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

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 This site is updated several times a month but is no longer updated daily.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


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

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

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




6 July, 2014

Federal Gov’t Sues Wisconsin Company, Says English-Language Requirement is 'Discrimination'

This is an attack on the most basic liberties

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a federal agency tasked with enforcing workplace discrimination laws, is suing a private American business for firing a group of Hispanic and Asian employees over their inability to speak English at work, claiming that the English-language requirement in a U.S. business constitutes  “discrimination.”

Judicial Watch reported Tuesday that the government is accusing Wisconsin Plastics, Inc. of violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on “national origin.” The government argues this includes the “linguistic characteristics of a national origin group.”

Irene Garcia, the blog editor and Spanish media liaison for Judicial Watch, called the EEOC’s accusation “ludicrous.”

“That’s ludicrous and an overreaching of government,” Garcia told CNSNews.com. “If you are a private company in the United States, you should be able to require your employees to speak English.”

According to a news release from the EEOC, Chicago Regional Attorney John C. Hendrickson said the Green Bay-based company’s English requirement is based on “superficial” reasoning.

"Our experience at the EEOC has been that so-called 'English only' rules and requirements of English fluency are often employed to make what is really discrimination appear acceptable. But superficial appearances are not fooling anyone,” Hendrickson said in the release. “When speaking English fluently is not, in fact, required for the safe and effective performance of a job, nor for the successful operation of the employer’s business, requiring employees to be fluent in English usually constitutes employment discrimination on the basis of national origin — and thus violates federal law.”

But Garcia said the ability to speak English is necessary for employees of Wisconsin Plastics, Inc., but that the employees in question “were not able to speak English at any kind of level that would be considered proficient.”

“In this case some English is necessary to communicate with supervisors and stuff like that, and the EEOC just went after this private company because some employees were being marked down for not having English skills. So that doesn’t really make sense,” she said.

Garcia added that the lawsuit, filed on June 9, is just the latest in a slew of attempts by the EEOC and the Obama administration to go after American businesses for so-called “discrimination.” She cited numerous cases in which the EEOC has accused businesses of discriminating by requiring workers to speak English, running background and criminal checks, and enforcing company-wide restrictions on head coverings, including those worn by some Muslim women.

“We’ve seen some decisions that are kind of radical that we haven’t seen in the past, under Republican or Democrat administrations,” she said, claiming the EEOC under the Obama administration is “on a roll.”

Many lawsuits brought by the EEOC subjectively twist the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include things it was never meant to cover, Garcia added.

“We’re seeing a lot of these kinds of law suits using his civil rights law to sue on behalf of all these different causes that I believe violate the spirit of the law,” Garcia explained.

“In terms of religious and language rights under the Civil Rights Act, that’s what the administration is using to offer and extend protects when really and truly there’s no place for them [in the law],” she said.

SOURCE





Vatican Document Reaffirms Traditional Marriage -- Pastoral Approach Towards Gays

A document released by the Vatican last week reaffirmed longstanding Catholic teaching that marriage is exclusively between a man and a woman, and ruled out same-sex unions as its equivalent.

“There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family,” Instrumentum Laboris states, quoting a 2003 church document that said  “under no circumstances can they be approved.”

But Instrumentum Laboris also addressed the Church’s need to show compassion towards those with homosexual inclinations. It garnered mixed reviews from gay advocacy groups who said that while they were pleased with the “new, welcoming tone,” they were also “disappointed” that the Church did not change its stance on same-sex marriage.

The document discusses the findings of a worldwide Vatican survey which “was divided into eight groups of questions on marriage and the family” and sent to “a significant number of dioceses, parishes, movements, groups, ecclesial associations and families” in November in preparation for the Extraordinary Synod on the Family called by Pope Francis, which will be held at the Vatican in October.

According to the survey, “every bishops’ conference voiced opposition to ‘redefining’ marriage between a man and a woman through the introduction of legislation permitting a union between two people of the same sex.”

The document also points out that the bishops “are clearly opposed to legislation which would allow the adoption of children by persons in a same-sex union, because they see a risk to the integral good of the child, who has the right to have a mother and father, as pointed out recently by Pope Francis.”

However the document emphasized that it is also Church teaching that “men and women with homosexual tendencies ‘must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”

The bishops voiced a need for a better pastoral response towards such persons, finding that “on the whole, the extreme reactions to these unions, whether compromising or uncompromising, do not seem to have facilitated the development of an effective pastoral programme which is consistent with the Magisterium and compassionate towards the persons concerned.”

For example, the document stated that when people living in homosexual unions “request a child’s baptism, almost all the responses emphasize that the child must be received with the same care, tenderness and concern which is given to other children.”

“Many responses indicate that it would be helpful to receive more concrete pastoral directives in these situations,” the document stated, referring to the survey results.

“Should a reasonable doubt exist in the capability of persons in a same sex union to instruct the child in the Christian faith, proper support is to be secured in the same manner as for any other couple seeking the baptism of their children. In this regard, other people in their family and social surroundings could also provide assistance,” the document explains.

At their October gathering, the synod fathers will “thoroughly examine and analyze the information, testimonies and recommendations” in the document.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), an organization “working for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender equal rights,” called the document an attempt by the Vatican to “embrace a new, welcoming tone needed towards LGBT people.”

However, Equally Blessed, a group that claims to be “faithful Catholics committed to full equality for LGBT people in the church and civil society,” said in a statement that they were “disappointed by the lack of listening evidenced in the report released by the Vatican yesterday in preparation for the Synod which will discuss ministry to the family.”

“We hoped that this Synod signified a new openness in the Church to truly dialogue,” the group said. “The Bishops once again claim that the problem is not that their teachings clash with the Biblical teaching of love, but that Catholics are unaware of the teachings. Catholics are not unaware, rather they have long struggled with these teachings, and ultimately reject them as inconsistent with the Gospel.”

But the document makes it clear that ecclesial leaders are not about to change the Catholic Church’s “constant teaching on marriage and family.”

“The great challenge will be to develop a ministry which can maintain the proper balance between accepting persons in a spirit of compassion and gradually guiding them to authentic human and Christian maturity” as embodied in that teaching, the document states.

SOURCE






Why Jihad?

The question worth posing is why radical Islamic ideals appeal to young people who have often benefited from life in the West. It is clear that their embrace of radical Islam is coupled with a rejection of the way of life of their parents and also of the communities they inhabit. Such a generational rebellion against the old ways is not confined to Muslim youth. When you talk to young radical British Muslims it is obvious that they are motivated by impulses shared by many of their non-Muslim peers.

Take their rejection of Western consumer society: ‘Are you willing to sacrifice the fat job you’ve got, the big car you’ve got, the family you have’, asks Abdul Raqib Amin in his ISIS-sponsored video. His views, which draw on the anti-consumerist rhetoric of Western radicalism, are shared by a significant section of European youth. Indeed, it could just as easily be a statement made by a member of Occupy. But Amin is not just a radical protester, and he reminds his audience that he also belongs to a distinct youth subculture by asking: ‘Are you willing to sacrifice this, for the sake of Allah?’

What security officials characterise as radicalisation should be understood as an expression of generational estrangement. Young Muslims’ estrangement from and resentment towards Western society is logically prior to any radicalising message that they might subsequently internalise. Many young people, who find it difficult to gain meaning from their experience in Western society, react by rejecting Western society. Their Muslim peers sometimes go a step further and express their alienation through the medium of a jihadist outlook. The attraction of this outlook is that it provides a coherent and edgy identity. It offers the cultural resources for the constitution of an Islamic youth subculture. Unfortunately, unlike the typical manifestation of the generation gap, the embrace of a jihadist youth subculture can have some very destructive consequences.

