PC WATCH Mirror by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- January, 2015 archive

The creeping dictatorship of the Left...

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

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


23 April, 2015

Multiculturalist violently raped victims

A double rapist ex-soldier who went undetected for 12 years after attacking a 16-year-old in a West End nightclub and raping a second woman at knifepoint has finally been jailed.

Violent Solomon Khoorban, now 33, forced himself on the teenager in the VIP area at Equinox nightclub in Leicester Square - which has now been replaced by a casino - after punching her so hard in the face that she was knocked unconscious.

He then ordered his terrified victim to wait in the VIP area for at least 30 minutes, threatening to kill her if she did not oblige.

Just two months later, in August 2003, the knife-wielding attacker raped a 32-year-old woman as she walked through Greenwich, south east London.

The former gunner, who was 21 at the time, put her in a headlock, dragged her into the bushes and raped her twice.  He also told her: 'B****** shouldn't be out at this time'.

Both rapes were reported to police at the time but it took detectives more than a decade to track Khoorban down and link him to the sex attacks.

The arrest came after the Metís Specialist Crime and Operations Command carried out a review of both investigations in September 2014.

Detectives combed through a series of ID photos from the British Army before identifying Khoorban as a suspect. When he was arrested in November 2014, police linked his DNA to the attacks. He had not previously been on the DNA database because he had not been in trouble with police.

Jailing him at Snaresbrooke Crown Court for 16 years, Judge Sheelagh Canavan said Khoorban was a 'violent sexual predator' who had ruined his victims' lives.

She said: 'The damage you have caused these women and no doubt will continue to cause will last the rest of their lives. They are serving a life sentence.

'The younger girl was 16 with her whole life to look forward to and she is moving forward with this over her.

'The second victim has been traumatised by what you did to her. Nothing I can say or do will change that.

'You are a violent sexual predator, I have no doubt you were excited by your use of violence which was far beyond anything that was needed to achieve your purpose.'

During the hearing, the court heard how Khoorban had raped his first victim during a night out when she was marking the end of her GCSEs.

The soldier had asked his victim to go upstairs to talk and she agreed because her feet were hurting after dancing in high heels.

The court heard how the subsequent attack was so violent that the teenager had to be rushed to hospital to be treated for her injuries.

Judge Sheelagh Canavan said: 'I doubt anyone who was there will forget the sight of that young girl as she ran from the scene of the attack.'

The court heard how police had launched a manhunt for Khoorban after the first rape, releasing an e-fit in a public appeal.

But Khoorban, who was based with the Royal Artillery's 16th Regiment at Woolwich barracks at the time, was not caught.

Instead, two months later, he targeted another woman after prowling the Greenwich area armed with a knife.

In a desperate attempt to protect herself, the victim told Khoorban she was pregnant and had AIDS.

But Khoorban shoved his hand over her mouth, thrust the knife into her face and punched her repeatedly, knocking out her teeth and leaving her with permanent scarring.

After raping her, Khoorban told the woman to wait in the bushes for ten minutes to allow him time to escape. He threatened to 'finish her' off if she moved.

The court heard how the victim told police it was 'like an eagle had landed on me'.

The court heard how, during his time in the army, Khoorban once bit off part of a comrade's earlobe and broke his nose.  He hit another soldier in the face and punched a third so many times he lost consciousness.  But the soldier, who served in Northern Ireland, Cyprus and Germany, never faced a civil or military charges for these offences. He was only discharged from the army in 2007 for using cocaine.

Several years after the attacks, he was also  diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and depression. In court, the defendant acknowledged he was not suffering mental health problems at the time of the attacks in 2003. 

Christopher Amis, defending, said his client wanted forgiveness from his victims, but was not expecting it.

He told the court: 'There's nothing I can say to undo what this defendant visited on these two victims, nothing can put matters right and absolutely nothing that can turn back the clock.'

He added: 'He entered pleas of guilty, he has not prevaricated and whatever else he's done he has at least spared these two victims of these appalling crimes the ordeal of having to give evidence in front of a jury.

'He served in the army for a number of years and while it's true he was discharged in circumstances relating to the taking of cocaine, it's also right that there's no evidence that whilst he was serving in the army he did anything other than discharge his duty satisfactorily.'

Mr Amis said Khoorban also recognised that he had been 'a bad person' for carrying out the attacks.

'I asked him why he did it and he said "I was a bad person in those days, I recognise it and I say it, I don't recognise myself now as the person I was then"', he told the court.

'I asked him if there was anything he wished me to say that he felt he would want said, he said: "I just want forgiveness, I'm not expecting it, I don't deserve it but I want it and I need it".

'He acknowledges that he will never be forgiven for these appalling offences and that's a burden he will carry the burden for the rest of his days.'

Khoorban, who appeared in the dock in a dark green prison tracksuit and a full beard, sat with his head in his hands and sighed throughout the hearing.

The former soldier, from East Ham, London, will also have to sign the sex offender's register indefinitely.

After the hearing, investigating officer Detective Sergeant Matt Flynn praised the bravery of the two victims.

He said: 'Both young women were subjected to horrific and gratuitous ordeals at the hands of a dangerous and predatory individual.

'The devastating affect of these attacks on both women is indescribable. For the past 12 years they have had to get on with their lives knowing their attacker was still out there.

'It is only due to their courage and fortitude that Khoorban was charged with these abhorrent and cowardly attacks. Without their support he would not have been brought to justice.'


The very incorrect British multi-millionaire Michelle Mone

Itís not often that a prominent business woman would openly attribute part of her success to improved looks. But Mone is adamant that slimming down helped her to grow her businesses, (which include lingerie group Ultimo and self-tanning products UTan), earn more money, and get into the inner influential circles from politics to Hollywood.

ďHow I look reflects on my brand,Ē Mone told Business Insider in an interview at her London penthouse apartment, which overlooks the Thames, Tower Bridge, and the Tower of London.

ďI canít go out there with greasy hair, spots, no makeup, and [as a] size 22. A brand canít sing from the rooftops if the owner is walking around looking horrendous,Ē Mone said. ďSociety is full of gossip and celebrity magazines and thatís the world we live in.

Will that change? I donít think so. When I mentor people, I say, you donít have to go around looking like a supermodel but you have got to feel your best, look your best and feel good about yourself.Ē

Since 2010, Mone has lost eight stone in weight (112 pounds), and has gone from a UK size 22 to a UK size 10/12. She runs between 3-8 kilometres a day. Her Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts are usually peppered with pictures of her daily runs and gym sessions.

ďWhen I was eight stone overweight, I got tired more easily, I would get exhausted and I wasnít always positive,Ē she said. ďWhen I started to lose weight and look more glamourous, doors started to open, it sounds horrible but itís true.Ē

ďYes, some people will say you get successful obese business people. But are they happy? Probably not,Ē she added.

The entrepreneur told Business Insider that her physical and inner health transformation has helped her garner £1 billion ($US1.5 billion) worth of press coverage during Ultimoís 17-year history.

The number seems large, and itís not clear how the PR value of that exposure is calculated, but if you live in Britain you can see that itís entirely possible: She is in the media all the time.

She features in glossy magazines like Hello regularly, and she fronted a national campaign from British Airways. She was also featured on reality shows ďThe Apprentice,Ē ďMasterchef,Ē and ď71 Degrees North,Ē as well as being on political panel shows like ďThe Agenda,Ē alongside UK Prime Minister David Cameron.


Rev. Graham: 'Halt All Immigration of Muslims From Countries That Have Active Terrorist Cells'

In reference to the shooting and beheading of 30 Ethiopian Christians by the Islamic State as shown in a video over the weekend, as well as the ongoing threat posed by radical Islam in general, Reverend Franklin Graham said the U.S. government should "halt all immigration of Muslims" from any countries "that have active terrorist cells."

He added that the government should also take "immediate military action" to defeat the Islamic State.

"Each dayís news seems to reveal new horrors from militant Islam," said Rev. Graham in an Apr. 20 post on Facebook.  "Can it be that the world is no longer as shocked by Christians having their heads cut off and then ISIS proudly promoting this on video? We should continue to be horrified and nauseated."

"We should make sure our government and the current administration recognizes Islam for the danger it is, and that they are doing all they can to work against it," he said.

Rev. Graham continued, "Our government needs to: (1) Immediately look at immigration reform to halt all immigration of Muslims from countries that have active terrorist cellsóthe threat this poses to our nation is huge and could end up costing thousands of lives in the future if we donít act now. And (2) Take immediate military action to defeat ISIS."

"The influence of radical Islam is spreading, not diminishing," said Rev. Graham who is president of the international Christian relief group Samaritan's Purse.

The evangelical pastor also urged Americans to contact Congress and express their "concern and outrage" over the killing of Christians by Islamists.

The 30 Ethiopian Christians killed by the Islamic State apparently were migrant workers traveling north to the Mediterranean Sea to catch a boat to Europe when they were captured. The Christian workers reportedly were killed on a beach in Libya, as shown in the video and cited in some radical Islamic social media.

Back in February, 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians were beheaded on a beach in Libya by Islamic State members and a video of those murders was also posted online.


Madonna posts Instagram tribute to Margaret Thatcher - then deletes it moments later after receiving barrage of abuse from her gay fanbase

Madonna received a barrage of criticism from her gay fanbase today after posting a photograph of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and 'thanking' her for her service.

The 56-year-old pop star posted the image of the Iron Lady on Instagram - before quickly deleting it just moments later after receiving dozens of abusive messages from her gay fans.

Some of her fans took umbrage to the photo, which Madonna captioned with: 'Thank you Margaret Thatcher' followed by '#unapologetic #rebelheart' and a love heart.

The singer, who has a large gay fanbase, offended fans who reminded her that Thatcher enacted legislation that banned 'promoting' homosexuality in 1988.

Conservative Thatcher, who led the country from 1979 until 1990, established Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 Ė a legislation that was considered anti-gay and later overturned in 2003.

Section 28 was introduced against a backdrop of councils promoting gay relationships in schools and the rise of AIDS.

The section of the act banned councils from using taxpayers' money to fund books, plays, leaflets, films or any other material showing gay relationships as normal and 'promoting the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship'.

Madonna, who has previously immersed herself in the gay community and was named one of the greatest gay icons of all time in 2012, thanked Thatcher for her rule in the Instagram post today.

Thatcher's government claimed to have taken up the 'dangerous gauntlet' to protect children but it became a rallying cry for campaigners.

Current Prime Minister David Cameron has since apologised for banning the promotion of homosexuality in schools.

Speaking in 2009, Mr Cameron said the Conservative party had 'got it wrong' when it introduced Section 28 in the late 1980s.

He insisted he was making his apology because the legislation had been ' offensive to gay people' and said: 'I'm sorry for Section 28. We got it wrong. It was an emotional issue. We have got to move on and we have moved on.'

Alongside the portrait of Thatcher, she pulled out a famous quote from the Iron Lady, which read: 'If you just set out to be liked, you will be prepared to compromise on anything at anytime, and would achieve nothing.'

The post was signed off with #rebelheart Ė in an apparent plug for her new album which goes by the same name.

However, she took down the post just minutes after uploading it, after fans responded with criticism.

One fan, called Sean, wrote: ĎMadonnaís Thatcher post was too farí.

Another, writing under the name Madonsha, said: ĎLost a bit of respect for Madonna for posting a picture of Margaret Thatcher, that woman ruined this country recked (sic) so many lives urgh.í

And Richard Rippon added: ĎMadonna should know that Thatcher was divisive in the UK. Some thought she was a heartless witch, others, an evil threat to society.í

However, other fans praised her Instagram post, including Louise Mensch [a Conservative politician] who wrote: ĎMadonna back in my good books. #Thatcherí



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

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

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


22 April, 2015

Multicultural pervert

A dry cleaner in his fifties has been banned from using the Tube during rush hours after targeting a young woman and rubbing his crotch and pot belly on her bottom.

Mohammed Tahir, 53, of Leytonstone, east London, got off his train at Mile End and picked a target on the platform - a 'confident and articulate' professional in her 20s, a court heard.  He then followed her onto a Central line service and stood as close to her as he could.

Tahir sidled up to the victim and pretended to accidentally slide his hand across her thigh as she stood with other passengers in the busy carriage on a hot summerís day.

Unable to leave the packed train, she tried to change position and lean as far away as possible to escape his advances.  But Tahir moved even closer and began rubbing his crotch and pot belly against her thigh and bottom.

His behaviour was so obvious that it had attracted the attention of undercover police officers who were watching his every move.

Eventually, the horrified young woman managed to attract the attention of one of them and Tahir was arrested, finally putting an end to the nightmare ordeal.

Detectives later discovered that Tahir was charged with two similar offences in 2003 only to be cleared after the prosecution file failed to arrive in court in time.

At the Old Bailey, Judge Rebecca Poulet QC said that the experience was clearly very 'frightening and shocking' for the victim, who cried while giving evidence, despite seeming very confident and self-assured.

He was convicted of sexual assault after a two-day trial at the Old Bailey, but the judge decided not to jail Tahir in the hope that he can tackle his problems under the supervision of Probation officers - despite saying 'there must be a custodial sentence'.

Tahir was given a six-month prison sentence suspended for two years, a 12-month supervision order, told to complete to do 150 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay an £80 victim surcharge.

The judge also prohibited him from travelling on the Tube or entering any London Underground station between 7am and 10am and 4pm and 8pm for five years.

The judge told Tahir: ĎYour purpose in getting off was not because you were hot as you claimed but in order to look for a suitable young woman and to follow her on to the train for your activities.

ĎThat is exactly what you did. So blatant was your conduct that no less than three undercover police officers saw you doing it and saw you looking at young women.

ĎYou spotted [the victim] and followed her on to the Central Line train. It was fairly crowded and she stood centrally in the area near the double doors holding the rail with her right hand.

ĎWhen the train moved off she felt something brush her left side. She looked down and saw your hand by her side in a somewhat unnatural position and it made her uncomfortable.

ĎShe moved to get away from you, still thinking the touching might be accidental. When the train moved again you came closer, pushing your stomach up against her and then your crotch.

ĎShe leaned as far as she could in order to move herself away from you but you moved with her, pressing up against her. You pressed your crotch on her thigh and buttock. She could feel you pressed firmly against her buttock.

ĎDespite being a confident and articulate and fair witness she cried giving evidence and the experience was clearly frightening and shocking for her.

ĎIn my view there must be a custodial sentence. You were in grave peril of going immediately to prison. I want to impose a sentence that will prevent you from behaving like this ever again and the public is best served by suspending this sentence.í


Is Sexual Orientation a Choice?

libertyPresidential candidate Marco Rubio says, ďI believe that sexual preference is something that people are born with,Ē but goes on to say, ďI donít believe same-sex marriage is a constitutional right.Ē Letís consider both of these ideas from a political perspective.

First, whether people choose their sexual orientation or are born with it is irrelevant from a political perspective. As long as peopleís actions are not violating the rights of others, their choices about sexual partners and any other personal matters should be of no concern to the government. So, Iíll criticize Rubio for making this statement, not because heís right or wrong, but rather because as a political candidate he should have said that whether people are born with their sexual preferences should have no bearing on politics or government.

Second, and following from the first point, government should treat people as individuals rather than as members of a group (even group sizes as small as two), so government should not be involved in determining whether people are married at all. Rubio says the determination of who can be married should be left to the states, but really, it should be left to those people and whatever other groups they choose to belong to (such as a church) to decide.

But, the federal government does recognize marriage, in its tax laws among other things. Married people are treated differently from single people for tax purposes. The same-sex marriage question then becomes whether people should be able to choose their family units for tax purposes, or whether the government should exclude certain arrangements. Based on the principle of protecting individual rights, I would argue that individuals should be able to choose their significant others for tax purposes, regardless of gender. So once again, Iím siding against Rubio on this.

This would be a non-issue if people were treated as individuals by government. Thatís the point Iíd like to see Rubio make.


Civil unions offer the same tax treatment as marriage

Rev. Graham: Holocaust Could Reoccur -- Antisemitism on Rise From Muslim Immigrants

"Have we learned anything from history?" asked Rev. Graham in an Apr. 16 post on Facebook.

"Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day, set aside for the world to never forget the 6 million Jews who were slaughtered by the Nazis," said Rev. Graham. Could the holocaust be repeated? I'm afraid so."

"Anti-Semitism is at the highest levels since the late 1930s," he said. "This is coming from the influx of Muslim immigrants to Europe, the United States, and other Western countries over the past few decades, and they are bringing their hatred of Jews -- and Christians -- with them."

"This is a poison," said Rev. Graham. "Muslims have been on TV in Europe spouting 'Hitler should have finished the job!' Have we learned anything from history?"

In a later Facebook post, also on April 16, the reverend wrote, "It seems as though Americaís current policies toward Iran might be enabling the rebirth of the Persian Empire. This could threaten the entire Middle East, from Europe to the borders of India, and is a direct threat to the national security of Israel.

"Prime Minister Netanyahu says the Iran nuclear deal shows that the world hasnít learned from the Holocaust."

In January of this year, USA Today reported that Jews have been fleeing France in droves for the last few years, many of them moving to Israel. The reason? Ever-increasing anti-Semitism in France and Europe overall, largely coming from Muslim immigrants.

An estimated 22,000 Jews are calculated to have left France for Israel between 2012 and 2015.

"French Jews are leaving for two main reasons: because they don't feel welcome, and because they don't feel safe," said USA Today.  "They don't feel welcome because a rising tide of anti-Semitism has poisoned the atmosphere in France over the past couple of decades. It's not so much the old anti-Semitism of the pre-War variety as a new anti-Semitism brought on by a wave of Muslim immigration, though the two have reinforced one another."

"And they don't feel safe because of attacks on Jews," said the newspaper. "As the Chief Rabbi of France,Haim Korsia, notes, it's not just last week's attacks on a Kosher deli and on the Charlie Hebdo news weekly: 'Jews have been killed and there were the shootings in Toulouse and in Brussels. In general, Jews feel vulnerable in our society. The Jews who were murdered were targeted specifically because they were Jewish.'"

In addition to fleeing to Israel, many Jews are "leaving for Britain, America and Canada," said USA Today.


Rape and the men whose lives are wrecked by lies: Suspects must be kept anonymous until conviction

Now if thereís one area of modern manhood that demands a serious rethink by those who run our country óĖ above even health, fatherhood and male suicide, which remain fiercely frontline issues ó itís the human right to be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Currently, under British legislation, any man can be accused of rape and named, even before the police bring charges.

This might be acceptable if every allegation were legitimate, but, sadly, they are not. Hence my fervent belief that pre-conviction anonymity is crucial for preserving the credibility of our justice system.

The stories of men whoíve been falsely accused make harrowing reading.

In June 2014 trainee barrister Rhiannon Brooker ó yes, a legal professional ó was jailed for three years after falsely accusing her former boyfriend Paul Fensome of rape and assault. He was held in custody for 36 days, including time on a secure wing after rumours that he was a paedophile. He has since received £38,000 in compensation.

In April 2012 Kirsty Sowden, a former John Lewis shop assistant, was jailed for crying rape over a fully consensual encounter with a man sheíd met online. He was arrested at his workplace and detained in a cell, wasting 376 hours of police time.

The reason? She felt guilty for cheating on her long-term boyfriend.

Shortly after this, 20-year-old York student Hannah Byron was spared jail after falsely accusing her ex-boyfriend of rape in revenge for breaking up with her.

Capping them all, 22-year-old Elizabeth Jones of Southampton was jailed in 2013 after a decade-long string of false allegations ó but only after making her 11th completely untrue accusation of rape. Her final victim was targeted because she Ďdidnít like himí.

Despite these cases thereís a belief that men deserve the stain of rape stigma, guilty or not, simply because they are male.

Julie Bindel, feminist writer and co-founder of the group Justice For Women, once said that Ďa fair number of celebrities ... have been accused of rape in the past and do not seem to have suffered longer-term. To say that an accusation ruins lives is perhaps a sweeping generalisationí.

Likewise, writing in the New Statesman, the social commentator Willard Foxton sneered that Ďthe fashionable thing to do on being cleared of rape these days is to walk free from the courtroom or police station and loudly issue a public statement calling for those accused of rape to be granted anonymity by the courts because of your ďordealĒ í.

Perhaps these two should speak to Reg Traviss, the former boyfriend of the late Amy Winehouse, who suffered a fictitious claim of rape in December 2012. He was acquitted, but only after his character had been publicly assassinated.

Southwark Crown Court in London heard that his accuser was Ďso drunk she couldnít stand up or walkí. CCTV footage secured by Travissís brother (not the police) proved otherwise.

Then thereís Peter Bacon. In 2009, a jury cleared him of rape in just 45 minutes after he had been falsely accused by a woman with whom he had a one-night stand. The nightmare was so bad he changed his name and left the country. And yet, in spite of all this, nothing has been learned.

Oxford University students are some of the most privileged young people in Britain. But Ben Sullivan, president of the Oxford Union debating society, didnít enjoy any exemption when he was arrested at 6am one day in May last year and detained in a police cell.

For months he endured public suspicion before police confirmed he wouldnít face a single charge. Yet he still had to pay £15,000 in legal fees and have his life marred.

Sarah Pine, vice president for women at Oxford Universityís student union, spearheaded a campaign against Sullivan, even before the accusations were fully considered by police. She called on scheduled guest speakers to boycott his debates and for him to resign.

Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble, the U.S. political analyst Norman Finkelstein and even David Mepham, UK Director of Human Rights Watch, agreed to her request. Only Jennifer Perry, an expert on the internet and cyber-crime, resisted ó and later spoke of how she felt Ďthreatenedí and Ďintimidatedí by Pineís gender-driven agenda.

At the time Pine said: ĎThis is not about denying the legal process of being innocent until proven guilty ... In any other profession if someone was arrested for rape and attempted rape, they would stand down while the investigation was ongoing.í

After his ordeal, Sullivan told reporters: ĎIn cases like mine, everyone should have the right to anonymity. The police and Crown Prosecution Service should then be able to go to a judge and ask for the anonymity to be waived, if they need it.í

Originally, the law agreed. In 1976, the Labour government introduced rape trial anonymity for both the alleged victim and the accused. But in 1988, guidelines were relaxed to help police investigations.

At the time, the way information was disseminated was far less powerful than now. There were no gossip websites, no mobile phones with cameras, no social networking sites.

Today, the landscape is different. And ó once again ó the law should change to reflect this, because a not guilty verdict is no longer enough to repair the damage caused by weeks of daily speculation and viral gossip across the globe.

Labour peer Lord Corbett, who introduced the 1976 law, argued this until his death in 2012. ĎRape is a uniquely serious offence,í he said in 2002. ĎAcquittal is not enough to clear a man in the eyes of his family, community or workplace...í

Maura McGowan, deputy High Court judge and chairman of the Bar Council, agrees. ĎUntil they [defendants] have been proven to have done something as awful as this [a sex crime], there is a strong argument in cases of this sort ó because they carry such stigma ó to maintain the defendantís anonymity until he is convicted,í she told the BBCís Radio 5 Live.

Take, finally, the case of Linsey Attridge. To stop her boyfriend leaving her, the 31-year-old claimed two men broke into her home and committed rape while he was away playing football. She then spent three days trawling social networking sites to find users she could Ďidentifyí as responsible. The men she chose were detained by police.

Two months later, Attridge confessed that it was a lie ó but only received 200 hours of unpaid community service as punishment.

Not one rape charity has ever come forward to denounce the culture of false allegations ó which surely betrays the real victims of rape more than pre-conviction anonymity ever could.

Sadly, itís not just the women who falsely claim to be victims of rape who breach our trust, but women in positions of power, too.

In 2010, an official inquiry report led by Baroness Stern ó a prison reform campaigner ó ordered Harriet Harman to stop misleading the public about rape statistics. For years sheíd been pumping out misinformation that only 6 per cent of rapists are brought to justice, but the 6 per cent figure relates to reported cases.

The conviction rate for those actually charged with rape is nearly two out of three.

A few weeks after Ben Sullivanís charges were dropped, I bumped into him in Central London ó minutes after stumbling across MP Nigel Evans (who was similarly accused ó then acquitted ó of rape. At the end of his trial in April last year, the former Commons Deputy Speaker spoke of his Ď11 months of hellí after a jury took less than six hours to acquit him of sex offences against seven men.)

I wonder if women like Harman or Bindel have ever seen men so ashen, so exhausted and so utterly violated by a system thatís shaped by radical Marxist-based theories from the Seventies. I doubt it.

Mutual anonymity would serve everybody, helping victims as well as conserving fair trials. It would deter anyone from making false claims out of spite and, conversely, could make testifying easier for those who have come forward. Identifying the accused often inadvertently identifies the victim, which adds immense pressure for them.

This is also the view of the majority. In a poll on the Guardian website, 71 per cent of readers supported pre-conviction anonymity. A similar survey by MailOnline showed 67 per cent of readers feel the same.

The consensus is clear: in a world of grey areas, consent is always black and white ó but the protection of anonymity must be too.



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

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

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


21 April, 2015

Why men refuse to marry

George Clooney, Benedict Cumberbatch and Eddie Redmayne may have all taken the plunge recently ó but they are a diminishing band of brothers, for the number of men marrying in the West has plunged in recent decades.

The state of matrimony is not just ailing. It is dying out faster than a mobile phone battery.

According to the Office for National Statistics, marriage in Britain is at its lowest level since 1895. In 2011, there were just 286,634 ceremonies ó a 41 per cent free fall from 1972, when 480,285 couples tied the knot.

For an army of women, Mr Right is simply not there, no matter how hard they look for him. And the reason? When it comes to marriage, men are on strike.

Why? Because the rewards are far less than they used to be, while the cost and dangers it presents are far greater.

ĎUltimately, men know thereís a good chance theyíll lose their friends, their respect, their space, their sex life, their money and ó if it all goes wrong ó their family,í says Dr Helen Smith, a lecturer at the University of Tennessee and author of Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood And The American Dream.

ĎThey donít want to enter into a legal contract with someone who could effectively take half their savings, pension and property when the honeymoon period is over.

ĎMen arenít wimping out by staying unmarried or being commitment phobes. Theyíre being smart.í

When British businessman Alan Miller married his first wife, Melissa, in 2003, he thought it was for ever. She immediately decided to give up work, including her £85,000 salary, to become what is known as a ĎHarvey Nichols wifeí ó spending her time shopping and lunching.

When they separated just two years and nine months later, he was forced to pay her a £5million divorce settlement, which included his £2.3million home in Chelsea and a £2.7million lump sum ó despite the fact they did not have children. Thatís £5,000 a day of marriage. Ker-ching!

Or take former Arsenal footballer Ray Parlour. When he wed girlfriend Karen in 1998, it all started out rosy. But by the time the relationship fell apart in 2004, the former opticianís nurse didnít just get two mortgage-free houses, £38,500 in annual support for their three children and a £250,000 tax-free lump sum...

Oh no. She also got personal maintenance of £406,500 a year from her exís future earnings. This, she said, was because she had Ďencouragedí him to be a good midfielder.

This is precisely why the WAG culture rages through our country like an aggressive disease. Girls of 16 aspire to be glamorous girlfriends because itís an easy life ó not because they love the game or even the men playing it.

Young women who wear so much make-up they have to tip their heads back to get their eyes open are encouraged to hunt in packs until they snag a rich footballer.

Why? Because it beats getting up at 7am, doing the daily commute and actually thinking about something other than themselves.

And then, when the marriage is over, itís time for the wife to make what Mayfair-based divorce lawyer Camilla Baldwin calls Ďsome real money ó more than the average person ever dreams ofí. Especially as some judges, particularly those in London, are renowned for favouring the wife in the division of assets.

So, whatís a man to do? ĎIf heís determined to get married, then he must get a pre-nuptial agreement,í says Baldwin. ĎOtherwise steer clear altogether.  ĎBe in a relationship, even live together. But donít get married. Especially if you have any prospect of making money.í

American social commentator Suzanne Venker agrees. The problem with divorce settlements, she says, is women want to have their cake and eat it.

ĎWe messed with the old marriage structure and now itís broken,í she says. ĎBack in the old days, stay-at-home mothers got a financial reward because child-rearing doesnít pay cash.  ĎNow we want total independence from men, but if we divorce ó even without having children ó we expect to get alimony for ever. We canít have it both ways.í

Along with the prospect of endless domestic criticism, this is why men are saying ĎI donítí rather than ĎI doí. Men need marriage like a fish needs a bicycle.

ĎMany women have been raised to think of men as the enemy,í says Venker. ĎItís precisely this dynamic ó women good, men bad ó that has destroyed the relationship between the sexes.

ĎAfter decades of browbeating, men are tired. Tired of being told thereís something fundamentally wrong with them. Tired of being told that if women arenít happy, itís their fault. The rise of women has not threatened men. It has just irritated them.í

But by far the most negative aspect of marriage is the likelihood of being edited out of your childrenís lives ó if it all goes pear-shaped ó by a state that has relegated the role of father to its lowest point ever.

It wasnít always this way. In the 1800s, men typically got custody of the children in the event of a split ó not as a result of privilege, but because they were solely financially responsible for them.

They got the children, but they also got the bill. Benefits Britain didnít exist, encouraging single mums to go it alone.

Now, 200 years on, women get the children, but men still get the bill. Sometimes, men even pay for children who arenít theirs.

The Child Support Agency has 500 cases of paternity fraud a year, where a mother names a man as the biological father of her child, even when she has a good idea he isnít. And thatís just the cases we know about. According to a YouGov study, 1.2 million men doubt they are the fathers of their partnersí children.

The recent case of Steven Carter, from Devon, is not unusual. The CSA deducted £50,000 from his bank account between 2007 and 2014, even though a DNA test later proved the child in question wasnít his.

They acknowledged this, but the Department of Work and Pensions still will not refund him because the Ďchildí is now 22, thus an adult, and so the case is officially closed.

Then thereís Mark Webb, who raised his Ďdaughterí for 17 years, only to discover she was not biologically related to him. When he sued his former wife for compensation, county and appeal court judges denied his damages claim, brushing it off as Ďa manís obligationí. To this day, no British woman has been convicted of paternity fraud.

This set-up is no accident, though. Since Harriet Harman and her pals entered politics, the laws that govern family life have been re-jigged to put women on top and men on the back foot.

They decided that families arenít societyís natural, balanced building block, but a cunning plot to oppress mothers while placing men in undeserving positions of power (when many men were breaking their backs in jobs they hated to keep everything ticking over).

To avenge this, they squeezed men from the home and hit them where it hurts: the heart.

Donít believe me? The Children Act of 1989 specifically declares: ĎThe rule of law that a father is the natural guardian of his legitimate child is abolished.í

A year later, a report by the Institute for Public Policy Research called The Family Way saw Harman declare: ĎIt cannot be assumed men are bound to be an asset to family life or that the presence of fathers in families is necessarily a means to social cohesion.í

Even now, the Children and Families Act of 2014 doesnít mention the word Ďfatherí once. Not once.

Sir Bob Geldof was one of the first high-profile men to challenge the legislation after losing access to his daughters Peaches, Pixie and Fifi when Paula Yates left him in 1995.

ĎIt was beyond expensive,í he told me. ĎI had to borrow money and was close to losing it all. In the end, my circumstances changed, but it could have been very different.

ĎMen still spend thousands getting court orders that arenít worth the paper theyíre written on. The whole system is disgusting.

ĎI remember a court clerk telling me: ďWhatever you do, donít say you love your children. Family courts consider men who articulate this as extreme.Ē It was madness.í

According to the Office for National Statistics, one in three youngsters have no access to their fathers, which equates to four million children in the UK.

But there is a ray of hope, says Dr Craig Pickering, from the charity Families Need Fathers. ĎThe Children and Families Act says, for the first time in English law, that both parents should be involved in a childís life after divorce,í he says.

ĎThe trouble is that its effectiveness depends on what the judges make of it. It wouldnít be the first time that they came up with their own bizarre interpretation of something straightforward.í

Pickering says sanctions should be imposed on mothers who fail to co-operate, such as passports and driving licences being confiscated.

ĎThe Government consulted on this, but stopped mid-way through,í he says. ĎWe donít know why.í

I put this to Edward Timpson, Minister for Children and Families. Eventually, I was told by the Ministry of Justice: ĎThe consultation concluded we should not introduce further punitive enforcement elements. There are already punishments available.í

Hmm. Perhaps someone needs to tell them they donít work.

Considering that the annual cost of family breakdown is reportedly £44billion ó thatís more than the defence budget ó youíd think curing fatherlessness would be a priority for a country haemorrhaging money. But it isnít.

Instead, everyone is petrified of inadvertently apportioning blame to single mothers, even though itís not about them. Only recently, in a bid to woo the female vote, David Cameron said deadbeat dads Ďshould be looked at like drink driversí, yet said nothing about the mothers who deliberately steer them off the road.

Here we had the head of the Government telling men to raise children properly, yet offering a law that actively keeps children and fathers apart as the solution. So much for family values.

Meanwhile, single-parent organisations such as Gingerbread ó supported by childrenís author J. K. Rowling of all people ó casually dismiss studies that suggest a lack of male role models at home increases the likelihood of crime and mental illness.

This is despite a study conducted by Oxford University, which followed 20,000 children from 1958 and found those with a father were far less likely to break the law or suffer from psychological issues. Young boys with involved fathers also performed better at school.

Dr Paul Ramchandani, of Imperial College London, conducted a study that found Ďdisengaged and remote father-child interactions as early as the third month of lifeí often lead to behaviour problems in children when they are older.

The logic is simple ó not having a father leaves a hole in the soul.  A void that young people frequently fill with drugs, alcohol or intimacy. This might not sit well in the feminist family framework, but sometimes the truth hurts.

In 2012, the substance misuse charity Addaction published a report that proved father deficit to be real, causing anger, self-loathing, addiction and identity issues.  It saw young men compensate with a Ďcounterfeit masculinityí of strength, anger and violence, often combined with sexual prowess.

Meanwhile, young women Ďact out a skewed version of femininity that prioritises the use of sex and relationships with men above all elseí.

Cruelly, this creates the cycle all over again, with teenagers jumping into bed with each other without a thought for the consequences.

The Trust for the Study of Adolescence recently proved scores of teenage girls in Britain are deliberately becoming young mothers as a career move because, with the state and the father contributing, it offers more guaranteed security than a job.

Even 13-year-old girls admitted this, which might explain why Britain has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Europe, at an annual government cost of nearly £63million.

Perhaps the law-makers need to think about radical action to break the cycle. Maybe men could be allowed to have a financial abortion from a child to which they didnít pre-consent.

In a specified time ó say, legal abortion guidelines ó men could be allowed to formally relinquish all monetary obligations, rights and responsibilities if duped into fatherhood. The woman still wants to proceed? Fine, thatís her choice. But not on his salary.

Controversial? Yes. But overnight we would see fewer acts of conception by deception. And that can only be a good thing ó for men and for society.


The Scottish Nasty Party and how its growing intimidation and intolerance of dissent reeks of fascism

The windows of the Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party offices in Aberdeen have been spray-painted with the word 'scum' and the unmistakable sign of the swastika.

The front door has been similarly defaced with a giant letter Q, for Quisling: that is, traitor. Labour Party offices half a mile away were also daubed with similar abuse.

A local Conservative councillor, Ross Thomson, described this as 'the ugly face of nationalism'. This showed restraint on his part.

In his place, I might have pointed out that the political party that actually used the swastika as its emblem was the Nazi party: short for National Socialist.

And I would have added that supporters of the Scottish National Party ó which claims to be to the left of Labour and which is undeniably Nationalist ó is increasingly engaged in the kind of street-by-street intimidation of opponents that we would more normally associate with fascists.

I gained some impression of this phenomenon when I spent time in Glasgow during the referendum campaign: but it has got much worse.

SNP activists openly describe how they have been 'hunting' Labour's shadow Scottish secretary, Margaret Curran, by stalking her and then yelling abuse as she tries to talk to electors on the doorstep.

When this was put to the rival SNP candidate in the constituency, Natalie McGarry, she claimed Mrs Curran was a 'fair target for community justice'.

This sinister phrase is nothing less than a defence of the mob.


The BBC in Scotland is wearily familiar with similar intimidation ó co-ordinated action by so-called cybernats has made the job of its journalists increasingly unenviable.

Its correspondent James Cook complained of the 'vicious abuse' he received, merely for reporting the civil service leak of a memo which had suggested that SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon would prefer David Cameron to Ed Miliband as prime minister.

And many other BBC reporters have been targeted, but not complained.

The head of the BBC in Scotland, Donalda MacKinnon, described the cybernat campaign of abuse as 'completely unacceptable'.

'Our journalists are entitled to carry on their work without the threat of unwarranted personal attacks online. The safety of our staff is of paramount concern to us and we are doing everything in our power to ensure they can carry out their work helping to inform our audiences without intimidation and abuse.'

The SNP is not a normal political party. It is more like a cult - and intolerance is one of the chief characteristics of all cults
Yet if the SNP had its way, there would be no political independence for the BBC ó or any other broadcaster north of what it wants to make a real border.

During the referendum campaign, the then SNP leader Alex Salmond declared: 'I don't think the broadcasting issue in terms of how it treats Scotland will be properly resolved till we have broadcasting under the democratic parliament of Scotland.'

The political control of broadcasters is one of the hallmarks of a dictatorship, whether fascist or communist. Salmond is neither of those: just a consummate opportunist ó the hallmark of ultra-nationalist politicians throughout the past century.

Down south, we have not seen Mr Salmond much lately on our TV screens. But he is at least standing for Parliament in the General Election. Not so his successor as First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon.

It is almost incredible how much broadcast airtime she is receiving ó there can be no complaint by cybernats about the BBC on that score ó given that she is not even standing in the election.

No one can vote for her on May 7 and yet she has been the dominant figure, by some accounts, in the various television leaders' debates in the past fortnight.

That, at least, was the praise accorded her performance by Conservative spin doctors and ministers, after her debating encounters with Ed Miliband.

I can see why Conservatives should want to describe Ms Sturgeon as the tail wagging the Labour Party dog ó it fits in with their posters showing a large Ms Sturgeon dangling wires controlling the movements of a tiny Mr Miliband.

But the Tories are playing with fire ó indeed, playing games with the Union itself ó by making a giant out of someone who, even on the present opinion polls, speaks for barely 4 per cent of the total British electorate.

They could, instead, point out the many ways in which public services ó such as education and health ó under devolved SNP control in the Scottish parliament have been less successful than under the Conservative-led Government in Westminster.

But Cameron refused to make any such criticism in his one multi-party debating encounter with Ms Sturgeon, because he really wants as many SNP MPs as possible to replace Labour ones in Scotland.

What sort of MPs would they be?

On the current polls, which indicate an almost clean sweep by the SNP, the Labour election campaign co-ordinator and shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander will lose his Renfrewshire seat to a 20-year-old SNP candidate, Mhairi Black.

