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 This site is updated several times a month but is no longer updated daily.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.

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21 November, 2014

Three multiculturalists banned from approaching girls in Britain

A High Court judge has ruled that three men who are legally banned from approaching young girls following the alleged sexual exploitation of a child can be named following criticism that anonymity orders could harm the justice process.

Ten men received short-term injunctions ordering them not to approach in public places "any female under 18" with whom they are not personally associated.

The orders against three of the men, all from the Birmingham area, have been made final. They are: Omar Ahmed, 27, from Yardley, Mohammed Anjam, 31, from Aston, and Sajid Hussain, 40, from Sparkhill.

The court heard that Mr Ahmed, 27, who lives with his parents, brother and two sisters in Yardley, had been deemed at risk of self harm by mental health professionals.

He lost his delivery job when he was arrested as his car was confiscated and receives job seekers allowance.

Mr Anjam lives alone and occasionally works in one of a number of newsagents that his family own.

He also has a zero hours contract with Domino's Pizza and a "considerable history" of offending.

The court heard that he would be "embarrassed" if his identity was made public and was concerned about the impact on his family, particularly his mother who is in ill health.

The orders were issued by Mr Justice Keehan after a vulnerable teenager was found at a hotel with different men at different times, prompting concerns from social workers and police.

Now the judge has ruled the men subjected to final orders could be identified, suggesting that it was their own alleged "reprehensible conduct" that led them to this position.

The judge said the case involved the "alleged sexual exploitation of a young person by a number of men considerably older than her" and that those seeking to protect their own identities were doing so for their own benefit.

He said: "At the current time there can be no greater public interest in these proceedings. There is a high public interest in the public having a right to know what steps the court has taken to afford protection to the young person in this case and other people in the locality."

He said he had "no doubt" that public identification of the men would cause "embarrassment to them and their families and would no doubt cause considerable distress".

He said that while some individuals may try to "interfere" with them or assault them, the risk was unknown and that there was no evidence to suggest their lives could be put at risk.

He said his "clear decision" was that those against whom final injunctive orders had been made could be identified.

West Midlands Police have made arrests in the case, while Birmingham social services bosses, who have responsibility for the girl, are taking civil court litigation. However, none of the men has been charged with a criminal offence.

Sarah Simcock, for the police, argued that the men should not be named as it could put the personal safety of both them and their families at risk.

"There is a risk of retribution, vigilantism and targeting in the nature of that which happened in Rotherham," she told the court.

"There will be community tension, there will be concerns and a very real risk of retribution by groups such as the EDL."

She warned that members of the public could do their own "research and reporting" on social media, which is largely unregulated, and that people could also be misidentified.

However, the judge said there was a "very strong public interest" in naming the men.

Simon Danczuk, the Labour MP who helped expose the grooming of white teenage girls by men from a Pakistani background in Rochdale, last month questioned the decision to protect their identities: "Why should it be kept a secret?" he asked.

"If these men have to be kept away from girls in public places, that's pretty serious stuff."

Publishing their names would mean girls would know to avoid the men, and could "encourage others to come forward and share their knowledge", he argued last month.

The court had previously heard that the teenager was found in a hotel room with one of the men. He was arrested before being released on bail pending further investigations.

The man said he believed the girl to be 19 and was not aware she was in local authority care. He told the judge he had "done nothing wrong".

Lorna Meyer QC, for Birmingham City Council, said that in August the girl was found at a hotel with three other men, after she had gone "missing". Two of the men appeared before the judge, saying they had "done nothing".

Two other men were found in a car in which the vulnerable teenager had previously been a passenger, the court heard.

SOURCE






Another tragedy brought on by Britain's "know-it-all" social workers

In his sentencing remarks at the Old Bailey, Mr Justice Sweeney addressed the defendant thus: “Tania Clarence, you are now aged 43, and are of previous good character.”

That plain, factual statement had a depth charge of unimaginable sorrow because this was no ordinary criminal. For life had dealt Tania Clarence a series of terrible blows. After her daughter, Taya, was born in 2006, Tania suffered several miscarriages before giving birth to Olivia in June 2009. The happiness of Tania and her husband Gary seemed complete when, soon after, she fell pregnant with twin boys. Max and Ben were born prematurely at 26 weeks while the family was on holiday in Portugal in July 2010. The babies remained in intensive care for four months until they were finally allowed to return to the Clarences’ Wandsworth home in November.

That’s a hell of a strain for any parent to cope with. As if things weren’t difficult enough, in August 2010, while the twins were still in hospital, it was discovered that Olivia Clarence suffered from Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Type 2, or “floppy baby” syndrome – a genetic disorder that leads to muscle-wasting and considerably reduced life expectancy. Most children with SMA die by their early teens.

Three months later, the shellshocked Clarences were told that Max and Ben also had SMA. To cope with one profoundly disabled infant is a challenge. Tania Clarence, a woman who had suffered depressive episodes throughout her life and had a family history of suicide, now had to deal with four children under the age of four, three of whom had a life-limiting condition that meant they would never feed themselves or control their movements.

All the evidence suggests that Gary and Tania carried their beloved burden with indefatigable courage. They moved to Surrey and borrowed heavily to equip their new house with everything necessary to make the children’s lives as easy as possible. The Clarences preferred to put quality of life for their babies before operations and countless painful medical interventions, which they deemed unnecessary, given the circumstances. The professionals disagreed. There were distressing clashes with doctors and social services. In one crisis, the Clarences were accused unfairly of tampering with Olivia’s medical equipment. Then, Tania’s rock, social worker Suzie Holley, was taken off the case and replaced with a novice because Kingston Social Services, in their infinite wisdom, decided that Miss Holley had got “too close” to Mrs Clarence.

Just imagine what a hammer blow that was to a woman struggling to cope day-to-day while her brain was still clanging with the death sentence her three babies were living under. Soon after, on Easter Tuesday, while Gary was away with their eldest child, Tania took a nappy and smothered Ben and Max and then Olivia, before attempting suicide. In a note for their nanny, she explained that she had to kill the children as well as herself because Gary would never be able to cope with them on his own.

It’s the kind of warped maternal logic – love gone mad – which makes perfect sense to someone who is mentally ill. In a heartbreaking note to her husband, Tania said that the only thing that was giving her the strength to kill “Liv” was the thought that Max and Ben were already playing in Heaven as they had never been able to play before.

It is, as the judge remarked, the saddest story he had ever come across. And yet, even amid the horror, there are small things to be grateful for. There was no witchhunt of Tania Clarence. A public, which is far better educated about depression than it was even a few years ago, grasped from the start that a doting mother who had done that to her darling children was to be pitied, not reviled. Similarly, the prosecution at Tania’s trial accepted her plea of guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, due to being mentally ill. Lord Justice Sweeney, who could have awarded Mrs Clarence a prison sentence, elected instead for the humane option of a hospital order, and to have Tania confined for her own safety under the Mental Health Act.

Questions were also raised about the culpability of the authorities that were supposed to be supporting the family, not adding to their woes. The judge noted that Tania Clarence had barely slept in the months before she killed her children because of the “increasing distress” of watching Ben, Max and Olivia’s treatment by doctors.

Altogether, the quality of mercy was palpable throughout the case. As the judge told the sobbing woman in the dock: “The prosecution accepts that you loved all four of your children – indeed, there is a substantial body of evidence that they were happy and well looked after – and that you were grief-stricken that Olivia, Max and Ben were destined to die early and before you.”

Compare and contrast with the horrendous treatment that befell Sally Clark, another woman of previously good character, who in 1999 was hounded and wrongfully jailed for the “murder” of her two cot-death babies. Sally’s depression was mistaken for heartlessness, her inability to feel anything for cold indifference. We knew no better back then.

Gary Clarence has said he will stand by his wife on “the long road ahead”. Good man. He must have gone through such a maelstrom of feelings when he learned what she had done to the children, yet he is clear that his wife loved them but was “overwhelmed by depression because of the constant pressures of caring for them”.

Gary says lessons need to be learned from his wife’s story of “dedication and love which turned to despair and utter hopelessness”. They certainly do. One lesson is for the official experts in disabled children who think they know better than the parents who care for those children 24/7. The other lesson is that mental illness is every bit as serious as the physical kind and our society is more civilised for understanding that.

The traditional business of the law is justice balanced with mercy. In the case of Tania Clarence, however, there was no need for balance. Mercy was the justest thing of all.

SOURCE






Capt. Ron Johnson: Ferguson Community 'Ready to Show Their Character'


Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol, left

Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol says he expects protests to erupt in Ferguson, Missouri, regardless of whether a grand jury indicts Officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

"Well, I think we have got a community that's ready to show their character," Johnson told Fox News's Bill O'Reilly Tuesday night.

Johnson said police have met with several groups and individuals, and people "definitely will be out protesting whatever the decision is." Even if the police officer is indicted, some protesters will still be out there demanding "change," he said.

Although many out-of-town protesters have gone home in recent weeks, "We do expect that they will come back. Actual numbers I can't give. But we did have a large number of out-of-town protesters that came into the community." Johnson said those protesters are now returning in buses, vans, and by the carload.

And they are "very organized."

One group of protesters, the "Don't Shoot Coalition," has presented police with 19 "proposed rules for engagement," a bill of rights for protesters and a list of don'ts for police.

Number 1 is "the preservation of life."

Number 3 demands 48 hours advance notice before the grand jury decision is announced.

Number 7 says police will "wear only the attire minimally required for their safety."

Number 11 says police will respect "safe houses" as "sacred ground" for protesters.

Number 14 says, "police commanders will allow protests to take and occupy larger and more disruptive spaces than would normally be tolerated, and will allow occupation of those spaces for longer periods of time than would normally be tolerated."

Number 15 demands that police "be tolerant of more minor lawbreaking (such as thrown water bottles) when deciding whether to escalate the use of force."

Amazingly, Johnson told O'Reilly that there are "about 12 points" of the 19-point manifesto "that we agree with."

But Johnson also said police will not tolerate any violence: "And we're not going to let any group come in and take away the constitutional rights of protesters or hurt our business, the safety of our citizens. Any group can come in, and if they are peaceful, then they can be here and they won't have any issue with law enforcement."

The National Guard will help police "protect our businesses," Johnson said. "They are actually a resource for us. To make sure we...have the proper resources to make sure that the public is safe and the businesses are maintained, and the constitutional rights are maintained. So, they are a resource that we will use as needed.

"But, for the most part -- for all the part, I guess -- they will be used to help make sure our businesses remain secure."

Meanwhile, on Sean Hannity's show, Derk Brown, the founder of "Justice for Mike Brown" said point-blank, "I don't want justice for the officer."

"You don't want justice for the officer?" Hannity repeated.

"What he did was wrong," Brown replied.

SOURCE






We can sympathise with British voters who back Ukip as their only way of delivering a howl of protest at the political elite’s failure over immigration

Today, voters go to the polls in the Rochester and Strood by-election. If there was any doubt about Ukip’s impending victory, this has almost certainly been dispelled by two shocking news items this week.

First, it has been revealed that Britain is granting its precious citizenship to more immigrants than any other EU nation: 193,000 passports dispensed like Smarties in 2012 alone, a total of 2.1 million since this century began.

Further statistics show that 1.3 per cent of all Eastern Europeans, more than a million in all, now live in Britain, and arrivals show no sign of abatement.

This country is the destination of choice for a host of Poles, Romanians and people from the Baltic republics fleeing from their own struggling economies to pitch camp in prospering Kent or Essex, Swindon or Slough, or above all London.

Three-quarters of the British people think this is a terrible idea, and most of our politicians now claim they agree. But it is self-evident that the Coalition Government’s repeated promises to stem EU immigration have proved worthless.

Even those of us who refuse to regard Nigel Farage as a serious or credible figure sympathise with voters — especially those living in areas with high densities of immigrants — who back Ukip at the ballot box as their only means of delivering a howl of protest about what successive governments have allowed to happen to Britain.

Ministers resort to weasel words, suggesting that reality is not as bad as MigrationWatch UK, the most authoritative monitor, reports; or that new restrictions will start cutting the intake some time soon.

But the merest common sense shows that if two million immigrants have been given British passports since 2000, and with our population predicted to grow by one-third in the lifetimes of our children, immigration is totally and perhaps irretrievably out of control.

There are a number of causes. The first is flattering: Britain is seen as a wonderful place to live. Nobody with a choice wants to make a new life in rich but dreary Germany; or France, a political and economic basket case; or Italy, which is in even worse shape.

Another reason for the vast influx here is that our judges and bureaucracies are the most sympathetic in the world to hard-luck cases.

In the remote bush of Somalia and Ethiopia, people hear that if they can somehow make their way by plane, boat or container lorry past Customs at Dover, they are assured of cash and a safe haven.

No other nation’s officials or judicial machine treat foreign suppliants so generously, not least through their view of human rights entitlements.

Our judges, from the highest in the land downwards, interpret their duty to newcomers with a generosity that betrays a more important responsibility - to the British people.

No other member of the EU enforces its regulations so rigidly, and with so little heed for our society’s interests against those of the Union as a whole.

The fact is that the EU’s rules allowing free movement of populations can only work if there exists a rough equilibrium of economic and social conditions in all member states.

There is no problem if as many British people want to live in Estonia as Estonians want to come here; or if thousands of Mancunians yearn to live in Provence under the benign rule of President Francois Hollande.

As it is, however, Hollande’s fellow countrymen are fleeing in such numbers that at our local playground in West London one scarcely hears English spoken.

In an echo of our parents’ wartime experience of such refugees, I dub them the ‘Free French’. But it is no longer funny to make jokes about Polish plumbers or Latvian waiters, because they are here in such crazy numbers.

One in every 60 Poles and one in every 30 Latvians is not in Poland or Latvia, but in Britain.

Almost all the arguments deployed by fanatical Europeans to make this seem good news are fallacious. Overwhelming evidence shows that the beneficiaries of open borders are not host countries, but immigrants.

Per capita GDP in the host nation scarcely increases; new arrivals age too fast to help much with paying the pensions of older Britons.

Housing, schools, the NHS, the welfare system and indeed mere space in this crowded island are subjected to stresses that are immense, and verge on the intolerable.

On Tuesday, another grotesque twist to the immigration debate was provided by Yvette Cooper, shadow home secretary and wife of the equally calamitous Ed Balls.

She had the effrontery to deliver a big speech denouncing the failure of immigration control under David Cameron’s Government. This came from a woman who was herself a member of the Labour government which opened the floodgates.

Tony Blair and his colleagues deliberately set themselves to ‘change the character of Britain for ever’. A key element in their strategy was to promote a vast influx of newcomers, most of whom could confidently be expected to vote Labour.

They lied through their teeth about the implications of their policies, and succeeded so well that more than two million immigrants entered this country between 1997 and 2010.

According to the latest projections, more than one third of new households will be a result of immigration.

The percentage of white British people living here is predicted to fall to 67 per cent by 2051, and to 50 per cent by the end of this century.

In 1998, just after Blair took power, the Office for National Statistics projected the UK population to peak at 65 million in 2051, then slowly fall. It is now expected to reach 80 million by 2050, 85 million by 2093.

That is the scale of the betrayal of the British people by the party of Yvette Cooper, Ed Balls and Ed Miliband.

Even now, though she claimed this week to recognise the scale of public dismay at what has happened and continues to happen, Cooper offers no substantial remedy, save to waffle that she wants to see ‘fair immigration’, whatever that may be.

She also promises ‘smarter controls’, imposed by an additional 1,000 border guards. Just as most of the heartless robots who administer Britain’s airport security nowadays seem to be Bulgarian, so presumably Labour’s new border guards will be Polish.

Why do I jest? None of this is remotely comic, least of all if one is among millions of British people who live amid large immigrant communities of all races and colours.

These Britons are furiously angry, because neither they nor the rest of Old Britain has ever been given a chance to endorse or veto the drastic change in our society, imposed by a monstrously arrogant political class.

Give Cameron and Theresa May their due: unlike Yvette Cooper and her party - and for that matter Nick Clegg and his Lib Dem rabble of rabbits - the Tories sincerely want to curb immigration, even if they have thus far failed to do so.

But all our politicians will do well to heed the message coming from electorates across the Western world: voters are sick of being told lies on issues about which they care passionately.

The reality is there in the statistics about Britain’s crazy passport giveaway and the huge tribe of EU migrants nesting here: our society is being wrenched askew in ways most British people do not want.

I have always called myself a European, and indeed I still cherish hopes that this country will not leave the EU — assuming that an in/out referendum is held in 2017 — because I am fearful of the economic consequences.

But, given the crying need for more honesty in the immigration debate, it seems essential to acknowledge that it is doubtful whether Britain can regain control of its borders, and limit its soaring population, while remaining within the Union.

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel has made it plain that she will not entertain Cameron’s plea for a review of the core EU policy of unrestricted movement of populations.

More than that, even if Cameron wins next May’s General Election and remains Prime Minister, it is unlikely he will thereafter be able to secure a meaningful renegotiation of Britain’s terms of membership, or for that matter of the Union’s overall treaty provisions.

Thus, it is plausible that the British people will find themselves facing a choice towards the end of this decade: vote for this country to remain a member of the EU, at the cost of accepting an annual increase in our population of several hundred thousand people; or regain some powers to refuse entry to immigrants, at the cost of a terminal showdown with our EU partners.

I am the first to accept that immigration is a fiendishly problematic issue.

We should acknowledge that, while globalisation has shrunk the world in a fashion that has brought us many benefits, above all economic, it has also created unprecedented difficulties about controlling movements of people.

We claim to cherish the ideal of freedom, but some manifestations of freedom - for instance, the choice to live somewhere other than one’s country of origin, now being embraced by tens of millions - poses big difficulties and dilemmas for the most desirable locations on the planet, Britain prominent among them.

If Ukip formed a government, I suggest that it would encounter just as many difficulties in controlling immigration as the present administration, unless we all resigned ourselves to living in an island fortress under semi-siege conditions.

None of these cautionary words weaken the indictment against the failures and deceits of recent governments in making and implementing immigration policy.

Scarcely a single front-bench politician of any party has come clean with the British people about what has happened, is happening, and will continue to happen to our island, as unprecedented numbers of newcomers crowd our airports and cities.

I hope desperately that come next May, voters will not allow support for Nigel Farage’s stand against immigration to put Ed Miliband into Downing Street.

But who can blame the people of Rochester and Strood for voting Ukip today? The Prime Minister has used a crassly juvenile phrase about wanting to see defector Mark Reckless’s supposedly overweight bottom removed from the green benches of the House of Commons.

In truth, however, it is the fat bottoms of all established politicians, including himself, into which voters yearn to jab an enormous pin, and why should they not do so?

The failure to control immigration is a disgrace to all those who have governed us through the past generation. It is scarcely surprising that they should be punished for it at the polls.

SOURCE






7th Circuit Reverses Decision Stripping Away Clergy Tax Housing Allowance

Today Family Research Council commends the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit for reversing a decision by U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb that declared the clergy housing tax allowance unconstitutional. Family Research Council's "Watchmen on the Wall" pastors’ network is composed of over 40,000 churches from across the country.

On behalf of the over 40,000 pastors who make up our church network, we welcome today's appellate decision striking down Judge Crabb's ruling stripping away pastors' tax-free housing allowance. We commend the 7th Circuit for holding accountable a judge whose name became virtually synonymous with religious harassment when she tried to strike down the National Day of Prayer as unconstitutional four years ago.

Going back to Patrick Henry in 1785, society has tried to relieve the clergy's housing burden because of the tremendous social benefits churches offer the culture and because so many clergy, despite their exceptional educations, receive only modest salaries.

Through charitable work for the homeless, substance abuse, marriage counseling, adoption, and other initiatives, the church's outreach helps treat a lot of the social ills that otherwise would become the burden of taxpayers and the federal government. What's more, the Supreme Court has already made it clear that these sorts of tax laws don't injury anyone-which is why Judge Crabb's decision ended the same way as her last attack on religion: in embarrassment.

SOURCE

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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

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20 November, 2014

Britain's multicultural neurosurgeon



A disgraced neurosurgeon convicted of multiple sex offences against vulnerable female patients has been jailed for 16 years.

Nafees Hamid had earlier been found guilty of nine sex assaults against six women between 2012 and 2013, after a lengthy trial at Birmingham Crown Court.

The 51-year-old was cleared by the jury of further counts of sexual assault relating to four other women.

The offences were all carried out by Hamid, a highly regarded and award-winning specialist neurosurgeon, at the city's Queen Elizabeth and Priory Hospitals.

Passing sentence, Judge Patrick Thomas QC told Hamid: "You are without question in my experience the most intelligent man I have ever seen in the dock of a criminal court.

"You, through hard work and devotion to your course of studies, rose high within your profession to become an enormously respected consultant neurosurgeon at one of the great hospitals in our region."

The judge said everybody in Hamid's trial had spoken highly of his clinical skills, but added: "You were brought low by a simple failing - lust.

"And you exercised your lust as a result of arrogance. You liked doing what you did, touching sexually your female patients, and you took the opportunity to do it because you could."

The judge added of the offences: "This is the most extreme breach of trust.

"These ladies went to see you because they had significant problems and they thought - with your skills, abilities and experience - you were the person who could help them with the medical problems.  "Instead you grossly abused them."

A two-month trial heard that Hamid, of Russell Road, Moseley, Birmingham, committed the offences by indecently touching patients, some of whom were questioned about their sex lives during intimate examinations.

Two of the six victims were assaulted on more than one occasion, while four of them were subjected to attacks lasting several minutes.

Hamid denied a total of 15 charges relating to women aged between mid-20s and mid-60s, claiming legitimate examinations had been misconstrued.

Judge Thomas, who heard that Hamid will now be struck off, ordered the "enormously gifted" surgeon to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Pointing out the high level of psychological harm caused to the six victims, the judge told the married father of three: "In every case the impact has been extreme and severe and, potentially at least, life-changing."

During the sentencing, Hamid showed no emotion and nodded in the direction of the judge as he was ordered to be taken to the cells.

SOURCE






Liberals Criticize Man for Declaring: 'I'm Not Gay No More! I'm Delivered!'

A young man at the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) 107th Holy Convocation approached the altar asking to be “delivered more” from homosexuality.

“What did you come here for? What did you come down here for? Tell me,” the pastor asks.  “To be delivered more,” the young man says.  “Do you believe that the Lord tonight has set you free?” the pastor asks.

“Yes, sir,” he says and turns around to address the church. “I’m not gay no more. I am delivered! I don’t like mens no more! I said I like women – women, women, women! I said women. I’m not gay. I would not date a man. I would not carry a purse. I would not put on makeup. I will, I will love a women.”

“Now either you gonna believe this stuff or you ought to stop preaching it. If you can’t praise God with him, you’re a non-believer. Now somebody believe God with him,” the pastor says.

Some liberals have criticized the video, specifically the “notion that gay can be prayed away.”

“It’s painful to watch the bowtie-clad gentleman proclaim himself to be free of being gay,” a commentary posted Tuesday on The Grio stated. “His church stomping, speaking in tongues performance is not quite believable. He seems to be trying to convince himself more so than the congregation. He lists the things he no longer desires to do such as carrying a purse and wearing make-up.

“Umm, sir. You can be a gay man and not wear make-up and not carry a purse. There’s no hard evidence, but I’d venture to say that most gay men don’t carry purses and wear make-up. If you’re going to ask the Lord to un-gay you, ask for more substantive changes.  Better yet, own the fact that you’re gay and extract yourself from any institution that makes you feel less-than for having a consensual relationship with another adult,” The Grio commentary continued.

The Huffington Post also reported on the video.

“Prayer is one of many controversial ‘cures’ for homosexuality that have been touted over the centuries,” the HuffPost Gay Voices section said at the end of the article. It offered a slideshow of “more ridiculous gay ‘cures,’ including an “exorcism,” electroconvulsive therapy, prostitution, hypnosis, fetal intervention, “overdosing” on homosexuality, cold showers, transplants, cocaine, strychnine, genital mutilation, and finally prayer.

SOURCE





The myth of racist Britain

We live in strange times: the less real vicious or violent racism there is in the UK, the more we are beset by campaigns, laws, surveys and scandals about the ‘growing problem’ of British racism. What’s that all about?

Hired by the council to make an anti-racist video in an Essex school a few years ago, Adrian Hart was struck by ‘the contrast between the exuberant playground of children and the “racism awareness” drama workshops they were about to attend’.

Out there in the playground, black and white primary-school pupils were unselfconsciously messing around together like primary-school pupils do. Meanwhile, inside the classroom, what sounds like the Essex equivalent of the Legs Akimbo school drama group (from League of Gentlemen) were preparing to teach these same children how to be more wary of one another and ‘Watch out for Racism!’. That contrast, says Hart, made him ask himself: ‘What the hell were we doing there?’ It’s a good question, which he sets out to answer in his short and punchy new book, "That’s Racist: How the Regulation of Speech and Thought Divides Us All".

Hart draws on his own experience of campaigning against racist attacks in 1980s Britain – ‘a truly racist place to be’, where the authorities led the race war on immigrant and ethnic communities – to show how far normal people’s attitudes to race have changed for the better over the past 30 years. Today, by contrast, we are faced with an army of state-backed crusaders hunting ‘fantasy racism… the racism of the past’ among the masses.

Driven by the conviction that there must be a hidden epidemic of racial prejudice beneath the surface of society, the authorities are now intent upon ‘slaying the menace of zombie racism’ by pursuing a policy of zero tolerance towards any word or deed that might possibly be construed as unintentionally tinted with racism, from the classroom to the football stadium. The result, says Hart, has been to create and exacerbate divisions in society, and to foster a culture that ‘stifles our ability to speak, act and even think freely’.

Hart focuses on the powerful influence of the Macpherson report of 1999, into the Metropolitan Police’s handling of the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence by a gang of white youths in south London. With Sir William Macpherson of Cluny effectively reading from a script written by a gang of anti-racism experts, his report went way beyond the botched police investigation into that crime and became the ‘launchpad for a new kind of official orthodoxy, which is every bit as divisive as traditional racism’.

Macpherson’s report asserted that Britain was awash with both ‘institutional racism’ and ‘unwitting racism’. There might appear to be a contradiction between those concepts, but not in the weird world of official anti-racism. Here, institutional racism was not about powerful institutions in society, but about individuals within them. As Hart has it, ‘Transposed on to society as a whole, institutional racism is, according to Macpherson, what happens when the mass of people (that’s you and me, the masses) go to work for organisations’. Especially as the masses are all infected with ‘unwitting’ racism, whether we know it or not. In line with this, the Macpherson report created the legal definition of a racist incident as anything that the victim or any other person believes to be racist. That subjective definition has become a licence for racialising British society over the past 15 years.

Hart shows how the elite (who are of course immune to the unwitting racism that the rest of us carry around) have pursued ‘zombie racism’ post-Macpherson, using zero tolerance policies to police language on the automatic assumption that the hidden problem of racism is getting worse.

Which is why monitors and drama groups end up in Essex schools lecturing children to watch out for racism that is not there, while teachers are obliged to tick boxes and record thousands of ordinary playground moments as racial incidents, pursuing a government policy based on ‘the assumption that children are conditioned, from birth, by the persistent racism of their parents’ generation’. And why we have witnessed a crusade against the ‘spectre’ of ‘hidden’ racism in football, based on the assumption that those ugly people who play and watch the beautiful game need to be re-educated.

The result of this new ‘racial correctness’, says Hart, has been to pigeonhole black and ethnic-minority people as perennial victims, and to demonise white people (especially the working-class ones) as unwitting but unreconstructed racists. Little wonder that official anti-racism has helped to exacerbate divisions rather than overcome them.

In a striking illustration of how far things have gone, Hart notes the tendency of some observers to imply some sort of parallel between the murder of Stephen Lawrence and the trial of former England captain John Terry for allegedly calling Anton Ferdinand a ‘fucking black cunt’. One journalist wrote of Lawrence’s mother, the now-ennobled Doreen, sitting in court ‘to see if another race-related crime had been committed’. Hart observes that ‘the comparison with the Lawrence murder, implicit in such genteel misinterpretations of the working-class experience of football, was that the gap between offensive language and murder was not that great’.

We end up, Hart concludes, in a multicultural mess where there is less racism yet heightened racial and ethnic sensitivities and a hardening separation between ‘diverse’ cultural identities. Where the cry ‘That’s racist!’, directed at anything anybody finds unpleasant, is an immediate and unquestionable call for censorship. Hart experienced this himself five years ago when his Manifesto Club report, The Myth of Racist Kids, was condemned for daring to question the orthodoxy by those for whom any such challenge is a case of ‘racism denial’. Ultimately, says Hart, ‘the biggest casualty in this process is the capacity to debate’.

In the end ‘That’s racist!’, along with such fashionable ripostes as ‘Check your privilege!’, is another way of repeating the dominant cultural prejudice that You Can’t Say That. Fortunately, there are still those like Adrian Hart who can, and will.

SOURCE






Military Correctness Threatens Readiness

Leftists are more concerned with who you are than what you do. And the U.S. Armed Forces has become a prime target for social engineers to advance their twisted cultural agenda through a manufactured gender-identity crisis.

Here are but two examples:

First, the ongoing debate regarding roles and standards for women in certain military specialties reflects the Left-driven trend of favoring identity over ability. At the behest of women-in-combat advocates, the Pentagon directed the services to assess the impact of opening male-only combat specialties to women.

Seeking empirical evidence in order to respond objectively, the Marine Corps provisionally opened its Infantry Officer Course to females last year. None of the applicants had made it beyond the first major hurdle – the Combat Endurance Test (a.k.a., Endurance Course) – until three completed it last month. Proponents' hopes were quickly dashed, however, when all three were dropped soon thereafter for failing to meet standards in subsequent events.

Similarly, the Army recently announced a pilot program at its grueling Ranger School to assess “whether and how to open combat arms military occupational specialties to women.” While the Army’s announcement protests that standards will not be altered to accommodate the females, they would do well to learn from the Marines' experience.

As females have repeatedly failed to meet combat-tested standards – validating the existing restrictions – advocates have shifted their argument from “you can’t exclude them just because of their gender” to “you can’t exclude them just because they can’t meet the standards … the standards aren’t ‘fair.’” Leftists always have to move the goalposts to meet their objectives.

Second, in a similar vein, leftist social engineers are working to enforce “tolerance” of gender-disorientation pathology in the Armed Forces. The military is forcing a combat pilot into retirement because he tried to stop two lesbians from making out on the dance floor at a formal ball. According to a lawsuit against the Army for throwing the pilot under the bus, the couple was kissing for long periods, taking off each other’s jackets and a scene was developing.

According to The Washington Times, “Lt. Col. Christopher Downey, who was once assigned to the White House and completed tours in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, ended up being convicted administratively of assaulting a soldier trying to videotape the kissing and grabbing. Col. Downey’s attorney, Richard Thompson … said Col. Downey’s commanding officer also convicted him of violating the directive that ended the ban on gays openly serving in the military. ‘It’s political correctness run wild,’ Mr. Thompson said. ‘Military rules do not apply to lesbian officers because of political correctness.’”

These sorts of activists and incidents place our national security at risk by elevating identity above accomplishment and actions. The contrast with Congresswoman-elect Mia Love’s election-night emphasis on substance and results, for example, is stark and highlights one of the fundamental differences between Right and Left.

SOURCE

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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

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19 November, 2014

Is this the nadir of British policing?

Political correctness has already corrupted a once respected body of men but this is totally against all that policing should stand for

Convicted criminals will be allowed to join the police under plans to relax strict entry rules that critics fear will undermine standards.

For the first time, candidates will be considered if they have convictions, cautions or fines for offences likely to include possession of cannabis or shoplifting.

The Mail on Sunday has established that Britain’s biggest force is already recruiting those who have been on the wrong side of the law in a controversial attempt to increase race diversity.

It can also be revealed that all forces across England and Wales will be encouraged to adopt softer rules on who should be ruled out from becoming a police officer.

The College of Policing, which sets standards for the profession, is to publish a code of practice in the New Year on the vetting of would-be police officers.

It will set out a relaxation of the current rules – which ban anyone with previous convictions, cautions or fines in all but the most exceptional circumstances – on the grounds that it is keeping potentially valuable people from becoming police officers.

Instead, the college will tell police chiefs they can take on applicants with criminal pasts, as long as they are open about what they did.

Those guilty of relatively minor offences, particularly those committed several years ago and which resulted in light sentences, are likely to be let in to forces.

