PC WATCH Mirror by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.)

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 This site is updated several times a month but is no longer updated daily.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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24 July, 2015

Multicultural couple made £1.3million stealing bank details from 700 victims then splashed the cash on a lavish wedding and honeymoon to Hawaii



Fraud seems to be one thing multiculturalists are good at

A couple made more than £1.3million through black market trading in stolen bank details and then used it to pay for a £40,000 lavish wedding and Hawaii honeymoon.

Sean Benson, 26, who called himself 'Sir King Cash', and his wife Jennifer Hallam, 25, have been found guilty of fraud and money laundering after a three-year police investigation.

Benson was jailed for seven years and Hallam was given a 18-month sentence, suspended for two years.

Scotland Yard and the National Crime Agency launched a joint investigation in 2012 into the activities of a cyber criminal using the online nickname Sir King Cash (SKC).

SKC - aka Benson - was an active member of an online criminal forum set up, among other things, to help those wishing to trade in stolen debit or credit card data.

Benson set up an online identity - using a cartoon character he created - to buy card details from a Russian cyber criminal network.  He then formed a company called Identity Music, which claimed to specialise in selling audio material to DJs, musicians and others.

In fact he used the stolen credit card details to make false purchases through his website, with the money going directly into five Lloyds TSB Bank business accounts he owned. The Met's Criminal Finance Team froze the accounts and found they contained £534,000.

Benson withdrew money from the accounts - around £100,000 - to pass to his wife.  She took it to a money transfer shop where about £80,000 was sent to the Russians to pay for the stolen card details.

In total Benson made £1.3million of false purchases through his sham music business and transferred more than £1million to his Lloyds accounts.

Enquiries showed £40,000 of the stolen money had been used to fund the couple's extravagant wedding and honeymoon to Hawaii.

The investigation revealed details of more than 2,000 compromised bank accounts and uncovered 700 victims of fraud.

Benson and Hallam from Croydon, South London were arrested on 14 January 2013 and charged In March 2014.

Benson was found guilty of two counts of fraud by false representation and three counts of money laundering. Hallam was found guilty of money laundering.

Detective Constable Barry Steel who lead the investigation said 'Benson set up a sophisticated system to fraudulently obtain innocent people's bank details through Russian criminal networks and steal their money.

'Painstaking and lengthy analysis proved a link between Sir King Cash's activities in cyberspace and Benson's music activities in the real world.

'He made more than a million pounds and I have no doubt he would have continued his activities, causing frustration and misery to law-abiding bank customers by emptying their accounts for his own gain.'

Steve Brown, senior investigator at the NCA's National Cyber Crime Unit, said: 'This was high-level criminality, requiring extensive work by investigators to track down the person behind the online persona and to follow the illicit money trail.

'The NCA and its partners continue to demonstrate that we can identify criminals who think they are operating anonymously online, and ensure they are brought to account.'

SOURCE





'It's a shock they have that much power to rip a family apart': Grandparents blocked from adopting their three-year-old granddaughter

The grandparents of a three-year-old girl have been blocked from adopting her because they are ‘too old’, it emerged last night.

They had been left in charge of the child after her mother – who has a history of mental health problems – was sectioned. But the youngster, their only grandchild, was taken away from them and handed to foster parents.

The adoption will go ahead on July 31 unless they win the right to appeal.

The grandmother, 58, and grandfather, 70, have even been told by social workers to mark the occasion with a ‘party’ and bring a cake – a suggestion they described as ‘insulting’.

If the appeal fails the only contact they will have with their granddaughter is two letters they are allowed to send each year until she is 18. Their daughter will be allowed to see photos of her once a year but cannot keep copies.

Last night the ‘emotionally traumatised’ grandmother, a shop assistant, said: ‘I don’t feel old at all. I work two days a week. It’s just awful they could take her away from us.

‘It is devastating and so silly. Women have children older and older these days anyway.’

The grandfather, a retired firefighter, described his family’s treatment as ‘wicked’ and said he was amazed it could happen ‘in a civilised society’.

‘We would be 100 per cent capable of caring for her and we would be over the moon to have her,' he said.

‘But we have been kicked in the teeth by social workers. It is shocking they have that much power to take a family apart.’

Many women older than 58 have become mothers around the world and Britain’s oldest mother, Sue Tollefsen, gave birth to her only child, Freya, in 2008 when she was 57.

The girl at the centre of the adoption wrangle, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was born to the couple’s daughter, who is now in her 30s and is no longer in a relationship with the girl’s father. The child’s mother was sectioned in January after self-harming.

One week later, a social worker appeared at the grandparents’ home in Shoeburyness, Essex, demanding they hand the child over.  They did not see her again until March and even then were allowed to see her only once a week.

The grandfather said: ‘A social worker came round saying she’d come to pick up her clothes because they were taking her into foster care.

'We didn’t know what was going on but they’d applied for a court order with a view to adoption.’

The social worker showed them a form which they have since learned the mother had been persuaded to sign from her specialist mental health hospital bed – with no legal representative present – consenting to her daughter being taken into care.

At Chelmsford family court on June 17, a judge ruled adoption should go ahead but the grandparents could not be candidates.

They attended court but were unable to argue their case as they could not afford legal representation.

Grandparents are not entitled to legal aid in care cases. The assessment claiming they are not suitable to care for the toddler is not available to the public.

But the Daily Mail understands it claimed the couple would be incapable of acting as her guardians when she reached adolescence.

It initially gave their ages incorrectly. The error was corrected but the judge said they were too old as the grandfather would be 82 and the grandmother 70 when the girl turned 15.

The couple said they were also accused of not caring for their own daughter properly, a claim never previously made.

A lawyer who has now taken up their case pro bono yesterday expressed concern that social workers at Southend Council were pursuing adoption targets that generate income.

Karina Chetwynd, of John Copland and Son solicitors, said: ‘In my view, adoption is a cash cow. There is a lot of money paid for each adoption and each local authority has targets.’

Miss Chetwynd is hoping to be granted the right to appeal by arguing that the grandparents’ human rights were breached and they are entitled to a fair hearing and to a family life.

Anne Jones, the Southend councillor responsible for child welfare, said: ‘Age is not the deciding factor in our assessments. We have a duty to ensure the safety and well-being of the children.

'Though placing children in the care of relatives is our preference in all cases, we can only do so when this is consistent with the welfare of a child.’

SOURCE






For Being 30 Feet Away From Children, Texas Woman Arrested

If Laura Browder committed a crime, it’s the modern equivalent of locking someone away for stealing a piece of bread. The Texas Woman was arrested on child abandonment charges after she left her children in a Houston-area mall while she went to a job interview — except she was less than 30 feet from her children and kept them in sight.

Browder recently moved to the area with her six-year-old daughter and two-year-old son and she couldn’t find childcare for the two when a short-notice job interview cropped up. Her solution? She took her children to the food court where she and the interviewer agreed to meet, fed the children and sat with them until the interviewer showed up.

Then, she went off a ways, keeping the kids in sight, to do what seems to have been a good interview — she got the job. But when she returned to her children, a police officer arrested her.

Despite the judge releasing Browder’s children into her care, Child Protective Services is investigating. And the job that was supposed to provide for her children is in jeopardy because of the government’s meddling.

When child abandonment crops up, most people would think about mothers who leave babies in dumpsters or fathers who drop children off with grandparents with no plans of ever returning. This incident in Texas is another case of a helicopter government’s trying to increase its control of parenting.

SOURCE






UK: Press freedom: Keir Starmer faces his critics

While he was a bureaucrat, Leftist Keir Starmer exercised his powers  ruthlessly to attack freedom of the press.  Now that he has at long last gone openly into politics, he is trying to appear more moderate. Below we read what happened when the former DPP met angry "Sun" journalists.  The "Sun" was a major focus of his attacks

Former director of public prosecutions Sir Keir Starmer was pilloried by spurned journos, for the part he played in the post-phone-hacking crackdown on the press, at a debate held by the London Press Club last night.

The newly elected Labour MP entered the lion’s den, confronted by Sun journalists and free-speech advocates, hours after he made what seemed to be a spectacular political u-turn over press freedom, calling for there to be a ‘public-interest defence’ for journalists in law.

The debate asked panel members, ‘800 years after Magna Carta, do we have a free press?’, sparking penetrating exchanges between some of the most senior names in the fight for (and against) press freedom. Particular criticism was dealt to Starmer, who served as DPP during Operation Elveden, an investigation into allegations of wrongdoing among News International journalists.

Starmer’s lukewarm assertion that ‘it’s time for change’ on the law’s approach to press freedom drew groans from the audience. It seems either his new position as an MP or the collapse of the expensive four-year investigation has prompted this arse-covering exercise.

His views have evolved somewhat from the early days of the press witch-hunts, where Starmer’s guidelines meant reporters were given archaic ‘aiding and abetting’ and ‘conspiracy’ charges for their actions – a move that explicitly prevented them from making public-interest pleas.

However, when asked about how we should define the public interest, the rest of panel – which included the Sun’s Trevor Kavanagh, YouGov president Peter Kellner and Index on Censorship CEO Jodie Ginsberg – agreed it was an almost impossible task. Even Starmer admitted that ‘it’s so hard to define’. So, the ex-DPP has given himself the tricky job of defining the indefinable in law; clearly his sudden support for a free press is even hollower than it first seemed.

What’s more, as Kavanagh pointed out, a public-interest defence would, in fact, cement a state-led definition of public interest in law that would only harm a journalist in the docks. ‘Once you regulate and legislate public interest, it acts against the notion of public interest’, he said, before going on to accuse Starmer of being involved in a ‘political vendetta’ against the Murdoch press.

Such was Starmer’s trepidation that he allegedly confided to someone in the lift after the debate that he had had second thoughts about even attending. Nevertheless, he was confronted with reasonable debate and given a platform to explain his newfound support for the press’s struggle. The audience was far from the baying mob, even if it was full of spurned Sun journos.

At another point in the discussion, eyes rolled again as Index on Censorship’s Jodie Ginsberg’s attempted to dodge the question at hand entirely by indicating that the British press was relatively free, compared with that of Azerbaijan and Honduras. However, her contribution was saved somewhat when she denounced society’s self-censorship, suggesting British culture shouldn’t fear being offensive. This prompted Kavanagh to recommend Mick Hume’s new book on free speech, Trigger Warning, saying it offered excellent insights on this issue.

As the discussion on press freedom rumbles on, Starmer is tipped for great things in Labour’s shadow cabinet. We can only hope the Keir pressure he faced yesterday continues.