Ms Black seems an appropriate representative for the cybernats, at least. Among recent tweets she revealed how she fantasised about 'putting the nut' on Labour councillors and posted how she 'woke up beside half a can of Tennent's and a full pizza and more money than I came out with. I call that a success!'


Perhaps with such candidates it is not so surprising that the SNP last month passed what has been described as a 'Stalinist' amendment to the party's standing orders.

It states: 'No Member shall, within or without Parliament, publicly criticise a Group decision, policy, or another member of the Group.'

Can you imagine what would be said if the Conservative or Labour Party imposed such a draconian code on its parliamentary candidates?

They would rightly be accused of the most outrageous constraints on the individual conscience of Members of Parliament and an assault on what it means to be a politician in a democracy.

Yet the SNP is not a normal political party. It is more like a cult ó and intolerance is one of the chief characteristics of all cults. Naturally, it is as entitled as any other party to be respected for its support among the population: and it clearly has the backing of about 45 per cent of all voting Scots ó mirroring the scale of the separatist vote in the referendum campaign.

The people I feel sympathy for are not the English, who might resent the influence of a triumphalist SNP contingent at Westminster. No, the real victims are the majority of Scots who don't agree with them, but are increasingly intimidated into silence by the Scottish Nasty Party.


Son of medical marijuana activist taken by child protective services after the 11-year-old spoke out to disagree with an anti-drug presentation at his school

A Kansas mother who uses marijuana to treat a debilitating disease is now fighting for custody of her child after the 11-year-old boy disagreed with an anti-drug presentation at his school.

Shona Banda, 37, who published a book about how she uses a liquid form of cannabis as therapy for Crohn's disease, has a custody hearing Monday in Garden City, Kansas.

Her boy was taken by authorities on March 24 after officials at his school reported comments he made about marijuana to child protection services.

The Department of Children and Families in the small Midwestern town then contacted police who went to Banda's home, according to the Garden City Telegram.

She did not give authorities consent to search her home, but they returned several hours later with a warrant and discovered marijuana in plant, oil, joint, gel and capsule form along with paraphernalia for the drug.

Two ounces of cannabis in plant form and one ounce of oil were reportedly seized.

Video supposedly of the incident posted on Youtube shows officers arriving at Banda's house without a warrant, standing in her backyard and refusing to let the woman enter her house for fear that she could disturb evidence.

'It is not public property, you donít have a warrant,' Banda is heard telling the police of her backyard, but a sergeant responds that it 'doesnít matter'.

The boy was given temporarily to his father, who is separated from Banda, but returned to state custody on Thursday ahead of the hearing.  No charges have yet been filed against the mother.

'For him to have spoken up in class I canít be upset about because he hears me daily on the phone talking with people, encouraging people to speak up and speak out,' she told Ben Swann of her son.

'My son says different things like, ĎMy mom calls it cannabis and not marijuana,í Banda said.

The mother, who was diagnosed with the inflammatory bowel disease Crohn's in the early 2000s, said that she had been losing weight and was 'on her death bed' before she began using cannabis oil in 2009.

Crohn's, where the body's immune system attacks the gastrointestinal system, causes pain, diarrhea, menstrual problems, lack of appetite and fatigue.

Banda said that the marijuana worked much better than any medicines that had been prescribed for her and she was soon able to walk without a cane, she said in a YouTube video.

She says that her son was pulled out of school and interrogated by police without her.

A Go Fund Me page has raised more than $20,000 for Banda's legal defense.

Supporters plan on rallying outside the courthouse when the author goes in for her custody hearing on Monday.


Air Force veteran is arrested for taking on protesters who were trampling on US flag

An Air Force veteran and former Playboy model was arrested for taking an American flag from campus protesters who were trampling on it.

Michelle Manhart, 38, was handcuffed by police at Valdosta State University, Georgia, and driven off in a patrol car after grabbing the Stars and Stripes and refusing to return it to the student demonstrators.

Video footage of the event, on Friday, shows Manhart struggling with officers, who force her to the ground after she refuses to let the flag go.

It shows her surrounded by protesters on the campus, who demand their property be returned. In response, Manhart says the flag belongs to 'the entire United States'.

Campus police try to convince her to drop the flag, but Manhart, a former training sergeant who served in Kuwait, refuses.

Speaking to the Valdosta Daily Times about her intervention, she said: 'I did not want anything like this, but I got a call from a student who told me that the flag was on the ground, and they were walking on it.

'I was just going over there to pick up the flag off the ground. I donít know what their cause is, but I went to pick it up because it doesnít deserve to be on the ground.'

She continued: 'If your cause is racism then find some white people and walk on them.

'But to walk on the flag is walking on our symbol of freedom. You have the freedom to do what you are doing because of it. Iím not fighting against them. Iím fighting against the way they are going about it.'

It is not clear what the demonstrators were rallying against. They did not answer reporters' questions about what their cause was.

According to the Daily Times, the group didn't want to press charges against Manhart. However, police gave her a trespass warning, which bans her from the campus.

The Daily Times reported that Manhart now intends to hold a pro-military counter-demonstration in the town on Wednesday.

In response to the incident, the university's president says he disapproves of the flag-trampling protest, but recognizes their right to express themselves that way if they choose.

Dr William McKinney said: 'The American flag represents everything that is best about our country. As the Supreme Court has held, one of those things is the right to free speech, which includes the right to disrespect even the symbol of our country.

'While I firmly disagree with the actions of the protesters, I understand their right to protest.'



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

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

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


20 April, 2015

Boy aged THIRTEEN becomes one of UK's youngest murderers as he is jailed for killing woman, 47, after stamping on her face so hard it left a footprint on her cheek

Interesting that no picture of the chief offender is allowed.  His name suggests that he is a multiculturalist, an Albanian Muslim, most likely.  Albanians in Britain are frequent criminal offenders

A boy of 13 has become one of the UK's youngest murderers after he was jailed for killing a woman he had just mugged by stamping on her face so hard it left a footprint on her cheek.

Shocking CCTV footage shows the horrendous moment Petri Kurti murdered 47-year-old Glynis Bensley before he fled to a nearby park in Smethwick, West Midlands and boasted about the savage attack.

The schoolboy, who can be named after a judge lifted a reporting restriction order, was jailed for a minimum of 12 years today and will be on licence for life.

His co-defendant, Zoheb Majid, was sentenced to 10 years behind bars for manslaughter and robbery.

Sentencing Judge John Warner said the boy had been 'running wild' in his home life.

'You come from a home where there has been a complete lack of boundaries or structure where neither parents understand the seriousness of your behaviour - they blame others. 'This reinforces your own clear reluctance to take responsibility for your own actions.'

Previously the court heard how the pair had teamed up with the sole intention of carrying out a violent robbery.

CCTV footage captured Kurti jumping Ms Bensley in the street as she made her way home from Seven Stars pub.

Majid joined in seconds later before the pair flipped her body over to ransack her pockets. Kurti was then filmed stamping on her face, leaving a shoe print on her skin.

The court previously heard that both Majid and the teenager thought Ms Bensley was a man because of her clothes and haircut.

He pleaded guilty to manslaughter but was found guilty of murder following a trial last month.

Kurti had been excluded from school and a pupil referral unit for his aggressive behaviour, and as young as he was, already had previous convictions for attempted theft, assault with intent to steal and battery.

He sentenced the 13-year-old to 12 years imprisonment for the murder with five years concurrent for robbery.

He was given another 12 months, to run concurrently, for another street robbery carried out with his 25-year-old sister whilst on bail for the murder on February 4.

The teenager was ordered to be detained at Her Majesty's Pleasure - the equivalent of a minimum term life sentence for a youth.

Judge Warner added while Kurti had boasted of the attack afterwards, he demonstrated 'criminal maturity'. 'I'm in no doubt that she was targeted by you both, selected to be robbed' he continued. 'She was chosen by you because she was clearly in a vulnerable condition.

'It started with you Petri Kurti punching her and she went to the ground.

'She suffered a minimum of two blows. There was a clear print of a shod foot visible on her cheek, she had been stamped in the face.

'You Petri Kurti were just 13 when you committed this murder, on the streets late at night effectively running wild.

'This was a murder committed for gain, a night time robbery. The victim was vulnerable and targeted as such.

'Zoheb Majid, you're about to turn 21.

'You knew what you were doing and knew what you were involved in. You knew the victim of this night time robbery was a vulnerable person.'

Earlier the court was told Kurti 'was not a mature' 13-year-old.

His solicitor, Michael Turner QC, said: 'He's operating at a level of a seven to 11-year-old in terms of his cognitive ability.

'He has real learning difficulties. He accepted the act that caused the death and limited the decision of the jury to one of intent.

'He is susceptible to control and influence by those older than him.'

After their sentencing Ms Bensley's family spoke of their horror that the 13-year-old had been out so late and behaving in such a violent way.

'It opens your eyes to a different world. We are talking two o'clock, four o'clock in the morning - that is not a normal 13-year-old,' said John Bensley, 60. 'They are cowards, the way they did it. She was an easy target.'

'Justice has been done. If it hadn't happened to Glynis it would have happened to someone else. It could have happened to anybody.

'They seemed a bit arrogant in court, there was no remorse. They are not sorry, they are sorry they have been caught."

Leading the investigation Detective Chief Inspector Sam Ridding said: 'It was clearly the joint intention of the pair to use violence on anyone they targeted: they were in it together as the CCTV showed - they arrived within seconds of each other.

'Ms Bensley was tragically in the wrong place at the wrong time and was randomly picked out by the pair believing that she was a man and that she was wearing a gold bracelet. 

'Our thoughts remain with Glynisí family at this time and we hope that todayís sentencing will provide some help in their grieving process.'


My Father Was Gay. Why I Oppose Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage

Dawn Stefanowicz   

It took me decades to come to my views on same-sex ďmarriageĒ in light of my personal experiences.

From infancy, I was unwittingly identified under the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual (GLBT) umbrella. During the first 30 years of my life, I garnered many personal, social and professional experiences with my father, whom I always loved, and his partners. My father, a successful executive recruiter, taught me a strong business ethic.

My Childhood

I was exposed to a lot of expressed sexuality in the home and subcultures. I experienced uncountable losses. Gender was supposed to be boundless; yet, I did not see my father and his partners valuing, loving and affirming women. My fatherís preference for one gender (male) created an inner sense of inequality for me.

As a dependent child and teen, I was not allowed to say anything that would hurt the feelings of the adults around me. If I did, I could face ostracism or worse. During my twenties, I achieved both academic and career goals, but for a long while, I denied the impact my childhood had had and lied to protect my father and his partners.

In 1991, my father died of AIDS. None of my fatherís partners/ex-partners are still alive.

I did not have all the words to express my thoughts and feelings until my late twenties and early thirties, so it took a while before I went public, but I knew that my father never would have supported same-sex ďmarriage.Ē Naturally, he knew that every child is created from both a father and a mother. He never required me to call any of his sexual partners ďdad;Ē instead I called each of them by first name. My father told me that he always wanted children.

The Push to Quiet Me and Others

Due to media silencing, political correctness, GLBT lobbying efforts and loss of freedom of speech, it is very hard to tell my story.

But I am not alone. Over 50 adult children from alternative households, plus ex-spouses with children, and parents who have left the ďgayĒ lifestyle have contacted me. Very few children will share their stories publicly.

For many of us adult children of gay parents, we have come to the conclusion that same-sex marriage is more about promoting adultsí  ďdesiresĒ than about safeguarding childrenís rights to know and be raised by their biological parents.

I feel so strongly about this issue that I have testified before lawmakers in Canada, regarding hate crime legislation, same-sex marriage and age of consent laws, and I have testified in nine U.S. states, to the 5th Circuit and to the Supreme Court, and in other countries.

How Same-Sex Marriage Has Changed Canada

Statements like this are lies: ďPermitting same-sex couples (now also throuples) access to the designation of marriage will not deprive anyone of any rights.Ē

When same-sex marriage passed in Canada in July 2005, parenting was immediately redefined, removing parentage from its biological origins. Canadaís gay marriage law, Bill C-38, included a provision to erase the term ďnatural parentĒ and replace it across the board with gender-neutral ďlegal parentĒ in federal law. Now, all children have ďlegal parents,Ē as defined by the state, which means parental rights have been usurped by the government.

In effect, same-sex marriage permits state powers to override the autonomy of biological parents. Necessary parental rights to teach children your beliefs, express your opinions, and practice your personal faith are infringed upon by the state when your beliefs, opinions and or faith practices are in opposition to what is taught and promoted at school. In fact, in Ontario, Canada, the Human Rights Commission regulations permeate and surround all public education.

For example, if you teach your children that same-sex sexual relationships are wrong and that every child has a father and a mother, and that only man-woman sex in marriage is allowed, you run the risk of thought police questioning your beliefs, especially if your children discuss these subjects in the classroom.

Consequently, parents experience state interference when it comes to moral values and teachings about family, parenting and sex education in schools. Also, children are deprived of knowing and being raised by both their biological father and mother since same-sex marriage allows for children to have same-sex parents where at least one parent is unrelated to the child.

Additionally, since the undefined term ďsexual orientationĒ was added as a protected category under Canadaís hate crime law in 2004 and same-sex marriage became legalized in 2005, guaranteed fundamental freedoms of the Canadian Constitution have been reinterpreted, eroded and/or nullified by activist courts and quasi-courts with no real juries, also known as the Human Rights Commissions. The federal Human Rights Commission (HRC) has had a three-decade 100 percent conviction rate for hate speech.

Though Section 13(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act was repealed in 2013, which came into effect in 2014, many people believe that a similar act will be proposed soon after the 2015 federal election. At the same time, many of the Canadian provinces have similar hate speech codes with high conviction rates which effectively restrict speech and blogging freedoms. Activists and special interest groups have long supported censorship of speech and internet communications in Canada.

In Canada, freedom to assemble and speak freely about man-woman marriage, family and sexuality are restricted.

Human Rights Tribunals/Commissions in Canada police speech, and penalize upstanding citizens for their speech and expressions in opposition to particular sexual behaviors. It takes only one complaint against a person to be brought before the tribunal, costing the defendant tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees. The Commissions have the power to enter private residences and remove all items pertinent to their investigations, checking for hate speech.

Yet the plaintiff making the complaint has his legal fees completely paid for by the government. Even if the defendant is found innocent, he cannot recover his legal costs. If he is found guilty, he must pay fines to the person(s) who brought forth the complaint.

Religious Freedoms Under Attack in Canada

Under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which forms the first part of the Constitution Act 1982, everyone was to have been guaranteed the following fundamental freedoms: (a) freedom of conscience and religion; (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication; (c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and (d) freedom of association.

Most faith communities have become politically correct to avoid fines and loss of charitable status.

In reality, these freedoms have been restricted. Businesses must provide goods and services to all customers, without regard to business ownersí conscience rights. Employersí hiring practices cannot discriminate, even if a potential employeeís sexual practices and relationships are frowned upon. (For example, a religious college couldnít refuse to hire someone who didnít share the collegeís views on sexuality without risking a Human Rights Commission complaint.)

Freedom to assemble and speak freely about man-woman marriage, family and sexuality are restricted. Activists often sit in on religious assemblies, listening for anything discriminatory towards GLBT, so a complaint can be made to the Human Rights Commission. Most faith communities have become politically correct to avoid fines and loss of charitable status.

Canadian media is restricted by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, the media censoring arm of government and similar to the Federal Communications Commission. If the media air anything considered discriminatory towards GLBT, broadcasting licenses can be revoked, and Human Rights Commissions can charge fines and restrict future airings.

I am a witness and I donít want America to lose her hard-won freedoms as my fellow Canadians have. Marriage must remain between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others.


It's Past Time to Acknowledge Black Privilege

Everybody acknowledges the existence of socioeconomic privilege in which wealthy people have more opportunities than poor ones, but white privilege makes the racist assumption that skin color is a principal factor. As defined in Wikipedia (and there are numerous references on the page), white privilege is "a term for societal privileges that benefit white people in western countries beyond what is commonly experienced by non-white people under the same social, political, or economic circumstances." It is past time to confront the politically correct Left with the issue of Black privilege, as shown by the following public figures.

Al Sharpton

Al Sharpton demanded and obtained the dismissal of radio show personality Don Imus for Imus' reference to black women as "nappy headed hos". While Imus' remark was inexcusable under today's standards of behavior, no black women were killed or injured as a result of his words. Seven employees of Freddy's Fashion Mart in Harlem were not so lucky when Al Sharpton and his National Action Network came to town.

Fred Harari [the store's owner] is called a "cracker" by Mr. [Morris] Powell and a "white interloper" by Rev. Sharpton. It contains threats: Mr. Powell says of Fred Harari, "We gonna see that this cracker suffer."

Morris Powell was head of the "Buy Black Steering Committee of the Mass Action Network" and, if a white person in a similar capacity had said, "We gonna see that this N-word suffer," we would expect a background of sheets, hoods, and burning crosses. Sharpton's explicit words were meanwhile, "I want to make it clear to the radio and audience and to you here that we will not stand by and allow them to move this brother so that some white interloper can expand his business on 125th St." Powell added, "We are not going to stand idly by and let a Jewish person come in black Harlem and methodically drive black people out of business up and down 125th St. If we stand for that, we will stand for anything." The following picture should put Sharpton's and Powell's words in the correct perspective.

This kind of statement is repulsive when it comes from the Ku Klux Klan and, were it not for Black privilege, it would be equally repulsive from Mr. Sharpton and his associates. In addition, no politician in his right mind (except for Ron Paul or the late Robert Byrd, KKK-WV) would associate openly with a Caucasian racist, while Barack Obama, John Edwards, and Hillary Clinton all made public appearances with Al Sharpton.

Now let's return to Don Imus' poor attempt at humor. Black rap artists refer routinely to Black women as "hos", Black people as the N word, women as a five-letter word for a female dog, and gay people as an offensive six-letter word. Snoop Dogg mixes lyrics that involve "hos" and the murder of police officers: "Then I'mma pop two cops or more/ I'm too hot, come through wit two proper whores."

The fact that these rap artists throw misogynist and racist trash into the African-American community's front yard does not give white people the right to do the same, but it is easy to see where Imus got the perception that this was acceptable. A yard full of trash can easily be taken for a junkyard or landfill, and the rap artists do far more to promote an image of a violent and criminal Black underclass than the Ku Klux Klan could possibly do.

It is also necessary to recall Mr. Sharpton's role in the Crown Heights riot, in which Sharpton's followers murdered a Jew, and his proven defamation of an innocent person in the Tawana Brawley scandal. Black privilege is the only conceivable explanation for Mr. Sharpton's continued presence on news shows, or indeed in any other mainstream media, along with tolerance of misogynist rap artists. The fact that Barack Obama continues to associate with this prominent racist and anti-Semite brings us to the next examples of black privilege:

Barack and Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama recently proclaimed, "Black girls rock!" So do white girls, if one is a fan of the now-disbanded duet Prussian Blue. (In fairness to the two blonde singers involved, they subsequently renounced their white supremacist views.) Even worse, however, are Barack Obama's own racism and his open association with hate groups.

Obama made clear his view on what white supremacists call "race mixing" in Dreams From My Father. Note how the stereotypical white person listens to country music the way stereotypical African-Americans listen to rap artists.

"Tim was not a conscious brother. Tim wore argyle sweaters and pressed jeans and talked like Beaver Cleaver. He planned to major in business. His white girlfriend was probably waiting for him up in his room, listening to country music".

Alternatively, as the Saxon warlord (doubtlessly modeled on today's white supremacists) put it in the movie King Arthur, "We don't mix with these people. What kind of offspring do you think that would yield? Weak people. Half people. I will not have our Saxon blood watered down by mixing with them." Had Obama's parents followed this kind of advice, of course, he would have never existed. The preface to Dreams From My Father adds,

"I ceased to advertise my mother's race at the age of twelve or thirteen, when I began to suspect that by doing so I was ingratiating myself to whites"

Obama also accepted an endorsement from "Father" Michael Pfleger, who threatened to "snuff" a licensed gun dealer. Pfleger then claimed that he didn't realize that "snuff" often indicates murder, which would of course constitute a terroristic threat. Obama's pastor, Jeremiah Wright, posted an opinion piece by a Hamas terrorist, and also published blood libels of the United States and Israel.

Wrightís church printed the "Letter to Oprah", which includes the following blood libel of Israel: "Both [Israel and South Africa] worked on an ethnic bomb that kills Blacks and Arabs." Wright himself blood-libeled the United States by accusing it of developing the AIDS virus -- i.e., of waging biological warfare, and added that "white America got a wake-up call after 9/11/01."

Barack and Michelle Obama attended this "church" for roughly 20 years, and exposed their children to Jeremiah Wright's hateful rhetoric. If a Caucasian had done this, the country would have realized quickly that he or she could not be president for all Americans regardless of their ethnicity.

During the 2008 election campaign, the moderators on Obama's website approved the posting of material that, for example, referred to Jews as "kike filth." This is but one of many selections of racist, anti-Semitic, ageist, and even misogynistic postings that met the moderators' standards for "civil discourse."


Faith Takes a Furlough

In the military, our troops are used to navigating landmines. They arenít used to having their own leaders plant them. That must be how it feels for religious service members, who are nervously stepping their way through a dangerous and hostile environment for faith ó created by the same administration they serve.

Unfortunately, identifying the countryís threats hasnít exactly been this Presidentís strong suit. In the same breath that he swaps terrorists for deserters and lets Iran off the hook, he turns the militaryís internal firepower on expressions of religion. The culture of the military, once one of the proudest professions in the world, is a depressed one ó with morale in a freefall and recruitment at its lowest levels in years. Gradually worn down by the seven-year war on religious liberty and decency, more men and women are opting to get out ó or worse, never sign up in the first place.

In a front-page story for the Washington Times, Jacqueline Klimas expands on what FRC has said for years: that the military cannot sustain this long-term assault on its values. Our good friend Mike Berry from the Liberty Institute has seen the fallout first-hand. ďI canít tell you how many moms and dads Iíve spoken to who say, ĎMy son or daughter wants to join the military, (but) in light of what youíve described, Iím not sure I want to let them join the military anymore,í and I donít blame them. I would have serious reservations about my own kids joining.Ē

In a military where even Chaplains are punished for their faith, more service members have to be wondering: why are we here? These brave men and women in uniform are dying for liberties that they canít even enjoy. Douglas Lee of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, said, ďI know people who get out, officers and chaplains, whoíve said, ĎI canít serve the way I want to in this environment. People whoíve said, 'Because of the religious liberty challenges I see, I think Iíll serve somewhere else.Ē The sacrifices of ó not just the service members, but their families ó must feel somewhat hollow now in a culture where you canít even say, ďHave a blessed day,Ē without triggering an investigation.

Then, of course, there are the double standards. [Wednesday], we told you about the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI) blaming the Bible, Constitution, and Declaration of Independence for ďmodern sexism.Ē It turns out, this training isnít the only thing under review. In a surprising twist, FRC learned that the commander of DEOMI, the very touchstone of political correctness in the military, has been suspended in December for alleged ďinappropriate touching.Ē You canít even make this stuff up! Itís like the Air Forceís Sexual Assault Prevention Officer, who was charged in 2013 with ó you guessed it ó sexual assault. And we wonder why the Pentagon has so many problems!

The DOD is having to address all of these issues of sexism, assault, relationship consent because Obamaís policies have sexualized the military to the point of complete and utter dysfunction. Unfortunately, this is a huge mess that the next President is not only going to inherit ó but has to address. In the extremely dangerous and volatile world that President Obama has fostered by his own ineptness, we canít risk having a military that is more concerned about the sexual advances of their members than advancing the militaryís mission of fighting and winning Americaís wars



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

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

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


19 April, 2015

Unemployed multiculturalist used his friend as a slave then chopped him up and dumped remains in canal

A man who killed his friend, stuffed the body into a suitcase and threw it into a canal has been jailed for 19 years.

Lorenzo Simon, 34, of Smethwick, West Midlands, and his girlfriend Michelle Bird used their friend Michael Spalding for slave labour before Simon killed him and dismembered his body.

The 39-year-old's remains were stuffed into two suitcases before Simon and Bird threw them into Birmingham Canal, a court heard. 

Police have now released CCTV video footage showing the pair dragging the cases along a pavement.

Simon was found guilty of murder at Birmingham Crown Court today and Bird, while being acquitted of the same charge, was convicted of assisting an offender and sentenced to two and a half years.

At a sentencing hearing, Mrs Justice Thirlwall told Simon: 'You had no thought for him at all. Your focus, as so often in your life, was on what was best for you.'

Simon initially denied knowledge of Mr Spalding's death, claiming he threw him out following a row over a car crash, but later admitted assaulting him during a fight after police found tiny blood droplets on the flat's lounge wall.

Neighbours reported seeing a bonfire in the rear garden following Mr Spalding's disappearance - a heat so intense it melted UPVC guttering fascias - and forensic examination of debris from an oil drum showed it to be part of the victim's humerus bone.

Police divers recovered the second case - containing the victim's head, limbs and tools - below Pope Bridge, Smethwick, on May 16 and further searches of the canal bed uncovered a hacksaw.

Using futuristic 3D scanning technology - developed through a pioneering project with Warwick University - experts were able to show a perfect fit between the charred bone and a severed limb found in the suitcase.

And the same scanning proved a link between the hacksaw and lacerations found on other bones.

Drag marks were also found on the towpath near where the pair dumped the suitcases into the canal.

Detective Inspector Harry Harrison from West Midlands Police said: 'Michael was exploited in life by Lorenzo Simon and Michelle Bird and they afforded him no dignity in death. On the contrary, they treated him in the most despicable manner in order to conceal their crime.

'Simon accepted Michael as a tenant on the agreement he used his considerable handyman skills to do up the flat. But he treated him like a slave, working him past midnight and then waking him early in the morning to continue working.

'They were only allowed out with his say-so and given just one meal a day - usually pizza and chips.

'Michael finally broke and complained at their treatment - we believe that, combined with a car accident where Simon accused him of being responsible for damaging his VW Passat, led to the fatal attack.

'Simon said he hit Michael in the back and that he fell to the floor dead within seconds and claimed to have disposed of the body in panic.

'Bird said she was on an errand to buy alcohol at the time of the killing but later admitted helping her boyfriend in the aftermath.

'However, we were able to provide compelling evidence to the jury that this was a vicious murder and that Simon went to considerable lengths to try and cover his tracks.'

Mr Spalding had been living at the Oxford Road address for almost three weeks and was under the impression a good renovation job would help him land his own tenancy with the landlord.

However, Simon blamed the father-of-three for a collision in mid-April that left his VW Passat with front end damage - and told him the crash ended his hopes of securing his own place and jeopardised their own tenancy arrangement.

Mr Spalding last spoke to his partner, who moved out to be with family in Tamworth, at 10pm on April 25 and police suspect he was murdered later that night or the following day.

The black suitcase containing the victim's torso was first spotted on May 5 floating in the water near Pope Bridge by a narrow boat owner.

It was seen on several subsequent occasions by canal users before a contractor, suspecting the case contained a dead animal, towed it to Icknield Port yard on May 12.

Unemployed Simon - who has convictions for robbery, burglary, theft and drug supply - moved to Derby in a bid to evade police when news of the body find broke - but was arrested with Bird on May 19 and charged two days later.

Detectives later heard accounts from neighbours in Oxford Road who told of 'aggressive, nasty' arguments coming from the flat.

One recalled Simon saying: 'I want this place finished - I've got to live here, you are taking the p**s' to which Mr Spalding replied 'I'm tired, I'm hungry, I want to go home. I've been at it all day'.

A pathologist deemed a number of weapons were used to dismember the body, including knives, a saw and possibly a heavy bladed weapon like an axe.

The post mortem examination was unable to confirm the precise cause of death but it is suspected Mr Spalding died from a stab wound to the neck, evidence of which was subsequently destroyed.


MD: Montgomery County CPS oversteps again in handling of the Meitivs' 'free-range' children

The last time we talked about the case of Danielle and Alexander Meitiv, the couple said that despite a finding of ďunsubstantiated neglectĒ by Montgomery Countyís Child Protective Services, they would still allow their 10- and 6-year-old children to walk the mile to a park close to where they live in Silver Spring.

The children, Rafi, 10, and Dvora, 6, had been picked up by police after they had been reported wandering alone. That ďunsubstantiated neglectĒ charge was an extraordinary case of government overreach by an agency stretching their interpretation of a vague area of law in an attempt to paint these parents as negligent, we argued then. After the bad publicity and criticism thrown at CPS, we didnít think Montgomery County government could be even more incursive and even more insensitive to parentsí wishes.

We were wrong.

On April 12, Alexander and Danielle once again allowed their children to visit the park. This time, they dropped them off there at 5 p.m. on a sunny Sunday after a drive home for a visit to Ithaca, New York, relatives, according to a story Tuesday in The Washington Post. The children were expected home at 6.

It was 5Ĺ hours before they saw them again. Acting on an anonymous report of the children walking alone, a police officer collected Rafi and Dvora just a few blocks from their home in Woodside.
Hereís the PostĎs timeline from then on:

ďThe police officer notified CPS at 5:16 p.m. At 6:10, he called another CPS employee. At 6:41, the officer was told a CPS decision had yet to be made. So at 7:18, the officer decided to take the children to the CPS offices in Rockville.Ē

Itís unclear why the officer didnít just walk the few blocks home with the children, who said they werenít lost. Itís also not clear why he didnít contact the Meitivs immediately, or why he decided to take the children ó hungry and needing the restroom ó 20 minutes away to child protective services.

CPS finally called the parents at 8 p.m.  Three hours. Thatís an unconscionable delay.

We can only imagine the panic the Meitivs were experiencing. Except rather than some predator abducting their children, it was the police, and, compounding the situation, child protective services, who finally handed the children back to their parents at 10:30 p.m. CPS, of course, isnít talking or explaining itself, content to use the excuse that their investigations are confidential ó despite the fact that the Meitivs are talking publicly.

Were the children in danger? The Post cites the police report, which says the children were in a parking garage being eyed by a ďhomeless subject.Ē Thatís a vague, scary bogeyman we wouldnít be surprised to hear was completely concocted as a justificatory afterthought. Weíre not the only ones who are dubious about how the office handled this situation.

ďThis is a ĎWhat were they thinking?í moment,Ē Marc Elrich D -at large, chairman of the Montgomery County Councilís Public Safety Committee, told the Post of the police failure to notify the parents.

Indeed ó what were they thinking? If an investigation is needed here, itís into CPS procedures, not the Meitivsí parenting.

Yes, some serious questions need to be raised here. This case has received national attention and ignited a debate about how much independence children should have. This is a valuable debate worth having ó among parents, not a government agency that apparently wants to raise our children for us.


Free-Range' Parents Will Sue CPS for Grabbing Their Kids: The Meitivs get a lawyer

The Meitivs are lawyering up, and will file some kind of lawsuit against Montgomery County, Maryland, officials who took their children while the youngsters were walking outside by themselves.

Matthew Dowd, a partner at Wiley Rein LLP, will represent the Meitivs free of charge, according to this statement on Danielle Meitiv's Facebook wall:

Matthew Dowd, a partner with Wiley Rein, states: ďThe Meitivs are rightfully outraged by the irresponsible actions of Maryland CPS and Montgomery County Police. We must ask ourselves how we reached the point where a parentís biggest fear is that government officials will literally seize our children off the streets as they walk in our neighborhoods.

The Meitivs intend to fully vindicate their rights as parents and their childrenís rights, and to prevent this from happening to their children again. The CPS investigations and actions here are premised on a fundamental misapplication of the law and are contrary to the constitutional rights of these parents to raise their children as they see best.Ē

The actions of Maryland CPS and Montgomery County Police violate the fundamental rights parents have in raising their children. In Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 75 (2000), the Court explained that ďthe Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children.Ē This fundamental, constitutional right of parents cannot be infringed simply because certain governmental employees disagree with a parentís reasoned decision on how to raise his or her children.

The Meitivs are troubled by the countyís discretionary use of power to subject this happy, healthy and independent family to invasive, frightening and unnecessary government oversight, when there are other pressing challenges for county families in need.

Quick question: Arenít prisoners allowed one phone call, or is that just on TV? Because the Meitiv kids weren't able to contact their parents in the six hours they were held by the authorities.


Good boobs, bad boobs: how feminists police womenís bodies

If you want to be a good feminist today, it seems you must have an opinion on breasts.

You would expect the two main sides in the contemporary feminist bra debate Ė Free the Nipple and No More Page 3 Ė to be in permanent conflict. After all, one is about exposing nipples, the other about covering them up. But actually, they seem to be the breast of friends.

As a piece in the Huffington Post put it, Ď#FreetheNipple and No More Page 3 share the same feminist goal: greater equality for womení. This schizophrenic attitude to nudity, this marriage of a breast-exposing campaign with a breast-hiding campaign, seems baffling. The impossibility of wanting to bin your bra and strap it on with moral zeal at the same time doesnít seem to register with young feminists.

The claim that the acts of baring and censoring boobs are equally effective in arguing for womenís equality seems to be making a statement about the purpose of the bosom. It suggests that sometimes itís okay for boobs to be on display, and other times it isnít. Another Huff Post article argued that Ďnobody can surely say they open Page 3 to see what nature has created to feed children?í. Err, no, of course not - for the same reason that I donít eat chocolate because it is supposedly a source of calcium, but rather because I enjoy it. The implication here seems to be that when breasts are a source of food for babies, theyíre good; but when they are displayed in a more sexual way, they are bad.

This sinister celebration of boobs as udders is actually regressive. It sets back womenís equality by prioritising the biology of the female over her autonomy as a free-thinking individual able to decide what she likes and what she doesnít like.

Its The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of boobs. Good, clever, middle-class breasts are acceptable; bad, fake, Essex-girl breasts are not. And The Ugly would have to be that array of obsequious male nipples appearing under the #FreetheNipple hashtag on Instagram. Feminists who support both #FreetheNipple and No More Page 3 reveal themselves to be not only embarrassed by their fellow females who choose to get their knockers out for cash rather than retweets, but also openly prejudiced about a working-class girlís ability to make her own decisions about her body.

So the likes of Katie Price are seen as a dangerous influence on women because they arenít puritanical about their chests. When, a few years ago, Price said she decided to bottlefeed her kids because ĎI think only a certain person could handle my knockers!í, there was uproar. A woman who prefers her chest to be sexual rather than maternal? The horror!

So, what constitutes a good, wholesome, feminist pair of tits? Well, showing them to other good, wholesome feminists is a good start. The specification of where and when women should be allowed to bare all - on Instagram, yes; in the Sun, no - is really about censoring who is allowed to look at breasts. For feminists, it is okay for like-minded females, babies and men who have pledged their support via Twitter to see breasts, but gruff builders, young lads and pretty much anyone who finds tits titillating cannot be allowed to glimpse a freed nipple.

Both the No More Page 3 campaign and #FreetheNipple speak to a deep-seated class prejudice within contemporary feminism. Whether they are encouraging women to whip out a lactating nipple in restaurants (good breasts) or forbidding men from pinning a perky pair on the wall of their garages (bad breasts), todayís middle-class feminists are really only interested in enforcing a top-down puritanism about nudity and control of working-class behaviour.

What this boob-obsessed bunch canít face up to is that no one outside of their tiny cliques really cares about what happens to our chests. The world of Page 3 is old-fashioned, yes, but hardly worth getting your bra strap in a twist over. Many young women have over the years flashed for a few photos and then walked away with heavy wallets and light hearts Ė I donít see any problem with that at all. Scour Instagram, and you will see the hypocrisy of #FreetheNipple: this hashtag campaign contains promiscuous selfies and shots of casually pierced nipples, all accompanied by token lines about the need to be nice to women. These breast barers are just as keen for attention as those who pose for tabloids, but they think they are involved in a good cause because their Ďlikesí come from middle-class professional Instagrammers rather than oiks in a greasy spoon.

True supporters of womenís equality should reject both these campaigns. If you believe that women have the right to do whatever the hell they want with their bodies, then for Godís sake talk about something other than tits. Yet young middle-class feminists see it as their duty to educate stupid men and stupid women about the parameters of breast-baring, about acceptable and unacceptable boobs. Women have a far better tool, above the chest, so can we please engage it? And could feminists please stop being such fun sponges and quit using tit tape to censor womenís freedom.


The denigration of men: Ridiculed, abused, exploited - the triumph of feminism has made today's men second class citizens

Men are brilliant. Seriously, we are. We invented philosophy, medicine, architecture, cars, trains, helicopters, submarines and the internet. Not to mention the jet engine, IVF, electricity and modern medicine.

Weíve led all the industrial revolutions and sent rockets into Space. Weíve fought wars with tin hats and bayonets and won them. The world we live in would be nothing without Alexander Graham Bell, Sigmund Freud, Horatio Nelson, Winston Churchill, William Shakespeare and Albert Einstein. The geniuses Leonardo da Vinci, Stephen Hawking, Michelangelo, Beethoven, Charles Darwin and Michael Faraday have all contributed immeasurably to our modern lives.

So why is it that, today, there has there never been a worse time to be a man? Rubbishing the male of the species and everything he stands for is a disturbing ó and growing ó 21st century phenomenon. It is the fashionable fascism of millions of women ó and many, many men, too. Instead of feeling proud of our achievements, we men are forced to spend our time apologising for them. When people chide us for not being able to multi-task or use a washing machine we join in the mocking laughter ó even though we invented the damned thing in the first place.

If ever we do manage to do something well weíre told itís because our achievements were handed to us on a plate ó probably at the expense of women ó and not because weíre skilled and work hard. And, naturally, the problems of the world are all our fault.

In 2013 the [brainless] Labour MP Diane Abbott made a damning speech about Britainís men and boys, smugly announcing that masculinity was Ďin crisisí. The then shadow Public Health Minister declared that male culture is a Ďcelebration of heartlessness; a lack of respect for womenís autonomy and the normalisation of homophobiaí.

She sneered that men were choosing to stay in Ďextended adolescenceí by living at home with their parents ó which has nothing to do with rising house prices, of course, but everything, according to Ms Abbott, with men being Ďresentful of family lifeí. If it werenít so tragic it would be funny.

As it is, this kind of stiletto sexism ó popularised by an army of female media commentators such as Julie Burchill, Suzanne Moore and Barbara Ellen ó has become a depressingly familiar feature of modern British life. And it shows no sign of going away.

Consider the statistics. If you become a father to twins ó one girl, one boy ó current data proves that your son will die younger, leave school with fewer qualifications and be less eligible for work than your daughter.

Our universities and further education institutions are dominated by women at a proportion of ten to every seven men, with the Royal Veterinary College formally identifying boys as an under-represented group.

Across the Russell Group of Britainís leading 20 universities, just three have a majority of male students.

This means your son will be more likely to join the ranks of the unemployed, the majority of whom are now ó yes, youíve guessed it ó men.