Applicants who try to hide what they did, or who committed serious crimes involving violence, sex offences or fraud, will continue to be barred from a career in uniform.

And it will still be down to chief constables or personnel directors to make the final decision on a candidate. A spokesman for the College of Policing confirmed last night: ‘We are looking at reviewing the national standards around vetting. The current vetting standards are creating barriers to people who might be interested in policing. We need to look at this and apply discretion for minor convictions.’

But critics warned the move risked damaging public trust in the service, and claimed it was unnecessary as there is no shortage of highly qualified people who want to sign up.

Steve White, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, which represents rank-and-file officers, said: ‘The public need to have the utmost confidence that police officers are of the highest calibre and integrity and I have serious and grave concerns about anything which could undermine that.’

The current tough vetting rules, set out by The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) in 2012, do not provide an all-out ban on recruiting people with previous, as each case has to be considered individually.

About 1,000 serving officers have committed some offence, but most are minor infringements of motoring law.

ACPO rules warn, however: ‘Police forces should not recruit people with convictions, cautions and judicial or other formal disposals, which may call in to question the integrity of the applicant or the service.

‘The public is entitled to expect police forces will recruit people who demonstrate the highest standards of professional conduct, honesty and integrity.’

Ahead of the new nationwide code of practice, Scotland Yard has already relaxed its own rules to get more black and ethnic officers on the force, so that it becomes more representative of London’s diverse population.

In a recent report the Met said: ‘Vetting removes 1.6 per cent of all applicants from the recruitment process. However, it removes 4.5 per cent of BME candidates. Earlier this year the Metropolitan Police Service Management Board agreed to accept a higher risk tolerance, particularly where offences occurred some time ago and which were of a minor nature.

The force now disregards the existing ACPO guidance, which says anyone with a Penalty Notice for Disorder (PND) should normally be barred from becoming a constable. PNDs – on-the-spot fines – can be issued for offences ranging from possession of cannabis and shoplifting to using abusive words and being drunk and disorderly.

Keith Vaz MP, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said: ‘Those who join the police should be beyond reproach. Standards must be kept at the highest level.’

SOURCE





Britain Poised to Muzzle 'Extremist' Speech

In Britain, if you have extreme views on anything from Western democracy to women's role in public life, you might soon require a licence from the government before you can speak in public. Seriously.

Nearly 350 years after us Brits abolished the licensing of the press, whereby every publisher had to get the blessing of the government before he could press and promote his ideas, a new system of licensing is being proposed. And it's one which, incredibly, is even more tyrannical than yesteryear's press licensing since it would extend to individuals, too, potentially forbidding ordinary citizens from opening their gobs in public without officialdom's say-so.

It's the brainchild of Theresa May, the Home Secretary in David Cameron's government. May wants to introduce "extremism disruption orders", which, yes, are as terrifyingly authoritarian as they sound.

Last month, May unveiled her ambition to "eliminate extremism in all its forms." Whether you're a neo-Nazi or an Islamist, or just someone who says things which betray, in May's words, a lack of "respect for the rule of law" and "respect for minorities", then you could be served with an extremism disruption order (EDO).

Strikingly, EDOs will target even individuals who do not espouse or promote violence, which is already a crime in the U.K. As May says, "The problem that we have had is this distinction of saying we will only go after you if you are an extremist that directly supports violence. [This] has left the field open for extremists who know how not to step over the line." How telling that a leading British politician should be snotty about "this distinction" between speech and violence, between words and actions, which isn't actually some glitch in the legal system, as she seems to think, but rather is the foundation stone on which every free, democratic society ought to be built.

Once served with an EDO, you will be banned from publishing on the Internet, speaking in a public forum, or appearing on TV. To say something online, including just tweeting or posting on Facebook, you will need the permission of the police. There will be a "requirement to submit to the police in advance any proposed publication on the web, social media or print." That is, you will effectively need a licence from the state to speak, to publish, even to tweet, just as writers and poets did in the 1600s before the licensing of the press was swept away and modern, enlightened Britain was born (or so we thought).

What sort of people might find themselves branded "extremists" and thus forbidden from speaking in public? Anyone, really. The definition of extremist being bandied about by May and her colleagues is so sweeping that pretty much all individuals with outré or edgy views could potentially find themselves served with an EDO and no longer allowed to make any public utterance without government approval.

So you won't have to incite violence to be labelled an extremist —in May's words, these extremism-disrupting orders will go "beyond terrorism." May says far-right activists and Islamist hotheads who have not committed any crime or incited violence could be served with an order to shut the hell up. She has also talked about people who think "a woman's intellect [is] deficient," or who have "denounced people on the basis of their religious beliefs," or who have "rejected democracy"—these folk, too, could potentially be branded extremists and silenced. In short, it could become a crime punishable by gagging to be a sexist or a religion-hater or someone who despises democracy.

Never mind violence, you won't even have to incite hatred in order to be judged an extremist. As one newspaper report sums it up, the aim is "to catch not just those who spread or incite hatred," but anyone who indulges in "harmful activities" that could cause "public disorder" or "alarm or distress" or a "threat to the functioning of democracy." (By "harmful activities", the government really means "harmful words"—there's that Orwellian slip again.) This is such a cynically flabby definition of extremism that it could cover any form of impassioned, angry political or moral speech, much of which regularly causes "alarm or distress" to some of the people who hear it.

As some Christian campaigners recently pointed out, they are frequently accused by their opponents of being "extremists" and of "spreading hatred" simply for opposing gay marriage and taking other traditional stances. Will they potentially be silenced for saying extreme things and causing distress? It's not beyond the realms of possibility, given that May has said that anyone who wants to avoid being thought of as an extremist should "respect British values and institutions" and express "respect for minorities." Slamming gay marriage could very well be read as disrespect for a British institution (gay marriage was legalised here this year) and disrespect for a minority.

What the government is proposing is the punishment of thoughtcrimes, plain and simple. Its insistence that officialdom must now move beyond policing violence and incitements to violence and start clamping down on hotheaded, "harmful" speech that simply distresses people is about colonising the world of thought, of speech, of mere intellectual interaction between individuals—spheres officialdom has no business in policing.

But self-styled progressives, members of the left and those who consider themselves liberal, don't have much of a leg to stand on when it comes to challenging May's tyrannical proposals. For it is was their own arguments, their claims over the past decade that "hate speech" is dangerous and must be controlled and curbed, that gave legitimacy to May's vast silencing project, that inflamed the government's belief that it has the right to police heated minds and not just heated behaviour.

For the best part of two decades, so-called progressives have been spreading fear about the impact of dodgy words and dangerous ideas on the fabric of society. On campuses, in academia, in public life, they've continually pushed the notion that words hurt, that they cause terrible psychic damage, especially to vulnerable groups, wrecking people's self-esteem and making individuals feel worthless. From Britain's student-union officials who have banned Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines' in the name of protecting "students' wellbeing" to feminists who have demanded (and won) the arrest and imprisonment of misogynistic trolls, a climate of intolerance towards testy and vulgar speech has already been created in Britain, and the government is merely milking it.

May's proposal to set up a system of licensing for speech, essentially to provide a license to those who respect British values and deny it to those who don't, is the ugly, authoritarian endpoint to the mad obsession with hate speech that has enveloped much of the Western world in recent years.

We should defend extremists. Extremism can be good. I'm an extremist, especially on freedom of speech, which I don't think should ever be limited. Extremists enliven public debate; they sex it up, stir it up, forcing us all to rethink our outlooks and attitudes and sometimes to change our minds. A world without extremists would be conformist and dull and spiritually and intellectually dead.

Let's remember the words of the 17th-century poet John Milton in his impassioned argument against those authorities that last tried to license public expression: "Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties." Guess what was said about Milton after he said those words? Yep, he was called an extremist.

SOURCE






There ARE too many migrants: Ex-premier John Major tells Brussels unless Britain's borders are tightened there's a 50% chance Britain will quit EU

Britain is likely to leave the EU unless it allows us to restrict immigration, Sir John Major warned last night.  In an extraordinary intervention, the former prime minister said ‘our small island cannot absorb’ the huge numbers moving here each year.

Sir John, who declared as premier that he wanted Britain at the heart of the EU, claimed our chances of leaving the union were ‘just under 50 per cent’ – and warned this would increase unless Brussels reforms rules on freedom of movement.

He said that although the country welcomed hard-working migrants, the ‘sheer scale of the influx’ had put ‘strains on our health, welfare, housing and education services’.

Britain had accepted ‘one of, if not the largest population movement in peacetime European history’, he told an audience in Germany, adding that failure to tackle the trend would cause ‘huge public disquiet’.  ‘It is a matter of numbers,’ he said. ‘Whereas some European populations are falling, the UK has grown by 7 per cent in a decade.’

More than a million people have entered Britain from Poland and seven other former Eastern bloc countries since 2004, when temporary restrictions on migrants from those nations were dropped by Labour. Officials had predicted that just 13,000 would arrive each year.

Sir John, the last Tory leader to win a Commons majority, stressed that he grew up among immigrants in south London who were friends and neighbours.

‘I hate having to make this argument. I hate it. I don’t wish to close our doors to strangers, especially strangers with skills from countries that are often allies.

‘But I do recognise, reluctantly, that our small island simply cannot absorb the present and projected numbers at the current speed. It is not physically or politically possible without huge public disquiet.’

Sir John also launched a strong attack on Ukip, saying: ‘I hope we are going to push them back to the fringes of politics from which they should never have emerged.’

The Tory grandee – whose remarks were shown to and discussed with Downing Street in advance – sketched out David Cameron’s plan to negotiate looser ties with Brussels.

Sir John, who fought bitter battles with Eurosceptics when in Downing Street, appeared to rebuke Mr Cameron after he erupted over the EU budget at the last Brussels summit, suggesting it was time to ‘tone down the oratory and turn up the diplomacy’.

However, he insisted that as large net contributors to the EU’s budget for 40 years, Britain expected the ‘national dilemma’ of seeking to control free movement ‘to be treated with consideration’.

‘It is not too fanciful to say that our partners must weigh up a choice: help us on this issue, or deny us – knowing that the latter course can only fuel the Eurosceptic argument.’

Sir John stressed that migration across borders was not just a problem for the UK, arguing the ‘sheer volume of migration across Europe is alienating citizens from their governments’ in countries such as Greece, France and Italy. ‘It is powering the rise of single-issue political parties whose convictions are alien to a liberal and civilised society. 'Some are racist: others are border-line racist. Some are merely bigots,’ he added.

Labour leader Ed Miliband warned that leaving the EU would be a ‘disaster’, but claimed Mr Cameron was unwilling to take on his party’s Eurosceptics.  ‘The Tory party is increasingly a party drifting towards exit from the EU – that is where the centre of gravity of the Tory party is,’ he said.

Mr Miliband added that Sir John’s speech was a ‘damning indictment’ of the prime minister, who was ‘burning bridges and not helping Britain in Europe’.

SOURCE





5 Reasons Why Christians Should Not Obtain a State Marriage License

Every year thousands of Christians amble down to their local county courthouse and obtain a marriage license from the State in order to marry their future spouse. They do this unquestioningly. They do it because their pastor has told them to go get one, and besides, “everybody else gets one.” This pamphlet attempts to answer the question – why should we not get one?

1. The definition of a “license” demands that we not obtain one to marry. Black’s Law Dictionary defines “license” as, “The permission by competent authority to do an act which without such permission, would be illegal.”  We need to ask ourselves- why should it be illegal to marry without the State’s permission? More importantly, why should we need the State’s permission to participate in something which God instituted (Gen. 2:18-24)? We should not need the State’s permission to marry nor should we grovel before state officials to seek it. What if you apply and the State says “no”? You must understand that the authority to license implies the power to prohibit. A license by definition “confers a right” to do something. The State cannot grant the right to marry. It is a God-given right.

2. When you marry with a marriage license, you grant the State jurisdiction over your marriage. When you marry with a marriage license, your marriage is a creature of the State. It is a corporation of the State! Therefore, they have jurisdiction over your marriage including the fruit of your marriage. What is the fruit of your marriage? Your children and every piece of property you own. There is plenty of case law in American jurisprudence which declares this to be true.

In 1993, parents were upset here in Wisconsin because a test was being administered to their children in the government schools which was very invasive of the family’s privacy. When parents complained, they were shocked by the school bureaucrats who informed them that their children were required to take the test by law and that they would have to take the test because they (the government school) had jurisdiction over their children. When parents asked the bureaucrats what gave them jurisdiction, the bureaucrats answered, “your marriage license and their birth certificates.” Judicially, and in increasing fashion, practically, your state marriage license has far-reaching implications.

3. When you marry with a marriage license, you place yourself under a body of law which is immoral. By obtaining a marriage license, you place yourself under the jurisdiction of Family Court which is governed by unbiblical and immoral laws. Under these laws, you can divorce for any reason. Often, the courts side with the spouse who is in rebellion to God, and castigates the spouse who remains faithful by ordering him or her not to speak about the Bible or other matters of faith when present with the children.

As a minister, I cannot in good conscience perform a marriage which would place people under this immoral body of laws. I also cannot marry someone with a marriage license because to do so I have to act as an agent of the State!  I would have to sign the marriage license, and I would have to mail it into the State. Given the State’s demand to usurp the place of God and family regarding marriage, and given it’s unbiblical, immoral laws to govern marriage, it would be an act of treason for me to do so.

4. The marriage license invades and removes God-given parental authority. When you read the Bible, you see that God intended for children to have their father’s blessing regarding whom they married. Daughters were to be given in marriage by their fathers (Dt. 22:16; Ex. 22:17; I Cor. 7:38). We have a vestige of this in our culture today in that the father takes his daughter to the front of the altar and the minister asks, “Who gives this woman to be married to this man?”

Historically, there was no requirement to obtain a marriage license in colonial America. When you read the laws of the colonies and then the states, you see only two requirements for marriage. First, you had to obtain your parents permission to marry, and second, you had to post public notice of the marriage 5-15 days before the ceremony.

Notice you had to obtain your parents permission. Back then you saw godly government displayed in that the State recognized the parents authority by demanding that the parents permission be obtained. Today, the all-encompassing ungodly State demands that their permission be obtained to marry.

By issuing marriage licenses, the State is saying, “You don’t need your parents permission, you need our permission.” If parents are opposed to their child’s marrying a certain person and refuse to give their permission, the child can do an end run around the parents authority by obtaining the State’s permission, and marry anyway. This is an invasion and removal of God-given parental authority by the State.

5. When you marry with a marriage license, you are like a polygamist. From the State’s point of view, when you marry with a marriage license, you are not just marrying your spouse, but you are also marrying the State.

The most blatant declaration of this fact that I have ever found is a brochure entitled “With This Ring I Thee Wed.” It is found in county courthouses across Ohio where people go to obtain their marriage licenses. It is published by the Ohio State Bar Association. The opening paragraph under the subtitle “Marriage Vows” states, “Actually, when you repeat your marriage vows you enter into a legal contract. There are three parties to that contract. 1.You; 2. Your husband or wife, as the case may be; and 3. the State of Ohio.”

See, the State and the lawyers know that when you marry with a marriage license, you are not just marrying your spouse, you are marrying the State! You are like a polygamist! You are not just making a vow to your spouse, but you are making a vow to the State and your spouse.  You are also giving undue jurisdiction to the State.

  When Does the State Have Jurisdiction Over a Marriage?

God intended the State to have jurisdiction over a marriage for two reasons – 1). in the case of divorce, and 2). when crimes are committed i.e., adultery, bigamy. etc. Unfortunately, the State now allows divorce for any reason, and it does not prosecute for adultery.

In either case, divorce or crime, a marriage license is not necessary for the courts to determine whether a marriage existed or not. What is needed are witnesses. This is why you have a best man and a maid of honor.  They should sign the marriage certificate in your family Bible, and the wedding day guest book should be kept.

Marriage was instituted by God, therefore it is a God-given right. According to Scripture, it is to be governed by the family, and the State only has jurisdiction in the cases of divorce or crime.

History of Marriage Licenses in America

George Washington was married without a marriage license.  So, how did we come to this place in America where marriage licenses are issued?

Historically, all the states in America had laws outlawing the marriage of blacks and whites. In the mid-1800?s, certain states began allowing interracial marriages or miscegenation as long as those marrying received a license from the state. In other words they had to receive permission to do an act which without such permission would have been illegal.

Blacks Law Dictionary points to this historical fact when it defines “marriage license” as, “A license or permission granted by public authority to persons who intend to intermarry.” “Intermarry” is defined in Black’s Law Dictionary as, “Miscegenation; mixed or interracial marriages.”

Give the State an inch and they will take a 100 miles (or as one elderly woman once said to me “10,000 miles.”) Not long after these licenses were issued, some states began requiring all people who marry to obtain a marriage license. In 1923, the Federal Government established the Uniform Marriage and Marriage License Act (they later established the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act). By 1929, every state in the Union had adopted marriage license laws.

What Should We Do?

Christian couples should not be marrying with State marriage licenses, nor should ministers be marrying people with State marriage licenses. Some have said to me, “If someone is married without a marriage license, then they aren’t really married.” Given the fact that states may soon legalize same-sex marriages, we need to ask ourselves, “If a man and a man marry with a State marriage license, and a man and woman marry without a State marriage license – who’s really married? Is it the two men with a marriage license, or the man and woman without a marriage license? In reality, this contention that people are not really married unless they obtain a marriage license simply reveals how Statist we are in our thinking. We need to think biblically.

You should not have to obtain a license from the State to marry someone anymore than you should have to obtain a license from the State to be a parent, which some in academic and legislative circles are currently pushing to be made law.

When I marry a couple, I always buy them a Family Bible which contains birth and death records, and a marriage certificate. We record the marriage in the Family Bible. What’s recorded in a Family Bible will stand up as legal evidence in any court of law in America. Both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were married without a marriage license. They simply recorded their marriages in their Family Bibles. So should we.

SOURCE

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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

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18 November, 2014

Woman walks through Mumbai for 10 hours in vest top and mini-skirt and receives NO sexual harassment... in stark contrast to similar video shot in New York

Indians are polite and non-aggressive people (except when dealing with Muslims), something one could not say of the NYC blacks and Hispanics encountered by Shoshana B Roberts



After seeing the popular 10 Hours of Walking In New York City video, the team at India’s IndieTube decided to make a Mumbai version of the popular video.

And surprisingly, the Pooja Singh - dressed in a vest top and short skirt - was not catcalled or harassed once.

As the woman walks through the second most populated city in the world’s most populated country, several men stare - but nobody catcalls or says anything derogatory.

‘Not even a single incident of woman street harassment took place in a city that has diversified culture, demographics and economy,’ a title card at the end of the video reads.

‘The female citizens are safe, respected and treated unbiased in this city which never sleeps.’

This comes in contrast to actress Shoshana B Roberts - who was the subject of the original video set in New York.

Ms Roberts was told to smile, advised to thank the men for their lewd comments and threatened with rape.

The difference is stark: in the original New York version, there were more than 100 examples of harassment over the 10 hours Ms Roberts was walking the streets of New York, not including whistles and winks.

In India, subject Pooja Singh received none

SOURCE






Democracy’s Gavel Rash

James Allan

On paper democracy is gaining ground around the world. How curious, not to mention dangerous, that the popular will is now so often violated by unelected judges and courts in the very countries where the rule of the ballot box was born.

The recent decline in majoritarian democracy is eroding the foundations on which the world’s  five oldest, most stable and  successful democracies — the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand — have been built and thrived. One could cite many examples, as I do in my book, Democracy In Decline,  but the saga of majority will overturned by unelected judges in the battle to legalise gay marriage in California is both instructive and deeply alarming.

In a world where the number of democracies has increased considerably in the last few decades, from 40 or so in the mid-1970s  to nearly 120 in 2005, my claim about democratic decline may initially strike many as a tad implausible.  But having dozens of countries move from dictatorship and one party rule to a set-up that manages to qualify them as plausibly or sufficiently democratic does not in any way prevent backsliding in established democracies over that same period of time.  Top end decline can happen concurrently with bottom end improvements, as many a dieter will confirm.

Let us go back to my earlier mention of same-sex marriage in California and recall the basic history.  Pro same-sex marriage advocates, unable to convince the Californian legislature, opted to go through the courts and, in May, 2008, the California Supreme Court ruled 4-3 in their favour.  The judges struck down a statute of the elected legislature confining valid marriages to those between a man and a woman.

This happened in the case known as In Re Marriage Cases. The decision was both highly criticized and highly praised, largely depending on the individual writer’s attitude towards the outcome.  However, California being one of the US States (along with Oregon and a few others) where there is an especially big dollop of direct democracy, opponents of the court’s ruling were not finished.  They gathered enough signatures to have a ballot proposition put to a citizens-initiated referendum that would change the California Constitution, adding a section that would read “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognised in California”.  This was the wording of the earlier statute the judges had overturned.

This ballot initiative was known as Proposition 8.  Those in favour of it spent $40 million in the campaign leading up to the referendum, and those opposed spent even more, some $43 million.  In total, this was one of the largest amounts spent on a campaign ever, excluding presidential campaigns. When the day of the referendum came, voter turnout was just a shade under 80 percent.  Proposition 8, which would restrict marriage to heterosexual couples, was approved by just over 52 percent of voters.  That meant the State Constitution had been changed.

Winning the referendum and having Proposition 8 approved by a majority of the voters did not, however, end matters.  The losers went straight back to the courts, this time to have Proposition 8 itself overturned.  When this didn’t happen in the Californian State courts, and the Proposition was upheld as consistent with the State Constitution but not backdated, the federal courts were the obvious next port of call.

Eventually the issue reached the country’s top judges in the case of Hollingsworth v Perry and in June 2013 the US Supreme Court, 5-4, decided the case in favour of same sex marriage proponents on procedural grounds (namely that if the California government would not defend the ban on same sex marriage then proponents of Proposition 8 could not do so either, they lacked standing – meaning that the majority of Californians who voted for Proposition 8 had their views trumped by the judges, however indirectly).

And because many, many people celebrated that judicial outcome I recount the outlines of this struggle here simply as represent an example that for many people some things matter more than democratic input and majoritarian decision-making.  For many proponents of same-sex marriage in California, and elsewhere, what matters is getting it legalized.  If that requires the unelected judges to do so by adopting some sort of ‘living Constitution’ interpretive technique or to condone an elected government not defending in court the laws on its statute book, and if that means over-ruling the views, values, opinions, judgments or preferences of the majority of Californians, so be it.  Majoritarian decision-making be damned!

For those people, the perceived rightness or justice of their cause matters more than democracy.  The fact there is reasonable disagreement amongst smart, well-informed, nice, reasonable people on the issue does not lead them to want this issue decided by a letting the numbers count process.  Quite the contrary, they want their view of what is morally just and right to be upheld and implemented despite theirs being a minority view (at least outside the ranks of the judiciary), or at least they cannot be bothered to wait until they can convince enough others that theirs is no longer the minority view.  In shorthand terms we can think of this attitude as one favouring right outcomes, or rather the particular person’s judgment about right outcomes, over best or more defensible processes.  What is the most legitimate way to make decisions in a large group where people disagree takes second place for these people to getting what they judge to be the politically or morally right thing adopted.

Contrast that California history with the State of New York’s, where the elected legislature, not the judges, legislated for same-sex marriage.  The difference in terms of legitimacy is stark.

Now that brief account glosses over certain complexities, such as the relationship between representative democracy and direct democracy, as well as finessing when we can be satisfied that a vote really is measuring and determining the views of the majority.  And that leads on to the fifth possible way to respond to this book’s argument about the decline of democracy.  People in North America attack the majoritarian credentials of elected legislatures, often by pointing to perceived flaws in the voting system being used to choose its members.  From there, say from the claim that some particular elected legislature is itself deficient in majoritarian terms, they then move on to embrace a powerful role for unelected judges on the basis that the legislature itself is not perfect as regards democracy.

But this way of responding to my lament about the decline of democracy misses the obvious rejoinder that for any elected legislature in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – whatever the flaws you might perceive in the voting system used to choose its members and however far short you may think it falls from embracing some ideal of the popular will or Rousseau’s General Will – that elected legislature will nevertheless have massively more majoritarian and ‘letting the numbers count’ credentials than will nine unelected top judges.  So in any head-to-head comparison it is clear and beyond argument where the democratic legitimacy chips lie.  And so this way to respond to my lament amounts to a misdirection argument; it is a very weak argument.

What matters is how proposals fare in comparative terms, not how they fare held up against some perfect ideal. Majoritarian democracy delivers the best consequences, on average, over time. Its recent decline needs to be stopped and then reversed.  Starting now.

SOURCE






UK: Self-righteous. Narrow-minded. A mouthpiece for the unions... Why I quit feminist society behind THOSE T-shirts: Blistering attack on The Fawcett Society by its former vice chair Joanne Cash

Despite a long history of fighting to improve the lot of women in British life, The Fawcett Society, Britain’s oldest feminist organisation, has never been ‘water cooler’ conversation.

Until, that is, the events of the last two weeks, when T-shirts bearing the words ‘This is what a feminist looks like’ attracted exactly the wrong sort of attention.

Faced with the facts – revealed by The Mail on Sunday– that the shirts had been cheaply produced by exploiting female workers in Mauritius, The Fawcett Society then damaged its reputation still further with a self-righteous yet evasive response, suggesting that the workers’ pay (62 pence an hour) was reasonable and that the T-shirts somehow remained ethical.

When any organisation publicly abandons its core values, it is time for a rethink – the more so when, in the case of The Fawcett Society, it has been fatally undermined by an aggressive and immature culture of political point-scoring.

I take a personal interest in The Fawcett Society and, as a former vice chair, I felt a lot of sympathy when the story first broke. Yet their persistent refusal to acknowledge the facts as they emerged has left me dismayed.

The society takes its name from one of our greatest feminists, Millicent Fawcett – one of my heroes. Not only did she campaign tirelessly for the vote for women, she dedicated her life to increasing female access to education and justice and the abolition of sexual abuse.

Sadly, by the time I was offered the role of vice chair in the spring of 2013, The Fawcett Society had already been displaced as the most significant feminist voice in the UK.

New campaigns with fresh approaches were leading the way – campaigns for better representation on company boards, for example, or attempts to highlight the daily abuse of women.

The tone and content feels different, modern.  In comparison, The Fawcett Society appears narrow in its focus – and reliant on union funding.

While the public is increasingly disenchanted by party politics, The Fawcett Society continues to be combative. Rather than appearing to speak for everywoman, it has become pigeon-holed as Left-wing, as a mouthpiece for the unions.  The issues it stands for – equal pay, women in poverty – are as vital as ever, but Fawcett makes them sound tired.

Yet, with such a strong and intellectual history, I believed that it could evolve. When I, as an active Conservative, was appointed to the board, it gave me confidence that change was possible.

What I found instead was an office full of ideological but naive young women driving a Left-wing agenda, even while the charity was on its knees.

It became apparent that some members of the staff had no idea how to run the charity, let alone grow it.

Bright women with a good eye for statistics, I am unconvinced to this day that they have any vision for the future of the charity beyond more of the same narrow focus, the same reactive, outspoken press performances.

When David Cameron reshuffled his Cabinet and increased the number of female full Cabinet Ministers from three to five, promoting a range of talented women to senior positions, I thought that surely The Fawcett Society would reach out across party lines and congratulate these women on their achievements.

But no, they couldn’t resist the old game: ‘The substance didn’t live up to the hype’, they said. Cameron had ‘failed’ to meet his promise to make a third of his Cabinet women by the time of the Election.

(A complete falsehood: One third of the Conservative members of the Coalition Cabinet were, in fact, women. But not even the Prime Minister can conjure up female Lib Dems.)

So with huge regret, I decided that I could not continue as vice chair as I no longer believed that the change needed could take place within the existing culture. And I stepped down.

I wasn’t at all surprised to see that Left-wing politicians were being used to promote the T-shirt, but I was dismayed.

If your potential supporters hate mainstream politicians, why identify yourself with them? Why do you need Ed Miliband when you’ve got Benedict Cumberbatch? Using the T-shirt to raise money and profile was a terrific idea but yet again the point-scoring had derailed a smart source of funding.

Fawcett’s response to this story has reinforced my view that it has still to change.  In an indignant fury, the charity – along with high street retailer Whistles, with whom it has aligned itself – defended the abuse of some of the world’s most vulnerable women.  This is still the stated position on the website at the time of writing.

So where does the charity go from here? There is a place for a serious feminist voice in the UK. The Fawcett Society could be that voice if it returned to the values of its founder and learned how to build coalitions and consensus. It needs to be representative of all women.

I have no doubt that Millicent Fawcett would be making the case for the protection of the girls of Rotherham. She would also by now have helped us re-engage with men. Some of her greatest feminist allies were men, including her husband Henry Fawcett and the philosopher John Stuart Mill.

Many of the changes now needed to progress real equality for women require society to release men from stereotypes and conventions too.  How can we share family obligations when men face stigma for taking time off work?

That is just one example of the many changes we should fight for. There is more momentum behind the equality movement now than there has been for a long time.

After the T-shirt story broke, someone on Fawcett’s staff wrote a sarcastic tweet in response to the T-shirt story: ‘We’ll just have to get along without the 11 million Mail readers. Aw, shucks.’

Possibly they can do that but equality cannot to be so narrowly selective. The Fawcett Society needs to decide what it is about.

SOURCE






Pushback against the Leftist (feminist and social justice warrior) attacks on traditional computer games and those who play them

Todd Wohling

I hate myself for what I did Tuesday.

I remember voting for the first time in 1994.  Walking in to a small community center in a village of less than 500 in rural Wisconsin with my parents filled me with a Capraesque sense of awe.  Maybe it was the echoes of people shuffling through a basketball court that could only come from Hoosiers; maybe it was the act of punching an actual ballot for the first time; or maybe it was the feeling of finally being able to affect change, in an infinitesimal way, after hearing my parents talk about labor relations, income disparity, and a woman’s right to choose what she does with her own body for the overwhelming majority of my childhood.  Up until Tuesday, the act of casting a ballet gave me the same kind of feeling that Jimmy Stewart injected in to Jefferson Smith in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, or for something more modern, up until Tuesday I felt the same since of civic pride from casting a ballot as I did for knowing the words to I’m Just a Bill on Capitol Hill, or acting as Speaker of the House for the mock Congress in my American Government class in high school.

That first election was not without controversy.  There was a referendum on the ballot for funding for a new high school building.  The educators at my high school took it upon themselves to bring everyone that was going to be 18 on Election Day into the band room so they could show us all how to vote, “in favor of the school funding issue.”  I remember talking with my parents at dinner on the day of about how we were shown how to vote.  Above all, I remember listening to, and later participating in, an uncountable number of conversations around the dinner table: Organized labor (my parents combined have been members of unions for roughly 50 years), butter > guns, the need for strict separation between church and state, and a desire to ensure that everyone had equal opportunity for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

I am was a liberal.  I am was not ashamed to call myself one, even after moving to Colorado and taking a job in a conservative pocket of the tech industry, where unashamed liberals are the vast minority.  I would regularly hold court on Fridays while our design team was eating breakfast together; it got so “bad” at one point that I was given the nickname “Pinko Todd” in honor of my rampant socialist rantings.

After Tuesday, I don’t know that I can call myself a liberal anymore.

It’s not that I don’t want to call myself a liberal. After all, as I understand liberal ideals, I still believe in most of them, if not all of them.  No, I guess I’m not a liberal anymore because Bustle, The Verge, Salon, Polygon, Kotaku, Gamasutra, The Mary Sue, The NY Times, The LA Times, The Washington Post, MSNBC, and others spent the last 2 months telling me I’m no longer wanted as an unashamed, voting liberal.  They did this based on my primary hobby and the Y chromosome I was born with.  They did this after some of them told me I was dead or needed to die for the crime of holding my primary hobby as a part of my identity.  They did this because some people I don’t know made threats against people I’d never heard of before; subsequently, I was told I needed to die because of my Y chromosome and my hobby.

And for what?  The nebulous notion of making gaming “better” than it is now?  To stroke the sense of entitlement of self-proclaimed “game developers”?  To turn game developer into the third vocation in human history that is competence optional behind politician and journalist (apparently)?  Equality of Outcomes between AAA game development, good independent game development, and terrible independent game development?  An esoteric notion of games as art, based on meaningless definitions of “gamer” and “game” combined with a pejorative definition of “consumerism”?  A wanton desire to usurp the will of the consumer and the creative process?