Most young people who are attracted to jihadist websites are not searching for a new religious experience or worldview. Their behaviour is not all that different to the numerous non-Muslim Westerners who visit nihilistic websites and become fascinated by destructive themes and images. Jihadist social media, just like certain conventional internet sites, provide young people with an outlet to let off steam. Young people use these sites to express their frustration and alienation, often using extravagant language to boast about their behaviour, against a background of Middle East imagery and angry Western rap music. Jihad is often presented not just as a religious duty, but as an exciting adventure. For many, these are ‘cool’ sites that allow users’ fantasies to flourish. For others – a relatively small minority – such sites provide something more: a medium through which they can make sense of their lives.

SOURCE





Arrogant State politicians aiming to circumvent free speech -- in defiance of SCOTUS

HAD THE Supreme Court struck down the Massachusetts abortion clinic buffer-zone law over a strenuous dissent from the four liberal justices, the truculent reaction from many state politicians — who promptly vowed to find some new restriction that would get around the ruling — might have been easier to justify.

But all nine justices agreed that the Massachusetts law indefensibly violated the First Amendment. Even the court's staunchest defenders of abortion rights — three of them women — had to remind Beacon Hill that citizens have a right to speak on public sidewalks. That's a pretty basic component of American liberty. It would have been reassuring to hear Bay State officials acknowledge as much.

Instead, Attorney General Martha Coakley proclaimed that "this fight is just beginning again" and blamed the 9-0 ruling not on Massachusetts overreach but on a Supreme Court that "from the beginning was hostile." One of the Democrats running to succeed Coakley, prosecutor Maura Healey, declared it "unconscionable" that the justices would "deny a few seconds of privacy to women going to see their doctors." Warren Tolman, another AG hopeful, urged lawmakers to "identify immediate action enforceable by the legislature and by local municipalities" to replace the 35-foot barrier. House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray signaled support for passing a bill before formal legislative sessions end on July 31.

But before rushing to enact another misguided law, Massachusetts politicians might want to reflect on the message at the heart of the court's rebuke: Assuring safe access to clinics is a legitimate and important concern, but it doesn't validate a sweeping deprivation of the free-speech rights of people who pose no safety threat.

"A painted line on the sidewalk is easy to enforce," the court ruled, "but the prime objective of the First Amendment is not efficiency." If troublemakers block the entrance to a clinic, you have every right to stop them. You don't have the right to draw an arbitrary barrier across public sidewalks and used to criminalize peaceful speech or leafleting.

There are far less obnoxious ways to maintain public order than by taking "the extreme step" of a no-free-speech zone. Beacon Hill should have known that, the Supreme Court said. It wasn't a close call.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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

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





4 July, 2014

The reckless black man who was at the heart of the global financial crisis

One of the great failures of affirmative action.  I am putting this up now because the whole story has just been removed from its search results by Google


O'Neal

Other publishers have been affected, including the BBC, whose economics correspondent Robert Peston disclosed that a blog he had written about former Merrill Lynch boss Stan O'Neal had been censored.

Written in 2007, it was about how O’Neal was forced out as head of Merrill Lynch after the banking giant suffered colossal losses on reckless investments.

Last night Peston complained Google had cast his 2007 blog into ‘oblivion’, and wrote: ‘Is the data in it “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant”? Hmmm.

'Most people would argue that it is highly relevant for the track record, good or bad, of a business leader to remain on the public record - especially someone widely seen as having played an important role in the worst financial crisis in living memory (Merrill went to the brink of collapse the following year, and was rescued by Bank of America).’

A BBC spokesman said: 'We're surprised that this is the outcome of the ECJ ruling and concerned at the implications of the removal from search of this type of material.'

There are already signs of a backlash against the new policy. As word spread on Twitter, users were urging each other to retweet the name of Mr O’Neal – who left the bank with $250million (£145million) – to start him ‘trending’ on the social media site.

SOURCE





Multicultural jealousy in Britain



A jealous Royal Mail worker stabbed his wife 32 times and then called her father round to show him the corpse, the Old Bailey has heard.

Richard Otunga, 37, is accused of repeatedly knifing Shamin Gabriel, 33, after confronting her about text messages she was receiving from other men.

The court heard Miss Gabriel's father Gabby went to the couple's flat in Northolt, west London, last December and found his daughter lying in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor,.

Otunga, who had a history of domestic violence, claimed he 'lost consciousness' during an argument with his wife.

The court heard he later told officers: 'I killed her. She was getting text messages from men at work, we both work for Royal Mail.  'We argued and she went to the kitchen and picked up a knife and said she would kill herself, so I took it and killed her.'

Prosecutor Timothy Cray told jurors that the attack was 'brutal, unnecessary and beyond any excuse that the law may provide'.

He said: 'The allegation against Richard Otunga is that he murdered his wife, a lady called Shamin Gabriel. They married in 2003 and had a daughter in 2005.

'Shortly before 5am on Sunday, 29 December 2013 the defendant made a telephone call to his father-in-law Gabby Gabriel.

'He said that he had argued and fought with Shamin but there were no serious injuries.

'Mr Gabriel, getting a call like that, perhaps like any father would, caught a taxi to Northolt, arriving at 6.40am.

'He found the defendant in the hallway and noted two things - that all the internal doors were closed and that a mobile phone had been smashed into pieces in the hallway.'

He added: 'The defendant told Mr Gabriel that Shamin had been talking to another man and was always being praised for her beauty by other men.

'He said that he had lost consciousness and control, that he was very sorry about what he had done and what had happened to Shamin.

'Otunga opened the kitchen door and Mr Gabriel saw that his daughter was lying on the floor. She had been stabbed many times and the kitchen was covered in blood.'

Mr Gabriel asked Otunga: 'Is this what you called me for, to show me the body of my daughter?' but Otunga made no reply, repeating that he was 'very sorry', the court heard.

The jury heard Otunga later told police officers his wife came at him with a knife and he was trying to defend himself. The postmortem revealed she had been stabbed 32 times.

Mr Cray described Otunga as a controlling and possessive husband who regularly checked his wife's phone.  'There had been previous incidents of domestic violence by the defendant,' he said. 'They show a pattern of controlling and jealous behaviour on his part.

'They also suggest that the fatal attack was not some sudden or unusual event but rather a culmination of violent behaviour on the part of the defendant towards his wife, including previous threats to kill her - he had thought about it before.'

Ms Gabriel had repeatedly complained to her family about his jealous behaviour, the court heard. In one allegedly incident in July 2013 Otunga held a knife to her throat and threatened to kill her, Mr Cray said.

A few months later he threatened to run the man who was texting his wife over with his car and murder Ms Gabriel as well, it is claimed.

Otunga, of Northolt, west London admits manslaughter but denies murder. The trial continues.

SOURCE





Au Revoir to the Open Internet

Authoritarian regimes want more control over the Web. Now France has joined the movement.

When the Obama administration announced that the U.S. would end its stewardship of the open Internet, critics warned that Russia and China would take advantage of the American surrender. We didn't anticipate that supposed friends of the multistakeholder system of self-governance would also be eager to grab control.

Last week France joined authoritarian regimes in seeking to replace the self-regulating Internet with a new system of one-country, one-vote control. More than 3,000 Internet specialists had gathered in London for the largest-ever meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or Icann. China's minister of cyberspace affairs expounded on how different countries have "different modes and methods in Internet management" and welcomed America's giving up control, which "ushers in a new era of joint global Internet governance."