The Office of National Statistics noted that in the summer of 2014 a total of 1,147,511 British men were out of work, compared with 887,892 women.

Psychologically, your son will be more likely to suffer from depression and attempt suicide than his sibling, but thereíll be less support in place to save him.

Heís also more likely to endure everyday violence than women, with the latest crime statistics for England and Wales noting that two-thirds of homicide victims were men.

If heís seduced by his female teacher, sheíll leave court with a slapped wrist thanks to a legal system which is frequently lenient with women. But if your daughter has an affair with her male maths teacher heíll be chalking up numbers on a prison wall before you can say: Ďburn your braí.

By the time your son is 18, he will probably have absorbed the social message that his dad is much less valuable as a parent than his mother ó that fathers in families are an added bonus, not a crucial cog.

Then, if he starts his own family and his relationship doesnít last, he may become one of the four million UK men who have no access to their children, yet are forced to fund them.

To cap it all, heíll be progressively neglected by British healthcare despite being more likely to get ó and die from ó nine out of the top ten killer diseases. You know, the biggies: these include cancer, heart conditions, strokes, pneumonia, diabetes and cirrhosis of the liver.

Fifteen years ago the UK Menís Health Forum showed that, for every £1 spent on menís health, £8 was spent on womenís. Since then little has changed, for no good reason. Or rather, one very bad reason: we live in a medical matriarchy. In other words, male life is cheap. Bargain basement, last-day-of-the-sale cheap.

The ultimate insult? Itís all done at our expense. The National Health Service is funded by the public purse, but itís men ó yes, men ó who pay a whopping 70 per cent of UK income tax. Yet we are thrown nothing but crumbs in return.

Currently, women are screened for breast cancer, ovarian and cervical cancer. This is great, but excuse me if I donít jump for joy. Thereís still no screening programme for prostate cancer, even though it kills four times more men than cervical cancer does women.

And while weíre on the subject of statistics, we men will die five years earlier than our wives, sisters, daughters and girlfriends in a life expectancy gap thatís increased 400 per cent since 1920.

Oh, and if we are lucky enough to survive the NHS long enough to be able to go on holiday and sit next to a child on a commercial airline such as British Airways, heíll be moved in case he sexually abuses them. Your grown-up daughter wonít, even if she has previous form.

All in all, the outlook for your son is pretty bleak, isnít it? Sadly, he will accept the way things are because over the past couple of decades or so itís what men have done.

In our anxiety to support womenís emancipation ó which men agree with, by the way ó we have allowed our intellectual ability, our emotional intelligence and our capacity for commitment to be endlessly ridiculed.

Obviously, this isnít to say that girls are having a brilliant time of it. Most of society is well versed in the problems and pressures faced by women ó the same women who have spent years trying to prove their worth beyond motherhood and housework.

But, unlike us, they get column inches and air time. They get government funding and MPs. They have a vocal community who will stand in their defence.

We men, on the other hand, have nobody. We are of no interest to MPs, UN panels or charities. If we want somebody to fight our corner, we are going to have to do it ourselves.

And fight it we must, before itís too late. We donít want to undo or compete with feminism ó far from it. But we urgently need our own version of womenís lib to stop our sons being permanently deflated, downgraded and disenfranchised. Remember the suffragettes? We are the suffragents.

So here are my suggestions for a new, improved approach to masculinity. It may not be politically correct, but look where political correctness has got us.

Letís start by ditching a few of those everyday myths about being a bloke in the 21st century. First up, the wage gap. For years men have been guilt-tripped over a supposed discrepancy in pay that apparently sees women lose thousands of pounds every year compared with their male colleagues.

The great news? According to experts who understand it, this simply isnít true.

The claim has been debunked by leading economists, including Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz, both professors of economics at Harvard University, and Christina Hoff-Somers of the American Enterprise Institute.

ĎThe wage gap myth has been repeatedly discredited but it will not die,í says Hoff-Somers. ĎThe 23 per cent gap is the difference between average earnings for all men and all women, but it does not take into account differences in occupation, expertise, job tenure and hours worked. When it does, the so-called wage gap narrows to the point of vanishing.í Essentially, this means a woman who works as a primary school teacher isnít going to be paid the same as a man who works as a brain surgeon. Which is how it should be. This is about salaries structured on skill, difficulty and reward.

Many women work fewer hours than men. Many choose comfortable, low-paying jobs that fit in with their many other commitments, perhaps to children and ageing parents rather than strenuous, dangerous and life-threatening ones. These naturally bring higher pay for men, but ó according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health ó also put male workplace fatalities at 94 per cent of the total.

Which suddenly makes womenís career choices look very much more sensible, whatever the pay difference. And make no mistake about it, a choice there has to be. When it comes to careers and families, something has to give. But thatís as it should be.

Itís a mathematical fact there arenít enough hours in the day for anyone, male or female, to work 60-hour weeks all year, raise children and run a house full-time. So the idea that it should be split down the middle to prove some political point might sound right-on, but in reality itís the cause of so much unnecessary marital conflict.

Instead, letís be realistic. Whether itís an unwelcome truth or not, most new mothers like to nurture the baby theyíve been carrying for nine months, while fathers typically return to work and help bankroll it.  This is absolutely OK.

Think about it: women carry life. Thatís the ultimate. We men canít compete with that, so our purpose is to provide for that life.  Thatís our identity as fathers and what we bring to the table. Itís been this way since time immemorial because itís cost-effective, practical and sensible.

Recent legislative changes tried to rewrite this fact when the Coalition brought in extended paternity leave in 2011, taking it beyond the standard two weeks. But it failed miserably. Fewer than one in 50 used it. In fact, for various reasons, a quarter of new fathers took no leave at all.  This is also absolutely OK if itís what both partners want.

Eventually, in every relationship, somebody will need to take the bulk of childcare responsibility, while the other manages the rest. Personally, I donít care who assumes the traditional breadwinner role, but unless you can afford a nanny (or manny) to do the child rearing for you, it canít be both of you.

Whatever the outcome, just remember: itís not a choice that must be adjudicated by feminist harridans. I say this because whenever working fathers are discussed in the media, the insinuation is that they donít pull their weight.

Actually, the opposite is true: aside from proving we can multi-task just fine, research collated by the Fatherhood Institute shows that British dads work the longest hours in Europe ó an average of 46.9 hours per week, compared with 45.5 hours in Portugal, 41.5 hours in Germany and 40 hours in France.

Around one in eight UK fathers works excessively long hours ó 60 or more ó while almost 40 per cent graft more than 48 hours each week. Contrary to popular opinion, we donít leave the house every morning for the sole purpose of jumping into bed with our secretaries. And when we do get home to spend time with our children weíre no slackers either.

In the late Nineties, fathers of children under five were devoting an average of two hours per day on child-related activities, compared with under 15 minutes in the mid-Seventies.

Today, fathersí time spent with their children currently accounts for one-third of total parental childcare, even though many of them are working full-time as well.

So weíve established that men are, in fact, pulling their weight at home, and that the pay gap is not what itís cracked up to be.

Indeed, in many cases itís going the other way: the Chartered Management Institute found recently that female managers in their 20s are now bringing home 2.1 per cent more than men of the same age.

So why, I ask, are men still expected to pay for nights out? Iíve lost count of the number of times Iíve sat in restaurants observing men financing lavish dinners while their glamorous guests freeze at the sight of the credit card machine ó even though, dripping with jewellery, they could clearly afford to cough up.

Donít get me wrong. Plenty of women do go Dutch. Plenty more settle the tab themselves. We like these women. We like them when they allow us to treat them ó and likewise, we enjoy it when they spoil us. What weíre after here is a mutually beneficial sharing of bills, as well as minds.

Thatís not to say we should throw out chivalrous behaviour altogether. There are plenty of aspects of it ó otherwise referred to as Ďbeing niceí ó that are worth keeping. Holding a door open for a woman, for example, just makes the minutiae of daily life a bit easier for everyone. Itís a kind and respectful thing to do.

All Iím asking for is that we men get a bit of respect in return. Because at the moment weíre being exploited and abused ó not least, when it comes to our most important roles of all: as husbands and fathers.



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

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

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


17 April, 2015

Conservatives Rally Against DC ĎAnti-Discriminationí Bills

A group of conservative lawmakers in Congress are attempting to stop what they call ďill-conceivedĒ legislation from taking effect in the nationís capital.

One bill, called the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act, could force pro-life employers in Washington D.C. to hire individuals whose reproductive health decisions stand in opposition to the organizationís viewpoint.

ďThis coercive measure would ban pro-life organizations in D.C. from even considering a job seekerís views on abortion as a condition of employment,Ē said Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., who introduced whatís called a ďresolution of disapprovalĒ on Monday that, with the support of both chambers of Congress and the president, would override the law in question.

ďI hope both chambers of Congress will act swiftly to pass our resolution so that we can stop this ill-conceived law and restore needed protections for those in the pro-life community who call D.C. home,Ē she said.

A second bill, called the Human Rights Amendment Act (HRAA), seeks to prohibit religious-affiliated schools from discriminating against gay and lesbian student groups.

Conservatives argue this policy would infringe on the ability of private schools to operate according to their religious beliefs. For example, they say it could force a Catholic school to support a student-led gay pride parade despite the schoolís stance on homosexuality.

Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., led the effort against that measure today by introducing a separate resolution of disapproval.

ďBy passing this Act, the D.C. City Council has infringed on the fundamental right of religious freedom,Ē Hartzler told The Daily Signal. ďAmericans are protected by the Constitution from being forced by their government to take actions that go against their religious beliefs. Forcing religious schools to go against their beliefs goes directly against our Constitution and shouldnít be allowed.Ē

The Republican Study Committeeówith its 170 membersóis backing both efforts.

ďIt is unconscionable that employers should be forced to pay for policies that go against their deeply held religious beliefs, yet that is exactly what the District of Columbiaís legislation would do,Ē said Rep. Bill Flores, who chairs the committee.

Congress has an obligation to act and exercise its constitutional authority to prevent this flagrant violation of religious freedom. I commend Congressman Black and my colleagues in the Republican Study Committee for joining me in this important fight to preserve and protect our most sacred founding values.

The power to oversee Washington D.C. legislation was granted to Congress under the U.S. Constitution and the Home Rule Act of 1973.

The Senate has already introduced resolutions of disapproval for both the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act and the Human Rights Amendment Act under the leadership of Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and James Lankford, R-Okla.

Both measures were signed into law by Washington D.C.ís Mayor, Muriel Bowser, earlier this year. Her office did not immediately respond to The Daily Signalís request for comment regarding the pushback among Republicans in Congress.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., who supports both bills, released a press release today calling the Republican attempt to strike down the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act an ďastonishing infringement of an individualís right to personal liberty.Ē

ďThe Districtís local law supports the local interests of D.C. residents who do not want to answer to their employers or anyone else for their reproductive choices,Ē she said. ďDisapproval of the D.C. bill by Congress would signal that the constitutional right to privacy has come under historic attack.Ē

Norton has not yet commented on Republicansí attempt to also kill the Human Rights Amendment Act, although she previously stated that the ďanti-discrimination legislationĒ is needed to ďprotect students from discrimination for their sexual orientation at their own schools and universities.Ē

Norton also maintains that with these bills, there is ďno intent to violate the rights of others, such as freedom of religion.Ē

Conservatives, on the other hand, believe it is especially important to prohibit these policies given that 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, the Family Research Council, and the Archdiocese of Washington.

But even if they are successful in passing both resolutions through Congress, Republicans would still need the presidentís signature to prevent them from going into law. Right now, it is unclear whether President Obama would support that effort should they reach his desk.


Videogames donít make you violent Ė or sexist

The world of videogames is no stranger to moral panics. Recently, researchers at the University of Oxford published the latest in a long line of studies debunking the persistent myth that violent videogames cause aggression in children. The study Ė published in the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture Ė found that, regardless of a particular videogameís content, children who played videogames moderately were actually less aggressive than those who do not game at all.

But this was no great triumph over media-effects theory. Indeed, the children who werenít playing videogames were presumably on Twitter, whining about how videogames cause and promote misogyny. In recent months, this new hysteria has been at the forefront of the gaming discussion. Proponents of the idea insist that gaming culture is Ďtoxicí, not inclusive enough and that women are represented exclusively as sexual objects in games. They have put forward censorious arguments, which have been countered by a new pro-gaming movement called #Gamergate.

In the past, you were a gamer because you liked playing videogames, regardless of non-issues like gender, race or sexuality. However, the people behind the recent fuss see everything through the warped lens of identity politics. Their narcissism and willingness to harass game developers into submission has made the art of making a good videogame even more of a chore. Instead of developers being able to portray their own vision and tell their stories, they are constantly being coerced by mobs of online activists to adhere to particular neurotic standards. Even when game developers arenít being shouted down for creating an allegedly aberrant game, the spectre of the Twitterati, the coercive power of their fury, must be ever-present.

Gamers, rallying under the #Gamergate hashtag, are rightfully outraged that their hobby and community are being co-opted by ideologues. The professionally sensitive and perpetually offended crusaders are determined to undermine everything that makes the gaming community great. The fact that small cliques of right-on gamers, and censorious onlookers, have the ability to censor and pressure major game developers shows how influential and belligerent they have become. Nothing, it seems, can faze them. A study published last week categorically debunked the idea that videogames cause sexism, but this has hardly made a dent in the anti-#Gamergateís self-confidence.

Women have always been welcome in gaming. There have been countless female game developers who have contributed to many gaming masterpieces. What the gaming crusaders canít seem to get past is that the gaming community doesnít see them as Ďwomen in gamingí, in need of special concern Ė they just see them as fellow gamers. And, surely, if equality is the goal, isnít this the ideal?


Big Law Thinks Gay Marriage Opponents Are Like Racist Bigots. Thatís a Problem

Sundayís New York Times stated plainly what many of us have known for a while: Our nationís elites are intolerant of ordinary Americans.

The reporter for the Times revealed a startling reality: ďIn dozens of interviews, lawyers and law professors said the imbalance in legal firepower in the same-sex marriage cases resulted from a conviction among many lawyers that opposition to such unions is bigotry akin to racism.Ē

Thatís right. Our nationís legal elites think that the belief that marriage is the exclusive union of husband and wife is ďbigotry akin to racism.Ē Thatís a problem. And it explains the growing intolerance showed toward ordinary Americans who believe the truth about marriage.

It also raises a profoundly important question: Will the government respect their rights of conscience and religious liberty?

This isnít an idle question or dangerous fear-mongering. Throughout the past several years, a constant refrain from the Left has been that people who oppose same-sex marriage are just like people who opposed interracial marriageóand that the law should treat them just as the law treats racist bigots. Of course that argument is not true, but that hasnít stopped our elites from making it.

The Times noted that while the same number of amicus briefs have been filed at the Supreme Court supporting and opposing state marriage laws, no major law firm had filed a brief supporting marriage as the union of a man and a woman. (Full disclosure: I spoke with The New York Times reporter and am quoted in the article.)

Two weeks ago, we saw in Indiana how Big Business, Big Media and political leaders all used their influence to bring down good religious liberty protections. This confluence of Big Business and Big Government has a name: I call it ďcultural cronyism.Ē The same is true for Big Law.

While Big Business is against religious liberty, Big Law is against marriage. The basic viewpoint was captured in yesterdayís New York Times article:

Gay rights advocates offer their own reason for why prominent lawyers are lined up on one side of the marriage cases. ďItís so clear that there are no good arguments against marriage equality,Ē said Evan Wolfson, the president of Freedom to Marry. ďLawyers can see the truth.Ē

This statement is presumptuous and self-serving.

Reasonable people can acknowledge that there are good arguments on both sides of this debate. Only ideologues think their side has all the good arguments and the other side has none.

Surprise! Lawyers can be ideologues too. And these ideologues at the most elite sectors of societyóBig Business, Big Law and Big Governmentówant to penalize and coerce ordinary Americans with traditional beliefs about marriage.

We must fight back.

Ordinary Americansówhether they are in favor of same-sex marriage or opposedóagree that the government shouldnít penalize their neighbors. Ordinary Americansóeven those in favor of same-sex marriageódo not view their neighbors as bigots.

But our governing elites do. So people who believe the truth about marriage need to equip ourselves, because our opponents want to see the law treat all citizens who believe marriage is the union of husband and wife as if they are racists.

But as I explain in this Heritage Backgrounder, great thinkers throughout human historyóand from every political community up until the year 2000óthought it reasonable to view marriage as the union of husband and wife.

Indeed, support for marriage as the union of man and woman has been nearly a human universal. It is shared by the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions; by ancient Greek and Roman thinkers untouched by these religions; and by various Enlightenment philosophers. It is affirmed by canon, common, and civil law and by ancient Greek and Roman law.

Bans on interracial marriage and Jim Crow laws, by contrast, were aspects of an insidious movement that denied the fundamental equality and dignity of all human beings and forcibly segregated citizens. When these interracial marriage bans first arose in the American colonies, they were inconsistent not only with the common law inherited from England, but also with the customs of prior world history, which had not banned interracial marriage.

And while the Bible says marriage has nothing to do with race, the Bible insists that it has everything to do with sexual complementarity. From the very beginning of Genesis to the very end of the Book of Revelation, the Bible is replete with spousal imagery and language of husband and wife. So whether from faith or reason or universal human experience, Americaís elites must not be allowed to coerce and penalize their neighbors who remain steadfast in the truth about marriage.

America is in a time of transition. Courts have redefined marriage, and beliefs about human sexuality are changing. Will the right to dissent be protected? Will the right of Americans to speak and act in accord with what the United States had always believed about marriageóthat itís a union of husband and wifeóbe tolerated?

Even if the legal definition of marriage is changed for public policy purposes, should that entitle activists to silence citizens and eradicate charities, schools and businesses that simply ask for the freedom to operate according to this belief?

The United States is a pluralistic society. We need to maintain civil peace even amid disagreement. Our nationís elites arenít helping.


Louisiana Timidly Considers Religious Liberty Legislation

Just like Indiana and Arkansas, Louisiana started to consider its own version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, but it seems the threat of pushback may dissuade state lawmakers. The president of Louisianaís Senate, Republican John Alario, said, ďAs it was originally introduced, Iím not in favor of it. It would put Louisiana in such a bad light, we donít want any part of it.Ē

Whatever happened to trading short-term discomfort for long-term benefit? The stateís governor, Bobby Jindal, said he would fight for legislation like the RFRA ďthat seeks to preserve our most fundamental freedoms.Ē

The opposition to state-level RFRAs could be nothing more than a hecklerís veto. According to a poll conducted by WPA Opinion Research on behalf of the Family Research Council, 81% of those polled ďagree that government should leave people free to follow their beliefs about marriage as they live their daily lives at work and in the way they run their businesses.Ē

But Louisiana lawmakers are scared of the shrill 19% who want government to tell small businesses to bake the cake, to serve the hypothetical pizzas, regardless of the business ownerís most deeply held beliefs



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

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

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


16 April, 2015

Second Witness Contradicts Leftist Comic Sarah Silvermanís Wage Discrimination Video

Just another Leftist liar.  If "equal pay for women" is a real problem, why can't celebrity Leftists tell a real, true story about it?

Chris Murphy says he was there on the night that comic Sarah Silverman said she got $10 for the same work for which a male comic earned $60. Murphy says Silvermanís story of sexism, told for a video campaign (see below) that champions equal pay for women, is not accurate. He backs then-New York Comedy Club owner Al Martinís claim that comics ó male or female ó who just drop in and ask to do a set, like Silverman did that night in 2002, donít get paid anything.

Murphy, in a Facebook post Monday afternoon, says even Bill Hicks and Rodney Dangerfield, who were big names back in that day, didnít expect compensation for guest spots at comedy clubs.

ďThere has been some He said she said things going on about the night in question between her [Silverman] and Al Martin. I feel Iím qualified to write about it since I was there.

I can confirm Sarah was not booked on the show, because I remember being excited she stopped in. Sarah rarely if ever played The New York Comedy Club. It could be because she was under the impression Al never paid comedians.

I gather this because when she came outside after her set she said, ďWow that was a great crowd. The place is packed. Al should be paying comediansĒ. The hilarious Todd Barry and I informed her he does. She went inside and asked to be paid. The rest is social media history.Ē ó Chris Murphy on Facebook, April 13, 2015

Sarah Silverman direct message to Scott Ott on TwitterAfter writing about Silvermanís comedically sketchy story last week, I reached out to her. She responded with a direct message on Twitter. Silverman said, ďWhat are you fighting for or against exactly. Itís true. He [Al Martin] took advantage of someone he assumed wouldnít say anything. Thatís the point.Ē

Actually, thatís not the point of the ďwage gapĒ video Silverman made for Levo.com, nor is it the reality of events as weíve now heard from two other witnesses.

Chris Murphy on Monday became the second witness to contradict Sarah Silvermanís story about wage discrimination which forms the spine of her video about women earning less than men for the same work.

Like many Leftists with a cause, Silverman tries to identify with victims ó in this case, women who purportedly get paid less than men for the same work. But even though she went back 13 years to find a personal example, her victim-tale wonít bear scrutiny. She makes it sound like Martin withheld from her the ordinary pay for a comedy set, but ponied up fully for male comic Todd Barry.

Martin maintains that Barry was scheduled for that night, and thus budgeted, but Silverman asked to do a set when she saw the great crowd. When she came back and asked for equal pay because she did the same work as Barry, Martin gave her $10 for cab fare. So, she was actually paid something when the standard expectation for guest spots is $0.

Chris Murphy addedÖ

ďIím not sure why Sarah believed she was taking [sic] advantage of that night because she was a woman. Perhaps she was out of the loop so long she forgot the guest spot policy. Or it could be that in some circles itís hip to crap on Al Martin.Ē

If Martin and Murphy are right, then Silvermanís story is not merely a mis-remembering or misunderstanding. She says she went back into the club after learning Barry got paid, and she asked Martin for $60. Silverman says that he sheepishly said, ďO, did you want a $60 spot?Ē ó as if he were caught in the act of cheating her, ostensibly because sheís a woman. She calls his behavior ďpretty shitty.Ē

In other words, in the video, Silverman calls out Martin for sex discrimination and deception. I have repeatedly attempted to ask Silverman about these challenges to her narrative, but have heard nothing in response since her direct message on Twitter. At this writing, that video has been viewed more than 162,000 times, but apparently many viewers arenít buying her story either. Check out the lopsidedly negative thumbs up-to-thumbs down ratio: 379-to-4,828.

If equal pay for women is a real problem, why canít celebrity Leftists tell a real, true story about it? If there are real victims, these fake stories can do nothing but harm them.


The Gender Wage GapóA Myth that Just Wonít Die

This past year I was on the academic job market, applying for faculty positions at a variety of colleges and universities. As a woman making a critical career move, Iíve been up to my eyeballs in cover letters, resumes, statistics about cost of living, state income taxes, health insurance, and, of course, salary information.

Chances are youíve heard the statistic on numerous occasions, ďwomen earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earnsófor exactly the same work.Ē I certainly heard this several times throughout my job search in various contexts. This issue of the supposed ďgender wage gapĒ came up again recently during the 2015 Oscars when actress Patricia Arquette used the platform to call for wage equality stating,

To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody elseís equal rights. Itís time to have wage equality once and for all. And equal rights for women in the United States of America.

Social media exploded. Bloggers, politicians, and others applauded Arquette for her statements. The familiar and rallying cry of ďequal pay for equal workĒ was everywhere. While few would disagree with the sentiment that men and women should receive the same compensation for the same services, the position espoused by Arquette and others that women are systematically underpaid is just plain wrong. Of the many economic-related fallacies to be cited as gospel on a regular basis, this one drives me positively insane.

Letís take a look a closer look at this statistic.

The first thing to notice is that the ď77 cents on the dollarĒ metric isnít comparing apples to apples. It is a comparison of gross income. That is, it compares the income of all women to that of all men. It fails to take into account important factorsólike education, experience, or even just comparing people in the same career. You wouldnít compare the incomes of elementary school teachers with Bachelorís degrees to those of individuals with PhDs in physics and complain that there is a ďteacher-physicist wage gapĒóbut this is precisely what this statistic does.

When you take these characteristics into account, the purported ďgapĒ all but disappears.

One important variable to consider is the type of careers men and women select. Simply put, men and women tend to choose different jobs. Looking at data from 2010 on undergraduate majors in the U.S., one sees certain fields are heavily dominated by men and vice versa.

Consumer and human science majors, for example, are about 88 percent female. Eighty-seven percent of library science majors are women. Women also heavily dominate healthcare majors and educational fields, with females representing 80 percent or more of these majors.

By contrast, other disciplines are largely populated by men. Males comprise some 96 percent of military and applied science majors. Eighty-three percent of engineering students are men. Eighty-two percent of computer science majors are male, as are 70 percent of economics majors.

In addition to selecting different jobs, women and men also differ in the number of hours they choose to work. Men are much more likely to work full-time hours or more a week (40+ hours). Women are much more likely to work part-time (less than 35 hours per week). Not surprisingly, people who work part-time jobs tend to earn less than people who work full-time jobs.

(Note: women actually tend to earn more than men with the same part-time jobs.)

When women do find themselves in male-dominant fields, they actually tend to do better than their male counterparts in terms of finding a job. Take, for example, academic jobs. One study from 2010 looked specifically at applications for tenure-track jobs in electrical engineering and physics. They found that while women comprised only 11 percent of engineering applicants and 12 percent of physics applicants, they were much more likely to receive job offers. In fact, the study found that 32 and 20 percent of job offers went to female candidates in engineering and physics, respectively.

The gender wage gap falls completely apart if one thinks of it from the perspective of an employer. Suppose you own an accounting firm. Further suppose that the gender wage gap is realówomen and men do the exact same work, but you can pay the women in your firm 77 cents for every $1 you pay your male employees.

You need to hire five new accountants. What are your options?

A. You can hire male CPAs at a price of $50,000 each, per year ($250,000 per year for all five),


B. You can hire female CPAs at a price of $38,500 each (77% of the male wage), per year ($192,500 per year for all five).

What would you do? Hire the women, of course! In fact, youíd be foolish to hire any men at all! Youíd get the same work from either group of employees, but by hiring women youíd save $57,500 every year.

The same goes for other businesses. If men and women were truly providing ďequal work,Ē but women were systematically paid less than their male counterparts, entrepreneurial business leaders could make a killing hiring women. The fact that we donít observe this is yet another indication that the statistic is seriously flawed.

Now, some will point to the statistics on the careers men and women tend to choose and say that women arenít really ďfreeĒ to choose their careers. This is not only incredibly patronizing, but it ignores the fact that women in the U.S. are not only well-educated, but also well-informed when it comes to selecting careers. Itís not as if women are unaware that social workers and schoolteachers tend to earn less than engineers. We choose careers just as men do. We consider what we think is most important when selecting a career, look at our options, and make the best choices we can.

When it comes to issues of gender equality, there are a variety of issues to discuss. When having these discussions, however, itís important for women and men to discuss the facts and present correct information. Otherwise, we not only perpetuate incorrect information, but we ultimately fail to advance these issues in any meaningful way.


No, the Culinary Is Not Political

Celebrity chef Tom Colicchio probably doesn't cook much these days. Having built his reputation preparing expensive entrťes for his well-heeled customers at Craft Restaurants, Colicchio is now cooking up liberal food policy to expand the government's ever-encroaching role in how we eat, and what.

His self-promotion schedule and branding pursuits could put Kim Kardashian to shame. He's the star and producer of two reality shows on Bravo, Top Chef and Best New Restaurant. Colicchio owns several pricy restaurants and "ethical sandwich" joints on both coasts. He lends his name to a collection of expensive artisanal kitchenware, including a coffee mug for only $46.

But apparently television and restaurant fame don't hold enough gravitas for this wannabe political star. Over the last few years, Chef Colicchio has emerged as the face of the food movement, culinary elitists who insist that every bite of food is a political statement (think climate-change folks going after your shopping cart instead of your SUV).

Testifying before Congress a few years ago about the school-lunch program whet his appetite for politics. Since then, Colicchio has visited Capitol Hill several times to promote mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods, and as the guest of organic farmer Representative Chellie Pingree (D., Maine) he even attended the State of the Union address in January. No doubt the chef will want a seat at the table to spin the now controversial update to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, due for approval later this year.

To further impact food policy, Colicchio co-founded Food Policy Action, a PAC that scores lawmakers on how liberal they vote on food issues. Far from reflecting a consensus of top food and nutrition experts, the FPA scorecard represents a narrow view of some of the nation's most ideologically divisive activists. The group grades House members and senators on whether they "promote policies that support healthy diets, reduce hunger at home and abroad, improve food access and affordability, uphold the rights and dignity of food and farm workers . . . and reduce the environmental impact of farming and food production."

The implication is that members of Congress who don't agree with Colicchio and his leftist cohort oppose healthy food and the reduction of hunger and are indifferent to degradation of the environment.

In a video released during this month's TEDxManhattan, Colicchio attempted to credit FPA for the loss of one Republican congressional seat last year because the candidate was "terrible on food issues" ó a stretch given several other factors contributing to the congressman's defeat.

The PAC is gearing up to challenge Republicans on "food security" issues, including labeling GMO products and restoring cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The FPA board is filled with Obama-administration sympathizers, including Gary Hirshberg, an organic-food cheerleader and the Stonyfield chairman, and Robin Schepper, the former executive director of the Let's Move! campaign, which just celebrated its five-year anniversary with the first lady gushing over her own bean-kale burgers and curried pumpkin with peas.

To buttress his political agenda, Colicchio serves up one amuse-bouche after another of half-truths and platitudes. Despite hundreds of billions spent each year to feed people in America, Colicchio insists that "we don't have the political will in this country to fix hunger." His biggest whopper is that the only reason that people prefer fast food to fresh produce is that the latter is more expensive, as if the demand for Big Macs reflected only people's economic decisions and had nothing to do with what they like.

The chef is a big defender of SNAP, which he calls "one of the best-run programs in the country," and is furious about the 1 percent funding cut for it in last year's farm bill. He insists that poor people are obese not because of bad choices but because "the inability to afford healthy food is the biggest problem for millions struggling with obesity," even though the program allows for the purchase of fruits and vegetables (fresh and frozen), lean meats, dairy, and other healthy items.

Serving as a mouthpiece for liberal foodies has paid off for Colicchio; MSNBC named him its first-ever food correspondent last month. (MSNBC host Alex Wagner is married to former White House chef Sam Kass, another food scold, who banned boxed macaroni and cheese from the White House kitchen.)

If you're looking for practical dinner advice, look elsewhere. Colicchio will continue his "food is political" crusade. Gone are the days of mindless food shopping; culinary elitists like Colicchio want a trip to the grocery store to be a political experience. "In today's world, it is impossible to separate our food culture from the politics and policies that shape our choices as consumers and taxpayers, whether we're aware of them or not," Colicchio said about his new gig.

Of course, Colicchio is just one line chef in the busy liberal kitchen of shamers and elitists determined to strip the joy and fellowship out of eating. The main problem with this movement isn't its self-proclaimed noble intentions: it's the impracticality of its core tenets, which are largely unattainable for most Americans. Consider the new executive director of the Let's Move! campaign, Deb Eschmeyer. Her central qualification for the job? She sought to fight obesity by encouraging city kids to go to local farms for organic produce.

But the culinary elitists behind the food movement aren't truly interested in how to get dinner on the table. Theirs is a political crusade disguised as a public-health campaign. They use food as a wedge to further divide Americans between blue plates and red plates.

Listen, for example, to Colicchio's comparison of the food movement with social and political struggles of the past: "At some point, we need to take this social movement and turn it into a political movement," Colicchio said during the Food for Tomorrow conference. "It's what happened in other social movements as well, whether it was civil rights or whether it was marriage equality."

The hyperbole is not only bad politics but will do nothing to improve Americans' health.


Indiana Pizza Parlor Reopens Without Fanfare

The Left, incensed that owners of Memories Pizza would decline to cater a same-sex wedding because of religious objections, tried to protest the pizza parlor serving a one traffic-light Indiana town out of existence. Due to the threats, Kevin O'Connor closed his shop for eight days.

But he reopened April 9 to a full restaurant and not a protester in sight, according to the Associated Press. ďIíd do the same thing again,Ē O'Connor told the AP. ďItís my belief. Itís our belief. Itís what we grew up on. Iím just sorry it comes to this because neither one of us dislike any of those people. I donít hold any grudges.Ē

During the time his business was shuttered, a producer from The Blaze created a fund for the pizza shop that collected over $800,000 in donations. So are the owners rolling in the dough? (ĎScuse the pun.) ďIt was really making us uncomfortable,Ē O'Connor said. After spending a bit on his pizza parlor, heíll donate some of it to charity.

So much for the Leftís conspiratorial explanation of the donations as some kind of guerrilla marketing campaign. The Left couldnít sustain its rage. Whatís left is an operating pizza parlor and the disturbing realization that the Left trivializes religious liberty.



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

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

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


15 April, 2015

Sharpton ahoy! Black teen thief shot & killed by Cleveland Police on east side did not have a gun

He had been shot twice before by fellow criminals so clearly had a history of very foolish behaviour.  He may well have tried to grab the cop's gun.  Note that the store he robbed was owned by a fellow black

 A teenager shot and killed by Cleveland Police early Thursday morning has been identified.  Police said 18-year-old Brandon Jones was shot by officers at 2:15 a.m. on Parkwood Drive and Primrose Avenue.

Cleveland Police said officers were checking out a break-in at a small convenience store when the shooting happened.   When two officers arrived, police said Jones came out of the store with a bag.

At least one officer had his gun drawn, a newsnet5.com source stated.

The two officers approached Jones and tried to arrest the man. Police say a struggle between the three ensued.   One officer shot the suspect at least one time.

Jones was taken to MetroHealth Medical Center in critical condition and later died. According to sources, Jones did not have a weapon, but tried to grab an officer's gun.

No police officers were wounded in the incident.  Sources said the police involved were two seasoned veteran officers.

Essex Hayward, the 90-year-old owner of the shop, said it has been robbed several times and even shot before.  He said Jones only got away with cigarettes and some money.  The shop was closed when the break-in happened.


The PC terror of the Twittermob

Two web developers, Hank and Alex, were sharing tech-related in-jokes about `dongles' and `forking someone's repo' at a conference. It was private, jokey wordplay - or at least, that's what they thought. A woman in front of them, Adria Richards, overheard the jokes, became outraged, took a photo of the pair, and posted it on her Twitterfeed. `Not cool' ran the tweet as she `called out' their `inappropriate' and `sexist' jokes. At the end of the conference, they were reprimanded by the conference organisers and eventually sacked from their jobs. It didn't end there. The woman who tweeted her outrage received abuse from freelancing misogynists who themselves were outraged by the firing of Hank and Alex. Hackers attacked the IT server system at Richards' workplace and she, too, was sacked.

It is a grim story, but it is one that, unfortunately, is becoming commonplace. Author and broadcaster Jon Ronson, in his new book So You've Been Publicly Shamed, examines the peculiar twenty-first-century phenomena of the Twitterstorm and `calling out' culture. Ronson is a very good and likeable journalist. He has a talent for spotting a potentially great story and the tenacity to bring it to life. He is a journalist in the old-fashioned sense of the word. He pursues contacts, leads and interviews - many times over - until he's scooped a decent story. And, unlike so many hotshot broadsheet writers, Ronson is always more interested in the people he's writing about than he is in himself. It is this approach which means his contacts are often prepared to open up to him and which explains why his writing can be so compelling.

Ronson, though, has his detractors. His interest in oddballs and freaks suggests he is not someone who takes things too seriously. Yet his eye for the wacky and the strange sometimes ends up hitting on hard political topics. For example, his 2001 documentary, The Secret Rulers of the World, captured how radical lefties were embracing conspiracy theory, once the theory of choice for far-right nutters. Likewise, So You've Been Publicly Shamed captures how the easily offended, often radically minded, have wrecked people's lives in a manner which would make corrupt, repressive states feel proud. What's alarming and chilling about Ronson's case studies is that, far from being isolated incidents, they increasingly reflect a general trend towards the curtailing of free expression.

Take the case of the American, Justine Sacco. Before a trip to South Africa, she made a throwaway quip on Twitter, to her 170 followers, about how white people can't catch AIDS in Africa. This bad joke was a dig at her own apparently cosseted existence rather than at black AIDS suffers. But sadly for Sacco, this joke was lost on one of her followers (she doesn't know who), and by the time she had landed at Cape Town Airport she was trending on Twitter. Ronson provides an extensive list of the tweets in response to Sacco's original post. They were a mixture of pious, indignant rage and low-level sadism. `We are about to watch this @JustineSacco get fired. In REAL time. Before she even KNOWS she's getting fired.' Ronson makes the point that Sacco was the first person he'd interviewed who had been destroyed, not by the government or big business, but by her fellow citizens.

The same was true of Lindsey Stone. She and a friend had a long-running `stupid joke' that involved pulling poses contrary to what a public sign says, such as smoking in front of a no-smoking sign. At Arlington in Washington DC, the pair saw the `silence and respect' sign for US soldiers who had died in combat - this prompted Lindsey to do a goofy am-dram one-finger salute pose in front of the sign. Due to Facebook settings not being as private as many of us think they are, especially for uploaded photos, this private joke became public. Four weeks after returning from Washington DC, Stone became aware of online hostility towards her and her photo. Incredibly, a `Fire Lindsey Stone' Facebook page had been created and had attracted 12,000 likes. The company Lindsey worked for, LIFE (Living Independently Forever), was inundated with emails demanding her sacking - a request that was quickly met. According to Ronson, Stone `fell into a depression, became an insomniac and barely left home for a year'.

Public shaming in the twenty-first century, especially for mildly jokey rather than criminal behaviour, can be devastating for its victims. Ronson, who admits that he's done his fair share of `calling out' tweets, is right to say the process degrades us all. A harder question to answer is why such unhinged responses to bad jokes and legitimate opinions have become the norm rather than the exception.

In trying to answer this question, it would be easy, and wrong, to indulge in anti-human prejudices, and to his credit Ronson picks apart such lazy theories. He demonstrates how the nineteenth-century French doctor and thinker, Gustave Le Bon, was wrong with his `group madness' concept, developed in The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind. Le Bon's theory was that humans totally lose control over their behaviour in a crowd. Our free will evaporates and a contagious madness takes over.

Ronson notes that Le Bon is still popular because `we tend to love nothing more than to declare other people insane'. But the problem with theories like Le Bon's is that they can't explain why some people get involved in Twitterstorms and others choose not to. It seems that how people react in a crowd or on social media is based on patterns of behaviour that reflect wider belief systems. The predilection to behave in this way exists prior to the coming together of any pitchfork- or Twitter-wielding mob.