I hope character assassinating gamers without regard for collateral damage over the last 2 months was worth it.

Tuesday resulted in several firsts for me.  I’d never voted full ticket—not in 20 years of participating in my civic duty.  I did on Tuesday.  I’ve often considered or voted for third party candidates when at the polls over the last 20 years.  Tuesday I did not.  Over the past 20 years, I’d spent between 2 and 6 weeks studying candidates and ballot measures to be as informed as possible.  This election cycle, I was finished in hours.  On this day, I stand before you to say that I did my part to hand the Legislative branch of the American government to the Republicans.  Not that one vote matters in the grand scheme of things, but every traditionally Democratic vote that goes Republican is a two vote swing.  So the Republicans own the Senate, but not with a “super majority” to completely dictate terms legislatively.

From my new perspective after Tuesday, it’s one down and three to go: Super majority in the Senate, the Presidency, and one Supreme Court justice.  I’m disgusted for writing that last sentence.

What choice did I have?  It would appear that the DiGRA was right—The Playful is Political.  It would also appear that my politics are now a matter of survival for pieces of my identity that I hold dear.  It can never be emphasized enough that 10 news outlets on the same day said I was dead or needed to die because of those parts of my identity.  Will I forgive?  Eventually.  Time heals all wounds, after all.  Will I forget?  Never.  The imgur’s will exist forever, as will the archives and screen caps of everything the hypocrites, charlatans, and their willing media puppets said and did to make me question two parts of my identity: gamer and liberal.  It is only by force of will and self-determination that I don’t let those people immure me in self-doubt and regret.  Right now, there is virtually no price too high for them to pay for what they tried to do to my identity.

There are roughly 730 days until Election Day 2016.  The media that drove me away from my political leanings is going to need every one of those days to convince me that bashing gamers from August 28th until Tuesday was just a misunderstanding.  They will need every one of those days to convince me that my input into the liberal ideology is valued regardless of my hobbies, support for GamerGate, or my gender.  The alternative is to hand both the Legislative and Executive branch of the US Government over to Republicans, and as I found out on Tuesday, it is well within my capability to do so.

Tick tock.  Tick tock.

SOURCE

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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

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17 November, 2014

Woman interrupts Muslim service at National Cathedral, saying: 'Jesus Christ is Lord'

And she was thrown out for saying that  -- in an allegedly Christian cathedral.  But calling Episcopalians Christians is of course a stretch

American Muslims were invited to offer prayers to Allah inside the nation’s most iconic Christian church Friday in Washington, D.C., but the intended message of peace, harmony and tolerance isn’t so well received in Muslim countries, according to Christian leaders contacted by WND.

The Washington National Cathedral, which earned the title “America’s House of Prayer” for its hosting of presidential funerals and inauguration-related prayer services, was turned into a virtual mosque in which Muslims bowed toward Mecca and shielded their eyes from the Christian cross.

Prayer carpets were arranged diagonally, to the side of the sanctuary, so worshipers could face in the direction of Mecca without seeing crosses or other Christian symbols. Muslims are not supposed to pray in view of sacred symbols “alien to their faith,” the Voice of America reported.

The Episcopal cathedral becomes the first church in America to host a Muslim-led prayer service. And this isn’t just any church. Famous people are buried there, including President Woodrow Wilson, Helen Keller and Admiral George Dewey, and it is perhaps the most recognizable Christian sanctuary in the nation with its soaring Gothic architecture and grand entrance hall.

A receptionist at the cathedral told WND Friday the event was not open to the public but it was live-streamed on the cathedral’s website. Attendance was by invitation only, and the invite list came from the South African ambassador, who helped plan the event. She said she did not know if any Christians were invited to the service or how many may have attended.

But just as the Imam was about to give the Muslim call to prayer, a Christian woman, who apparently sneaked into the service, stood up, pointed to the cross and shouted “Jesus Christ died on that cross. He is the reason we are to worship only Him. Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior. We have built enough of your mosques in this country. Why don’t you worship in your mosques and leave our churches alone? …America was founded on Christian principles…Leave our church alone!”

She was immediately grabbed by the arms and forcibly led out of the church by two men. The unidentified woman’s interruption of the service was captured on video by one of the attendees and posted online at PamelaGeller.com.

Planners of the event said in a news release that they hoped “people around the world will take note of this service and the welcome extended by the Cathedral so that Muslims everywhere will adopt a reciprocal welcome of Christians by Muslims.”

The Rev. Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, said in a Facebook post Thursday that the Muslim prayer service at the National Cathedral is “sad to see” because the church should only open its doors for worship of “the One True God of the Bible.”

Graham, who heads the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse, said, “Tomorrow, the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. – one of the most prominent Episcopal churches in America – will host a Muslim prayer service to Allah.”

“It’s sad to see a church open its doors to the worship of anything other than the One True God of the Bible who sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to earth to save us from our sins,” said Graham. “Jesus was clear when He said, ‘I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’ (John 14:6).”

The cathedral’s press release said the goal was to encourage greater acceptance between Christians and Muslims, calling the Islamic Jumma prayers a “powerful symbolic gesture.”

“Leaders believe offering Muslim prayers at the Christian cathedral shows more than hospitality,” representatives for the National Cathedral said about the event. “It demonstrates an appreciation of one another’s prayer traditions and is a powerful symbolic gesture toward a deeper relationship between the two Abrahamic traditions.”

The event was planned by the Rev. Gina Campbell, the cathedral’s director of liturgy, and South African Ambassador to the United States Ebrahim Rasool, who is a Muslim.

Campbell spoke at the service and said a prayer “in the name of God” but did not mention Jesus Christ. She told her Muslim guests that “we approach the same God.”

SOURCE






Contorted thinking among Norwegian Far-Leftists

"Anti-Racism" Activists Boycott Holocaust Ceremony as 'Jews were Invited'.  You oppose racism by being racist, apparently

Anti-racism activists in Norway have refused to participate in a Holocaust commemoration after members of the Jewish community were put on the guest list, a Norwegian blog has claimed.

According to "Norway, Israel and the Jews", Norwegian activist organisation New SOS Racisme -- which claims to reduce racism in society -- asked for the "Zionist Jews of Bergen" to be banned from attending the Kristallnacht, or the night of broken glass, an event aimed at remembering the escalation of the persecution of Jews in Germany, between the nights of 9th and 10th November 1938.

They "refused to participate in the Kristallnacht commemoration since a representative from the Mosaic Congregation [a conservative Jewish Congregation] was invited. Yes, they balked at a Jew participating," the blog added.

The incident occurred a few days after Denmark's ceremony in Norrebro district marking the Holocaust was used to raise money for Gaza, following the 2014 Israel-Gaza war which killed thousands of Palestinian civilians.

A local leader of the Jewish community criticised Denmark's decision to raise funds for Gaza.  "When the profits from the Norrebro event go to Gaza, whose government is at war with Israel, I think that there is an inappropriate confusion," Dan Rosenberg Asmussen, president of the Jewish Community in Copenhagen, told the Kristelig Dagblad newspaper.

"I do not know if this is a deliberate attempt to draw a parallel between the actions of Germans then and those of Israelis today – a parallel drawn before by people on the left and one which I strongly reject. If it's a coincidence, I think it is unfortunate."

SOURCE






Good official thinking in Norway

One country has finally learned that have a flow of Muslim immigrants creates problems. No, not just problems, horrific crimes.

Along with the introduction of Islam into European countries comes a drastic increase in rape, child molestation, murder, violence, and protests, all justifiable in the Quran and Hadith.

Jihadists, collectively known as mujahideen, implement terror cells and patrol the streets of commandeered zones to enforce Islamic Sharia law.

Norway has experienced the horrors of Islamic integration, and rather than appease Muslims for fear of being politically incorrect, they acted.

According to The Local, a record number of immigrants, namely Muslims, have been deported from Norway, beginning last year. With the deportation comes a dramatic decrease in crime, much to the delight of overwhelmed law enforcement.

Around 5,198 foreign citizens were expelled from Norway in 2013:

“It is the highest number we’ve had ever,” Frode Forfang, head of the Directorate of Immigration (UDI), told NRK. “We believe that one reason for the increase is that the police have become more conscious of using deportation as a tool to fight crime.”

Nigerian citizens topped the list of those expelled for committing crimes, with 232 citizens expelled as a punishment in 2013, followed by Afghan citizens with 136 expelled as a punishment, and 76 Moroccans expelled as a punishment.

Afghan citizens topped the list of those expelled for violating the Immigration Act, with 380 expelled for this reason, followed by Iraqi citizens, 234 were expelled for violating the act.

We applaud Norway for refusing to allow liberals to shame them into keeping criminal offenders within their borders. Perhaps America can be brave enough to do the same.

SOURCE






Pressure mounts on Red Cross over elderly volunteer axed after gay marriage protest

I quit donating to the Red Cross years ago because of their antisemitism so I hope this business will cause other potential donors to see how politicized they are -- JR

The Red Cross is coming under growing pressure to reinstate a long-standing volunteer who was dismissed after staging a one-man protest against gay marriage.

MPs have tabled a motion in the Commons voicing “deep concern” at the treatment of Bryan Barkley, 71, from West Yorkshire, and urging the charity to reconsider.

The Coalition For Marriage (C4M), which led the campaign against the introduction of same-sex marriage in the UK, said it had received almost 50,000 expressions of support including many messages from people speaking about boycotting the charity.

The charity said in a statement that it had not dismissed Mr Barkley “specifically because of his views on same-sex marriage” but added it was feared his stance would have a “negative impact on the way services are delivered to a particular community”.

A spokeswoman described it as "tragic" that the protests over Mr Barkley's case had diverted staff from dealing with issues such as Ebola and the Syrian crisis.

A spokesman for the campaign group said Mr Barkley, a retired civil engineer, had not specifically called for a boycott of the Red Cross but remained “deeply upset” at being dismissed after years working in its international tracing service which helps reunite families in the UK with relatives abroad.

Mr Barkley was photographed standing outside Wakefield Cathedral holding a small placard reading “No Same-Sex marriage" in May of this year when the first same-sex weddings were taking place in the UK.

He was later summoned to a meeting to be told he was no longer welcome at the Red Cross because his actions were deemed to go against its values.

An early day motion tabled by the Tory MP Philip Davies and backed by Sir Peter Bottomley, the former employment minister, and others, argues that Mr Barkley’s views on marriage had been “expressed reasonably, in his own time, and were in no way connected with his work for the Red Cross”.

Colin Hart, campaign director of the C4M said: “This is a shocking case – Bryan was a senior volunteer, undertaking very complicated and technical work for the Red Cross.

“For nearly two decades he helped to reunite people with lost family members.

“Yet after voicing his opposition to the Government’s undemocratic plans to rip up the traditional definition of marriage he was fired.

“He broke no law and his only crime seems to have been that he was one of the millions of ordinary people who opposed this change.

“There has never been any suggestion that Mr Barkley acted inappropriately while at the charity, or even pushed his views while volunteering.

“Indeed just 24 hours before he was notified of a disciplinary meeting, he attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace with other volunteers, employees and supporters of this organisation."

A Red Cross spokeswoman said: “The British Red Cross is working internationally tackling enormous issues like the Ebola crisis, Syria and the famine in South Sudan

“Orchestrated actions like this inevitably divert us from our humanitarian mission.

“Tragically it has taken up vital staff time and resources away from our international mission and in the UK.”

She added: "We have said repeatedly that we respect the right of individuals to hold personal views so long as this does not affect their ability to deliver our services impartially to all who need our help, as enshrined in our fundamental principles.

"Where there are serious concerns the British Red Cross has no option but to act.

“We cannot give further details about any specific circumstances because we have a duty of confidentiality in matters like this.”

SOURCE





Too Jewish to adopt! What social worker called couple after claiming their household was too religious for a child

A social worker wanted to stop a girl who was a quarter Jewish being adopted by a Jewish couple because the household would have been too religious for the child, it was revealed yesterday.

In a speech to lawyers, a Supreme Court judge said that politically correct race rules – introduced on the premise that adopted children need parents of exactly the same ethnic and cultural background – became 'discriminatory'.

He gave the moving example of a case he had dealt with involving a three-year-old girl who was a quarter-Jewish, quarter-Scottish, quarter-Irish and quarter-Turkish.

Lord Wilson said the social worker appointed by the court to speak for the child 'argued that the girl should be placed in a non-religious family in which exposure to her of the four elements of her ethnicity might evenly be developed. She said that the proposed couple were too Jewish'.

He had ruled the adoption by the Jewish couple should go ahead. 'Less than four weeks afterwards, out of the blue, the adoptive father died,' the judge said.  'I felt terrible – I had overruled the guardian's objection and had caused the girl to be adopted by a grieving single parent.

'In the event however the adoption has worked out beautifully.' He added said: 'She is one of four children, adopted under orders made by me, with whom, even after all these years, I keep in touch.'

Lord Wilson said: 'Most adopters are white so, while there was perceived to be a need for an ethnic match between them and their adoptive child, children of other, including mixed, ethnicities, were often languishing in foster care even if adoptable. A perception designed to obviate discrimination had become discriminatory.'

He said of the reforms pushed through by former Education Secretary Michael Gove: 'I applaud the recent statutory dilution, albeit not elimination, of the aim of seeking to place a child with adopters of similar ethnicity.'

SOURCE

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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

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16 November, 2014

The internet hates men, and no one's a winner

The more the online anti-men trend gains traction, the more women will be deprived of decent male allies in the battle against abuse, says Jake Wallis Simons

There has been a lot of comment over the harassment Shoshana Roberts (who might reasonably be described as a busty babe.  A beanpole or a fatty would undoubtedly have got different results)  got as she walked through NYC streets.  It should be noted however that most of the harassment came from blacks.  When the experiment was repeated by a model in Auckland, New Zealand, there was zero harassment.  There are negligible blacks in New Zealand and both major New Zealander groups (Maori and Pakeha) are polite.  Blacks, however,  are well known for their very pushy approaches to white women, being very reluctant to take No for an answer -- JR




Sigh. A new current has developed in the polluted ocean of online videos. If you're a Facebook user, you'll have noticed it: it involves women, and men, and the former being incessantly harassed by the latter.

I'm talking about those hidden-camera clips in which a female actor records the appalling level of harassment that she was subjected to by men in the street.

The best known was made by Shoshana Roberts, who was filmed walking the streets of New York amid catcalls and sexual comments. Thus far, it has attracted a staggering 36 million views, and has been hailed as a much-needed exposure of the plight of a woman in 21st Century society.

This was followed by a clip made by the “social media entrepreneur” Stephen Zhang, in which a young woman dons a skimpy dress in the middle of the day and pretends to be drunk. An apparently shocking number of men attempted to take advantage of her, some almost forcing her back to their houses before she revealed the trick and escaped.

The trend got a bit silly when a British “dating expert” filmed herself pretending to be lost while wearing different outfits, from a hoodie-and-jeans combination to a leather skirt and boots. How would male Londoners respond? We waited with bated breath.

Funnily enough, although men tended to speak to the woman for longer when she was dressed provocatively, not one of the men even offered his telephone number, let alone sought to take advantage of a damsel in distress. In fact, every man Jack acted like a gentleman. What point was she trying to make, exactly?

(Perhaps she didn't really have a point. Perhaps she was mainly courting clicks. After all, a viral video can make you big money. And, as the old Silicon Valley adage has it, “first ubiquity, then revenue”.)

Predictably enough, it didn't take long for commercial companies to jump on the bandwagon. One video produced by Nestlé revealed (no pun intended) that people look at a woman’s breasts a lot when she is wearing a low-cut top. Again, the point was what? The video was promoting breast cancer awareness, but a cynic might argue that this was merely a fig-leaf for moneymaking.

Of course, there is a variety of examples here. On the surface, the more serious videos are attempting a form of social campaigning, drawing attention to – as the hashtag has it – #everydaysexism. This has to be a good thing. But the closer you look, the less straightforward the matter becomes.

Take the video that kicked it all off. For one thing, it was recorded in a rather deprived part of New York, where such harassment is more likely to occur. For another, the perpetrators were exclusively black or Latino. This a) raises questions about the prejudices that underpinned the film-maker’s editorial decisions, and b) highlights the general subjectivity of the editing.

(Rob Bliss, who shot the film, later claimed that white men had harassed Shoshana Roberts too, but by some odd coincidence the sound quality had been compromised on these occasions.)

It goes without saying that the abuse of women in the street is a serious problem. Some may argue that in order to draw attention to it, an element of contrivance, exaggeration and even sensationalism is justified.

If it makes young men think twice before they bully a woman, this has to be a good thing. But at what price? When a one-off becomes a trend, and sensationalist video follows sensationalist video, this constitutes a form of negative campaigning. And negative campaigning has a habit of creating negative consequences.

Depictions of decent men have now become strikingly absent online. The overall suggestion is that men are guilty until proven innocent; this only reinforces gender stereotyping.

Indeed, we have reached a stage where feminist sites like Jezebel run stories like “How to kick men in the balls: an illustrated guide”, confirming the impression that the internet hates men. Misogynist trolling by horrid little men is a huge concern, but the answer is not to alienate the rest of us.

It must be acknowledged – and strongly so – that most of the men watching these videos would never dream of treating women in this way. Call me optimistic, but in my experience, there are at least 10 gentlemen for every abuser. And that's a conservative estimate.

What message are upstanding men, particularly the younger ones, supposed to take from this cataract of negative campaigning? In the current climate of febrile abusiveness, both online and in "meatspace", this is something that should concern everyone. The more the anti-men trend gains traction, the more women will be deprived of decent male allies in the battle against abuse.

SOURCE







UK: ‘Death to Dapper’: behold the new intolerance

The terrifying censoriousness of the campaign against Dapper Laughs

For an insight into the new intolerance, into the modern illiberal urge to harry and squash and ultimately kill any idea that dares to offend us, look no further than the fury over Dapper Laughs. Yes, I’m sorry that it’s a perma-tanned geezer comedian with a foul mouth and not many good jokes that we have to defend from the pitchfork brigade these days, rather than, say, a Thomas Paine or a Galileo or someone else with something insightful and daring to tell us and who the authorities want to silence. But that’s life.

In the second decade of the twenty-first century, intolerance tends to aim its ire at the laddish rather than the laudable, at those whose words are judged to be hateful rather than those whose thoughts are said to threaten the moral order, and in recent weeks no one has felt the heat of the intolerants’ torches as much as Dapper Laughs has.

For those of you who don’t know who Dapper is, here’s the lowdown: his real name is Daniel O’Reilly and he’s a comedian from South London who made it big via social media (Vine, Facebook) before being offered his own show – a guide to pulling – on ITV2. His humour is a bit juvenile. It’s laddish. He describes women as being ‘proper moist’ (ie. ready for sex, especially with him, because he is so irresistible) and his advice on how to ‘pull birds’ consists of the kind of thing teenage boys who have never got past first base say to each other in the sixth-form common room. He’s like a real-life version of Jay from The Inbetweeners, minus the secret sweetness.

And for this, for being a Seventies-style vulgarian, he has found himself thoroughly demonised in the broadsheet press, banned from university campuses, and the object of an increasingly unhinged Change.org and Twitter campaign to have him permanently expelled from TV-land. Strewth. Yet even as he quakes in his boots and issues sober apologies to those he has offended – as he sadly did last week – he should at least be grateful that he was born in this era of Twittermobs rather than yesteryear’s time of real mobs: 500 years ago, he’d be dead by now.

The Dapper-bashing crusade started in the respectable media. Mr Laughs was accused of contributing to ‘rape culture’, that ill-defined, jumped-up climate of wickedness that some people are convinced has modern Britain in its stranglehold (in exactly the same way that pious old women with blue rinses once thought that evil had Blighty and other Western nations in its grip).

Commentators all agree that Dapper’s crude comedy has no place on TV. His ‘unpleasant sexism dressed up as banter’, as one columnist calls it, must be ‘pulled from the air’, says Britain’s mislabelled liberal newspaper the Independent. ITV is ‘wasting airtime on misogynistic material’, we’re told, and instead of providing a platform for Dapper it should ‘[give] a platform to men who respect women and treat them equally’.

How about we just institute a system whereby everyone who wants to appear on the box, or in any other public forum, is first asked: ‘Are you now or have you ever been a sexist?’ That should help cleanse culture of those deemed by the right-thinking sections of British society to be morally undesirable (the kind of right-thinkers who yesterday probably celebrated the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the tyrannical Stasi’s lust for policing artists and journalists – oh the irony, it burns).

The anti-Dapper mob believes his comedy could cause actual violence in society. And you thought the highly questionable media-effects theories of the Seventies and Eighties that were used to ban horror films and saucy magazines had been laid to rest. Sadly not. They’ve been given a pseudo-progressive makeover and brought back to life. The comedians’ magazine Chortle – funny name, not-so-funny content – described Dapper’s show as a ‘rapist’s almanac’, claiming that while the ‘production team’ for his programme haven’t exactly ‘told people how to come equipped with rope or chloroform’, they have ‘contributed to a prevalent predatory culture that reduces women to nothing more than a piece of cunt’.

Wow. So a not-very-widely watched show on ITV2 is physically endangering women. When Mary Whitehouse once made precisely, 100 per cent the same argument – though she had the decency not to use the c-word in her claims that culture makes men into Godless women-violators or unhinged homos – comedians mocked her, no doubt including some of the very same tossers who now write for Chortle. Yet now they parrot her misanthropic, censorious conservatism and have the gall to call it radicalism. The New Statesman told its readers ‘you should be worried about Dapper Laughs’ because he is ‘normalising sexual harassment’. ITV2 monkey see, ITV2 monkey do.

Why are these observers so freaked out by Dapper? It’s because of who follows him online and now watches him on TV. Whisper it: Them, young working-class men, who apparently lack the capacity to reason that is enjoyed by the better-educated, middle-class moaners that staff our post-liberal press. The commentary on Dapper Laughs positively drips with contempt for these hordes. A writer for the Independent says Dapper could inflame those men who drive ‘Transit vans’, or who work as car mechanics, or ‘group[s] of men loitering outside a pub’ who see every woman as a ‘potential wank fantasy’.

Hmm. I wonder who she means? Men who work with their hands and like a drink? Can’t think who she’s talking about. That donut at Chortle – one of the sad new breed of men who tries to impress women by being a feministic self-loathing male! – describes Dapper’s young, working-class laddish followers as ‘the unenlightened, the confused, the intellectually frightened… a people shovelling themselves into the excrement of history’. How disgusting. How dehumanising. In railing against Dapper’s bigotry, the chattering class reveals its own: Dapper might be down on women, but they are far more down on the uncouth, horny-handed sons of suburbia and the inner cities.

Vice, the potty-mouthed bible of Shoreditch shitheads and other hip nihilists in ironic beards, says Dapper hails from and speaks to a ‘universe where Jodie Marsh is better known than Cate Blanchett… a universe that Vagenda [a feminist campaign group] seeks to destroy… surburban white men with hairstyles and tattoos… douchebags, basically’.

What a fascinating lack of self-awareness there is among these commentators who in one mouthful spit out blood against Dapper’s hatefulness and in the very next mouthful spew up their own contempt for a section of society they would rather was never seen, heard or allowed to have a laugh: Transit van men, the frightened, suburbia people, men outside pubs who don’t know who Cate Blanchett is - what used to be known as the great unwashed. Perhaps these people are angry at Dapper for failing to do what they do so very well: doll up his disgust for certain sections of humanity in progressive-sounding lingo.

It is striking that the ironically censorious countercultural Vice should openly talk about Vagenda wanting to ‘destroy’ a section of society (the working-class male section) – for that is ultimately the aim of the anti-Dapper crusade: to silence certain ways of speaking and laughter, to destroy ‘lad culture’. So the students’ union at Cardiff University has banned Dapper from its campus on the grounds that he goes against its ‘anti-lad culture policy’, its mission to ‘end lad culture’.

It is genuinely shocking that people want to stamp out a whole culture, Stasi-style. An online petition calling on ITV2 to ditch Dapper currently has more than 60,000 signatures. It’s given rise to a popular Twitter hashtag – #canceldapper – which thousands of people have used to express their disgust at the airing of this ‘stone age’ show and to call for its immediate banning. Some have even tweeted ‘death to Dapper’.

In the climate of hate and bile whipped up against this funnyman and his allegedly bovine followers, who knows if they’re being ironic? Today, a group of 44 comedians, including Jenny Eclair and Arabella Weir, published an open letter praising Cardiff for banning Dapper and calling on ITV2 to seriously think about Dapper’s ‘sexist narratives’, which apparently ‘encourage street harassment, rape culture and… misogyny’.

Self-styled liberal comedians spreading fear about another comedian’s allegedly toxic impact on society, cheering the censorship of comedy, and writing a GDR-style letter denouncing one of their own for possessing foul moral views? For shame, for shame.

The end result of all this hysterical demonisation of Dapper? He’s had to issue an apology, and ITV2 are having a high-level meeting about his future. Let’s hope they stick with him. For to give in to the censorious, contemptuous campaign to have him expelled from the public eye would set a very dangerous precedent. It would inflame the educated lynch mobs and time-rich intolerant Twitter gangs who already wield too much clout in modern Britain, and who truly believe that anything which doesn’t sound like them, look like them or conform to their outlooks and prejudices should be, as Vice says, ‘destroyed’, ended, deprived of the oxygen of publicity, no-platformed. That is an idea way more offensive and dangerous than any joke about ‘gash’ could ever be.

SOURCE







Florist Case Stems From State's Intolerance

We were told that same-sex “marriage” was about building homes – not destroying others'. Unfortunately, that’s just another lie from a liberal movement bent on shattering Americans' freedom, their livelihoods, and now, their property. Like dozens of conservative businesses, the owner of Washington State’s Arlene’s Flowers is finding out exactly how low the Left is willing to sink to demand conformity on marriage.

Barronelle Stutzman, who drew the Left’s ire when she politely declined to make arrangements for a same-sex “wedding,” has been bogged down in a legal fight for almost two years just for exercising her First Amendment rights in the marketplace. Now, that fight may cost Barronelle more than customers. According to Alliance Defending Freedom, it could cost Stutzman her home too. In a sick twist to an already outrageous case, long-time customer Robert Ingersoll and his partner are not only suing Arlene’s Flowers – but Barronelle personally.

And they have the full weight of the Washington Attorney General’s office backing their case. In an unprecedented move, the state’s chief law enforcer, Bob Ferguson, injected himself into the dispute meant to punish Barronelle for refusing to check her faith at her business’s door. A punishment, experts say, that could leave Barronelle homeless. In the meantime, Stutzman’s attorneys at ADF are doing everything they can to stop the state from attacking Barronelle personally – even filing a new court motion.

Under Washington law, AG Ferguson has no grounds to sue Stuztman unless she’s been implicated in a type of fraud – which is even farther-fetched than the original charge. The only frauds in this case are the liberals who insist this debate is just about “love” and “tolerance.” Where’s the tolerance for the Christians who are simply asking for the same freedom to live out their beliefs as the activists trying to silence them?

“In America, the government is supposed to protect freedom, not use intolerance for certain viewpoints to intimidate citizens into acting contrary to their faith,” said ADF’s Dale Schowengerdt. “The attorney general has acted inappropriately by trying to intimidate Barronelle through his lawsuit rather than leaving the process where the law says such matters need to take place. Plenty of other florists are willing to provide flowers for same-sex ceremonies, yet both lawsuits against Barronelle insist on going after not only her business, but going after her personally as well. That’s extraordinary, and we’re asking the court to put a stop to it.”

For now, Washington’s Ferguson could take a lesson or two from his Mississippi counterpart. There, state Attorney General Jim Hood is standing up for citizens like Barronelle, who voted to uphold the natural definition of marriage in their state Constitution. In papers filed Monday, Hood – together with Governor Phil Bryant (R) – asked the courts to leave their 10-year-old marriage amendment alone. “Mississippi’s traditional marriage laws do not discriminate,” the leaders wrote in an appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

In Kansas, locals got some much-needed relief on marriage from an unlikely source: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. The Obama appointee put the state’s same-sex “weddings” on ice in an emergency injunction that puts a radical court ruling on hold – at least for now. Sotomayor’s order is one in a long line of the justices' stays on the issue – which, thanks to a positive Sixth Circuit Court ruling last week, is almost certainly post-marked for the high court.

SOURCE





Australia: Politically correct giving?

Questions over Katy Perry's choice of school for cash prize. Is it wrong to give prizes for excellence?  Must all prizes go to the poor?

Schools for children with disabilities have questioned a decision by Katy Perry and tour sponsor to give a $10,000 cash prize to Loreto Mandeville Hall College's performing arts facilities.

Telstra said the decision to choose Loreto Mandeville, an independent girls' school in Toorak, came directly from Perry, who is in Melbourne performing her Prismatic tour and that there was no interference.

"I picked you guys out of 300 different submissions from all over Australia, there are four girls that we should all thank because they made the most adorable, sweet, innocent, full-of-life, full-of-joy video – and I picked that one," she told her fans at Loreto on Thursday.

Perry visited the Toorak college yesterday which won a nationwide competition.

"I'm not one to complain but I think it's a shame when there's a lot of other struggling schools who want to expand their performing arts," said Karen Taylor, executive assistant to the CEO at Mater Dei in Camden, NSW. 

"Purely based on appearances I don't know if that school [Loreto Mandeville] would necessarily need an additional extra $10,000 for their faculty when they already have a fully fledged orchestra and a state-of-the-art performing arts department," she said.

Ms Taylor also said their school's submission did not have the resources to submit a professional-looking video.

"Loreto did a fantastic compilation of what their school was doing but theirs looked professionally done and they've clearly got the resources for that," she said.

Frankston's BAM Allstars dance group for children with different abilities also applied.

"We are wanting to develop a program to take into special schools. Most of them don't have a performing arts program at all," said founder Lisa Murphy.

SOURCE

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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

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14 November, 2014

Another one of those wonderful multiculturalists Britain is lucky to have



A nurse was murdered and mutilated by her ex-boyfriend after police failed to warn her that he had a history of attacks on women, a damning official report has found.

Katie Cullen, 34, a highly respected hospital sister, was ‘badly let down’ by police who failed to protect her from Iman Ghaefelipour, 28.

The Iranian, who had successfully claimed asylum in the UK, threatened to kill two previous girlfriends and burn down one of their houses.

When Miss Cullen reported him to police for harassment and death threats, they investigated – but did not pass on the information.

This was because she said he had spoken ‘in the heat of the moment’ and had never been violent, and there were no ‘warning markers’ for violence on his record, they claimed.

Miss Cullen later agreed to meet him at her home, where he stabbed her more than 130 times in the face and neck, cut out her right eyeball and tried to sever her right hand. He was jailed for at least 23 years in 2010 after pleading guilty to the murder in October 2009.

Yesterday a deeply critical report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) found that had she been told of his past, Miss Cullen might be alive today.

It said claims he set fires on an earlier partner’s property were not handled properly.

Rachel Cerfontyne, IPCC deputy chairman, said police put her in danger by giving her ‘false reassurance’.

She went on: ‘In my view, Katie was badly let down by Greater Manchester Police. Our investigation exposed a catalogue of inaction and missed opportunities.

‘Had arson offences against [his ex] been adequately investigated, it is possible Mr Ghaefelipour would have been convicted and not at liberty . . . [Miss Cullen] was passed from pillar to post.’

Her mother Diane, also a nurse, said: ‘We are distraught at what happened to Katie and utterly appalled at the lack of care she received at the hands of GMP.

‘It is inconceivable to us that the two police officers concerned should protect her assailant . . . rather than a vulnerable girl who lived on her own and who turned to them for help. By withholding such information from Katie they denied her the opportunity to protect herself.

‘She returned to her own home alone and vulnerable, ignorant of the dangerous situation she was in.’

She added: ‘Since Katie’s murder we have been plunged into unimaginable torture. ‘There isn’t a day goes by I don’t think about her.’

SOURCE






Catholic Cardinal: Gay Marriage ‘A Trojan Horse Undermining... Core of Humanity'

Catholic Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, the head of the Italian Bishops Conference, warned Monday that gay marriage is “a Trojan horse” that weakens the family.

“It only confuses people and has the effect of being a sort of Trojan horse, undermining culturally and socially the core of humanity,” Cardinal Bagnasco told those gathered at a meeting of Italian bishops in the town of Assisi in Umbria, according to The Telegraph.

