in the middle of working out a compromise with his boss, he was suspended. The move absolutely blind-sided him. Shocked, the dad of four went home and told his family what happened. Almost immediately, the story broke that an unidentified member of the Salt Lake Police Department had been put on a leave of absence for “discrimination.”

In typical P.C. fashion, Chief Chris Burbank spun the controversy as a story of prejudice and bias. “It has nothing to do with religious freedom – that has to do with the hatred of those individuals and what the parade stands for, which is about unity and coming together,” he told local reporters. Obviously, the chief is too busy policing people’s views to protect them. After six months of absolute turmoil, Moutsos decided to come forward and reveal his identity. As a Mormon – whose church recently threw its support behind the very ordinances that make this kind of persecution possible – Eric wants to turn his oppression into an opportunity.

In an interview with Deseret News, Moutsos said his story should be a warning to every American who thinks same-sex “marriage” and homosexuality won’t affect them. “We can 100 percent disagree and still 100 percent love. I hate that we’re labeled in this way that is so divisive.” Although Moutsos found a job with another police agency, he thinks his most important work is protecting religious liberty. He hasn’t been asked to testify to lawmakers, but he’d like to.

Like Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran, Eric was told to either check his beliefs at the door or get out of public service. If the Mormon Church thinks that throwing its weight behind sexual orientation-gender identity measures like Houston’s will shield people like him, they’re sorely mistaken. How do you protect anyone’s freedom of belief if you give the government another weapon to punish it? All this does is force Christians underground – or worse, into a religious ghetto cut off from the rest of society.

First of all, that’s not what we’re called to do in the church. And secondly, it’s not what our freedoms allow. It’s tough to get the American people to agree on anything – but they agree on that. In FRC’s survey released this week by WPA Opinion, 81% of the country (which as unanimous as it gets in the polling community) agreed that the government should leave people alone to live and work according to their beliefs. If anyone’s ready to lead that parade, we are!

SOURCE

*************************

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

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

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

***************************





1 March, 2015

It takes a multiculturalist

Student reveals how taxi driver Mohammed Iqbal took her to an isolated woodland and sexually assaulted her... then demanded a £50 fare to take her home



A university student has warned against using unregistered taxis after she fell victim to a predatory cab driver who sexually assaulted.

Lily Wright, 22, from Birmingham, has waived her right to anonymity to share her terrifying ordeal and urge other women not to take unlicensed cabs.

Lily and her friend Jamielee Smalldon had flagged down a taxi, driven by Mohammed Iqbal, a father of three, following a night out in their home city.

But after dropping 21-year-old Jamielee at her house, Iqbal drove Lily to a secluded woodland and sexually assaulted her.  He then drove her home – after he ordered her to pay him £50 for the journey.

Lily said the encounter left her 'paralysed with fear'.  She said: 'After what he'd just done to me, I couldn't believe he had the nerve to charge me.  'I knew it should only cost around £20 and I didn't have the money but I was desperate to get home. So I told him I did.

'As soon as I saw my house I didn't wait for him to stop, I opened the car door and fled. I was running for my life.'

She banged on the front door and her dad Tom Wright, 56, found his terrified daughter on the front step.  Lily said: 'I collapsed into the living room, blaming my lost phone for the reason I was hysterical.'  Her sister Elizabeth, 18, also came downstairs, to see what the noise was about and Lily confessed she had been attacked.

'Elizabeth was shocked but helped me stay calm and we called police. I was exhausted, but I knew I had to remember as much as I could to help them,' Lily said.

'They asked me to change out my jeans and top, and bag them up as evidence. I had to give them my underwear so they could examine it.  'It was so humiliating. The whole process took nearly ten hours. I was so traumatised I almost backed out.

'After the tests I went home. I had a bath, desperate to scrub away the previous night.  'But I knew I had to get this driver off the road or another girl would be his next victim.'

Seven days later Lily received a call with news from the police.  She says: 'They told me they had traced Iqbal, using CCTV footage, and found my phone in his car.'