But France made the most headlines when it opposed an Icann plan to add .wine and .vin as new top-level Internet domains. France objected that the new suffixes would give makers of sparkling wine a way of passing plonk off as champagne.

Such disputes are common. Amazon lost a bid for a .Amazon domain because countries in the Amazon rain forest objected that there could be confusion. But when the French didn't get their way, they joined the authoritarian regimes in demanding an end to Internet self-regulation.

"Icann's procedures highlight its inability to take into account the legitimate concerns of states," read the French delegation's statement. It demanded Internet governance move to majority voting by governments. This means France could protect champagne—and other countries could censor websites around the world they don't like. So much for the multistakeholder system overseen by the U.S. that has left engineers and network operators free to build an open Internet without political pressure.

The French statement added: "Today Icann is not the appropriate forum to discuss Internet governance." That's awkward because President Obama delegated to Icann the creation of some new system of Internet oversight to replace U.S. control.

Opposition to the Obama abandonment is already building in Washington. This month the House passed a budget bill for the Commerce Department denying funds for any transfer of oversight away from the U.S. over Icann or the "root zone file" of global Internet addresses. Several Republican congressmen requested a Government Accountability Office report on what happens if the U.S. gives up its role as "an important backstop against foreign governments that would subvert the Internet."

The French power grab over the wine domains is a timely reminder that governments of all kinds would like to take control of the Internet if the U.S. lets them. The Obama administration should retract its plan to give up the open Internet before it causes any more damage.

SOURCE





Australia: Happy Ramadan signs at 239 Woolworths stores creates a stir with some customers threatening to boycott stores

WOOLWORTHS is wishing some customers a "Happy Ramadan” — but not everybody is celebrating.  The supermarket giant has Ramadan promotions in 239 stores in areas with big Muslim populations.

At Sunshine’s Marketplace Woolworths, posters and a display of nuts and dried fruit greet customers.

The month-long Islamic religious festival involves fasting in daylight hours.

But some customers have complained the promotion is offensive and un-Australian.  On the supermarket’s Facebook page, one person accused the chain of "pandering to a minority”.  Another said: "I find this kind of advertising OFFENSIVE, as an Australian & as a female!!!”.

And another said the signs were offensive to her beliefs and she would boycott stores where they were displayed.

Woolworths spokesman Russell Mahoney said the promotion was running in 239 stores around Australia.  "We celebrate as many international festivities as possible to support the diverse population of Australia,” he said.  That included Diwali, Lunar New Year and Passover.

Islamic Council of Victoria secretary Ghaith Krayem welcomed Woolworths’ promotion and said people who opposed such initiatives did so out of ignorance and unsubstantiated fears.  "Ramadan is a time of reflection and renewal and maybe it is also a time for all of us to be inclusive rather than push each other away.”

SOURCE

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

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

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

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

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




3 July, 2014

European Court of Human Rights upholds French burka ban

The European Court of Human Rights has upheld France's ban on wearing a burka or a niqab in public, ruling that the 2010 law on religious headgear does not breach Muslim women’s human rights.

The Strasbourg court ruled in the case brought by a devout French Muslim that there had been no violation of her right to respect for private and family life, no breach of her right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and no breach of the prohibition of discrimination.

France has both the largest Muslim community in western Europe, estimated at around five million, and some of the continent's most restrictive laws about expressions of faith in public.

It was the first European country to pass a law banning veils that conceal the face in public. Belgium later followed suit.

The French law, which carries a fine of €150 or lessons in French citizenship for those found wearing a veil in public, was brought in under conservative ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy and is backed by the current Socialist administration of President François Hollande.

Authorities say religious veils are degrading to women, an affront to France's secular traditions, and a security risk as they prevent the accurate identification of individuals.

The European court accepted the French government’s argument that the veil ban was justified in the interests of social cohesion, but dismissed the argument of public safety, stating that a full ban would not have been required to achieve that aim.

The plaintiff, identified only by her initials SAS, had described herself as a 24-year-old woman who is a "devout Muslim and she wears the burqa and niqab in accordance with her religious faith, culture and personal convictions".

She insisted that "neither her husband nor any other member of her family puts pressure on her to dress in this manner".

The plaintiff was represented by a law firm based in the British city of Birmingham -- where she has family connections - specialising in immigration and human rights. Her lawyer has said she did not "feel comfortable" using a French lawyer.

The ban has sparked tensions within France's Muslim community. There were riots in the Paris suburb of Trappes last summer after a man was arrested for allegedly attacking a police officer who stopped his wife for wearing a full-face veil.

Souad, a 21-year-old Muslim from the Paris region who wears a full face veil, said she wasn't surprised by the European court’s ruling.

She said she has had to severely curtail her social and professional life since the French law came into effect, avoiding going out in public as much as she possibly can.

“I can no longer walk down the Champs Elysees like anyone else,” she said.

The judgment was criticised by James A. Goldston, executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative, as a failure to protect women's rights.

"Coming at a time when hostility to ethnic and religious minorities is on the rise in many parts of Europe, the Court's decision is an unfortunate missed opportunity to reaffirm the importance of equal treatment for all and the fundamental right to religious belief and expression. The majority has failed adequately to protect the rights of many women who wish to express themselves by what they wear," he said.

The ruling by the Strasbourg court came just days after one of France's highest courts upheld the dismissal of a kindergarten worker for wanting to wear a headscarf to work.

Religious symbols such as headscarves, crucifixes, or Jewish skullcaps are banned from state schools in France.

SOURCE





Separated mothers must not get away with 'Catherine Tate justice' and ignore dads' rights, says Appeal Court judge
   
Catherine Tate is a rather disturbed English comedian who grew up without a father

Separated mothers must no longer get away with ‘Catherine Tate justice’  that prevents fathers from seeing their children, a senior judge said.

No mother should be able to ignore court orders, stop a father ever meeting his children, and then tell him ‘Am I bothered?’, Appeal Court judge Lord Justice McFarlane said.

He said that radical fathers’ groups were right to complain that men were often wrongly shut out of their children’s lives.

Mothers who fail to obey court rulings will in future be ‘brought up short’, the judge said.

The warning from Sir Andrew McFarlane, one of the country’s most experienced family judges, follows a series of reforms earlier this year designed to speed up cases which decide on how separated parents will share the care of their children.

It follows years of failure to enforce orders giving fathers contact with their children. In around 4,000 cases a year fathers go back to court repeatedly to try to get access to their children because mothers defy the courts.

Judges have rarely fined or imprisoned intransigent mothers because most believe that to punish the mother would harm the children.

At one point the last Labour government considered, and then dropped, the idea of making disobedient mothers wear electronic tags.

Sir Andrew said in a speech that he hoped the reforms introduced this spring will compel more mothers to stick to the rules.

‘Where, post separation, a child lives with one parent, it is hard to underestimate the expectation that the system will now place upon that parent to respect and to meet the need for the child to have a good, sound, ordinary relationship with the other parent,’ he said.

‘These changes should, and in my view must, mark the end to what I might call the Catherine Tate approach to post-separation parenting, where the parent who holds all the trump cards, because the child is currently living with them, simply shrugs her shoulders and says to the other parent, who merely wants to see his child, “Am I bothered?”’

‘The system, the law, now requires them to be bothered. They have a responsibility to be bothered and if they persist in abdicating from that responsibility they can expect all those they encounter in and around the court system to bring them up short.’

Sir Andrew said that groups like the radical Fathers 4 Justice – which organised disruptive demonstrations at landmarks and in parliament in the 2000s – had a case.