“It is irresponsible to weaken the family by creating new forms”, the cardinal emphasized, adding that children “have a right to a mother and a father.”

Cardinal Bagnasco also serves as archbishop of Genoa and president of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI), Italy’s national association of bishops. He was considered one of the top five candidates to succeed the retiring Pope Benedict XVI.

According to The Telegraph, “Cardinal Bagnasco’s remarks were interpreted as an attack on the increasing number of mayors in Italy who have recently made a point of recognising gay marriages performed overseas.”

Same-sex marriage is illegal in Italy, although Reuters reported last month that the mayor of Rome held a ceremony to recognize the validity of 16 gay “marriages” performed outside of Italy.

"Such arbitrary presumption, put on show right here in Rome at the present time, is unacceptable," CEI said in a statement condemning the mayor’s actions.

Eugenia Roccella, a member of Parliament from Italy’s New Centre Right Party, said that “Cardinal Bagnasco's comments on the family are, as ever, absolutely clear,” The Daily Mail reports.

“The attempt by mayors to undermine the law and the Italian constitution by registering gay marriages performed abroad is specious and constitutes a classic Trojan horse tactic,” Roccella added.

SOURCE






Why must my family pay for the sins of a minority? 

By Sarah Vine

On Sunday, with my husband out at Remembrance services and my youngest expected at a football match several miles away, I faced a common parental dilemma.

Our daughter was still in her pyjamas - and had no desire to attend either match or service. She begged to be allowed to stay at home. Alone.

I hesitated. I’ve never left her on her own before, bar my occasional trips to the corner shop.  But she’s 11 now. She comes home on her own from school. She takes the dog to the park. It was 9.30am on a Sunday morning. What could possibly go wrong?

So off we went, my son and I, leaving her in her slippers. He scored a goal; she mainlined trashy TV; both were equally thrilled.

It was only later that she told me what really happened. She had gone to the corner shop to ‘get a magazine’ (in other words: buy sweets) and had locked herself out.

Finding none of the neighbours home she, understandably, burst into tears. Then, luckily, she remembered where I keep the Secret Key.

As a mother, it’s very hard to judge when your child is ready to step up a rung on the personal responsibility ladder.  My parents, for example, used to leave me alone with my younger brother from about the age of eight - but then I was the most prissy little Miss Goody-two-shoes that ever lived.  Still, an eight-year-old in charge of a four-year-old?

Nowadays, some busybody would have probably reported us; my mother might have ended up with a criminal record, as happened to some poor woman who left her six-year-old alone for 45 minutes eight years ago, and - it was revealed this week - is still fighting to get the police caution wiped from her record.

According to the Lib Dem MP John Hemming, the home alone dilemma requires government attention.  ‘It is not at all clear for how long and at what age children can be left alone,’ he said. ‘Nor is it clear whether leaving them alone is either not an issue, a child-protection issue or a criminal issue’.

The answer is: none of the above. A good parent knows their child; it should be up to them to make the judgement call.

The fact is that very few parents deliberately neglect their children. Yet, as with everything else these days, it is the lowest common denominator in human behaviour, and not the standards of the silent, decent majority, which dictates policy.

Take the story this week about children in Scotland being hospitalised after eating laundry tablets.  Apparently the problem is that they look like sweets. Cue the usual knee-jerk demands for ‘action’.

But why? Must we all be treated like morons just because some people can’t be bothered to keep the Liquitabs on the top shelf?
Must we all be treated like morons just because some people can’t be bothered to keep the Liquitabs on the top shelf?

And take the woman being sued for criminal negligence on behalf of her daughter, who was born with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome.

The mother concerned consumed the equivalent of around five bottles of wine a day. Clearly an appalling and tragic case.

And yet there were predictable demands to make it a criminal offence for pregnant women to drink.

As though downing a whole bottle of vodka was in anyway equivalent to having half a glass of wine with dinner.

It’s this kind of moral dumbing down — where the most irresponsible in our society consume the most time and resources while those who set an example are ignored or taken for granted — that’s so frustrating.

After all, what’s the point in trying to be a good and upright citizen if all you ever get in return are more self-reliance sapping restrictions and tick-box laws that undermine our responsibilities as parents.

These restrictions are invariably imposed by that omnipotent modern class, the people who know best. Which is why I increasingly get the nagging sense that someone, somewhere, is taking me for an almighty ride.

SOURCE





Ban On 'Baa Baa Black Sheep' Among Australian Kindergarteners

The word "black" in the nursery rhyme Baa Baa Black Sheep is derogatory and racial for its allusion to black people—an implication that can be derived from the decision of staff at childcare centres in the Southeastern suburbs to change the lyric of the song. Also, a childcare centre in Melbourne mulls alteration to the line "one for the little boy who lives down the lane" for sexist insinuation, the Herald Sun reports.

The decision sparked unwanted reaction from parents saying the desire for political correctness was overblown. One parent said the rhyme is in no way alluding to a race. Another parent, who said he had black skin, said the issue is becoming a joke. While one parent pointed out there are black sheep and there are white sheep, the decision is like banning the use of the colour black.

Speaking to the Herald Sun, Celine Pieterse, co-ordinator of Malvern East's Central Park Child Care, said it will be more appropriate to introduce a variety of the sheep instead of banning the term "black." The term denotes the colour of the sheep and nothing else, Belli Spanos, owner of Bubbles Pre-School, told the Herald Sun.

The song's political correctness has actually been a long running issue. Back in 2000, a school council inspector in Birmingham City had told schools in the region not to teach the song anymore. The inspector said the song is filled with all the negative connotations like being the "black sheep of the family." The inspector also underlined the negative history behind the song, saying it originated back in the time of slavery. "The rhyme has colonial links: 'Three bags full' refers to the three bags of wool which the slaves were told to collect and 'yes sir, yes sir' is how the slaves would reply to the slave masters when told to do a task," the inspector was quoted saying.

The Birmingham City Council ruled otherwise, scrapping the advice. Parents had appealed the advice was ridiculous. The song had since been taught as is.

SOURCE

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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

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13 November, 2014

Atheist group at work again

Recently, The Military Religious Freedom Foundation has brought accusations against the University of North Georgia in a letter found here. Allegations state that UNG has violated the Constitution and now the MRFF plans to take litigious measures against the university.

The MRFF seeks to protect religious equality and ensure freedom of worship under the Establishment Clause of the Constitution, found in the first amendment of the Bill of Rights. Key components of their work are guarding the religious and non-religious from oppression concerning religion as well as ensuring that no one religion dominates or suffocates the expression of worship to all religions.

The MRFF bases their case off of recent meetings held with university officials, services and events. In particular, the 2014 9/11 Memorial Service, in which a Christian prayer was led by the Corps Chaplain.

 In order to make the University aware of its' "illegal actions" the MMRF sent a letter to President Jacobs on October 1, 2014. This is a notification of the plan of action that the MRFF seeks to take in order to maintain and cultivate religious equality. The letter outlines grievances against the university as well as a timeline of events.

In the timeline, the most recent event listed is the 9/11 memorial service. According to the MRFF the service was mandatory and "not an optional religious formation"; prayers and invocations were made to the Christian God under leadership of the Catholic Campus Ministry.

Just as well, according to a UNG student, who has asked to remain anonymous, who brought forth information and has shed light on the fact that the Corps has only allowed Baptist chaplains in the Corps of Cadets participate in spiritual leadership.

According to school regulations, enacting this practice has broken rules and standards, as well as completely ignored the custom of military desegregation.

a national security expert reveals military leaders are overtly promoting evangelical christianityA national security expert reveals military leaders are overtly promoting evangelical Christianity.

It appears that the MRFF has a strong case against the University. Yet, the University has hired lawyers and stands ready to defend itself from any and all legal attacks. President Jacobs has responded to the MRFF in the form of a written letter. In the following letter Jacobs defends as well as explains how the University is not at fault for recent events that are currently under attack by the MRFF. Jacobs, as well as the current UNG administration believes that University is not fault.

President Jacobs' letter to the MRFF defends UNG's traditional religious presence. "The Corps of Cadets did not sponsor the Event" Jacobs writes, "but rather it was sponsored by the Student Government Association." According to President Jacobs, cadets were not required but encouraged to attend. Clearly stated in Jacobs' response is a weekly memo sent out to all cadets. Jacobs went on to explain that the SGA president had asked another SGA member to plan and organize the layout of the service. The student, on their own accord, decided to have a benediction and religious speaker.

The University, in order to comply with national laws and standards, at all school-sponsored events has removed the word "prayer." Rather, "a time of reflection" is allowed for all present; for example, at a convocation or graduation ceremony. UNG is also obligated to follow to specific clauses in the constitution. First, the University must obey the Free Speech clause and is unable to censor student speech. Secondly, the University must adhere to the Establishment clause. So, the University cannot endorse one single religion, when it comes to religion it is required to be student led.

In Dr. Jacobs' response to the MRFF she writes, "Genuinely student initiated religious speech at events organized by student organizations on campus implicates both of our constitutional obligations."

SOURCE






Punching the Duggars

While so much of reality television dwells on catty "Real Housewives" and Snooki-style party-hearty debauchery, it's interesting to note that a small fraction of this ever-expanding genre is celebrating evangelical Christianity and values like chastity.

This drives the libertines crazy. Washington Post TV critic Hank Stuever recently raged on the Internet against the Duggar family of TLC's "19 Kids & Counting" and how they are no more worthy of attention than the Kardashians. Their children are denied "freedom of choice."

"My thoughts on the Duggars are few and far between because I think the show treats its viewers like they're learning-disabled," he wrote. Then he doubled down. "The viewers, not the Duggars. Although ... "

Leftists, especially openly gay writers like Stuever, itch for the children to rebel against that old-time religion. "I guess we just sit and wait and hope that there's a contrarian in the bunch who gets the itch to write a tell-all at some point down the road. I'd be surprised if anyone seriously watches the Duggar show out of a place of envy."

It is the right of a TV critic to knock the Duggar show as too sweet and happy and prim for his snarky tastes. But how do those critics react when you knock a show they like? "If you don't like it, turn the channel!" Let's face it, the Duggar family isn't broken by divorce or addiction or other social maladies. That is why the critics are turned off.

On the other hand, the celebrity magazines have found these popular Christian reality shows to be worthy of cover stories. The latest Us Weekly forwards "Duck Dynasty" teenager Sadie Robertson's decision to forego premarital sex. A recent edition of People magazine reported on newly married Jill Duggar and the family's "Extreme Courtship Rules." Those principles are a direct challenge to today's hookup culture, and that's what makes magazine readers so curious about them.

It naturally follows that loutish "sex columnist" Dan Savage would get in his insults at these "professional virgins." The conservative blog site Twitchy took exception to his wisecracking on Twitter that the Duggar daughters should observe his mating rules, including his notion of "F-- First." Savage thinks people should be sexually compatible before marriage, so chastity is a terrible idea. In fact, he despises virginity and its advocates. His rules also include cheating, which is "inevitable" in his mind.

After Twitchy spurred the conservative Twitterati to attack him, Savage then responded with a 2,500-word attack on the Duggar worldview. Like Stuever, it begins with the notion that Christians are an organized "hate group." Their oldest son Josh now works for the Family Research Council, which validates their charge, they would tell you.

Savage argues that if the Duggars were Muslims and Josh worked for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, conservatives would never embrace them. "But the right wing doesn't have a problem with the Duggars: They're the right color, they worship the right God, and they want to impose the right brand of theocracy."

Savage, like Stuever, wishes these robot-children would grow up to reject their freakish parents: "I have hopes for all the unmarried little Duggars still being pimped on television and dragged to campaign rallies: I hope they all get out from under the thumbs of their crazy, controlling, virginity-obsessed parents."

Leftists better hope their "best wishes" for rebellion are never turned on them. Would it seem kind for conservatives to wish that Dan Savage's adopted son should write a "tell-all book" about growing up having to hear all about his "father's" extreme sex rules and obsessions? It would seem unkind, intolerant and smug -S all adjectives that apply to the Duggar bashers.

SOURCE






Immigration: the real cost to Britain

It's official: immigration is great. According to a new report from University College London, those arriving on these shores between 2001 and 2011 put roughly œ25 billion more into the economy than they took out, creating millions of new jobs in the process. So what's all the fuss about?

Well, before Nigel Farage runs down to Heathrow with a great big "Welcome!" sign, let's stir in a pinch of salt. For starters, the benefits we're talking about aren't as significant as they sound. During that decade, the immigrant population grew by more than 2.5 million, meaning (to a rough approximation) that each new arrival is chipping in less than œ20 a week.

In fact, if you widen the timescale, and focus on immigrants as a whole rather than those who have arrived in the past decade or so, you can tell a rather different story. Between 1995 and 2011, those originally from Europe - whether they arrived under Heath, Thatcher, Blair or Cameron - added just œ4 billion to Britain's economy. Meanwhile, those who came from further abroad - the West Indies, India, Australia etc - took out œ118 billion. It's hard to call that a good deal.

The next obvious criticism is that "net fiscal benefit" is not the same thing as things getting better. Just as concreting over the green belt increases GDP, but sends voters into a rage, so immigration has costs that don't turn up on the spreadsheets - greater competition for housing, pressure on public services, lower wages for those at the bottom, changes to the character of communities. It would be a foolish politician who waved this report at the people of Rochdale or Boston, and told them not to worry.

Even the fact that the newest arrivals are putting in more than they take out shouldn't be much of a surprise. For all the furore over benefit tourism, it's long been clear that most migrants want to add to Britain's wealth, not to leach off it.

The problem is that increasing the size of Britain's economy is not the same thing as making its existing inhabitants richer. Back in 2008, Lord Lawson, the former chancellor, was part of a House of Lords committee that produced a wide-ranging study of immigration's effects. "If you take everything into account," he tells me, "there's very little evidence that it increases prosperity, in terms of GDP per head of population. In terms of what most people are worried about - their standard of living - it doesn't make any difference at all."

Moreover, while today's immigrants may be young and keen, they will soon grow out of it. "Initially, you may get some economic boost," says Lord Lawson. "But as immigrants get older they require more help from social services and so on, and as they have children, those children require education, and in the longer run you don't get that benefit."

But in fact, the central message of this report isn't about immigration at all. It's about the people who are already here.

During that period between 1995 and 2011, the total net contribution to the public finances of European immigrants, new and old, was - as mentioned above - œ4 billion. But at the same time, the British-born population took out a staggering œ591 billion more than it put in.

That, ultimately, is why we've got a deficit: because the average Briton is getting more services from the state than he or she is willing to - or, more charitably, has been asked to - pay for. Non-European migrants are even more of a drain on the Exchequer, partly because they have larger families, but also because they've been here long enough to learn our bad habits.

What this suggests, in turn, is that we've got our perception of immigration upside-down. It's not a case of foreigners coming over here and taking our jobs. It's us creaming off the best and brightest from other countries, and bringing them here to do the jobs we can't or won't.

Consider the following statistics from the UCL report. Native Britons, it finds, are more likely to be on benefits (37 per cent of us receive some kind of handout or tax credit) or to be living in social housing than new arrivals. The starkest differences are in education: as of 2011, more than half of the British-born population had left school before the age of 17, putting them in the "low-education" category. Among Europeans living in this country, the figure was 21 per cent, and among non-Europeans, 23 per cent. Fewer than a quarter of native Britons have university degrees - among our foreign guests, it's 35 per cent and 41 per cent respectively. And this attainment gap is getting steadily wider, as ever more BAs and PhDs arrive on these shores.

This injection of brainpower is undoubtedly good for that nebulous beast, "the economy". But it also allows us to paper over the social cracks. Iain Duncan Smith's welfare reforms have done wonders to push people back into work. But the proportion of households where no one actually works is still almost one in six. Because there is such a ready supply of skilled labour from elsewhere, Britain's under-educated can all too easily be written off.

Alongside the state, employers must take their share of the blame. "If you want to be a high-wage economy," says David Green, of the Civitas think tank, "then you need a skilled and trained workforce. I think companies have taken the easy option of importing skills because they can get people right away. For example, you can't say that employers have reduced the number of apprenticeships because of the influx of skilled newcomers from overseas. But it's certainly a hell of a coincidence."

It's not just Britain that loses out. Between 1995 and 2011, claims the UCL study, "European immigrants endowed the UK labour market with human capital that would have cost œ14 billion if it were produced through the British education system". Instead, we got others to do the teaching for us, and reaped the rewards - even if the jobs we gave the arrivals, such as bartending or waitressing, were far below their competence.

The impact of this new "brain drain", from the rest of the world to Britain, can be seen in the NHS, which is hugely dependent on immigrant labour (26 per cent of doctors are foreign nationals, compared to 15 per cent of the workforce as a whole). A study by Civitas found that after EU migration controls on Romania were lifted, it lost 30 per cent of its doctors to richer countries within two years. If a flu crisis hits the NHS this winter, dozens of emergency wards will be set up to house the elderly victims - and to man them, we will wave wads of cash at foreign staff, with no thought to the impact in their home countries.

Britain's success at attracting bright, talented people from overseas says impressive things about the kind of society we are - one where effort is rewarded and strangers are welcomed. I and many others remain convinced that a healthy level of immigration is good not just for our economy, but our society.

But immigration becomes unhealthy when we use it, as we are, to mask our own deficiencies. Hiring more well-spoken, well-educated foreigners may seem a more attractive option than pushing ahead with education and welfare reform, or asking people to work for longer, or forcing them to take less from the state. It's not a substitute, however, because it merely postpones the terrible day when we have to live within our means. So yes, let's welcome the best and brightest to Britain. But we can't keep relying on them to save us from ourselves.

SOURCE






25 years after the Berlin Wall fell, Conflicts over Lifestyles and Values have replaced it

As Germany celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Mikhail Gorbachev spoiled it all by reminding everyone that the world is still far from at ease with itself. The former Soviet leader warned that we are on ‘the brink of a new world war’ and he criticised the Western powers for cultivating a climate of conflict and tension in their dealings with post-Soviet Russia.

For once, this old Soviet politician was almost right. Twenty-five years after the demise of the Berlin Wall, the global situation looks more uncertain and unpredictable than it did during the Cold War, when the world was frozen into two super blocs. However, despite the seeming reappearance of diplomatic clashing between the US and Russia, the world today has little in common with the Cold War moment of the post-Second World War era.

It is worth noting that, at the time, the collapse of the Berlin Wall was looked upon by most of the major powers as, at best, a mixed blessing. The division of Germany provided the foundation for the postwar global balance of power. This Cold War balance helped to minimise the conflict of interests between East and West. Indeed, the Cold War was underpinned by an understanding which allowed the US to maintain hegemony over the capitalist world and which gave the Soviet Union a regional sphere of influence in Eastern Europe. In retrospect, what was remarkable about the Cold War was the ability of most of the major players to manage their conflict. Despite the aggressive rhetoric of this era, the Cold War was a period of relative peace between hostile geopolitical blocs. The bloody upheavals and wars occurred not in Europe, America or Russia, but in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and were either directly or indirectly a response to the experience of Western colonialism.

The fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent disintegration of the Soviet Union was greeted by numerous Western observers as a vindication of their way of life. At least superficially, it seemed to many that the post-Cold War era would herald a new Golden Age of global capitalism. Yet once the Berlin Wall came down, and the Soviet Union followed it on to the scrapheap of history, ending the Cold War, the Western elites were faced with some fundamental questions that they had tried to evade for so long. The big question of what Western society stands for could no longer be answered by the statement: ‘We are defined by our hostility to Communism.’

The Soviet bloc imploded from within. The superficiality of its ideological outlook was exposed in the fact that it could not inspire or motivate a significant number of its own citizens. The West did not face any serious ideological competition towards the end of the Cold War - the swift demise of the Soviet bloc indicated that the West was very much kicking at an open door.

Paradoxically, Western societies were not intellectually or politically prepared for the post-Cold War era. Previously, Western societies could avoid the problem of spelling out what they stood for by appealing to the need to fight Communism. The Soviet Union and its very bad reputation served as the best argument for the Western way of life. The negative example of the Soviet way of life helped Western governments to dodge the question of what they really stood for. Liberalism itself, particularly in the form of so-called neoliberalism, remained an intellectually underdeveloped outlook and possessed relatively limited cultural support even in the West.

The Nobel Prize-winning liberal economist, Milton Friedman, was in no doubt that liberalism did not actually conquer its ideological opponents. He recognised that by the late 1970s support for the free market and capitalism had won out against the opponents of these systems; but he also knew that the shift in public opinion in his direction was more a consequence of the failures of state socialism than it was evidence of the compelling force of the ideals of liberalism. He insisted that the ‘change in the climate of opinion was produced by experience, not by theory or philosophy’. After summarising the numerous setbacks suffered by advocates of big government and the welfare state, he asserted that it was ‘these phenomena, not the persuasiveness of the ideas expressed in books dealing with principles’, that explained the ‘transition from the overwhelming defeat of Barry Goldwater in 1964 to the overwhelming victory of Ronald Reagan – two men with essentially the same programme and the same message’. In other words, the success of liberal economics was contingent on the failures of its opponents.

The end of the Cold War coincided with the erosion of the master narratives of modernity. The absence of any ‘overarching’ ideological project, and the general tendency towards the depoliticisation of public life, was most coherently expressed in the Third Way projects of the 1990s.

In effect, the tensions and conflicts immanent in capitalist societies had ceased, at least temporarily, to be fought on the battlefield of politics. This development was most vividly expressed in the phrase Margaret Thatcher hurled at her detractors: ‘TINA’ – ‘There is no alternative’. By the 1990s, very few people needed to be reminded that TINA had acquired a life of its own and was now widely accepted. As Perry Anderson, one of Britain’s leading leftist intellectuals, argued in 2000: ‘For the first time since the Reformation, there are no longer any significant oppositions – that is, systematic outlooks.’

Yet the rhetoric of TINA – which continues to influence public life to this day – does not provide the political establishment with an ethos that might inspire public support and endow the establishment’s actions and policies with authority and legitimacy. The depoliticisation of public life that followed the fall of the Berlin Wall has encouraged public institutions to embrace a narrowly technocratic and opportunistic modus operandi.

The estrangement of policymakers from principles and foundational values has made them vulnerable to short-termist, often arbitrary influences. The power of these corrosive trends explains the very poor quality of political leadership and policymaking in Western societies today. Governments now find it difficult to elaborate any norms, values or policies through which they might express national interests, or even just their own party’s interests.

The most extreme manifestation of this incoherent form of policymaking can be seen in the realm of foreign affairs. Western military and diplomatic interventions in Libya, Syria, Iraq and Ukraine serve no geopolitical purpose; rather, these are self-destructive policies conducted by political elites that lack an understanding of geopolitical interests and any sense of clarity about the workings of the world. The recently published report Dangerous Brinkmanship, which argued that close military encounters between Russia and the West have escalated to Cold War levels, with 40 dangerous or sensitive incidents recorded in the past eight months alone, is evidence of just that: irresponsible brinkmanship.

As was the case in recent interventions in Libya and Syria, these are provocations without regard for consequences. This pattern stands in sharp contrast to the carefully calibrated behaviour of hostile blocs during the Cold War.

Our post-Berlin Wall, depoliticised era has encouraged political leaders to behave in a way that feels extraordinarily disconnected from the real problems facing the global community. The West’s escalation of the war of words against Russia and the application of diplomatic pressure on the Putin regime is a good example of the kind of immature policymaking that threatens to unleash instability today. It is almost as if a nostalgia for the certainties of the Cold War drives NATO countries to confront Russia in this way.

However, contrary to appearances, the world does not face a new Cold War. With the rise of China and India, the development of new economies in Latin America, and the rise of radical Islam, the world can no longer be divided up into two hostile ideological blocs.

But just because there is no prospect of a return to the Cold War, that does not mean society and international affairs have been spared bitter conflict and disputes. On the contrary, the depoliticisation of public life has coincided with the emergence of conflict in the most unexpected places. What has happened is that in recent years the depoliticisation of public life has led to the politicisation of other areas of social experience, particularly morality and culture.

Disputes over lifestyle, family life, sexual orientation and the nature of community life are no longer confined to the domestic sphere. The Culture Wars have become internationalised. Muslim jihadists are not just fighting with bombs. They are directly assaulting Western liberal values and denouncing them as immoral. For his part, Putin has sought to assume the mantle of the global leader fighting for traditionalism and the Christian way of life. In turn, Western diplomats have criticised Russia for its patriarchal and sexist culture.

Some might conclude that the new international conflict over values is relatively benign compared to the old ideological wars that led to the division of Germany and the rise of the Berlin Wall. But this isn’t true. Conflicts over lifestyles and values are difficult to manage because they touch on basic moral issues such as good and evil. Morally charged conflicts are rarely susceptible to compromise and often lead to a breakdown in communication. Which is why in the current era, the displacement of ideology by the politicisation of values has been expressed in the shift from a Cold War to a Culture War. Hopefully, the divisions that were once symbolised by the old Berlin Wall will not reappear in the form of an equally depressing Culture Wall.

SOURCE

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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

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12 November, 2014

Navy Chaplain Lt. Gordon J. Klingenschmitt mocked by atheist site

What the atheist Left find incredible is in fact normal fundamentalist Christianity, basically the thinking that created America and ruled America until about 100 years ago.  The Left are so out of touch with people outside their own little self-constructed mental bubble that they find as utterly incredible beliefs that are still held by many millions of Americans.  To take the most obvious example, the rejection of homosexuality as an abomination to God is extremely well-founded in the Bible -- See Romans chapter 1 for starters.   And if I were a Christian I think I would see Obama as devil-possessed, given his attacks on America's treasured religious liberty. 

And even the apparently hilarious  "sell your clothes and buy a gun" is thoroughly scriptural.  There were no guns in Christ's day but few Christians will be unaware of  what Jesus said about the matter at the Last Supper (Luke 22:36).  Christ wanted his teachings defended and many Christians to this day do so


By one count, there are over 7,000 Americans serving as state legislators nationwide, and with a group that big, there are going to be some strange, fringe figures that most of the American mainstream would find cringe-worthy. It's hardly worth the effort to point out every nut who somehow gets elected to help write a state's laws.

That said, Gordon Klingenschmitt - a.k.a. "Dr. Chaps" - is a very special case.  Gordon "Dr. Chaps" Klingenschmitt, a radical anti-gay Religious Right activist who brags of having once tried to rid of woman of the "foul spirit of lesbianism" through an exorcism and who openly proclaims that "American law needs to reflect God's law" and that our foreign policy must be based on the Bible, won election to the Colorado House of Representatives last night.

Klingenschmitt, who wrote a book about how President Obama is possessed by demons and once performed an exorcism of Obama, ran an utterly embarrassing campaign yet nonetheless managed to defeat his Democratic opponent by nearly 40 points.

It's probably worth emphasizing, in case anyone isn't sure, that this is entirely serious. Klingenschmitt really believes in exorcisms for gay people and that the president is demon-possessed. And 17,000 voters in Colorado really did choose, on purpose, to make Klingenschmitt a state lawmaker.

That said, one might be forgiven for thinking Right Wing Watch's profile of the newly elected legislator is some kind of joke. Klingenschmitt believes "only people who are going to heaven are entitled to equal treatment by the government." He's said "teaching kids about gay marriage is mental rape." He's argued that the Affordable Care Act "causes cancer." He's described Islamic State militants as a sign of the Biblical End Times.

But again, this is not a joke.

Perhaps my personal favorite was the time that Klingenschmitt declared, "You know what, citizens, if you don't have a gun, I'm telling you - as a Christian chaplain - sell your clothes and buy a gun. It's time." (Really, that's what he said. It's on video.)

It's also worth emphasizing that while Klingenschmitt ran and won as a Republican, Zack Ford noted that Colorado GOP officials have not been eager to embrace the fringe figure and his bizarre worldview. After Klingenschmitt won his primary, state Republican Party Chairman Ryan Call said, "Gordon does not speak on behalf of the Republican Party. To suggest otherwise is inaccurate and dishonest."

SOURCE






Tories' Bill of Rights 'will protect free Press': Culture Secretary says Tories will commit to changes that will alter special protection

A new Bill of Rights should include special legal protections for Britain's journalists and its 300-year-old free Press, the Culture Secretary will say today.  Sajid Javid will commit the Tories to changes that will strengthen the law around Press freedoms if the party wins next year's general election.

In a speech to the Society of Editors, the minister will announce that a Conservative government will replace Labour's Human Rights Act with a new British Bill of Rights and Responsibilities.

`Passed in our Parliament and rooted in our values, it will restore British judges as the ultimate arbiters of British justice,' he will say.

`I'm delighted to announce that I have agreed with the Justice Secretary that the British Bill of Rights will include specific protection for journalists and a free Press.

`The Human Rights Act and the European Court of Human Rights have not done enough to protect journalists who play such a unique role in our society. Our British Bill of Rights will change that.'

The minister will consult on the specific measures to be included, but they are expected to include a new legal right for journalists to protect their sources as well as a broad new public interest defence.

At the moment, the rights of the Press are enshrined in a series of different Acts including the Human Rights Act, the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, the Data Protection Act, the Defamation Act and the Contempt of Court Act.

Aides said a new Bill of Rights would offer an opportunity to `abandon this piecemeal approach and ensure Press freedom is enshrined in legislation clearly, unequivocally and in one place'.

Following the Leveson Inquiry and the row over Press regulation, Mr Javid has attempted to reassure critics of government handling of the issue.

He said soon after his appointment this year: `The Press is hugely important and freedom of speech is a cornerstone of our democracy. I'm proud of the Press.  `Notwithstanding the fact that any industry has its bad apples, I think our Press is the best in the world. It is fearless without favour.'

The Conservatives plan to publish a draft Bill around the end of the year.

Home Secretary Theresa May has vowed to tighten the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act which has been used by police to access journalists' phone records without a judge's approval.

It has emerged in recent weeks that police have been using the legislation to force telecoms companies to hand over information without customers' knowledge.

Detectives investigating disgraced MP Chris Huhne's speeding fraud secretly obtained a Mail on Sunday reporter's phone records without his consent, despite laws protecting confidential journalistic sources.

The Government has also announced a review of the introduction of time limits on police bail. Some journalists accused of phone hacking and other offences have been left on police bail for more than two years.

Viscount Rothermere, chairman of DMGT, publisher of the Daily Mail, warned last month of an `anti-Press climate' and said journalists were being `crushed by the full weight of the law' - in sharp contrast with `those in the City whose greed almost caused our entire banking system to collapse'.

SOURCE






Should midwives opposed to abortion have the right to refuse any involvement in abortion cases?

Midwives who object to abortions could be allowed to opt out of any involvement with women who choose to terminate their unborn babies.

A court will tomorrow hear an appeal after two Catholic midwives won a landmark case for the right to refuse any involvement in abortion procedures in 2013.

Mary Doogan, 58, and Connie Wood, 52, argued that being required to supervise staff involved in abortions was a violation of their human rights.

The women had no direct role in pregnancy terminations, but claimed they should also be able to refuse to support staff taking part in the procedures.

If the court upholds that decision it could set a legal precedent, allowing other midwives who object to abortions to take the same stance.

But the Royal College of Midwives and the women's charity British Pregnancy Advisory Service (bpas) warned today that such a ruling could have severe implications for the care of women choosing abortions. The case will return to the Court of Session in Scotland tomorrow after NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde appealed the ruling

Ms Doogan and Ms Wood took their case against NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to the Court of Session in Edinburgh in 2012, but lost.  But in April last year, three appeal judges at the same court ruled their appeal should succeed.

Judges at the court will tomorrow hear an appeal by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

The act allows healthcare professionals to refuse to participate in abortion care, provided it is not an emergency situation. 

In 2012, the Outer House of the Court of Session rejected Ms Doogan and Ms Woods' case ruling that participation in treatment meant direct involvement in ending the pregnancy.

That decision was overturned in 2013 by the Court's Inner House, which judged the midwives were legally allowed to refrain from delegating to, supervising and supporting colleagues involved in abortion care on their wards.

The RCM and bpas believe if that decision is upheld it will require all professional guidance to be rewritten.

But their spokesman said their concerns go further, and will 'enable a tiny number of staff opposed to abortion to make women's care undeliverable in some NHS settings in the UK'. 

Ann Furedi, bpas chief executive, said: 'bpas supports the right of healthcare professionals to conscientious objection, not least because women deserve better than being treated with contempt by those who think they are sinners.