At Guildford Crown Court in September 2012, Iqbal, then 34, of Reigate, Surrey, pleaded not guilty to two sex attacks – one on Lily and one on another woman in his taxi.

Lily said: 'Taking the stand was horrible. I didn't look at Iqbal but I wanted him to look at me.'

On the last day of the five day trial, Miss Wright received another call from the police.

She said: 'Some DNA evidence had been retrieved from the first victim's underwear.

'The next day police revealed the court had presented the evidence, and my attacker had changed his plea to guilty to two counts of sexual assault and one count of kidnap. I was so relieved I wouldn't have to return to court.'

He was jailed for five and a half years in October 2012.

Lily said: 'I couldn't believe he was a serial offender and wondered how many other girls he planned on attacking.

'I believe women should trust taxi drivers, and take a taxi rather than walking home alone at night.

'But they should book a registered taxi rather than waving one down in the street. You're putting your safety in their hands. And I learnt my lesson the hard way.'

SOURCE






UK: Woman, 20, who cried rape after having sex with two soldiers on night out faces jail after admitting she made up claims


The fat slag herself

A woman who falsely accused two soldiers of attempting to rape her after having sex with them on a drunken night has admitted she made up claims of the attack.

Nicole Richess was too ashamed to tell her boyfriend she had cheated on him with the two men so she lied and said they had forced themselves on her.

The 20-year-old now faces jail after pleading guilty to perverting the course of justice yesterday.

The court heard that Richess had been on a night out with friends in Bournemouth, Dorset, in November 2012, when she bumped into a group of four soldiers.

They went on a bar crawl with the servicemen, who were based locally at the time, and Richess invited the men back to her house, where she later had sex with two of them.

Richess, who was 18 at the time, reported the soldiers after she told her boyfriend and he made her go to the police.

The two men were then questioned by police and faced disciplinary action over the accusations.

The soldiers said the claims had 'left them petrified' and had 'impacted their friends, family and their work'.

Following two weeks of investigations, officers were satisfied Richess had made up the claims and she was arrested for perverting the course of justice on November 26 that year.

A judge warned her that she now faces jail for her 'selfishness and lies'.

Afterwards, the two soldiers told of the impact the false rape allegations have had on their lives and careers. They have already faced disciplinary action over what happened.

The 24-year-old solider, who does not want to be identified, said: 'When the allegation was made I was petrified, I've never been so scared in all my life.

'It didn't just impact on us, it impacted on everyone we knew - friends, family, work. It could have been the end of my life.

'That stigma you have attached to you the whole time is horrible, it affects everything, like relationships. I'm glad it's over and hopefully she will get what she deserves.'

The other man said: 'My family were distraught about the allegations and the worry has been the biggest thing for me.

'It's a big weight of my shoulders that it's done now. I'm just relieved and happy it's over.'

Prosecutor Sophie Stevens said in a statement yesterday: 'Attempting to rape someone is a very serious criminal offence.

'Nicole Richess made false allegations that two soldiers had attempted to rape her because she had been confronted by her boyfriend who had been made aware that she had been unfaithful.

'She maintained her story during the police investigation, which quickly revealed discrepancies in her statement.

'Her selfishness and lies had serious consequences professionally and personally on the two young men, who had to be disciplined according to the Army policy.

'The investigation went on their record and this limited their opportunities to be mobilised abroad.

'Their private lives had been exposed only because Richess could not take responsibility for her actions. We hope that with this conviction, they will be able to move on with their lives.'

'They gave consistent accounts of what they said happened and the police came to the conclusion that what she said was not what happened and she was arrested.

Afterwards Detective Constable Stef Belton, from Dorset Police, said: 'We spent a huge amount of time investigating the original rape allegation but it was clear very early on that there was another offence going on.

'The investigation has taken two years to come to court. The victims of this case have been waiting for that long to have their names cleared so I'm very pleased with the result in court today.

Richess will be sentenced for perverting the course of justice on March 26.