For the sociologist źmile Durkheim, the process of punishment and shaming served to change an individual's behaviour and uphold society's values. From Medieval times through to the nineteenth century, the authorities were willing to tie people to public whipping posts or place them in stocks for their transgressions. Local newspapers would have published a digest detailing the amount of squirming that had occurred. Punishment is primarily expressive - it expresses society's moral outrage at the offence. Through rituals of order, such as a public trial and punishment, society's shared values are reaffirmed and its members come to feel a sense of moral unity.

Thus `calling out' someone's Twitter transgressions could be said to be motivated by a desire to do good for wider society. Ronson draws a not too far-fetched analogy between public shaming on social media and how citizens in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) informed the Stasi (the GDR's terrifying secret police) on their neighbours - they thought this was the right thing to do.

The question today is how and why harmless jokes, or the `wrong' opinions, are seen as transgressive and worthy of what the criminologist John Braithwaite calls `stigmatic shaming' (which means there's no final forgiveness for the individual's `bad behaviour'). But in the twenty-first century the nature of stigmatic shaming has changed, too. Ronson notes how individuals who have been exposed to public judgement for aspects of their sexual behaviour, such as sleeping with prostitutes, are no longer social pariahs. Max Mosley or Wayne Rooney, for instance, were not cast out of public life following tabloid revelations of their paid-for sex romps. Shaming no longer involves the transgression of traditional or religious values but, instead, the transgression of politically correct codes. And it is on social media where the regulatory power of PC codes is most keenly felt.

Twenty-five years ago, the term PC was a joke, largely used by conservatives to lampoon the behaviour of liberals and lefties. Today, far from PC having `gone mad', it has gone thoroughly mainstream. Critics of PC are often viewed as closet bigots, people who simply want to make racist or sexist comments without any comeback. But this misses the point about the problems with PC. PC is designed to control individual behaviour rather than create a more equal or fair society. Through PC, problems to do with racial or sexual inequality have been recast as problems of language etiquette. Justine Sacco's family, for instance, had a long history of actively supporting the ANC in South Africa during the struggle against Apartheid; her tweet was also a joke against herself and perceptions of `white privileged' Americans. But all of this was irrelevant because the politically correct use of language is considered more important than a person's actual opinions or deeds.

Protecting other people's self-esteem or emotional states has become important because humans are no longer seen as being able to cope with `disagreeable' words. This has pretty much become the organising principle on university campuses throughout Britain and America. But the culture of limiting `offence' has only encouraged people to perceive and exaggerate all manner of comments as `offensive'. We've reached the point where an individual's subjective `hurt' now triumphs over solidarity with other people. Indeed, solidarities based around work, how most of us are only one pay cheque away from penury, was once a powerful social bond among the powerless in society. It was widely recognised that handing employers a stick with which to beat an employee could be used against yourself and others. This is why, 30 years ago, nobody would call on someone else to be sacked from their job on the basis of something they had said, no matter how reprehensible they thought it was.

One of the most depressing trends covered in Ronson's book is how calling for someone to be sacked from their job, even though a tweet is unrelated to their work, is often the first demand social-media users all-too gleefully make. It shows just how atomised and lacking in solidarity Western societies have become. Trying to get someone sacked was once considered a terrible thing to do. Now it is considered the right thing to do. Ronson's book demonstrates how social media reflects and exacerbates such malignant trends, such as calling for the state or employers to punish people for opinions, jokes or beliefs considered offensive or inappropriate.

Nevertheless, Ronson is somewhat off the mark when he applies his criticism of public, social-media shaming to the case of author and `motivational public speaker' Jonah Lehrer. In 2012, journalist Michael C Moynihan became suspicious of quotes Lehrer had attributed to Bob Dylan in his book Imagine: How Creativity Works. In fact, the quotes were completely made up. Other editors and book publishers quickly discovered that most of Lehrer's articles and work featured fabrications, inaccuracies and evidence of plagiarism. Ronson uses the case of Lehrer as part of his exploration of public shaming, but actually it's not entirely legitimate to compare Lehrer's downfall with the cases of Sacco, Stone and others. In Lehrer's case, it was a journalist, and then social media, who forced Lehrer to be held to account for his dishonesty and fakery. He was not being destroyed for bad jokes or bad opinions.

Ronson feels uneasy that Lehrer had `been exposed by the sort of person who used to be powerless' and reminds the reader Lehrer had written some wonderful stuff. There's a danger here of confusing Twittermob intolerance with stinging public criticism and ridicule. Increasingly, many journalists are hostile to `below the liners', ordinary members of the public who leave ridiculing comments underneath an opinion piece or review. There's a tendency to confuse the online public who are simply opinionated with Twittermobs and intolerance. Ronson is right to cast a weary and critical eye over the Twittermob mentality. But journalists' views and opinions still ought to be fair game for challenge and ridicule. At times, So You've Been Publicly Shamed doesn't clearly make the distinction between robust public debate and intolerance.

It is also worth pointing out that shame and being shamed are not necessarily bad things. The existence of shame is a recognition that genuinely transgressive acts are problematic. Shaming, therefore, provides a check and balance on wayward behaviour. It is the mechanism through which, informally and organically, civilised boundaries are maintained by society. It is also less repressive because such informal controls do not involve the state and the judiciary. What makes the Twittermob's acts of `shaming' so brutal is that individuals who haven't done anything wrong end up having their lives destroyed. Telling bad-taste jokes does not warrant being given unemployable pariah status. Ronson's engrossing book, and the sorry tales he covers, is a depressing snapshot of Twitter's tyranny of intolerance and the closing down of a free society.


From Ireland to Indiana, the spread of gay-marriage groupthink

Why the campaign for same-sex hitching is so censorious and intolerant

To see how straitjacketed the debate about gay marriage has become, look no further than Ireland.  There, on 22 May, there will be a referendum, with voters asked to say Yes or No to amending the Irish Constitution so that marriage will be redefined as a union between Ďtwo persons without distinction as to their sexí. Sounds good, right? An opportunity for an actual electorate to have a debate and have its say on the future of marriage? Not so fast.

The run-up to the referendum has been about as far from a fair or open debate as itís possible to get. One side in the debate - the side that is critical of gay marriage - is demonised daily, treated virtually as heretics, almost as criminals. Itís accused of causing psychological harm, branded as Ďhate speakersí, and frequently forced to make public apologies simply for expressing its belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman. And as a writer for the Irish Independent says, ĎItís not a debate if one side canít speakí. The public discussion before the Irish referendum has not been a debate, she says - itís been Ďa Two Minutes Hateí against anyone who doesnít think gay marriage is the greatest idea ever.

Pretty much the entire establishment in Ireland, aside from the increasingly uninfluential bishops and priests, backs gay marriage (giving the lie to the gay-marriage movementís depiction of itself as a beleaguered minority bravely battling The Man for its civil rights). From the prime minister, Enda Kenny, to the vast majority of Dail Eireann, to pretty much the whole media - most notably the Irish Times, voice of the minuscule cultural elite in Dublin that sets the moral and political agenda in Ireland - every person with power is rallying for gay marriage. And barely a week passes when they donít demonise the other side, the smaller, less powerful side, the side which, in opposing gay marriage, is apparently harming citizens, causing violence and, worst of all, jeopardising Irelandís political future.

As with all heretics in history, Irelandís opponents of gay marriage stand accused of directly harming the public. So last month, the Psychological Society of Ireland issued a dire warning that the propaganda of the anti-gay marriage camp could Ďimpact detrimentally on peopleí. PSI said it is Ďseriously concernedí that this lobbyís claim that traditional marriage is better than gay marriage, on the grounds that a mother and father make better parents than two people of the same sex, could have Ďfar-reaching implicationsí. It chastised opponents of gay marriage for promoting ideas that Ďrun contrary to the positions of professional bodiesí - that is, for daring to defy the new priests: the expert class - and said their words could wreak mental and moral havoc.

As one news report summed it up, PSI thinks that Ďthe debate itself [my italics] carrie[s] the potential to have detrimental effects, both psychological and emotional, on adults and childrení. So discussion is dangerous; positing a view that runs counter to the eliteís outlook could cause emotional damage. Itís remarkable how much the authoritarian boot has shifted: once it was those who denied Biblical truths who were accused of doing moral harm to citizens; now it is those who cleave to Christian views and doubt gay marriage whose words, whose desire to have a debate, are depicted as dangerous, warping things.

The PSI is not alone in demanding that the anti side watch its words, or better still, stop saying them. An Irish government minister has urged antis to Ďrefrain from confrontational and offensive languageí. The Irish Times has gone further, publishing a piece calling for the establishment of a Ďhomophobia watchdogí in the run-up to the referendum, so that the authorities can Ďmonitor the inevitable destructive rhetoric that will colour one side of the debateí. And to those who cry Ďwhat about free speech?í, the Irish Times has a simple answer: ĎďFree speechĒ is not a free pass to inflict psychological trauma.í That is, your words, your very thoughts, are traumatic, even socially destabilising, and thus they must not enjoy liberty; they should not be expressed.

Echoing those eco-illiberals in the UK and elsewhere who slam media outlets that offer a Ďbalancedí view in the debate on climate change, the Irish Times has also called into question the need for media balance on gay marriage in the run-up to the referendum. Too much of the media have Ďa skewed view of what balance isí, it says, feeling the need to offer a platform to ĎMiddle Irelandí, Ďthe silent majorityí, Ďthe mainstreamí, when the only consequence of such Ďpolarised conversationsí is that Ďfacts and reason are drowned out by emotional arguments and inaccuraciesí. ĎItís pointlessí, it concludes. It means, amazingly, that debate is pointless. Gay-marriage activists see themselves as Ďfactual and reasonedí and anyone who criticises them as emotional, inaccurate, traumatising, psychologically harmful. Who needs to hear from ĎMiddle Irelandí when the well-educated inhabitants of Dublin 4 know exactly what the nation needs? As it happens, the Irish media do not need lectures from the PSI about trauma or from the Irish Times about Ďskewed balanceí, and nor is there a need for a speech-monitoring homophobia watchdog - for the media in Ireland have already dutifully fallen in line behind gay marriage. Indeed, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland has recently ruled that too many broadcasters are showing a bias in favour of gay marriage. (Thereís no need for rulings like this either, of course; canít we just let debate flow freely?)

Expertsí and observersí depiction of gay marriageís opponents as emotionally harmful is having a direct impact on how the debate is, or rather isnít, panning out. It is strangling discussion, stifling the expression of what are increasingly depicted as deviant views. In the words of Eilis OíHanlon at the Irish Independent, the increasingly shrill proponents of gay marriage seem less interested in Ďfinding the truthí than in Ďidentifying [themselves] as members of an enlightened eliteí, so that the whole referendum run-up is Ďreduced to a case of kindly metropolitan liberals versus nasty Catholic conservativesí.

A writer for the Sunday Independent admitted to feeling reluctant to express her concerns about the behaviour of the pro-gay marriage lobby. Her friends warned her to Ďbe carefulí because Ďanyone who sticks their oar in risks attackí. There is a Ďchilling effectí on public discussion as a result of the treatment of one side as wicked and corrupting, she said. The bishop of Kildare, Denis Nulty, had a point when he recently warned against Ďthe danger of groupthinkí on gay marriage. As OíHanlon says, through groupthink Ďoutsiders are demonised and houndedí. Referring to the Twittermobs that formed during a heated debate on gay marriage last year, she says Ďanyone who expressed the slightest reservations about same-sex marriage was howled down as a homophobe and pelted with hashtags and slogans until they either submitted to the mob or were driven offlineí.

Irelandís opponents of gay marriage have also been subjected to the kind of tabloid exposes normally reserved for social deviants. And such is the debate-allergic climate that even bishops, people who should surely be expected to hold a traditionalist view on marriage and the family, have felt pressured to make public apologies. For expressing his view that gay people who adopt children are Ďnot necessarily parentsí and that Ďchildren need a mother and a fatherí, Bishop Kevin Doran was slammed and hounded, until he agreed to say sorry. He said he Ďregrets any hurtí his words caused. Even the Primate of All Ireland indulged in a mea culpa: ĎI think that sometimes when we say things we can be insensitive, we can hurt.í It seems the old bishops have heeded the warnings of the new secular bishops that make up Irelandís expert and chattering classes, and have agreed to genuflect at the altar of safe, stultified discussion on gay marriage.

What is striking is the extent to which the critics of gay marriage are now treated in a similar way that gays were treated for decades. Homosexuality wasnít decriminalised in Ireland until 1993 - making you wonder where the Irish state gets off now posing as super-gay-friendly - and before that gays were seen as a blot on the moral landscape. They were seen as psychologically disordered (not just in Ireland, but across the West) and their words and culture were often censored for fear that they would traumatise young people and tear the moral fabric. Sound familiar? Yes, the same is now done to those who hold traditional views on marriage and the family. In Ireland, as elsewhere, the illiberal, intolerant tactics once used against homosexuals have been turned against those who dare to criticise homosexual lifestyles.

Around the world, the institutionalisation of gay marriage has been attended by authoritarianism, whether of the violent state variety or what John Stuart Mill called Ďthe tyranny of prevailing opinioní. From French riot policeís tear-gassing of protesters against gay marriage to American activistsí witch-hunting of corporate bosses or small-town restaurants that refuse to cheer gay marriage, this supposedly great civil-rights issue of our age has a powerful intolerant streak to it. (The recent fiftieth anniversary of the Selma march really exposed gay-marriage activistsí claims to be the new civil-rights movement: far from mirroring the blacks who marched for their rights, the gay-marriage movement, most notably in France, looks a lot more like the Montgomery cops who batoned those marchers off the streets.)

Why is the gay-marriage movement so intolerant? Despite winning the backing of almost every powerful figure in the West, from Barack Obama to David Cameron, from Apple to Goldman Sachs, and despite being turned by the media into the great unquestionable, almost sacrilegious cause of our age, still gay-marriage activists hilariously fancy themselves as underdogs and, worse, seek to shush or shame out of existence anyone who opposes them. In the words of the American journalist Damon Linker, the gay-marriage movement seems curiously hell-bent on Ďstamping out rival visionsí. Or as Reason magazine said in relation to recent intolerant activism by American gay-marriage campaigners, it seems some are Ďnot merely content with the revolutionary step of removing state discrimination against same-sex couplesí, but also want to Ďuse state power to punish anyone who refuses to lend their business services to wedding ceremonies they find objectionableí.

Whatís this all about? Why the illiberalism, the intolerance, the ugliness? Itís because gay marriage is not really about expanding freedom at all. Rather, it represents the emergence of a new, post-traditonalist morality, an attempt by at-sea elites across the West to redefine themselves and their moral missions through the gay issue. Gay marriage has become the favoured means through which our rulers, feeling ever-more detached from their old moral worldview, are institutionalising a new, pseudo-progressive, seemingly consensual morality, based, not around the old ideals of family, commitment and privacy, but around the new po-mo values of relativism (all relationships are the same), non-judgementalism (who are we to say that a mum and dad are better than two mums?), and illiberal liberalism, the central political outlook of our times, which under the guise of building a new liberal consensus seeks to censure and punish anyone who deviates from that consensus. The reason the elites, from the political classes to the influential opinion-forming set, are so instinctually hostile to criticism of gay marriage is because they have invested their very moral rehabilitation, their future political and moral legitimacy, into this issue more than in any other. And thus no ridicule of it can be tolerated. For if you knock gay marriage you are not only knocking gay marriage - you are upsetting Western elitesí efforts to establish a new morality that simplistically distinguishes between Us (good, kind, liberal backers of gay marriage) and Them (the old, the religious, the outdated, the Other).

Ireland captures this perfectly. The reason so many in the political and media classes want, or rather need, the amendment to the Constitution to pass is because they think legalising gay marriage will help rejuvenate Ireland in the twenty-first century. The minister for children said that if Ireland doesnít legalise gay marriage, it would Ďsend out a bad message internationallyí. Or as prime minister Kenny put it, passing gay marriage will Ďsend out a powerful signal internationally that Ireland has evolved into a fair, compassionate and tolerant nationí.

All this talk of Ďsending signalsí to the world shows how absolutely central gay marriage has become to the project of Western elites making themselves over in these post-Cold War, post-traditionalist, post-political times. The Irish state needs gay marriage for the same reason Obama and Cameron need it - to fashion a new moral worldview and Ďsend a signalí about its elitist progressivism, its decency in comparison to the old world, the old people, the old outlook. That so many gay-rights campaigners are going along with this politicisation and exploitation of their lifestyles by elites on the lookout for a new sense of purpose is remarkable. That those who hold a divergent view on gay marriage are being silenced is a scandal.


ACLU Targets Religious Charities Over Refusing Abortions, Contraception for Immigrant Children

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit on Apr. 6  against the federal government to obtain ďdocuments related to how groups that are awarded government funding contracts are restricting refugee and undocumented immigrant teenagers' access to reproductive health services, including contraception and abortion.Ē

The lawsuit is seeking the release of documents from the Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families about contracts awarded to religious groups that are helping unaccompanied minors, many of whom have crossed into the United States from Mexico.

Brigitte Amiri, an ACLU senior staff attorney, said that religious organizations, particularly the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), are taking millions of dollars in federal funding and refusing ďto provide teens with critical reproductive health care ó such as emergency contraception and abortion ó as required by U.S. law.Ē

ďRecently, the federal government released proposed regulations requiring federal contractors who care for unaccompanied minors to provide access to contraception, emergency contraception, and abortion if a teen has been raped,Ē said the ACLU, referencing a recent interim rule published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Servicesí Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).

ďIn response, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, one of the groups that received a government-funded contract to provide care to these teens, said any requirement that they provide information about contraception or abortion, even a referral or the arrangement for such services, would violate their religious freedom,Ē the ACLU said, citing the USCCBís Feb. 20 letter of reply to ORRís interim rule.

The Dec. 24, 2014 interim rule, which will go into effect this June, requires federally funded organizations caring for illegal alien minors to provide ďunimpeded access to emergency medical treatment,Ē including ďemergency contraception,Ē and abortion.

The ACLU argues that, ďreligious freedom does not include the right to take a government contract that requires providing access to health care, and then refuse to provide a teen who has been raped the health care she needs.Ē

However the USCCB and other religious organizations have invoked the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which bars the federal government from denying government grants and contracts on the basis of a groupís free exercise of religion.

ďThere is little question that a government requirement to provide or refer for items or procedures to which an organization has a religious and moral objection would impose a Ďsubstantial burdení on its exercise of religion,Ē the USCCB wrote.

ďAbortion takes an innocent human life and wounds another life.  It is the antithesis of healthcare.  This lawsuit will not expand access to humane care, but rather will peddle death and harm to an already vulnerable population ó young undocumented immigrants ó dealing a blow both to life and to religious freedom,Ē  Mallory Quigley, Communications Director at the Susan B. Anthony List, a national pro-life advocacy group, told CNSNews.com in reference to the ACLU lawsuit.

ďAbortion does not cure, it does not provide relief or solace for the problems of sexual assault or poverty.  Abortion only inflicts further wounds on those already hurting.  Religious organizations such as Catholic Relief Services are providing true compassion and care, and the dignity that these young women deserve,Ē she said.

The ORR regulation anticipated religious freedom objections in its preamble, noting, ďORR is mindful that some potential and existing grantees and contractors may have religious or moral objections to providing certain kinds of services, including referrals (for example, for emergency contraception)."

ďORR is committed to providing resources and referrals for the full range of legally permissible services to UCs (Unaccompanied Children) who need them, helping to facilitate access to these options, and doing so in a timely fashion and in a manner that respects the diverse religious and cultural backgrounds of UCs,Ē states the rule.

ďAt the same time, ORR is also committed to finding ways for organizations to partner with us, even if they object to providing specific services on religious grounds,Ē it states.

The USCCB, along with Catholic Relief Services, the National Association of Evangelicals, World Vision, and World Relief called the referral option ďinadequateĒ and called for an amendment to the rule providing a ďmeaningful accommodationĒ that ďfrees existing and prospective grantees, contractors, sub-grantees and subcontractors from any requirement to provide, facilitate the provision of, provide information about, or refer or arrange for items or procedures to which they have a religious or moral objection.Ē



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

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

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


14 April, 2015

Two multiculturalists charged with sexual battery after police found video of unconscious girl in scene likened to 'wild animals preying on a carcass laying in the woods'

Two college students have been charged in connection to an unconscious girl who was allegedly gang raped on a Florida beach during Spring Break in broad daylight, authorities said.

Troy University students Delonte' Martistee, 22, of Georgia and Ryan Austin Calhoun, 23, of Alabama were charged on Friday with sexual battery by multiple perpetrators relating to the incident that occurred between March 10-12, according to Bay County Sheriff's Office.

According to WFSA, it has been confirmed by university officials that both men were suspended, and Martistee, a promising track star, has been removed from the team.

The alleged victim told deputies she thought she had been drugged before the incident and that she was afraid to report it because she could not remember many details, Panama City News Herald reported.  'She knows something happened, but she doesn't know what happened,' Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen said.  Authorities are still searching for two additional suspects in the case.

Friday's charges stem from a video police found where hundreds of people are seen watching the incident without attempting to intervene during the alleged attack on Panama City Beach, authorities claim.  The footage was uncovered on a cell phone during an unconnected investigation into a shooting in Troy, Alabama.

Alerting the Bay County Sheriff's Office, the two departments worked together to identify two suspects and the alleged victim.

McKeithen branded the video the 'most disgusting, sickening thing' and likened the scene to 'wild animals preying on a carcass laying in the woods'.

In the video, McKeithen said one man is heard in the clip saying, 'she isn't going to know,' before putting his hand inside her bikini bottoms.

The incapacitated young woman is surrounded by several men while seated on a beach chair during the video filmed behind Spinnaker Beach Club.

McKeithen told a press conference: 'This is happening in broad daylight with hundreds of people seeing and hearing what is happening and they are more concerned about spilling their beer than somebody being raped.

'This is such a traumatizing event for this girl. No one should have to fear this would happen in Panama City Beach, but it does.'

The investigation related to the incident is ongoing.


Cage's lies over new anti-terror laws: Terrorism apologists accused of scaremongering after warning Muslims police will take their children away

Terrorism apologists who called Jihadi John a Ďbeautiful young maní have been accused of scaremongering after warning Muslims that police will use new anti-terror legislation to take their children away.

Asim Qureshi, research director for the Ďhuman rightsí group Cage, made the comments during a nationwide tour about the recently-introduced Counter-Terrorism and Security (CTS) Act.

The group held talks in seven cities across the country including Leicester, Sheffield, Bradford and London.

Mr Qureshi claimed the Government would consider taking away children as young as seven if they attended demonstrations by the Stop The War group, which campaigns against what it sees as unjust wars, or repeated political slogans in schools.

At the Bradford meeting on Wednesday, Mr Qureshi said: ĎThere is a little sub-clause in the CTS Act that says the Government can consider avenues under health and social services.

ĎHow I read that is if you donít consent to deradicalisation programmes, we are going to take your kids away from you Ė and force you to consent to these programmes for your children.

ĎThatís what the Bill allows them to do. The end conclusion is that, without giving our consent, they will start thinking about taking our children away from us.

ĎThat for me has been the most dangerous part of this Act.í

Mr Qureshiís comments were widely criticised. Nazir Afzal, the former chief Crown prosecutor for North-West England, said the remarks amounted to Ďscaremongering, pure and simpleí.

He said: ĎIt is possible to read every bit of legislation in any way you want to, but we need to get real. Taking a child away from their parents is the last thing the State wants to do.í

A Conservative spokesman said the comments were lies, adding: ĎThis is, frankly, outrageous scaremongering.í Labour said Mr Qureshiís claims didnít Ďbear scrutiny or come close to realityí.

Cage attracted criticism in February after it was revealed it had been in close contact with Mohammed Emwazi, also known as IS executioner Jihadi John.

Mr Qureshi gave a press conference at which he described Emwazi as a Ďbeautiful young maní who was Ďextremely gentleí.


Judge APOLOGISES to teenager she has to sentence for having sex

A judge has apologised to a teenager who was prosecuted for having sex with a 15-year-old girl when he was 17.

Connor O'Keefe, now 18, had consensual sex with the girl after they got drunk at a 'peace festival' in Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire last summer.

In extraordinary comments, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano questioned why the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had brought O'Keefe to court.

She said: 'I don't know what the world has come to when I am asked to deal with two teenagers who got drunk and had sex.'

O'Keefe was originally charged with rape after having sex with the girl in a supermarket car park after they got drunk at a festival in June last year.

But last month, OíKeefe was cleared of rape after his plea of guilty to an alternative offence of sexual activity with a child was accepted by the prosecution.

Warwick Crown Court heard O'Keefe, who was 17 at the time, and the victim were part of a group who went to a Morrisons supermarket in the early hours of the morning.

The pair then had consensual sex in the car park of the store after other friends went to a nearby McDonald's.

Judge de Bertodano this week criticised the CPS for bringing the case to court as she sentencing O'Keefe to a one-month conditional discharge and ordered him to register as a sex offender for two weeks.

She said: 'So what I'm dealing with is consensual sex between two teenagers.

'I have to deal with this on the basis that a 17-year-old had sex with a girl who was almost 16, and they had both had too much to drink. What are we doing here?

'But still the prosecution wanted to press on. I don't know what the world has come to when I am asked to deal, in a serious criminal court, with two teenagers who got drunk and had sex.

'If it had been rape, that would have been a different matter. I feel extremely sorry for you having to end up in this position.

She added: 'Clearly this started as a very serious case, but what it comes to is simply a teenage incident which should never have come near the courts at all.

'These sort of cases have no place in this kind of court. I want you to go away with that ringing in your ears and for it not to cast a shadow over the rest of your teenage years.

'You have been through a great deal as a result of this. I hope you can now put it behind you. I don't think this matter should be here at all.'

The court heard the girl, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, originally claimed he had left her immediately after they had sex but CCTV showed them leaving the car park together.

They then went to a fast food restaurant where the girl, who was described as 'very drunk', chatted to friends, who gave her money for a taxi.

Prosecutor Andrew Wallace told the court the victim had drank a large quantity of alcohol after going to the Leamington Peace Festival last summer.

He said O'Keefe, from Warwick, was said to have been 'excited, shouting and annoying everyone' and had 'tried it on' with one of the girl's friends.

Explaining why his new plea had been accepted, Mr Wallace said there was inconsistencies in the girl's original evidence.

Graeme Simpson, defending, said 'her account was significantly undermined'.


Women in the marines experiment fails

The two-and-a-half year period in which the Marine Corps' Infantry Officer Course became gender-integrated for research will end without a single female graduate.

The final iteration of IOC to accept female Marines on a volunteer basis began April 2 with two female participants. One was a volunteer and one was a member of the newly integrated ground intelligence track.

Both were dropped that same day during the grueling initial Combat Endurance Test, said Capt. Maureen Krebs, a spokeswoman for Headquarters Marine Corps. Nine of the 90 men who began the course were also cut.

IOC, held quarterly at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, began accepting female officers fresh out of training in September 2012 as part of a larger research effort into the feasibility of opening ground combat jobs to women. Lieutenants who made it through the legendarily tough 86-day course would not receive an infantry military occupational specialty or career advancement; they did it only for the challenge and the hope of being part of a historical Marine Corps achievement.

But as the research continued, few volunteers took advantage of the opportunity. By July 2014, only 20 female officers had attempted the course. Only one made it through the Combat Endurance Test, and none made it to the end.

In an effort to achieve their goal of 100 female volunteers cycling through IOC, the Marine Corps opened the course to female company-grade officers in October 2014, making hundreds more Marines eligible for the course. The Corps also began requiring that volunteers get a first-class score on the male version of the service's Physical Fitness Test in an effort to better prepare them for the rigors of IOC.

The effort was a mixed success. In the October iteration of IOC, three of the seven female volunteers made it through the Combat Endurance Test, bringing the total number of women to pass the test to four. Two of those who passed the test were captains from the fleet. As time passed, no influx of volunteers materialized, however.

The testing period ends with just 27 female volunteers having attempted the course. Two other female officers also attempted the course as part of required ground intelligence officer training. The 0203 ground intelligence officer military occupational specialty was opened to female officers in late 2013, with IOC as a qualification requirement for applicants. None of the 29 female officers made it to the end of the course.

While IOC is closing to volunteers, female applicants for ground intelligence officer positions will continue to attend the course in the future, Krebs said.

Officials have said that ongoing research will consider many aspects of temporarily integrating IOC, including the number of volunteers, their pass rate, and performance in the course. That data will be taken alongside other research points, including the much higher success rate for enlisted female Marines in passing the Infantry Training Battalion course at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. As of February, 358 women had attempted the course, with 122 graduates, for a pass rate of 34 percent.

Also considered will be data generated from the Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force, which is conducting assessments with male and female troops in a variety of infantry specialties now on the West Coast. All this information will be compiled this summer and used to inform Commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford's recommendation to the secretary of Defense on whether or not to open remaining ground combat units to female troops.

A decision is expected from the Pentagon early next year.



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

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

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


13 April, 2015

Married multicultural 'feminist' who is running for Parliament is filmed groping stripper

A would-be Lib Dem MP who describes himself as a feminist has been filmed repeatedly trying to touch a naked lap dancer.  Married father-of-one Maajid Nawaz asked for two private sessions at a strip club in east London.

Footage shows the prospective parliamentary candidate Ė who calls himself an advocate of womenís rights Ė attempting to touch her arms and thighs, which is against the venueís policy.

Staff said Nawaz had been pestering the girl all night and his actions had been Ďoutrageousí.

In the film, Nawaz Ė a convicted former extremist Ė can be seen repeatedly trying to make contact with the girl as she dances naked for him in a private room during two £20 lap dances.

Manager Jay Shah, who witnessed Nawazís behaviour, said he was Ďvery drunkí and bouncers threatened to throw him out several times.

ĎHe was asking her to touch him and he was touching her,í he said. ĎIn general he was quite persistent with her, asking to take her out and for her number.í

A rising star of the Liberal Democrats, 37-year-old Nawaz is also a leading figure in the Muslim community and head of anti-extremism charity the Quilliam Foundation, which he set up.

A regular guest on BBC News programmes, he declared on Newsnight in 2013: ĎI consider myself a feminist.í He once wrote on Twitter: ĎYou donít need to be a woman to stand for womenís rights.í

He often throws his weight behind gender issues such as the campaign against female genital mutilation and paints himself as a role model for young Muslim men at risk of radicalisation.

But Abdul Malik, the clubís owner, said he wanted the video to be seen by the public because of the way Nawaz portrays himself as a feminist and a family man. ĎHeís always talking about religion on TV and I thought, what a hypocrite,í he said.

He claimed Ďarrogantí Nawaz acts like a Ďspokesman for Islamí Ė but visited the club during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

A spokesman for Nawaz said he denied touching the dancer Ďinappropriatelyí and added that his reputation for advocating womenís rights was Ďin the context of Islamic extremismí.

He said he had not been warned about his behaviour, and was not Ďout of controlí through drink or breaching the rules.

The spokesman said: ĎThe evening you refer to was our clientís stag night before his marriage. ĎHis best man took him to the gentlemanís club with the full knowledge of our clientís then future wife (now his wife).í


The ĎParty of CEOsí and Religious Liberty

Social conservatives need to get serious. Since Indiana, the need for a new, well-funded political arm for Christians and other traditional believers has never been more obvious. In so many ways, the days of cheap grace are over. It is going to get increasingly costly and risky to publicly adhere to traditional Christian teachings on sex and marriage, as Professor Robert George warned us.

Frank Bruni approvingly notes in the New York Times that a major gay philanthropist told him, ďChurch leaders must be made Ďto take homosexuality off the sin list.íĒ A Talking Points Memo columnist followed up with the Orwellian idea that unless cops are pointing a gun at your head, you, as a Christian, arenít being ďforcedĒ to do anything ó never mind that youíll be fined and punished if you donít.

Meanwhile, the EEOC has just opened up a case against Mount de Sales Academy, a Catholic high school in Georgia, for firing its band director when he said he was entering a gay marriage.

A Wyoming Equality activist said churches should either marry gay couples or lose their tax deduction, before quickly deleting his own Facebook post.

Many churches, and even whole small denominations, will fold to the moral and political power of the gay-rights community (which, obviously, includes many people who are not gay).

The Catholic Church is riven, with many liberal Catholics misinterpreting Pope Francisís recent statements as calls to spread secular liberal pieties instead of comforting the marginalized. Instead of speaking truth to power, Emmanuel College, a small Catholic college in Massachusetts, has decided to join the dominant powers in shaming and humiliating the small number of evangelical Christians in its vicinity by refusing to let its athletes compete against Gordon College students.

And now, in a startling display of the power of crony capitalism, major corporations in Indiana and elsewhere are weighing in on the side of using government power to oppress small Christian businesses ó and against whatever other religious-liberty protections the gay-rights community dubs anti-gay.

Years ago, back when I was running the National Organization for Marriage and scouring the gay press daily for hints of what to expect in the future, I noticed a stray comment ó I believe it was from the then-chairman of the Human Rights Campaign, Joe Solomonese. I canít find the quote now but I what I recall him saying is: ďOur secret weapon is going to be our corporate network.Ē Secret out of the bag.

One of the big points to emerge from Indiana is that big business has decided to weigh in in favor of ďequalityĒ and against moral ďlibertyĒ in a big way. "Big business has been at the forefront of the backlash against the Indiana law, and similar legislation pending in states around the U.S.,Ē reports CNNís Money channel.

Angieís List CEO Bill Oesterle announced he would cancel a $40 million expansion in Indianapolis. Salesforceís Marc Benioff pledged to reduce investments in Indiana and help employees relocate (to one of the other 20 states with RFRAs?), pronouncing Indianaís rather innocuous RFRA to be ďbrutalĒ and ďunjust.Ē

Most eloquently and helpfully, Benioff explained the social phenomena we are now witnessing: ďThis is a really important point that, you know, CEOs have a lot of power and control on investment in states and we want to invest in states where there is equality,Ē he said. ďOne thing that youíre seeing is that there is a third [political] party emerging in this country, which is the party of CEOs.Ē

I am sure much of this reflects the sincere if misguided sentiments of the Party of CEOs, but there is another force at work here as well. When I say that traditional believers lack institutions, I mean that over the last ten years, the stage for the moment that has just emerged has been set, piece by piece, with very little effective, creative, or well-funded response by the so-called Religious Right.

Can a president endorse gay marriage without facing any significant, organized, and well-funded blowback? Check. Can the Left drive Catholic adoption agencies out of business? Check; been there, done that in Massachusetts, Illinois, and D.C. Can they get a beauty queen canned for saying she opposes same-sex marriage? Check. Can they attack a whole corporation because a CEO gives personal money to Prop 8 in California? Check. Can they force a blue-chip Atlanta law firm to dump the House of Representatives as a client over gay marriage? Check. Can they suspend and discipline the first deaf diversity officer at a federally chartered university because she signed a petition urging that gay marriage be put to her stateís voters? Check. Can they get a Washington State judge disciplined for an ethics violation merely for saying in his private chambers that he wonít perform same-sex marriages for religious reasons? Check. Can they get a Catholic high-school teacher suspended for criticizing the motivations of the gay political lobby? Check.

Can they get thousands of high profile Christian donors to embrace and participate in a truce strategy, as if once we elect a silent pro-lifer to office he will magically transform himself into a fighter for the unborn, let alone for millions of loving, hardworking, decent people across America getting fired, demoted, or at least slandered as bigots and haters?  If you are on my Facebook page, you know that the answer is yes, there are many.

How did we get to the point where, unbeknownst to millions of decent, hardworking Americans who want nothing more than to live and let live, ďreligious libertyĒ is now a code word for a ďlicense to discriminateĒ?

How did we get to the point where Angieís List CEO Bill Oesterle not only wades into the debate to oppose Indianaís RFRA, he proudly announced what Apple CEO Tim Cook would consider ďbraveĒ plans to punish the state by deciding not to expand his companyís headquarters in Indianapolis?

The largest answer is: Because traditional believers have not invested in the kind of political and information networks we need to be taken seriously.

To understand that, you have to go back and look at what happened to Target in Minnesota, which gave substantial amounts of money to a political organization that supported Governor Tom Emmer, purely for business-related reasons. (For Gawkerís subtle take, see: ďMeet Tom Emmer, Targetís Favorite Right-Wing Nutjob.Ē)

Target was disciplined for donating, for business reasons, to a GOP politician who also supported letting Minnesotans vote on the question of gay marriage.

The actual protesters and boycotters were creative but tiny in number. It was their access to the mainstream media that gave the corporation heebie-jeebies, led to an immediate apology, and eventually to Target TVís ads featuring two gay dads.

So when Mike Pence signed the RFRA into law, and the media firestorm ensued, I am guessing Oesterle knew he had a problem. For supporting Pence, his company would be fair game, under the LGBT rules, unless he figured out a way out of the fire.

Global and national corporations apparently do not have to show respect for religious people, but they must not attract the well-organized ire of the impressive and powerful LGBT community. This happened when they decided that the cultural, the financial, and the political power are all in the hands of the gay-rights movement.

Nobody is afraid of what a Republican might to do his or her corporation. It is better to be feared than loved, or at least certainly more lucrative. In the aftermath of Indiana, I compiled this report card, on which GOP candidates responded publicly to the open hatred expressed toward traditional believers in Indiana.

It is not an attempt to grade the candidates on their overall positions, or even on their religious-liberty positions. (Who does that? What is the smart, effective political organization that views its mission as keeping track of what legislation GOP candidates say they are willing to support, and grading them on it? Then directing money, ads, and boots on the ground to candidates who support the rights of traditional believers to make a living in America? Oh, that organization doesnít exist yet.

It is a snapshot of one moment in time: When they came for Indiana Christians, who ran toward the lions and who prudently ran away? I do not say that, if your candidate did not take this moment to shine, you cannot support him or her. I do say you should be pushing the candidate to do more and show more courage instead of accepting your own dhimmitude.

When it comes to the GOP presidential nomination, Iíll say this: I will enthusiastically support whomever the party nominates if he or she is better on the life issue than the Democratic nominee (most of whom have embraced, as Rand Paul just said, aborting seven-pound unborn babies).

But I am tired of those who keep telling me that their candidate is secretly and silently solid on the issues I care about most. We have not one instance of a candidate who, having secretly supported us, became brave once in power. It never happens.

Vote for whom you will, but do not fool yourself that you are holding some secret Messiah trump. Because we have not built powerful and effective political institutions, social conservatives sit under the table, feeding on the crumbs from the libertarians (who have made these investments), hoping our silent and secret political Messiah will save us from the Democratic wolves. This is a recipe for failure and loss. The loss, alas, will not just be ours. It will be the loss of much that America holds dear.


Labour parliamentary candidate called people displaying England flags 'simpletons and racists'

A Labour parliamentary candidate has apologised 'wholeheartedly' for telling people to throw 'Tippex' over cars displaying England flags.