'But ultimately a balance needs to be struck between that exercise of conscience and women's access to legal services.

'It would be grossly unjust if an interpretation of conscientious objection was allowed to stand which would disrupt services to the point that those committed to helping women were unable to do so.'

Gillian Smith, RCM director for Scotland, said they 'absolutely support midwives' right to conscientious objection'.

She added: 'The RCM position has always been and will remain that we support women's choice within the law.

'We also want to ensure that women undergoing this procedure, for whatever reason, get the best possible care, which we feel could be compromised if the current laws are changed.

The health board argued that the right of conscientious objection was a right only to refuse to take part in activities that directly brought about the termination of a pregnancy, and was not available to the pair in respect of their duties of delegation, supervision and support.

SOURCE






Dramatic Religious Shift in Brazil as Evangelicals Are Rapidly Overtaking Catholics

Silas Malafaia, an influential evangelical minister, tweeted on 30 August that if Marina Silva of the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) didn't "take a position [against same-sex marriage] by Monday, she'll get one of the harshest speeches I've ever made about a presidential candidate." Silva was standing in the presidential election and for a time seemed to be a serious contender. (She came third in the first round; Dilma Rousseff, already president since 2010, narrowly won the run-off in late October.) Silva's manifesto, published on 29 August, broke a taboo: It said that if elected she would support legislation to allow same-sex marriage.

Homosexual marriage has been legal in Brazil since a Supreme Court decision in May 2013. "But it's a legal precedent that could still be overturned by conservative judges. As long as there is no law, our rights are not protected," said Jean Wyllys, Brazil's only openly homosexual member of parliament. Silva's declaration was remarkable since she claims to be a practicing member of the Assembly of God, a socially conservative, Pentecostal evangelical church.

Malafaia's tweet turned out to be a pivotal event in Brazilian politics: A few hours later, Silva did a U-turn. "You lied to us, you played on the hopes of millions of people - you don't deserve the trust of the Brazilian people," said Wyllys, who had praised Silva's manifesto though he was backing another candidate. Silva was not alone in courting the millions of evangelicals: All the candidates, including Rousseff, had set up committees to win their vote. The country's evangelicals have gone from 5% to 22% of the population in 40 years.

Pope Francis visited Brazil in an effort to revive the loss of membership in the Catholic Church in Brazil.Pope Francis visited Brazil in an effort to revive the loss of membership in the Catholic Church in Brazil.

Brazil is undergoing a religious revolution. In 1970, 92% of the population claimed to be Catholic, according to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics; in 2010 only 64.4%. "Brazil is unique: It's the only large country to have seen such a profound change in its religious landscape in so short a time," said José Eustáquio Alves of the National School of Statistical Science in Rio de Janeiro. The change is due to the growth of the evangelical churches, particularly the Pentecostals and Neo-Pentecostals. (Lutheran, Baptist and Methodist membership is stable.) Evangelicals have gone from 5% to 22% of the population in 40 years. With 23 million believers, Brazil is still the world's largest Catholic country - but not for long, according to Eustáquio Alves, who calculates evangelicals and Catholics should be neck-and-neck by 2030.

The urban landscape illustrates this change. The Rio de Janeiro square popularly known as Cinelândia, on which stand the Municipal Theatre and the National Library, got its nickname from the many cinemas built there the early 20th century. Almost all are gone, and the film posters have been replaced by prayers to Jesus, and the names of chapels in neon - Universal Church, God is Love, World Church of the Kingdom of God. (It's the same in the centre of every major Brazilian city; by contrast, many small cinemas have opened in the suburbs.)

Latin American cities for centuries had a central square with a town hall and church, but rapid expansion because of immigration has changed this. The evangelical churches have adapted with a flexibility "of which the Catholics have shown themselves to be incapable," said Cesar Romero Jacob of the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro.

It's the same in Amazonia, on Brazil's agricultural frontier, its wild west. Geographer Hervé Théry, of the University of São Paulo, explains: "Every time I arrive in a new settlement, I find three wooden huts, a pharmacy and a chapel: somewhere you can get medical help and somewhere you can get moral comfort - essential in these harsh surroundings." He sees the same in city suburbs, neglected by the state. "The evangelical churches provide a kind of social aid, leisure activities and a genuine listening ear, which the Catholic Church has almost given up doing. It's one of the reasons for their success."

SOURCE

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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

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11 November, 2014

Even under a Jewish leader, the British Labour Party is hesitant about condemning antisemitism

Karl Max was a Jewish antisemite so not much has changed

This week a voice was raised against the scourge of anti-Semitism. It was the voice of Ed Miliband, the Labour leader. On Tuesday he posted an article on his Facebook page in which said: “We need a zero-tolerance approach to anti-Semitism in the UK and to reaffirm our revulsion to it in all its forms. The Labour Party has always been at the forefront of fighting intolerance. We will continue to be so.”

A clear and principled statement. Except, it wasn’t a clear and principled statement, but a statement born of political calculation. A week earlier, Miliband had received a high-profile rebuke from Labour supporter Maureen Lipman. “Just when the anti-Semitism in France, Denmark, Norway, Hungary is mounting savagely, just when our cemeteries and synagogues and shops are once again under threat” she wrote in Standpoint magazine, “in steps Mr Miliband to demand that the government recognise the state of Palestine.” Lipman’s comments, in particular her concern about the Labour leader’s silence over anti-Semitic attacks, were quickly echoed by other senior members of the Jewish community.

So 24 hours later that silence was suddenly broken. Reporters at the Jewish Chronicle and Jewish News were phoned with quotes condemning a recent attack on Luciana Berger, the Jewish Labour MP. And a couple of days later, Miliband’s Facebook article appeared.

In 12 weeks’ time our national leaders will gather to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. And the only Jewish man among their number will be someone who had to be harangued by Beatrice from the BT ads before he would raise himself to condemn a virulent anti-Semitic attack on one of his own members of parliament.

This tension between idealism and pragmatism has always defined our politics. I have sat in plenty of rooms where hard choices between the two have had to be made, and argued for the latter as much – if not more than – the former. I remember being told before the 1997 election to shelve a campaign in support of housing succession rights for gay couples because “we don’t want to get into that area right now”. And agreeing to do so with shamefully little complaint.

But sooner or later a line has to be drawn. And surely anti-Semitism is the place to draw it.

How did we get here? How did we go from saying “let us remember their sacrifice” to “let us remember their sacrifice so long as we can find space on the news grid”? From pledging “zero tolerance” to pledging “zero tolerance unless it can be justified by political expedience”?

David Cameron and Ed Miliband are decent men. Their instincts are to take a stand against extremism. But they are also politically cautious men. And caution is no antidote to blind prejudice. Zero tolerance must be a watchword. Not just another sound bite.

SOURCE






British feminists abandon their principles for money

Feminist T-shirt women paid below 'living wage': After MoS exposé of £45 Miliband top, we reveal truth behind feminists' shameless defence of 'sweatshops' 

The women paid 62p an hour in Mauritius making £45 ‘feminist’ T-shirts earn less than the ‘living wage’ set by the government of the Indian Ocean island.

After our revelations last week about the ‘sweatshop’ conditions endured by workers producing the garments, The Mail on Sunday has discovered that the women’s pay falls far short of the £1.47 an hour set by the official statistics office, and designed to provide a decent, basic level of income.

Unions and campaigners last night condemned high street chain Whistles and Left-wing women’s rights group The Fawcett Society for refusing to withdraw the T-shirt, made by women living 16 to a room.

Whistles was described as ‘sticking its head in the sand’ by one major union following The Mail on Sunday’s revelations about the conditions in which the ‘This Is What A Feminist Looks Like’ T-shirts are made at the Compagnie Mauricienne de Textile [CMT] workcamp.

The new revelations came as:

    Whistles announced that the women earn more than the Mauritian minimum wage - 44p an hour - but the government admits this has not been reviewed since 1984 and is ‘outdated’.

    We established that fewer than eight per cent of the workforce belong to a union, despite Whistles and The Fawcett Society claiming the women had union representation.

    Our journalists were followed and spied upon by guards from CMT as they travelled around Mauritius.

    Rosie Boycott, founder of feminist magazine Spare Rib, writes in today’s MoS that The Fawcett Society should be ‘ashamed’ and has ‘betrayed the cause of feminism’.

    The story divided opinion on the Left, with one reader on The Guardian’s website saying: ‘I hate the Mail as much as the next Guardian reader... but they are right about this.’

Labour leader Ed Miliband, his deputy Harriet Harman, and Nick Clegg were all photographed for Elle magazine in the shirts.

After our exclusive story last week, the shirts were withdrawn from sale in Whistles while it conducted an investigation.

Two days later, the shirts were back on shelves when the store, the charity and the magazine all declared they were satisfied the factory conditions at CMT conformed to ‘ethical standards’.

Significantly, the statement did not contradict the women’s rate of pay or living conditions, it merely said they are paid above the minimum wage and had union representation.

But even the Mauritian government’s director of labour, Edley Armoogum, admitted: ‘The minimum wage has not been reviewed since 1984, it has only received small increases in line with inflation.

Yet The Fawcett Society – which vows to fight against low and unequal pay for women – triumphantly tweeted: ‘Latest T-shirt update: evidence we have seen categorically refutes assertion they were produced in a sweatshop.’

Later they added: ‘Oh well, guess we’ll have to get by without those 11 million Daily Mail readers, aww shucks!’

The Mail on Sunday understands that no one from Whistles, Elle or The Fawcett Society has travelled to Mauritius to investigate our story, although Whistles indicated yesterday that an inspection is planned by a ‘senior member’ of its team. Instead, the company relied on an audit of conditions, carried out last month.

The Fawcett Society said they were initially assured that the 300 T-shirts would be produced in the UK and were ‘surprised’ to discover they were produced in Mauritius.

International trade union IndustriALL added: ‘Whistles is sticking its head in the sand. The government-mandated minimum wage has not been revised for 30 years. It’s currently 4,300 rupees a month [£86] which is below the poverty line It is no surprise that women work enormous extra hours to supplement their poverty wages.

'A company sourcing from a factory with any indication of exploitation should not try to hide behind a smokescreen.’

CMT boss Francois Woo last week confirmed that the migrant women from Bangladesh, India and Vietnam were paid £120 a month basic wage – equivalent to 62p an hour.

The company claims that the dormitory accommodation and three meals a day they provide effectively brings the women’s salaries up to £210, but even that falls far short of the £290 voluntary living wage set by the Mauritian government. To achieve that, the women should be paid £1.47 an hour – not 62p.

The claim by Whistles – whose chief executive Jane Shepherdson is believed to earn £300,000 a year – that the workers had union representation was also questioned by Jane Ragoo, president of the island’s Trade Unions Consultative Congress.

David Cameron was mocked for refusing five requests from women’s magazine Elle to pose for a photograph in the ‘This Is What A Feminist Looks Like’ T-shirt.  Yet last week, The Mail on Sunday found leading figures from Whistles, The Fawcett Society and Elle were just as reluctant to be photographed in their own T-shirt – despite continuing to sell them.

We, too, made five requests each to Whistles chief executive Jane Shepherdson, Elle editor-in-chief Lorraine Candy, the Fawcett Society’s chief executive Miranda Seymour-Smith and her deputy Eva Neitzert.

Ms Candy refused to pose, while the others ignored our requests.

We also called at Ms Shepherdson’s and Ms Candy’s North London homes, taking a T-shirt along with us, but the answer was still no.

Emerging from her smart townhouse with her husband, Ms Shepherdson refused to answer any questions about the issue, or acknowledge our reporter.

The only union within CMT is the Textile Manufacturing and Allied Industries Workers Union, which official figures show has 1,052 members in the whole of Mauritius.

That is just eight per cent of the 13,000 CMT workers, even if it had no other members elsewhere. Legally a union can only demand collective bargaining power if it represents 30 per cent of staff, but companies can grant the same right to smaller unions.

The union is led by Fayzal Ally Beegun, who accompanied the MoS on our tour of the factory last week. At that time, he described the conditions as a ‘sweatshop’ and condemned the pay and conditions. Since then, our efforts to contact him have been in vain, but CMT issued a letter he wrote claiming the quotes attributed to him were ‘totally false’.

Jane Ragoo said the CMT has stopped her approaching foreign workers about joining an independent union. She described the accommodation complex as ‘like a prison’.

In a statement last week, Mr Woo denied the factory was a ‘sweatshop’, and claimed the women who represent 80 per cent of his workforce had access to leisure facilities.

But on our tour, it was only in the men’s block that we saw a gym, library, TV room and sports pitches. Security guards at a CMT factory in Curepipe yesterday herded workers inside their dormitories to stop them from talking to our reporters.

Neighbour Lallman Lutch, 62, told us: ‘Normally the women are allowed outside on Saturday but my friend told me they were locking them in to stop them talking to journalists. They say it is like a prison.’

CMT has a chequered history, but says it has improved conditions in recent years. In 2005, riot police fired tear gas as 300 Chinese workers protested that a colleague had been effectively worked to death.

Whistles said it had nothing to add to its statement last week insisting it was ‘committed to ethical sourcing’ adding that an audit last month found that ‘all employees are paid above the government-mandated minimum wage; employees are paid according to their skills and period of service; there is no forced labour; there is a policy for freedom of association and collective bargaining; there are regular workers’ meetings.’

The Fawcett Society and Elle refused to answer our questions.

SOURCE






British huntress condemned

She made her name by giving outspoken advice on what not to wear. But now Susannah Constantine is the one being criticised – over some very controversial accessories brandished by her young daughter.

Keen hunter Miss Constantine shared a picture of ten-year-old Cece proudly clutching a dead duck and with her face smeared with blood to mark her first kill.

The little girl is also shown holding guns and taking part in hunts in a series of photos dating back almost a year and published on her and her mother’s public Instagram profiles. The photographs are accompanied by captions such as ‘First duck’ and ‘No food left after Christmas. Cece off to save the day’.

But Miss Constantine has been condemned by animal rights campaigners, who claimed the pictures call into question her abilities as a mother and branded the decision to let a child hunt ‘depressing’, ‘irresponsible’ and ‘dangerous’.

Miss Constantine – who found fame alongside Trinny Woodall as one half of television fashion advisers Trinny and Susannah – began hunting at the age of seven around the Leicestershire village of Knipton where she grew up.

The daughter of a Coldstream Guard, Miss Constantine boarded from the age of 11 at the £6,950-a-term St Mary’s School in Oxfordshire and was once labelled a ‘snob’ by Carol Vorderman.

She has dated Viscount Linley and Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, and is now married to Danish businessman Sten Bertelsen, with whom she has three children – Joe, 15, Esme, 13, and Cece.

But the 52-year-old’s privileged background and lifelong passion for hunting has done little to appease her critics, with a spokesman for Animal Aid saying there is ‘no justification for putting a weapon into the hands of a child’.  The many young American shooters would be surprised by that edict

The sentiment was echoed by a spokesman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who said: ‘Susannah’s mothering skills have to be called into question, as she’s evidently failed to convey the most basic lesson of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.’

Michael Stephenson, of the League Against Cruel Sports, added: ‘We believe parents have a responsibility to teach their kids to respect and enjoy wildlife. We don’t believe children should be killing wildlife full stop and have always expressed concern at children being exposed to blood sports.’

Miss Constantine has long been vocal about her love of hunting.

In an interview as far back as 1990, she said: ‘I am fit because I hunt every weekend with the Belvoir in Leicestershire, where my parents live and I was brought up … it is relaxing because when you’re in the saddle you have to concentrate entirely on what you are doing’.

Miss Constantine declined to comment when contacted about the picture of her daughter, saying: ‘It was a private day.’

SOURCE






The squeeze on free speech in Australia

Britain's Tim Black interviews The Australian’s Chris Mitchell

It’s fair to say that the engagingly gruff, gravel-voiced Chris Mitchell, editor-in-chief of the Australian and a journalist of some 40 years standing, is concerned about the state of press freedom in Australia.

‘The two recent Labor governments, under prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, posed quite a serious threat to press freedom’, he tells me. ‘As those two governments got themselves into increasing trouble - internally, too, given two prime ministers were overthrown in internal coups - they became increasingly determined to hold inquiries into media freedoms, to try to limit them. And they did so for pretty venal political reasons.’

These ‘pretty venal political reasons’ are not difficult to fathom. An increasingly embattled government wanted to have a pop back at its press-based critics. It wanted to blunt the barbs, curb the criticisms, and, ultimately, exert a greater degree of control over its public image. That seems to have been the familiarly authoritarian motivation behind the Convergence Review, launched in 2010 to explore the regulation of the media as a whole, from broadcast to newer online media.

But here’s the surprising thing, the development that makes the Convergence Review look positively principled. In 2011, Gillard’s Labor government launched a second review, the Independent Media Inquiry (IMI) led by a retired judge Ray Finkelstein – think Lord Justice Leveson, but without charisma. And what was the prompt for this second inquiry, which, like the Convergence Review, was effectively exploring press regulation? It must have been something big, something that implicated Australian journalism, right? Wrong. Incredibly, it was the phone-hacking scandal in, er, the UK, which prompted Gillard to launch an inquiry into the Australian press.

Yes, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, which owned the News of the World, the paper at the centre UK phone-hacking scandal, also owns several Aussie papers, including the Australian, but they are still completely different staffs in completely different countries, with completely different readerships. Mitchell still sounds angry about what amounted to naked opportunism on the part of Gillard’s administration: ‘[The government] wanted to harness ill feeling towards News Corp after the phone-hacking inquiry in the UK. They wanted to gain some sort of public sympathy for media regulation in Australia on the pretext that phone hacking could be happening down here, too.’

And was it? Mitchell is dismissive. ‘Of course there never was phone hacking here for very easy technical reasons - the telephony regime is very different in Australia to that of the UK.’ In other words, it just wouldn’t be feasible.

Mitchell is in no doubt of the government’s motives: ‘The Finkelstein Inquiry and the subsequent regulatory system was a naked political grab for more power over the media.’ And here’s the irony: the Finkelstein Inquiry proved far more effective than the Leveson Inquiry in securing a new, more restrictive system of press regulation, complete with a revamped, souped-up Australian Press Council. According to one commentator, the Chinese Communist Party looked on with envy when Finkelstein released his recommendations. ‘So even though there was phone hacking in the UK, you guys didn’t end up with as tough a regulatory regime as we did’, says Mitchell.

So what has been the result of the Labor-sponsored spate of inquiries into the media? ‘We ended up with an unsatisfactory regime of third-party complaints against newspaper companies. It’s opened the doors to activist groups who don’t like certain kinds of stories but are not directly affected by those stories to lodge complaints which will be adjudicated upon - complaints which wouldn’t be heard under the British regime.’

This system of snitching to the state, or rather its press-council proxy, is especially evident on the issue of climate change. As Mitchell and his paper, the Australian, discovered to their cost in July, it is now possible for a group of climate-change alarmists to use the Australian Press Council to challenge the Australian over its coverage of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s assessment of global temperature rise. Even more absurdly, the Press Council also reprimanded the Australian for not giving an environmentalist’s retort due prominence on its letter pages. As Mitchell puts it, ‘There’s a view in Australia that this newspaper in particular shouldn’t report on climate change in any sceptical way. We tend to run a lot of stories on climate change, most of them fairly conventional, but we also open our pages to those who take a different view. And there’s a lot of people on the conventional side who would censor us on that.’

The result of the steady onslaught against the press Down Under seems to be increasing conformism, a case of tell the ‘right’ story, or else. And what’s interesting is that this conformist push is coming not from right-wing autocrats, but from those who tend to think of themselves as liberal and progressive. Think for example of the case of Andrew Bolt, the columnist-cum-provocateur. In September 2010, nine people complained about three columns Bolt wrote criticising the phenomenon of white people bigging up their ethnic ancestry, or ‘blacking up’, to further their political careers. In September the following year, a court decided that Bolt had contravened Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. That is, Bolt was found guilty of expressing the wrong opinion.

Things did look up for a while following Labor’s election defeat at the hands of the Liberals in 2013, and the subsequent appointment of the seemingly principled George Brandis as new prime minister Tony Abbott’s attorney general. Brandis not only promised to reform the Racial Discrimination Act, but, in conversation with spiked editor Brendan O’Neill in April, spoke of his love of Voltaire and John Stuart Mill and the true measure of free-speech credentials: ‘Defend the right of people to say things you would devote your political life to opposing. That’s the test.’

And yet now, with the federal government’s decision to ditch its plans to reform the Racial Discrimination Act, even that flicker of promise has been extinguished. The conformist net of liberal-progressive opinion is being drawn ever tighter. It is this that seems to undergird the drive for greater state controls on the press, the sense that the media must espouse the right-thinkers’ worldview - or at least that of the Guardian. ‘Yeah’, says Mitchell, ‘there is a general tendency among those people who are at home with public broadcasters or traditionally progressive newspapers to think of themselves as having higher moral values than the rest of society. And they have tended to use the push for press regulation to impose judgements upon the media that are contestable.’

But conformism backed up by a tougher regulatory regime is not the only threat to press freedom as Mitchell sees it. There is also the growth of the PR industry, which ‘exerts control over what journalists can and can’t write’.

‘I think that this manifests itself across science reporting, across reporting on the share market, and so on’, he says. ‘For example there’s a very strong regime now to stop company directors from talking to journalists on the grounds they might influence the share prices of their companies, etc. So this gives the corporate spindoctor a great deal of power over the investigative journalist in the financial sector. And in government, it’s far worse than it is in the sciences or the financial sector. In government we now have a situation where the number of people involved in federal bureaucracy - they’re not civil servants, they’re people attached to political staff - is about 700 while the number of journalists working in that area is probably less than a third of that. So for every working journalist reporting on federal politics there’s about three spindoctors trying to hide the truth from that person.’

Mitchell is clear-sighted about what is really at stake in the debates and arguments over press freedom. That is, when a campaigner for press-regulation complains about the influence of a section of the media, what they are really complaining about is a section of the public. ‘What’s happened in the UK and here is that there is a left-liberal revulsion against the ordinary man or woman in the street. There’s a sort of morally self-satisfied view that our media is better than your media, and that there is nothing quite so shocking as a popular newspaper. I would say that the view that has emerged in our country and in the UK during the phone-hacking furore has allowed the progressive left to espouse policies that are quite draconian and anti-free speech under the guise of having better and more acceptable values.’

So the liberal suspicion of the press is underpinned by a liberal suspicion of the public, I suggest. ‘I think that’s right. It is inherently anti-democratic’, Mitchell says. ‘A long time ago, one of most successful Labor prime ministers in history, Bob Hawke, used to say that the electorate never gets it wrong and that the electorate always works you out. And I think that’s pretty much right. In my 42 years as a newspaper journalist, I’ve only rarely seen an election where I’ve thought they’ll turn harshly next time because it’s gone a bit wrong. Generally, the wisdom of crowds works well and it’s something elite opinion isn’t comfortable with. Elite opinion isn’t comfortable with the wisdom of the crowds — it’s comfortable with elite opinion.’

Trust in the wisdom of crowds is one very good reason for a more raucous press, not a more regulated one.

SOURCE

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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

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10 November, 2014

The real victims of bigotry: A family of bakers dragged to court and how opponents of gay marriage are being persecuted - even though the Tories vowed to protect them

By Andrew Pierce

When the Bill to legalise gay marriage was debated by MPs, the then Tory Cabinet minister Maria Miller insisted that anybody who opposed the plan to change the centuries-old definition of marriage would not be subjected to any discrimination.

She pledged: ‘The Government is clear that the Bill does not prevent people, whether at work or outside, from expressing their belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman.

'In no way will the measure undermine those who believe, for whatever reason, that marriage should be between a man and a woman. That is their right.’

Sadly, this claim by the hapless Ms Miller was almost as inaccurate as her parliamentary expenses - which led to her resignation as Culture Secretary.

For, despite gay marriage becoming legal, the Government’s vow that there would be no discrimination against those who opposed it on moral grounds has turned out just like so many other empty promises made by politicians.

Take, for example, the owners of a small bakery, Ashers, who have fallen foul of the new law, which was intended to boost equality, but which, ironically, has fostered resentment and hostility.

Their crime? The McArthur family, devout Presbyterians who own the company, refused to bake a cake with a slogan supporting gay marriage.

The cake was to be the focus of a civic event in Belfast, staged by the gay rights pressure group Queerspace to mark International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia.

The well-known beliefs of the McArthurs in the area must lead to questions about why the Queerspace activist who ordered the cake chose the bakery in the first place.

Religion is very important to the family. The bakery takes its name, Asher, from one of Jacob’s 12 sons who feature in the Book of Genesis.

The request for the cake came with specific instructions: it was to contain images of Bert and Ernie (characters from the children’s TV show Sesame Street who have long been presumed to be gay), the logo of Queerspace and the slogan: Support Gay Marriage.

After the order was rejected, Queerspace could have gone to another supplier and if it still felt offended, it could have urged its supporters to boycott Ashers.

But, instead, a complaint was lodged with the taxpayer-funded Equalities Commission, Northern Ireland.

This body, set up by the last Labour government under its controversial human rights legislation, decided to proceed with the case and sue the bakery for discrimination, on the grounds of ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘political belief’.

The decision has triggered disbelief across the political spectrum, not least because Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where politicians have voted not to introduce gay marriage.

But the commission, which has an annual budget of £6.5 million and employs 110 people, is proud of its support of same-sex marriage.

On its website, it says: ‘The commission supports the introduction of legislation permitting same-sex marriage with sufficient safeguards for religious organisations.’

But what about the human rights of people who, for strong moral reasons or based on their faith, need protection?

Indeed, Ashers bakery, struggling to make an honest living like so many other small firms, is not alone.

Another firm, in Armagh, run by Nick Williamson, a committed Christian, was similarly threatened with legal action by the commission after he turned down an order to produce a glossy gay magazine.

Let’s be clear about the Ashers’ case. The company did not refuse to take the cake order because the customer was gay.

It rejected the order (during a private telephone conversation so as to prevent any embarrassment) because the bakery staff felt the message on the cake promoted a cause which was against the deeply-held views not just of the family-owner but also of countless other Christians.

The commission’s commissars are now - with the tacit blessing of government ministers who have conspicuously failed to intervene - threatening the firm with legal action unless they pay compensation and apologise.

It’s almost as if they are determined to make the McArthurs martyrs. But then logic, common sense and morality fly out of the window when the Thought Police and political correctness become involved.

So, who are these commissioners who have decided they know best?

Interestingly, one of the three commissioners behind the legal action is Liam Maskey, a member of a prominent family of Belfast republicans who are dedicated supporters of Sinn Fein party president Gerry Adams.

Funny that the niceties of political correctness didn’t bother a party associated with the Armalite and countless killings during the Irish terror days.

Maskey’s younger brother, Paul, is Sinn Fein MP for West Belfast. The party is a prominent supporter of same-sex marriage. Another brother, Alex Maskey, the first Sinn Fein Lord Mayor of Belfast, spent two years in internment in the Seventies. You couldn’t make it up.

The bakery’s manager, Daniel McArthur, says he’s now received a letter from the commission saying if it does not offer compensation within seven days, it faces litigation.

However, he is insistent his family should not be penalised for refusing to promote a cause that goes against their conscientious view that marriage is between a man and a woman.

I met Daniel and his family in the summer when the complaint was originally lodged. I was struck by their quiet, modest and unassuming manner. They are anything but extremists.

Despite the provocation, Daniel, 24, who runs the company with his parents Colin and Karen, maintained his composure, though he believes his family is being ‘picked on by the commission which is making us a political showcase’.

He said: ‘We serve customers whatever their sexual orientation or religious beliefs. But regarding gay marriage, this is not a choice for us.’

Many others have had their lives disgracefully turned upside down by publicly opposing gay marriage.

Last year, Brian Ross, 68, a former Church of Scotland minister and RE teacher from Motherwell, claims he was sacked as a volunteer chaplain to Strathclyde Police because he breached the force’s diversity policies.

His crime? Writing, in a blog, that David Cameron had acted without an electoral mandate by changing what he called the ‘God-ordained institution of marriage as between a man and a woman’.
Many others have had their lives disgracefully turned upside down by publicly opposing gay marriage

But he was speaking the truth because the Tories had not put in their election manifesto a promise to legalise same-sex marriage.

Then there was the shocking case of Adrian Smith, who posted on his private Facebook site the comment that gay weddings in churches were an equality too far.

After it was drawn to the attention of the longtime Labour voter’s bosses at Trafford Housing Trust by a colleague, his salary was cut by 40 per cent and he was given a written warning.

Challenging the decision that he had broken a code of conduct by expressing religious or political views which might upset co-workers, he won his case in the High Court and was awarded a small sum in recompense for lost income.

And last Saturday, the Mail revealed that Bryan Berkley, 71, a retired civil engineer, has been banned from doing volunteer work for the British Red Cross after almost 20 years’ selfless service.

On the same day that he represented the charity at a Buckingham Palace garden party, he received a letter from the organisation summoning him to a disciplinary meeting.

It transpired staff had noticed photos of him in the local newspaper and gay press protesting with a ‘No to gay marriage’ placard outside Wakefield Cathedral - although no reference was made to his Red Cross work. His views, he was told, breached the charity’s principles of ‘neutrality and impartiality’, and so he was sacked.

Former Tory MP Ann Widdecombe is so outraged she has written to the Red Cross, saying she refuses to support it in future.

As a gay man in a civil partnership, I was often heckled and abused for opposing gay same-sex marriage.

I regard the law as a cynical political stunt by David Cameron in his misguided attempts to detoxify the Conservative brand and win new voters. He failed miserably - alienating countless core loyalists.

At the time the Bill was being debated in the Commons, I argued it could trigger a backlash against gay men and women if it was used to discriminate against those with strong views about why same-sex marriages are wrong.

The public was given repeated assurances that freedom of conscience would be respected if the law on marriage was changed. Those promises seem pretty hollow now.

SOURCE







UK: The Left sneered. But these poppies reconnect us to a generation of heroes we never knew, writes ROBERT HARDMAN



The last time a crowd this huge stood here in total silence, they had come to see the Jacobite rebel, Lord Lovat, lose his head.

There were no stewards in hi-viz jackets back in 1747. In fact, 20 spectators died when a grandstand collapsed ahead of what would be the last public execution on Tower Hill.

The atmosphere’s entirely different today but there is unquestionably the same sense of history, the same formidable symbol of Crown authority, the sombre multitude staring intently, the sea of red...

For what started out as an eccentric artistic exercise just three months ago, is now something truly historic. It’s not just that millions of people from all around the world have turned up to marvel at a work of modern art which can reduce grown men to tears, or that the leaders of all the main parties are in agreement about something — they all want next week’s scheduled poppy harvest to be postponed.

The Tower of London’s 2014 poppy installation is no longer just a tribute to each one of the 888,246 British and colonial troops who died in the Great War.

It’s become a monument to the way the British view themselves: dutiful, patient, original, compassionate and mindful of the past without being rooted in it.

And whatever happens to these poppies, an important public space which has sat largely empty since the days of William the Conqueror is now destined to be a national commemorative focal point for the foreseeable future.

This dazzling ceramic display has become the perfect riposte to today’s vapid, tokenistic, ‘me, me, me’ mindset, typified by those fatuous feminist T-shirts which public figures must wear for fear of being labelled sexist.

Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, has not yet found time to visit the poppies, but he has felt obliged to pose for the cameras in a T-shirt saying: ‘This is what a feminist looks like’, and also gormlessly chop carrots on a day-time TV cookery slot.

No one is obliging anyone to visit the Tower of London. And there is no snappy catchphrase attached to these poppies.

But their unspoken message hits you like a sledgehammer the moment you clap eyes on the vermilion tide: ‘This is what a lost generation looks like.’

It was little more than a year ago that the ceramic artist, Paul Cummins, had the idea of crafting a clay poppy for every fallen soldier, planting the whole lot at the Tower of London and then selling them for charity.

He called it Blood Swept Lands And Seas Of Red, words written on the will of a soldier from his native Derbyshire who died in Flanders. But, first, he had to convince the Tower.

Some public organisations would probably still be holding committee meetings one year later, chewing over the health and safety implications. But the Tower authorities — a purposeful mix of distinguished old soldiers and hard-headed tourism experts — quickly grasped the idea.

The award-winning theatrical designer, Tom Piper, was recruited to bring the vision to life. A factory was set up in Derby and 50 unemployed locals hired to make the poppies, while two specialist potteries, in Warwickshire and Stoke, were also invited to help.