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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23 July, 2015

Rev. Graham: ‘We Are Under Attack … Stop All Immigration of Muslims to the U.S.’

Commenting on the five U.S. military service members killed by Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez last week in Chattanooga, Tenn.,  Rev. Franklin Graham said we need to face up to the fact that “we are under attack by Muslims at home and abroad,” and advised that America “should stop all immigration of Muslims” into this country until the threat from radical Islam ends.

“Four innocent Marines (United States Marine Corps) killed and three others wounded in ?#?Chattanooga yesterday [July 16] including a policeman and another Marine -- all by a radical Muslim whose family was allowed to immigrate to this country from Kuwait,” said Rev. Graham in a July 17 post on Facebook.

“We are under attack by Muslims at home and abroad,” he said.  “We should stop all immigration of Muslims to the U.S. until this threat with Islam has been settled.”

“Every Muslim that comes into this country has the potential to be radicalized  -- and they do their killing to honor their religion and Muhammad,” said the reverend, who is the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and also runs the international Christian relief group Samaritan’s Purse.

“During World War 2, we didn't allow Japanese to immigrate to America, nor did we allow Germans,” said Rev. Graham.

He continued, “Why are we allowing Muslims now? Do you agree? Let your Congressman know that we've got to put a stop to this and close the flood gates. Pray for the men and women who serve this nation in uniform, that God would protect them.”

CNN reported on July 18 that Abdulazeez “was a devout Muslim” although it is unclear whether he was a radical-type Islamist, according to some of the people that knew him. Abdulazeez was born in Kuwait and was a naturalized U.S. citizen.

CNN further reported that Abdulazeez had been in Jordan in 2014, and had been in Kuwait and Jordan again in 2010. The Washington Post, citing U.S. law enforcement officials, saud Abdulazeez had been to Jordan at least four times prior to the shootings.

The Post further reported that while Jordan apparently is a "popular tourist destination," it "has been a way station for foreign fighters attempting to enter Syria, including a 22-year-old U.S. citizen who similarly went undetected during trips to Jordan before carrying out a suicide attack in Syria last year."

Abdulazeez came to the United States with his parents from Kuwait in 1996.

The five U.S. military personnel shot and killed by Abdulazeez are: USMC Sgt. Carson Holmquist, 25; USMC Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, 40; USMC Lance Cpl. Squire “Skip” Wells, 21; USMC Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, 37; and USN Logistics Specialist Randall Smith, 26.

A Marine recruiter was also shot in the leg and wounded by Abdulazeez, and a police sergeant, Dennis Pedigo Jr., was shot in the ankle by Abdulazeez. The shooter was killed in a gunfight with authorities near a naval reserve center on the highway in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Rev. Graham, 62, is the son of world-renowned evangelist Billy Graham. Franklin Graham is married, has five children, and lives in Boone, N.C. He frequently preaches in the United States and around the globe.

SOURCE






Poll: 59% Believe Businesses Should Be Able to Decline Gay Weddings

Four in ten Americans support and an equal percentage disagree with the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage in June.

Asked about the Supreme Court’s decision on Obergefell v. Hodges, 39 percent of respondents said that they agree with the ruling and 41 percent said that they disagree, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll.

The poll also found that 59 percent of Americans believe that business owners should be free to decline to participate in a same-sex wedding service if they feel doing so would violate their religious beliefs, up from 52 percent earlier this year.

When religious liberty conflicts with gay rights, 56 percent said the government should prioritize protecting religious liberty, and 39 percent said gay rights should be prioritized.

Support for same-sex marriage has slightly decreased following the Supreme Court’s ruling on the matter. Following the ruling, 42 percent of respondents were in favor of same-sex marriage, and 40 percent were opposed.

Earlier this year, an Associated Press-GfK poll found that 44 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage.

Ryan Anderson, senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation and author of the new book “Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom,” said “the poll is just the latest indication that the Supreme Court did not—because it cannot—settle the marriage debate.”

“Americans remain divided on the question of what marriage is and why marriage matters, and now is the time for conservatives to make the case for marriage,” Anderson said.

Anderson added that he was “encouraged that the poll reveals a majority of Americans agree that the government should not coerce or penalize anyone because they act on the belief that marriage is the union of husband and wife.”

Recently, businesses that provide wedding services such as bakers, florists and photographers have come under fire when their owners have chosen not to participate in same-sex wedding ceremonies.

Some businesses that don’t typically provide wedding services, such as a pizzeria, have also come under fire.

SOURCE






The Empire strikes back: This awesome painting of a bloodied British soldier will star in a brave new exhibition of the Empire's most stirring masterpieces

Nestled in the dusty hills of eastern Afghanistan, the British sentries on the walls of Jalalabad saw a speck in the distance that afternoon of January 13, 1842.

As the speck came closer, they realised it was a man, bloodied and weary, astride an exhausted horse. It was Dr William Brydon, assistant surgeon in the British Army that had occupied the Afghan capital, Kabul, just over two years earlier.

Brydon was in a terrible state. Part of his skull had been sheared off by Afghan attackers, and it was a miracle he was still alive. Where, his rescuers asked, was the rest of the British Army? Brydon stared back at them. Then he said hoarsely: ‘I am the Army.’

The occupation of Afghanistan had been a disaster, and the British retreat from Kabul, in which almost 17,000 were massacred by tribesmen, was one of the greatest military catastrophes in history.

To the Victorian public, the story of Dr Brydon, the lone survivor, became an irresistible reminder of the dangers of imperial hubris.

Years later, his story was immortalised in a stunningly powerful painting by Elizabeth Butler, pointedly titled The Remnants Of An Army — a picture that, in the aftermath of our latest retreat from Afghanistan, is charged with a new poignancy.

For years, Butler’s painting was virtually forgotten. Yesterday, however, Tate Britain announced that it will be one of the key pictures in a new exhibition, Artist And Empire, the first major show to explore the artistic legacy of the greatest empire the world has ever known.

The Tate should, I think, be applauded for its vision and courage in holding this exhibition, which opens in November. The experience of Empire — merchants and massacres, missionary zeal and military glory — played a central part in the making of modern Britain.

It is our imperial legacy, after all, that explains why (at least on paper) Americans, Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders speak English; why so many people around the world play rugby, cricket and football; and why chicken tikka masala is today the UK’s favourite dish.

Too often, however, museums and galleries have shied away from exploring our imperial history with any depth or balance, while our politicians have often been far too quick to echo the self-flagellating whingeing of second-rate academics who love to blame the British Empire for all the ills of the modern world.

In reality, the story of Britain’s Empire presents a spectacle of almost unparalleled richness, grandeur, tragedy and inspiration. Like any similar construct, it had its fair share of dark chapters and grim episodes.

Even so, no reasonable observer can deny it often represented a tremendous force for good, or that the tale of its rise and fall remains one of the most stirring stories in all world history.

Judging by the publicity, the Tate’s forthcoming exhibition promises to be rich in this kind of melodramatic derring-do.

Among its key paintings is William Barnes Wollen’s splendidly evocative The Last Stand Of The 44th Foot At Gundermuck (1898), which captures another tragic scene during the retreat from Kabul — the remnants of the British Forces, surrounded, making their last doomed stand against overwhelming odds. Perhaps surprisingly, personal tragedy and military catastrophe are common themes. One picture by Anglo-American Benjamin West shows General Wolfe, conqueror of Quebec, breathing his last as victory is won.

Another painting, once one of the most famous images in Britain, shows the doomed imperial hero General Gordon making his final stand in Khartoum against a tide of Muslim fanatics — yet another image that, alas, now seems powerfully resonant.

Then there is Augustus John’s haunting portrayal of T. E. Lawrence — better known as Lawrence of Arabia — who played a key role in the liberation of Arabs from the Ottoman Empire during World War 1, only to see his dreams of fully independent, prosperous Arab nations shattered in the aftermath . . . a legacy with which we are still grappling today.

There was more to the imperial experience, though, than battles and massacres. The Tate’s exhibition promises to bring out the weird and wonderful side of Empire — the quirks and curiosities assembled by missionaries and explorers.

Perhaps the finest painting in the show is George Stubbs’s Cheetah And Stag With Two Indians, which was commissioned by the British governor-general of Madras in 1765.

At the time, the cheetah in question was one of the great celebrities of the age, being hailed in Britain as a ‘She Tyger’. Initially given as a present to George III, the cheetah ended up as the star tourist attraction at the Tower of London, where she was known as ‘Miss Jenny’.

Another extraordinary image shows spy novelist John Buchan, best known today as the author of The Thirty-Nine Steps, while he was governor-general of Canada in the late 1930s.

Photographed by the peerless Yousuf Karsh, Buchan stares sternly ahead beneath an extraordinarily vast and lavish American Indian feathered head-dress — a supremely potent symbol of British power abroad, as well as a striking illustration of the Empire’s marriage of different cultural traditions.

It is a relief to see that, on this evidence, the Tate’s exhibition will not present the story of the Empire as a simplistic, hand-wringing tale of wicked British colonialists and virtuous, oppressed natives.

For the truth, as the best historians have shown, is that the Empire was always a collaborative enterprise, in which British merchants, administrators and missionaries often worked hand in glove with local people themselves.

During the heyday of the Raj, for example, barely 20,000 British administrators and soldiers ruled an Indian population more than 300 million strong. As any sensible observer would surely conclude, they could only have done so with the close co-operation of the Indians themselves.

This is not, however, what many Left-wing writers like to believe. They prefer an infantile fairy story in which hard-faced British oppressors went out across the world to steal and murder, leaving a trail of devastation in their wake.

And to their undying shame, some of our less principled politicians have endorsed this twisted view of our history. Tony Blair, for example, loved nothing better than going around the world offering unctuous apologies for Britain’s alleged sins, from our role in the slave trade to the mishandling of the Irish potato famine.

I hope that the Tate’s new show steers well clear of this sort of thing, although it has to be said that a few of its exhibits, including some truly dreadful examples of contemporary ‘post-colonial’ art, do not look very encouraging.

It is, I know, tempting for academics and curators to pander to Left-wing audiences, setting themselves up as moral judges of our supposedly wicked predecessors. But they really ought to know better.

Of course Britain’s Empire-builders made their fair share of mistakes. Yet no fair-minded judge can, I think, deny that it was far better to live under British rule than under our French, Dutch or Portuguese rivals — let alone under many of the violent regimes that followed, from Idi Amin’s Uganda to Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.

The Empire was not perfect. No institution built by human hand ever is. But at its best, Britain’s imperial enterprise reflected some of the noblest aspirations of the human soul, from the Victorians’ deep sense of philanthropic duty to their commitment to the rule of law.