Huw Thomas, the Labour candidate in Ceredigion, West Wales, suggested on an online forum in 2006 that the flags were for a 'simpleton' or a 'casual racist'.

He posted his views on a Welsh language website called Mais E writing during the 2006 World Cup: 'I agree it is totally sickening the number of English flags to be seen around Wales.

'It really shows the level our society has been infiltrated by immigrants who aren't ready to integrate.'

He also stated: 'I got the opportunity when I was offered an English flag for half price in WHSmiths Oxford to answer with the sentence: "Since I am neither a simpleton nor a casual racist I must decline your offer".'

In a statement he said: 'I apologise wholeheartedly for these comments, made while I was a young student. These are not my views now and I deeply regret writing this post online.

'Every candidate at this election will have gone through a political journey. Most will have said or thought things when they were young and at university, college or school that they now regret. This is certainly the case for me.'

He added that people in Ceredigion 'deserve an MP that will admit when they are wrong'. 

It comes after senior Labour MP Emily Thornberry stood down in November after publishing a picture of a house in Rochester draped in England flags.

The MP for Islington South and Finsbury, in North London, took the snap while canvassing in the by-election in Rochester and Strood and was accused of being 'snobby' and 'sneering down her nose' at working class voters.


Historian David Starkey in attack on 'victim status' of Muslims, disabled people and other ethnic minorities

His factual claims about IQ are in fact well-supported by the evidence

Historian David Starkey has launched an astonishing attack on the 'victim status' of ethnic minorities and disabled people - and says women are only of average intelligence.

The outspoken 70-year-old said evidence suggested women tended to be of average intelligence, whereas men were either 'very, very bright or very thick', but denied he is sexist.

In a wide-ranging interview with the Daily Telegraph, he hit out at Baroness Doreen Lawrence, the mother of race murder victim Stephen, for following what he claimed was the approach of US civil rights leaders after Martin Luther King's death by 'treating blacks as victims'.

He said: 'They espoused victimhood and violence. And I think to a dangerous extent that has happened in this country. With all the praise that's been lavished on Doreen Lawrence, she's constantly treating blacks as victims.

'All forms of liberation, and I speak as gay and I was in all this when it wasn't fashionable, when you didn't get your CBE for being a prominent poofter, when there were actual penalties for doing it - all of them depend upon you taking control. About you refusing to be a victim.

'And I find it very, very sad the sway there is now this perpetual procession of people - group after group - wanting to assume the status of victim. It's catastrophic.'

Starkey, who said he was 'born quite seriously disabled', added people with physical and mental disabilities should not be portrayed as victims.

And he claimed fears of Islamophobia were victimising Muslims, making them 'therefore somehow privileged and exempt'.

A recent poll showed many Muslims reported higher community tensions, with one in three saying they felt under greater suspicion in the last few years, while 44 per cent of non-Muslims reporting being more wary.



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 April, 2015

Multiculturalist  now "most wanted"

A British-born businessman has been placed on the FBI's Most Wanted list over claims he conducted a multi-million pound luxury car scam.

Afzal Khan is accused of conning a string of customers and financial firms at a motor dealership he ran in the US.

Federal agents hunting the 32-year-old, originally from Edinburgh, fear he may have fled the country and have offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

Flamboyant Khan, known to his clients as 'Bobby', opened the Emporio Motor Group in New Jersey in 2013 and maintained a high profile.  He appeared on US reality series The Real Housewives Of New Jersey and counted members of the show's cast among his clients.

He has now been accused of a massive fraud involving super cars including Lamborghinis, Bentleys and Rolls Royces.

He is accused of obtaining loans from a bank for cars that he never delivered, but for which the purchaser was still responsible.

He also obtained loans for cars that were delivered, but for which neither he nor Emporio had title documents. As a result, the purchasers of these cars were liable for the loan, but could not register the vehicles.

Khan also offered to sell cars for customers, and then neither returned the cars nor provided any money from car sales.

One financial institution is said to have lost $1.6million from its dealings with Khan and 75 customers have come forward to make complaints against him.

If convicted, he could face a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a multi-million dollar fine.

Khan was born in Edinburgh to Pakistani parents and moved to America more than 20 years ago. Police and the FBI attempted to arrest him at his New Jersey home at the end of October but could not locate him.

He has now been placed on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted 'white collar criminals' list.

In an interview he gave when he opened his car dealership in 2013, Khan boasted that he had been selling luxury cars since he was 18

He said: 'There's a waiting list for any car like this, because you can't find it, but the number of millionaires and billionaires grows every day.  'Everybody wants the next toy. This is a boutique dealership. It's like walking into a Gucci or a Fendi store.'

The FBI wanted poster for Khan says he has ties to the United Arab Emirates, Canada, the UK and Pakistan, and may be found in those countries. He is described as 5 feet 10 inches and 180 pounds, with a scar on his right arm.

Last week, Khan's brother Anil Iqbal was arrested by police in New Jersey investigating the alleged scam.

Iqbal, 36, who was an employee at the dealership, has been charged with conspiracy to commit theft, theft by extortion, theft by deception and fencing.

An FBI spokesman said: 'Afzal Khan is wanted for allegedly defrauding customers and financial institutions while he was the owner of Emporio Motor Group, a car dealership in Ramsey, New Jersey.

'From approximately December 2013 to September 2014, Khan allegedly obtained loans for vehicles that were never delivered, obtained loans for vehicles without proper title, and issued insufficient funds checks.

'Khan also allegedly offered to sell vehicles on consignment and then neither returned the vehicles nor provided any funds for the vehicle sales.

'A federal arrest warrant was issued for Khan on October 21, 2014, by the United States District Court, District of New Jersey, Newark, New Jersey, after he was charged with wire fraud.

'The FBI is offering a reward of up to $20,000 for information leading to the arrest of Afzal Khan.'


Snatched from her loving family and handed to strangers: Sophia was an adored baby with a devoted mother and besotted grandparents. Then social workers took an extraordinary decision

There are few people more evil than British social workers.  They revel in using their powers to hurt people

The small pink bedroom remains pristine, untouched. The cot, its coverlet neat and pressed, stands empty. There are soft toys, a candy-coloured pedal car, a pushchair and a pretty little Moses basket.

Photos of a toddler ó laughing, held aloft on her grandfatherís shoulders ó give proof to a childís existence, yet nothing in the room shows signs of use or life.

Indeed, the little girl ó weíll call her Sophia ó for whom the bedroom was intended, has never slept in it. Since she was born 22 months ago, there has been no joyous welcome to the four-bedroom house on the South Coast in which her family live.

Instead, just two days after her birth, Sophia was wrenched from her family, and the shock was so profound, so terrible, that they are still reeling.

The law prevents us from using Sophiaís real name, because any day now the toddler will be forcibly adopted against her familyís wishes. She will, thereafter, become the child of strangers, who will raise her, without contact from her blood relatives, until she is an adult.

Yet Sophia already had a family who loved her; who were overjoyed by the prospect of caring for her. So much so that her 20-year-old mother, Samantha, had decided to live at her parentsí home so her daughter would have their love and support as well as hers.

In fact it was Sophiaís grandparents, Jayne Harley, 50, a doctorsí receptionist, and her husband Neil, 44, who runs a scaffolding company, who decorated the room in readiness for their first grandchild.

But our Nanny State decreed they should not be permitted to bring up their own child. A social worker and two police officers arrived at the hospital where Sophia was born, two days after her delivery by emergency Caesarean, and prevented them taking her home.

Last month, this newspaper ran a series of stories about single mothers in the Sixties who were coerced into giving up their babies for adoption for the sole reason that they were unmarried.

Today, unbelievably, forced adoptions still occur. But the Harleysí story is so jaw-dropping, so harrowing, it is almost impossible to believe it happened in modern Britain.

But it did, and Sophiaís family spent 18 months fighting through the courts for the right to raise her. It was a battle that took them to the Court of Appeal in London and cost them £60,000 ó raised from loans and savings ó in legal fees.

Their ordeal began when Samantha, who was then aged 19, announced that she was pregnant.

ĎWe werenít happy,í recalls Jayne. ĎSammy was still at college, training to be a nail technician, and her boyfriend, who was in his mid-20s, wasnít working. It wasnít the sort of relationship we wanted for her. We felt she could do better.

ĎBut Sammy was intent on keeping the baby ó she wouldnít consider a termination ó so we agreed weíd support her in every way we could.í

Jayne was concerned that Samantha, who had been a Ďchallengingí child and was diagnosed in her teens with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), would need help with parenting.

She and Neil, her husband of 14 years, resolved to step in: Samantha and the newborn should live at home with them, they all agreed.

Then Jayne discovered a disquieting fact about Samanthaís boyfriend John (not his real name). ĎWe heard that he was on the Sex Offendersí Register. My immediate thought was: ďOh God, please donít let him be a rapist or paedophile.Ē í

Court records, however, revealed that his crime was a sexual assault on a woman. ĎHe had forced his hand up her skirt and kissed her against her will. It was a serious offence and it would be wrong to diminish it. But he wasnít a paedophile or rapist,í says Jayne.

Nonetheless, she was relieved when Samantha ended her relationship with John early on in the pregnancy. They remained friends, and Jayne accepted this as evidence that John intended to have a role in his childís life, which seemed laudable.

Pending motherhood, moreover, gave Samantha a new sense of purpose. ĎSheíd been defiant and disruptive, but she changed completely,í recalls Jayne. ĎShe improved herself, passed her driving test, bought a little car. She stayed in, devoted herself to studying and completed her college course.

ĎAnd we started to look forward to the future. We got the babyís room ready and bought everything she could possibly need.í

When, in June 2013, Samantha was admitted to hospital for the birth, Jayne was with her. She was surprised, however, when John, who was by then in a relationship with another young woman, arrived, too.

ĎThere was no plan for him to be there, but I didnít regard him as a danger,í recalls Jayne. ĎWeíd even agreed that any future involvement between John and the baby would be arranged through social services.í

Jayne revelled in her new role as grandparent. ĎHolding Sophia was like holding my own daughter,í she recalls. ĎThere was the same level of love. Samantha had produced this beautiful baby girl. Seeing her for the first time was one of the happiest moments of my life.í

Then, two days after she was born in summer 2013, Jayne went to the hospital to collect her daughter and her baby to bring them home.

ĎBut there was delay after delay,í she says. ĎThen a nurse said she needed to sign some paperwork. That was when the police and a social worker arrived and the nightmare started.í

What happened next was chilling.

ĎThey said Samantha had to go to a mother and baby unit outside the county, and that she had to leave immediately,í says her mother.

ĎMy daughter was hysterical, screaming, ďMum, why are they doing this?Ē I couldnít answer her. All I could think was that social services departments were there to keep families together, not tear them apart.

ĎI was stunned. All I knew was that two of the most precious people in our lives were being taken away and I couldnít prevent it. I had no idea what weíd done wrong. It was barbaric; inhumane.

ĎI asked why on earth they were doing it. They said Sophia was at risk from her parents. I couldnít understand it. I re-live that moment every day: my daughterís terrified face, begging me to stop it from happening, screaming for help, and me being powerless to do a thing.í

Jayne has never been able to establish exactly why, but she believes Social Services were panicked by the arrival of John at the hospital, and Jayne and her daughter became scapegoats.

Before being packed off to a mother and baby unit outside London (where she would ultimately spend 16 weeks), Samantha had never spent a night away from home. She was bewildered and frightened.

ĎThey said that if she went, she could keep her baby,í says Jayne. ĎWe tried to be positive. We said: ďTheyíll teach you parenting skills.Ē  ĎNone of us knew it was to be an assessment ó that Samantha would be under scrutiny 24/7.í

For the next four months, Jayne and Neil, who had raised Samantha and her sister from his wifeís first marriage since they were five and six respectively, made the 250-mile round-trip to the unit every Sunday. It was the only day they were permitted to visit.

They were cheered by Samanthaís progress. ĎWe could see how well she was parenting Sophia, and the bond that was developing between them,í recalls Jayne. ĎSophia was content. She was a smiley, happy baby.í

Despite this, greater trauma was in store. In October, when Samanthaís placement ended, she was told it had actually been an assessment ó and that she had failed.

ĎThey said her parenting skills were not in doubt,í says Jayne. ĎThe problem was that she ó like us, apparently ó did not recognise her child could be exposed to ďfuture emotional harmĒ.í

Sophia was wrenched peremptorily from the family who loved her and entrusted to the care of her prospective adoptive parents. The dreadful irony was lost on social workers.

Jayne says: ĎThey kept saying Sophia was at risk of emotional harm from us, yet Social Services were the abusers. You cannot commit a more inhumane act than to prise a baby from the arms of the family that loves her and place her with strangers.í

Jayne and Neil, however, were not prepared to give up without a fight. In January 2014, they applied for a Special Guardianship Order.

Their application, through the courts, was to prove both long and costly ó and ultimately futile. They are hard-working people but they did not have the financial resources to fund an expensive legal battle. Like all grandparents, they were not entitled to legal aid.

They raised £30,000 through a loan, borrowed £20,000 from their own parents and consumed their £10,000 nest egg on their fight.

Two GPs from the surgery where Jayne worked provided references for her, as did a young woman Jayne had informally fostered ó at the request of the very Social Services department that now considered her a risk to her own grandchild ó when she was a troubled adolescent. Yet still their application failed.

ĎWhen I stood in the witness box, they treated me like a criminal,í says Jayne. ĎI was traumatised. We felt helpless. It was as if they were trying to annihilate us.í

They employed a barrister, who said they had a strong case for appeal, so their quest reached the Court of Appeal in London.

That, too, failed. The decision left their solicitor, Michael Stocken, dumbfounded.

ĎIt seems as though the Court of Appeal bent over backwards to endorse the first courtís decision,í he says. ĎBut thereís no doubt that it is better for a childís welfare to be with a loving kinship carer.

ĎIf grandparents with the Harleysí background and commitment, and with all they had to offer their grandchild, lose a case like this, what hope is there for anyone else?

ĎIt has cost them a tremendous amount, and they were prepared to move heaven and earth to provide their grandchild with a loving home. Theyíre kind and genuine people. I cannot imagine the distress it has caused them all. Theyíve had a very raw deal.í

This is scant solace for Jayne and Neil. All the while they pursued their case through the courts, they and Samantha were permitted to see Sophia just once a week at a supervised Family Contact Centre.

ĎIt was bittersweet,í says Jayne. ĎWe watched our granddaughter grow into a funny, feisty little character. She loved rough and tumble play with Neil. She called him DadDad, and I was Nana. Neil used to carry her on his shoulders and she would lay her little face against his.

ĎSheís affectionate and loving, and we adore her. The pain of watching her tearful little face when we said goodbye each time, hearing her scream ďMummyĒ, and ďNanaĒ, almost outweighed the pleasure of seeing her.í

Finally, their last line of appeal exhausted, they had to say a last and permanent goodbye to the child they all cherished; the little girl they loved so much that, as Jayne says: ĎWe would have given our lives for her in a heartbeat.í

That final parting this January was unimaginably sad ó not just for Jayne, Neil and Samantha but also for Sophia, now 22 months, who had formed a strong bond of love with them.

ĎShine like the little star you are. We will always love you,í Jayne wrote in a farewell letter to her granddaughter. From Samantha there were presents of jewellery. ĎOne day we will be one,í she wrote, in hope, to her daughter. Theyíve named a star after her.

ĎWhen we went for the last time, Iím sure Sophia sensed it was a final goodbye,í says Jayne, through tears. ĎShe grabbed Samanthaís car keys. We had to prise her little hands out of ours.

ĎAll we could do was tell her how much we loved her; how although we werenít with her, weíd be there always, waiting for her.

ĎWe donít know what sort of turmoil her little mind is going through. Now, all we can do is pray for her, and wait until she is 18; until sheís old enough to come back to us. Thatís all I live for now.

ĎAnd until that day, everything will be left as it is. Her room will still be there, unchanged. We wonít part with a single thing. It will stay, with the memory box containing the photos of her first scan, the balloons we bought on the day she was born, her first knitted hat and her first tiny shoes.

ĎShe will know not a day passed when we did not think of her; that we loved her with all our hearts.í


Silence and violence in Leftist protest world

By Miranda Devine, writing from Australia

WHEN leftist authoritarians try to stop people from expressing views they donít like,they donít like, all they do is create publicity and even sympathy for causes they oppose.

Whether they violently disrupt protests against sharia law or force the closure of a pizza shop whose Christian owners donít want to cater for a hypothetical gay wedding, the morally righteous are their own worst enemy.

If you watched the foul-mouthed violence and flag-burning of the so-called anti-racists who disrupted peaceful rallies of a hitherto obscure group of protesters named ≠Reclaim Australia, you would automatically have sided with the victims of their abuse.

You may not agree with the Reclaim Australia crowd that Australia has a problem with minorities who ďare trying to change Australiaís cultural identity.Ē You may not agree that halal certification of food in Australia should be banned, that sharia law should be ≠illegal, and the burqa forbidden. You may not agree that schools should teach ďpride in the Australian flag and anthemĒ. You may not agree with mandatory 10-year jail terms and deportation for anyone who carries out female genital mutilation. You may be optimistic, as I am, that Australia will absorb Muslim migrants just as well as it has absorbed previous groups and that Australia will be stronger for its ≠hybrid vigour.

But that doesnít mean that those who think differently shouldnít air their views without being punched, kicked, spat on, showered with police horse dung, abused and intimidated into going home.

Thatís what happened on Saturday when rallies around the country planned by ≠Reclaim Australia to protest Islamic extremism were ≠assailed by mobs of Socialist Party activists, unionists, anarchists, Abbott-haters and ≠assorted other disgruntles.

These tolerance police claimed to be acting virtuously as enemies of racism but in ≠reality they are part of a well-organised campaign of civil disruption whose ultimate goal is to destroy the capitalist ≠system.

In Sydney, police did a good job of keeping most of the so-called anti-racists apart from the 200 or so Reclaim Australia supporters in the rain at Martin Place. But in Melbourneís Federation Square the clashes between the two groups were so vicious and ≠aggressive, they made headlines around the world.

Footage shows both sides pushing and shoving, but it was the so-called anti-racists, who initiated the violence.

They linked arms in Melbourne to form a barrier to stop people, including several speakers, from joining the ≠Reclaim rally. They didnít want to pose a counter view, but to stop the rally.

ďWeíre not interested in holding our rally somewhere else Ö this is dangerous to allow hate speech to occur on the streets of Melbourne,Ē Socialist Party candidate and union organiser Mel Gregson told reporters. ďThe streets of Melbourne are not the place for anti-Muslim ideas.Ē

What is she so afraid of? A bad idea expressed out loud is a lot better than a bad idea suppressed and forced underground where it festers and gains power.

Exposed to criticism, ideas can be held up to ridicule, countered with better ideas. If they are bad ideas, the good sense of the Australian people will reject them. Thatís the whole point of free speech.

Max, who describes himself as an ďaverage middle aged blokeĒ went to the Reclaim rally in Melbourne with his three-year-old in a pram, ≠because he wanted to hear what the speakers had to say about Islam. His entrance to Federation Square was blocked by ďvile youths spitting and abusing passersby and those wishing to attendĒ.

Pushed and shoved, and fearing for his childís safety, he never made it to the rally, and vented his spleen online ≠instead. ďIt was up to me to make my own opinion of what was to be said.Ē

And that is the whole point. All the pseudo anti-racists achieved was to put Reclaim Australia on the map in its very first outing. Now the name is known around the world.

Pauline Hanson, who spoke at the Brisbane rally, made her name the same way. Her fringe One Nation party gained enormous kudos and public awareness in the 1990s when violent socialist protesters attacked its supporters, bussing in rent ó a hooligans to bash elderly people. Hanson became a martyr and a political force overnight. Every violent protest drew new recruits to One Nation. Disgusted by the behaviour of her opponents, the silent majority chose her side, even if they didnít agree with her views.

Similarly, when anti-homophobia zealots tried to shut down a pizza shop in small town Indiana after its Christian owners told a reporter they would not cater for a ≠hypothetical gay wedding, the backlash was immediate. The public donated $US842,000 in 48 hours to Memories Pizza owners Crystal and Kevin OíConnor, who now say God rewarded them for their stance.

This is what happens when the totalitarian left tries to ≠impose its will in a democracy. It will never win because reasonable people recoil from such closed-minded bigotry.


UK: Photography censorship even at the races

But from what got through the net you can see why. Acres of obese female flesh are not attractive. I don't have a strong enough stomach to reproduce any of it but it is there at the source.  A rare demure lady who was there below

It was billed as the year that Aintree would finally become fashionable, following last month's announcement that a strict new dress code emphasising 'Chanel-style looks' had been introduced.

Racecourse bosses will be hoping that all faux pas will be averted with the help of the dress code, which was issued in a bid to repair the race meeting's boozy image and encourage more racing fans to attend on Ladies Day.

They have also issued instructions to media organisations that say any photographer caught taking photos of badly dressed or drunken racegoers will have their pass taken away.

'We want to overwhelm the negativity, to push the positivity to the front,' said John Baker, regional director of the Jockey Club North West which runs the racecourse.

'Our event is full of character, it's fun, and that's generated by the personality of the Liverpool people. We have to absolutely protect that because it's at the core of what we are, and we have a responsibility to our customers to project the correct image.

'We have talked about trying to monitor those photographers, so if we see any element clearly looking for a negative shot and we can identify that, we will take their accreditation off them and we'll kick them off the site. That's not easily manageable, but that's what we'll endeavour to do.'

But not everyone managed to pull off the high fashion ensembles recommended by the style guide and, instead, appeared bent on proving that mismatched hair extensions and acres of cleavage are still in vogue.

Along with low-cut dresses, the micro-skirts and platform shoes that have become a Grand National staple in recent years were very much on show as were some unflatteringly tight get-ups.

Another lady chose to wear a dress that came dangerously close to bridal and compounded it by finishing the look with silver wedding-style shoes and diamantť accessories.

More still appeared intent on getting stuck into the booze as early as possible, with a number of ladies deploying the silver champagne funnels that were first seen last month at Cheltenham.

But it wasn't all bad news for racing bosses: some beautifully dressed ladies had clearly taken the new style code to heart and looked wonderful in on-trend midi skirts, delicate cocktail hats and even, in one case, a pair of flat pumps.

Hats proved particularly popular, with many of the ladies choosing pretty fascinators and bold broad-brimmed titfers enlivened with colourful plumes of feathers - a trend also on display at last month's Cheltenham Festival.

Another particularly well-dressed lady was Dani Lawrence, girlfriend of Liverpool goalkeeper Brad Jones, who looked wonderful in a delicate cream lace dress.

But not everyone was pleased, in particular bookmakers Coral who had been attempting to lure in the punters by offering odds on fashion faux pas.  Among the most popular so far are breasts falling out of dresses, exposed bottoms and split frocks - all of which have been priced at very low odds of 2/1 by the bookmaker.

Other fashion mishaps thought likely to occur by Coral include skirts being blown up at 3/1, hats being blown away at 6/1 and hair extensions falling out at 8/1.



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 April, 2015

The ĎWe Need To Have A Conversationí Malarkey

Ilana Mercer

You know just how scholarly a policy paper is when it is studded with a clichťd expression like ďwe need to have a conversation about ÖĒ The pop-phrase is familiar from these farcical usages:

ďWe need to have a conversation about raceĒówhen, in reality, we do nothing but subject ourselves to a one-way browbeating about imagined slights committed against the pigmentally burdened.

ďWe need to have a conversation about immigrationĒówhen such a ďconversationĒ is strictly confined to a lecture on how to adapt to the program of Third World mass immigration. This particular ďconversationĒ involves learning to live with a lower quality of life, poorer education, environmental degradation; less safety and security, more taxation and alienation.

In this mold is a policy paper by Jennifer Bradley, formerly of the liberal Brookings Institute. Bradley had a stroke of luck. Matt Drudge of the Drudge Report found fit to link her essay on his eponymous news website site. Titled ďThe Changing Face of the Heartland: Preparing Americaís Diverse Workforce for Tomorrow,Ē Bradleyís Brookings Essay would have been more honestly titled ďGet-With the Program, Middle American. Demography Is Destiny.Ē

Disguised as scholarship, the Bradley essay schools Middle America at length on how to prepare its diversifying workforce for tomorrow. Thus, for example, she states that ďAmerica is on the cusp of becoming a country with no racial majority, where new minorities are poised to exert a profound impact on U.S. society, economics, and politics.Ē The implication here is that this seismic shift is due to a mystic force beyond the control of the host population, rather than to willful policies in which the native population has never had a say and will likely never have one.

Bradleyís particular concern is with ďtwo demographic shifts.Ē The one is the aging of the predominantly white (and presumably productive) generation of Americans born after World War II. Another is the concomitant influx of ďMexicans, Hmong, Indians, Vietnamese, Somalis, Liberians, and Ethiopians.Ē

ďAccording to the Minnesota State Demographic Center, the Asian, black, and Hispanic populations in the state tripled between 1990 and 2010, while the white population grew by less than 10 percent. This trend will continue,Ē warns Bradley: ďFrom 2010 to 2030, the number of people of color is expected to grow twice as quickly as the number of whites.Ē

There goes that mystic force again.

ďAs Minnesota and the region go, so goes the nation,Ē states Bradley, matter-of-fact.

As Bradley sees it, a feature of the diversity explosion in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Midwest microcosm is a widening ďrace-based education and achievement gapĒ that will ďbecome a drag on workforce growths unless something was done to reverse these trends.Ē

Translated, this means the immigrant population isnít measuring up.

I can think of a few unexplored options to narrow the gap described. One is to welcome immigrants whoíll add value to the economy, rather than drain taxpayer resources. Bradley, however, is here not to strike up a true conversationówhich would include exploring all optionsóbut to dictate the terms of the ďconversation.Ē

Indeed, the raiment of scholarship she sheds as quickly as a prostitute sheds her clothes (only less admirably; working girls deserve respect). Bradley brays about the need to ďreframe the conversation about race-based education and achievement gaps in Minneapolis-St. Paulóturning what had been a moral (and insufficiently effective) commitment to its underserved communities into an economic necessity. Leading figures from the worlds of government, business, and academia, and public and private groups throughout the region [all stakeholders, but you] are now trying to figure out how to undo the effects of decades of neglect, tackling the problem from many perspectives and with an ever greater sense of urgency.Ē

Because the imported population is failing to achieve parity with the host population, Bradley has inferred that the newcomers are ďunderservedĒ; that they require more resources, when the fault could just as well lie in the kind of incompatible immigrant being privileged by policy makers. The essayís premise is that America is ďunderservingĒ her immigrant population, when it is the other way round:

Averaged out, the immigrant population is underserving the American economy.

In this ďconversation,Ē the social ďscientistĒ recommends throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the causality quagmire. The mass-immigration imperative, moreover, is presented as the antidote to a declining birth rate and an aging population, when in fact mass immigration is the excuse statists make for persevering with immigration policies that are guaranteed to further undermine civil society and shore up the welfare State.

Demographics need not be destiny. The West became the best not by out-breeding the undeveloped worldónot due to huge numbersóbut because of human capital; people of superior ideas and abilities, capable of innovation, exploration, science, philosophy.


How can a child of three need transgender counselling?

There are few things more upsetting than having an unhappy child ó especially if, as their parent, you can't work out what you're doing wrong.

Every parent compares their son or daughter with classmates or friends' children ó you never want to think your own is the odd one out, the misfit.

But all children are different, often brilliantly and creatively so, and the progress of the world depends on oddballs.

The best advice is: 'Give it time, support them, love them as they are, listen to what they're saying.'

In today's world, however, we like neat labels on everything.

There can be comfort in slapping a scientific name on your child's behaviour, as if you were diagnosing an illness. And there is a powerful risk that professionals, fascinated by their own academic discipline, collude in that.

We know too many children ó improbably many ó are diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), with symptoms including inattentiveness and impulsiveness.

Or perhaps it will be another newly-named 'condition', such as Oppositional Defiant Disorder ó which 'often involves arguing ('opposing') and disobeying ('defying') the adults who look after them', according to the NHS website.

In the process, tens of thousands of children are put on drugs to control their behaviour, without sufficient resort to sensible measures such as restricting their screen time, ensuring enough sleep and feeding them sensibly.

Others get labelled as clinically depressive, when the reason for their sadness is rational: divorce, bereavement, abuse.

And now we learn that there is a boom in the small but significant number of children below the age of puberty being referred to clinics with 'gender dysphoria' ó the conviction of being born in the wrong body, previously known as transsexualism.

The Tavistock clinic and others report ever more children referred to them by anxious parents, some as young as three. Boys who want to be girls, girls who assert that they are really boys. One charity specialising in the condition says it's being contacted by 20 families a month.

Now, I believe gender dysphoria is real. It has been well-known for decades. No one quite knows why it happens.

Maybe it's abnormal development before birth, perhaps simply an oddity of nature ó even one to be celebrated, rather than fretted over.

In the past, it was unrecognised or condemned as perversion. Today, understanding is greater, and those ó an estimated one in 125,000 ó who are genuinely, deeply unhappy have the option of 'transitioning', both socially and surgically.

There's a respectable history to this. Jan Morris, previously the star journalist James Morris, who reported from the conquest of Everest in 1953, lived as a woman in the late Sixties, went abroad for final surgery in 1972 and wrote a brilliant, wise, sensitive book called Conundrum, which demystified the transgender condition for many of us.

James was married; now, Jan and the same beloved wife are legally same-sex spouses, living a quiet life in Wales.

In another social sphere, April Ashley was born George Jamieson in tough Liverpool circumstances.

Aged 25, and having saved £3,000, she paid for reassignment surgery in Morocco in May 1960 and worked briefly as a model until her story was exposed in a red-top newspaper a year later.

She has spent a lifetime campaigning for gender equality and three years ago was made an MBE.

Understanding has grown, gradually, and that is good. Even Coronation Street has seen the much-beloved character of Hayley Cropper, who at first horrified the Street by admitting she was born as Harold, but subsequently married and became a stalwart of the community, and was only ever mocked by the nastiest character available (poisonous Tracy Barlow, who hates everyone anyway).

A 2004 Act of Parliament gave full rights to those in their new gender who, with medical and psychiatric help, manoeuvre themselves into the body they always needed.

Strange, but there it is. Even I wrote a novel (Passing Go) in which a transgender teenager is rejected by his/her angry father, only to prove the calmest and kindest member of the family.

The question now is whether the acceptance of this rare condition (I repeat, only one in 125,000) is panicking parents into misunderstanding or crazily encouraging young children in their innocent fantasies; and then feeding them to a psychiatric profession hungry for subjects with a fashionably interesting syndrome to study.

Some clinicians are quoted as saying that 1 per cent of us 'have transgender feelings to some extent' ó which is 1,250 times as many as might be diagnosed with the full gender dysphoria.

But not every quirk of behaviour is a symptom. Small children, let's face it, often live in a fabulous, magical world in which they may be a dog, a cat, a rabbit, or even a railway train.

My favourite exchange with one child on the subject came when I was asked: 'Do wishes come true?' 'Well, sometimes, darling, if you work hard...'  'No! I just wished I were an elephant, but I don't want to be!'

And often, at that age, you fancy joining the other gender. A small boy plays dressing-up or covets dolls ó he may well be expressing a perfectly normal range of male personality, and support you in your old age with his couture designs.

That girl in dungarees and spiky hair who desires to be Spider?man? She may just be rejecting (quite rightly) the boring modern pressure to covet pop?tarty looks and shriek a lot.

Either child may refuse to dress in the conventional way for their sex, and announce that they want to belong to the other gender. It's often a temporary thing, just a normal phase of childhood.

If that goes on and on towards puberty and makes them unhappy at school, then it is reasonable enough to explore, with a counsellor who is not obsessively over-interested, whether ó by rare chance ó the real condition lies at the root of this behaviour.

But we risk falling into the trap of seeing a problem where there is none at all, with children coming under terrible pressure to behave in a textbook way, as their parents' anxieties about deviations from 'normal behaviour' are fed by the medical lobby.

Surgery in cases of gender dysphoria is still strictly for over-18s. But, alarmingly, some clinics seem willing to prescribe drugs that delay the onset of puberty because of the 'distress' of what is normal development.

The drug route should only be a desperate resort. As one doctor at a Canadian gender clinic, Kenneth Zucker, puts it: 'Suppose a black kid came into your clinic and wanted to be white. Wouldn't you try to understand what is happening in the child's life that is making him feel like that? You certainly wouldn't recommend skin-bleaching.'

So, wise psychiatrists will listen calmly, and say: 'Wait and see.' As for pre-schoolers, the Tavistock clinic does not 'generally consider it helpful to make a formal diagnosis in very young children'.

There is a school of thought, though, that is more gung-ho and which reckons that, especially with male-to-female transition, you can't start too early, preventing puberty with drugs to stop a voice breaking and beard growing in adolescence.

How horrifying that anxious parents might be encouraging a child in that direction even though, given time, he might later accept that he is male. A happily feminine sort of male, perhaps, with a woman's sensibility and maybe an attraction to his own sex, but a bloke nonetheless.

The problem is that we live in an age of labelling, medical neurosis and extreme parental anxiety, coupled with a trend ó weird to us Sixties tomboys ó of old-fashioned stereotyping.

We see pinkified, princessified little girls being taken to nail bars and makeover parties at five, to be made as vain and prissy as their mums.

Boys, meanwhile, are harassed by the need to be a tough-guy, shooty-bang or football-hero stereotype. No wonder some rebel.

It might help if schools made their uniforms less specific ó trousers and open-necked shirts for all ó to resolve morning dress-battles with children who need to work out who they are in peace.

Yes, it's good that counsellors and charities are offering support to genuinely baffled parents.

I only hope that they do not act in haste, but say sensible things such as: 'Let them be. Call them whatever name they favour, keep an open mind.

'Either way, it's not the end of the world. And, statistically, the odds are he or she will grow out of it.'


Some Gays Defending Indiana RFRA, Apologizing for ĎMean-Spirited Attacksí

Instead of attacking Indianaís Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), some gays are defending the state law against ďcivil rights shakedown griftersĒ and apologizing for the ďmean-spirited attacks.Ē

Bruce Majors, a gay man who ran for mayor of Washington, D.C. last year as a Libertarian, had some hard-hitting words for the liberals who targeted Indiana over the stateís RFRA last week.

ďOnce again, the gay lobbyists and bureaucrats are seeking more employment, money and power as Ďcivil rightsí shakedown grifters at the expense of real progress for gay people,Ē Majors told CNSNews.com. ďI reject all these fascists.Ē

The original RFRA signed into law by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on March 26 would have allowed private business owners to cite religious objections if they were sued by potential customers for refusing to serve them.

However, after the state law was criticized by liberals and gay rights activists nationwide, Pence signed a revised law that made sexual orientation a protected class in 11 Indiana communities that already prohibit discrimination against gays and lesbians, effectively nullifying the RFRA because religious belief could not be used as a defense in a discrimination lawsuit.

However, Majors observed that the law could have a negative impact on gay businesses as well.

ďThese laws forcing people to associate against their will mean that any gay business Ė from cruise ships, bed and breakfasts, and gay senior communities and nursing homes that developers have been contemplating Ė can be stopped by anyone claiming that they are being discriminated against,Ē he said.

Majors also spoke in support of the ďMemories PizzaĒ shop owners in Walkerton, Indiana who said they could not in in good conscience cater a gay wedding.

ďIf a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no,Ē Crystal OíConnor, one of the shopís owners, told a local television station.

The pizza shop received so many threats of violence that it was forced to shut down indefinitely, with one high school golf coach even sending out a request on Twitter for help to ďburn downĒ the shop. The coach, Jess Dooley, was later suspended.

One liberal Website said of the shopís ordeal, ďSounds like an open and closed case of bigotry rearing its ugly head and quickly being slapped down by the good people of the world, right?Ē

But Majors pointed out that viewpoints on RFRA were not monolithic, even among gays. ďThey do not speak for me, nor do they speak for all gay people, as one can see from the openly gay people donating to their relief fund on GoFundMe,Ē he said.

Majors was referring to a webpage created to help raise money for the pizza shopís owners in light of their ordeal. Contributors donated $842,442 as of April 4th. They included a woman who identified herself as Courtney Hoffman, who sent $20 - along with an apology on behalf of the gay community.

ďAs a member of the gay community, I would like to apologize for the mean-spirited attacks on you and your business,Ē the message read. ďI know many gay individuals who fully support your right to stand up for your beliefs and run your business according to those beliefs. We are outraged at the level of hate and intolerance that has been directed at you and I sincerely hope that you are able to rebuild."

Other gay individuals have also come out on the issue in recent days. In a column published last week, Casey Given, another D.C. resident, wrote that the harsh reaction to the Indiana law had backfired.

"As a gay man, I would... likely would avoid Memories Pizza if I were a Walkerton resident (that is, unless their pies are spectacular).

ďHowever, there are many people I encounter on a daily basis that have radically differing views to me. That doesnít give me an excuse to batter them on their politics just because we donít see eye-to-eye on everything. Doing so is just downright rude,Ē Given wrote. ďFar from its intended goal of facilitating tolerance, modern progressivism seems to make individuals more hostile to each other."

Given, who is the director of communications at Students for Liberty, continued. ďFor the sake of sanity, itís time for society to realize that politics is just one small characteristic of our complex makeup as individuals.Ē

ďWe can still be courteous to those who disagree with us; the world would be a very mean and lonely place otherwise,Ē he concluded.

Majors was even more forceful in his criticism of RFRA opponents, saying that ďso-called anti-discrimination laws are largely a sham and have helped no one, other than making pompous liberals feel superior.Ē


Congressman: ĎDisturbingí for Military Chaplains to Be Punished Over Views on Sexuality

While the nation debates whether Christian business owners should be forced by the government to cater same-sex marriages, the military is embroiled in its own dispute over religious freedom.

In two high-profile cases, military chaplains have been punished for citing their religious beliefs during private counseling sessions and other official events, sparking questions about what military chaplains are allowed to say in the name of faith.

Last fall, Capt. Joe Lawhorn was punished for making references to the Bible and distributing a handout that cited the Christian scriptures during a suicide prevention seminar at the University of North Georgia.

The most recent example involves Lt. Cmdr. Wes Modder, a decorated chaplain of the Base Chapel Naval Weapons Station at Joint Base in South Carolina. Modder was removed from his unit after several of his fellow service members in the Navy complained about his views on homosexuality and sexual relationships outside of marriage.

Among the allegations, the Navy wrote in a Feb. 17 ďDetachment for CauseĒ that Modder told students, ďhomosexuality was wrong,Ē insinuated that he had the ability ďto Ďsaveí gay people,Ē and ďberated a pregnant student for becoming pregnant while not married.Ē

The Navy contends that Modder ďfailed to show toleranceĒ and that on multiple occasions, ďhe discriminated against students who were of different faiths and backgrounds.Ē

But others argue that the military is being intolerant of Modderís beliefs.

Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., the only U.S. congressman to also serve as an Air Force Reserve chaplain, believes the military has gone too far in punishing Modder and others like him.

ďItís First Amendment rights for a reason,Ē Collins told The Daily Signal in an exclusive interview. ďNot because you agree with it.Ē

Last week, Collins, along with 34 other members of Congress, came to Modderís defense in a letter demanding that the Navy ďprovide information on the nature of the accusations and investigationsĒ and ďconfirmation as to what steps the Navy is taking to reinforce the policies and protections in place for service members and chaplains to freely exercise their religiously-informed beliefs.Ē

Though Collins contends that chaplains have a responsibility to ďself-monitorĒ their language, the congressman also says that Modderís beliefs shouldnít come as a surprise to those seeking his counsel.

ďHeís not going to give an atheist perspective if he has a cross on his uniform,Ē Collins said. ďThatís just not going to happen and it shouldnít be expected to happen.Ē

Former Army Capt. Jason Torpy, president of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, a non-profit organization representing ďatheists and humanists in the military,Ē has been an outspoken critic of Modderís case.

He said that while a chaplain ďshouldnít have to advocate for somebody elseís beliefs,Ē they are required to serve in a pluralistic religious environment.

ďNobodyís expecting them to come in and say, ĎHey, being gay is awesome.íĒ Instead, Torpy said:

Have a civil, compassionate and professional discussion using all of the professional chaplain skills that you have. Thatís the reasonable expectation. Itís unreasonable for people to browbeat people or belittle them in any context.

Collins, who served a tour in Iraq as a military chaplain, believes that Modder and others like him are being used to send a ďchilling effectĒ throughout the military.

ďTheyíre being told that they canít say certain things, which are all founded within their faith tenets,Ē he said. ďItís been very disturbing to me.Ē

Modderís attorney, Michael Berry, director of military affairs for the Liberty Institute, maintains that chaplains have a legal right to cite their faith in official duty.

In response to the Supreme Courtís decision in City of Boerne v. Flores, which decided that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) only applies to the federal government, Congress included a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act that incorporates RFRAís strict scrutiny standard as the legal measure that the Defense Department must satisfy in order to deny religious accommodation requests.

ďIn other words, Congress directed the [Defense Department] to apply [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] to the military, which it did in January of 2014,Ē Berry said.

For the same reason, 20 statesóincluding Indianaóhave passed their own religious freedom laws.

ďCongress made it very clear that service members do not lose their First Amendment religious liberty,Ē Berry said. ďThis means military commanders are going to have a much more difficult time justifying their hostility to religious freedom. It also means those commanders are often breaking the law when they discriminate against service members of faith.Ē

Torpy, on the other hand, maintains Modder has a right to those beliefs but a responsibility as a military chaplain to accommodate all.



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 April, 2015

Another one of Australia's charming multiculturalists

A SERIAL cop abuser caught three times in the space of as many months hurling vile, expletive-ridden and threatening abuse at police was given only a fine yesterday.

Rakeem Ebrahim, 19, called officers dogs, c**ts and homos before taunting them about having sex with their girlfriends, mothers and even their grandmothers.

Downing Centre Local Court heard his conviction for using offensive language and resisting an officer was his third conviction for abusing and intimidating police over a three-month period last year.

Ebrahim was contrite in court after pleading guilty to swearing but the Marayong man had a wide smile as he left burdened with only a $1000 fine.

The police union said the soft penalties for serial offenders like Ebrahim sapped the morale of officers.

The unprovoked abuse started when officers spoke to a group of 30 youths in Hyde Park at 2am on September 13 last year.

Despite being warned five times to stop swearing Ebrahim was unrelenting.  ďIf you didnít have a badge Iíd smash youÖyou homo c**t, I bet you suck cock... you donít deserve my f**king respect you dog c**t,Ē he said.  ďI f**ked your misses, she was good. ďYouíre all fucking dead dog c**ts.Ē

When he was separated from the group in a bid to calm him down the abuse continued.  ďF**k off c**t Iím not going anywhere,Ē he said.

When officers tried to arrest him he swung his arms and tightened them to prevent being handcuffed. It took a short struggle before he was handcuffed.

His behaviour improved when he found himself in paddy wagon but the officers told the court he had continually ignored their instructions.

ďThe accused showed an absolute disregard for these actions,Ē court documents said.  ďHe immediately caught the attention of the police due to the extreme use of offensive language.Ē

Magistrate Graeme Curran said it was ďappallingĒ and ďdisgracefulĒ behaviour.  ďIíve see some rough stuff but this is beyond the pale,Ē he said.

The court also heard Ebrahim had been on a good behaviour bond which had expired prior to yesterdayís conviction.

On September 25 last year he was placed on a six-month good behaviour bond and fined $500 for offensive language and resisting and intimidating a police officer at Marayong in June.

Three days before this conviction he was charged for intimidating an officer and using offensive language in George St, Sydney. He was fined $1500 on March 27.

Police Association President Scott Weber said the courts should come down harder on those who abuse police.

ďThis offender was showing off in front of his mates and shows a lack of respect for society,Ē he said.  ďIf he is saying this to an armed officer what do you think he will do to a family walking down the street?

ďThe judgement handed down for ongoing offenders does not match community expectation. There should be some restriction on their behaviour as they are likely to do it again.

ďPolice use a lot of discretion and should not be abused for performing their role.Ē


UK: Criminal record checks BANNED on foreign murderers and rapists who want to be minicab drivers

Asylum seekers and refugees applying to be minicab drivers are exempt from criminal records checks, potentially allowing murderers and rapists to get behind the wheel.

Rules laid down by Transport for London (TfL) mean refugees and those applying for asylum do not have to reveal whether they have a criminal history when trying to become a cab driver.

The legal loophole in an official application document on 'private hire driver licensing' says people coming to Britain will not be required to have their criminal convictions checked.

Asylum seekers and refugees applying to be minicab drivers are exempt from criminal records checks (file picture)    +2
Asylum seekers and refugees applying to be minicab drivers are exempt from criminal records checks (file picture)

The form, seen by the Daily Express, states: 'With regards to overseas criminal records checks, no such checks will be made in respect of those applicants who declare that they are in possession of or who have applied for refugee or asylum status.'

Everyone else who applies for a cab licence must undergo criminal records checks. Those from outside the EU who have spent more than three months abroad over the last three years have to provide a 'letter of good conduct' from their home country.

This usually requires their country of origin to give a reference to the Home Office, revealing whether the applicant has a criminal history. But asylum seekers and refugees are exempt from this too, according to a second document.

A TfL guide on taxi and private hire applications states: 'Any applicant who has been granted or is awaiting a decision to be granted asylum/refugee status will not be required to produce a Certificate of Good Conduct from the country he is claiming asylum from.'

Campaigners called for a change in the guidelines, calling on all minicab drivers to undergo thorough criminal checks.

Tory MP Nick de Bois said: 'They should not be offering licences to those they can't check on. They could be putting vulnerable members of the public in the hands of thieves, murderers and rapists. It beggars belief.'

Helen Chapman, manager of London taxi and private hire at TfL, said: 'All applicants for a Taxi or Private Hire drivers licence are required to undertake an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check which is carried out by the Home Office.

'Any applicant that has lived in a country other than the UK for more than three months within the last three years is also required to produce a Certificate of Good Conduct from the relevant country.

'We recognise this may not be possible if an applicant is granted asylum or refugee status and, where applicable, these applicants will be required to provide a Certificate of Good Conduct from any other country of residence within the last three years. They will also be required to provide evidence of their Certificate of Registration or a letter from the Border and Immigration Agency.'


Six-month-old baby died with cocaine in her stomach despite parents being reported to social services five times

Another example of how British social workers harass middle class people over trivialities  while ignoring big problems among lower class people

A six-month-old baby died with traces of cocaine in her stomach despite her drug-user parents being reported to social services five times.

Small amounts of painkiller and anti-depressant drugs were also found in the infant, known as Mary, who died suddenly in 2013, after a lengthy stay in Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool.

Now a review released today has called for a host of lessons to be learned after several agencies fell short in sharing information that could have highlighted the baby's vulnerability.

According to a report, Mary's family, who lived in Liverpool, were well-known to social services and had been reported five times amid concerns of alcohol abuse, domestic violence and child neglect.

A school had also raised concerns about the way other children in the family were being brought up.

Mary was the youngest child in a family of four children born to a mother aged 30 and a father aged 33.

At the time of her death, her siblings were one, eight and 10.

Her parents came to the attention of social care unit Careline five times between 2008 and 2012.

Mary's siblings' school had already raised concerns that the two eldest children were overweight, staying off school and left to look after their baby brother while their parents stayed in bed.

Mary was born 12 weeks early at Alder Hey Children's Hospital in January 2013 and was diagnosed with a number of medical conditions, including a heart murmur.

She was kept in hospital for three months during which time there were 'several consecutive days' in which she had no contact with her parents.

After she was discharged from hospital and into her parents' care, a number of community nurse follow-up visits were scheduled.

But the nurse was unable to get access to the family despite visiting them three times in one week. A fourth visit was successful but later appointments were not kept.

A day before Mary died in July 2013, a health visitor went to the home but was stopped at the door.

A post-mortem revealed the presence 'at very low levels' of cocaine, tramadol and mirtazapine (an anti-depressant) in her stomach.

Police also found empty beer cans, drugs and a syringe on the premises and her mother admitted to the police that she used cocaine and cannabis in the home.

Because of a lack of evidence, a coroner ruled the cause of Maryís death was 'unascertained' as it was ruled the traces of drugs, which could have come from the environment or through resuscitation attempts, were not considered to have directly led to her death.

The report said: 'Whilst agencies had some concerns about the older children, they generally worked to single rather than multi-agency agendas and processes.

'There was some evidence of good informal liaisons such as between the school and the education welfare officer, or the school and school nurse, but generally the level of inter-agency communication required to support a family with four children was not achieved.

'Child Mary was a vulnerable child and a discussion between health professionals may well have highlighted important information about [the motherís] history of not engaging with health services in respect of her children and the shared information may have led to further action.'

But Liverpool Safeguarding Children Board, which compiled the independent report, said it was impossible to tell if the death of baby Mary Ė not her real name Ė could have been avoided.

Chairman Howard Cooper said: 'Predicting the likelihood of such an outcome for a vulnerable baby is difficult to achieve with any meaningful degree of accuracy.

'It cannot be inferred that child Maryís death was preventable, but there are lessons to be learned for all the agencies involved with this family about multi-agency working.Ē

Mr Cooper said a number of recommendations had been made in the wake of the infant's death to improve working relationships between agencies tasked with supporting vulnerable children and their families.

The 10 findings made by the board included an assessment that the follow-up services by Maryís hospital and community health services were ďineffectiveĒ for a vulnerable baby in the care of parents with a ďvery poor history of co-operationĒ.

The panel also criticised the lack of a multi-agency system for monitoring missed medical appointments, resulting in ďpotentially significantĒ signs of neglect being missed.


Where the right to speak is howled down

By Peter Baldwin, minister for higher education (1990-93) in the Hawke-Keating government

The University of Sydney is one of Australiaís most venerable higher education institutions. It should be a place where controversial issues are debated freely and openly with the contending sides able to present their cases without intimidation and harassment.

It should be governed by an administration that strongly affirms the importance of free debate and acts swiftly and decisively to protect it if it comes under threat. It should definitely not be a place where mob rule is allowed to prevail or where activist groups get to decide which viewpoints can be expressed.

Can that be said of Sydney University today? Based on an experience I had there recently, it would appear not.

On March 11 I attended a public meeting on the campus addressed by Richard Kemp, the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan. His talk was about the ethical dilemmas that faced military forces opposed by non-state groups.

Kemp was in Israel during the Gaza conflict in July-August last year, and he gave the Israel Defence Forces credit for their measures to minimise civilian cas≠ualties during their operations. He found it difficult to envisage what more they could have done given the need to counter attacks deliberately launched from within densely populated areas. In saying this, he did not deny there were ser≠ious errors and abuses by some IDF forces, including possible war crimes.

This, it seems, is sufficient to make him a pariah to some of Israelís more extreme critics. Enough of a pariah to warrant silencing him wherever possible; and sad to say, todayís universities are places where this is possible.

Kemp was able to speak unimpeded for about 20 minutes, at which point 15 to 20 people pushed past a security guard and began loudly chanting ďRichard Kemp you canít hide, you support genocideĒ, led by a young woman with a megaphone set to maximum volume.

Kemp described the experience in these pages on March 17, so I wonít detail it all again. But at one point the lights went out, leaving some ó including me ó wondering what was to come next. It was a genuinely frightening experience; a systematic, planned attempt to wreck the meeting. The attempt to suppress speakers perceived as pro-Israeli on campus is part of a wider pattern at Australian universities and internationally spearheaded by supporters of the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign.

The young woman with the megaphone shouting down Kemp went on to defend the speech rights of Hizb ut-Tahrir, an extremist Islamist organisation that gained notoriety last year when its Australian spokesman pointedly and repeatedly refused during an ABC Lateline interview to condemn the tactics used by Islamic State (mass beheadings, crucifixions, selling women into slavery, and so on).

The clueless young woman with the megaphone shouted about Hibz ut-Tahrirís opposition to US policy, but this group has a few other ideas such as the following reported in The Australian recently: ďThe top Australian cleric of extremist Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir has ramped up his hate speech in a rant referring to Jews as Ďthe most evil creature of Allahí who have Ďcorrupted the worldí and will Ďpay for blood with bloodí.Ē

In the latest tirade to surface, cleric Ismail al-Wahwah ó representing an organisation whose stated aim is to take over the world ó said recognising Jews constituted the ďepitome of evilĒ because that would ďstrengthen the cancerous entityĒ.

The disrupters ludicrously charged Kemp with supporting genocide while they and the rest of the BDS brigade have nothing to say about the open and explicit support of genocide by Hamas, now part of a unity government with Fatah. The Hamas charter adopted in 1988 looks forward (in article seven) to exterminating every last Jew on earth and incorporating ďevery inchĒ of Palestine in an Islamic state. Hamas refuses to rescind this foul, evil document despite repeated calls to do so and, on the contrary, relentlessly promotes its genocidal goals in its propaganda and schools.

As someone affiliated with the Labor Left throughout my active political career I find this growing affinity between the far Left and the Islamists one of the strangest and most disconcerting developments of recent times.

The naivety is quite astounding. A quick Google search turned up an article by the megaphone woman on the website of the Trotskyist group Solidarity in which she extols workersí control in, of all places, post-revolutionary Iran, where all the leftist groups instrumental in overthrowing the shah ruthlessly were crushed by the Khomeneists once they had fulfilled their ďuseful idiotĒ role. Some of the people she is defending would gladly stick her head and those of her Marxist colleagues on the end of a pike if they were ever to take over.

Two well-known pro-BDS aca≠demics were present: Jake Lynch, director of the Peace and Conflict Studies Centre; and Nick Riemer, a senior lecturer in the English department. Both denied involvement in the disruption but loudly supported it once it began.

How do they justify this stance? They have both gone on the record.

Columnist Gerard Henderson raised the following question with Lynch: ďSince you support disrupting the Kemp lecture, do you also think it would be acceptable to disrupt speakers hosted by your centre such as John Pilger and Hanan Ashrawi? If not, how do you justify the double standard?Ē

Lynch replied: ďI would dispute the parallel with John Pilger or Hanan Ashrawi. I have never heard either of them deliver a speech that was disingenuous or deceitful in the way of the remarks by Colonel Kemp.Ē

Riemer gives a detailed defence of the disruption in a long article in the online journal New Matilda. This piece of casuistic nonsense is worth reading in full as it says volumes about the mentality that defenders of free speech on campus have to contend with these days.

Here is a sample of his ďreasoningĒ: ďMany left-wing people, I ≠believe, would defend the proposition that protesters have the right to disrupt any kind of public speaker, but that only disruptions of certain public speakers are right.Ē

Applied to the present case, this means anyone has the right to disrupt a pro or an anti-IDF speaker, but only interruptions of pro-IDF speakers are actually ≠justified.

In the first paragraph Riemer asserts a general ďright to disruptĒ any speaker. This cannot be squared with any reasonable understanding of the right to free speech, the whole point and effect of disruption being to prevent the effective exercise of the latter. Bear in mind that we are not talking about the kind of interjection familiar from parliamentary debates but the systematic drowning out of a speaker with a megaphone and sustained chanting. There was specific provision in the meeting format for questions and critique, but the goal of the disrupters was to censor, not challenge, what Kemp had to say.

Note the second paragraph where Riemer, like Lynch, justifies disrupting the expression of one side of the debate. How does he rationalise this? He asserts the rightness of disrupting speech that is ďextremeĒ or ďhatefulĒ or, in an Aristotelian touch, ďfails to promote human flourishingĒ.

To label Kempís lucid and well-reasoned presentation as hateful or extreme is just bizarre. As for the stuff about failing to promote human flourishing, perhaps Riem≠er should consider that by turning Gaza into an armed camp, launching thousands of projectiles into Israel and pouring huge amounts of cement provided under aid programs into building a subterranean network of attack tunnels, Hamas and its supporters and apologists are failing to ďpromote human flourishingĒ.

Riemer goes on: ďAs such, his (Kempís) speech aims at the dismantling of the very democratic freedoms among Palestinians which commitment to the principle of free speech is supposed to embody.Ē

What ďdemocratic freedomsĒ would those be? Is he familiar with the increasingly brutal crackdown on dissenters in the territory controlled by the Palestinian Author≠ity, with dissidents jailed for long periods for ďextending the tongueĒ against the authority? Or the vicious persecution of Christians, most of whom have now fled the territories? Or the far worse situation in Gaza where dissenters can expect a bullet in the head, where the death sentence is prescribed for homosexuality?

The only country in the region where any semblance of democratic freedoms exist is Israel, where the Arab-aligned parties emerged as the third largest force in the recent elections, where people of all faiths ó and none ó are safe, and where homosexuals can live free from fear.

Tel Aviv was named as the most popular gay tourist destination in the world recently. This was labelled ďpinkwashingĒ by the BDS brigade, just a cunning Israeli plot to disguise their oppression of the Palestinians.

The intellectual arrogance of the campus BDS supporters, articulated by Lynch and Riemer, is quite astounding. No postmodern questioning of objective truth here; not only is the truth ďout thereĒ but Lynch and Riemer are in possession of it and are able to distinguish it from lies and deceit. No need to allow people to actually hear the contending cases presented fully and effectively, even in contexts such as the Kemp lecture where they can be challenged. Defend Israel in any respect and you are a warmonger, callously indifferent to the fate of oppressed people. You need to be silenced.

This is a truly sinister development, and one not confined to Australian universities. Jewish students at Sydney University with whom I corresponded report feeling increasingly insecure and fearful on campus. My sense is that increasingly anti-Zionism is a mask for occulted anti-Semitism.

Will the university administration, led by vice-chancellor Mich≠ael Spence, act decisively to defend free speech on campus in response to this outrage? Time will tell, but at this stage the portents are not encouraging.

The university has engaged a firm of workplace lawyers to investigate the incident and the responsibility of individual staff and students and consider all ďallegations and counter-allegationsĒ. It is profoundly disappointing, however, that so far the vice-chancellor has not gone on the public record to say that what happened was completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated in future.

There is absolutely no reason a clear statement of principle could not have been made right away. Does the vice-chancellor really need advice from a firm of workplace lawyers before doing this much? Of course decisions about individual culpability should be handled carefully, with those accused given an opportunity to respond to allegations.

Finally, I note a certain inconsistency in the universityís attention to procedural fairness.

In October last year Barry Spurr, a distinguished academic with a long association with the univer≠sity, was suspended from his position and barred from the campus within a day following the disclosure of offensive language in some hacked private emails. He was subjected to this terrible public humiliation before being given any opportunity to give his defence that he was speaking in a joking or ironic voice.

No workplace lawyers to consider all sides before taking action in that case.

The common factor in these two incidents was the presence of chanting mobs of demonstrators, in one case silencing someone with whom they disagree, in the other demanding the peremptory sacking of an academic. In one case a panicked rush to action by the vice-chancellor, in the other a drawn-out process with all involved bound by strict confidentiality provisions ó a procedural black hole.

It is hard to avoid the depressing conclusion that at Sydney University today mob rule works.



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 April, 2015

Cameron says Britain should 'feel proud that this is a Christian country' as he hails Church a 'living, active force for good'

David Cameron has called on people to 'feel proud to say this is a Christian country', in his annual Easter message.

As the election campaign slowed to mark the Easter weekend, the Prime Minister hailed the work of the Church and condemned the persecution of Christians following the massacre in Kenya.

Mr Cameron's praise for the Church comes after he criticised bishops for a controversial election letter calling for a 'fresh moral vision of the kind of country we want to be' which was widely seen as an attack on the Coalition's welfare cuts.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, has condemned certain welfare reforms as part of a series of interventions by church leaders raising concerns about the shape of the economy.

In his video message the Prime Minister, who has defended the right of the Church to intervene in political debate, said Easter was ' time to reflect on the part that Christianity plays in our national life'.

'The Church is not just a collection of beautiful old buildings; it is a living, active force doing great works across our country,' he said.

'When people are homeless, the Church is there with hot meals and shelter. When people are addicted or in debt; when people are suffering, or grieving - the Church is there.'

'Across Britain, Christians don't just talk about 'loving thy neighbour', they live it out ... in faith schools, in prisons, in community groups.

'And it's for all these reasons that we should feel proud to say: this is a Christian country.

'Yes, we are a nation that embraces, welcomes and accepts all faiths and none but we are still a Christian country.'

The PM, whose severely disabled son Ivan died in 2009, said that he knew ' from the most difficult times in my own life, that the kindness of the church can be a huge comfort'.

'We have a duty to speak out about the persecution of Christians around the world too,' Mr Cameron said.  'It is truly shocking to know that in 2015, there are still Christians being threatened, tortured - even killed - because of their faith...

'In the coming months, we must continue to speak as one voice for freedom of belief.

'So this Easter, we should keep in our thoughts all those Christians facing persecution abroad and give thanks for all those Christians who are making a real difference here at home.'

Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said: ' While politicians in the UK are busy on the campaign trail, we must not forget the cruel and barbaric killings that took place in Kenya.

'The thoughts of people here are very much with the families and friends of the murdered students in Garissa University.'

Labour leader Ed Miliband said 'fear and uncertainty' were issues for Christians both in the UK and abroad.

'In the midst of the Easter celebrations our hearts go out to those who face difficult times both overseas and closer to home. My thoughts are particularly with Christians in Syria, Iraq and other countries where the church suffers terrible persecution,' he wrote in a post on Facebook.

'According to the International Society for Human Rights, Christians are the victims of 80% of all acts of religious discrimination in the world today. We must all do everything we can to speak out against this evil and work to alleviate the suffering of those who are persecuted simply for their creed.

'But we don't need to travel far to find families facing fear and uncertainty. Over two million children are now living in poverty in the UK. I have admiration for those church members and Christian charities that provide support and hope to those in need.

'Over the Easter weekend millions of Christians will attend Easter services and events up and down the country. Through such gatherings, the Church shares the story of the resurrection, and spreads the good news of Easter.

'In the months to come I hope that we will all stand up for justice, serve the most vulnerable and work to positively transform our communities together.'



There was an official Easter message from the Office of the Prime Minister in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, and they were published for the whole world to see on the No10 website. But not this year.

The omission must be to do with the election campaign, people speculated. Parliament was dissolved on 30th March, so perhaps Government websites reflect the fact that there are no longer any MPs and all parliamentary business has ceased. Except that, constitutionally, the Government does not resign when Parliament is dissolved: the Prime Minister is appointed by the Queen, and all Ministers of State are appointed by the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister. Ergo the Government remains in office until the result of the General Election is known and a new administration is formed.

Which is why the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister published Nick Cleggís Easter message (on 2nd April), in which, despite being an atheist, he affirmed: ďWhat it celebrates is the moving and powerful story of Jesusís sacrifice and resurrection.Ē And it is also why the FCO published the Foreign Secretaryís Easter message (on 3rd April), in which he appealed: ďMy hope is that all those facing discrimination, persecution and violence because of their faith Ė particularly in the Middle East, the cradle of Christianity Ė have a peaceful Easter.Ē

But throughout the Easter period (and at the time of writing), the Office of the Prime Minister displayed a few humdrum statements, namely about a phone call with President Obama and another with Sultan Qaboos of Oman.

And there is the Prime Ministerís Passover greeting to Britainís Jews, which was issued on 2nd April (the same day as the Deputy Prime Ministerís Easter greeting).

Funny, isnít it? The No10 website carries prominent and very prompt (if not advanced) greetings to Jews during Passover, Rosh Hashanah and other holy festivals. And the Prime Minister never fails to wish Muslims well during Ramadan and Eid (both of them). There are effusive announcements about Vaisakhi and fulsome statements about Diwali to embrace Sikhs and Hindus. But nothing this year for Christians about Easter.

It is all the more peculiar because it isnít as if the Prime Minister hasnít gone to the trouble of recording one, and it has been tweeted out by the official No10 Twitter account and published on YouTube. ďMy video message on the importance of Christianity in our national life,Ē he says..

But, unlike Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Eid (both of them), Vaisakhi and Diwali, the most important festival in the Christian calendar is not apparently so important as to merit publication and dissemination on the official 10 Downing Street website.

Why would David Cameron restrict his Easter greeting to Christians on Twitter? Only 12,490 have viewed that video (it will doubtless climb today). Judging by the Eid-al-Fitr video (currently on 33,994), this increases (at least) three-fold when promoted by the Office of the Prime Minister (ignoring the relative demographic variations in numerical faith adherence, which is obviously a key variable).

Why would David Cameron issue a (bizarre) Easter greeting via Premier Christianity magazine (which doesnít mention Jesus or the Resurrection, and takes a gratuitous swipe at the Church of England); and another through the Conservative Christian Fellowship (which at least mentions Jesus [though not Resurrection] and is crafted in slightly more orthodox terms for its target audience [there is, after all, an election looming]), but fail to publish his official Easter greeting to all of Britainís Christians (and, indeed, to all the worldís Christians, especially those throughout the Middle East and parts of Africa) on the official 10 Downing Street website?

Itís not because he doesnít believe it all, is it? ďEaster is all about remembering the importance of change, responsibility, and doing the right thing for the good of our children. And today, that message matters more than ever,Ē he observes rather prosaically in that Premier Christianity article. But the lack of belief in the Resurrection of Christ doesnít stop Nick Clegg talking about it. These are politicians, after all. So why no timely Easter greeting on the Downing Street website? Sabbath adherence? A nod to the atheist/humanist/secularist vote? Mere oversight? It may be a mystery for the ages.


$828,000 raised for Indiana pizzeria that said it won't cater gay weddings

A fundraiser for the owners of an Indiana pizzeria that became the target of widespread animosity after they said they wouldn't cater a same-sex wedding reception has collected more than $828,000 from anonymous donors.

A GoFundMe page started by a producer from The Blaze, a conservative news network founded by Glenn Beck, has drawn more than 28,500 donors.

"The intent was to help the family stave off the burdensome cost of having the media parked out front, activists tearing them down, and no customers coming in. Our goal was simply to help take one thing off this family's plate as the strangers sought to destroy them," wrote Lawrence Jones, a producer who works for Blaze personality Dana Loesch. "But other strangers came to the rescue and the total just keeps going up."

The Walkerton pizzeria was dragged to the center of a national debate over Indiana's Religous Freedom Restoration Act on Tuesday, when Crystal O'Connor told a local television reporter her family would refuse requests to cater a same-sex wedding reception because it conflicted with their faith.

The comments quickly gained national attention, as activists said the pizzeria highlighted concerns that Indiana's legislation allowed blanket protections for businesses that engaged in discriminatory practices.

Crystal's father, Kevin O'Connor, told The Times on Wednesday that he has no problem with same-sex couples, and had not sought to make a declaration that he wouldn't serve them. His daughter was simply responding to a television reporter's question, O'Connor said, and he had not been asked to cater a wedding before she made those comments.

ďWe service anyone. I donít care who it is. I donít care if theyíre covered with tattoos, I donít care if they got rings in their ears. I donít care if theyíre gay. The only thing I said was I cannot condone gay marriage," O'Connor, 61, had told The Times.

He expressed concerns that he might go out of business because of the comments, and later shut down the store after receiving threats, according to local media accounts.

Loesch interviewed the O'Connors earlier this week, and the GoFundMe page was started shortly after. She published a sarcastic blog post Friday dismissing the idea that the fundraising website was a cash-grab by the O'Connors or anyone else.


Indiana and Arkansas Concede to Politics in Religious Liberty Fight

State-level conservatives confronted with the sea of change that homosexual rights activists bring to society must choose between what is moral and what is political. Bowing to national pressure, the Indiana lawmaking machine weakened its Religious Freedom Restoration Act, essentially creating a protected class of ďLGBTĒ people, writes Heritage Foundationís Ryan Anderson.

Similarly, Arkansas weakened its RFRA bill Thursday. Matt Lewis writes in The Telegraph, ď[W]hile conservatives tend to view this as nothing more than a power grab by gay rights activists, others truly view this as a great civil rights cause. In their minds, protections allowing a devout believer to decline to photograph a gay wedding would be tantamount to Jim Crow laws where African-Americans were turned away at lunch counters.

While this analogy seems a stretch, the notion of comparing oneís own cause to the civil rights struggle is some mighty high moral ground to seize Ė and seize it they have.Ē Due to leftists' successful and emotionally evocative rhetoric, Republicans are stuck. Should they once again concede ground as the Left labels them bigots? Or do they stand firm to fight for Liberty? Lawmakers made their choice plain.



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

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

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


7 April, 2015

Gang of multiculturalists battered 81-year-old woman with metal bar as they ransacked her home

A gang of thugs who battered an 81-year-old woman with a metal bar as they ransacked her home were jailed for a total of 44 years.

Jermaine Kellman, 29, Marvin Sempler, 30, Clinton Jackson, 25, and Darren Lewis, 34, targeted the couple in their 80s after they were tipped off that money was kept in their home in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire.

Verna Fisher, then 81, awoke in total darkness in the early hours of 31 July last year confronted by four men wearing white balaclavas and gloves.

She tried to cry out for help, but Lewis had his hand clasped over her mouth while demanding money, the Old Bailey heard.

Mrs Fisher was thrown off the bed while the burglars took her purse containing £250 and a mobile phone from under her pillow.

But the men continued to demand more money before Lewis struck the pensioner twice with a metal bar, leaving her covered in blood, prosecutor Philip Evans said.

Her bed-ridden husband Mortimer, who was 85, was sleeping in another room and woke with a man standing over him, but was powerless to help his wife.

The couple were so traumatised by the terrifying ordeal that they had to leave their home.  Mrs Fisher now lives with her daughter, while Mr Fisher sadly passed away in October 2014.

There were gasps from the public gallery as Jackson was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment and brothers Kellman and Sempler were each handed 13-year jail terms. Lewis will be sentenced later this month.

Judge Steven Gullick said offences of violence committed at night in the homes of the elderly and vulnerable must be met with significant custodial sentences.

The court heard a cousin of Sempler and Kellman, who had worked for the Fishers as a cleaner, told the brothers that the couple kept cash in their home.

Lewis was the man brandishing an eight or nine inch metal bar as he demanded money off the petrified pensioner, the prosecutor said.

Mrs Fisher was then thrown off her bed and the gang found a purse, containing £250 and her bank cards, and a mobile phone under her pillow.

ĎLewis continued to demand money and to reinforce his demands struck her twice on the nose with the metal bar,í Judge Gullick said.

He also demanded she give him the PIN number to her bank cards, the court heard.

ĎDespite her ordeal Mrs Fisher had the presence of mind to give Lewis numbers to cards she knew were not in her purse,í the judge added.

Kellman, of Wandsworth, southeast London; Sempler, of Lewisham, and Lewis, of Croydon pleaded guilty to a single count of aggravated burglary.  Jackson, of Norwood, south London, was convicted of the same offence following a trial at St Albans Crown Court.


I Oppose Gay Marriage. Should I Still Be Able to Get a Job?

A pizzeria in Indiana may go out of business because its owners told a local TV station they wouldnít cater a gay wedding.

Amid the uproar over the stateís religious freedom law, Crystal OíConnor, owner of Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Ind., told a local ABC News affiliate, ďIf a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no.Ē

The owners were clear they serve LGBT customers outside of a gay wedding. ďIf a gay couple or a couple belonging to another religion came in to the restaurant to eat, they would never deny them service,Ē reported the ABC affiliate.

But thatís not good enough.

ďOh, and if you believe this review isnít a review because Iíve never been to this pizzeria, I have been. Weíve all been. It was called Auschwitz,Ē wrote Lenore C. on Yelp.

ďDie in a pizza fire, haters! If youíre going to hate, you donít deserve love in any form. No love from your neighbors, your ďgodĒ, or my wallet. You donít deserve to live in the united states, and you most certainly donít deserve to own a business!Ē wrote A.R., also on Yelp.

Is this the path Americansówhether for or against legalizing gay marriageówant to go down?

Memories Pizza isnít an isolated incident. Last year, Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich was forced to step down, after a heated campaign against him because he had donated in support of Californiaís Proposition 8, which held that marriage was between a man and a woman. In January, Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran was fired after an uproar over passages in his self-published book that denounced homosexual actions.

Neither Eich or Cochran was accused of discrimination against LGBT Americans. ďI never saw any kind of behavior or attitude from him that was not in line with Mozillaís values of inclusiveness,Ē said Mozilla executive chairwoman Mitchell Baker of Eich in 2014. Cochran told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution ďcity officials told him that their investigation showed Ďzeroí instances where he had discriminated against anybody as chief.Ē

But this isnít about actual discrimination, apparently. Itís about demanding all Americans support gay marriage.

Yes, polling shows increased support for gay marriage in recent years. (Converts include President Obama. Why was it not bigoted to vote for him in 2008 again?) But polling also shows a significant chunk of Americans remain opposed. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released earlier this month showed about a third of Americans oppose gay marriage.

But this isnít about the numbers. Itís about whether we want to exclude from jobs Americansóincluding yes, myselfówho donít support same-sex marriage. Itís about whether we want to force businesses to either support same-sex marriage or potentially face fines and/or being forced to shut down

According to a February poll, thatís not what most Americans want. Fifty-seven percent of Americans thought wedding-related businesses with religious concerns should be allowed to refuse providing service to same-sex couples, while 39 percent thought they shouldnít.

Of course, Americans should be able to choose which businesses they patronizeóand which they donít. But do we really want to make supporting gay marriage a litmus test for every business owner and employee?

Do we really want to make Americans afraid to say they oppose same-sex marriage for fear it will lead to being fired or threatened?

The likely closing of Memories Pizzaóalthough the over $150K raised for the OíConnors in fundraising site GoFundMe from supporters suggests they will have financial support for what they do nextóisnít a win for gay marriage advocates (some of whom believe in religious freedom for all Americans, including those who oppose same-sex marriage.) Itís a win for bulliesóand for those who seek to impose their own beliefs on everyone else. And itís a loss for the rest of us.


Ted Cruzís Campaign Shows the Duplicity of the ĎMulticulturalí Left

Ted Cruzís official campaign isnít even two weeks old, and already itís done the nation a favoróby highlighting the duplicity of the ďmulticulturalĒ left and what it is really after.

Ever since Cruz announced his candidacy for president, ďLatino leadersĒ have been stepping all over themselves to declare that not only does he not speak for Hispanics (something only they presumably do) but heís not even a ďlegitimateĒ Hispanic.

All of which serves to pull the curtain back on multiculturalism: Defined by liberals, itís a concept that exists solely to advance liberal objectives.

Itís not ancestry that makes one a member of a group but whether one adheres to the leftist worldview that created the group-identity mindset in the first place.

And itís certainly not designed to serve the interests of the individual members of any group, beyond the ďbenefitĒ of fostering an ďus vs. themĒ mentality. Thus, the dismissal of Cruzís ďHispanicity.Ē

ďAlthough Ted Cruz has a Latino name and immigration in his past, there the similarities between the Latino community and him end,Ē the co-directors of the Dream Act Coalition, Cesar Vargas and Erika Andiola, said.

Matt Barreto, founder of the leftist-leaning Latino Decisions polling group, took it a step further: ďHe is going to go after the vote of the people who donít like Latinosóthatís his crowd, the anti-immigration crowd.Ē

Cruz, added Barreto, opposes illegal immigration and ObamaCare, and these positions make him a pariah among Hispanics.

And who can forget how former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said that he didnít think Cruz should even ďbe defined as a HispanicĒ?

Richardson, himself often identified in the media as ďa leading Hispanic,Ē is Mexican on his motherís side. Cruz is Cuban on his fatherís. The Rev. Rafael Bienvenido Cruz was born in Matanzas, Cuba.

Far from running away from his fatherís legacy, Cruz speaks often about Rafaelís experiences in Cuba, how he suffered imprisonment and torture there.

He also very often uses the Cuban Revolution as a cautionary tale for what could happen in this country if we adopt central planning.

And Cruz speaks about his fatherís immigrant travails in this countryóhow he washed dishes and made his way, despite starting out with literally only a fistful of dollars.

Again, the senator makes full use of his fatherís immigrant story as a parable that demonstrates the virtues of America.

Now, the Census Bureau is crystal clear in its definitions: ďĎHispanic or Latinoí refers to a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race.Ē

As I and many others have long argued, ďHispanics,Ē like ďAsians,Ē is a synthetically made ethnicity with little basis in reality, but this is what the definition is.

The problem for Ted Cruz is that his and Rafaelís story of endurance, assimilation and ultimate achievement gets it all backwardóas far as the guardians of multiculturalism are concerned.

They donít want immigrants, at least not immigrants as weíve traditionally thought of them. What the multiculturalists want is something else altogether: They look at the same people and see instead minorities.

Minoritiesóa concept that came into vogue only in the 1970sóare different. They have grievances that come from ďa history of past discriminationĒ and therefore require ďremedies,Ē such as affirmative action and quotas.

Far from practices that instill pride in immigrant achievement or the country that made it possible, what results is a mindset that nurtures grievances and divides society.

Minorities take the nation from E Pluribus Unum to, in Mayor David Dinkinsí words, a Gorgeous Mosaic.

As John Fonte of the Hudson Institute put it a decade and a half ago, multiculturalism holds that for ďsubordinateĒ groups such as minorities to be empowered, it is ďnecessary first to delegitimize the dominant belief systems of the predominant groups and to create a Ďcounter-hegemonyí (i.e., a new system of values for the subordinate groups).Ē

Multiculturalism is a handy way to make counter-hegemony succeed.