SOURCE






The Wages of Idealism

A white woman who wanted to change the world

by Tracy Abel

I grew up in a suburb of white, middle-class families. My schooling, from elementary school through college, was with people who were also overwhelmingly white and middle class. Like so many others, I was reared to think that “all men are created equal” and that people should be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. Since my ears could hear, I was taught blind faith in color blindness and the virtues of diversity.

My mother is in the medical field and my father worked for the New York City Transit Authority. Both are lifelong Democrats, working people who never had much time to study culture or politics. The only instruction they ever gave me in politics was that the Democratic Party was for the working people and the Republicans were for the rich. My mother taught me never to be judgmental, and to love everyone the same, especially those less fortunate than I. She told me discrimination was wrong and that all people should be treated equally.

I have a bachelor’s degree in sociology. Looking back, all my professors were white and very liberal. College was the first place I ever heard race discussed seriously, and the message was constant: diversity was vitally important and whites were guilty. My fellow students had been brought up just as I had been, so my professors had very fresh meat to feast on. I graduated from college the perfect racial liberal.

Like so many white, middle-class girls from the New York City suburbs, I therefore decided to serve the downtrodden. I knew I could never live well on my salary, but the satisfaction and moral superiority I would enjoy over friends in business would be worth the sacrifice. I would venture into the ghettos, much like an urban Jane Goodall, and protect noble souls from the evils of white privilege and arrogance. I genuinely believed I would be making amends for the terrible acts of my ancestors.

The first job I took as an adult was in the daycare center of a domestic violence shelter on Staten Island, New York. It was part of a network of organizations run by a large charity called Safe Horizon.

This was my first real encounter with blacks and Hispanics. My supervisors were black and Hispanic, the clients were black and Hispanic (I never saw a white woman come in), and I was one of the only white faces in the neighborhood. I felt as though I had to prove to these women and teach their children that white people were not their enemy. I thought that if I could make them see me as a good person and not as a “white person” I could help make the world a better place. I was convinced I had nothing to fear, and that my generosity would certainly be noticed and appreciated.

The women who came in did not have to prove abuse; they just had to show a police report. Later, in conversations with the mothers, I learned that much of the abuse was phony. All they had to do was walk into a precinct and say they had been assaulted. Before I took the job, I could not have imagined that anyone would lie about being abused.

The women could stay rent-free for three months, and then their cases were reevaluated for extension. All they had to do then was seem scared or present some marginally coherent story to get extensions. In some cases, women finagled the system and managed to stay in the shelter for nearly two years. Most got apartments to themselves, though some had private bedrooms but shared a kitchen and living room.

At the daycare center, my job was to take care of the children while the mothers were getting their lives back together. I also helped children get into schools in the neighborhood, as they now lived in a completely new area, and were not supposed to tell anyone where they were for fear the abuser would track them down.

I devoted myself to the children, some of whom, like their mothers, had suffered serious violence. I assumed that these women, who didn’t work, didn’t go to school, and didn’t seem to do much but have lots of children, would be experts in child rearing. Hispanics, especially, who all seem to have large broods and for whom procreation seems to be the center of their lives, would teach Americans new techniques in child care that would be a great lesson for our society.

I was horrified to find that black and Hispanic mothers alike routinely left their children in unchanged diapers until they were covered with feces. They would take children — often younger than 10 — to R-rated, midnight horror movies. They would let children play on busy streets without the slightest concern for their safety. They littered their quarters with pizza boxes, soda cans, filthy clothes, and upturned furniture.

I was shocked but not discouraged. I began spending extra hours after my shift ended, taking care of the children as if they were my own. I would wash their diarrhea-sodden bodies and clean their filthy apartments. I would rock crying, fever-stricken children to sleep while the mothers were out buying malt liquor and cigarettes with their WIC money (Women, Infants, and Children — a food-payments program for poor women with children up to age five), getting ready for a date with whatever ghetto gigolo they were courting that week. I would throw birthday parties for the children and attend school functions because their mothers could not be bothered. This devotion earned me no respect or appreciation. The mothers called me “cracka ass” and “white bitch” while I labored on their behalf.