And if the Tate’s new exhibition captures some of that spirit, then it will not merely have done our predecessors justice, it will have done us all a great public service.

SOURCE






The Women’s Equality Party: for ladies too nice for politics

British politics got a bit more girly at the start of this week, with the official launch of the Women’s Equality Party. Garnering support with the versatile hashtag #WE, the party was pleased with the 1,000 supporters it gained during its first day. ‘If #WE’re honest, some of us are a little bit teary’, said a post on Facebook. For those not on social media, the Women’s Equality Party is a non-partisan party that campaigns against inequality for women ‘at home, at work, in politics and in public life’.

The party is currently fundraising and boasts some tempting offers in exchange for your cash – £250 will get you a copy of founding member Sandi Toksvig’s book, Girls are Best, while £5,000 will get you dinner with the author herself. However, the party does not seem to recognise its own contradictions. Not only is there a mismatch between the party’s appeals to radicalism and its knitting-circle vibe, cosy tweets and general air of loveliness, but the party’s slogan, ‘Equality for women isn’t a women’s issue’, also jars, given the party is being marketed solely at women.

On the surface, the Women’s Equality Party seems like nothing more than a politically correct sorority, with matching #WE phone stickers and smug grins. However, there is something very sinister about Toksvig’s project. Appearing on The One Show earlier this year, the former News Quiz presenter stated, ‘We’re not going to fight with each other. When you watch Prime Minister’s Questions, you’re sort of embarrassed. PMQs couldn’t be more bad-tempered if it was called PMT. It isn’t the way to get things done.’ If relating politics to periods wasn’t bad enough, Toksvig seems hell-bent on making clear that women are somehow not up to the cut and thrust of modern politics.

Let’s get one thing straight: this is not a party for all women, it is a party for media women. Both of its founding members, Toksvig and journalist-cum-royal-enthusiast Catherine Mayer, realised they shared an ‘appetite for change’ when they shared a platform at the Southbank Centre’s Women of the World Festival. The driving force behind this party is a feeling that politics is vulgar, but rather than do what people disgusted with politics used to do and vote Lib Dem, the commentariat is now taking to creating its own parties – just without the politics. When an organisation says it is non-partisan, what it really means is that it is non-committal. As Toksvig said when she unveiled the party’s new logo, ‘you can be Tory, you can be Labour – let’s all work together instead of fighting each other’.

This is the pinnacle of middle-class feminism, a club for women who want to jazz up their image with a little politics, darling. The party’s objectives state a desire for ‘women to enjoy the same rights and opportunities as men’, but, as Joanna Williams has pointed out on spiked, women, on the whole, already do. What is the point in creating a sisterhood of victims? The Women’s Equality Party is yet another sign that contemporary feminists are uncomfortable with the fact that women in the West are doing just fine, choosing instead to imagine women as helpless creatures in need of empowerment.

This otherwise laughable organisation is a prime example of the long-drawn depoliticisation of women in British politics. The celebration of Blair’s Babes, New Labour’s record-breaking number of female MPs after the 1997 election, spoke to a sense that female representation, in and of itself, was positive and would attract more female voters. During the recent General Election campaign, Labour MP and Blair Babe Harriet Harman released a fleet of Barbie buses to encourage women to vote. At no point did these efforts try to engage women about what they thought, instead they used pink-coloured ploys to try to make politics look a bit more female-friendly.

What’s more, while mumsy middle-class feminists may seem more agreeable than blue-haired campus radicals, they still attach themselves to trendy feminist campaigns, like educating men who think tampons are icky, banning adverts that tell us we shouldn’t have another tea cake and promoting a Mary Whitehouse attitude to sex. The hashtag used by the Women’s Equality Party is misleading; #WE really means #US – that is, the the feminist commentariat, which dictates what women should do and think.

It is time for women to take a stand and kill off feminism as we know it. It is the only thing truly holding women back in the West today, reducing us to little more than our biology. The ideas of individual autonomy and free thinking have taken a beating recently, with the surge of patronising identity politics that judges us all on appearance rather than substance. But enough is enough. Women, if you truly value your brains over your bodies, you should have nothing to do with this Twittersphere slumber party from hell.

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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22 July, 2015

Britain's biggest police force now demands that anyone wanting to join as a beat bobby has to be bilingual in one of 14 languages

Scotland Yard has come under fire today after placing an advert demanding that anyone wanting to join as a police officer be able to speak a second language.

The Metropolitan Police wants to bolster the number of officers able to speak and understand 14 languages which are widely used across London.

But the move has sparked criticism from a former officer and members of the public on Twitter.

Retired Met Police officer Chris Hobbs wrote: 'I've kept reading and re-reading it. Can't believe it. What about potential BME (black and minority ethnic) recruits who only speak English.'

He added: 'Won't this also adversely affect the recruitment of guys and girls from the black community whom we would like 2 [sic] see more of?'

After Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe set an ambitious target of having 40 per cent of all officers from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, only 18 per cent met that criteria when the latest intake passed out in March.

According to a report published by the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee in December 2014, before the most recent recruitment campaign, only 11 per cent of officers serving in the Met were from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background, compared with approximately 40 per cent of the population of London. The current BME figure in the Met is now 12 per cent.

Members of the public also appeared less than enthusiastic about the new initiative.

Simon Holdaway tweeted: 'The Met's lack of understanding of the problems it faces is stunning', while another user wrote: 'the lunatics have finally overtaken the asylum.'

Meanwhile, Carole Hawkins tweeted: 'For £19,000 a year, this country is now getting really stupid.' 

As part of a month-long trial which started today, new recruits must speak English and one of Yoruba (Nigeria), Hebrew, Arabic, Hindi, Punjabi, Italian, German, Turkish, Greek, Spanish, Polish, Portuguese, Sinhala (Sri Lanka) or Bengali to join as Met Police officers.

Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said: 'We know that almost 300 languages are spoken in the capital. We need to recruit and deploy officers with second languages in areas where those languages are spoken.

'I believe it will help boost confidence, help to solve crime more effectively and support victims and witnesses.'

A Met Police spokesman said: 'It's a pilot scheme for four weeks. We will review it after four weeks and see what the take-up is and how successful it has been in terms of the number of people expressing an interest.

'With so many languages spoken in London we recognise that some of our victims, witnesses and others who come into contact with the police may not be fluent in English.

'This is about strengthening our capability to match the needs of some Londoners. We know there is a demonstrable link between the skills and capabilities of our workforce and public confidence in London's police.

'The language requirement is the latest in a number of initiatives the MPS has introduced in a bid to make the MPS more reflective of London's communities.'

Chairman of the Metropolitan Black Police Association, Janet Hills, said: 'This is about the cultural competency of officers within the organisation and those they are looking to recruit.

'The MetBPA are broadly supportive of the intention but recognise that more needs to be done to effectively utilise the existing skills of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic officers by consciously placing them into communities where they will have the greatest impact.

'Language is just one of the competencies that the MPS can utilise but unless officers with the right skills are placed in the right locations these attributes will be wasted.'

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Why Are ‘Customers’ So Angry About This New Book on Marriage and Religious Freedom?

Is the debate about marriage over after the Supreme Court’s June decision to redefine marriage in all fifty states? That’s what some Amazon.com reviewers are insisting after a new book was released last week.

The book, “Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom,” is a roadmap from Ryan Anderson, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, on how the conservative movement can move forward in promoting marriage and protecting religious freedom after the Supreme Court’s ruling.

“I wrote this book for all Americans. For those who disagree with me, to at least understand the viewpoint of roughly half the nation,” Anderson told The Daily Signal. “For those who agree, to better understand the nature of the debate and the reasons supporting the truth. For those undecided, to get one thoughtful take on what the future should hold.”

As of Saturday, Anderson’s book has received over 120 reviews. It average rank is 3.4 of 5 stars with 40 percent of reviewers leaving a 1 star rating.

How’d this come about? Opponents worked social media outlets to orchestrate a campaign of negative reviews of Anderson’s book, often attacking the author personally.

As of Sunday, only one of the 49 one-star reviews was a “verified purchase” reviews, which gives potential customers authenticity that the reviewer has purchased the material. By contrast, 35 of the 76 5-star reviews are from verified purchasers. Several of the 1-star reviews insist the “debate is over” and that Anderson’s claims are “a deadly defense of dying worldview.”

Anderson was surprised Amazon approved the reviews too. But he said these activists on the Left aren’t representative: “The one-star reviewers do not represent ordinary liberals,” Anderson said. “Ordinary Americans on the left are honorable and open-minded,” he noted. Consider “San Francisco Amazon Fangirl.” That reviewer gave the book five stars even though “I totally disagree with Ryan Anderson on this crucial issue of individual rights and equality.”

Ilya Shapiro, a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute, also believes same-sex marriage is a constitutional right but found issue with the reviews for Anderson’s book. “I disagree with Ryan’s perspective—and have publicly debated him several times—but he’s always thoughtful and courteous, unlike most of those who agree with me on same-sex marriage who have decided to ‘review’ Ryan’s book here,” Shapiro wrote last week.

Negative reviews morphed from disagreeing with Anderson’s stance to likening him to a Gestapo. Calling the book “fascism 101,” one reviewer posted a photo of likely concentration camp prisoners during World War II. Several people reported this post and the picture, but five days later, Amazon has still not removed it.

Others attacked Anderson personally. “Ryan is a sad and bitter loser, who can’t seem to grasp that, he makes no laws,” reviewer Terence Jennings wrote, titling the review “Unmarried virgin.” “He grants no rights or benefits and that his drivel is rehashed talking points that don’t really matter. So, waste your money if you will. The joke will be on you.” Amazon did remove this review.

While officials from Amazon did not return requests for comment, the e-retailer giant states in its review policies that reviews with obscene or distasteful content as well as profanity or spiteful remarks are not allowed and could be removed.

While it’s not the first time Anderson has released a book on marriage—he co-wrote “What is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense” in 2012 with Sherif Girgis and Robert George—Anderson said there was not a “well-organized attack” at its launch, primarily because he wasn’t as well known a figure.

But after doing many debates and media interviews, and with a  profile of him appearing on the front page of The Washington Post, Anderson believes the LGBT activists are intentionally targeting him.

“The 1 star reviews came from activists and ideologues,” said Anderson. “It’s a shame they’re so out of touch and unwilling to even consider opposing viewpoints. They do their cause damage.”