PayPal founder Peter Thiel, in his ďThe Diversity MythĒ (written with David O. Sacks), called it a ďword gameĒ that has allowed radicals to succeed, where ďan honest discussion would not lead to results that fit the desired agenda.Ē

Clearly, the Rev. Rafael Bienvenido Cruz and the son he raised would want no part of that. No wonder they find themselves kicked off the Hispanic island.


Devout Christian NHS worker launches appeal after being suspended for inviting a Muslim colleague to church

A devout Christian has launched an appeal against an employment tribunal which found she had Ďbulliedí a Muslim colleague by praying for her and inviting her to church.

Victoria Wasteney, 38, says she was branded a Ďreligious nutcaseí when she was suspended from her job as a senior occupational therapist, after her colleague Enya Nawaz, then aged 25, accused her of trying to convert her to Christianity.

Her lawyers have now submitted a challenge to an employment tribunal, arguing that they broke the law by restricting her freedom of conscience and religion - enshrined in article nine of the European Convention of Human Rights.

Miss Wasteney, a born-again Christian, was working at the St John Howard Centre in Homerton, east London, when she became friendly with a junior colleague Miss Nawaz.

The two women had discussed Islam and Christianity, as well as the work done by her church at the Christian Revival Church in the O2 Arena in Greenwich against human trafficking.

When Miss Nawaz was upset about health problems, Miss Wasteney said she offered to pray for her Ė putting her hand on her knee and asking God for Ďpeace and healingí.

She also invited her to church events and gave her colleague a book, I Dared To Call Him Father, about a Muslim woman who converts to Christianity, but denied she was trying to make Miss Nawaz convert.

Miss Nawaz went onto make a formal complaint, and the East London NHS Foundation Trust suspended Ms Wasteney on full pay from her £50,000-a-year job for nine months while they investigated in June 2013.

A disciplinary hearing upheld three complaints about the book, the invitation to attend church and Miss Wasteneyís offer to pray for Miss Nawaz, and gave her a written warning for misconduct.

She continues to work for the Trust, but not in her specialist field.

She launched her own employment tribunal against the NHS in January, saying she wanted to raise awareness about the increasing difficulties experienced by religious people in the workplace and claiming the organisation had failed to clear her of wrong doing because it would be 'politically incorrect' to find a Christian innocent.

Speaking in January to the Daily Mail Miss Wasteney said: 'I'm not anti-Muslim and I'm always very mindful to be sensitive to other people's beliefs.

 'We discussed our beliefs but I certainly didn't tell her that my way was the only way. I don't even believe it's possible to force someone to convert.

'But the way it was all handled left me looking like a religious nutcase and I would like an acknowledgement that there is a negative attitude towards Christianity in some areas of the public sector.'

The latest legal bid, she argues, will have implications for the right to express religious beliefs in the workplace.

Miss Wasteney will be represented in court by human rights barrister Paul Diamond, and her appeal is supported by the Christian Legal Centre, according to The Sunday Times.

Chief executive of the centre Andrea Williams told the paper: ĎPersecution starts with marginalisation.  ĎWhere countries let go of a cohesive Christian world view you get chaos and marginalisation.  ĎWe are letting go of what has given us our freedom.í

She added:'The tribunal found it was inappropriate for her to engage in prayers or give her colleague a book given her senior position.  'She is just an open, friendly, kind person and had a normal relationship with a colleague and there was nothing untoward.

'We are going to the Employment Appeals Tribunal and will be arguing that the ECHR enshrines the freedom to be able to speak about faith in the workplace and not be disciplined for it and have conversations with others. 'We lodged the papers on Thursday.

'The NHS is increasingly dominated by a suffocating liberal agenda that chooses to bend over backwards to accommodate certain beliefs but punishes the Christian.'



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 April, 2015

Victory for fox hunting after RSPCA abandons policy of 'pursuing pointless prosecutions' after collapse of latest case

The RSPCA is considering abandoning its controversial policy of 'pursuing pointless fox hunting prosecutions' after the collapse of the latest case.

The animal charity has no more legal actions left under the Hunting Act after its decision last month to drop the case against William Bryer, joint master of the renowned Cattistock Hunt in Dorset.

Following criticism for spending £22.5million pursuing animal welfare prosecutions last year, the RSPCA is now reviewing its policy on fox hunting cases.

The RSPCA has the power to bring its own prosecutions rather than rely on the police or the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

However last October, a report commissioned by the charity recommended abandoning the policy and leaving the job to the CPS, which has more expertise.

The organisation stressed that its main role is to focus on the rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming of animals, rather than taking people to court.

A spokesman said: 'One of the questions we are currently looking into it whether or not we continue to prosecute under the Hunting Act.'

Other hunts use an exemption that allows dogs to flush out the animals from woodland which can then be shot.

There were more than 400 prosecutions under the controversial Hunting Act between 2009 and 2013.

Just 49 people were charged with hunting offences in 2005, but this more than doubled to 110 by 2010.

However critics claim many of these people are prosecuted under the Hunting Act for poaching offences, rather than fox hunting, and that hardly any are from official hunts.

Last month Mr Bryer's case collapsed after the RSPCA pulled out of a three-year battle to prove he had broken hunting laws.

His solicitor, Jamie Foster, claimed that the case had been flawed from the start. He said: 'There is video footage of my client laying legal trails before and after the alleged breach of the hunting ban which was not disclosed to us by the RSPCA.'

He said the laying of a trail, or a scent which the hounds can track rather than chasing a live animal, showed that the Cattistock had behaved responsibly, not recklessly as the prosecution claimed.

Tim Bonner, from the Countryside Alliance, said: 'We would welcome any decision by the RSPCA to leave the question of prosecuting hunts to the police and the Crown Prosecution Service.

'The Society has always faced a fundamental difficulty acting as a prosecutor while also being a political campaigning organisation. It can only be in the best interests of animal welfare that the RSPCA returns to its core principles rather than pursuing pointless prosecutions through the courts.'

An RSPCA spokesman said: 'Whilst we have not changed our policy on prosecuting alleged offences under the Hunting Act we don't have any other hunt cases pending at the moment.'


Sajid Javid: The 'cultural' problem among Asian Muslim men

Muslim communities in parts of Britain have a ďculturalĒ problem that has allowed Asian men to view women as commodities to be abused, Sajid Javid, the Culture Secretary, has said.

Mr Javid told The Daily Telegraph that some of the values in certain communities were ďtotally unacceptable in British societyĒ and must be discussed by the Government.

Mr Javid, the son of a Muslim bus driver, said a ďmisplaced sense of political correctnessĒ prevented police and social workers from ďproperly investigatingĒ claims of abuse.

His comments follow inquiries into sexual abuse by Asian men in Rochdale, Rotherham and Oxford. The scandals saw hundreds of vulnerable young girls fall into the hands of gangs because the authorities failed to protect them, often because police and social workers were fearful of being presented as racist.

Mr Javid said: ďWell, first of all the perpetrators were disproportionately Asian Muslim men, and I absolutely think there has been a misplaced sense of political correctness that prevented authorities, whether social workers or police, from properly investigating what was going on.

Mr Javid, the Culture Secretary, with the portrait of Lady Thatcher that hangs in his office

ďIf we are to learn proper lessons from this, we have to look at the cultural side of some communities in Britain and see why it is that in some communities there are men that have a view of women that is completely unacceptable in modern British society; why do they have such a low value of women that they see them as commodities to be abused?Ē

The Culture Secretary, who is seen as a future leader of the Conservative Party, said the authorities had to ďget to the bottom of thisĒ and emphasised that ďwe have to look at the cultural aspects of itĒ. He urged communities to look into ďwhat might be going on that we donít know aboutĒ.

Mr Javid added: ďWe can no longer be held back in any sense by political correctness. I know plenty of people, British Muslims, men and women, who would 100 per cent agree with that, not only out of a sense of shame but also because of the fear of what else might be going on.

ďSome of the values that certain people in some communities have, in their attitudes to women or on the question of freedom of expression, are just totally unacceptable in British society; and we do no one any favours when we donít investigate or talk about them


Attacks on Muslims will become specific hate crime, say Tories

What about attacks BY Muslims?

Every police force in England and Wales will be required to record anti-Muslim hate crimes and treat them as seriously as anti-Semitic attacks if the Tories win the next General Election, Theresa May has announced.

In a move hailed by Islamic groups, Mrs May said that police will have to record Islamophobic attacks as a separate category, just as anti-Semitic crimes are recorded separately.

At present some forces, including Londonís Metropolitan Police, do record Islamophobic crimes as such. Other forces categorise them as hate crimes or specific offences such as assault or grievous bodily harm.

The new requirement will create the first accurate picture of the extent of Islamophobic hate crimes in Britain.

Charities say there has been a steady rise of anti-Muslim hate crimes since 9/11.

But after incidents such as the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby outside Woolwich barracks in 2013 and the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January, there are spikes in incidents in the UK, say experts.

Mrs May made her pledge in a speech on counter-extremism to the Foundation for Peace in London just before Parliament was dissolved.

She told the conference: ĎWe will require police forces to record anti-Muslim crimes as well as anti-Semitic crimes.í

On the same day, Mrs May answered a question from Labour MP Kate Green in Parliament, who asked what steps the Government was taking to record anti-Muslim hate crimes.

Mrs May said: ĎA Conservative government would require the police to be recording Muslim hate crime, anti-Muslim incidents, as well as anti-Semitic incidents.í

The Home Office does not publish national statistics for Islamophobic offences.

But in 2013-14, police recorded 44,480 hate crimes, an increase of five per cent over the same period the previous year across England and Wales. The vast majority Ė 37,484 Ė were race-hate crimes.

Tell Mama, a Government-backed Islamic group, said that more than half of all the victims (54 per cent) of Islamophobic incidents are women, perhaps because they Ďappear more Islamicí, wearing the burka or headscarf.

Tell Mama figures show that in the ten months after the Lee Rigby attack, a total of 734 incidents were reported to the organisation Ė an increase of 20 per cent on the same period the previous year.

The most serious incident is believed to be the frenzied knife attack on Saudi Arabian student Nahid Almanea, 31, in Colchester, Essex, in June last year.

Detectives believe she was attacked because she was wearing Islamic clothes. So far no one has been arrested for the murder.

Mohammed Amin, a patron of Tell Mama, said of Mrs Mayís speech: ĎThis is a positive step forward.í  The Muslim Council of Britain has also welcomed the proposal. Iqbal Sacranie, the groupís former Secretary-General, said: ĎThis change will bring parity between Muslim and Jewish groups.í


Australia: Perth hospital to have Muslim prayer room but no Christian chapel

OUTRAGED church leaders are lobbying the State Government for a Christian chapel to be built at the new Perth Childrenís Hospital, warning ďwe need to stand up for our beliefsĒ.

Six religious leaders, including former tennis great Margaret Court, have written to Health Minister Kim Hames, demanding he ďreverse the decisionĒ not to have a dedicated area for Christians to pray at the $1.2 billion hospital, which opens next year.

And Perth Anglican Archbishop Roger Herft has also written to Premier Colin Barnett about the need for a Christian chapel, likening a planned multi-faith centre to ďan empty shell for people who are grasping for hopeĒ.

Mrs Court, the senior pastor of the Victory Life Centre and the wife of former Liberal state president Barry Court, accused the State Government of ďbowingĒ to the demands of minority groups by planning for a separate Muslim prayer area.

ďIt really saddened me when I found out. Itís not too late to change it,Ē she said. ďWe are a Judaeo Christian nation and I think we seem to always be bowing to minority groups and I think itís very, very wrong.

ďItís very important that we do not lose our values or our standards and I think a lot of people, particularly in a childrenís hospital... need somewhere to reach out to God.

ďI think at all of our hospitals there need to be a Christian chapel or prayer room... if they want to have a prayer area for the Muslims thatís fine. But have one for the Christians.Ē

The latest WA report shows Christianity remains our most common religion (58 per cent), with other religions such as Buddhism (2.1 per cent), Islam (1.7 per cent) and Hinduism (0.9 per cent) on the rise.

A spokeswoman for the Child and Adolescent Health Service confirmed that there would be a dedicated Muslim prayer area within a ďmulti-faith centreĒ at the new hospital.

She said the same model operated at Princess Margaret Hospital, and a Christian chapel was located at nearby Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.

ďThe multi-faith centre will incorporate a central worship area, featuring religious texts and/or iconology of significant faith traditions and a non-denominational book in which visitors can write their own prayers, surrounded by a private interview room, chaplaincy office and outdoor courtyard,Ē she said.

ďThere will also be also be a Muslim prayer area, separated from the central worship area by a fixed screen, and Islamic ablution facilities, within the PCH multi-faith centre.Ē

In their letter to the Government, church leaders said the multi-faith centre would ďdiffer significantly to what is normally associated with a Christian chapelĒ.

ďThere will not be a cross or an open bible, paintings of other items that help create an atmosphere where people sense the presence of God and find comfort and strength,Ē they wrote.

Archbishop Herft said nurses and other medical staff from PMH had raised concerns with him that the new hospital would not have a dedicated Christian chapel.

He wrote to Mr Barnett in February but had not yet received a reply.  ďI do believe there needs to a chapel with symbols of the Christian faith that patients, their families and staff can turn to in moments of suffering and pain,Ē he said.

Catholic Archbishop Timothy Costelloe said ďto simply provide an empty room which has no real beauty, comfort or dignity to it, and no flexibility, would not respect the needs of people at what will often be difficult and lonely times for them in a hospital settingĒ.



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 April, 2015

Do video games make you SMARTER? Gamers found to learn more quickly than those who don't play

Another good answer to the "fears" of the pandering Baroness Greenfield

Playing video games makes you better at learning than non-gamers, a study has claimed.

Research found that gaming boosts the ability to learn a number of tasks more accurately, and possibly puts gamers in an 'expert category' of problem solving.

But the researchers note they are not quite sure if gaming makes people learn skills better - or if people who learn skills better are more likely to become gamers.

The research was carried out by scientists at Brown University in Rhode Island.

To conduct the study, the researchers pitted nine frequent gamers against a control group of nine people who game rarely, if ever.

They participated in a two-day trial of visual task learning. In visual processing research this is a standard protocol called a Ďtexture discrimination task.í

Prior studies have shown that people can be trained to improve their performance in the task, but if they move on to a second task too quickly, it can interfere with the learning process.

The researchers wanted to find out if gamers could overcome this interference better, compared to non-gamers.

And the results showed that gamers managed to improve performance on both tasks, while non-gamers did what was expected.

That is, they improved on the second task they trained on, but not on the first. Learning the second task interfered with learning the first.

The data show that gamers on average improved their combination of speed and accuracy by about 15 per cent on their second task and about 11 per cent on their first task.

Non-gamers produced the same average 15 per cent improvement on their second task, but they actually got a bit worse on the first task they learned, by about 5 per cent.

Despite the small number of participants, the results proved statistically significant.

ĎWhen we study perceptual learning we usually exclude people who have tons of video game playing time because they seem to have different visual processing. They are quicker and more accurate,' said senior author Dr Yuka Sasaki, associate professor of cognitive, linguistic and psychological sciences at Brown University.

ĎBut they may be in an expert category of visual processing.

ĎWe sometimes see that an expert athlete can learn movements very quickly and accurately and a musician can play the piano at the very first sight of the notes very elegantly, so maybe the learning process is also different.

ĎMaybe they can learn more efficiently and quickly as a result of training.í

The exact neural mechanisms underlying visual or perceptual learning are not yet known, Dr Sasaki said, but the study suggests that gamers may have a more efficient process for hardwiring their visual task learning than non-gamers.

ĎIt may be possible that the vast amount of visual training frequent gamers receive over the years could help contribute to honing consolidation mechanisms in the brain, especially for visually developed skills,í the researchers wrote.

Being certain will require more research. Importantly, the study doesn't prove whether playing video games improves learning ability or whether people with an innate ability become gamers because they find gaming more rewarding.

The study also has a stark gender imbalance between the nearly all-male gamer group and the nearly all-female non-gamer group.

But the researchers could not find evidence in the literature for gender differences in perceptual learning that would make this disparity worrisome.

By documenting these and other apparent cognitive differences between gamers and non-gamers, the field is discovering that there is more to video games than merely passing the time, lead author and graduate student Aaron Berard said.

ĎA lot of people still view video games as a time-wasting activity even though research is beginning to show their beneficial aspects,í Mr Berard said.

ĎIf we can demonstrate that video games may actually improve some cognitive functioning, perhaps we, as a society, can embrace newer technology and media with positive application.í


What Jokes Are Too Insensitive?

Comedy Central hosted another one of its vicious and disgusting celebrity "roasts" on March 30, with Justin Bieber as the target. During the "pre-show" before the roast, unfunny comedian Jeff Ross arrived wearing a pope costume and accompanied by sexy "nuns" in black habits and fishnet stockings.

Red-carpet host Sarah Tiana introduced him as the "popemaster general" and gushed,"You look amazing. You're going to be hilarious." Ross replied, "Bless you, Sarah. Congratulations on all of your abortions."

The slaughter of innocent babies is hilarious, apparently. During the roast, rapper Snoop Dogg lashed out at Bieber. "Now when your mama was 17 years old and got pregnant, everybody told her to get an abortion, right? ... And they still trying to convince her right now." Comedian Natasha Leggero cracked that Bieber has "moves" because "he was in the womb dodging a coat hanger."

Question: If that isn't controversial ó to say the least ó what is?

Answer: Poking fun at transgenders.

On the iHeartRadio Music Awards that same evening, actor Jamie Foxx made fun of 65-year-old Olympics legend Bruce Jenner, who is reportedly pondering a "transition" away from his "assigned" maleness.

Jenner "will be here doing a his-and-hers duet by himself," Foxx announced while a photo of Jenner flashed behind him. "I'm just busting your balls while I still can."

Horrors. There is nothing the transgender lobby hates more than crotch jokes. Many prominent "trans women" show outrage and refuse to answer whether they have retained their male genitals.

A flood of social-media accusations of mean-spirited "transphobia" led to stories by CNN, MSNBC, TMZ, USA Today and others. The most amazing part was who was allowed to pose as guardians of civility. USA Today quoted a tweet from gay gossip columnist Perez Hilton: "Boo! Shame on you #iHeartAwards for allowing #iamjamiefoxx to be transphobic on national television! Those #BruceJenner jokes were wrong!"

This is the same Perez Hilton who ruined Miss America contestant Carrie Prejean for not "correctly" answering his endorse-gay-marriage demand during the pageant's question-and-answer routine on NBC and then called her a "dumb (B-word)." This is the same Perez Hilton best known for routinely drawing graffiti on photos on his blog: semen dripping out of the mouths of celebrities, both male and female.

Shame on anyone who thinks this pig has the right to pass judgment on anyone's civility.

Then came rapper Kanye West, whose wife, Kim Kardashian, is Jenner's stepdaughter.

"Kanye wants Jamie to publicly apologize to Bruce and his daughters," an insider explained to the gossip site HollywoodLife.com. "He's tight with Jamie, but taking jabs at Bruce's sexuality at an awards show, let alone one for kids, is just wrong. ... Really Kanye thinks Jamie made a fool of himself, more than a fool of Bruce."

So Kanye West ó the jerk who said, "George Bush doesn't care about black people" in the middle of a Hurricane Katrina fundraiser on national TV ó is now playing Miss Manners and insisting that someone else made a fool of himself on the boob tube.

Kanye West ó the guy who raps that Jesus is the "most high," but he's a "close high." This is the guy who stopped a "song" at a concert in Australia to demand that everyone stand up, and those who didn't had to display a prosthetic limb and a wheelchair to prove they weren't showing disrespect to the rapper.

Jenner apparently demands nothing but respect. The pope invites ridicule. Abortion is funny. God help us. Our world is upside down.


'Let them bloody well go': Ukip candidate says British teenagers who want to join ISIS should be given FREE flights

British teenagers who want to join ISIS should be given free seats on flights to Iraq and Syria, a Ukip candidate has said.

Keith Fraser, who is standing in Hackney North and Stoke Newington, said money should be spent on chartering planes rather than trying to stop them fighting with extremists.

Around 600 Britons are believed to have fled to Syria including a group of three schoolgirls from east London.

Mr Fraser said: ĎWe have many young people wanting to join up with their ďbrothersĒ in IS. Let them bloody well go.

ĎWhy are we concerned in wasting our time and resources in assuring these people donít go to join?

ĎInstead letís find out who wants to go and we can then spend public money in chartering our own planes to take them there. We donít need these traitors in our beloved country.

ĎThey can hand over their British passports on the way out and say donít ever try and come back.í

The Ukip candidate, who currently works as a chartered surveyor, said that the extremists Ďhave one aim to convert or murder all ďnon-believersĒ.í

He added: ĎThey donít like our freedom, want to destroy our way of life and will not rest until they fly their flag over our shores.í

Mr Fraserís comments came as Nigel Farage revealed the partyís pledge card, which includes saying no to the EU, controlling the country's borders, an extra £3 billion for the NHS, cuts in foreign aid spending and no tax on the minimum wage.

At the launch in Westminster, the Ukip leader said it is now Ďa party of what modern Britain isí.

He said: ĎThe thing about Ukip is we have become the most eclectic, diverse political party.

ĎWe've got all shades of opinion, we've got people from the left, people from the right, people of all ages, all classes, all races.í

Although the posters include a pledge to control the UK's borders, the word Ďimmigrationí does not feature.

The leader was joined by Ukip MP Mark Reckless and other senior Ukip figures, but Clacton MP Douglas Carswell did not attend the event as he was campaigning in his constituency.

Mr Farage said a strong showing for Ukip at May's election could boost the calls for electoral reform, which in turn could make his eurosceptics a Ďbig party in British politicsí.

He said: ĎI've always thought there should be election reform but that is frankly irrelevant in the next 38 days.

ĎYes, this is very hard for us because you find good Ukip support in Labour constituencies and in Conservative constituencies.

ĎYes, that's a challenge but what we have to do is to get over the line in enough seats in this General Election campaign and then you'll see how many seats we've actually come second in, and you'll realise as part of a longer-term strategy this really could become a big party in British politics.í

On his quest to become an MP in South Thanet, Mr Farage said he was facing a Ďhell of a fightí.  He said: ĎThere are easier seats I could have gone for. I am confident but certainly not complacent.í

Asked if his party could get into double figures for seats, he replied: ĎOf course we can.í

When questioned about the significance of the TV debate later this week, Mr Farage replied: ĎIt is important for all of us, but yes the stakes are high.í


The amazing power of genetics -- as revealed by identical twins

Some find them unnerving and even slightly creepy while, to others, they are endearing, mysterious and charming. Whatever your view, one thingís for certain: when it comes to twins, particularly identical ones, they are an endless source of fascination.

Yet, despite all this interest, the rest of us remain baffled, emotionally and scientifically, by the uncanny bonds identical twins share.

Having spent a year researching twins for my new novel, I have come to realise that we are only beginning to grasp how strange they truly are and quite why they have compelled us for thousands of years.

Take pre-colonial Brazilians, who thought twins were a product of adultery, resulting in the poor innocent mother often being executed for her supposed infidelity.

Some primitive African societies abhorred twins because of the way multiple births resemble an animalís litter. It wasnít uncommon for the unlucky children to be slaughtered and their mother exiled.

In Greek mythology, however, twins were believed to be the product of human intercourse with the gods, meaning they were sacred, while ancient Slavs maintained that twins shared one special soul.

Not all monozygotic twins (i.e. twins born from a single fertilised egg) are truly identical. Some are Ďmirror imageí twins.

This means that in one twin the hair might swirl clockwise, in the other twin it will swirl anticlockwise ó but it will swirl in exactly the same way. For one twin, the left side of the mouth might curve upwards; in the other twin, the right side of the mouth has precisely the same curve.

This peculiar Ďlooking-glass effectí extends to the positioning of internal organs. But many identicals are truly identical in ways we are still uncovering.

Obviously, identical twins share facial characteristics and body shape. But they also share virtually identical DNA, meaning they are more closely related to each other than to anyone else, including their parents or their own children.

A daring £5 million jewel heist was carried out at a Berlin department store in 2009. Closed-circuit TV showed one of three masked man removing a glove at the scene, which the police later recovered. The glove provided DNA evidence traced to identical twin brothers. But with no way of pinning it on one brother, both were acquitted.

Identicals also share the same blood group, the same hormones, the same serum proteins; they are alike in heart rate, blood pressure, brain waves, respiratory rate and digestive process.

Parents often refuse, believing they will be able to distinguish their twins as they age (not least, by dressing them differently).

This, however, can be a mistake because twins can grow more identical over time (as their identical DNA asserts itself, following different levels of nourishment in the womb).

And twins often end up being dressed in exactly the same clothes anyway, lest one become jealous of the other getting Ďbetterí treatment.

Here, we enter the peculiar world of twin psychology.

Over recent decades, scientists such as Thomas Bouchard, of the Minnesota Centre For Twin And Family Research, have analysed the personalities of twins and discovered seriously uncanny facts. Take the classic example of twins separated at birth. The extent to which they can echo each other in later life is breathtaking.

One of my favourite cases is the separated twins who discovered, when reunited, that they both entered the sea on beach holidays by wading backwards up to their knees.

Probably the most famous case of eerie identicality is that of Jim Lewis and Jim Springer. These identical American twins were separated when four weeks old, and adopted by different families in Ohio.

When reunited at the age of 39, in 1979, they discovered that both of them suffered from tension headaches, both had worked as sheriffís deputies and both smoked Salem cigarettes.

They also drove exactly the same kind of car and both enjoyed woodworking in the garage.

Both had been named James by their respective adoptive parents, and both had married twice ó first to women named Linda, then to women called Betty. Both had produced sons named James Allan. Both had at one time owned dogs named Toy. And they both took their holidays at the very same beach in Florida.

Some parents of twins have reported their children having identical dreams. Others recount twins suffering pains, in the same part of the body, when only one of them is hurt.

Doctors who observe twins in the womb have watched identicals do a strange kind of matching twin dance: the fetal twins come close to each other, face to face, then one of the twins makes a circle, and the other does the very same. It as if they are, in utero, telepathically aware of each otherís movements.

Even in death, twins share an incredible bond. A prime, if rather dark, example is the 72?year?old brothers in Finland. In 2002, they were killed on their bicycles on the same road in Northern Finland in two accidents, two hours apart.

When one twin survives the death of another, they likewise possess an oddness which startles. Author Joan Woodward, in her 2009 study of twin bereavement, reported several striking examples of twinsí reactions when one of them dies.

Some young twins simply do not believe the death, and continue to act as if the lost twin is alive, talking to the dead sibling at breakfast, in a shared twin language, for instance.

Other infant twins seem painfully confused as to whether their twin is really gone, because they keep seeing the living image of their dead sibling in the mirror or in a reflecting window; when they see themselves, they see the sibling.

By contrast, a few bereaved twin children deliberately seek out mirrors in order to reassure themselves their dead twin lives on. They want to see the living ghost.

Other twins react differently still. Woodward records how some, following the death of a co-twin, take over their lost siblingís characteristics and behaviour, as if trying to make up for the loss by actually becoming the dead sibling.

One twin whose brother died at the age of 12 became so eerily like his dead sibling that his parents were convinced he had the Ďspirit of his brother within himí. Another female twin was so grief-stricken she took her dead sisterís name.

These strange reactions surrounding the deaths of identicals can have effects beyond the twins themselves.

During my research, I came across one wholly remarkable example of twin confusion, following a death. It happened in California in the Nineties (though the details and names have been protected by the authorities, for obvious reasons).

One day, driving off on holiday, the Andersons ó father, mother and their identical twin daughters Samantha and Katie ó had a terrible crash. An ambulance was called and the victims were cut from the car.

However, after reaching the hospital, Samantha soon died and Katie was left in a coma.

It was a horrific loss, but life had to go on. The family concentrated on helping the hospitalised Samantha get over the death of her twin.

A funeral for Katie was held. And yet, as her surviving daughter improved, mum Sally found it strange that Samantha behaved so much like her dead sister.

Finally, Sally studied her childís birthmark very closely (the twins had similar but not identical birthmarks) and realised a terrible mistake had been made ó Katie had survived and Samantha had died.

This realisation occurred two weeks after the accident. The Andersons had buried the Ďwrongí daughter.

It was reading that extraordinary true-life story ó and all these other facts ó that gave me the idea for a thriller. What would happen if the Andersonsí experience was repeated, but the family only discovered their error a year later? What ghostly consequences might ensue?

Whatever the answer, one thing I know for sure is that twins will continue to fascinate us because they pose so many profound and unsettling questions.



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 April, 2015

Multicultural rapist who repeatedly attacked a 13-year-old girl and paid her £2 each time is jailed for 18 years

A sex attacker who repeatedly raped a 13-year-old was jailed for 18 years today.

Ghanaian Alex Baah, of south-east London, paid the girl £2 after each assault, the Old Bailey heard.

The 42-year-old raped the girl at an address near Croydon and sent her perverted text messages, the court was told.

The victim finally complained to police in August 2013 when she was aged 15.

Jobless Baah denied touching the girl and claimed she had planted evidence and stole his mobile to send the messages.

But the jury convicted him of five counts of rape committed between 2010 and 2013.

The jury failed to reach verdicts on a further two counts of raping the girl when she was eleven and those charges were dropped.

Judge Simon Farrell told the father-of-three his behaviour was Ďwicked'.  He said: ĎThis was a terrible case. The damaged caused to this girl is incalculable.'  The judge added: ĎRape of a child is a particularly serious offence and calls for severe punishment.í

The girl, who cannot be identified, told how Baah would give her money after he raped her.

After an attack in early August 2013, she turned up unexpectedly at her auntís house in floods of tears.  Her aunt said: ĎAs soon as she arrived at my house she walked through the door and said: ďHeís been touching meĒ.

ĎI called her mother and she managed to get hold of her first but she was hysterical and wasnít talking clearly. Then she showed me the text messages.'

Baahís name had been was saved in the girlís phone under ĎP****í, the court heard.

Traces of Baahís DNA were found on the girlís clothes during a medical examination after she alerted police.

Giving evidence Baah claimed: ĎI donít know how it got there, but the only way I can think is she go to the bathroom and use it against me.í

He also tried to argue that text messages sent from his phone may have been an attempt to set him up.

Baah, of Plumstead, denied two counts of raping a child under the age of 13 and five counts of rape of the same victim between 2008 and 2013.

In addition to his jail term, the judge passed a sexual offences prevention order which bans Baah from wilfully being in the presence of a girl under the age of 16.

He waved at relatives in the public gallery as he was led to the cells.


Is social class important in Australia?

Prominent Australian novelist Tim Winton has a very long winded article in "The Monthly", Australia's premier Marxist magazine.  Marxists of course obsess about social class and that would seem to be why Winton appears in that magazine -- because his article is all about class.  Wordy as it is however, there is not much you can pin down in the article as a firm claim.  It is more a  collection of soliloquies and anecdotes.  I reproduce just his conclusion below as that seems to be as near he gets to saying something definite. My own investigations into social class were rather more numerate.

Winton concedes that  class has become much less important in recent decades but probably overestimates how important it used to be.  He sees his own emergence from a working class background in the '70s as a sort or rare good fortune.  It was not.  My days at university were a decade before his.  I was there in the '60s to his '70s and I had no barriers in my way at all.  I came from a background as least as working class as Winton's (my father was a red-headed lumberjack who liked a drink and was ready with his fists) but I was a beneficiary of the Commonwealth Scholarship Scheme initiated by that great conservative Prime Minister, Robert Menzies.  That gave free university education plus a living allowance to the top third of High School graduates, reasonably regarded as the population slice most likely to be able to absorb a university education.  It was a lot more generous than the present HECS-HELP arrangements.

My studies were largely untroubled and I had a lot of fun as a conservative student activist.  Where most students were marching in anti-Vietnam demonstrations, I joined the army (Reserves).  I guess I was brought up in a psychogically healthier home than Winton was -- one that did not seethe with resentment of other people's good fortune -- which appears to be Winton's background, according to his account.

And after an interlude of just one year I went into academe, got tenure and stayed there until I retired.  Obviously I had the brains to do that but my point is that that was all it took.  Social class at no point entered into it.

In conclusion, I am amused that Winton is happy with his own lot and seems to have no resolve to do anything personally in aid of the poor.  He and I have that in common.  But he thinks that "something should be done" about the poor, while I think that nothing more can be. But his thinking gets acclaim while mine gets obloquy.  Fortunately not much bothers me.  I am pleased that a very great Rabbi agrees with me though.  See the Gospel of John 12:8

Where once Australia looked like a pyramid in terms of its social strata, with the working class as its broad base and ballast and the rich at the top, itís come to resemble something of a misshapen diamond Ė wide in the middle Ė and thatís no bad thing in and of itself. I say that, of course, as a member of the emblematically widening middle. The problem is those Australians the middle has left behind without a glance.

At the bottom, of course, there are the poor, who make up almost 13 per cent of Australiaís population. The most visible of them will always be the welfare class: the sick, the addicted, the impaired and the unemployed, who only exist in the public mind as fodder for tabloid TV and the flagellants of brute radio. But if ever there was a truly ďforgotten peopleĒ in our time it must be the working poor. These folk, the cleaners and carers and hospitality workers, excite no media outrage. They labour in the shadows in increasingly contingent working situations. Described as ďcasualsĒ, the only casual element of their existence is the attitude of the entities that employ them. Often on perpetual call or split shifts, their working lives are unstable. Many of them women, a significant proportion of them migrants, they have little bargaining power and low rates of union representation. As Helen Masterman-Smith and Barbara Pocock vividly document in their 2008 study, Living Low Paid, these people work in hospitals, supermarkets and five-star hotels. They mind the children of prosperous professional couples and wash their incontinent parents in care for an hourly rate most middle-class teenage babysitters can afford to turn their noses up at. It is upon these citizensí low pay and insecurity that the prosperity of safer families is often built.

 For these vulnerable Australians, there is little mobility. And precious little of what mobility affords Ė namely, confidence. The cockiness that irritates the old middle class when they encounter fly-in, fly-out workers with their Holden SS utes and tatts and jetskis is rare among the labouring poor. For years I worked in a residential high-rise where the looks on peopleís faces in the lifts and on the walkways ranged from wry resignation to unspeakable entrapment. Single mothers on shrinking benefits, injured workers on disability allowances, middle-aged people stocking supermarket shelves at night. Even the most functional and optimistic of them seemed tired. They were not exhausted from partying, from keeping up with all their dizzying choices; they were worn out from simply hanging on and making do. As an accidental tourist in their lives, I was struck by this weariness. And I felt awkward in their presence. Their faces and voices were completely familiar. They smelt like the people of my boyhood Ė fags, sugar and the beefy whiff of free-range armpit Ė but despite the cheerful, non-committal conversations we had on our slow ascents in the lift, I felt a distance that took many months to come to terms with. Like the expatriate whose view of home is largely antique, I was a class traveller whoíd become a stranger to his own. For all my connection to family, for all the decades Iíd spent in fishing towns among tradespeople and labourers, the working class I knew was no more. My new neighbours were living another life entirely.

The sociologist Zygmunt Bauman writes about the contrast between the ďlight, sprightly and volatileĒ working lives of mobile citizens at the top of society and those who are largely without choice and prospects. Comfortable, confident people, heirs of the new individualism, often view strangers in cohorts below them in astoundingly superficial terms, as if they have adopted a look, chosen an identity as they often do themselves, as if life were a largely sartorial affair. Faced with your own surfeit of choices, itís easy to assume everyone has so many. The ďliquidĒ elite understands exotic poverty Ė it rallies to it tearfully Ė but it often fails to recognise domestic hardship: poverty of choice, poverty born of constraint, the poverty that is working servitude or the bonded shame of unemployment. Despite the angelic appeal of market thinking, there is no gainsaying the correlation between success and certain family backgrounds, geographical locations, ethnicities and schools. Pretending otherwise isnít simply dishonest, itís morally corrosive.

The culture that formed me was poorer, flatter and probably fairer than the one I live in today. Class was more visible, less confusing, more honestly defined and clearly understood. And it was something you could discuss without feeling like a heretic. The decency of our society used to be the measure of its success. Such decency rescued many of us from over-determined lives. It was the moral force that eroded barriers between people, opened up pathways previously unimagined. Not only did it enlarge our personal imaginations but it also enhanced our collective experience. The new cultural confidence this reform produced prefigured the material prosperity we currently enjoy. It was government intervention as much as the so-called genius of the market that underpinned our current prosperity, and it amazes me how quickly weíve let ourselves be persuaded otherwise.

I have no illusions about overcoming class distinctions completely. Nor am I discounting the role that character plays in an individualís fortunes. But it disturbs me to see governments abandoning those at the bottom while pandering to the appetites of the comfortable. Under such conditions, what chance is there for the working poor to fight their way free to share in the spoils of our common wealth? No oneís talking ideology. There is no insurrection brewing. For many Australian families, a gap in the fence is all the revolution they require. But while business prospers from the increased casualisation of its workforce, and government continues to reward the insatiable middle, the prospects of help for the weakest and decency for all seem dim indeed.


The Fascist Left and Same-Sex Marriage

Last week, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed a law with the same name as one signed on the federal level by President Bill Clinton in 1993, which was co-sponsored by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the presumptive next Senate minority leader. Naturally, Pence found himself on the wrong end of a partisan barrage from ABC News' George Stephanopoulos for signing that law the following Sunday. It sure is nice to be a Democrat.

What exactly does the law state? The Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Indiana states that ďa governmental entity may not substantially burden a personís exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.Ē That rule does not apply only if the governmentís action ďis in furtherance of a compelling government interestĒ and is also ďthe least restrictive means of furthering that compelling government interest.Ē If government does act against someone in violation of that personís religious principles, he or she can assert that violation ďas a claim or defense in a judicial or administrative proceeding.Ē

The law does not specifically single out same-sex marriage as an activity against which a religious person may discriminate, but it certainly holds out that possibility. Of course, that possibility is already inherent in a little concept we in the United States used to call freedom Ė freedom to choose how to conduct oneís business and freedom to practice oneís religion in oneís practice of business.

Under a philosophy of freedom, the market solves the general problem of private discrimination, because if one person decides to discriminate against Jews or blacks or gays, he or she loses money and is put out of business for his or her trouble. Nobody has the right, under a philosophy of freedom, to invoke the power of the governmentís gun in order to force someone to provide a good or service.

That system is a heck of a lot safer for minorities than a system by which government regulates the proper conduct of voluntary activities. Black Americans should know that, given that Jim Crow was not merely a system of voluntary discrimination but a government-enforced set of regulations designed to ban voluntary transactions involving blacks. Gays, too, should understand that freedom is far preferable to government-enforced societal standards governing consenting transactions, given that government used to be utilized to discriminate openly against homosexual behavior.