Rebuffed in his attempts to raise any support from Government and the usual arts bodies (how silly they look now), Paul Cummins had to take out a £1 million high-interest loan just to bring his idea to life.

He has certainly suffered for his art. Early on, he lost a middle finger rolling out a new batch of poppies.

Neither he nor anyone else envisaged quite how this would turn out when the first poppy was planted last July by Yeoman Sergeant Crawford Butler.

The number of spectators has now soared past that much-quoted original estimate of four million. Historic Royal Palaces, the charity which runs the Tower (without a bean from the taxpayer), has already spent £120,000 on stewards and safety hoardings to manage the thousands who keep pouring forth from Tower Hill Underground station.

But it is not just the crowds along the walls which have been remarkable. There is an equally impressive human story in the moat.

For this project has now attracted some 30,000 volunteers. That is almost half the number for the entire 2012 London Olympics. And they are vital because it has required a citizen army to plant nearly a million poppies in a matter of weeks. Another one will be needed in the weeks ahead to uproot them all and send the same poppies on their way to the people who have paid £25 for each one.

I turn up to find an afternoon shift of 200 volunteers putting on red bibs for a three-hour stint in a corner of the Eastern moat, the last area of grass still untouched.

Some are pensioners, some students. Ten chaps have taken a day off from the Food Standards Agency. Here, too, are half a dozen bikers in Hell’s Angels leather waistcoats.  They turn out to be members of the Royal British Legion Riders Branch and have done several shifts.

‘The hardest thing is getting the bits on the rods,’ explains former Private Claire Thompson, 41, from Uxbridge. ‘Last time, I had blisters for weeks!’

For these poppies do not come ready-made. As every person who has bought one is about to discover, they actually come in six pieces — a hand-crafted, scarlet-glazed head (made of two folds of clay), a 440mm steel rod, two rubber washers and two plastic ‘spacers’ which protect the clay from the steel and hold the head in place.

The poppy must then be gently hammered in to the grass. When the display comes down, each one will be dismantled for safe delivery. The new owners must then reassemble them (an instruction manual is included with the certificate of authenticity).

‘It’s funny to think that just three months ago we were thinking about advertising this,’ says Colonel John Brown, the Deputy Governor of the Tower. The main man on the ground, he spent his military career in the Royal Logistic Corps, appropriately enough.

In between briefing the volunteers, he has to handle the growing numbers of VIPs wanting a tour of the site. ‘We’ve adopted what we call an “informal visit” strategy,’ he explains.

Staff are simply too busy to arrange VIP cordons and red carpets. Just this week, requests from two overseas royal families were politely turned down because there was no way of getting their motorcades through the crowds. Among those who has made her own way down here this afternoon is the actress Joan Collins.

I drop in at poppy-planting HQ, a set of windowless store rooms beneath Tower Bridge. There’s a large map of the world on the wall. New volunteers are asked to stick a red dot on their home town, and they come from every continent. Some are from Germany. Many are from the United States.

‘We had some American Vietnam veterans who were very moved by it all,’ says Col Brown. That sniffy Guardian critic who dismissed this project as an inward-looking ‘Ukip-style memorial’ really did get it wrong.

Elsewhere, the Historic Royal Palaces staff are arranging this evening’s Roll Call, another major operation in itself. Every day since this display began, a Beefeater and a bugler appear at dusk and march out to a little mound in the middle of the poppies. They escort a guest who will read out 180 names from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s register of the dead.

Anyone can propose a name online. But each one must be checked against the Commission’s database to ensure that they are bona fide and that they have not already been included.

Then an email is despatched to the person who sent in the nomination, alerting them to the date and time when the name will be read out.

Every night, entire families have been turning up to hear a great-grandfather or great-uncle being honoured. Earlier this week, one Roll Call included the entire list of war dead from Clare College, Cambridge. A century on, many are finding it a profoundly moving experience.

‘We get very emotional thank-you messages from all over the world,’ says Melanie McCarthy of the Tower’s IT department. ‘They all like to tell us the story of their loved one and how proud they are.’ Tomorrow night’s Roll Call, for example, will include names off the war memorials in the Yorkshire villages of Conisbrough and Denaby. Many proud villagers are making the long journey to London just to hear these gallant long-lost Yorkshire lads being acknowledged — and on Remembrance Sunday, too. They will remember it for the rest of their lives.

Any Allied soldier can be nominated, not just the Brits. Many of the names are from Canadian, Australian and Kiwi units. The Tower films every ceremony and puts it all on the website. The Roll Call lasts around 20 minutes but it feels longer as this remorseless litany of sacrifice goes on and on.

It’s only a tiny fraction, of course. If you actually tried to read out the name of every dead soldier from Britain alone and worked around the clock, you would still be going strong three months later.

It’s humbling for everyone. Dame Helen Mirren is no stranger to the big occasion. When she stood among the poppies to read the names a few weeks ago, even her crisp delivery faltered now and then.

Many passers-by have no idea that this beautiful, newly fabricated ‘ritual’ takes place every night. Some are soon in tears. At 4.55pm, the floodlights on the moat are dimmed and a spotlight picks out the little mound. The crowds, vast as ever, shuffle to a standstill. Not a single mobile phone goes off. Down in the moat, I bump in to the Constable of the Tower, General Lord Dannatt, former Chief of the General Staff, who championed the poppy idea at the very start.

As usual, he and Lady Dannatt have brought a few special guests to watch the ceremony. This evening’s contingent include a group of badly wounded Afghanistan veterans and Victoria Maclennan, aged nine, from Fair Oak Junior School in Hampshire, who has asked to interview the man in charge of the Tower for her school magazine. They are all bowled over.

‘This means a lot, I can tell you, says Martyn Compton, 30, of East Sussex, a former Household Cavalry Lance Corporal who knows more than most about serving one’s country. He suffered 75 per cent burns and was shot twice in Afghanistan in 2006.

Lord Dannatt tells me that he can pinpoint the exact moment when this whole adventure suddenly took off. ‘It was October 16, as the Queen walked through the early poppies in the moat,’ he says. ‘Suddenly, that image went viral round the world. People understood why there were a specific number of poppies and that there was a finite opportunity to see them. ‘Four days later, every single poppy had been sold.’

Like the rest of the population, he is now kicking himself. ‘I did buy one at the start and meant to get some more,’ he laughs. ‘But when I got round to it, they’d all gone!’

Once tonight’s names have been read out, the bugler marches on to the mound and plays the Last Post. There is a terrific flash of mobile phone cameras and polite applause at the end. Then the crowds shuffle on and thousands more come pouring out of the Tube station.

Quite apart from the growing debate about extending this display, there is another question: what next? There have already been several suggestions for 2018. But it won’t be like this. ‘

It’s been overwhelming — in a very nice way,’ says the artist, Paul Cummins. ‘But you won’t see me doing any more ceramic poppies in the moat.’

Having been down here several times, I am reminded of John F Kennedy’s old adage that ‘victory has a hundred fathers and defeat is an orphan’.

The organisers are too diplomatic to say so in public, but when all this started, they wondered if help might be forthcoming from the Government’s special £65 million pot for Great War commemorations. Nothing doing, said the officials.

Similarly, the arts establishment, which chucks millions at pointless tat providing it ticks the relevant politically correct boxes, failed to see the point of this. Shame on them all. Particularly as it’s been such an expensive business setting up a production line, a workforce, a call centre, a website and so on.

The primary purpose, of course, was to produce a work of art rather than conduct a fund-raising exercise. Yet the costs have been covered, the artists have waived any profits and at least 40 per cent of every poppy will be shared between six charities.

Now that the Chancellor has scrapped much of the VAT involved (George Osborne also invited Paul Cummins round to Downing Street this week for a congratulatory cup of tea), the final sum will be just short of £10 million, a magnificent achievement.

But the greater achievement is that we have reconnected with a generation we never knew, found a new arena for national thanksgiving and, along the way, learned something about ourselves.

As for any talk of a ‘Ukip-style memorial’? It only goes to show how little the Left understands the real world. 

SOURCE






Going Dutch - The Psychometric Tool Against Jihadism in the West

The famed laissez faire liberalism of the Dutch is only matched by their flinty commonsense. Two years after the brutal 2004 murder of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh at the hand of Islamist jihadists in Amsterdam, the Dutch government quietly introduced a form of personality testing for immigrants from certain backgrounds who wished to make the Netherlands their permanent abode.

By showing a set of short video clips highlighting the culture of diversity, secularism, free speech, and gender equality to potential migrants from very different cultures and then allowing responsible officers to evaluate reactions of the audience, the Dutch government made a very business-like decision to ensure a proper fit for a person to his/her new home. The government of the Netherlands continues to monitor this new screening tool which went into effect as a pilot project in 2006 and will likely be rolled out on a larger scale in the years ahead.

Immigration, especially of people with high education and in their prime working years, remains vital to the economic prowess and social welfare systems of most developed countries. That said, that necessity is better coupled with wisdom. With tens of thousands of people from the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia moving to the Anglophone countries every year, the United States, Canada, Britain, and Australia do not have the luxury of waiting to institute large scale and focused immigrant testing that small Holland does.

While security safeguards have been heightened in all of these desired immigration destinations, the common flaw remains the same across the board in the English speaking democracies: all potential immigrants are treated to the same battery of standardized screening procedures which often evaluate the Christian fleeing victimization in Bangladesh and Pakistan along the same lines as an Islamist engineer wishing to plant the flag of Islam for himself and his children in Canada. Neither the standard questions of the type "have you ever been part of a terror group" nor the routine check of law enforcement agency reports is going to do much diagnostic good in this regard. The Dutch figured this out finally and, instead, decided to tentatively use the science of psychometrics to detect potential trouble before it becomes actual trouble.

Let us be brutally honest about immigration from countries where Muslims are in big majorities. Almost all of these countries have cultures where Salafi Islamism is ascendant, where free speech and gender equality are increasingly dismissed as parts of some Western plot, and anti-Semitism is a staple for the most popular conspiracy theories. Not all immigrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Somalia, Malaysia, or the Arab world adhere to such Islamist tendencies. But many, including quite a few professional and educated types, do. And these are the ones that can quickly become the transmitters, organizers, sympathizers, funders, and even purveyors of jihadism in the civilized world (remember Palestinian Islamic Jihad board member Sami Al-Arian and would-be Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad?).

In the age of shadowy ISIS sympathizers in Chicago, jihadist murderers on London streets, and Muslims converts on rampage in Ottawa, it only make sense to quarantine the Islamist virus at the entry point whether it is dormant, passive, or active. The Dutch have shown the path to do so; the rest of the civilized world should improvise.

Psychometrics is not an exact science and no psychological evaluation or personality test is fool proof. On top of such uncertainty, these things cost time and money which are realistic constraints for visa evaluators and Customs agents. Yet, these tools are increasingly sophisticated and used in human resourcing decisions by growing number of major businesses and public entities; at the disposal of well-trained immigration professionals who have the flexibility of discretion and a relatively narrow focus, such psychometric instruments can be vital weapons against potential jihadist terror.

Potential long term immigrants from certain areas should be instructed - even provocatively so - on the fundamental importance of free speech, dissent, apostasy, equality before the law regardless of religion or gender, and basic personal liberties. They should be evaluated on their reactions through well developed and professionally benchmarked tests and such evaluations should be allowed to inform an immigration official's decision to about a residency application. Indeed this kind of approach could lead to the penalization of certain beliefs; but if such beliefs include the rectitude of killing apostates and punishing women for wearing short skirts, should we be shedding too many tears? And even if we were to shed some tears at such scrutiny of those desiring to live in a pluralist society, isn't it better than the shedding of blood that could happen otherwise?

SOURCE





Atheists  accepted as belonging to a religion

An federal district court in Oregon has declared Secular Humanism a religion, paving the way for the non-theistic community to obtain the same legal rights as groups such as Christianity. A Senior District Judge Ancer Haggerty issued a ruling on American Humanist Association v. United States, a case that was brought by the American Humanist Association (AHA) and Jason Holden, a federal prisoner. Holden pushed for the lawsuit because he wanted Humanism - which the AHA defines as "an ethical and life-affirming philosophy free of belief in any gods and other supernatural forces" - recognized as a religion so that his prison would allow for the creation of a Humanist study group.

Haggerty sided with the plaintiffs in his decision, citing existing legal precedent and arguing that denying Humanists the same rights as groups such as Christianity would be a violation of the Establishment Clause in the U.S. Constitution, which declares that Congress "shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

"The court finds that Secular Humanism is a religion for Establishment Clause purposes," the ruling read.

The decision highlights the unusual position of the Humanist community, which has tried for years to obtain the same legal rights as more traditional religious groups while simultaneously rebuking the existence of a god or gods. But while some Humanists may chafe at being called a "religion," others feel that the larger pursuit of equal rights trumps legal classifications.

"I really don't care if Humanism is called a religion or not," Greg Epstein, Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University and author of Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe, told ThinkProgress. "But if you're going to give special rights to religions, then you have to give them to Humanism as well, and I think that's what this case was about."

Humanism has grown - at least in terms of organization - rapidly over the past few years, with members establishing official Humanist chaplaincies at Harvard University, American University, Columbia University, and Rutgers University. Atheists - one of the many titles for a diversity of nonreligious Americans, which includes Humanists - have also successfully fought for the right to offer invocations at government meetings: Kelly McCauley, a member of the North Alabama Freethought Association, opened a City Council meeting in Huntsville, Alabama in September with an invocation that did not mention God but extolled the virtues of "Wisdom, Courage, Justice, and Moderation."

"Nonreligious people are just one of the large groups in American society today," Epstein said. "Increasingly, we need to be recognized not just for our non-belief, but also as a community, and this decision affirms that."

Despite these successes, the movement to obtain legal rights for Humanists has also encountered stiff resistance. Atheists and Humanists are disproportionately underrepresented in Congress, for instance, and the American Humanist Association is currently in a lengthy battle with the U.S. military to establish formal Humanist chaplains for nonreligious soldiers. In June, the U.S. Navy rejected the application of Jason Heap for a commission as a chaplain.

SOURCE

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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

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9 November, 2014

A whole army of "peaceful" multiculturalists in Britain



Until last night, the Libyan flag was still flying at full mast over Bassingbourn Barracks. Before it was lowered, it was perhaps the most visible sign, at least from the outside, that things have been far from normal at this military establishment for some months.

Inside the 200-acre site near Cambridge, an old aircraft hangar has been converted into a mosque. Signs are displayed in Arabic. The living quarters have been refurbished to reflect Muslim religious and cultural sensitivities (individual shower cubicles replacing open-plan washing facilities because Islam forbids a man from seeing another man naked).

Even a monument erected in honour of U.S. servicemen — who took off for sorties over Nazi-occupied Germany in B-17 bombers from the former RAF base — was fenced off when cadets from post-Gaddafi Libya arrived in Bassingbourn in June.

Why? Because it was thought the statue, featuring the propeller of a B-17, would upset them; U.S.-Libyan relations have been strained since President Ronald Reagan ordered air strikes on Tripoli back in the Eighties.

It has been five months since the tricolour flag of post-Gaddafi Libya was first hoisted alongside the Union Jack at Bassingbourn, to mark the start of a training programme to give leadership skills to a total of 2,000 hand-picked Libyan cadets to help their war-torn country. Until yesterday, there were 236 Libyans at the base. But far from teaching leadership, it seems their sojourn to the UK had the opposite effect.

Drunkenness, theft, violent clashes with British troops and in-fighting between the Libyans themselves had become an almost daily occurrence. More disturbing, allegations of a male rape and sexual attacks on three local woman are now being investigated. Meanwhile, the lanes and cul-de-sacs in the vicinity of the barracks have been teeming with police dispatched in an attempt to allay local fears.

It was easy to forget, as yet another squad car and marked van passed along the quaint High Street this week, that this is Bassingbourn-cum-Kneesworth (pop; 3,500).

This village is often described as one of the most peaceful in the country. It is a place where the theft of a bike, say, or a potted plant, would most likely make headlines in the local newspaper. Could anyone living here ever have imagined a scenario where a sensibly-dressed young woman would be advised to ‘cover-up’ her bare arms when she bumped into a group of Libyans at the bank in the middle of the afternoon? Well, that is exactly what happened a couple of weekends ago.

Perhaps most extraordinarily, the suggestion to cover up was made by a British soldier — a member of the Royal Highland Fusiliers, in charge of the Libyan party.

Could anyone have imagined, either, that a girl living near the barracks would be told, by British military police one morning, to stay at home for her ‘own safety’? Or that police armed with Heckler & Koch submachine guns and Glock pistols would be spotted standing near Hattie’s coffee shop in the early hours of the morning?

One local who saw them as he drove through the village said they were the kind of officers you’d normally expect to see at an airport or the scene of a terrorist alert.

The situation in Bassingbourn made headlines this week when shocking details emerged of the behaviour of the Libyan soldiers.

An angry David Cameron told the House of Commons that the Libyans’ conduct was unacceptable and insisted none of the cadets should be granted asylum here. He then said the Government programme to train Libya’s army would be scrapped and all the trainees deported.

The head of the British Army, General Sir Nicholas Carter, admitted the behaviour of Libyan soldiers who went on the rampage outside their barracks was ‘beyond the pale’. But behind the heightened security, behind Mr Cameron’s stern words, behind the decision to finally send the Libyan troops home in disgrace, is a story of betrayal and broken promises.

Residents say they were given cast-iron assurances by the Ministry of Defence last year that the soldiers would not be allowed off the barracks (there is a shop and other facilities on the huge site) during the rolling programme of 24-week courses in basic infantry and command training for up to 2,000 Libyans.

We now know, though, that the rules were relaxed — without consulting the local community — to allow recruits out on ‘carefully- managed daytime escorted trips’.

This is Whitehall parlance which in practice meant the Libyans being driven in a minibus to Cambridge, or another nearby town or village, and then being told to be back at the bus at a certain time. Residents were also assured the men had been ‘vetted in advance for medical, physical and behavioural suitability’.

We now know, however, from a senior Libyan officer, that some of the young men — who hail from remote areas — had never seen a woman before other than their mothers and sisters and were totally unprepared for life in Britain.

Not all the soldiers were to blame for recent events. But five cadets are in police custody following a series of sex assaults in Cambridge last month. One in ten of the men, by the MoD’s own admission, refused to obey orders.

A culture of what can only be described as near anarchy seems to have prevailed inside the barracks — as evidenced by the compelling testimony of the wife of a British soldier based at the camp.

All cleaning brooms, for example, were removed from the establishment, she told us, because the Libyans began taking the broom heads off and using the handles as makeshift weapons against each other in mass brawls, which frequently broke out inside the base.

In addition, extra personnel had to be brought in at mealtimes to stop the Libyans repeatedly trying to steal knives from the kitchen.

Female British soldiers boarding at the barracks had to be accompanied at all times by male colleagues. ‘The women soldiers on site couldn’t be left alone,’ said the woman, who asked to remain anonymous. ‘It was not considered a safe place to be.’

The decision to allow the Libyan contingent to leave the compound unsupervised seems particularly scandalous.

Nor, insists the soldier’s wife, was it just women who were potentially at risk at Bassingbourn Barracks.

One young, slightly-built British soldier serving in the canteen attracted the attention of a group of his Libyan counterparts. They approached their translator with a question: Could they ‘buy him?’

‘They wanted him for sex,’ said the soldier’s wife. ‘They kept asking the translator how much “he” would cost so they could have him and rape him. I don’t know whether that is something that happens in their culture or not, but there just weren’t enough British soldiers at the base to cope with or control all of the Libyans.’

An extraordinary claim. And in the febrile atmosphere of Bassingbourn Barracks it is very possible that exaggerated or even baseless rumours have gained currency. However, the very fact they are believed reveals how serious the situation at Bassingbourn has become. Remember, too, that allegations of a male rape are among those known to be under investigation involving the recruits.

Only last Sunday, Libyan troops are alleged to have started a blaze in the supermarket inside the base. Firemen spent an hour at the scene.

The central question, however, remains what happened outside the camp. Why were these men who came from a country that resembles the set of a Mad Max film allowed to come and go almost as they pleased?

Until recent days, security was so lax, even those who did not obtain permission to leave the camp found no difficulty in ‘escaping’. Resident Carol Saunders, 50, told how she saw cadets jumping into taxis from the front of the barracks. On another occasion, she had seen them stocking up on bottles of high-strength vodka in a nearby store.

Down the road in Royston, more than £1,000 was reportedly spent on alcohol on a single visit to Tesco.

‘I know people who work in that branch and they told me Libyan soldiers sometimes take alcohol without paying for it,’ said one young woman. ‘They put the drinks under their arms and walk out.’

A few streets away, we met the young girl who had that encounter with a group of Libyans outside Lloyds bank last month.

The petite brunette, 24, who works in a cafe, was wearing the same work clothes as she was then: baggy pantaloons, crew neck top and short-sleeved cardigan. ‘One of the two British soldiers who was with the Libyans came up to me and said, ‘You might want to cover up because the Libyans are coming out,”’ she said.

‘Moments later, they did come out and they began looking me up and down as if they had never seen a girl before. They were ogling me, one also staring at me angrily.  ‘So I don’t know if it was sexual thing or if he thought I should be wearing a burka or something.

‘It wasn’t even as if I was wearing anything provocative. Only my arms were exposed and some of my neckline. But I found the experience very intimidating.’

The incident occurred just days before another group of Libyans left the barracks and went to Cambridge, where they are alleged to have raped a man and sexually assaulted a string of women.

Two have already pleaded guilty to the assaults on the women. The men are said to have behaved ‘as a pack’ as they hunted down their victims, before groping them and attempting to put their hands up their skirts, magistrates heard last week.

News of what happened soon spread through Bassingbourn. On Facebook, a message from one resident read: ‘There has been an escape. Lock your doors and windows.’

Shortly afterwards, the barracks was put into lockdown. Units of the 2 Scots, the Royal Highland Fusiliers, were sent to restore discipline at Bassingbourn and the perimeter fence was lined with prison-style razor wire.

Yet, until recently, Bassingbourn Barracks was at the heart of the community. Thousands of people a year used the facilities on the 200-acre site, including a fishing lake, golf course, hockey pitch, badminton court and a winter sports centre.

Peter Robinson, head of Bassingbourn Parish Council, says: ‘The Ministry of Defence closed all facilities on site to local people on security grounds in March 2013, long before the arrival of the Libyans.’ Yet recent events, he says, have proved ‘their own security was leaky as a sieve’.

‘I think the MoD have handled the whole thing appallingly. They’ve lied right from the start. They always knew, presumably, that they would let these trainees out on their own, but we were told from the very beginning that they would never be let out unaccompanied.’

The MoD declined to address the specific allegations in this article, but said ‘appropriate measures’ have been taken to tackle the disciplinary issues.

Three coaches with the remaining recruits left the barracks in the early hours of yesterday. As the convoy disappeared, the Libyan flag was lowered for the final time.

At least four of the Libyans have claimed asylum, but the Prime Minister has indicated that this would not be granted. But, while their application is being processed, they will remain here.

Among the departing Libyans was Omar Al-Mukhtar, who was not one of the accused soldiers. This week he gave an interview to the BBC portraying the men arrested in connection with the sex assaults in Cambridge as the real victims. ‘They (the Government) didn’t tell us about British law and what’s the difference between right and wrong,’ he said.

SOURCE





“I'm 83 and I'm Tired"

by Robert A. Hall, a former Massachusetts state senator and U.S. Marine Corps veteran

I'm 83. Except for brief period in the 50's when I was doing my National Service, I've worked hard since I was 17. Except for some serious health challenges, I put in 50-hour weeks, and didn't call in sick in nearly 40 years. I made a reasonable salary, but I didn't inherit my job or my income, and I worked to get where I am. Given the economy, it looks as though retirement was a bad idea, and I'm tired. Very tired!

I'm tired of being told that I have to "spread the wealth" to people who don't have my work ethic. I'm tired of being told the government will take the money I earned, by force if necessary, and give it to people too lazy to earn it.

I'm tired of being told that Islam is a "Religion of Peace," when every day I can read dozens of stories of Muslim men killing their sisters, wives and daughters for their family "honor"; of Muslims rioting over some slight offense; of Muslims murdering Christian and Jews because they aren't "believers"; of Muslims burning schools for girls; of Muslims stoning teenage rape victims to death for "adultery"; of Muslims mutilating the genitals of little girls; all in the name of Allah, because the Qur'an and Sharia law tells them to.

I'm tired of being told that out of "tolerance for other cultures" we must let Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries use our oil money to fund mosques and madrassa Islamic schools to preach hate in Australia, New Zealand UK, America and Canada, while no one from these countries are allowed to fund a church, synagogue or religious school in Saudi Arabia or any other Arab country to teach love and tolerance.

I'm tired of being told I must lower my living standard to fight global warming, which no one is allowed to debate.

I'm tired of being told that drug addicts have a disease, and I must help support and treat them, and pay for the damage they do. Did a giant germ rush out of a dark alley, grab them, and stuff white powder up their noses or stick a needle in their arm while they tried to fight it off?

I'm tired of hearing wealthy athletes, entertainers and politicians of all parties talking about innocent mistakes, stupid mistakes or youthful mistakes, when we all know they think their only mistake was getting caught. I'm tired of people with a sense of entitlement, rich or poor.

I'm really tired of people who don't take responsibility for their lives and actions. I'm tired of hearing them blame the government, or discrimination or big-whatever for their problems.

I'm also tired and fed up with seeing young men and women in their teens and early 20's be-deck themselves in tattoos and face studs, thereby making themselves un-employable and claiming money from the Government.

Yes, I'm tired. But I'm also glad to be 83... Because, mostly, I'm not going to have to see the world these people are making. I'm just sorry for my granddaughter and their children. Thank God I'm on the way out and not on the way in.

SOURCE




Confirmed: Foreign aid fuels corruption - Official watchdog's verdict on aid spending that British government has defiantly ring-fenced

The billions Britain pours into foreign aid are actually doing harm by making corruption worse in many parts of the world, a damning report reveals.

It says projects funded by UK cash are increasing opportunities for bribery.

In some areas, they are even pushing poor people ‘towards corrupt practices’. After we spent millions on a scheme to tackle police bribery in Nigeria, locals said they were even more likely to have to pay backhanders, the report found.

It concluded that huge amounts of UK aid money is being wasted because we are either funding corrupt programmes directly or not doing enough to tackle the culture of bribery in many countries.

The findings come just days after it emerged human rights abuses in Ethiopia – where security forces are accused of burning, torturing and raping citizens – had got worse during a four-year period when the UK gave the country more than £1billion.

They will be hugely embarrassing for David Cameron, who has repeatedly been forced to defend his controversial commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of national income on overseas aid despite fierce opposition from his backbenchers.

The report was carried out by the Independent Commission for Aid Impact, the watchdog set up to scrutinise the Department for International Development.

Giving DfiD a poor ‘amber-red’ rating, it criticised the fact that only £22million of its £10.3billion aid budget was targeted specifically at fighting corruption.

The study found the department was not ‘up to the challenge’ of tackling corruption and, in many cases, help was not effectively targeted at the poor.

In Nepal, it said the poor were being ‘pushed towards corrupt practices’ by having to pay bribes or forge documents to receive funding through a local governance project backed by British aid.

Labour accused Justine Greening, the Secretary of State for International Development, of being ‘asleep at the wheel’.

Graham Ward, chief commissioner at the ICAI, said: ‘We saw very little evidence that the work DfID is doing to combat corruption is successfully addressing the impact of corruption as experienced by the poor.’

The Coalition has massively increased Britain’s aid budget in recent years in a bid to plough 0.7 per cent of national income into overseas development. This happened despite savage cuts to public services at home and opposition from Tory backbenchers.

The ICAI report found corruption blights the everyday lives of the very poorest and thwarts global efforts to lift countries out of poverty. It said while DfID claims to recognise the need to tackle corruption, it ‘has not delivered an approach equal to the challenge’.

The study also found the department was often lax in tackling corruption as it was worried about offending local politicians. ‘DfID’s willingness to engage in programming that explicitly tackles corruption is often constrained by political sensitivity,’ it said.

‘In Nigeria, petty corruption touches virtually every aspect of life and is accepted throughout society as normal and necessary. We heard stories of parents paying bribes to teachers in order to educate their children; students paying bribes to administrators to take exams; workers paying bribes to get jobs and to receive their salaries; and pensioners paying bribes to receive pensions.’ The report found that in Nepal, there is a ‘growing sense of acceptance of corruption across society’. Where once bribes were paid out of sight, they are now paid openly.

Britain gives money direct to the Nepalese government, despite the risk of corruption.The report said: ‘This degree of engagement with a host government can be challenging, given the extent to which issues of corruption touch the government.’

It added: ‘Very few of DfID’s activities we reviewed in Nepal, Nigeria and elsewhere explicitly focus on the everyday corruption experienced by the poor.’

The report added: ‘Disappointingly, we found that at least one programme supported by DfID appears to have increased the opportunities for corruption in society.’

Alison McGovern, Labour’s spokesman for international development, said: ‘This damning report should send shockwaves through David Cameron’s government. Justine Greening should have zero tolerance of corruption – especially when it is hitting the poorest – but instead the Independent Commission has found her asleep at the wheel.’

A DfID spokesman said: ‘We have anti-corruption and counter-fraud plans for each country that we give bilateral aid to.

‘Additionally, DfID funds UK police units and crime agencies to investigate the proceeds of corruption by foreign officials through the UK.’

SOURCE






Gay Marriage Ruling Pressures Supreme Court

Appellate Decision Breaks With Other Courts That Invalidated State Bans

A federal appeals court in Cincinnati upheld bans on same-sex marriage in four states Thursday, creating a conflict in the courts that puts renewed pressure on the Supreme Court to decide whether gay couples have a constitutional right to wed.

The 2-1 ruling, from a panel of the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, breaks with other courts that recently struck down state bans on gay unions. Until Thursday no federal appeals court had upheld a law barring same-sex marriage, following the Supreme Court’s June 2013 ruling in U.S. v. Windsor striking down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act’s denial of federal benefits for same-sex married couples.

The high court in October passed up the chance to review several rulings invalidating marriage bans in a number of states, in part, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has said, because there was no conflict in the lower courts to resolve. Disagreement between federal appeals courts is a main reason the Supreme Court steps in to resolve a legal issue.

Thursday’s ruling allows Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee to continue enforcing constitutional bans on same-sex marriage.
Gay marriage supporters march from the Potter Stewart U.S. Courthouse Aug. 6, 2014 in Cincinnati. A divided Cincinnati-based U.S. appeals court on Thursday upheld bans on same-sex marriage in four states.

Federal district courts had ruled for same-sex couples in all four states, where few marriages have taken place. County clerks in Michigan issued more than 300 marriage licenses to same-sex couples before the appeals court reinstated the ban while an appeal proceeded. Marriages haven’t take place in the other states, gay-rights groups said.

“Michigan’s constitution remains in full effect,” said state Attorney General Bill Schuette, a Republican. “As I have stated repeatedly, the U.S. Supreme Court will have the final word on this issue. The sooner they rule, the better, for Michigan and the country,” he said.

A spokesman for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, said, “The governor agrees with and supports the court’s decision.”

Democratic Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, in a statement, said, “I expect the plaintiffs to appeal this ruling quickly, and I urge the Supreme Court to take up this issue.”

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery said: “The state has maintained that its democratically enacted marriage laws do not violate constitutional rights. We are gratified that the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has now essentially agreed.”

The Sixth Circuit panel broke along partisan lines, with two George W. Bush appointees in the majority and a Bill Clinton appointee in dissent.

Judge Jeffrey Sutton, writing for the majority, said that while nationwide recognition of same-sex marriage seemed inevitable, it wasn’t the courts’ job to hasten it.

“Better in this instance, we think, to allow change through the customary political processes, in which the people, gay and straight alike, become the heroes of their own stories by meeting each other not as adversaries in a court system but as fellow citizens seeking to resolve a new social issue,” Judge Sutton wrote.

Governments “got into the business of defining marriage,” he wrote, “to handle the natural effects of male-female intercourse: children.” By legally binding fathers and mothers, the state promoted “stable relationships within which children may flourish.”

Other courts have rejected that argument, finding that denying same-sex couples and their children the legal benefits of marriage has no demonstrable advantage for heterosexual couples.