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Angry mother says McDonald's is discriminating against her Asperger's son with a job ad that says 'eye contact a must'

Must not ask for normality

An angry mother claims McDonald's is discriminating against her Asperger's son with a job advert that describes eye contact as a 'must'. Fiona Wallace, 52, said her son Robert would have been perfect for the customer service role but was dissuaded from applying when he saw that applicants must have the specific attribute.

The 21-year-old has Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism, which can make eye contact difficult during stressful situations such as a job interview.

A McDonald's spokesman said that, although communication is a key part of the role, 'eye contact' was only included in the advert for illustrative purposes.

But Ms Wallace, from Fife, said the advert was 'terribly discriminatory'. 'Both Robert and I believe that with the right training he could do the job competently - he is very polite and a hard worker,' she said.

'However because he suffers from Asperger's he can sometimes struggle with eye contact. In a stressful scenario like a job interview, eye contact could become difficult. The job advert clearly states that this is an issue as it lists eye contact as a must.'

She added: 'By doing this, it wipes out anyone on the autistic spectrum, no matter how their condition affects them and without meeting any of these people it tells them they need not apply.'

The job advert, which is listed on the McDonald's website, describes how candidates must have 'effective communication skills' before adding: 'Attentive listening, face-to-face verbal communication and eye contact are a must.'

Mr Wallace said the wording indicated that the job was not for someone in his situation.

'The wording is very specific they have blatantly said that this job isn't for me - anyone in my situation doesn't have the attributes listed as a must,' he said.

'That wording singles people out. I think they should review their hiring policy and the wording of their adverts. Disabled people are at a disadvantage anyway so I think they should take a good hard look at the wording and what it says to people in my situation.'

He added: 'I would have liked to apply for a job there as it would be good to earn my own money and to meet new friends, but I wouldn't apply now. It has definitely put me off.'

Carol Povey, the director of the National Autistic Society's Centre for Autism, claimed that autistic adults often take things literally and would only apply for a job if they feel they meet all the specifications for the role.

She said: 'Autistic adults often take things literally so it's also important that the language and wording of the job advert is clear.

'By taking into account the different needs of autistic jobseekers at every stage of the recruitment process, employers can unlock a wealth of talent.'

She added: 'Making eye contact can be difficult - even painful - for some people on the spectrum, particularly if they're feeling anxious as many do in interview situations. But it should never be a barrier to employment.

'We appreciate that there are some jobs that need an element of eye contact, but would not recommend that employers include this as essential criteria in the job advert.

'Doing so would unfairly write off a significant number of potential employees by disregarding the simple adjustments employers can make and the strategies autistic adults can use to get around this issue.'

A McDonald's spokesman said it was an 'inclusive employer' and that it was a shame Mr Wallace had decided not to pursue the application.

They added: 'We welcome people from all backgrounds and recruit on qualities not qualifications we want people who demonstrate the enthusiasm and passion for the brand we see in so many of our 100,000 employees every day.

'As with most employers we don't expect our new recruits to be the finished article which is why we invest over 50m a year in the training and development of our people.

'Serving over 3.5m customers every day means that our employees are expected to have excellent soft skills such as communication, teamwork and time- and self-management but we pride ourselves on the opportunities we give every employee to grow and develop these skills whilst they are with us.

'Our recruitment process includes a work trial session in which prospective employees can assess whether or not the job is right for them. as well as giving our restaurant managers can assess a person's suitability for the role. We work closely with organisations including Mencap and Remploy to ensure our recruitment process is adaptable and inclusive for all.'

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Consultant who was planning his retirement after unblemished 40-year medical career is struck off for slapping abusive A&E patient

A leading doctor who was planning his retirement after an unblemished 40-year career in medicine has been struck off in disgrace after he slapped a patient who had become abusive in a hospital A&E department.

Consultant Dominic McCreadie, 64, used his right hand to hit the 66-year old in the face after he lost his temper when the pensioner began struggling violently and swearing at him while receiving treatment.

The unnamed patient, who had been flailing his arms around whilst being given an injection was said to have 'calmed down' after being slapped.

But McCreadie was reported by a junior colleague who witnessed the incident and described the medic's actions as 'inappropriate.'

He was subsequently quizzed by police under caution and during an interview with officers he admitted: 'I accept that I was frustrated and exasperated by this patient.'

At a fitness to practise hearing of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service, McCreadie, formerly of Glasgow, now of Warwick, agreed to 'voluntary erasure' from the General Medical Council register after being found guilty of misconduct.

Panel chairman Dr Linda Buchanan said: 'Dr McCreadie was faced with a difficult patient and this was a one-off single incident in a long career with no previous complaints or concerns.

'However, striking a patient at any time and in any circumstances is a breach of the fundamental tenant of the profession to make the care of one's patient one's first concern.

'Dr McCreadie's striking of the patient was a single aberration in an otherwise long and unblemished career and there is nothing before the Panel to suggest that the patient suffered any actual injury.'

The alleged slap occurred in October 2012, after the patient who was suffering from 'acute confusion' was admitted to the Accident and Emergency department at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton, West Midlands, during the evening shift.

The OAP was initially seen by a nurse and trainee medic Dr Aliakbhar Mohamedbhai in a cubicle but senior colleague Dr McCreadie - who had announced the previous year his intentions to retire - was asked to intervene when attempts to give the patient an injection failed due to him being 'physically resistant'.

Chris Hamlet, on behalf of the General Medical Council, told the Medical Practitioners Tribanal Service in Manchester: 'Dr McCreadie slapped the patient across the face while assessing and managing an acutely confused patient who had become verbally abusive and was resisting attempts to examine him.

'The patient had become verbally aggressive and physically resistant and Dr Mohamedbhai assisted in restraining the patient's left arm in order to gain access.

'Access was achieved and Dr McCreadie went on to conduct an examination of the patient but it appeared to provoke another outburst of offensive language and physical resistance.

'Dr McCreadie, in response to that, struck the patient across the face in a slapping motion. The GMC have commissioned an expert view on the matter which finds that the slap as alleged, if proved, would fall seriously below the standard of a consultant in emergency medicine.'

Dr Mohamedbhai, 29, who still works for the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust told the hearing: 'At my request, Dr McCreadie helped me with the patient.

'With his help I attempted to establish access and after two failed attempts he took the lead and attempted access. At that point the patient was being aggressive. Acting in his best interest, I had to restrain his left arm to get access.

'Dr McCreadie then decided to carry out a further and more thorough examination of the patient. This provoked more aggressive behaviour from the patient and the use of offensive language. As the consultant felt this was inappropriate he landed his right arm on the patient's left cheek in an attempt to calm him down.

'The patient was using very offensive language and was shouting and I think Dr McCreadie looked angry. He looked in the eyes of the patient who became more aggressive. Dr McCreadie used his right hand to slap the patient's left cheek.'

When asked whether the patient was behaving in 'a difficult fashion?' Dr Mohamedbhai replied: 'Yes he was. He was flailing his arms and using offensive language. He was shouting and swearing. The nurse was trying to take some observations and that had become difficult as well because he was flailing his arms more aggressively.'

'I remember the nurse with me in the cubicle and she asked me whether what had happened was appropriate and the only comment I made was 'not in my opinion'. It was after Dr McCreadie had left. I did witness a slap.'

He said the patient had 'calmed down significantly and immediately' after Dr McCreadie slapped him. Dr Mohamedbhai reported his colleague to the NHS trust and an investigation began.

Dr McCreadie, who graduated at the University of Glasgow in 1975 denied slapping the patient - instead insisting that he held the man's mouth shut in a form of restraint to 'keep him quiet'.

In a statement he said: 'During the process of restraint and trying to hold his arm still, I attempted to stop his shouting (to avoid frightening and upsetting the other patients) by closing his mouth with my hand under his chin.

'I am informed that this has been interpreted as slapping the patient. Whilst understanding how it might look I certainly did not slap the patient but did try to restrain him and stop his shouting.

'It is clear that he became very agitated, uncooperative and very noisy, and in the circumstances I would therefore have restrained him at that point, by quickly, using my right hand to close his mouth and hold his head still in order to quieten him to allay upset to nearby patients and their relatives and to allow me to complete my neurological examination.

'This was done by cupping my right thumb and palm under his chin with my fingers up his left cheek. I accept I was frustrated and exasperated.'

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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21 July, 2015

Will an angry Marxist throwback lead the British Labour party?

Thirty-five years ago the Labour Party elected the Left-wing intellectual Michael Foot as its leader. It was a disaster (for Labour) that Foot pipped the infinitely more plausible figure of Denis Healey by a handful of votes.

Years later those distinguished academics Ivor Crewe and Anthony King published a book revealing that a number of Right-of-Centre Labour MPs who were already planning to defect to a new Social Democratic Party had told them they had voted for Foot rather than Healey in order to inflict maximum damage on the party they were about to desert.

That, at least, was cunning. No such clever plan seems to have been in the minds of a number of senior Labour MPs who nominated Jeremy Corbyn — at the last minute — so that he gained the necessary number of endorsements to go through to the final stage of the leadership ballot: that of the party’s national membership. The likes of Margaret Beckett and Frank Field argued that Corbyn’s presence would ‘widen the debate’.

It has done more than that. Those old stagers must now be in a state of consternation — and (more unlikely) contrition — as the man regarded as the most Left-wing member of the entire parliamentary party has taken the lead in various private polls of the national membership.

Corbyn has not only gained the support of the party’s financial backers, the large public-sector unions: he has won the nominations of more local party associations than any other candidate.

The 66-year-old member for Islington North — an ‘unreconstructed Trotskyist’ in the words of one ex-colleague — could actually come out on top in the first round of the ballot; the bookies now have him at 10-3 to win the leadership itself.

That ex-colleague went on to say that Corbyn is ‘not a serious politician’. On the contrary, he is astonishingly serious. He is more serious about politics than anyone else in the House of Commons.

Indeed, two marriages ended partly because of that. His first wife, Jane Chapman — whom he met when they were both members of the Hornsey Labour Party — later said: ‘I wanted to do other things — go to the cinema, go clubbing . . . he has remained very focused politically, I just didn’t have it to the same extent.’

Corbyn’s second marriage — to Claudia Bracchitta — seems to have foundered on his determination to put political ideology before family harmony.

Their son Ben had won a place to an outstanding grammar school. But Corbyn — who went to a grammar school himself, and whose mother taught in one — was determined that the boy should go to one of the (lamentably underperforming) Islington comprehensives.

Ms Bracchitta told The Observer: ‘I couldn’t send Ben to a school where I knew he wouldn’t be happy. Whereas Jeremy was able to make one sort of decision, I wasn’t.’