‘Whilst deprecating some of their tactics, I had, in the course of a number of meetings, sat down in calm circumstances and listened to the stories of a number of fathers who considered that they had been profoundly let down by the system.

‘Whilst it might be that there are genuine, child focused, reasons why individual members of the various fathers’ groups have been denied contact, that could not be said of most of the individuals I have met in that context over the years. There is, in my view, a core validity to the essential complaints that these fathers make.’

SOURCE





More intolerance from the tolerance movement

 Denmark's Parliament last week voted by a large margin to force churches belonging to the state Lutheran Church to conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies inside their sanctuaries. The law goes into effect June 15.

Under the legislation, individual priests can refuse to carry out the ceremony, but they cannot forbid the ceremony from taking place in their church building.

“For the moment we [the Catholic Church] are not worried,” said Niels Messerschmidt, the Information Officer for the Catholic Diocese of Copenhagen.

“There have been some discussions in the media where people said this legislation should also [include] other religious groups,” he told Vatican Radio, “but there has not been anything from the official level.”

Messerschmidt also said more conservative members of the Lutheran Church have opposed the legislation, and the Lutheran bishops have not had a unified policy on the issue.

SOURCE






Well of course we should reform inheritance tax

by Tim Worstall

Another report into inheritance tax and another observation that it doesn’t actually do what it says upon the tin:

    "People with estates worth many millions are able to avoid the brunt of inheritance tax through complex schemes, including moving the cash offshore or investing in agricultural land and small business shares. Those avenues are closed to “moderately well–off” people whose only assets are their home and pension, Mr Johnson said"

It’s just about possible to see that the great plutocratic fortunes should be broken up every generation or so to prevent the fossilisation of society: if that’s something you tend to worry about which we don’t very much. But to have a taxation system which attempts to do this and then doesn’t is obviously entirely dysfunctional.

Our current system manages to tax the small capital of the bourgeois while leaving those plutocrats untouched. We therefore really rather do want to change that taxation system.

This is not, I hasten to add, the official ASI line here, rather being a personal musing. But I take it as a given that we don’t actually want to tax the petit and haute bourgeois accumulations of capital. Far from it, we’d much prefer to see modest estates cascade down the generations. For reasonable amounts do provide freedom and liberty. In that currently fashionable phrase, enough to do anything but not enough to do nothing. It’s also, even if you do worry about the plutocrats, not how much money is left that is the problem but how much money is received. Someone leaving a few billions to be spread among thousands is very different from a few hundreds of millions being left to just one.

So I would muse that we might want to move to a system something like the following. It is the receipt of an inheritance which is taxable, not the leaving of one. Further, there’s a substantial lifetime exemption from having to pay tax on receiving one or many. Several millions perhaps: that need to still do something amount.

Alternatively, of course, we could just move the entire taxation system over to being a consumption tax. In that manner we don’t actually mind who has what amount of capital nor where it came from. We just tax people when they spend with the capital or the income from it. and given that that’s the general thrust of the Mirrlees Report there’s good academic backing for the plan.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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

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



2 July, 2014

Judge blasts social workers telling them they ‘are not above the law’ after they remove nine-year-old from family then keep him away without consent

A judge has blasted social workers who he said illegally withheld a nine-year-old boy from his mother.  Judge Gareth Jones said that social services were not above the law and that he suspected proper procedures were not followed in order to save money.

Now the mother - who won an injunction to have her son returned to her immediately - is seeking damages from Anglesey County Council in North Wales.  Her lawyer, Frances Jones, today confirmed the child had been returned to his mother immediately after the injunction was granted.

She said: 'As the mother’s solicitor I am delighted to have played a part in bringing the child home.  'We are now continuing with the claim for damages.'

The child was taken in as a temporary case while the mother received treatment in a psychiatric unit but was not returned to her for five months for which there was consent.  When she came out of treatment she withdrew consent and asked for her son back.

However social workers refused and put him in foster care.  But they did not make applications for a care order first – so rights were denied.

Their barrister David Abberton took the issue to court and said social services had acted unlawfully.

Judge Gareth Jones, sitting at the family division of the high court in Mold, agreed and asked for his judgement to be made public so that lessons could be learned.

The court heard how the child had been taken to hospital with pneumonia in March of last year and the mother had a short stay in a psychiatric ward.

On release from hospital the boy was placed in foster care and in April, when she was back home, the mother asked for her son back.

The judge said that once the mother indicated her consent for the child to be in care had been withdrawn, the local authority should have asked itself very carefully on what statutory basis it continued to place him with foster carers.

Mr Abberton argued there was simply no legal basis at all which breached their client’s human rights to a family life.

Anglesey County Council claimed that it acted in good faith and said the placement was for the child’s welfare - but accepted that social workers had not followed the correct procedures.

The judge said that once the mother’s consent was withdrawn the authority should have gone to court to apply for an emergency protection order or an interim care order.

In the absence of any application to the court, the mother was entitled to remove the child from care at any time, he said.

The authority had acted unreasonably by failing to initiative such applications.

'By failing to do so, they were essentially maintaining an unlawful position,' he said.

The judge said that he was 'extremely critical' of the council’s conduct.

No one dealing with the child had asked themselves under what lawful authority the child was being placed in care.

'The social services department of Ynys Mon Council in that respect, it seems to me, were acting beyond the proper control of that local authority’s legal department,' he said.

They had failed to take proper legal steps, its failure to apply for orders meant that there was no judicial over-sight, the child was deprived independent representation to look after his interests.

Judge Gareth Jones sad that he had previously voiced his concern about a health board case which involved Anglesey council.

'I have a suspicion, and it is only a suspicion, that this local authority may have fallen into the temptation of withholding the commencement of public proceedings for reasons of economy. I hope very much that this is not a correct suspicion.

'If that suspicion was well founded, that to my mind would be wholly unacceptable.'

The judge said that the authority needed to carry out an urgent review of its internal procedures and he said that key personnel in positions of authority in social services and the children’s services department needed to be fully informed by the legal department of the legal framework in which they operated.

'Social services are not above the law and they, like everybody else, is subject to it,' he declared.

The judge said that Anglesey Council needed to demonstrate to the public of Ynys Mon that it is 'able and competent' once again to administer its local authority function without outside intervention.

It had 'failed abysmally' in the present case to demonstrate to the public that it could discharge its functions in a proper manner.

He said he hoped very much that the lesson would be learned for future cases.  The judge said the matter should be made public because if the public at large and those in authority were not aware of it there was no prospect of improvement.

To conceal matters when they went badly wrong served no public purpose whatsoever.  'I see no reason why the court should connive in concealment of important information in cases of this kind,' he said.

An Isle of Anglesey County Council spokesperson said: 'Due to ongoing legal considerations, we are not in a position to comment on this matter.'

SOURCE






Now children get checklist on how to play outside! Council introduces 13-point code to tell youngsters exactly what to do

Council chiefs have issued a 13 point checklist telling children how to play outside, it emerged yesterday.

The ‘outdoor play code’ included instructions such as ‘don’t climb over walls’, ‘try not to shout’ and ‘don’t play in one place for a long time’.

Children were also warned to keep their play area tidy, that playing on the roads could be illegal and to ask neighbours before going into their gardens to retrieve balls.

The briefing was posted through the doors of families in North Tyneside, Newcastle, after a resident complained about several incidents of groups of children playing ball games on a number of local roads.

A child kicking a ball into a resident’s garden and damaging their plants is also believed to have triggered action from the council.

Within days, everyone in the area received a letter from the council to say children’s play would be monitored and residents should read the ‘outdoor play code’.