I did notice racial differences. On the whole, the Hispanics were cleaner and quieter than the blacks. Their standards were below those of the average white, but higher than the average black. Many despised the blacks with whom they were forced into contact. Hispanic mothers were there mostly for free services, and were always looking for the next entitlement. They were intensely proud of their ethnicity, and would explode into anti-white, anti-American anger if they felt slighted in any way — this included being denied a service or being asked to pay for something they thought should be free. They were often inarticulate to the point of being unintelligible, but it was clear that they thought America owed them anything they needed.

Even the more reasonable, friendly clients and staff constantly explained their failures by saying, “The white man keeps me down.” I learned that many blacks and Hispanics sincerely believe this cliché, no matter what their salary or station in life.

I never complained, and did everything with zeal and professionalism. I was nevertheless passed over for promotions and received scant appreciation from clients or staff. In that community, socializing seemed to be the key to popularity and promotions, and hard work seemed to be greeted with disdain. If I designed a new program for the staff, they resented it because it meant they would have to work, which was something they did only when forced.

I got complaints from clients. Some said I was arrogant and behaved as if I thought I was superior to them: “She thinks she betta than us cause she be in college!” The director — a black woman — told me I shouldn’t flaunt my privileged background. Wearing a T-shirt with my college name on it, for example, was considered offensive.

I also got in trouble for expecting people to follow the rules for using the daycare center. All children were welcome from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. for help with homework (management had the good sense to realize that our clients could not or would not do that). Otherwise, they were supposed to look after their own children unless they gave us advance notice and showed proof of an appointment or some other obligation. In fact, the mothers were always trying to “dump” children into daycare so that they could go out with boyfriends. This was a common fraud, but I tried to stick to the guidelines.

Once, after I denied a woman’s last-minute request to take her children, she complained to the director. I was called into the director’s office, where the woman said, “You do not want to take care of my children because you think you are better than us.” Of course, the director took her side, scolded me in front of her, and countermanded my decision. The mother’s fraud worked, and I had to watch her children that day.

I thought our program should teach the women to be better mothers to their children, and not to put them into daycare at every opportunity. After the director disciplined me for following the guidelines and trying to prevent fraud, she accused me of racism and told me, “We are here for the mothers, not the children.”

I went home crying that day, shocked for two reasons. I could not understand how anyone could possibly think I was racist, and I believed that whatever the shelter was for, the needs of the children came first. After almost two years at the shelter, I decided to find a different job, and switched to an administrative office in Manhattan.

Later I got a job at a different charity run by Safe Horizon called “The Streetwork Project.” This was a “drop-in” center in Harlem for “street involved youth” up to age 24. The majority of the clients were local teenagers, most of whom did not work, and who had drug habits that kept them in a state of desperation. They tended to be gang members, prostitutes, and runaways. Streetwork offers shelter, counseling, food, showers, a music room, computer labs, basic medical attention, and even acupuncture and meditation. It also served as an unofficial safe haven for illegal aliens and other criminals hiding from the police.

Safe Horizon and all of its programs are funded by city, state, federal, and private funds. One of my jobs at Streetwork was Coordinator of Data Quality and Reporting, which entailed keeping statistics. Almost every month my supervisor changed my report, increasing the number of clients served, so we would get more funds from backers.

When I interviewed at Streetwork, the supervisor’s very appearance should have been a warning, but years of indoctrination had conditioned me to squelch sensible worries. The man was large, black, dreadlocked, and obviously homosexual. A huge wooden penis sculpture was prominently displayed on his desk. He ended the interview by telling me, “Especially because you are a pretty white girl, you are not going to fit in here at Streetwork until you sleep with somebody here.” I laughed because I thought it was some sort of joke.