In dissent, Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey said the plaintiffs “are not political zealots trying to push reform on their fellow citizens,” Instead, she wrote, “They are committed same-sex couples, many of them heading up de facto families,” who believe their constitutional rights are being violated.

SOURCE

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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

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7 November, 2014

Violent multicultural robber in Britain



A thug who threatened two pensioners with a machete during a terrifying robbery in their own home has been jailed for ten years.

Scientist Smile broke into the couple's property in Merry Hill in the West Midlands, with two accomplices earlier this year on July 6.  After gaining access to the house via a bathroom window, the three men disturbed a 60-year-old woman who had got out of bed to go to the toilet around 12.15am.

Wolverhampton Crown Court heard that the raiders then dragged the petrified homeowner around the house in her dressing gown back to her bedroom.

They then woke the woman's sleeping husband, also aged 60, by punching him in the face and demanding gold and the location of the safe.

The couple were also threatened with a machete before the thugs fled with just £100, bank cards and a mobile phone.

West Midlands Police launched an investigation and arrested Smile, aged 20, at his home in Handsworth, Birmingham, on July 14 after tracking a stolen mobile phone, which linked him to the crime.

He admitted one count of robbery at a previous hearing and was jailed for ten-and-a-half years at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

After the case Detective Constable Nick Taylor, from Wolverhampton CID, who investigated the raid, said: 'This was a violent and terrifying attack on a couple in their own home.

'Both the occupants of the house were assaulted as their attackers clearly believed there were items of significant value inside the house but ultimately fled with very little.

'This is a significant sentence for a man who showed no mercy in his determination to get what he wanted.  'Hopefully the sentence offers some comfort to his victims whilst sending a message that this kind of crime will not be tolerated, and comes with lengthy sentences.'

Detectives are still trying to track down the other two men involved in the attack.

SOURCE






NCAA to Launch ‘Think Tank’ to Promote LGBT Participation in College Athletics

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) plans to launch a new “think tank” designed to “establish best practices and policies so college athletes and coaches can fully participate in their chosen sport regardless of religious beliefs, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression.”

During a meeting Tuesday and Wednesday entitled “Seeking Common Ground: Creating a Respectful Athletic Climate for Athletes and Coaches of All Religious Perspectives, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity or Expression,” the NCAA will “develop the first-ever suggested guidelines so faith-based schools, public schools, and private secular schools across the country can provide inclusive and respectful athletic environments,” according to a press release on the event distributed by the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the LGBT Sports Coalition.

The release said that the think tank is “comprised of leaders from faith-based colleges, public colleges, private secular colleges, LGBT organizations, religious organizations, and sports.”

It states the organization will be led by Nevin Caple of Br{ache The Silence, Karen Morrison of the NCAA Office of Inclusion, Helen Carroll of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), and Dr. Pat Griffin, professor emerita at University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Other participants include Mike Alden, director of athletics at the University of Missouri, Brent Childers, executive director of Faith in America, and Joe Bednash, director of athletics, physical education, and recreation at Yeshiva University, according to the press release.

“One of the great appeals of participation in collegiate sports is that student-athletes from diverse backgrounds and identities, including religion and spirituality, come together to compete as a team,” Carroll said in a statement. “When a team performs at its best, every individual is respected and the differences they bring to the competitive experience are valued enabling team members to focus more completely on achieving individual and team competitive goals.”

The think tank is being funding through a grant from the LGBT Sports Coalition, which according to its Facebook page was created in 2013 and is made up of 30 organizations and individuals “committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in sports.”

“Our vision is to create a sports world where LGBT people can participate openly and fully without discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression,” the Facebook page stated.

“Our mission is to end anti-LGBT bias and discrimination in sports at all levels of participation,” the Facebook page stated.

The announcement stated that the think tank will produce a report of its ideas in the fall of 2015.

SOURCE





The Multipronged Attack on Israel

In the international effort to undermine Israel every avenue of attack from the military to the cultural is being employed. The Arab world is continually stirred to a frenzy pitch on imaginary or exaggerated threats. Palestinian Authority President Abbas (seemingly president for life) spread the unfounded incendiary rumor that Israeli settlers were "desecrating" Al-Aqsa Mosque and noting "we must stop them (the settlers) from entering by any means possible." But there isn't a scintilla of evidence that this claim is true?

When Mahmoud Abbas maintained that Jerusalem should be inundated with massive Muslim tourism in order "to preserve its Muslim nature," Sheikh Qaradawi repudiated this idea arguing instead that visiting Jerusalem is forbidden so long as it is under Israeli occupation; "Jerusalem must be liberated by force and not by ‘tourism'." As al Qaeda sees it "Jerusalem is the capital of the imminently approaching Islamic Caliphate."

These threats and the ever present hostile rhetoric create hateful responses. An intifada or the signs of it are breaking out in Jerusalem. Hundreds of young Palestinians have been arrested for the use of "cold weaponry," such as stones, Molotov cocktails and light explosives. All of the assailants exhort the slogan of "popular resistance" preached to them by the Palestinian Authority President Abbas, even though those in the Obama administration insist on calling him "a moderate."

None of these recent outbursts is surprising after Abbas' speech in the United Nations in which he accused Israel of waging a "war of genocide" in the Gaza Strip. Needless to say, Abbas did not mention the thousands of rockets fired into Israel before war commenced.

On October 22 Chaya Zissel Braun, a three month old infant, was killed when a Palestinian man slammed his vehicle into a crowd at a light rail stop in Jerusalem. Nine people were injured, three seriously and one woman died from her injuries. Hamas took credit for this heinous act.

Forty eight hours before the attack, Abbas announced that any Palestinian who is involved in property transactions with "hostile countries" (read: Israel) would be punished by "life imprisonment with hard labor." Incitement is a way of life for the P.A. and Hamas and unless it is curtailed there will be other terrorist attacks.

But this internal war and exogenous pressure is not the only way the enemies of Israel exert pressure.

An international movement to sever Israel from commercial activity and cultural exchange is well under way. The BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] movement is a systematic effort to demonize and delegitimize the state of Israel. Front organizations for the Muslim Brotherhood such as CAIR and the Muslim Student Association have gained a foothold on many university campuses. In fact, they are often so successful that Jewish groups such as several Hillels have fallen for the rhetorical argument. This cultural assault continues unabated with many faculty groups censuring Israel and refusing to engage in conferences or exchange with Israeli scholars.

In banning Israel from the normal intercourse of state and non-state activity, the Muslim activists are trying to create an environment in which Israel is regarded as a pariah, a state isolated from the international community.

Israel is clearly up against it as has always been the case. Yet it maintains its resolve through a combination of military strength and unusual solidarity and morale, qualities attributed to military service. Truth is on Israel's side, a point many do not understand.

It is a bastion of individual freedom in a sea of totalitarian control. Admittedly as Mark Twain noted, "A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." Israel must contend with lies daily, but its shoes are on and it faces the struggle with a stout heart.

SOURCE






ISIS are the true Muslims

Joseph Allen Kozuh

For the past 30 years, both our Liberal and Conservative leaders have been telling us that modern-day Islam is a peaceful Religion. Today, we are being told that ISIS is NOT representative of Islam.

However, a review of history tells us that ISIS is certifiably Islamic. It is orthodox, fundamentalist Islam. ISIS is true to the Quran and the Hadith. The beliefs and strategies of ISIS are based on the very actions of Muhammad himself and on the actions of his immediate disciples. It was BY THE SWORD that Islam created one of the fastest-growing empires in the history of the world, and the very largest empire ever ... !!!

Islam swept through the Arabian Peninsula immediately after the death of Muhammad by emulating his savagery. His example was to kill all male opponents, rape their wives and daughters, and enslaving their sons; he had done this in conquering the Jewish city of Medina.

As Islam spread into Africa, Europe and Asia, Islam became the largest empire in the history of the world, both in land mass captured and in peoples under its rule. Islam waged its wars via fast-moving, cavalry-style armies of a few thousand that would kill, loot, rape and burn everything in their path to strike fear into the minds and hearts of their victims. Beheading was common and traditional. Taking hostages is a long-standing Islamic tradition.

In India alone, the Hindu population lost some 80 million lives during the 500-year Islamic siege. When identifying the world’s greatest HOLOCAUST, the innocent victims of Islam, easily surpass the innocent victims of Mao and Stalin and Hitler.

Islam conquered by the sword. The only choice enemies were ever given was to convert, die or serve in a form of SLAVERY known as dhimmitude.

So, how is ISIS a departure from the bloody jihadist Islam of the past? You cannot read the history of the spread of Islam without recognizing the crystal-clear parallels between what those successful armies of the past did and what ISIS is doing today. ISIS looks like, sounds like, walks like, and smells like Islam’s conquering armies of the past:

Via email

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

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 November, 2014

Blacks are their own worst enemy

On an interview Thursday with Philadelphia radio host Anthony Garano, ex-NBA all star Charles Barkley responded to the rumors over Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson’s receiving criticism over not being “black enough” from some of his teammates. He then addressed a larger issue within the black community, one Barkley described as a “dirty, dark secret.”

His comments are not politically correct, in any way, and therefore deserve reprinting in full:

As I tell my white friends, we as black people, we’re never going to be successful, not because of you white people, but because of other black people. When you’re black, you have to deal with so much crap in your life from other black people. It’s a—It’s a dirty, dark secret; I’m glad it’s coming out. It comes out every few years. I wrote a big chapter in my book about it, to be honest with you.

I said, you know, when young black kids, you know, when they do well in school, the loser kids tell them, ‘Oh, you’re acting white.’ The kids who speak intelligently—

They tell them, ‘You’re acting white.’ So it’s a dirty, dark secret in the black community.

One of the reasons we’re never going to be successful as a whole, because of other black people. And for some reason we are brainwashed to think, if you’re not a thug or an idiot, you’re not black enough. If you go to school, make good grades, speak intelligent, and don’t break the law, you’re not a good black person. And it’s a dirty, dark secret, Anthony.

Most, I—I heard Stephen A. [Smith] talkin about it, and it, listen, I hate to bring white people into our crap, but as a black person, we all go through it when you’re successful. Uh, you know it’s like one of the reasons, you know, one of the reasons a lot of black players go broke is because when you’re successful your friends say to you, ‘Oh, you ain’t cool. You ain’t down with us anymore.’

And you end up giving up all your money to these damn losers, and you end up broke again.

But it’s a dirty, dark secret in the black community. There are a lot of black people who are unintelligent, who don’t have, uh, success. It’s best to knock a successful black person down because they’re intelligent, they speak well, they do well in school, and they’re successful. And they don’t..if you think about it—

Anthony Gargano: Well it’s crabs in a barrel, right?

It’s crabs in a barrel. The thing that’s hap—we’re the only race that tell people if you don’t have street cred, with like, that means you been arrested—

Like, like that’s a compliment. We’re the only ethnic group who say, ‘Hey, if you go to jail, it gives you street cred.’ It’s just typical BS that goes on when you’re black, man. But don’t waste a lot of time on it please.

SOURCE






Nurses 'will have to be able to speak English to work in UK'

About time

Nurses will have to be able to speak English to work in Britain, under new rules allowing language tests on those who come here from elsewhere in the EU.

The clampdown follows concerns by ministers that patients have suffered poor care from staff who were unable to communicate with them.

The new proposals, launched for public consultation, mean that for the first time, regulators will be allowed to insist on language tests for any nurse applying to work in this country.

Until now, such checks have only been administered to those from countries outside the EU.

The loophole existed because Britain interpreted laws on freedom of labour in Europe as meaning such tests would be illegal.

But the new guidance, clarifying EU laws, says any healthcare professional who wishes to work in the UK will in future have to have “the necessary knowledge of English” to communicate with patients.

Tests will not be automatically administered to all nurses, but regulator the Nursing and Midwifery Council will be able to carry out tests on any applicant who does not supply evidence that they can speak good English.

Last week new figures showed the number of nurses arriving to work in the UK from overseas has leapt by nearly 45 per cent in just a year.

The new statistics show that, for the first time in almost a decade, Britain is now importing more nurses than it exports.

The figures, obtained by the Royal College of Nursing show that in 2013/14 there were 6,228 nursing registrations from abroad. In the same year 4,379 nurses left the UK to work overseas.

Language checks for doctors from Europe have already been introduced earlier this year.

The changes followed a 2008 scandal when Daniel Ubani, a locum doctor who flew here from Germany, administered a massive overdose to a pensioner during his first shift.

Dr Dan Poulter, Health Minister said the tragic case had made it clear that tougher checks were required for all EU healthcare professionals wanting to work in the UK.

He said: “These new powers will make it easier for regulatory bodies to carry out checks to ensure healthcare professionals have the necessary knowledge of English to properly communicate with and treat patients.”

SOURCE






British Jewish actress abandons the Labour Party over Israel



Maureen Lipman, the actress, has announced she is ending five decades of support for the Labour Party, as she furiously denounced Ed Miliband’s stance on Israel. Mrs Lipman said she will vote for “almost any other party” until Labour is “once more led by mensches” – the Yiddish word for a person of integrity.

In a deeply personal attack on Mr Miliband, Mrs Lipman said his support for a motion recognising the state of Palestine “sucks” at a time of rising anti-Semitism in Europe.

In a dim assessment of the shadow Cabinet, she said: “I rather liked David Miliband and have a sneaking suspicion he may return strengthened by his time out in the real world. But this lot? The Chuka Harman Burnham Hunt Balls brigade? I can't, in all seriousness, go into a booth and put my mark on any one of them.”

Mrs Lipman, a self-described socialist, said she supported Neil Kinnock, Tony Benn and Tony Blair, and is the “number one fan” of Alan Johnson.

Labour imposed a three-line whip on a backbench vote to recognise the state of Palestine. The vote left a number of shadow ministers deeply uncomfortable, because they regarded the move as lacking nuance and tantamount to taking sides in the conflict.

Israel said the “premature” move undermined the peace process.

Mrs Lipman, writing in Standpoint Magazine, said: “I'm an actress, Ed, and I am often commended for my timing," she wrote of the Commons vote.  "Frankly, my dear, yours sucks.

"The world is exploding around us. Isis is beheading our civilians while raping and pillaging across Syria and Iraq. Presidents (Vladimir) Putin and (Bashar) Assad are playing such heavy-handed games that we don't know which rebel group to support.

"Hong Kong may be about to see a replay of Tiananmen. Islamist terrorism in every spot on the globe and if one Jew had been responsible for any of those bombings, there would, I am afraid to say, have been another Kristallnacht.

"At this point in our history you choose to back these footling backbenchers in this ludicrous piece of propaganda?"

She went on: "May I remind you that no one is tunnelling into Dover or sending rockets into Coventry, yet we seem to have every right to bomb the living daylights out of Iraq.  "Again. Conclusion: one law for the Israelis, another law for the rest of the world. Plus ca change."

She also attacked Mr Miliband, a secular Jew, for eating a bacon sandwich in public, days after saying he wanted to join a Shabbat dinner at her house.

Separately, it emerged on Wednesday that Luciana Berger, the Labour MP for Liverpool Wavertree, has been bombarded with “violent” anti-Semitic abuse on Twitter in the days since an internet troll was jailed for abusing the MP.

Garron Helm, from Litherland, north of Liverpool, was handed a four-week custodial sentence at Merseyside Magistrates' Court last week for sending an offensive message to Miss Berger.

Since then the torrent has increased, and Miss Berger has been sent a series of anti-Semitic cartoons of herself wearing a concentration camp uniform and yellow star. She is understood to be angered by Twitter’s failure to halt the abuse.

Police have instructed her not to travel home alone due to a potential threat to her safety.

John Mann, the Labour MP for Bassetlaw, told the Commons that MPs should “hold Twitter to account for its failure to act to stop its platform being used for this abuse”.

John Bercow, the Speaker, said the abuse was “despicable” and “beneath contempt”.

SOURCE






So long bad guys! Women have finally twigged that a humble man is best for a relationship

"Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth"

Cocky, bad guys may usually get the girl in the movies but the same isn't true in real life, according to new research.

It showed that being humble is the key to marking yourself out as a good romantic partner while arrogance and egotism are turn-offs, it found.

Humility in men was just as important to attracting women, as humility in women was to attracting men.

The findings will give hope to men who feel more like Hugh Grant's bumbling character in Four Weddings and a Funeral than they do Leonardo DiCaprio in Wolf Of Wall Street.

Psychologists who carried out the research said that being humble means people can 'overcome desires for power and superiority' in a relationship and instead put the relationship itself first.

This means it not only makes you an attractive bet, it also protects against 'wear and tear' within long-term relationships.

'These results support the idea that humility is important for both the formation and repair of romantic relationships,' said lead author Dr Daryl Van Tongeren, of Hope College in Michigan.

'Humility appears to be a personality trait that is desirable in romantic partners and useful for maintaining romantic relationships under strain.'

The authors said humble people see their strengths and weaknesses accurately, accept criticism as easily as compliments and are likely to be helpful and generous.

Previous evidence suggests people may judge humility to understand how they could expect to be treated by a potential partner or in a group, they added.

The research, published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, involved three studies carried out by Dr Van Tongeren and colleagues.

In the first study, 41 students created dating profiles and answered personality questions in the belief that others would see their results and they would look at other students' profiles.

But instead, all participants were shown the same mock profile and personality scores for a fictional potential date who was agreeable, extraverted, conscientious, not neurotic, and open.

The only difference was that in some cases, the person was scored as highly humble and in others as not humble.

Both male and female participants gave significantly higher ratings to the humble person and were more likely to want them to see their own profile, give them their phone number and meet them.

The second study, involving 133 students, was similar but varied the language used to describe a potential date in the profile, rather than using numbers to rate humility.

For example, the humble profile stated 'other people say I'm smart, but I don't like the attention', while the other read 'I'm a really good student and pretty smart...I guess it just comes naturally.'

Again, both men and women preferred the humble profile as a potential date to the profile that suggested arrogance.

The final study involved questioning 416 participants in real life relationships, half of them long-distance relationships that are likely to be more stressful.

Questionnaires asked about their tendency to forgive, their feelings about a recent time when their romantic partner offended them and their partners' level of humility.

Researchers found, as expected, that people were less forgiving if their partner lived far away.

They also found that people who thought of their partner as humble were more likely to forgive them than people who thought their partner lacked humility.

Participants who believed their partners to be very humble were equally likely to forgive them regardless of whether they lived close together or far apart.

But people lacking humility were less likely to be forgiven by long-distance partners.

The authors suggest humble people may 'quickly see their partner's point of view, express remorse and attempt to rebuild the relationship, whereas arrogant partners may stonewall, act defensively, deny wrongdoing, or blame the victim.'

SOURCE

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

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

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

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

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






5 November, 2014

Crooked Multicultural doctor in Britain



A doctor faces a potential jail term for secretly moonlighting in other jobs while claiming more than £29,000 in sick pay from his own hospital.

Dr Anthony Madu, 45, carried out well-paid locum work at other hospitals around the country while on sick leave from his job with the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board in Wales.

NHS bosses had to pay £20,000 to other doctors to cover Madu, meaning the bill for his dishonesty came to around £50,000.

He was convicted of six counts of fraud today and was remanded in custody until he can be sentenced next month.

Madu was given the specialist registrar obstetrics gynaecology post at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, in August 2009.

But he was suspended two months later over allegations about his conduct towards other staff and claims he had falsified his training record, the court heard.

From January 2010, he then submitted sick notes on three different occasions, saying he could not work because of stress.

Madu then made 'tens of thousands of pounds' while working for Sandwell General Hospital in Birmingham as well as Scarborough General Hospital and The Royal Oldham Hospital in Greater Manchester, the jury heard.

Prosecutor Christian Jowett said: 'He was legally obliged to tell his employers about his work but he did not do so.

'He was also legally obliged to tell two locum agencies that he was on extended leave and had been granted sickness leave.

'But he continued to work and receive payment from both Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and his work in England.

'This was a very costly business for the NHS and very lucrative for Dr Madu - that's why he did it. Madu had been irresponsible as well as dishonest.'

The prosecution said the total cost to the Welsh NHS for covering his absence was £49,000 and Madu received more than £100,000 for working as a locum and £29,000 in sick pay.

He was convicted of failing to declare to Cardiff and Vale University Health Board (CVUHB) he had taken secondary employment, that he had failed to tell two different agencies, Medacs and JCJ, he had been signed off sick and that he did not declare to either agency he had been suspended.

Remanding Madu in custody at Cardiff Crown Court today, Judge David Wynn Morgan said: 'It may well be a tragedy has been avoided by the timely actions by the health board.' Madu will be sentenced on November 28.

SOURCE






'Human rights’ in Britain have fallen into the hands of the Euro-tollahs

Lawyers in Strasbourg forget that laying down the law only works if it is the wish of the people

The rule of law, yes, but what about the rule of lawyers? In a democracy, the first is good; the second is bad. Abraham Lincoln got it right in his first inauguration as US president: “If the policy of the government upon vital questions affecting the whole people is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court … the people will have ceased … to be their own rulers.” It is even worse if the lawyers doing the ruling sit in Strasbourg.

This has happened to Britain. It explains why the term “human rights”, like “health and safety”, has become something between a curse and a joke. Human rights, in the public mind, are now a set of arcane rules designed to protect bad people from the rigours of the law. After Strasbourg ordered us to give prisoners the vote, the Conservatives felt they had to fight back. They recently set out plans to withdraw from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) at Strasbourg unless it agrees that in future its judgments on Britain will be advisory only.

On the face of it, this seems an almost shocking thing to propose. The European Convention, British-drafted, is a lucid exposition of rights which we hold dear (and which we often invented) – the right to a fair trial, the prohibition of torture, etc. When it was agreed in 1950, it expressed the collective determination of the non-Communist European countries to prevent Nazism’s revival and Stalinism’s encroachment.

But the Convention is one thing, and its interpretation is something else. Lord Sumption is one of our few top judges with the courage to face this problem. In a big speech last year, he took Article 8 of the original Convention as his example. This guarantees everyone’s right to a “respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence”.

 “This perfectly straightforward provision was originally devised,” he said, “as a protection against the surveillance state by totalitarian governments. But in the hands of the Strasbourg court it has been extended to cover the legal status of illegitimate children, immigration and deportation, extradition, aspects of criminal sentencing, abortion, homosexuality, assisted suicide, child abduction, the law of landlord and tenant, and a great deal else besides. None of these extensions are warranted by the express language of the Convention.”

Why is this bad? Not necessarily because of the particular views the judges take, but because they have no right to take them. They are annexing political and social questions and turning them into law. Many of these judges at Strasbourg are not up to the job. Often they are inexperienced, or political appointees (or both). Because the Council of Europe has 47 members, some of them come from countries – Albania, Romania, Russia – where the rule of law lacks, shall we say, deep roots. This rubs salt in the British wound, but it is not really the point. The point is the power grab. Too often our own learned senior British judges are equally keen on it.

They believe that the rule of law is too pure and beautiful a thing to be sullied by politicians, or even by the public. Judges speak darkly of “the rule of the majority” and “elected dictatorship”.

They are right to warn against mob rule. But, as Norman Tebbit crisply put it in a House of Lords debate on Monday, when the judges fought off a Government effort to halt the spread of judicial review, “I don’t like unelected dictatorships, even if they sit in law courts.”

By taking Article 8, for instance, and stretching it from its simple original meaning into a doctrine of total personal autonomy, you are radically changing each society affected. If your ruling is made in Strasbourg, it is imposed on often faraway countries of which you may know little. Yet it binds our Parliament. “Unelected dictatorship” is not far wrong.

The lawyers prefer to describe the Convention as a “living instrument” – something their brilliant minds can fashion for new tasks. But when such rulings are imposed on a country like ours, that instrument becomes a blunt one.

They forget the Convention’s very own preamble, which says that the “fundamental freedoms which are the foundations of peace and justice in the world are best maintained … by an effective political democracy” combined with human rights. If we cannot make our own laws, we cannot have an effective democracy. Without democracy, “human rights” fall into the hands of the secular imams of the international judiciary; they become the sharia of the Euro-tollahs.

In Britain, we are so fed up with our politicians that we forget we put them there. We see the law as an assertion of the rights of the individual against the state. It should be that, in part. But it should also be the wishes of the people, expressed in legislation made by those we choose for the task. The messy political battles out of which laws are forged are actually better than the high-altitude cogitations of great judicial minds, because they test what will and won’t work. They win consent. Without consent, no law works.

Once “human rights”, in their modern sense, get a grip, a legal bureaucracy takes charge. Any public body, for example, can be sued for denying a person’s “right to life” by not envisaging every possible occasion when that life might be endangered. Such bodies therefore live in fear. The police and Armed Forces have to preface their decisions with elaborate plans against what might go wrong. On foreign battlefields, such restrictions are tragicomic. The financial and moral cost is huge.

Such imposed rights can lead to actual inhumanity. Just now, a row is raging in the world of adults with learning disabilities, because charities and local authorities are trying to break up residential communities where such people live together. In doing so, these authorities often invoke Article 5 of the Strasbourg Convention – the right to liberty – in order to insist that the disabled live “independently”, i.e. alone. It is a pretty lonely liberty compared with the care they currently receive.

This dictatorship of abstract rights is getting worse because Strasbourg, which in origin has nothing to do with the EU, is now bound up with it. The Charter of Fundamental Rights in the Lisbon Treaty takes the Convention and builds on it with baroque detail. Strasbourg is as nothing beside the self-aggrandising of the European Court of Justice (the court of the EU) in Luxembourg. Currently, the EU is trying to accede to the ECHR, which would take away what small national purchase we have on Strasbourg. If we don’t get out, we shall get even deeper in.

By way of reassurance, the Tories say that if they repeal the Human Rights Act they will introduce a British Bill of Rights instead. I wonder if that is such a brilliant idea. Most of our own judges will fall on it as hungrily as they did on Strasbourg. Would it not be better to use the Strasbourg Convention as an advisory manual and leave it at that? Our own Common Law has spent hundreds of years establishing rights that work. Australia, a Common Law country, has no national human rights system. Does anyone think Australian human beings lack decent rights?

When Strasbourg told us we must give prisoners the vote, David Cameron said the idea made him physically sick. I’m not sure that its effect on his digestion matters much. But the state of our body politic does. “Europe” makes it sickly all the time. As Mr Cameron is belatedly learning, it will be the work of an entire generation (perhaps more) to restore it to health.

SOURCE





Russian memorial to Steve Jobs dismantled after Apple CEO comes out as gay

A memorial to Apple founder Steve Jobs has been dismantled in St. Petersburg after the man who succeeded him at the helm of the company, Tim Cook, came out as gay.

The two metre high monument, in the shape of an iPhone, was erected outside a college in January 2013 by a Russian group of companies called ZEFS.

Citing the need to abide by a law combating "gay propaganda," ZEFS said the memorial had been removed on Friday — the day after Mr Cook announced he was homosexual.

"In Russia, gay propaganda and other sexual perversions among minors are prohibited by law," ZEFS said, noting that the memorial had been "in an area of direct access for young students and scholars."

"After Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly called for sodomy, the monument was taken down to abide to the Russian federal law protecting children from information promoting denial of traditional family values."

Promoting "traditional values," President Vladimir Putin last year signed a law prohibiting the spread of "gay propaganda" among minors.

Putin says there is no discrimination against gay people in Russia and the law was needed only to protect young people, although members of the gay community say its passage has increased problems for them.

Cook said he had decided to come out to help move forward civil rights, confirming a fact that had been widely known in the Silicon Valley tech community but was rarely discussed.

Steve Jobs, who died in 2011, was not gay.

Vitaly Milonov, a St. Petersburg legislator who has campaigned against gay rights and was among legislators behind the law signed by Putin, has called for Apple's CEO to be barred entrance to Russia.

Maxim Dolgopolov, the head of ZEFS who ordered the removal of the monument, expressed opposition to personal sanctions in Monday's statement, but supported the "protection of traditional values" by law.

"Sin should not become the norm. There is nothing to do in Russia for whose who intend to violate our laws," he said.

SOURCE





The feelgood "Pastor" is an ignoramus

Mega-church pastor Joel Osteen may lead the largest Protestant church in the United States, but a recent Facebook post shows he might need to go back to Sunday school.

A Monday post to his verified Facebook page, Joel Osteen ministries, read: “God said in Numbers 11:23, ‘Moses, is there any limit to My power?’ He was saying, ‘Moses, you saw Me part the Red Sea, stop the sun for Joshua, keep three Hebrew teenagers safe in a fiery furnace, don’t you realize that I can bring water without rain?’ There’s no limit to God’s power.”

There’s just one problem: According to the Bible, Moses was dead before Joshua asked God to stop the setting of the sun, and long before the three Hebrew youths were burned in the furnace.

The Old Testament Book of Joshua explains that God appointed Joshua as Moses’s successor after Moses’s death (the first sentence literally begins, “After the death of Moses…”), who led the Israelites into battle against the Amorites, during which he commanded the sun and the moon not to move. “So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the people had revenge upon their enemies,” (Joshua 10:13).

The story of the “three holy children,” as the Hebrew youths are sometimes known, is told in the Old Testament Book of Daniel. According to the passage, the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar, who reigned around the 6th century B.C. (long, long after the projected time of Moses), ordered his people to worship a large golden idol, “and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace,” (Daniel 3:6). The three Hebrew youths refused to worship the idol and were thrown into the furnace, but were not burned.

In many Christian traditions this passage is particularly important because it is understood to prefigure Christ — when the king asked whether the three were burned, one of his counselors replied “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God,” (Daniel 3:25).

Some of Osteen’s followers noticed the error, with one commenter asking “Bro, do you even Scripture?”

Osteen, who has neither a bachelor’s nor a divinity degree, lives in a $10 million dollar mansion in Houston, Texas, and has an estimated net worth of $40 million. Nearly 50,000 people attend services at Lakewood Church every week, and millions more watch his televised sermons. Lakewood, whose “central campus” is a 16,000-seat arena, is notable for its total lack of crosses and other Christian symbols or imagery.

SOURCE

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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

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4 November, 2014

Baden-Powell undone as today's Scouts are told: Forget the knot-tying and earn badges in IT and public relations

B-P was a tormented old queer but what he created gave much to many -- even though he couldn't bear sleeping with his wife.  And his emphasis on outdoor skills and living is probably needed now more than ever -- when the alternative is turning into blubber in front of a screen

It's been a proud tradition since Robert Baden-Powell first wore the woggle – but the Scouting movement says its leaders no longer need to know how to tie knots.

Officials say modern recruits are too busy earning badges in public relations, circus skills and IT to bother mastering a sheepshank or a clove hitch.

In his handbook Scouting for Boys, first published in 1908, Baden-Powell stressed the importance of knot-tying and told of how three people were swept to their deaths near Niagara Falls because rescue ropes were not secured properly.

He wrote: ‘People often think, “What’s the good of learning such a simple thing as tying knots?” Well, here is a case in which that knowledge might have saved three lives.

'To tie a knot seems to be a simple thing, and yet there are right ways and wrong ways of doing it, and Scouts ought to know the right way. A life may depend on a knot being tied properly.’

However, a Scout Association spokesman said the movement was ‘very different’ from Baden-Powell’s founding days and now offers members ‘a lot of exciting challenges and the chance to contribute to the community’.

‘Clearly, tying knots is a useful thing if leaders are taking young people rock climbing or on raft-building expeditions,’ said the spokesman.

‘But the reality is what’s important now is their ability to do youth work – not climb mountains or do knots. It is all about inspiring young minds.

‘In the old days, you had to do much more hardcore activities yourself – but now there is an activities centre down the road.’

Officials said woodland crafts are not relevant to the many new badges introduced and today’s volunteer leaders do not need any basic skills to begin training.

However, former Scout and best-selling children’s author GP Taylor said Baden-Powell would be ‘spinning in his grave’.  ‘Scouting changed my life and I found the knot-tying and woodland craft side of it fascinating,’ he said. ‘It is something we have taken from the past and preserved for the future. That’s part of our heritage.

‘This just shows what a pathetic society we are becoming. Baden-Powell would be outraged by this.’

SOURCE






Campaigner hijacks £100,000 statue depicting two mixed-race single mothers and their children as a 'typical family'

A bronze sculpture by Turner Prize-winning artist Gillian Wearing unveiled outside the Library of Birmingham on Thursday was 'hijacked' by a furious New Fathers For Justice campaigner over the weekend.

'A Real Birmingham Family' depicts a heavily pregnant Emma Jones, 27, and her sister Roma, 29, hand-in-hand with their children Kyan, four, and Shaye, five - but has drawn criticism because of the lack of any adult male or father figure.