There is integrity in such a position as Corbyn’s — in stark contrast to one of his supporters, Diane Abbott, who sent her own son to a private fee-paying school, having previously condemned colleagues who had made a similar decision. Yet there is also something a little inhuman about those for whom ideology comes before family.

Not that Corbyn is incapable of emotions — chief among them, anger. The viewers of Channel 4 News witnessed that for themselves last week when Corbyn was questioned by Krishnan Guru-Murthy about the fact that he had described members of the proscribed terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah as ‘friends’ at a House of Commons meeting he organised.

Scowl

Corbyn’s eye-popping rage at Guru-Murthy was something to behold, as he accused the presenter of ‘tabloid journalism’ in a tone of voice that suggested he regards that as a worse practice than blowing people up.

Indeed, Corbyn’s hirsute features are almost unvaryingly fixed in a scowl. This accurately represents his miserablist view of the world, which is that it is entirely under the control of multi-national big business determined to oppress the rest of us into interminable destitution.

This can be seen on a film put up by the Oxford Union on YouTube of a debate it held two years ago with the motion ‘Does Socialism Work?’

As one of his opponents makes a light-hearted point about traffic lights being socialist (compulsory) and round-abouts capitalist (choose when to go), Corbyn can be seen glowering with rage, even as the student audience laughs.

Then Corbyn got up to argue that the flood of migrants into the south of Europe from Africa was all the fault of ‘free-market capitalism’. It seemed not to have occurred to the member for Islington North that these people were fleeing towards countries with a functioning market system; just as many families during the decades of socialist rule under Fidel Castro have risked their lives crossing from Cuba to Florida — but not the other way around.

One reason why Corbyn fails to understand this (other than his rejection of all economics other than that of Karl Marx) is that he is completely uninterested in material possessions and creature comforts. He refuses to drive a car. He doesn’t drink alcohol. He doesn’t even smoke (unlike his mentor, Tony Benn, who indulged with pipe and tobacco).

Deadly

There is nothing wrong with such austerity (a word which is otherwise on Corbyn’s lengthy hate list, as he invariably uses it to mean limiting public expenditure). There are few politicians who have claimed less in the way of parliamentary expenses. Yet while voters might find that admirable, I doubt someone of this character could ever have mass appeal — even if his politics were not so far-Left as to be almost off the map.

The British — regardless of their party affiliations — like politicians who exude cheerfulness and joie de vivre. This helps explain the success of that eternally grinning boozer Nigel Farage in boosting Ukip’s national vote. It also lies behind the remarkable popularity of Boris Johnson, who twice managed to become elected as a Conservative Mayor in largely Labour-voting London.

One of Johnson’s Tory colleagues at Westminster told the Mail last week that he was among over 70 Conservative MPs who ‘don’t really see Boris as a potential leader [because] he’s not serious enough’. What this unnamed Tory fails to understand is that being unremittingly serious about politics sets a man (or indeed a woman) apart from the mass of normal people.

Few are more set apart than Jeremy Corbyn, who thinks he speaks for the masses, but does not even begin to understand them. Your standard middle-class revolutionary, in other words. Poor Labour.

SOURCE






English is now a foreign language in London, says Terence Stamp

As the dashing star of films such as Billy Budd and Far From The Madding Crowd, Terence Stamp was the symbol of ‘Swinging London’ in the Sixties, but says he now feels like an alien in his own country.

‘It’s very sad how few English people there are in London now,’ he tells me at a party in Mayfair, where he lamented what he seems to see as a lack of integration among some immigrants.

‘When I grew up in East London everyone seemed to speak English, and now you can barely get by speaking our own language.’

Stamp, who enjoyed romances with his fellow Sixties icons, the actress Julie Christie and model Jean Shrimpton, shared a flat with Sir Michael Caine, but is now based in West London.

‘I don’t live in the East any more, but I absolutely love mangoes and so occasionally I go back there to buy these wonderful Alphonso mangoes from the market on Green Street.

'I’m lucky if I can buy one now at all because no one speaks English.

‘It’s changed so much in such a short space of time, that God knows what London will be like in another decade or so.’

In a provocative outburst, the 76-year-old actor, who went on to star in Hollywood blockbusters including Superman, added: ‘You see these mums wandering around with their prams and four out of five of them have these scarves wrapped around their heads. I feel like it’s not London any more; not the one I used to know anyway.

‘I do think a multicultural society can be a good thing, but when it’s at the cost of your own culture and history, then it’s gone too far and it would be very sad if London stopped being predominantly English.’

SOURCE





Is this kids’ film really so vile, misogynistic and profoundly offensive?

If you’ve ever heard someone complaining because the chef was a tiny bit heavy-handed with the truffle oil in preparing their leek and shiitake risotto, then you are familiar with the concept of first world problems.

Well step aside, FWP, because there’s a new breed of trivial and nonsensical whining in town: far-fetched problems in children’s movies (FFPICM).

So what is the latest film so vile, so steeped in misogyny, so profoundly offensive that it has the moral guardians in a flap? That would be Inside Out.

Yes, that Inside Out. The one set inside the control centre of an 11-year-old’s mind featuring her hardworking emotions in the leading roles.

The one made by the seemingly awful folk at Pixar, creators of the evil, not-fit-to-be-seen-by-young-eyes films such as Toy Story and Finding Nemo.

The same Inside Out that proved to be a favourite among choc-top chewing moviegoers and their adult chaperones during the school holidays, having taken more than $25 million at the Australian box office.

The same Inside Out that won plaudits for its mature insights into mental health and had even the grumpiest critics swooning, with Entertainment Weekly gushing “They’ve made a movie that’s so smart and psychologically clever, it may leave little ones scratching their heads wondering why their parents are laughing so hard and getting so choked up.”

Well not so fast, everyone. According to The Mail on Sunday, the film now “stands accused of causing psychological damage by depicting Sadness as a fat child”.

Parents, we’re told, “have raised concerns over Sadness, voiced by actress Phyllis Smith, being depicted as a frumpy fat girl while Joy, played by Amy Poehler, is slim and fashionable.” (Slim we will get to, but fashionable? Only if your idea of being on trend is bearing an uncanny resemblance to Marge Simpson’s little sister).

A string of child therapists are quoted as to the supposedly regressive messages being transmitted in the film, with British psychotherapist Dilys Daws saying “It’s a pity the sad character is also labelled as being fat, as that means that being fat is sad.”

Actually, what’s a pity is that a perfectly innocuous and well-intentioned film is being torn to shreds on the most flimsy of premises — particularly when there are plenty of films churned out every year that are truly deserving of our concern.

Misplaced outrage over completely harmless children’s cinema also erupted when Frozen, the 2013 film that drove parents to distraction with its ubiquitous power ballad Let It Go, proved a runaway success with its target audience.

Not content with its depiction of two strong female characters in the leading roles, and the very non Disney decision to shun the traditional Prince Charming resolution in favour of paying homage to the love between sisters, sociologist Philip N. Cohen got straight to the real issue.

“Just when I was wondering what the body dimensions of the supposedly-human characters were, the script conveniently supplied the dimorphism money-shot: hand-in-hand romantic leads, with perfect composition for both eye-size and hand-size comparisons,” Cohen, a professor of sociology at the University of Maryland, wrote of a scene in which the wide-eyed but daintily limbed heroine Anna holds hands with a suitor.

“Giant eyes and tiny hands symbolise femininity in Disneyland,” Cohen concluded.

With all due respect, Professor, is that all you’ve got?

Here we have a smart and entertaining film that doesn’t talk down to kids and merrily — some would say bravely — throws the damsel-in-distress storybook out the window.

It even passes the Bechdel Test, in which films must meet three criteria in assessing their depiction of gender: it has at least two women in it; who talk to each other; about something besides a man.

Films that fail to pass this deceptively simple test include Birdman, Harry Potter, the first two Toy Story instalments and the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy — but I don’t see anyone whipping out a ruler to measure the wrist circumference of their protagonists.

So why all the hysteria about Frozen and Inside Out? If ever there was a case of looking for problems where none exist, this is surely it.

This is not to deny that children’s films play an important role in shaping a child’s understanding of the world and influence them in a positive way. While it can be easy to scoff at the more earnest and high-minded of kids’ fare, a film or television show can help develop empathy or prick a young, and previously self-obsessed, conscience.

For this would-be animal welfare activist, watching Charlotte’s Web as a child proved a defining moment. My relationship with ham sandwiches was instantly changed — and, to this day, has never recovered.

So by all means let’s remain vigilant in monitoring our children’s entertainment and be quick to condemn depictions of genuine sexism or racism when they occur.

But obsessing over the exaggerated dimensions of an animated creation? As a slender-wristed character once famously advised, let it go.

SOURCE






Ancient Greeks highlight gay marriage flaws

By Bill O'Chee, an Australian conservative politician of Eurasian origins

I have many friends around the world, some of whom are gay, and some of whom are lesbian.  At the heart of those friendships is a desire to see people for who they are, and not for the people with whom they have sex.

Yet for all that, I do not support the state legislating to create a class of marriage between two men or two women. Moreover, I believe the arguments advanced in favour of gay marriage reflect poorly upon those who advocate for it.

Gay marriage is not about colouring your Facebook page avatar with a rainbow, nor is it about whether a man may have genuine feelings of love for another man, or a woman another woman. The discussion is, instead, about complex and fundamental issues not always properly considered.

If we go back over 2000 years, we find that both the Greeks and Romans were familiar with love and sex between people of the same gender. Indeed, for the Greeks, same sex relationships were neither uncommon, nor frowned upon; in fact they were probably much more common than they are today.

As was their way, the Greeks felt the need to use different words to describe what they saw as different types of love.

There could be agápe, brotherly love, or love of God; or storge, the love of parents and their children. The Greeks also spoke of philia, which was an idealised form of friendship based on equality and virtue; and of éros, which was sexual passion. Interestingly, éros was not restricted by gender.

Even in such a permissive society, gamos was reserved solely for a relationship between a man and a woman for the purposes of creating a family, even if that relationship might not originally be based on love.

There is much we can learn from the Greeks. The modern reality is that the vast majority of people who love each other live together without getting married, even if they may choose to do so later.

The law has moved to accommodate this, and common law couples are able to pass property to each other, to benefit from their partner's superannuation policy, and make decisions as next-of-kin, just the same as those who are married.

If that is so, why do heterosexual couples, who may have been living together for some time, choose to get married?

It is not about love, as that can be had perfectly well in a normal de facto relationship. In fact love - true and deep love - should not need outside validation, and should be independent of what others have to say.