The Streetwork motto is “We are a non-judgmental environment.” Yet, every Wednesday all 75 staff members were required to meet in a circle and air their grievances. For eight to ten hours every Wednesday, these mandatory sessions would interrupt our mission to serve children in trouble and force us to play out our personal lives to a crowd of co-workers. More times than not, a black staffer — they were the vast majority — would vent his anger against a white staff member for no apparent reason. It seemed that it was an offense if white people were not sufficiently subservient or reverential to blacks.

The unintentionally offending white person would be made to grovel at the feet — yes, I have seen whites go on their knees before blacks — and apologize for slavery, white privilege, blacks in prison, the poor state of black neighborhoods, AIDS, drugs in their community, etc. Often the white worker was reduced to tears in a desperate attempt to appease the mass of angry black and brown faces. Finally, when the white employee was humiliated enough, and the cathartic cleansing had been achieved, a tentative truce would be called. The angry black employee would be praised and his anger encouraged, while the traumatized, cowering white worker would be put on probation and, through an act of supreme magnanimity, allowed to keep his job. These sessions were supposed to be run by social workers, but often just ran themselves while the social workers watched.

I was required to attend these sessions, and sometimes the spotlight was turned on me. I was never fully and publicly brutalized, but the anti-white sentiment was clearly directed at me as well.

Racial politics were very strict. We were forbidden to observe Columbus Day because Columbus was a “genocidal racist.” Instead, I had to observe Martin Luther King Day and black history month. In fact, I was required to do unpaid, after-hours work on King day.

I saw the only white, heterosexual male employee fired for saying “black people are born to dance,” in a moment of self-deprecation at a bar after work with co-workers. Apparently, a white man didn’t have the right to say anything about race, even if it was flattering. This white man was framed for a robbery and fired. Everyone on the staff knew he was innocent of the robbery, but he was white and proved himself to be a racist by that remark, and to them, that was reason enough to fire him.

Much more HERE  or here

After all that darkness above, let us spend a few minutes looking below at something white people like -- a celebration of the "Salzkammergut" (Austria's Lake district) from the operetta The Whitehorse Inn (Im Weissen Rössl).  The songs are in German but the joy is international. Wait for the final chorale



For those who are interested, there is some background here

And for those who enjoyed the above performance, try this:



("Adieu, mein kleiner Gardeoffizier" recorded at the Schönbrunn palace in Vienna, the home of music)






Nauseating! An odious press conference, apologists for terror and the do-gooders who fund them

Held at an 'art gallery' near London's Euston station, it was one of the most extraordinary and nauseating press conferences of recent times.

It had been convened at 3pm on Thursday by the 'human rights' organisation Cage following the identification of masked killer Jihadi John as the Kuwaiti-born Londoner Mohammed Emwazi.

For three years, the campaign group had been in close contact with and offered support to Emwazi before he left Britain to fight in Syria in 2012.

But rather than express an apology – or even a smidgen of regret – for having failed to turn him away from the path to barbarism, what we witnessed was almost an hour of excuses, accusation and invective against Britain, British society and the British state.

Broadcast live for 52 minutes on the BBC and 58 on Sky News, the men from Cage described Jihadi John as an 'extremely kind' and 'beautiful young man'.

The lachrymose assessment of his character was made by the organisation's 'research director' Asim Qureshi, who spoke uninterrupted for 18 minutes about the iniquities of British policy on the 'war on terror' and the unfair 'harassment' that men such as Jihadi John experience.

The heavily-bearded Qureshi is a very middle-class radical, who lives with his partner in a £500,000 house in suburban Surrey.

In 2006, Qureshi was filmed outside the US embassy in London addressing a rally organised by the extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir.

He said: 'When we see the example of our brothers and sisters fighting in Chechnya, Iraq, Palestine, Kashmir, Afghanistan, then we know where the example lies.

'We know that it is incumbent upon all of us, to support the jihad of our brothers and sisters in these countries when they are facing the oppression of the West. Allahu akbar! Allahu akbar!'