Last night local residents were furious about the letter and branded the move ‘ridiculous’.

A father-of-two, who lives on one of the roads affected, said: ‘I was very surprised to get a letter.

‘There was an incident a few weeks ago, a ball had gone into a man’s garden and some of his flowers were squashed. It was all tittle-tattle and then we receive this letter through the door.

‘The play code is quite condescending. The council have not given any evidence of how many complaints have been made and to what extent the damage is, if any.

Mother-of-two Sally Farn, 55, said she was furious over the council’s letter.

Mrs Farn, whose two grandchildren, Abi Lee, nine, and her seven-year-old brother Steven, live with her in one of the roads, said: ‘I think this is absolutely ridiculous. They aren’t allowed to play in the street but there is nothing else for them to do around here.

‘I don’t like my kids to play away from the door. I like to be able to see them so I can keep an eye on them.

‘This is a stupid set of rules. The people who created them obviously don’t have kids or theirs have grown up.

‘They should back off and let the kids play.’

Newcastle MP Chi Onwurah warned at the time that children should not be made to feel like criminals for playing in the outdoors.

A spokesperson for North Tyneside Council said: ‘As a council we want all of North Tyneside’s children and young people to enjoy playing safely outdoors, especially in the long summer evenings.

We have a great range of leisure activities and some brilliant parks and play sites.

‘But we also have a role to play in making sure neighbours get along together.

‘Over the years, particularly in summer, we get complaints about a tiny minority of young people upsetting some residents. In order to be fair to everyone, we have a ‘Play Code’ which we simply drop off in an area where there have been complaints.

‘This allows everyone to understand what is reasonable.’

SOURCE





Scrap compulsory Christian assemblies in schools because they are 'meaningless' in 21st Century society, say governors

Governors have been told to defy a 70-year-old law which says state schools must hold daily Christian assemblies because it is 'meaningless' in today's society.

In a landmark move, the National Governors' Association said many non-faith schools are already ignoring the law because teachers are 'unable or unwilling' to lead group worship.

The organisation, which represents more than 300,000 school governors in England, added: 'Schools are not places of worship, but places of education.'

The move was welcomed by the British Humanist Association, whose leaders include the atheist scientist Professor Richard Dawkins and the philosopher AC Grayling.

The National Governors' Association had already moved towards banning Christian assemblies in non-faith schools four years ago, when it said they should no longer be compulsory.

Now its policy committee says they should be abolished completely.

It announced in a newsletter to members: 'Few schools can or do meet the current legislative requirement for a daily act of collective worship, partly because there isn’t space in most schools to gather students together, and often staff are unable or unwilling to lead a collective worship session.

'There is also the added issue that worship implies belief in a particular faith – if the 'act of worship' is not in your faith then it is meaningless as an act of worship.

'The view was taken that schools are not places of worship, but places of education, and expecting the worship of a religion or religions in all schools should not be a compulsory part of education in England today.

'This is different in schools with a religious character – as faith schools are termed in the legislation – where parents have chosen to send their child in the knowledge that the particular faith and its worship is at the core of the ethos of the school.

'Removing the collective worship from the remit of schools that are not faith schools would not prevent them from holding assemblies that address a whole range of topics, including faith and belief.

'In addition, it does not alter our position on religious education; it is important that students should continue to be taught a broad and balanced curriculum that encourages a knowledge and understanding of all faiths.'

Faith schools, private schools and schools in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will not be affected.

The 1944 Education Act made it a legal requirement for all English state schools to 'provide a daily act of collective worship' for all pupils, unless their parents object.

The only significant change to the law has been the 1988 Education Act - but that only removed a requirement for worship to take place 'at the start of the school day'.

Assemblies must still be 'wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character', and head teachers must apply to their local council to allow non-Christian pupils to skip them.

The National Governors' Association said it is consulting with the Department of Education to change the law, which still remains in force.

The change was welcomed by the British Humanist Association, which campaigns to keep church and state separate.

Chief Executive Andrew Copson said: 'The continued operation of this 70-year-old law requiring daily Christian worship in schools is widely opposed.

'Teachers don’t want it, parents don’t want it, pupils don’t want it, and according to opinion polls, 60 per cent of the public don’t want it.

'Children as young as four are coming home and telling their non-religious parents they believe in God, or being distressed at age-inappropriate tales about hell.

'In a plural and fair-minded society that cares about children and their development, schools should be holding inclusive assemblies that forward the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of all pupils and staff, regardless of their religious or non-religious beliefs.'

The announcement comes in the wake of comments by Education Secretary Michael Gove that all schools should adhere to 'British values'.

And it was criticised today by the Church of England, which said Christian assemblies were about community and shared experience, not just praising God.

The Rev Jan Ainsworth, the Church of England’s chief education officer, said: 'The unique contribution of worship in church schools is to involve pupils in a shared experience of reflection and silence, singing and story framed with reference to Christianity and other religious traditions.

'It takes its place as part of the religious and spiritual education of the pupils, but with a far greater range of possibilities than a lesson leading to well-scripted outcomes.

'Worship may be the only place in our over regulated schools where the tyranny of SATs and constant assessment can for 15 minutes be forgotten and real engagement take place.'

SOURCE





Banned Books: City Shuts Down 9-Year-Old Boy’s Little Library



Check the regulations: You may be in violation of a city ordinance if you decide to share your books with friends and neighbors. For 9 year-old Spencer Collins of Leawood, Kansas, it meant receiving a government citation for doing just that in his front yard.

It all started with Spencer’s plan to create a little free library in front of his house. With the help of his father and grandfather, he built a small bookcase to allow neighbors to freely borrow and exchange books. This concept has been widely promoted by the non-profit group Little Free Library as a community movement to encourage literacy and a love of reading. According to Little Free Library, there are around 15,000 little libraries all over the world.

This project was especially significant to Spencer, because he built it as a gift to his mother.

Spencer told Fox4kc he wanted to build a little free library in his family’s front yard as a surprise Mother’s Day gift. “Reading is one of my favorite things to do. We built it on Mother’s Day as a present for my mom because she really wanted one.”

The City of Leawood had other plans.

After returning from vacation, the Collins family found a letter from the Leawood City Codes Enforcement Office warning that if the little library was not removed from the front yard, they would be issued a citation. According to the City of Leawood, local ordinances prohibit detached structures on single-family homes.

The relevant portion of Section 16-4-2.2 of the Leawood Development Ordinance states: “No detached structure including garages, barns, sheds, greenhouses, above ground pools, or outbuildings, shall be permitted, unless expressly allowed by this Ordinance.” Inexplicably, the code enforcement office believed the ordinance prohibits a bookcase despite the fact it does not fall within the definition of the ordinance. Consider: Each item mentioned in the ordinance could hold a person. A bookcase cannot. Spencer could have used a box to hold his books. A box would have four sides and maybe a top but could not reasonably be deemed a “structure.” If so, Spencer also should have been able to use a bookcase. It has three sides and a top but no front. That difference is immaterial. In fact, if Spencer laid his bookcase on its back, it would not differ at all from a box.

Richard Coleman, the Leawood director of community development, said the law must be strictly enforced against Spencer Collins and his family because, as he told told KMBC, “We need to treat everybody the same. So we can’t say if somebody files a complaint but we like the little libraries—we think they’re cute—so we ignore it. We can’t do that.”

This is not the first time local government regulations have interfered with little free libraries.

In Wisconsin, Avi and Dannette Lank decided to check with their local government before building a little free library on their private property. Officials from the Village of Whitefish Bay denied them permission to build, citing the need to comply with ordinances which prohibited structures such as mailboxes from being built in residential areas.