Heterosexual couples don't need to marry to have children, as many children are born to de facto couples, even if some or many of those couples marry later.

However, the vast majority of heterosexual couples who chose to marry, either have children at the time, or intend to have them, and this is the impetus for marriage. Marriage gives those a stability and a clear identity that is the basis of their lifelong emotional development.

Certainly there may be people who marry who don't intend to have children, but they are a tiny minority, and certainly should not be used to characterise marriage.

So the truth is that marriage is not so much about love for our partner, as much as love for the children we hope to bring into the world.

It is at this point that the case for gay marriage starts to fall apart, because having children cannot ever be a natural consequence of two men or two women forming a union, no matter how genuine their emotions may be.

And if the motive for gay marriage is to make it easier for gay and lesbian couples to adopt children, or to access the powers of the state to bring children into the world through surrogacy or artificial insemination, then it is no longer about the love two people feel for each other, and more about wanting babies as lifestyle accessories.

This brings us to a broader, but important, philosophical issue.

I strongly believe the right to determine one's identity - sexual and otherwise - is one of the very few truly inalienable rights which society should accord every individual.

Determining our identity - and deciding on how we live our lives - necessarily involves many choices.

Choices, however, come with consequences.  Those consequences are the very reason we make choices: we sum up the advantages and disadvantages each choice brings, and make our decisions on that basis.

To believe that we can make choices about the way we want to live our lives, and then have the state come in and relieve us of the consequences we don't like is deeply flawed.  The whole basis of the law is built on people being responsible for the consequences of their actions, and marriage and families should be no different.

It is easy and glib to talk about "marriage equality" but what is more important is seeing through our choices to make sure they are meaningful.  This doesn't diminish the love that gay and lesbian couples may feel for each other.  However marriage has a real purpose which is larger than our love for ourselves or our partners, and it is selfish to see it otherwise.

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 July, 2015

Australia: Anti-Islam rallies in Sydney, Queensland, Perth and Hobart

ARRESTS have been made at one of the Reclaim Australia rallies today, as police separated protesters and Pauline Hanson told a crowd she was against the spread of Islam.

As protesters take part in Reclaim Australia protests today, Ms Hanson told protesters in Rockhampton: “I am against the spread of Islam”.

As members of the crowd cheered for her, she told them how she did not like the way Australia was changing.

“We have other different religions that have never been a problem in Australia,” she said. “I see divisions happening in our country and it’s purely based on Islam.  “I’m not targeting Muslims - I’m targeting the ideology, what Islam stands for - and it is very different to our culture and Christianity. “This is a peaceful rally and the rest of Australia will see this.”

Earlier today, she told the Today Show today that the rallies were not “about violence”. Instead, they were about people having the right to actually come and have their say.

“(Reclaim) is people like myself saying to our politicians I’m sick and tired of where you have us headed,” she also said on her official Facebook page.

“It is about being an Australian, being proud of who you are and to maintain our culture, way of life and laws.”

So far, five people have been arrested at a rally by the anti-Islam Reclaim Australia group in Sydney.

As Ms Hanson prepares to run for a seat in the Senate next year, she said her “Fed Up” tour was about touring the country to hear Australians’ concerns.

Whether they are fed up with foreign investment, high taxes, losing our farming sector, Ms Hanson said she planned to go to “remote areas where people feel forgot”.

When asked why she still felt she had support, she told the Today Show: “Because I’ve never given up and the party won’t.  Australians haven’t given up on me. I get so much support Deb that I’m walking around because people say to me, Pauline, you are only saying what we’re thinking but you’ve got the guts to get up and say it.”

Ms Hanson’s comments come as rallies took place across the nation in Queensland, New South Wales, Western Australia and Tasmania.

NEW SOUTH WALES

Reclaim Australia began its demonstration further up Martin Place at 10am.

Police formed a line in front of the anti-racism protesters and several units of mounted officers are around Martin Place. Banners reading “stand with multiculturalism against racism” and “no racism, no Islamophbia” were held high in the cool morning air.

Three people in ancient Greek-like military costumes, including helmets and shields, and four men with Australia flags draped on their shoulders are among about 50 people apparently gathered for the Reclaim Australia protest.

Police had warned those attending the Sydney protests that anti-social or dangerous behaviour wouldn’t be tolerated.

Officers were closely watching both groups and several units of mounted police are also patrolling the area.

Banners reading “stand with multiculturalism against racism” and “no racism, no Islamophobia” were held high by the louder, larger group of anti-racism protesters.

Several people with the Australian flag had gathered at the other end of Martin Place, with police trying to keep a two-block gap between the groups.

NSW Ambulance Paramedics treated two people during the operation, including a 35-year-old man who sustained minor head injuries. He was taken to St Vincent’s Hospital, where he remains in a stable condition. A second man, aged 48, was treated for a minor facial laceration.

QUEENSLAND

After violent scenes in Melbourne on Saturday, Reclaim Australia and Stand Against Racism demonstrations in Brisbane were calm.

A strong police presence separated the two groups in Emma Miller Place at the old Roma Street Forum.

Anti-racism protesters chanted loudly to try and drown out the speakers at the Reclaim Australia speakers.

Reclaim Australia protesters claimed they were not discriminatory towards muslim people but the ideals they believed Islam represented.

One woman, Carley Westin, created an “Australian flag burqa” as a way of protesting burqas being worn in Australia.  Ms Westin said the burqa was a way to abuse and oppress women.  She also said Islam promoted child brides, animal cruelty and terrorism.

When the Reclaim Australia protesters had packed up, the anti-racism demonstrators marched down the street and into the cbd.

Queensland Reclaim Australia rallies also took place on the Gold Coast, Cairns, Mackay, Rockhampton, Toowoomba and the Sunshine Coast.

Queensland political figure George Christensen also attended an anti-Islam rally today.

Mr Christensen, who represents the seat of Dawson, agreed to address a Reclaim Australia rally in Mackay.

He said on his Facebook page he wanted to “support people who seek to defend our Australian way of life, our culture and our freedoms from the threat of radical Islam”.

He said “hell (would) freeze over” before he would give in to those trying to stop him from attending the rally.

Liberal National Party Queensland senator Matthew Canavan said Mr Christensen should be judged by what he says, not who he stands alongside.  “George is perfectly free, big enough, ugly enough to look after himself,” Mr Canavan told ABC Radio.

SOURCE






UK: They don’t give a flying fox about hunting

The pro-fox crusade is a mask for those hunting down human liberties


Just back from Greece, where a nation is locked in torturous debates over the future of its economy and entire way of life, in or out of the Euro and EU. Meanwhile at home, I find the UK political class tearing itself apart over the momentous issue of… the preferred way to cull vermin in the English countryside.

How have the UK parliament and media apparently managed to become transfixed again by an argument over such a trivial issue as hunting foxes with dogs? It does not require the mythical cunning of the anthropomorphic fox to work out that this furious row, which led Tory prime minister David Cameron to postpone proposed changes to the ban on hunting, cannot really be about alternative methods of pest control.

It is worth reminding ourselves to start that, with the exception of a few full-time eco-fools, nobody with a brain actually thinks that the fox population should be allowed to run free and multiply across Britain’s farmland. Despite their good looks, foxes are vermin and they must be controlled, just like those rather less photogenic rats and mice. The practical debate is only about whether they should be culled by hunters with guns – and probably dogs – or by hunters with horse and hound. Either way, the end result is the same – sudden death to the arguably handsome but indisputably verminous fox. The scientific jury remains out on whether any method is more humane than another.

(As an aside, we might also note that the rural hunt followers have more respect for the fox – Old Reynard – than most of those involved in the posturing at Westminster; the followers I interviewed a few years ago during the initial political battle over the ban were surprised by my contempt for the urban foxes some of us might like to hunt in London.)

So no, all of this fuss is not about the welfare of the fox. The drawn-out UK debate over hunting has always been about more important, human, issues. Just as those ‘Team Fox’ protesters outside parliament this week wore fox masks, so the rows over hunting have long been a mask behind which something else is going on.

At one level, the debate is about petty politicking and a scramble to find some moral highground in the mud of a hunting field. The ban on hunting with hounds was originally brought in under Tony Blair’s New Labour government in a pathetic attempt to prove the Labour Party’s radical, progressive credentials. Unwilling and seemingly unable to do anything substantial to change British capitalism, New Labour dressed up in a cloak of self-righteousness, rather as the huntsman dons his hi-vis pink coat, to ban hunting and appease its MPs and grassroots supporters by robbing the rich of their supposedly sadistic pleasures.

Now hunting has once again become caught up in pathetic parliamentary politicking. Conservative leader David Cameron made an election pledge to review the ban and allow a parliamentary vote in an obvious attempt to shore up his party’s rural support. This week the Scottish National Party made an equally obvious political gesture, vowing to vote against the Tory attempt to relax the ban and causing Cameron to postpone the parliamentary debate. SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon claimed, with a straight face, that her party had acted to represent the interests of the English people and not, you understand, simply to stick two fingers up to the English Tories. In response, Cameron and the Conservatives said this proved the need for them to pass another law ensuring that only English MPs could vote on English matters, even though this apparently would not exclude the SNP from voting on the hunting bill that the row was supposed to be about.

The upshot is that the UK is facing another round of its ongoing constitutional crisis, allegedly over the issue of foxhunting. It is a sure sign of how fragile the historic Union has become, and how incoherent and shallow political debate is today, that the future of the British state can be put to question by a difference of opinion over methods of pest control. The latest debacle of the foxhunting debate looks like a symptom of a sickly, mange-ridden political class that somebody surely ought to put out of its misery.

There is also a more profound human issue behind the hunting debate. The high-profile obsession with not just condemning but banning foxhunting is a reflection of the contempt for freedom in British public life today. The most important f-word – freedom, not fox – is almost entirely absent from the discussion. Yet why shouldn’t the freedom to pursue any lifestyle choice which does not harm other people apply to the hunting community as much as to any other minority group?

To listen to the way some politicians and activists talk about some possible changes to the ban on foxhunting, you might imagine that the Tory government had proposed to reintroduce slavery. (Indeed, some of them actually like to compare the two practices, which gives a good insight into what they really think of humanity.)

The shrill crusade to ensure no form of foxhunting with hounds is allowed is part of the broader war on people’s lifestyles and pastimes that don’t suit the standards of the metropolitan cultural elite. Whether it’s giving your kids fizzy drinks or hunting a fox on horseback, whether you’re poor and want a pack of cigarettes or posh and enjoy riding with packs of hounds, they don’t like it and therefore it must be taxed / banned / publicly demonised. From New Labour’s ‘politics of behaviour’ to the ‘nudge agenda’ of more recent governments, the emphasis in UK politics is increasingly on policing what people do, say and think – for our own good, of course. And now for the good of Britain’s ‘oppressed’ foxes.