In a subsequent interview with the pro-Putin broadcaster Russia Today, Qureshi supported the imposition of Sharia law, including the stoning to death of adulterers and other brutal capital punishments.

This week, his opening harangue at the press conference was followed by Cage's 'media officer' Cerie Bullivant, a British convert to Islam.

He railed for another eight minutes about the treatment he had received at the hands of the security services 'in very similar circumstances' to those of Emwazi.

Bullivant, a 32-year-old former mental health nurse once married to a Kuwaiti-born woman, went on the run for two months in 2006 after being placed under a control order when it was suspected he was planning to go to Iraq to fight for insurgents.

He was later cleared of breaching the condition by a jury which accepted he had a 'reasonable excuse' for flouting the order because it was making his life miserable.

The civil rights organisation Liberty was sufficiently 'impressed' by his subsequent campaigning to award him a 'human rights young person of the year' award in 2011.

The third member and 'moderator' of the press conference panel was John Rees, a former leading activist of the Socialist Workers' Party.  His position is a good example of how the hard-Left has aligned itself with radical Islam.

Rees is national officer of the Stop the War Coalition and presenter on the Islam Channel, through which he fostered close links with Cage.

The group first appeared in 2003, when it was known as CagePrisoners. It was founded to oppose official Western policy on the 'war on terror' and to stand up for Muslims who were arrested, captured or killed in security operations.

Critics say it was – as we witnessed on Thursday – a sophisticated organisation that knows how to exploit a democratic system which enshrines free speech and human rights in order to support terrorists.

This is not a view, though, taken by two of Britain's largest left-of-centre charitable foundations, which saw CagePrisoners as a human rights cause worth supporting and donating hundreds of thousands of pounds to.

Some £120,000 was given by the Anita Roddick Foundation, which is run by the late Body Shop owner's husband and their children.

Funds from her estimated £100million estate have been given to a range of bodies that 'want to change the world'. This definition would seem to include an organisation that wants Britain to become a medieval caliphate.

A further £305,000 was given to CagePrisoners/Cage over a period of six years by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, a Quaker-run fund set up by the York-based chocolate maker and philanthropist.

Quite why the trustees support such a body is a question for their consciences. Probably, it is also a question for the Charity Commission to look into.

Sources at the Commission believe officials at the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust may have been 'duped' when they agreed to make donations to Cage. One said: 'They were conned after it re-branded itself as a human rights group.'

He said Cage (and its previous entity CagePrisoners) had been well-known to the security services for some years because of its support for terrorists.

Cage has also worked closely with two other UK-based organisations that have reported ties to Islamic extremists – the Cordoba Foundation and the Emirates Centre for Human Rights (ECHR).

Cage came to wider attention in 2006 when Birmingham-born Moazzam Begg joined it as 'outreach director'. He had been arrested in Pakistan in 2002 and spent three years at Guantanamo Bay where he claimed to have been interrogated 300 times.  He admitted having visited terror training camps in Afghanistan but was awarded £1million compensation by the British Government.

After his release without charge, he has since become a columnist for the Guardian.

Through Begg, Cage developed links with the radical preacher and Al Qaeda cheerleader Anwar al-Awlaki and campaigned for his release from detention in Yemen.

He was later killed in an American drone strike. In 2010, Begg also spoke of his desire for a Caliphate-style regime in Britain.

As for Cage, it is a mystery why it has escaped scrutiny for so long. Significantly in 2010, a director of the campaign group Amnesty International was suspended by the organisation for talking out of turn.

Gita Sahgal had criticised its close ties with Cage – which she described as 'jihadis' – and with Begg, who she called 'Britain's most famous supporter of the Taliban'.

Last year Begg was arrested over alleged links to terrorism training and funding in Syria, to which he had previously travelled.  As a result, Cage's bank accounts were frozen after intervention from the Treasury.

Although the charges against Begg were later dropped, it seems from the organisation's website that its accounts are still frozen.

One article posted on its website last year was headed 'British fighters in Syria should not concern us', which undoubtedly could be seen as encouraging or justifying terrorism.