The village even went so far as to demand that a local church remove its little free library.

Christ Church of Whitefish Bay had built a library on its property, but pressure from the village resulted in Rev. Dietrich’s decision to tear down the structure. After significant backlash from the public, the village passed an amendment to accommodate little free libraries for residents who wished to build one.

Government regulations are extensive, and citizens are often unaware they might be in violation of the law—even for something as minor as building a little library in their front yard. The expansive nature of government regulations should give cause for concern about the level of intrusion into the private lives of citizens, and increase scrutiny into how laws are enforced.

If Spencer took the issue to court, his First Amendment rights certainly would come into play since this ordinance prohibits his ability to share and disseminate information on his private property. How differently would the city have treated this young boy if he had simply stood out on his front lawn holding the books in his arms for neighbors to borrow, instead of the little library he built to accomplish the same purpose?

For Spencer Collins, the joy of reading will not end simply because of threats from the government. He plans to challenge the ordinance in City Hall and advocate for the creative power of reading to be shared with local neighborhoods and communities. Let’s hope he (and common sense) prevail.

You can check out his official Facebook support page to view pictures of his little free library and receive updates as this story develops.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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

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






1 July, 2014

Dads Who Do Dishes Raise Ambitious Daughters(?)

I have read the academic journal article behind the popular report below and must advise caution about the assertions below.

For a start, the sampling underlying the article was a mess.  Respondents were recruited from visitors to a Canadian science center so would have been solidly middle class -- and the authors (Croft et al) even then had data for both parents for only 27% of their sample. 

More importantly, however, I think the results can be fully explained by saying that parental attitudes towards sex roles tend to be transmitted to their children  -- which is not much of a surprise.  Fathers with less traditional attitudes tended to raise children with less traditional attitudes.  Nothing new there, with the results explicable on both genetic and learning grounds.  As has been known since the '80s, social attitudes are highly transmissable genetically


Dads who equally divided the drudgery of household chores with their wives tended to have daughters whose “when I grow up” aspirations were less gender-stereotypical, suggests an upcoming paper in Psychological Science.

Moms’ work-equality beliefs did also color their daughters’ attitudes toward gender roles, but this study found that a stronger predictor of girls’ career goals was the way their dads handled domestic duties. The daughters of parents who shared housework were more likely to tell the researchers they wanted to be a police officer, a doctor, an accountant, or a "scientist (who studies germs to help doctors find what medicine each patient needs)," lead author Alyssa Croft wrote via email, quoting one little girl in the study.

Here’s more from the Association for Psychological Science:

    "The study results suggest that parents’ domestic actions may speak louder than words. Even when fathers publicly endorsed gender equality, if they retained a traditional division of labor at home, their daughters were more likely to envision themselves in traditionally female-dominant jobs, such as nurse, teacher, librarian or stay-at-home-mom.

Even feminist fathers who fail to lift a finger around the house might be unconsciously telling their daughters that housework equals women's work, this study suggests. So, dads: Do the damn dishes already."

SOURCE






Lest we forget

Satan's children at work

IT was a day of excitement and wonder that turned to horror in the flash of a gun.  Scores of tourists marvelling at awe-inspiring ruins of Luxor, in Egypt, were ambushed by Islamic terrorists.

In the space of 45 minutes, a mere six attackers hunted down and butchered 62 people as they cowered among the ancient temple walls.

The killers, screaming “Allah Akbar” (God is Great), used guns and machetes, their victims — 58 foreign visitors and four locals — ranging from children to pensioners.

Some survivors said young women were first sexually assaulted; others that victims’ bodies were mutilated.

The massacre was in November 1997, four years before the world learned to fear the names of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda.

There have been numerous deadly attacks since, some directed at tourist hot spots such as the Sharm el Sheik slaughter of 2005 and the following year’s strike in Dahab.

Muslim-Christian riots rock the country’s cities regularly. And it was an interview with the controversial Muslim Brotherhood that led to this week’s politically-motivated jailing of Australian Al-Jazeera journalist Peter Greste.

The attack at Luxor was a chilling low mark, however, for its ferocity and brutality as much as for its unexpectedness.

On the morning of 17 November, as tourists wandered among the well-preserved 3,500-year-old columns of Hatshepsut’s Temple, close to the Nile, the six attackers, disguised as security men, approached.

They swiftly killed the two police guards — leaving their real target, the tourists, entirely unprotected and effectively trapped in the temple.

Then the slaughter began.

The killers were disaffected members of al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, also known as the Islamic Group.

The tourists nearest to the fanatics were the first to realise what was happening, some desperately trying to flee — but their efforts were in vain.

Others at first heard gunfire and wondered what was happening — the chilling truth swiftly dawning as the shots blended with screams and war cries.

‘’People were running away, left and right,’’ one survivor, Swiss writer Linka Fingerhuth, said days later.

She saw two visitors topple over as they were hit; then men carrying assault rifles charged towards her — blasting a Japanese woman in the face at point blank range as they came.

Four couples on honeymoon were among Japan’s ten dead; a five-year-old British girl was murdered alongside her mother, grandma and three other Britons; Germans and Colombians were also slain. The majority — 36 of the victims — were Swiss.

As the tourists scattered and tried to hide, the gunmen apparently split up and began crisscrossing the temple area, hunting for victims.

“I kept waiting to hear someone firing back, but there was nothing,’’ said Ms. Fingerhuth, a widow who had mercifully left her two young children with relatives in Zurich while she went on holiday.

But, she added: “There were only the screams of the victims, and the attackers shouting ‘Allah Akbar!’”

Despite her fears one terrorist had spotted her, she was able to climb over a wall into a ruined enclosure, where she cowered with three others.

One of them was a fellow journalist, Felix Muller.

“Now the shooting is very close,’’ he wrote a few days later. “There are hysterical screams, rending cries, Arabic commands — all sending multiple echoes from the rock walls around us.”

Swiss survivor Stefan Kopp lost his wife, Nanette, who he spotted lying dead just two meteres away as he lifted his head during a lull in the firing.

“I took my wife in my arms, and closed her eyes and mouth,” he told Al-Jazeera later.

Tour guide Nahla al Kadi, who also survived, told Al-Jazeera: “I felt only a few seconds would be left of my life ... I do not know how to tell you the sound but I was hearing people dying.”

As the attackers exhausted their targets — but not their bullets: they had carried stacks of magazines, prepared for an even greater slaughter — and the gunshots stopped, some survivors began to hope it was over.

They were wrong.

The fanatics apparently launched a second sweep across the courtyard, finding more victims who they dispatched.

The killing was methodical but also brutal. A number of women’s bodies were slashed with machetes, either in post-death mutilation or possibly to finish them off after they were wounded with gunshots.

A note praising Islam was reportedly found in one disembowelled body.

It is not clear what eventually ended the killing, but eventually the attackers fled. It may have been the approach of security forces, who later came in for criticism for taking so long to respond.

The attackers first left in a taxi then hijacked a bus — at which point they ran into a security force checkpoint and their final, bloody stand began.

One was wounded in the shootout and dispatched by his colleagues to prevent his capture; the others then fled into the hills where, over the next two hours, they were either shot dead or committed suicide.

The attack is believed to have been an attempt to undermine Hosni Mubarak’s secular government by sparking repression against Islamist groups which would then swell into a revolution.

However it failed spectacularly, with the tourist industry hit hard and a widespread public backlash against the terrorists.