There is little mention of the freedom to hunt foxes even on the nominally pro-hunting side of the political divide. Those proposing to ‘relax’ – not repeal – the ban tend to argue instead that the current legislation is an ineffective mess that is not working as intended and needs some tidying up. It is certainly a useless law – figures suggest that as many foxes have been killed since the ban as before it, while some 97 per cent of prosecutions under the hunting law have reportedly involved individual poachers rather than organised hunts. But then, practicalities never had much to do with this ban in the first place. It was intended as a statement, a political attack on the freedom to hunt. In response, however, the Tories balk at talking about such an unfashionable principle as freedom, preferring to focus on the technical details of the legilsation. Little wonder they are losing the moral highground.

Yet the issue of freedom ought to be to the forefront of the hunting debate. People should generally have the liberty to live and to enjoy themselves as they see fit, whether that means playing golf, cross-dressing or hunting foxes. As the great Victorian philosopher John Stuart Mill put it in his classic work On Liberty (1859), an individual should be sovereign over himself, and could not be compelled to do or say anything he did not wish to, even if it was judged to be in his own interests. The single exception to this rule, Mill allowed, was if he was harming somebody else: ‘The only purpose for which power can rightfully be exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others’. Mill did not, we should surely insist, include in his ‘harm principle’ the prevention of harm to foxes and other pests, or the hurt feelings of the foxes’ self-appointed spokespersons in parliament or on Twitter.

That is why the principle of the freedom to hunt should be defended, regardless of what we or anybody else thinks of it in practice. Opponents like to cite opinion polls (yes, them again) which claim that up to 80 per cent of the British public want to see foxhunting with hounds remain illegal. But even if that were true, so what? This is not an election or a referendum about how the country should be run. It is a law banning the lifestyle choices and leisure pursuits of an impassioned minority.

On this, too, I am with Mill, who argued for the defence of unpopular individual liberties against both ‘the tyranny of the magistrate’ and ‘the tyranny of the prevailing opinion and feeling’, and insisted that if only one man dissented from society’s view, the majority would have no more right to impose its opinion on him than he would to make them all agree with what he did.

Despite all the ‘view-hallooing’ about it in Westminster and the media, foxhunting is not, of course, an important issue. But the obsession with outlawing it has become a symbol of much that is wrong with our political and public life today. The fact that the importance of human liberty has been lost sight of amid all the blah about foxes’ rights is a worrying sign of the times.

A footnote. Those on the alleged left who claim that banning foxhunting is an important radical humanist cause always bring to my mind the somewhat different attitude of a true Labour Party radical from an earlier age. The late Roy Jenkins was home secretary in the Labour government of the 1960s, who famously declared that what people called the ‘permissive society’ was better understood as ‘the civilised society’ and played a key role in the liberalising humanist legislation of that decade on issues such as abortion, homosexuality and divorce. (In the later Labour government of the 1970s, Jenkins would also introduce the draconian, repressive Prevention of Terrorism Acts, but that’s another debate.)

When I interviewed the then-Lord Jenkins in 1997, to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the 1967 Abortion Act, he made clear that he had wanted to help lift the ban on abortion not out of any feminist convictions, but because of a wider commitment to the liberal principle of freedom from state intervention. ‘I am on the whole very much against interfering with people’s liberty, unless you can show an overwhelming social cause’, he said. ‘This leaves me to be liberal on abortion law; it would also leave me never to vote for banning foxhunting, so I apply the rule indiscriminately.’

On everything from abortion rights to foxhunting, how we could do with a new generation of indiscriminate liberals in UK politics today.

SOURCE






Affirmative consent: the ultimate romance?killer

New York’s new consent law is bad for freedom, justice and sex

Last week, New York governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill designed to combat sexual violence on college campuses. The law requires both public and private colleges in New York State to adopt new policies and protocols that demand explicit, affirmative consent before students or staff members partake in any remotely sexual activity. Similar to the ‘yes means yes’ law in California, this affirmative-consent law is severely stacked in support of the alleged victim, who merely needs to make a complaint, and in opposition to the accused, who needs to produce proof of consent – a case of guilty until proven innocent.

Cuomo’s intentions may be noble, but his execution is rash. This extreme legislation is possibly a result of Cuomo’s naive acceptance of the debunked statistic claiming one-in-four women falls victim to sexual violence while in college. Sexual assault does happen on campus, but there is no reliable data to suggest that as many as one-in-four women is being assaulted. Sexual assault is wrong, but so is legislation that undermines due process.

Not all states have affirmative-consent or ‘yes means yes’ laws. But many colleges outside of California and New York are increasingly keen on implementing them. The University of Minnesota, for example, is considering introducing affirmative-consent protocols in September. Many universities are also working with a ‘yes means yes’ advocacy group, which distributes consent kits. Each kit includes consent contracts, condoms and a pen.

Under affirmative-consent laws you are putting yourself at risk if you do not follow consent protocol. So it is now up to the accused to provide proof of clear consent through words or actions – and, without a witness, that is nearly impossible to do.

The intoxication level of an individual can also affect the validity of consent. Based on this new definition of consent, students should also whip out a breathalyser along with a consent form before having sex. So much for romantic spontaneity.

It seems that lawmakers are ignorant of modern romance and the hook-up culture prevalent today. After all, flirting and active participation in an initiated hook-up are generally assumed to be forms of consent. In the majority of cases, this assumption is correct. Participants in hook-up culture have a shared language and mutual understanding of hints, cues and flirtation. Even outside of hook-up culture, explicit verbal or written consent is awkward at best. When on a date, for example, asking to kiss someone can show a lack of confidence. Most of us prefer actions based on unspoken understanding and romantic spontaneity, which is why they make for the most beautiful moments in movies.

The impromptu kiss between Owen and Claire in Jurassic World left women swooning and men hoping to emulate Owen. The scene in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince where Ginny asks Harry to close his eyes before softly kissing him does not bring to mind the word ‘assault’. And in The Notebook, Noah grabbing and kissing Allie in the pouring rain after being reunited is incredibly romantic, despite his use of force. In all these films, there was no explicit consent, no breathalyser, no contract – not even a request for permission.

Although the above examples are fictional, many people will have experienced something similar. The moment when your hands slide together, or when you are saying goodnight after a date and your mouths lock without uttering a single word. Such moments can be unbelievably romantic. Or they can be unbelievably embarrassing and awkward. Sometimes people misread the moment, and try to kiss someone who doesn’t want to be kissed. Some people are simply bad with social cues. Misreading a situation and feeling embarrassed and apologetic afterwards is an honest and forgivable mistake. That is, unless you’re in California or New York, where misreading the desires of another would be seen as sexual assault. Whether the outcome of attempting a kiss is romantic or humiliating, you better pray the person you’re going for is not someone who would ruin your life over it.

To take it a step further, the New York and California affirmative-consent laws assert that ‘consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual activity’. This concept has been portrayed in short films such as Feminism For Bros – 105. The actors hooking up in this short speak throughout the entire sexual encounter, ensuring every touch, every kiss, every movement is acceptable. The whole scenario strikes me as awkward, forced and unappealing.

Affirmative-consent laws are not explicitly created to control and restrict sexual activity, but to stop sexual abuse on campuses. However, Cuomo and the universities implementing these laws are not considering the effect they could have on the falsely accused and those who have a poor understanding of social cues and informal etiquette. Campus kangaroo courts are already giving rise to miscarriages of justice. These laws will only make things worse.

Good intentions or not, the way these laws have been formulated could very well have disastrous results. Innocent individuals could be accused of terrible crimes and be kicked out of college. Lives could be ruined before they’ve even really got going.

SOURCE





Liberals Will Fuel Racial Tensions Forever

So now the Confederate flag has been removed from the grounds of the South Carolina state capitol in Columbia.

Governor Nikki Haley got the ball rolling and the job was finished by Republican State Rep. Jenny Horne, who stood before the South Carolina House of Representatives identifying herself as a descendant of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and made an impassioned plea to move the bill to remove the flag with haste and not allow it to get hung up with amendments.

But this is not and will not be good enough for liberals.

In 1963, newly elected Alabama governor George Wallace took the oath of office in Montgomery, former capital of the Confederacy, and issued forth his famous phrase, “segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”

Might we think that, along with the flag, removed was the last remnant of a culture that rejected the idea that all people in our land are equal both under our constitution and in the eyes of God?

Unfortunately, if you think that, you are very wrong. Because liberals won’t let it happen.

Racism is a mindset that strips individuals of their humanity; that casts them as objects; that denies that each is a unique divine creation.

The moral power of the civil rights movement was to wake America up to this truth and it succeeded because it appealed to the moral conscience of the nation. It prevailed because it was a religious movement led by a Christian pastor and not a political movement led by a community organizer.

But what came next was a far different story, and it is why pulling down the Confederate flag, although a laudable and positive step to move the country in the right direction, will not make much of a difference.

When civil rights turned into laws, when it moved out of the church and into the hands of politicians and the politically ambitious, it took on the same characteristics of the disease it was meant to eradicate.

When civil rights law became not about obliterating unequal treatment under the law but about using political power to socially engineer outcomes, the same individuals whose humanity we wanted to save were turned into new kinds of political objects for liberals to manipulate.

As a result, we engraved race awareness and differences deep into our national political culture, almost guaranteeing that an era where people are judged by the “content of their character” would be impossible.

It is why after almost two terms of a black man occupying the White House racial tensions continue to rage.

The latest example of this can be found in the recent Supreme Court decision legitimizing “disparate impact” in federal housing policy. The Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibited discrimination in housing policy. But, again, not enough for liberals.

Now, per the court ruling in Texas Department of Housing and Community affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, any business decision, even though demonstrably not motivated by discrimination, can be deemed discrimination if it is shown to have “disparate impact” on different communities.

This makes it virtually impossible to make business decisions without thinking about race.

And the Department of Housing and Urban Development has just issued a new 377 page rule, the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule. Cities nationwide must meet vast new reporting requirements to the federal government on housing patterns. The Feds will then decide if they are discriminatory, and use the power of federal funds to impose from Washington politically determined local outcomes.

Racial manipulation, Confederate-style, has just been replaced by racial manipulation, liberal-style. The victim is American freedom and the very minorities that these policies, which have failed time and again, are supposed to help.