But the left has rewritten the concept of freedom to mean ďwhatever the government allows you to do,Ē and leftists now insist that government cannot allow discrimination Ė unless, of course, the government is itself enforcing discrimination against religious Christians who donít want to violate their belief in traditional marriage.

Same-sex marriage, it turns out, was never designed to grant legal benefits to same-sex couples. That could have been done under a regime of civil unions. Same-sex marriage was always designed to allow the government to have the power to cram down punishment on anyone who disobeys the governmentís vision of the public good. One need not be an advocate of discrimination against gays to believe that government does not have the ability to enforce the prevailing social standards of the time in violation of individual rights. There are many situations in which advocates of freedom dislike particular exercises of that freedom but understand that government attacks on individual rights are far more threatening to the public good.

You do not have a right to my services; I have a right to provide my services to whomever I choose. If you believe that your interpretation of public good enables you to bring a gun to the party, you are a bully and a tyrant. So it is with the modern American left, to whom freedom now means only the freedom to do what it is the left wants you to do at point of gun.


Being raised by a lesbian and a bisexual ruined my life: Mary Portas claims motherhoodís better without men. But in this haunting account actress Hetty Baynes Russell disagrees

She nearly missed out on the chance of having an adoring father -- and nothing can replace that happy occurrence

Throughout my childhood it was a morning ritual. On waking, I would skip through to my parentsí bedroom and climb between the sheets for a cup of tea and some snuggles.

How lucky I was to know such consistent affection. While some of my friends struggled to forge a bond with their families, I took this easy intimacy for granted. To me it was entirely normal behaviour.

Only on closer inspection, and with the benefit of hindsight, I can now see this was anything but normal. For on the other side of the bed from my lovely Mummy was not my father, but Mary, my motherís lover ó a formidable and often frightening figure who was very much the Ďman of the houseí.

I wouldnít go so far as to say my mother was a lesbian, as she was completely mad about men too, but Mary completely captivated Mummy.

To this day, describing mother as bisexual ó for that is clearly what she was ó still makes me feel uncomfortable. This is not through some outdated prudishness: homosexuality, these days, is rightly accepted as natural and I am proud to count a number of gay people among my closest friends.

It is because, back in the 1950s, it was so far from the norm as to be scandalous. And despite spending my entire childhood living cheek-by-jowl with my mother and her lesbian lover, it was not until four decades later that the true exent of their relationship finally came out into the open.

And far from being a healthy, nurturing state of affairs, this arrangement ó where I was caught in a destructive, triangular battle for my motherís affection with another woman, while forced to watch helplessly as my father was emasculated and airbrushed from our lives ó was simultaneously damaging and confusing.

Which is why, when I pick up the newspapers to read of retail guru Mary Portas, who has a two-year-old son with her wife Melanie Rickey, saying Ďmotherhood is better without mení, my heart sinks. Those words could have come out of the mouths of either of my Ďtwo mothersí.

Of course, gay people can make fantastic parents. Indeed, who am I to say that an unconventional family unit cannot function effectively just because my own did not? Yet, has there ever been a point in history when parenthood was more bewildering?

With so many people vying for space and prominence within the family, I know, from experience, they can become hotbeds for resentment and jealousies which can cause irreparable, long-term damage to a child.

So how to explain the bizarre construct which passed for my family?

My mother, Margot, was a rare beauty who was never short of male attention.

By the time I came along, she had been married to my father, Leslie Baynes, a world-renowned aeronautical engineer, since the war. They had three girls and a boy before I appeared several years later.

Two years before I was born, my parents took out a lease on a beautiful country property with its own estate in a perfect little corner of Dorset. That was my home and, with eight years between myself and my closest sibling, I was effectively brought up there as an only child.

I adored my father, not that I saw a huge amount of him: he was hugely in demand and terribly busy, so he would be away during the week. But I would wait by the door every Friday, listening out for the sound of his car.

In his absence, another figure came to be of overbearing importance in my motherís life. She was sculptor Mary Spencer Watson, raised on the same estate by her father, portrait painter George Spencer Watson RA, and named by my parents as my godmother.

I really cannot recall when the takeover happened, but happen it most surely did. For, as early as I can remember, Mary came to share my motherís bed every night; Daddy had his own room. To my innocent mind, it had been like this for ever, and therefore was entirely normal.

At some point, so early in my life that I cannot remember it, she effectively took over as the man of the house, too.  Masculine to a fault, it was she who did all the odd jobs around the house and took charge of the discipline.

Daddy was sidelined and constantly humiliated, but bore the humiliation in silence. This was an era when same-sex relationships simply did not happen ó not out in the open, at least.

Somehow, mostly out of shame, I suspect, my father managed to put up with this bizarre arrangement for the best part of a decade.

While I hung on my gentle, loving fatherís every word, I never heard Mary or Mother utter a good word about him. Conflict was for ever bubbling under the surface.

I vividly recall the arguments between Daddy and Mary over who should carve the Sunday roast, for example. What better way to illustrate the power struggle that was happening, insidiuously, under the roof of our home? With my father increasingly absent (who can blame him) Mary became the parent who assumed the duty of driving me around the Dorset countryside for endless ballet lessons and competitions.

I had a Ďcareer childhoodí. From an early age I showed a capacity to dance very well, and my motherís dream (as well as mine) was that I would become the next Dame Margot Fonteyn. This meant rehearsing relentlessly, resulting in even less time spent with my father.

Then, when I was nine, Mary and Mother took me away from him altogether. I still remember looking out of the car window and seeing tears rolling down his kind, gentle face as we drove away to our new second home in Kingston upon Thames in Surrey ó Mary, Mummy and me and three of my older siblings.

They said it was so I could be closer to the Royal Ballet School in Richmond, although I hadnít even applied at that point, so I know that it was a flimsy excuse. From that point onwards, Maryís principal role in my family was unquestioned. She and Mother were considered my parents by friends, and in my diaries I referred to them as M≤. Nobody questioned it, that was just the way it was.

Mary described us as Ďwe threeí. They held hands, kissed on the lips and behaved just like man and wife. When, confused, I asked where I had come from, my mother told me: ĎGod and Mummy made you.í.

Daddy was airbrushed from history, in this as in all matters. Men, in general, were decried as useless, especially in the family context.

If you had asked me during my teens what I thought of the arrangement, I wouldnít have missed a beat. I was not raised to question it ó this was a normal, happy childhood, with the inevitable ups and downs, but plenty of love.

Only now I know it wasnít.

The damage I had suffered only manifested itself when I was 15 and developed clinical depression and anorexia. From then on, it was a slow process of coming to terms with pain I had buried deep inside my troubled soul.  It was almost as if I carried their shame and acted it out in a self-destructive way.

In my twenties I cultivated an overtly heterosexual blonde bombshell image, and formed a string of inappropriate relationships with men.

I was attracted to father figures, eccentric geniuses, as a rule, and ended up marrying the legendary film director Ken Russell, who died in 2011.  Even more confusingly, Ken and Mary were physically very similar in stature and colouring. What does that say about me?

Yes, I was loved, but at what price? For while I have no doubt that Mary loved me ó her maternal instincts outweighed her veneer of masculinity ó there was also horrendous jealousy there, which frequently erupted into violence.

She was jealous of me for the same reason she deplored my father. I was the apple of my motherís eye, and as such perceived as a threat. While Mummy always treated me like a little princess, inevitably my special position in her heart led to conflict with Mary.

She could be terrifying, on one occasion flying at a male suitor ówho had taken a shine to my mother ó with a carving knife (mercifully, he dodged out of the way in time).

After this incident, I returned home to find Mary on her knees, pleading with Mummy not to throw away what they had together. I was around ten at the time, and no idea what they were talking about.

Most of the time, however, I was on the receiving end of this kind of behaviour (though I must confess to fighting back as hard as my slight frame would allow).

When I was eight we went on a caravan holiday to Scotland. I stumbled into a heated discussion between Mummy and Mary, incurring my godmotherís displeasure. She pushed me backwards so violently I went hurtling through the air, landing outside the caravan, dropping three feet and landing flat on my back, winded and shaken.

A family member shot some footage on a cine-camera of that moment, and, after the holiday it was played backwards, as a comedy moment showing me leaping through the air to land on my feet in the caravan. Only there was nothing funny about what had happened, nothing funny at all.

On another occasion Mary locked me inside a hen house that had no windows when, in her view, I had been naughty.

Unconsciously, I struggled with Maryís masculinity, which my childlike mind instinctively wanted to challenge. When I was eight or nine years old, I asked Mary what she wanted for Christmas. She asked for a hammer and chisel, so I bought her scented soap.  I so wanted her to be a woman for once.

In any dispute, I was always reminded of where my failings came from: my father.  ĎYouíre a Baynes through and through,í was Maryís ultimate insult.

I, meanwhile, was denied the opportunity to grieve his loss from the family.

Never mentioned, except in ridicule, not considered necessary or even relevant, my whole relationship with my lovely father was effectively stolen from me.

We did manage to get the relationship back, many years later, when I was in my mid-20s. I was, by this time, in recovery from anorexia and building a successful career as an actress.

It was only then that my father finally told me that my mother and Mary were in a lesbian relationship.  Astonishing as it may sound, this came as a shock to me. It transpired that my father, devastated and furious that he had been ousted from his family, had threatened to reveal all in his divorce papers.

It was only a week before the case was due to go to court that he withdrew his papers, accepting Mummyís version of events that he had Ďabandonedí his own family.  He was, after all, a man of standing and the ensuing scandal could have ruined all of them ó and he still cared deeply about my mother.

As it was, he ended up bankrupt and living in a shack by the sea. He was broken by the experience ó not that I saw one iota of sympathy from Mummy or Mary. They simply dismissed him as being Ďweakí.

Following the revelation about their true relationship, I was desperate for answers. But when I confronted Mother and Mary they denied everything. They even went so far as to threaten to sue my father for defamation.

So, the lies, half-truths, confusion and damage were left to fester for many years to come.

My father died in 1989, but at least by then I had the comfort of being reconciled with him and back in regular contact.

Then I made the most shocking discovery of all. In discussion with my therapist I uncovered the repressed memory which went to explain so much about my emotional turmoil.

Amid huge upset, I suddenly remembered something I had witnessed at the age of four, when I stumbled across my mother and Mary being intimate together.

I cannot go into details ó it is too upsetting ó but I can vividly recall them sitting me down afterwards and saying how important it was that I should never mention what I had seen to anybody.

Mary finally admitted her relationship with my mother in 2006, shortly before her death.  By now my mother was deep in Alzheimerís, and while she outlived her lover by a couple of years, she had long since retreated into a world of her own.

Mary told me of her chronic shame, and I did my best to reassure her: there was nothing wrong with their love ó it was the lies and their cruel dismissal of my father that was the real problem.

It came as a relief to finally hear the real truth, but I canít help wondering about the difference it would have made to all our lives if it had come out 20 years earlier.

Ken and I had one son together, Rex, now 22, before we split in 1999, and he is the light of my life. So it is not as if my own experiences put me off motherhood. I did, however, learn a lot of lessons about parenting the hard way.

I believe that if there is room for all parties involved to love each other unconditionally, then any family set-up can work.

But sometimes ó frighteningly often, in fact ó unconventional parental relationships end up being hotbeds of jealousy and confusion that are damaging to children.

That has been the problem for me all of my life: despite the enormous amount of privilege I enjoyed, it was a life of confusion and a lack of emotional security.

And that is why I was in therapy for so many years, trying to make sense of it all.

So by all means roll the dice, ladies and gentlemen, but donít kid yourself about the fact you are taking a chance with an innocent life.



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 April, 2015

Multiculturalist caught on CCTV striking his partner 15 times 'like a human punchbag' in front of their young children

Jason Edwards, 36, cornered his partner in the lift at Westfield Shopping Centre in Shepherdís Bush, west London, before launching an assault on her.

The attack, which lasted around two minutes, took place in front of the victimís three children, who are all under the age of 13.

When the lift doors opened, Edwards was greeted by a security guard but managed to flee the scene before police arrived.

The victim, who has not been named but is from north west London, did not attend hospital following the attack and refused to press charges or inform the police of her partnerís identity.

However, an investigation was launched by detectives at the Community Safety Unit in Hammersmith and Fulham and Edwards was tracked down days later on February 16.

He admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm at magistratesí court the following day and has now been jailed for two years at Isleworth Crown Court, Greater London.

Following his sentencing, detective sergeant Damian Ash, of the Metropolitan Police, said: ĎShockingly, Edwardís attack has been compared to a boxer relentlessly cornering and punching his opponent on the ropes.

ĎFor nearly two minutes he struck his partner as if she was a human punch bag in front of her three children who were helpless to stop it.

ĎDespite reluctance from the victim in revealing the identity of her partner and attacker, we were able to progress the investigation quickly using the CCTV and intelligence available to usí

He added: ĎThis case is testimony to our commitment in bringing violent offenders to justice, whatever the circumstances are, even when there is no victim statement provided at court.í


Female venture capitalist loses Silicon Valley sex discrimination case

Jury says gender was not a substantial factor in Kleiner Perkins' decision not to promote Ellen Pao, in case that has gripped Silicon Valley

A female venture capitalist has lost a high-profile sex discrimination case that shined a spotlight on the "boys' club culture" of Silicon Valley.

Ellen Pao, who worked as a junior partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, had accused her former employer of passing her over for the position of senior partner while her male colleagues were promoted.

After more than two days of deliberation, the jury of six women and six men on Friday found that Kleiner Perkins had not acted unfairly or unlawfully and that gender had not played a part in the company's decision not to promote her.

Ms Pao said she filed the case as she "wanted something to change" in the industry, where sexism has become so pervasive it has been likened to the Wall Street of the 1980s.

The 45-year-old told the San Francisco Superior Court how she was excluded from an all-male dinner with Al Gore, former US vice president, and felt ďvery uncomfortableĒ hearing male guests of the firm talking about pornography on a private jet.

She was given menial tasks to do that were below her pay grade, ďin order to embarrass herĒ, her lawyers had argued.

She also testified that one male partner was ďrelentlessĒ in his pursuit of her and cut her out of email chains and meetings when she ended the affair upon discovering he was married.

After the verdict, Ms Pao told the courthouse that people around the world had reached out to her and told her that they had stories similar to her own.  "If I've helped to level the playing field for women and minorities in venture capital, then the battle was worth it," she said.

The San Francisco Chronicle too was hopeful the case would spur change, writing in an op-ed: ďEven in defeat, Paoís courage in challenging the underside of Silicon Valley culture could help pave the way for a more enlightened era."

Ms Pao, a small-framed woman of 5'4", took to the stand in the last week of the month-long trial, cross-examined by the razor-tongued defence lawyer Lynne Hermle, and watched over by senior Kleiner Perkins management staff who had taken up most of the front-row seats.

She listened as she was told by one senior partner that it was ďjust not in her genetic makeupĒ to be an investor, while others accused her of being a liar, a money-grabber and a ďchronic complainerĒ.

Her lawyer, Alan Exelrod, disagreed with their assessment. ďMs Pao generated more revenue for Kleiner Perkins than any of the men who were promoted in 2012,Ē he said in his closing arguments. ďAs of the decision to promote in 2012, Ellen Pao drove the returns. The men received the promotions.  "They ran Kleiner Perkins like a boysí club," Mr Exelrod concluded.

Lynne Hermle, the lead lawyer for Kleiner Perkins, told jurors however that Ms Pao was never qualified, or cut out, to be a general partner in its funds.

Venture capital "is a very tough profession,Ē she said. ďFew people do it, few people do it very well and very few people do it long term.Ē

Despite having won, the storied firm, which was an early investor in Google, Amazon and AOL among others, will be smarting from the very public scrutiny that could well harm the reputation it has spent the last 40 years building.

The case has gripped Silicon Valley - in part because of its rare insight into the cloak-and-dagger venture capital world, and in part due to the rarity of such gender discrimination cases making it this far in the legal system.

For the past four weeks, spectators and reporters alike have crowded into the small San Francisco courtroom to watch the David and Goliath battle play out. Even former Yahoo! president Sue Decker brought her daughter along to hear the caseís closing statements.

Ms Pao had become one of the only women in venture capital to publicly stand against the billionaire kingmakers of the startup world.

The loss will be felt by two other women who filed discrimination claims in recent weeks against Twitter and Facebook for their ďtap-on the-shoulderĒ promotions practice they say favoured men.

The Pao lawsuit had also shined a light on the gross underrepresentation of women in the technology and investment sectors and had led some companies to re-examine their cultures and practices even before the verdict.

Freada Kapor Klein, a top diversity consultant, said she has recently been contacted by more than a dozen companies asking her how they can improve the environment for women.

ďPeople understand that the issues raised in this trial are about company culture in general,Ē she said


AR: Senate panel backs ďconscience protectionĒ measure

 An effort to prevent Arkansas government from infringing on someone's religious beliefs was revived Tuesday, with a state Senate panel advancing a bill that critics have called a thinly veiled endorsement of discrimination against gays and lesbians.

The legislation approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee would ban state and local government from taking action that would burden someone's religious beliefs unless a "compelling governmental interest" is proven. The bill, if enacted, would strengthen any case of a person suing the government if that person could prove their religious beliefs were infringed upon. The Senate could take up the bill as soon as Wednesday.

The lawmaker behind the proposal said he didn't view the measure as anti-gay, and said it was aimed at giving Arkansans more protections for their religious beliefs and practices.

"It's pro-religion, the ability for someone to carry out their beliefs without the state bugging them about it," Republican Rep. Bob Ballinger of Hindsville told the panel. "That's what this is."

The legislation is patterned after the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 19 states have similar laws and several states are currently considering them.

The same measure stalled before the panel last month on a 3-3 vote after retail giant Wal-Mart said the proposal sent the wrong message about its home state and Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he had reservations about the bill. The panel advanced the measure Tuesday on a 5-3 vote, with Democratic Sen. David Burnett joining the committee's four Republicans in support.

"This is a shameful outcome for a shameful bill," Kendra Johnson, the state director of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement. "The fight now turns to the full Senate, where all fair-minded Arkansans must stand together to halt this destructive legislation that undermines the core values of this state."

Democratic Sen. Linda Chesterfield of Little Rock, who voted against the measure, called it "terrible."

"There is something very, very wrong when you allow religion to be the excuse for discrimination," Chesterfield said after the vote. "That is exactly what we've allowed here to happen."

The bill is another setback for gay rights groups, a month after Hutchinson allowed separate legislation to become law that bans local governments from expanding anti-discrimination protections to include sexual orientation or gender identity.

Hutchinson had expressed concerns about that bill infringing on local control, but allowed it to become law without his signature ó a move governors have used to express displeasure with legislation without prompting a veto fight with lawmakers. It takes a simple majority to override a governor's veto in Arkansas.

The governor has stopped short of saying whether he'd sign the "conscience protection" measure if it reaches his desk. On Tuesday he said he supported changes made aimed at addressing his concerns about unintended consequences.

"I will continue to monitor any additional changes and how this proceeds through the legislative process," he said in a statement released by his office.


UPDATE:  The bill has been passed but was sent back for revision by Governor Asa Hutchinson.  He appears to have been freaked by the attacks on the Indiana bill.

Freedom of Speech and Tanya Cohen

by Sean Gabb

I have been directed to this article, published today: "Australia Must Have Zero Tolerance for Online Hatred", by Tanya Cohen of something called The Australian Independent Media Network. It is a very long article, and I will begin my response by quoting the passages I find most objectionable.

1. ďÖitís just common sense that freedom of speech doesnít give anyone the right to offend, insult, humiliate, intimidate, vilify, incite hatred or violence, be impolite or uncivil, disrespect, oppose human rights, spread lies or misinformation, argue against the common good, or promote ideas which have no place in society. We all learned this in school, and itís not something thatís even up for debate. Hate speech is not free speechÖ.Ē

2. ďÖeven right-wing libertarians were outraged that anyone would propose watering down laws against hate speech.Ē

3. ďThere are two sides to the free speech debate in Australia: the people who believe that all offensive or insulting speech should always be illegal (the vast majority of Australians), and the people who believe that only racial vilification or incitement to hatred should be illegal (the far-right, ultra-libertarian free speech fundamentalists).Ē

4. ďYou simply cannot call yourself a progressive in Australia unless you support the outlawing of all un-progressive speech. One of the most fundamental goals of the Australian progressive movement is ensuring that anyone who voices un-progressive ideas is aggressively prosecuted, and this is something that all Australian progressives firmly agree with.Ē

5. ďWhat I propose is something called a Human Rights Online Act. This Act would not only make it a severe criminal offence on the federal level to publish, distribute, promote, or access hate speech online, but would also implement a federal Internet filtering system to protect Australians from being exposed to hate sites run out of the US. The Internet filter should block access to all hate sites, and anyone who tries to access any hate sites should be sent to gaol, much like people who access child pornography. In keeping with other human rights legislation in Australia Ė like the proposed Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill, which was unfortunately narrowly defeated by the efforts of the far-right Ė anyone accused of offending, insulting, humiliating, or intimidating other people should be required to prove their innocence or be declared guilty automatically, and this should also apply for anyone accused of publishing, distributing, promoting, or accessing online hatred. The principle of guilty until proven innocent is the only principle that really works when it comes to cracking down on hate speechÖ.Ē

6. ďInternet filtering should not just filter out hate speech. It should filter out anything that violates human rights and/or poses a danger to society. Our Australian Classification Board bans any film, video game, book, or other form of media if it offends against community standards, contains content harmful to society, or is demeaning to human dignity. If a book, film, or video game contains content that degrades human dignity, then it therefore constitutes a violation of human rights, since human dignity is a fundamental human right that all civilised governments are tasked with upholding.Ē

7. ďAll Australian websites should be required to register with the Australian Human Rights Commission in order to ensure strict compliance with human rights. If any websites contain content that opposes human rights, then they should be shut down immediately and their owners sent to gaol. In addition, all Australian websites should be required to promote human rights. Any website found to inadequately promote human rights should be shut down by the Australian Human Rights Commission, and the owner fined or sent to gaol.Ē

As I read through the article, I kept asking whether Miss Cohen really existed, or if this was a satire on the modern left. Quotation (4) Ė about banning anything ďunprogressiveĒ Ė does verge on the Swiftian. So does the indefinable but ďfundamentalĒ right to ďdignityĒ that is given precedence over the traditional rights to freedom of speech and association and to the requirements of natural justice. Sadly, she does appear to exist, and this does appear to be an honest statement of what she believes.

This being so, you can take the quotations given above as part of her articleís refutation. Miss Cohen is calling for the censorship of any opinion that she and her friends find disagreeable. She wants to punish not only those who write and publish such things, but also those who read them. She believes in reversing the burden of proof, so that those accused of writing or publishing or reading shall be made to prove that they have not done as accused Ė to prove this out of their own resources against a prosecution with bottomless pockets and skilled lawyers. She also believes in licensing the media, so that disagreeable opinions will not be published.

There is nothing unusual about the substance of her demands. I first came across their like in the early 1980s, when I was at university. It struck me then as a scandalous misuse of words to make human rights of censorship and unlimited state power Ė me and the older lefties who had not caved in to the neo-Marxists. But that was then. We live today in a world captured and increasingly reshaped by Miss Cohen and her friends. All I find unusual now is the honesty of her demands. It may be that she really is a clever satirist. Or perhaps she is just stupid. But I am used to a more sophisticated defence of locking people away for their opinions, and without a fair trial.

I will deal with two of her specific claims. The first is that ďright-wing libertariansĒ do not mind the banning of ďhate speech.Ē The second is that ďHate speech is not free speech.Ē

I am undoubtedly a libertarian. I am probably a right-wing libertarian. I believe that people should, at the minimum, be free to say whatever they please about alleged matters of public fact. I am sceptical about the justice of the laws covering libel and confidentiality and copyright and official secrecy. But, so long as these are confined to achieving their traditionally stated ends, I will, for present purposes, leave them to one side. I will also leave aside photographic displays of sexual activity not limited to consenting adults. Yet, even at its minimal definition, the right to freedom of speech covers every class of utterance that Miss Cohen wants to censor. So far as libertarians, almost by definition, believe in freedom of speech, either she is mistaken about the meaning of libertarianism, or she is playing with the meaning of words.

I turn to her claim about the nature of ďhate speech.Ē The term is designed to bring into mind ideas of inarticulate screams, or of simple orders to kill or to hurt. In fact, every act of ďhate speechĒ I have seen punished or denounced has involved the same combination of propositions and inferences I see anywhere else.

Let us, for example, take these two cases:

1. Bearing in mind differences of population and wealth, the Great War was less destructive to England than the civil wars of the seventeenth century. Proportionately, fewer men were killed, and the economic costs were lower. Yet the physical effects of the civil wars drop out of view after 1660, and those of the Great War were a national obsession until 1939, and are now widely seen as the greatest single cause of our national decline. Therefore, anyone who accepts the consensus view of the Great War as a catastrophe is mistaking symptoms for causes. Whether or not going to war was an error, a fundamentally healthy nation could have shaken off the losses of the Somme and Passchendaele in a decade at most. That we did not indicates that there was already something wrong with us by 1914.

2. There are measurable differences between racial groups. Some of these are of intellectual capacity. Others are of propensity to crimes against life or property or both. Even otherwise, there are differences of outlook that show themselves in how the members of one group relate to each other and to members of other groups. These differences have been uncovered and confirmed by more than a century of research. They have also long been accepted as matters of common sense. Therefore, racially homogenous countries are well advised to keep out immigrants of other races. Where a country is already mixed, it makes sense to segregate each racial group so far as possible, and to govern each by different laws, or to apply the same laws with different effect to each group.

I give no opinion on the truth of these cases. The first I have just made up. The second I have distilled from my reading of various nationalist blogs and journals. Whether they are true is beside my present point. My point is that each case begins with factual claims, from which inferences are then drawn. If you disagree with either, it seems obvious to me that the proper mode of disagreement is to show that the factual claims are untrue, or that the inferences are not validly drawn. Calling in the police is at best unlikely to advance our understanding of the world.

I suppose Miss Cohen would argue that the first case, if accepted, will have no obvious effects on what is done in the present, but that the second, if accepted, will lead to ethnic cleansing or apartheid. She would infer from this that laws against advancing the second case are needed to stop a great evil from being committed.

I agree that, if we accept the racial nationalist case, difficult questions come onto the agenda. In the same way, however, if my gold crowns wear out this year, I shall not be able to afford a family holiday. The unpleasantness of the apodosis has no bearing on the truth of the protasis. Suppose the racial nationalists are right. Suppose that what they advocate is the lesser of evils in the long term. Or suppose that they are right in their factual claims, but that there are alternative and less alarming inferences to be drawn from these.  This would surely be worth knowing. I say that, once a case has been stated with any show of evidence, and certainly once it has gained any body of support, it needs to be contested in open debate, not silenced by the State.

Furthermore, where written arguments are concerned, readers are generally alone and have ample time to think before taking action. This must be considered a new intervening cause in any course that leads from the communication of ideas to actual violence. If Miss Cohen wanted laws against street agitators, she might have a case. Censoring the written word is plain suppression of debate.

The main focus of Miss Cohenís article is on those who dissent from the present discourse on race and immigration. Looking at Quotation (6), though Ė ďInternet filtering should not just filter out hate speech. It should filter out anything that violates human rights and/or poses a danger to society.Ē Ė we can see that she wants to shut down debate on every leftist claim. She would not allow any dissent on the nature and extent of climate change, or on what is happening in the Middle East Ė she is a pro-Palestinian, not that I think better or worse of her for this Ė or on how dangerous drinking and smoking are to health. Indeed, we seem to be at the beginning of a change in the consensus on diet and health. For about forty years, we have been told that fat is bad for us, and that we should eat a lot of carbohydrate. It may be that we are about to be told that fat is good for us, and that sugar is the main cause of obesity and diabetes. Had her proposed law been in place across the world, this debate would have been flattened by claims of ďsocial danger.Ē

I could say more, but will not. I will conclude by suggesting that you should read Miss Cohen for yourself. You decide whether she is a satirist of genius, or an embarrassment to the modern left by virtue of her blundering honesty.



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 April, 2015

Indiana boycott urged after state passes 'anti-gay' law

It is not clear who exactly below is calling for a boycott but presumably they will all also be boycotting all Muslim countries.  Muslims execute homosexuals -- which seems rather worse than  refusing to bake cakes for them

Law that could make it easier for religious conservatives to refuse service to gay couples approved, sparking nationwide outrage
The Arkansas Senate overwhelmingly approved on Friday a Republican-backed bill whose authors say is intended to protect religious freedoms but critics contend could allow businesses to refuse service to gay people.

The Republican governor of Indiana signed into law a similar "religious freedom" bill on Thursday, prompting protests from human rights groups and criticism from some business leaders.

The bill advancing in the Republican-led Arkansas legislature says "governments should not substantially burden the free exercise of religion without compelling justification."

Supporters say a business should not be forced to, for example, cater a same-sex wedding if doing so would violate the religious beliefs of the owner.

The hashtag #boycottIndiana quickly became one of the most talked about topics on social media site Twitter.

Two of the most powerful companies in the United States, retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc, which has its home office in Arkansas, and technology giant Apple Inc have criticised the measure.

"We feel this legislation is counter to this core basic belief of respect for the individual and sends the wrong message about Arkansas, as well as the diverse environment which exists in the state," a Walmart spokesman said in a statement.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, referring to the measures in the two states, said in a tweet: "Apple is open for everyone. We are deeply disappointed in Indiana's new law and calling on Arkansas Gov. to veto the similar HB1228."

The measure passed the Arkansas House in February by a comfortable margin and now goes back to it for consideration of amendments in the Senate version. Governor Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, has said he would sign the measure into law.

A U.S. judge last year struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage but the decision has been put on hold pending appeals.


Pence: 'This Avalanche of Intolerance That's Been Poured on Our State Is Outrageous'

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) says his state has been hit by an "avalanche of intolerance" ever since he signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act last week.

"George, look, the issue here is, you know, is tolerance a two-way street or not?" Pence told ABC's "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos on Sunday.

"I mean, you know, there's a lot of talk about tolerance in this country today having to do with people on the left. But here Indiana steps forward to protect the constitutional rights and privileges of freedom of religion for people of faith and families of faith in our state, and this avalanche of intolerance that's been poured on our state is just outrageous."

Pence said the bill he signed is not about discrimination, nor is it about disputes between individuals unless government action is involved. He said the law is intended to empower individuals (as well as churches and businesses) when they believe the government is trampling on their religious freedom by requiring them to do things they oppose on religious grounds.

Critics say the new law will sanction discrimination against homosexuals.

"The Religious Freedom Restoration Act was signed into federal law by President Bill Clinton more than 20 years ago," Pence noted. "And it lays out a framework for ensuring that a very high level of scrutiny is given any time government action impinges on the religious liberty of any American."

Indiana is the 20th state to enact a law modeled after the federal legislation. Barack Obama voted for a similar law when he served in the Illinois State Senate.

Stephanopoulos asked Pence if the law will allow Christian florists who oppose same-sex marriage to refuse to serve homosexual couples, for example:

"George, the -- the question here is if the -- if there is a government action or a law that an individual believes impinges on their religious liberty, they have the opportunity to go to court, just as The Religious Freedom Restoration Act that Bill Clinton signed allowed them -- go to court and the court would evaluate the circumstance under the standards articulated in this Act.

"That's all it is. And when you see these headlines about -- about Indiana, a license to discriminate in Indiana and -- and -- it just -- I'm telling you, George, it is a red herring and I think it's deeply troubling to millions of Americans and -- and, frankly, people all across the state of Indiana who feel troubled about government overreach.

"This isn't about disputes between individuals, it's about government overreach. And I'm proud that Indiana stepped forward and I'm working -- I'm working hard to clarify this."

On Monday, Republican lawmakers in Indiana said they plan to add language to the  state law to clarify that it doesn't allow discrimination against gays and lesbians.

But neither Pence nor those Republican lawmakers support the inclusion of language making homosexuals a protected class under the state's civil rights laws.


A multicultural drug baron

A playboy drug baron who stashed an arsenal of guns and ammunition in a young mother's Honda Civic in exchange for letting her friend drive his Maserati has been jailed for 27 years.

Babs Arogundade, 28, who also owned a Bentley, lived a life of luxury and regularly splashed out thousands of pounds on champagne and expensive jewellery including diamond-encrusted Rolex watches.

However, his gangster lifestyle came to light when he was caught stashing lethal weapons in the boot of 27-year-old mother Bianca Willoughby's car in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire.

Police found four shotguns, a loaded Smith and Wesson handgun and a Winchester rifle when they raided the vehicle during a surveillance operation focusing on Arogundade's criminal lifestyle.

His crimes were outlined at the Old Bailey on Friday, where he was convicted of conspiracy to supply drugs and possession of firearms.

The court heard how Arogundade often frequented expensive West End nightclubs and met Ms Willoughby two nights before he was caught in May 2013.

She is said to have agreed to help him with 'a favour' after she went to his home in St John's Wood, north west London, to ask for financial support for her business.

The 'favour' was to look after bags filled with the weapons in exchange for him allowing her friend to borrow his expensive Maserati for a wedding.

Prosecutor Tom Wilkins told the court about the operation on May 27, 2013, which led to the conviction of the 'charismatic gangster'.

He told the Old Bailey: 'Armed officers intercepted a blue Honda Civic parked in Hemel Hempstead and found Willoughby sitting in the driver's seat with her four-year-old son sitting next to her.

'Inside the boot was four shotguns, a hand gun and a rifle together with compatible ammunition.'

Arogundade was standing by the boot with a sports bag, the prosecutor said.

He added: 'The prosecution say he brought that bag and would have used it to take back whichever firearms he was going to select from Willoughby's car.'

The cache included a Smith and Wesson revolver containing one bullet, a Winchester rifle with seven rounds, a sawn off pump-action shotgun and three other shotguns with more than 300 shells.

Mr Wilkins said the stash could 'really only be described as an arsenal of guns and ammunition'.


Australia: NSW conservatives the big winner with Chinese voters after  Labor and unions Ďracistí election campaign backfires

Leftists are racist or anti-racist as it suits them.  They have no lasting principles

LABOR and the unionsí ďracistĒ campaign against Chinese investment in the stateís electricity network is being blamed for a swing towards the Liberal Party in seats such as Oatley, in Sydneyís southwest, that have substantial Chinese populations.

Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey described the anti-Chinese scaremongering of Labor and the unions as ďbackdoor xenophobiaĒ.

The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union began TV ads last Monday warning that leasing 49 per cent of the electricity to a foreign country was ďjust not onĒ.

The union also said the NSW Treasurer Andrew Constance was having ďsecretĒ meetings with representatives of the Chinese government over the leasing plan.

Mr Hockey said yesterday the campaign against Chinese investment in the stateís publicly-owned poles and wires network was an example of ďbackdoor xenophobia that Australians hateĒ.

ďThere was an element of xenophobia and racism involved in the NSW Labor campaign that I have not seen in more than 20 years in politics,Ē Mr Hockey said.

ďIt was outrageous for a mainstream party to engage in the racism that the Labor Party engaged in.Ē

During the campaign, Opposition Leader Luke Foley said he did not trust the Foreign Investment Review Board to protect NSW residents in the event of a power sale to Chinese interests.

Mr Foley also said Chinese investment could present a security risk and claimed ASIO would be interested in it.

Despite the widespread ≠opposition to Labor and the unionsí scaremongering, Mr Foley defended Laborís campaign yesterday.

ďMy view is the very large swing to Labor Ė 9 per cent swing, a 14-seat lift Ė was based in part on the unpopularity of Mr Bairdís privatisation policy,Ē he said. ďI also presented a swag of other policies to the electorate Ė positive plans.

ďI said on day one I would lead a party of policies, never a mere party of protest, and thatís what Iíll continue to do.Ē

But senior Liberal sources said the strongest gains in Oatley were in booths with a high Chinese population.

A senior Liberal source said the union-Labor campaign had been grossly offensive to voters of Chinese descent.

ďIf you are Chinese, or of Chinese descent, a small business person, or a professional person in Oatley, and you saw that being played out, not only is it offensive culturally, and racially, but it is just stupid,Ē the source said.

But a Labor source claimed the anti-Chinese scare tactics did not affect the Oatley result, instead putting Mr Coureís remarkable win down to the fact that he is a hugely popular local member.

ďHe was the only MP in focus groups that people could name,Ē the Labor Party source said yesterday. ďHe is extremely well-known and very popular.Ē

The electorate of Oatley in southern Sydney takes in the suburbs of Hurstville, Penshurst, Oatley and Mortdale.

With a swing of 3.1 per cent, it was one of five seats that swung towards the Liberals, the others being East Hills (0.8 per cent), Drummoyne (2.7 per cent), Seven Hills (0.6 per cent) and Parramatta (2.2 per cent).



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.

Psychological defence mechanisms such as projection play a large part in Leftist thinking and discourse. So their frantic search for evil in the words and deeds of others is easily understandable. The evil is in themselves. Leftist motivations are fundamentally Fascist. They want to "fundamentally transform" the lives of their fellow citizens, which is as authoritarian as you can get. We saw where it led in Russia and China. The "compassion" that Leftists parade is just a cloak for their ghastly real motivations

I record on this blog many examples of negligent, inefficient and reprehensible behaviour on the part of British police. After 13 years of Labour party rule they have become highly politicized, with values that reflect the demands made on them by the political Left rather than than what the community expects of them. They have become lazy and cowardly and avoid dealing with real crime wherever possible -- preferring instead to harass normal decent people for minor infractions -- particularly offences against political correctness. They are an excellent example of the destruction that can be brought about by Leftist meddling.

I also record on this blog much social worker evil -- particularly British social worker evil. The evil is neither negligent nor random. It follows exactly the pattern you would expect from the Marxist-oriented indoctrination they get in social work school -- where the middle class is seen as the enemy and the underclass is seen as virtuous. So social workers are lightning fast to take children away from normal decent parents on the basis of of minor or imaginary infractions while turning a blind eye to gross child abuse by the underclass

What feminism has wrought:

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 backĒ

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 ďhaving it allĒ that ďwe barely even have a slice of the pie, which we probably baked ourselves while sobbing into the pastry at 4amĒ."

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: ĎWhy should we tolerate intolerance?í The assumption is that tolerating views that you donít agree with is like a gift, an act of kindness. It suggests weíre doing people a favour by tolerating their view. My argument is that tolerance is vital to us, to you and I, because itís 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, weíre free to think what we want and express ourselves freely. Unless we have that freedom, all those other freedoms that we have on paper mean nothing" -- SOURCE

On all my blogs, I express my view of what is important primarily by the readings that I select for posting. I do however on occasions add personal comments in italicized form at the beginning of an article.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age.

I imagine that the the RD is still sending mailouts to my 1950s address!

Germaine Greer is a stupid old Harpy who is notable only for the depth and extent of her hatreds

Even Mahatma Gandhi was profoundly unimpressed by Africans

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