In clumsy attempts to distance Islamist movements from the massacre, Islamic Group leader Omar Abdelrhaman (now incarcerated in the US for terrorist acts) said the killers were Israeli, and Egyptian al Qaeda lieutenant Ayman al Zawahiri — once bin Laden’s right-hand man — blamed Egyptian police.
Three generations lost ... Briton Katrina Turner, her five-year-old daughter Shaunnah and

Three generations lost ... Briton Katrina Turner, her five-year-old daughter Shaunnah and mother Joan all died at Luxor. Source: Supplied

The fundamentalist Muslim menace has not left Egypt, with attacks making the country increasingly dangerous right up until the 2011 overthrow of Mubarak and the brief rise to power of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Tourist hotels frequented largely by Israelis in the Sinai Peninsula in 2004, leaving 34 dead; eighty-eight people died in the following year’s attack on Sharm el Sheik — most of the victims were Egyptian, although Britons and Italians were among the foreigners killed; and 23 people were slain in the 2006 attack on resort town Dabhab.

The unrest since the 2011 revolution and the following 2013 military overthrow of then-President Mohamed Morsi have done nothing to make Egypt safer.

SOURCE






British false rape accuser goes to jail

A lying law graduate has been labelled 'utterly wicked' after she falsely accused her boyfriend of rape so she would have an excuse for failing her legal exams.

Rhiannon Brooker, 30, has been jailed for three and a half years after she was found guilty of perverting the course of justice by claiming Paul Fensome, 46, forced her to have sex with him on five occasions.

The Birmingham law graduate even faked injuries to suggest Mr Fensome had beaten her, and alleged that he caused her to have a miscarriage by punching her in the stomach.

Bristol Crown Court heard that Brooker falsified the allegations because her party lifestyle led her to fail her bar assessments.

She repeatedly told an exam committee that her performance suffered from 'extenuating circumstances'.

Mr Fensome, a 6ft 8in heavy metal fan, was arrested, charged and held in custody for 36 days before police realised he had clear alibis for the dates of the alleged rapes.

Brooker, of Frampton Cotterell, South Gloucestershire, denied 20 charges of perverting the course of justice between May 2011 and January 2012.

But a jury of 10 men and two women convicted her of 12 charges - five false rape claims, six assaults and one of false imprisonment - earlier this month.

Jurors were discharged after failing to reach verdicts on the eight remaining charges.

Judge Julian Lambert said Brooker, who did not wish to be present in court as the sentence was passed, had lied in an 'utterly wicked' way.

'Rhiannon Brooker was a bright star and shining example of what can be achieved by those who lack special privileges,' the judge said.

'All that went terribly wrong with tragic consequences when she began to lie. These lies had a terrible, corrosive effect. The effect was like ripples spreading through a pool of sadness.

'The effect continues today. Rhiannon Brooker lied and lied and lied again and was relentless in her attempts to mislead.'

Judge Lambert said Brooker began to circulate false stories about being sexually abused by Mr Fensome in 2011.

Her lies led to Mr Fensome’s arrest, charge and detention in Horfield Prison, where he was subjected to abuse by fellow inmates.

'She does bear the ultimate responsibility for circulating then doggedly pursuing false rape allegations,' the judge said.

'Prison is a terrible humiliation and degradation, particularly for a person of previous good character. The irony is that is what she inflicted on her former partner.'

Judge Lambert said he had sat through 'hour after hour' of video interviews in which Brooker told officers how she had been raped, during the eight-week trial.

'What I observed was someone of high intelligence who went to significant devious lengths to pervert the course of public justice,' he said.

'The conduct was utterly cynical, calculating, determined and repeated.'

Judge Lambert said two people suffered 'dreadfully' as a consequence of Brooker’s actions - Mr Fensome and Brooker’s nine-month-old baby, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

'What the defendant did here was cold, calculated, sustained, repeated and under any analysis utterly wicked,' he added.

Judge Lambert sentenced Brooker to three and a half years for each of the five false rape allegations, to run concurrently.

He imposed nine-month sentences for the remaining six false assault allegations and one charge of false imprisonment, also to run concurrently.

Prosecutor David Bartlett had told the court that Brooker’s actions could have resulted in Mr Fensome, an innocent man, receiving a substantial prison sentence.

'There can be no doubt that if Mr Fensome was convicted of five rapes, six assaults and one false imprisonment, he would have faced a very long term of imprisonment, measured in double figures,' Mr Bartlett said.

'Despite his good character, a sentence of life imprisonment would have been considered.'

Mr Bartlett said Brooker submitted a statement containing the false allegations to her tutor at the University of West of England on April 11 2011.

Police were called and began their investigation on May 24 that year, with Mr Fensome arrested on August 1.

Brooker continued her lies in interviews with police between August 2 and August 22 and further interviews in November that year.

Mr Fensome spent 36 days in custody, after which he was subjected to an electronic tag and curfew and had to report to police by phone call six times per day.

In January 2012, prosecutors offered no evidence against Mr Fensome as phone records and work rosters from his railway signalman job proved he could not have committed the attacks.

Mr Bartlett said Brooker even used a secret second phone to send abusive messages to herself - then pretended they were from Mr Fensome.

'Miss Brooker has shown no remorse,' Mr Bartlett said.

In a victim impact statement, Mr Fensome, who has since received £38,000 in compensation from Avon and Somerset Police, said: 'My life has been turned upside-down and ripped apart. My family and I have been put through an immense amount of stress and heartache, which continues to the present day.

'We cannot come to terms with why we have been put through this. If I had not been able to prove my whereabouts, I could have been locked away for something that I had not done which would have lost me my career, my home - everything I have worked so hard for.

'Please be assured I have the utmost sympathy for anyone who has been through a genuine attack but I also feel strongly that false claims must be dealt with strongly to send the message that such acts will not be tolerated.'

SOURCE







Court Rules Marriage Must Be Redefined Under 14th Amendment. Why That’s Wrong

Today the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an important ruling on Utah’s marriage amendment. This is the first time a circuit court has ruled on marriage since the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) this time last year. In a 2-1 split decision, the 10th circuit ruled that Utah’s marriage amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman violates the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The majority held that “the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right to marry” and that “a state may not deny the issuance of a marriage license to two persons, or refuse to recognize their marriage, based solely upon the sex of the persons in the marriage union.” The decision will almost certainly be appealed.

Of course the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right to marry—but the Supreme Court decisions that established a fundamental right to marry understood marriage as the union of a man and a woman. In issuing today’s ruling, the court implicitly supplied its own, new answer to the central question in this debate: what is marriage?

The only way the 10th Circuit could reach its decision today was to smuggle in a view of marriage that sees it as an essentially genderless institution and then declare that the Constitution requires that the States (re)define marriage in such a way.

But our Constitution is silent on what marriage is. And there are good arguments on both sides of this debate. Judges should not insert their own policy preferences about marriage and declare them to be required by the Constitution.

Indeed, this is the message that Judge Paul Kelly delivered in his dissenting opinion in today’s case. Quoting Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, Judge Kelly explains: “‘Same-sex marriage presents a highly emotional and important question of public policy—but not a difficult question of constitutional law,’ at least when it comes to the States’ right to enact laws preserving or altering the traditional composition of marriage.”

Kelly continued:

The Constitution is silent on the regulation of marriage; accordingly, that power is reserved to the States, albeit consistent with federal constitutional guarantees. And while the Court has recognized a fundamental right to marriage, every decision vindicating that right has involved two persons of the opposite gender.

Kelly explained that we need not seek from the courts a single 50-state answer: “If the States are the laboratories of democracy, requiring every state to recognize same-gender unions—contrary to the views of its electorate and representatives—turns the notion of a limited national government on its head.”