Indeed, the 'human rights' outfit described the first British suicide bomber in Syria, Abdul Waheed Majid, from Crawley, as 'giving his life for a just cause, and it would be shameful of us were we to tarnish him and other Syrian fighters as terrorists for doing that'.

As an eminent former counter terrorism officer says: 'The outlook is very, very gloomy – far worse than it was after 9/11. And it is not helped by organisations such as Cage being basically apologists for slaughter.'

SOURCE

*************************

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

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

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

***************************




HOME (Index page)

BIO for John Ray






(Isaiah 62:1)


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.


I record on this blog many examples of negligent, inefficient and reprehensible behaviour on the part of British police. After 13 years of Labour party rule they have become highly politicized, with values that reflect the demands made on them by the political Left rather than than what the community expects of them. They have become lazy and cowardly and avoid dealing with real crime wherever possible -- preferring instead to harass normal decent people for minor infractions -- particularly offences against political correctness. They are an excellent example of the destruction that can be brought about by Leftist meddling.


I also record on this blog much social worker evil -- particularly British social worker evil. The evil is neither negligent nor random. It follows exactly the pattern you would expect from the Marxist-oriented indoctrination they get in social work school -- where the middle class is seen as the enemy and the underclass is seen as virtuous. So social workers are lightning fast to take children away from normal decent parents on the basis of of minor or imaginary infractions while turning a blind eye to gross child abuse by the underclass


Although I am an atheist, I have great respect for the wisdom of ancient times as collected in the Bible. And the command in Leviticus 20:13 that homosexuals should be put to death makes considerable sense to me. In an era when family values are under constant assault, such a return to the basics could be helpful. Nonetheless, I approve of St. Paul's advice in Romans chapter 1 that it is for God to punish them, not us. In secular terms, homosexuality between consenting adults in private should not be penalized but nor should it be promoted or praised. In Christian terms, "Gay pride" is of the Devil


The homosexuals of Gibeah set in train a series of events which brought down great wrath and destruction on their tribe. The tribe of Benjamin was almost wiped out when it would not disown its homosexuals. Are we seeing a related process in the woes presently being experienced by the amoral Western world? Note that there was one Western country that was not affected by the global financial crisis and subsequently had no debt problems: Australia. In September 2012 the Australian federal parliament considered a bill to implement homosexual marriage. It was rejected by a large majority -- including members from both major political parties


Religion is deeply human. The recent discoveries at Gobekli Tepe suggest that it was religion not farming that gave birth to civilization. Early civilizations were at any rate all very religious. Atheism is mainly a very modern development and is even now very much a minority opinion


Gender is a property of words, not of people. Using it otherwise is just another politically correct distortion -- though not as pernicious as calling racial discrimination "Affirmative action"


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


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


"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" - Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)


So why do Leftists say "There is no such thing as right and wrong" when backed into a rhetorical corner? They say it because that is the predominant conclusion of analytic philosophers. And, as Keynes said: "Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back”


Children are the best thing in life. See also here.


Juergen Habermas, a veteran leftist German philosopher stunned his admirers not long ago by proclaiming, "Christianity, and nothing else, is the ultimate foundation of liberty, conscience, human rights, and democracy, the benchmarks of Western civilization. To this day, we have no other options [than Christianity]. We continue to nourish ourselves from this source. Everything else is postmodern chatter."


Consider two "jokes" below:

Q. "Why are Leftists always standing up for blacks and homosexuals?

A. Because for all three groups their only God is their penis"

Pretty offensive, right? So consider this one:

Q. "Why are evangelical Christians like the Taliban?

A. They are both religious fundamentalists"

The latter "joke" is not a joke at all, of course. It is a comparison routinely touted by Leftists. Both "jokes" are greatly offensive and unfair to the parties targeted but one gets a pass without question while the other would bring great wrath on the head of anyone uttering it. Why? Because political correctness is in fact just Leftist bigotry. Bigotry is unfairly favouring one or more groups of people over others -- usually justified as "truth".