But Bobby Smith, 32, stuck photos of himself and his two young daughters Ellie, seven, and Mollie, 10, onto the artwork and threw a sheet over the other mother.

The father-of-two spent all of Saturday and today at the statue and said the £100,000 sculpture suggests fathers are not an important part of family life.

SOURCE







Sharia law or gay marriage critics would be branded ‘extremists’ under Tory plans, atheists and Christians warn

Anyone who criticises Sharia law or gay marriage could be branded an “extremist” under sweeping new powers planned by the Conservatives to combat terrorism, an alliance of leading atheists and Christians fear.

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, unveiled plans last month for so-called Extremism Disruption Orders, which would allow judges to ban people deemed extremists from broadcasting, protesting in certain places or even posting messages on Facebook or Twitter without permission.

Mrs May outlined the proposal in a speech at the Tory party conference in which she spoke about the threat from the so-called Islamic State – also known as Isis and Isil – and the Nigerian Islamist movement Boko Haram.

But George Osborne, the Chancellor, has made clear in a letter to constituents that the aim of the orders would be to “eliminate extremism in all its forms” and that they would be used to curtail the activities of those who “spread hate but do not break laws”.

He explained that that the new orders, which will be in the Conservative election manifesto, would extend to any activities that “justify hatred” against people on the grounds of religion, sexual orientation, gender or disability.

He also disclosed that anyone seeking to challenge such an order would have to go the High Court, appealing on a point of law rather than fact.

The National Secular Society and the Christian institute – two organisations with often diametrically opposing interests – said they shared fears that the broad scope of extremism could represent a major threat to free speech.

Keith Porteous Wood, director of the NSS, said secularists might have to think twice before criticising Christianity or Islam. He said secularists risk being branded Islamophobic and racist because of their high profile campaigns against the advance of Sharia law in the UK.

“The Government should have every tool possible to tackle extremism and terrorism, but there is a huge arsenal of laws already in place and a much better case needs to be made for introducing draconian measures such as Extremism Disruption Orders, which are almost unchallengeable and deprive individuals of their liberties,” he said.

“Without precise legislative definitions, deciding what are ‘harmful activities of extremist individuals who spread hate’ is subjective and therefore open to abuse now or by any future authoritarian government.”

Simon Calvert, Deputy Director of the Christian Institute, said traditionalist evangelicals who criticise gay marriage or even argue that all religions are not the same could find themselves accused of extremism.

“Anyone who expresses an opinion that isn’t regarded as totally compliant with the Equality Act could find themselves ranked alongside Anjem Choudary, Islamic state or Boko Haram,” he said.

He added: “How many times a day do intellectually lazy political activists accuse their opponents of ‘spreading hatred’?

“The left does it, the right does it, liberals do it, conservatives do it, it is routine.

“Hand a judge a file of a thousand Twitter postings accusing this atheist or that evangelical of ‘spreading hatred’ and they could easily rule that an EDO is needed.

“It’s a crazy idea – the Conservatives need to drop this like a hot brick.”

A Conservative spokesman said: "Freedom of expression and freedom of speech are a vital part of a democratic society.

"In Government, Conservatives have always tried to strike the right balance on freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, freedom to manifest one’s religion, and the need to protect the public. We have never sought to restrict peaceful protest or free speech, provided it is within the law.

"Our proposal to introduce Extremism Disruption Orders reflects the need to go further on challenging the threat from extremism and those who spread their hateful views so that we can keep that democratic society safe."

SOURCE





Kerry, Qatar and the poisonous tree

Binyamin Netanyahu recently: "Isis and Hamas are branches of the same poisonous tree"

It would be interesting to know which Arab leaders are telling US Secretary of State John Kerry that the absence of peace between Israel and the Palestinians is “a cause of recruitment” to Islamic State.

Is that something he is hearing from Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani? The Qatari leader, whose kingdom has been cited by the US Treasury Department as a major funder of Islamic State (IS), is certainly one of Kerry’s favorite regional leaders.

If Thani did blame Israel for the rise of IS, then his statement would constitute yet another instance of the double game Qatar has been playing with the Americans. On the one hand, the regime is financing jihad, and other the other hand, it pretends to side with the West against the jihad that it is funding.

This is certainly the case in Jerusalem.  According to an investigative report published Friday in Yisrael Hayom , Qatar is financing the violence in the capital. Veteran Jerusalem affairs reporter Nadav Shragai wrote that the Islamic rioters who daily attack Jewish visitors and police forces on the Temple Mount are paid by Qatar through the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement.

The Qatari government and other Islamic funds are transferring vast sums of money to the Islamic Movement’s radical northern branch headed by Sheikh Ra’ed Salah. The Islamic Movement in turn is paying thousands of shekels every month to hundreds of women and men, mainly Muslim Israeli citizens, who call themselves the Murbitat.

The Murbitat presents itself as an Islamic prayer group, but according to Shragai, the group’s job is to harass Jews and police on the Temple Mount. They scream and curse at Jewish visitors and in recent months have escalated their violence against them, and their police escorts. These violent attacks include assaults with rocks, firebombs and firecrackers.

To prevent the police from blocking their entry to the Mount, members of the Murbitat enter the mosques in times of relative calm and then remain there for weeks at a time. The women are used as well to smuggle firecrackers and other weaponry onto the Temple Mount by hiding them in their burkas.

In a report published Sunday by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Palestinian affairs researcher Pinchas Inbari explained the goals of the violence.

The riots and assaults on the Temple Mount have two goals. First, they aim to incite the Islamic world against Israel and return attention to the Palestinians. And second, they seek to destabilize the regimes in Egypt and Jordan.

Regarding the goal of galvanizing support for jihad by attacking Israel, Inbari recalled how immediately after longtime Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in February 2011, the Muslim Brotherhood’s most influential cleric, Qatar-based Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, gave a speech at a mass rally in Cairo and called for the Muslims to march on Jerusalem.

The rally was organized by the Muslim Brotherhood and attended by two million people. It marked the first time that Qaradawi had returned to Egypt since he was forced to flee in the 1960s for his support for jihad.

From Doha, Qaradawi has become the most influential cleric on the regime-controlled Al Jazeera satellite network. As such, he has become the most important Islamic cleric in the Sunni Islamic world.

As Inbari noted, following his speech in Cairo Qaradawi authored a book titled Jerusalem: The Problem of Every Muslim, in which he restated his call for an Islamic conquest of the city.

Saleh, who is extremely close to Qaradawi, stated that “Jerusalem is the capital of the imminently approaching Islamic Caliphate.”

In other words, the Palestinians and their Qatari financiers are seeking to galvanize the forces of global jihad, including IS, to view the Palestinian war against Israel and the Jews as the centerpiece of the jihad.

These efforts are backed by both Fatah and Hamas, who are competing for Qatari money. Fatah chief and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas resonated the claims of the most radical jihadists when earlier this month he referred to Jews on the Temple Mount as “herds of cattle,” and called on Muslims to attack them for they “desecrate” the holy site simply by being there.

Doha-based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal called on the Palestinians “to defend Jerusalem and al-Aksa, and on the Muslim nation to send a painful message of rage to the world.”

As to the goal of using the violence on the Temple Mount to destabilize Egypt and Jordan, Inbari noted that efforts to intensify violence in Jerusalem have grown since the Egyptian military overthrew Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood regime in July 2013. “Presumably,” Inbari argues, “Qatar tried indirectly to help the Brotherhood in Egypt by inspiring support for them on the Jerusalem issue.”

The Jordanian regime is even more acutely threatened by the violence on the Temple Mount. Israel recognized Jordan as the custodian of the Temple Mount in its peace treaty with the Hashemite Kingdom. The Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan has capitalized on the violence on the Temple Mount to condemn the regime for what it claims is its failure to protect al-Aksa from the Jews.

In contending with the violence in Judaism’s holiest site, and throughout its capital city, the Israeli government is caught in a trap.

While telling their fellow Muslims that they must wage a jihad for Jerusalem, Fatah and Hamas as well as the Israeli Islamic Movement tell Western leaders that their violence against Jews in the city owes to actions that Israel has taken to safeguard the lives and civil rights of Jews.

To appease these specific purported grievances, the Palestinians demand that Israel deny protection and civil rights to Jews by among other things, denying Jews the freedom to visit the Temple Mount and denying Jews property rights in Jerusalem.

Rather than recognize that they are being played by double-speaking Palestinians and their jihadist supporters, Washington and Brussels are going along with their deceit. Both the Obama administration and the EU firmly side with the Palestinian demand that Jews be denied civil rights in Jerusalem. Both have condemned and threatened Israel for not preventing Jews from lawfully purchasing homes in Silwan and for allowing contractors to build homes for Jews in Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem.

This places the Israeli government in an impossible position. It is being attacked by jihadist forces who seek its destruction. It is told by Washington and Europe that if it doesn’t appease those who cannot be appeased by denying protection and civil rights to Jews, then it will lose whatever is left of its good relations with the US and Europe.

And this brings us back to Kerry’s claim that Arab leaders are blaming Israel for the rise of Islamic State.

As IS forces draw closer to Baghdad and expand their control over Anbar Province in Iraq, it is becoming more and more apparent that the US-led campaign against the terrorist army is failing.

To a significant degree, Washington’s inability to forge a coherent and feasible strategy for containing and defeating IS owes to its refusal to understand the nature of the enemy and its goals.

What we see in Qatar’s financing of the violence on the Temple Mount is that the same forces that are financing IS are financing the violence against Israel.

SOURCE

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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

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3 November, 2014

Red Cross volunteer, 71, axed over gay marriage protest: Pensioner told he is no longer welcome at charity because his views are incompatible with its values

A volunteer has been dismissed from the British Red Cross for protesting against gay marriage.  Bryan Barkley, 71, was told he is no longer welcome at the charity because his views are incompatible with its values.

The church-going pensioner received his dismissal letter after holding a one-man protest outside his local cathedral.  He held up a placard saying ‘No same sex marriage’ and ‘No redefinition of marriage’.

Yesterday his supporters said the charity’s action was shocking and it was punishing volunteers for their thoughts and views.

Mr Barkley, who has worked for 20 years as a senior Red Cross volunteer, is appealing against his dismissal which he calls ‘unfair and without justification’.

The grandfather, who has been married for 42 years, joined the organisation after taking early retirement from his job as a civil engineer and had recently represented it at a Buckingham Palace garden party.

He said yesterday: ‘What have I done wrong? I passionately believe that the institution of marriage is between a man and a woman and is the cornerstone of our society. Why is it wrong to say so in public?

‘Freedom of expression is being stifled in this country. I have nothing against homosexuals. But I don’t believe Parliament was representing the views of the people when it changed the definition of marriage.’

Mr Barkley, from Wakefield, West Yorkshire, worked for the charity’s international tracing service helping reunite families in Britain with relatives in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He staged his protest outside Wakefield Cathedral in March.

It was reported in the local press and Pink News but his link to the Red Cross was not mentioned.

However, in May he received a letter from Andy Peers, director of operations for the charity in Yorkshire, summoning him to a disciplinary hearing. The letter said it was to discuss his protest in relation to the ‘fundamental principles of the Red Cross, Red Crescent Movement and the values of the British Red Cross’.

During the meeting, Mr Peers told Mr Barkley that the British Red Cross does not have a view on same sex marriage because as a charity it is impartial and neutral. Yet on August 8, Mr Barkley was told the charity was withdrawing his ‘opportunity to volunteer’ with immediate effect.  The letter of dismissal accused him of breaching its principles.

The Christian Institute, which co-ordinated opposition to gay marriage, is providing Mr Barkley with legal advice. Its director, Colin Hart, said: ‘This is a shocking case.  ‘For nearly two decades Bryan helped reunite people with lost family members. ‘Yet after voicing his opposition to the Government’s plans to rip up the traditional definition of marriage he was fired.

‘His only crime seems to be that he was one of millions of ordinary people who opposed this change. What will disturb most people is that the Red Cross says it is not his actions but his thoughts and views that were the problem.  ‘Is it now official policy of the Red Cross that any volunteer who holds traditional views on marriage will face the sack?’

The Red Cross said: ‘We are committed to and bound by our fundamental principles which... do not take sides in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature.  ‘We have to consider the compatibility of people’s publicly expressed views in line with the fundamental principles.’

SOURCE






Black Pastor Forced into Hiding for Supporting GOP Candidate

A black Chicago pastor was recently forced into hiding for endorsing Bruce Rauner, the Republican candidate for governor in Illinois.

Rev. Corey Brooks, pastor of the New Beginnings Church of Chicago located on the South Side, has taken his family to an undisclosed location after receiving death threats through voice mail and social media.

Brooks’ church was also recently burglarized. About $8,000, money collected for a new community center for the church, was stolen from a collection box.

With a week to go until the midterm elections, the real voter intimidation is against black conservatives.

This example of intimidation goes well beyond the verbal name calling of black conservatives and it’s an amazing example of hypocrisy. Could you imagine if this was happening to a minister that was supporting a Democrat.

This sends a message to black individuals that these intimidation tactics can happen to them if they back conservative principles and politicians.

SOURCE






Democrats Push for Censorship of Political Blogs, Videos and Sundry Internet Postings



As the media prepared to vacate newsrooms for the weekend, Democrats snuck in a last minute proposal that the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) be allowed to heavily regulate political content on internet sites such as Youtube, blogs, and the Drudge Report.

Obama FEC Vice Chairperson Ann M. Ravel announced late on Friday that the FEC was preparing new regulations to give itself control over videos, Internet-based political campaigns, and other content on the web. She insisted that, “A reexamination of the commission’s approach to the internet and other emerging technologies is long overdue.”

At issue was a case considered by the FEC – the chief campaign-finance regulator – in September involving a group that ran pro-coal videos critical of Democrats in 2012. The group initially was accused of failing to report the cost of the videos and of failing to include the routine “disclaimers.”

But the group maintained that since they were only run on YouTube, they were exempt.

The case ended in a split, 3-3 decision at the FEC and was dismissed. But the vote itself aired a striking divide: despite a decision clearing the organization by the general counsel, Democrats voted to pursue an investigation anyway while Republicans voted to drop it.

Ravel was blunt in her written statement Friday explaining her side’s vote. She scolded Republicans for arguing rules that would apply to TV ads should not apply to web videos.

Until now, videos and other political content that is not posted for a fee are unregulated by the FEC. Only paid advertising is regulated under election rules. It is this that the Democrats want to change.

“FEC Chairman Lee E. Goodman, a Republican, said if regulation extends that far, then anybody who writes a political blog, runs a politically active news site, or even a chat room could be regulated,” the Washington Examiner reported on October 24.

SOURCE






Where's the outrage over Saudi treatment of women?

An Australian sporting perspective

Imagine a nation that treats a huge section of its population as little more than slaves. A nation where many are not allowed access to a full education or a professional career. Picture a place where some citizens can count themselves lucky if they are allowed to show their faces in public, let alone attend a sporting event.

Now imagine this: a football stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, this Sunday. A sweltering cauldron of sound. The Western Sydney Wanderers run on to the pitch to play the second leg of the final of the Asian Champions League against Al-Hilal.

Then, at the opening kick-off, the Wanderers all sit down and decline to play until Saudi Arabia agrees to recognise women as equals.

Our apologies. We'll now interrupt this broadcast and return to normal programming.

You can safely assume this Sunday's final will pass without a mention of women's rights in Saudi Arabia. There may be only one woman in the crowd of 65,000 - devout Wanderers fan Kate Durnell. And she has only been given permission to attend because she will be accompanied by her father and will wear a hijab.

Where is the anger, much less the outrage? Whatever happened to that generation in the 1970s who helped change the world? Did they all grow fat and old and decide sport was no longer a worthy weapon in the battle for human rights?

Say what you like about the 1970s. The naff idealism. The quaint notions of peace amid the threat of nuclear holocaust. At least it was a time when the world belatedly woke up to the evils of the apartheid system in South Africa and decided to do something about it.

Australian sport caught up with public opinion as Sir Donald Bradman directed that a cricket tour of South Africa be cancelled.

"We will not play them until they choose a team on a non-racist basis," declared Bradman who, just a year earlier, had not believed politics should mix with sport.

When the Springboks arrived in 1971 for a series of Tests, more than 700 Australians were arrested for disrupting the tour.

Such was the public outcry that games were played behind barbed wire. Unions banded together, forcing the tourists to travel around the country on air force planes.

These strident public protests eventually led to a stiffening in the resolve of politicians.  By the late 1970s, the world was condemning South Africa. And, little more than a decade later, the practice of measuring a person by the colour of their skin in that country was peeled away.

So where is the outcry as the Western Sydney Wanderers head to Saudi Arabia?

This is a nation that has long suppressed its women. They are not allowed to drive a car. In fact women under the age of 45 require a male guardian's permission to open a bank account, to seek a job, to undergo elective surgery and even to travel.

Enforcement is often swift and brutal and carried out by the Mutaween – a select group of religious police with the powers to detain Saudis and foreigners for whatever they deem "immoral".

Where's the moral outrage? Have we had to look the other way because of the diplomatic nuances required to live in a post 9/11 world?

Does our reliance on the Middle East oil pipeline preclude the West from speaking out against clear and present human injustices?

Or maybe we've just lost the zeal, the passion and the desire to make the world a better place.  Maybe we decided that soccer superiority beats civil rights hands down.

SOURCE

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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 November, 2014

Multicultural pedophile in Britain



A paediatrician who sexually abused a dozen young boys was found with 1.2 million indecent images and videos after surfing the ‘dark web’.

Raza Laskar, 32, was described by police as a "Jekyll and Hyde" character who cared for children in his professional life but abused them in private.

Police discovered videos of the junior doctor sexually assaulting boys in hotel rooms while in the space of a month he shared 1,600 indecent images of boys under 16 online.

Laskar, from Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, admitted 31 charges including sexual activity with a child and causing or inciting child pornography.

Some of his victims were based in the UK while others lived abroad.

Detective Inspector Theresa Carter of Greater Manchester Police said Laskar used his knowledge as a children's doctor to 'ingratiate himself' with the boys.

"Obviously he has experience in dealing with children and knows how children tick," she said.

"The children knew he was a doctor because he told them and he knew the boys were all under 16.

"Like Jekyll and Hyde, he is vastly different in moral character depending on the situation, going from caring for and treating children to deliberately targeting, grooming and abusing them."

Laskar, who is married, was caught as part of a nationwide sting called Operation Notarise, which began earlier this year. More than 650 suspected paedophiles including doctors, teachers and former police officers have been arrested as part of the crackdown.

Police targeted people accessing indecent images online, focusing on those who had unsupervised access to children in the course of their work.  They were identified through examinations of the 'dark web' – the encrypted underbelly which gives users greater anonymity – and through traditional online methods of sharing files.  Only 39 of those arrested so far were registered sex offenders and the majority were not known by the police.

It is the biggest operation for more than ten years targeting online child abusers. Police experts in the US trained British detectives to use American-designed computer technology to trace criminal suspects on the dark web.

Detectives were alerted to Laskar's activity when over 1,600 files suspected to contain indecent photographs of children were made available on a file sharing site between Christmas Day last year and January 27.

Investigators linked the IP address to Laskar's home which was searched on May 2.  Officers seized computers and data storage devices which were examined by GMP's high tech crime unit. An external firm was also brought in due to the large amount of data recovered, which included 1.2 million images and videos.

DI Carter said Laskar would advertise on sex sites, claiming he was a '30-year-old male wanting slaves'.  "Some people that contacted him were just lonely young boys who wanted to talk," she said.

"The sinister side is the fact he is a doctor and he understands children.  "His profession will obviously be an aggravating factor and one that many people will be extremely concerned about.

"While I can stress that we found no evidence that he committed any offence during the course of his employment, it will be of absolutely no comfort to the boys and the families of the boys he targeted online."

Calling for a heightened awareness of the dangers of the web, she added: "It is so important, in this digital age where even young school children have the internet in the palm of their hand that they know about the dark side of the web.

"There are dangers lurking if the right precautions are not taken and I would encourage parents to talk to their children and discuss what websites they are visiting."

A spokesman for NHS England in Greater Manchester said: "The charges against Dr Laskar did not relate to his work.  "However, we would like to extend our sympathies to the victims and families involved in this case."

SOURCE






Rally against Islamic extremism turns violent in Germany

Berlin: Police in Germany used water cannons and pepper spray against protesters after a demonstration organised by far-right groups in the western city of Cologne turned violent on Sunday.

A spokesman for the city's police said officers in riot gear were deployed to calm the situation after protesters threw bottles, stones and fireworks at them.

A police vehicle was also overturned by protesters.

Thirteen officers and one protester were injured in the clashes, police spokesman Andre Fassbender said. Six people were detained, but further arrests were likely to follow a review of video footage, he said.

About 2000 people had massed in the heart of Cologne's historic centre for a demonstration ostensibly aimed against Islamic extremism. It was organised by neo-Nazi groups and members of Germany's football hooligan scene.

German news agency dpa reported that some protesters were heard chanting "foreigners out".

SOURCE






Obama Finally Identifies the enemy in the Middle East -- Israel



The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg has written a piece detailing the deteriorating relationship between Israel and the Obama administration. The chief purpose of Goldberg’s piece is to humiliate Benjamin Netanyahu. None of this is especially shocking, considering the antagonism the administration has shown toward the Jewish state from the start.

Most people have focused on the name-calling, and Goldberg keeps a list of pejoratives used by U.S. officials to describe Netanyahu, including “aspergery.” On that front, it’s worth noting that the person repeatedly being called “chickens–t” by anonymous officials volunteered for the Israel Defense Forces, saw combat and was the leader of an elite special forces unit deployed on numerous missions – including the freeing of a hijacked Sabena flight in 1972, where he was shot. Granted, this may not be so courageous as hopping the Amtrak from Delaware to D.C. each day or rallying the troops at a fundraiser in Greenwich, Connecticut, but God knows we can’t all be heroes.

Is Netanyahu a political coward? Perhaps. But not for any of the reasons offered by the administration. Is he arrogant? I’m sure he is. Is being anti-Netanyahu tantamount to being anti-Israel? Well, no. Although, it’s certainly fair to point out that the administration’s public demeaning of an ally’s elected leader – almost certainly with the blessing of higher-ups – is nearly unheard of.

But you know what is unmistakably anti-Israel? Gloating over how the United States has strong-armed Israel into living with a nuclear Iran, which seems like significant news to me. Here’s what Goldberg had to say:

“The official said the Obama administration no longer believes that Netanyahu would launch a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities in order to keep the regime in Tehran from building an atomic arsenal. ‘It’s too late for him to do anything. Two, three years ago, this was a possibility. But ultimately he couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger. It was a combination of our pressure and his own unwillingness to do anything dramatic. Now it’s too late.’”

At the United Nations a few years ago, President Barack Obama reportedly offered to do whatever it would take to prevent Iran from producing atomic weapons in exchange for Israeli assurances that it would not attack Iran’s nuclear sites before the presidential election in 2012. (And to think, Obama officials have the audacity to whine about Netanyahu’s “near-pathological desire for career-preservation.”) One side has kept its promise. Obama has repeatedly vowed, since his first run for president, to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power. Maybe that’s a promise that never should have been made. Now, though, the administration claims it’s too late. Now it claims American pressure helped dissuade Israel from defending itself. And now there is nothing Israel can do about it.

Knowing this, why anyone would expect Israel to trust Secretary of State John Kerry or Obama to forge a peace deal with a Fatah-Hamas unity government is a mystery.

So what happens next? Well, considering his access, when Goldberg “imagines” what’s coming, I imagine someone in the know told him what to imagine. So if Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas asks for recognition of Palestine in the United Nations, as he’s expected to do again, the United States will likely block the initiative in the Security Council. But as Goldberg notes, the Obama administration may also participate in a “stridently anti-settlement resolution” that would isolate Israel from the international community and pressure it to create a Judenfrei West Bank and an indefensible Jerusalem.

It must be very frustrating to believe that a nation acts in its own best interests rather than the interests of an American political party. Despite Netanyahu’s assurances that he wouldn’t mess with the president’s 2012 campaign, it is he, out of all the leaders in all the world, who frustrates Obama most. Not Russian autocrats who invade sovereign nations. Not genocidal Arab dictators. Netanyahu. I forget which sycophantic liberal pundit pointed out on Twitter that this makes sense because we’re prone to be frustrated more by our friends than by our enemies. For that to be true, one would have to accept the dubious notion that the president ever considered Israel a “friend” in any special sense.

Is there any other friend treated similarly? Trust me; you’re never going to hear a senior State Department official refer to Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as a chickens–t theocrat. In fact, when the United Arab Emirates and Turkey, both friends of ours in the Middle East, were justifiably called out by Vice President Joe Biden for their roles in helping to strengthen the Islamic State, Biden was quickly dispatched to ask for forgiveness from both the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Apologize to the leader of Turkey. Call the leader of Israel a coward. That about encapsulates American foreign policy during the past few years.

SOURCE






Girl Scouts Membership Plummets, Threats of Split Emerge

The Girl Scouts USA has just ended its 53rd Convention amid sharply declining membership numbers, serious financial problems, cookie boycotts due to the organization’s known ties to Planned Parenthood, and now, the threat that those who want the group to retain its former, traditional values will split off to get the Girl Scouts back on track.

As CBS News reports, for the second straight year, both youth and adult membership in the Girl Scouts has dropped dramatically. Over the past year, the total youth members and adult volunteers declined by six percent, from 2,994,844 to 2,813,997. The past two years have seen total membership down 11.6 percent, and since 2003, when membership peaked at more than 3.8 million, total membership has plummeted 27 percent.

Girl Scouts CEO Anna Maria Chavez attributes the falling numbers to overarching societal factors, such as less financial stability among parents and families, leading to the need for parents to work several jobs with little time to take children to activities or to volunteer themselves.

Chavez said the dearth of volunteer adults has forced some Girl Scout councils to turn away girls who want to join. She added there are approximately 30,000 girls on waiting lists around the country.

“The need for what Girl Scouts has to offer is not decreasing – more than ever girls need our time and our commitment,” Chavez said. “Our challenge is to meet them where they are with enough caring adults to serve them.”

To draw new members, the Girl Scouts has developed online toolkits to help make becoming a member easier and to assist troop leaders with meeting and activity planning.

However, as Will Doig at The Daily Beast observes, the Girl Scouts is facing a split between those who believe the organization should return to its traditional values and principles and those who want the group to focus on more “global” concerns and issues, such as “female body image” and how to reduce one’s carbon footprint.

“We’ve got a group of people organized,” says Marty Woelfel, a volunteer with Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana. “I won’t tell you how many.”

According to the Beast, Woelfel and others are prepared to return the Girl Scouts organization to its traditional core principles and activities such as canoeing, archery, fire building, and other wilderness skill building.

Nowadays, girls work toward merit badges for analysis of how fashion blogs portray women, developing a plan to reduce one’s carbon footprint, or how to commit to an “eat local” diet plan that is “sustainable.”

“We listen to and move at the speed of girls, and research shows that today’s girls not only love camping and being outdoors, they also enjoy technology and helping the world while having fun, all of which can be found in Girl Scouts,” says Kelly Parisi, chief communications executive for Girl Scouts USA.

However, as Breitbart News has extensively reported, not all is “fun” at Girl Scouts USA, and Parisi, formerly vice president of Marketing and Communications at the Ms. Foundation, had joined a national campaign during her tenure there to punish the Susan G. Komen Foundation for trying to defund Planned Parenthood.

The Girl Scouts' ties to Planned Parenthood, abortion, and other “non-traditional” activities include the fact that Josh Ackley - its main media spokesman – also happened to be the lead singer of a “homopunk” band that filmed several controversial videos, including one in which a woman is strangled, and another in which a young man writhes naked on the ground and appears to be masturbating. As Breitbart News’ Austin Ruse reported in January, when Ackley’s extracurricular activities were exposed, the Girl Scouts merely scrubbed him from its media page but still tweeted that “not only is Josh Ackley still employed, no one has been demoted.”

In May of 2013, a Girl Scout-sponsored event in New York City, billed as one to “celebrate women and girls” featured a live screening and panel discussion of the documentary MAKERS, a feminist, pro-abortion video account of prominent women described as “trailblazers.”

The Girl Scouts organization even stepped into designating pro-abortion Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis an “incredible woman” who deserved to be on the list of the 2013 “Women of the Year.” Additionally, on its Facebook page, the organization promoted former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as a woman of “courage.”

The non-traditional, “modern” Girl Scouts organization also hired a “Girl Experience Officer” named Krista Kokjohn-Poehler, who is a lesbian married to Ashley Kokjohn.

Among the internal issues that have led to expressions of public resentment among alumnae and regional councils of the Girl Scouts have been an unfunded pension plan, revenue deficits that have led to the elimination of about one-fourth of the staff at national headquarters, and the closure of some Girl Scout camps and what has been perceived as a shift away from camping and other outdoor activities that were once synonymous with scouting itself.

Another decision that has ruffled feathers has been the business partnership with the Mattel toy company, which manufactures Barbie, and the Girl Scouts’ creation of a Barbie patch that girls wear on their uniforms, as well as a Barbie Girl Scouts doll.

Both the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and the Center for a New American Dream have called for an end to the Girl Scouts-Mattel partnership, arguing that Barbie is an inappropriate role model for young girls.

As CBS News observes, as the Girl Scouts’ membership has plummeted, the American Heritage Girls, formed in 1995 as a Christian-oriented alternative, now has over 35,000 members.

SOURCE





British social worker bastards again

Couple with learning disabilities given £12,000 compensation after their newborn child was taken from them for more than a year

A couple who were separated from their baby for more than a year have been awarded £12,000 compensation in a landmark ruling.

The pair – who have learning difficulties and are in their 30s – will receive the payment after a judge at the High Court in London said their basic human rights had been violated by social workers.

In the first known case of its kind, family judge Clifford Bellamy told how social workers employed by Leicester City Council had dragged their feet in sorting out the case, leading to trauma for the parents.

During the court hearing, it emerged that medical professionals had no idea the mother was pregnant before she gave birth in May last year.

The court heard that it was unclear whether she concealed her pregnancy or was genuinely unaware of it.

The couple had not been under assessment by social workers prior to the birth. When the girl, known only as Baby H, was born Leicester City Council social workers stepped in and decided that she was ‘at risk of significant harm’.

The couple, who cannot be named, were prevented from taking her home from hospital.

The judge said he felt great sympathy for the parents as they had ‘no one to speak up for them’.  They had no choice in the matter as their baby was put into care with a couple known to them and were then stymied in their efforts to be reunited with their daughter.

The judge said the confused parents were repeatedly ‘subjected to unnecessary delay and uncertainty’.

The council took almost a year to launch proper care proceedings. Baby H had already celebrated her first birthday before her parents were sent on a 12-week residential course to assess their ability to look after her.  Judge Bellamy said that was the first time they had ‘been together as a family’ since her birth.

The child is now almost 18 months old and the couple are finally able to look after her under close supervision.

‘The happy ending must not be allowed to mask or diminish this local authority’s serious failings in the way that it dealt with this case and the impact that had on these parents,’ he said.

The judge also expressed sympathy for a foster couple who had cared for the baby. He found they had taken her into ‘their home and their hearts’ and had been given hope they would look after her permanently. After initially being told they would be caring for the baby for a fortnight, social workers then said she might never be returned to her parents and they became ‘deeply attached to her’.

Judge Bellamy ruled the council had admitted making 14 mistakes.

These included failing to explain to the couple why their daughter was being cared for ‘far away from them against their expressly stated wishes’.

The council admitted that its failures breached the parents’ human rights to a fair hearing and to respect for their privacy and family life.

‘The nature and extent of the poor practice admitted by the local authority is such that an adverse impact on these parents was inevitable,’ added the judge.

‘They would have needed great fortitude to be able to take such an experience in their stride.  ‘Far from having great fortitude it is clear that these are vulnerable, learning disabled parents who had no one to speak up for them.’

Despite admitting it had violated the parents’ human rights, the council argued that it was ‘inappropriate’ to award them damages.

However, the judge said that because the baby wasn’t returned to her parents until June this year; ‘These parents have suffered a loss of time with their daughter which was both unnecessarily lengthy and deeply distressing.’

He ordered that the council pay £6,000 damages to each parent, adding that this was the least required to ‘afford just satisfaction’ for what they had endured.

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




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To be continued ....
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