In citing Justice Alito, Judge Kelly hit on an important point—that there are competing policy arguments on the definition of marriage and that in a system of limited constitutional self-government, the people and their elected representatives should be making these decisions.

Justice Alito’s opinion on DOMA cited my book, What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense, as an example of one view of marriage: a “comprehensive, exclusive, permanent union that is intrinsically ordered to producing new life.” And he cited Jonathan Rauch as a proponent of the idea that marriage is a commitment marked by emotional union.

Alito explained that the Constitution is silent on which of these substantive visions of marriage is correct. The Court, he explained, should defer to democratic debate.

Indeed, whatever any individual American thinks about marriage, the courts shouldn’t redefine it. Marriage policy should be worked out through the democratic process, not dictated by unelected judges. The courts should uphold the freedom of the American people and their elected representatives to make marriage policy.

Last summer, when the Supreme Court struck down DOMA, Chief Justice John Roberts emphasized the limits of the majority’s opinion. He made clear that neither the holding nor its logic required redefining state marriage laws. The states remain free to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

If marriage ends up back at the Supreme Court again next year, the Court will be less likely to usurp the authority of citizens if it is obvious that citizens are engaged in this democratic debate and care about the future of marriage.

We must rally in support of our constitutional authority to pass laws defining marriage. We must make clear that court-imposed same-sex marriage via a Roe v. Wade-style decision will not settle the marriage debate any better than it has settled the abortion debate.

We must insist, with Judge Kelly, that judges “should resist the temptation to become philosopher-kings, imposing [their] views under the guise of constitutional interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

SOURCE

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

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

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

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

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











Examining political correctness around the world and its stifling of liberty and sense. Chronicling a slowly developing dictatorship


BIO for John Ray


I record on this blog many examples of negligent, inefficient and reprehensible behaviour on the part of British police. After 13 years of Labour party rule they have become highly politicized, with values that reflect the demands made on them by the political Left rather than than what the community expects of them. They have become lazy and cowardly and avoid dealing with real crime wherever possible -- preferring instead to harass normal decent people for minor infractions -- particularly offences against political correctness. They are an excellent example of the destruction that can be brought about by Leftist meddling.


I also record on this blog much social worker evil -- particularly British social worker evil. The evil is neither negligent nor random. It follows exactly the pattern you would expect from the Marxist-oriented indoctrination they get in social work school -- where the middle class is seen as the enemy and the underclass is seen as virtuous. So social workers are lightning fast to take chidren away from normal decent parents on the basis of of minor or imaginary infractions while turning a blind eye to gross child abuse by the underclass


Gender is a property of words, not of people. Using it otherwise is just another politically correct distortion -- though not as pernicious as calling racial discrimination "Affirmative action"


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


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


Juergen Habermas, a veteran leftist German philosopher stunned his admirers not long ago by proclaiming, "Christianity, and nothing else, is the ultimate foundation of liberty, conscience, human rights, and democracy, the benchmarks of Western civilization. To this day, we have no other options [than Christianity]. We continue to nourish ourselves from this source. Everything else is postmodern chatter."


The Supreme Court of the United States is now and always has been a judicial abomination. Its guiding principles have always been political rather than judicial. It is not as political as Stalin's courts but its respect for the constitution is little better. Some recent abuses: The "equal treatment" provision of the 14th amendment was specifically written to outlaw racial discrimination yet the court has allowed various forms of "affirmative action" for decades -- when all such policies should have been completely stuck down immediately. The 2nd. amendment says that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed yet gun control laws infringe it in every State in the union. The 1st amedment provides that speech shall be freely exercised yet the court has upheld various restrictions on the financing and display of political advertising. The court has found a right to abortion in the constitution when the word abortion is not even mentioned there. The court invents rights that do not exist and denies rights that do.


Consider two "jokes" below:

Q. "Why are Leftists always standing up for blacks and homosexuals?

A. Because for all three groups their only God is their penis"

Pretty offensive, right? So consider this one:

Q. "Why are evangelical Christians like the Taliban?

A. They are both religious fundamentalists"

The latter "joke" is not a joke at all, of course. It is a comparison routinely touted by Leftists. Both "jokes" are greatly offensive and unfair to the parties targeted but one gets a pass without question while the other would bring great wrath on the head of anyone uttering it. Why? Because political correctness is in fact just Leftist bigotry. Bigotry is unfairly favouring one or more groups of people over others -- usually justified as "truth".


One of my more amusing memories is from the time when the Soviet Union still existed and I was teaching sociology in a major Australian university. On one memorable occasion, we had a representative of the Soviet Womens' organization visit us -- a stout and heavily made-up lady of mature years. When she was ushered into our conference room, she was greeted with something like adulation by the local Marxists. In question time after her talk, however, someone asked her how homosexuals were treated in the USSR. She replied: "We don't have any. That was before the revolution". The consternation and confusion that produced among my Leftist colleagues was hilarious to behold and still lives vividly in my memory. The more things change, the more they remain the same, however. In Sept. 2007 President Ahmadinejad told Columbia university that there are no homosexuals in Iran.


It is widely agreed (with mainly Lesbians dissenting) that boys need their fathers. What needs much wider recognition is that girls need their fathers too. The relationship between a "Daddy's girl" and her father is perhaps the most beautiful human relationship there is. It can help give the girl concerned inner strength for the rest of her life.


The love of bureaucracy is very Leftist and hence "correct". Who said this? "Account must be taken of every single article, every pound of grain, because what socialism implies above all is keeping account of everything". It was V.I. Lenin


On all my blogs, I express my view of what is important primarily by the readings that I select for posting. I do however on occasions add personal comments in italicized form at the beginning of an article.


I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age.

I imagine that the the RD is still sending mailouts to my 1950s address!


Germaine Greer is a stupid old Harpy who is notable only for the depth and extent of her hatreds




Index page for this site


DETAILS OF REGULARLY UPDATED BLOGS BY JOHN RAY:

"Tongue Tied"
"Dissecting Leftism" (Backup here)
"Australian Politics"
"Education Watch International"
"Political Correctness Watch"
"Greenie Watch"
"Food & Health Skeptic"
"Eye on Britain"
"Immigration Watch International" blog.


BLOGS OCCASIONALLY UPDATED:

"Marx & Engels in their own words"
"A scripture blog"
"Recipes"
"Some memoirs"
"Paralipomena"
To be continued ....
Queensland Police -- A barrel with lots of bad apples
Australian Police News
Of Interest


BLOGS NO LONGER BEING UPDATED

"Leftists as Elitists"
Socialized Medicine
Western Heart
OF INTEREST (2)
QANTAS -- A dying octopus
BRIAN LEITER (Ladderman)
Obama Watch
Obama Watch (2)
Dissecting Leftism -- Large font site
Michael Darby
The Kogarah Madhouse (St George Bank)
AGL -- A bumbling monster
Telstra/Bigpond follies
Optus bungling
Vodafrauds (vodafone)
Bank of Queensland blues


There are also two blogspot blogs which record what I think are my main recent articles here and here. Similar content can be more conveniently accessed via my subject-indexed list of short articles here or here (I rarely write long articles these days)



Main academic menu
Menu of recent writings
basic home page
Pictorial Home Page (Backup here).
Selected pictures from blogs (Backup here)
Another picture page (Best with broadband. Rarely updated)



Note: If the link to one of my articles is not working, the article concerned can generally be viewed by prefixing to the filename the following:
http://pandora.nla.gov.au/pan/42197/20121106-1520/jonjayray.comuv.com/