One of my more amusing memories is from the time when the Soviet Union still existed and I was teaching sociology in a major Australian university. On one memorable occasion, we had a representative of the Soviet Womens' organization visit us -- a stout and heavily made-up lady of mature years. When she was ushered into our conference room, she was greeted with something like adulation by the local Marxists. In question time after her talk, however, someone asked her how homosexuals were treated in the USSR. She replied: "We don't have any. That was before the revolution". The consternation and confusion that produced among my Leftist colleagues was hilarious to behold and still lives vividly in my memory. The more things change, the more they remain the same, however. In Sept. 2007 President Ahmadinejad told Columbia university that there are no homosexuals in Iran.


It is widely agreed (with mainly Lesbians dissenting) that boys need their fathers. What needs much wider recognition is that girls need their fathers too. The relationship between a "Daddy's girl" and her father is perhaps the most beautiful human relationship there is. It can help give the girl concerned inner strength for the rest of her life.


A modern feminist complains: "We are so far from “having it all” that “we barely even have a slice of the pie, which we probably baked ourselves while sobbing into the pastry at 4am”."


The love of bureaucracy is very Leftist and hence "correct". Who said this? "Account must be taken of every single article, every pound of grain, because what socialism implies above all is keeping account of everything". It was V.I. Lenin


"An objection I hear frequently is: ‘Why should we tolerate intolerance?’ The assumption is that tolerating views that you don’t agree with is like a gift, an act of kindness. It suggests we’re doing people a favour by tolerating their view. My argument is that tolerance is vital to us, to you and I, because it’s actually the presupposition of all our freedoms.

You cannot be free in any meaningful sense unless there is a recognition that we are free to act on our beliefs, we’re free to think what we want and express ourselves freely. Unless we have that freedom, all those other freedoms that we have on paper mean nothing" -- SOURCE


On all my blogs, I express my view of what is important primarily by the readings that I select for posting. I do however on occasions add personal comments in italicized form at the beginning of an article.


I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age.

I imagine that the the RD is still sending mailouts to my 1950s address!


Germaine Greer is a stupid old Harpy who is notable only for the depth and extent of her hatreds


Even Mahatma Gandhi was profoundly unimpressed by Africans





Index page for this site


DETAILS OF REGULARLY UPDATED BLOGS BY JOHN RAY:

"Tongue Tied"
"Dissecting Leftism" (Backup here)
"Australian Politics"
"Education Watch International"
"Political Correctness Watch"
"Greenie Watch"
Western Heart


BLOGS OCCASIONALLY UPDATED:

"Marx & Engels in their own words"
"A scripture blog"
"Recipes"
"Some memoirs"
To be continued ....
Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).
Queensland Police -- A barrel with lots of bad apples
Australian Police News
Paralipomena (3)
Of Interest


BLOGS NO LONGER BEING UPDATED

"Food & Health Skeptic"
"Eye on Britain"
"Immigration Watch International".
"Leftists as Elitists"
Socialized Medicine
OF INTEREST (2)
QANTAS -- A dying octopus
BRIAN LEITER (Ladderman)
Obama Watch
Obama Watch (2)
Dissecting Leftism -- Large font site
Michael Darby
Paralipomena (2)
AGL -- A bumbling monster
Telstra/Bigpond follies
Optus bungling
Vodafrauds (vodafone)
Bank of Queensland blues


There are also two blogspot blogs which record what I think are my main recent articles here and here. Similar content can be more conveniently accessed via my subject-indexed list of short articles here or here (I rarely write long articles these days)



Main academic menu
Menu of recent writings
basic home page
Pictorial Home Page
Selected pictures from blogs (Backup here)
Another picture page (Best with broadband. Rarely updated)



Note: If the link to one of my articles is not working, the article concerned can generally be viewed by prefixing to the filename the following:
http://pandora.nla.gov.au/pan/42197/20121106-1520/jonjayray.comuv.com/