A nation under liberals, rather than a nation under God, is a nation in which racial strife will never leave us, no matter how many symbols of a painful past are removed and buried.

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 July, 2015

How your prejudices can dictate your actions in a crisis

The story below gets a lot of things right but the mumbo-jumbo about neurology is a red herring that just distracts from the central point, helping the article to end up as a classic bit of Leftist obfuscation and evasion of the real problem. 

But one thing they do get right is that stereotypes are flexible and can be changed.  See the last paragraph below.   I concluded the same from my survey of the research evidence about stereotypes.  See here and here.

But they fail to follow through on the logic of that.  If stereotypes are inherently flexible, why are some stereotypes persistent?  Why do people persist in expecting blacks to be  aggressive, dangerous and criminal?  As Jesse Jackson once showed, even blacks expect that of other blacks.

It wouldn't be that the stereotypes are accurate, would it?  It wouldn't be that many blacks, particulaly young males, REALLY ARE  aggressive, dangerous and criminal, would it?

Black adult males are often aggressive and unco-operative towards police so is it surprising that a cop might be alert for aggression from a black adult male?  And if the black is walking towards the cop holding a gun, what is the cop supposed to do?  He's not a martyr.  His first duty is to stay alive and his experience suggests that he might have only seconds to ensure that. 

It is regrettable that blacks generate such stereotypes in others but it is their own doing.  If by some miracle blacks became as law-abiding as (say) the Chinese, the stereotype would change.



UPON arriving at the park in Cleveland, Ohio, where Tamir Rice was playing, it took less than 2 seconds for police officer Timothy Loehmann to emerge from his car and shoot the boy, fatally, in the abdomen.

How was it possible for a policeman responding to a call about a person who was “black, male and armed” to decide so quickly that someone should be killed? Events unfolded too quickly for careful thought, so Loehmann’s actions were probably driven by automatic, perhaps even unconscious, processes.

To begin to understand actions at this timescale, it helps to consider how they could play out in the brain. This is where psychologists who study the neural and cognitive processes underlying prejudice, stereotypes and discrimination come in. By looking at the inner workings of the brain, we can examine the (often unconscious) prejudices that nearly all of us have. And we can begin to trace the split-second processes at work when a police officer sees a suspect and then initiates an action – to shoot or not shoot.

Stereotypes can profoundly shape how we see and act toward racial minorities, and studies of the neural mechanisms involved shed light on just how this happens (Nature Reviews Neuroscience, vol 15, p 670). We know from decades of social psychology research that, for white Americans, “black”, “male” and “armed” are attributes that activate a network of information forming a stereotype and stored in the mind. Neuroscience is helping us to understand how this happens, and how a stereotype can influence our perceptions and actions.

Concepts about people and groups are stored in the brain’s temporal lobes. Through these networks, the term “black male” calls up concepts of hostility, threat and crime in the minds of many Americans. This stereotype information then feeds into the medial frontal cortex toward the front of the brain, where it is integrated into a first impression of the person. This all happens in a moment. In the case of police officers responding to a call, that moment is when they first hear a description from their dispatcher.

The medial frontal cortex is also involved when we take another person’s perspective in order to understand their thoughts and motives. However, research reveals a reduction in this region’s pattern of activity when we think about people from lower status groups. Given that African Americans are viewed this way, this suggests they are seen more as objects than as people. These factors – stereotyping and dehumanisation – conspire to produce the impression that someone is dangerous and that their life is not particularly worthy.

As emotions run high, brain structures that respond rapidly to threats, such as the amygdala, activate and prepare the body for a fight-or-flight response. The amygdala plays a critical role when snap judgements are made in response to threat. My research has shown that people’s prejudices are amplified when they feel threatened, and this is thought to be due to heightened amygdala activity. Importantly, the impact of racial bias on the amygdala appears to reflect associations learned from the surrounding culture rather than our personal beliefs. This means that the amygdala response to black people is not specific to bigots; it occurs for most Americans, even if they reject racial prejudice.

Let’s consider the Rice case. Police were dispatched to the park after a 911 caller reported a “guy with a pistol… he’s pointing it at everybody”. The caller also noted, “it’s probably fake” and “he’s probably a juvenile” – details reportedly not conveyed to the officers. And, of course, Rice was black. This was one of the details the dispatcher who took the 911 call sought to establish, insistently. Skin colour is an important identifier, of course, but “black” also suggests a profile. To the dispatcher, race seemed to be critical for constructing the scene: black, male, gun.

Rice was indeed playing with a fake gun – a replica semi-automatic – and he was, indeed, a juvenile. But although Rice was just 12, he was already 5 foot 7 inches (1.7 metres) tall and weighed 195 pounds (89 kilograms). When police approached, they probably saw what they were expecting – an armed adult male in an active shooter situation. Rice was sitting alone at a picnic table. As the car pulled up, he rose and began to walk towards it.

All of our research suggests that at such a moment, the police officer’s brain is primed to see a black criminal with a gun, prepared to shoot, even though it would be difficult to accurately make out the weapon in this time frame. We know from eye-tracking studies that shooting decisions – particularly when the suspect is black – are often made before the eye can fully process the object in the suspect’s hand. In these ways, stereotypes and expectations influence what the perceiver thinks they see.

Rice reportedly reached toward his waistband where the replica gun was tucked. Without hesitation, the officer fired two rounds.

Was the killing of Tamir Rice, like the deaths of many other black men at the hands of police, driven by racial prejudice? Overwhelming evidence from experimental psychology points to “yes”. But whose prejudice? Was it the officer who made the snap decision to shoot Rice? The dispatcher, who seemingly primed the officer to care more about Rice’s race, rather than his age or the notion that the gun was fake? A society that stereotypes young black men as criminals? Or a social system that perpetuates inequality along racial lines?

The answer is probably “all of the above”, but with an emphasis on culture and social systems. Unfortunately, these are the most difficult to change. So while systemic change may be the ultimate goal, interventions to reduce prejudice at the personal level may be most effective in the short term.

How could this tragedy have turned out differently? From studies, we know that it is difficult to control a non-conscious bias “in the moment”. The most promising approach, I believe, is through proactive control, which involves anticipating a potential problem and having a planned response. In the lab, we have found that such interventions can eliminate racial bias in shooting decisions, and we are beginning to investigate whether people can, with training, see greater humanity in those of other ethnic backgrounds.

You might think none of this applies to you, but you would be wrong. Virtually everyone has unconscious racial biases, in part because the mind has a natural tendency to categorise people and also because our culture exposes us to common caricatures about race.

Our research shows that even avowed egalitarians show bias in their behaviour when they have to make a snap judgement. These biases are also not limited to race but exist for almost any attribute, be it gender, nationality, sexual orientation or hair colour, and they constantly shape our judgements. Bias comes from our culture, it seeps into our brains, and unless we control it, it is expressed in our actions.

Are these biases hardwired? Far from it; with every new thing you learn, your brain changes. This means that our prejudices can change. A neuroscience approach is letting us begin to tease apart the different components behind a split-second prejudiced response, first to understand it, and then, perhaps, to find ways to change it.

SOURCE






Zero Tolerance for Confederate Flag, Nuance for Islamic Terror

By Jonah Goldberg in Vermont

“Nice flag!” the woman shouted sarcastically, adding: “F— you!”

The woman was seated on the patio of a restaurant overlooking Main Street in this famously liberal capital of this famously liberal state when a truck sporting the Confederate emblem passed by.

I could understand the sentiment (particularly given the fact that her lunch partner was an African-American man). When the woman saw my daughter and her friend, she apologized for her profanity.

And while I could have done without the f-bomb around two 12-year-old girls, my real objection was something different. The young woman’s outburst was exactly the reaction the buffoon in the truck was hoping for. After all, Vermont is the heart of union territory (and the first state to ban slavery in 1777). Even without the recent controversies, there’s no reason to fly a Confederate flag in downtown Montpelier except to offend.

But is that really the intent when the descendant of a Confederate soldier puts a flag on his ancestor’s tombstone once a year? According to many on the left, it is. “If we don’t eradicate the Confederate flag,” writes “social theorist” Frank Smecker, “we can only expect more of such racist, depraved acts (like Dylann Roof’s) in our future.”

I’m no big fan of the Confederate flag, but do serious people believe that if Roof didn’t have access to the banner, he would have pursued a life of peace?

It’s this lack of nuance and distinction I find so troubling — and hypocritical.

Claude Berube, director of the Naval Academy Museum, recently compared the rush to dig up Confederate graves and tear down statues in the U.S. to Islamic iconoclasm. The Taliban blew up the Bamiyan Buddhas on the grounds that they violate Islamic law. The terrorist group Islamic State is ransacking historic monuments for both God and mammon.

The comparison has its obvious limits, but it does highlight a remarkable double standard. Islamic terror has been on the rise for decades, yet over that time the left’s calls for nuance, tolerance and understanding have only grown louder. Virtually no one condones or makes apologies for the Islamic State’s barbarity (one can’t say the same about Hamas or Hezbollah), but there has been a Herculean effort to put Islamic extremism in “context.”

President Obama insists that the Islamic State isn’t even Islamic and that the West should not get on its “high horse” about today’s Muslim atrocities given that Christians committed atrocities eight centuries ago. When Islamist radicals were thwarted in their effort to behead Pamela Geller for organizing a “draw Mohammed” contest, many in the news media were quick to argue that she was asking for it. When an obscure pastor wanted to burn the Quran, the U.S. government went into a panicked tailspin, begging him not to offend or radicalize peaceful Muslims. When jihadists attacked a U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s greatest rhetorical fury was aimed at an obscure filmmaker who made an offensive video about Islam.

Shortly after the shooting in Charleston, S.C., the New America think tank chummed the waters with a tendentious study insinuating that Roof and his ilk represented the real terror threat. “Homegrown Extremists Tied to Deadlier Toll Than Jihadists in U.S. Since 9/11,” proclaimed a New York Times headline. Forty-eight Americans, including the nine killed in Charleston, have been killed by non-Islamist “terrorists,” compared with a mere 26 by avowed jihadists.

The study is a methodological mess, starting with the fact that it starts the clock immediately after 9/11, ignoring the 3,000 killed on that day. It counts dubious attacks as right-wing terror and ignores the fact that the U.S. has foiled and deterred numerous Islamist terror plots in the past decade. If you catch a bunch of rattlesnakes in your backyard before they bite and kill someone in your family, is that proof there is no threat from snakes?

It would be an improvement if the left could stick to either of its double standards. Personally, I think fellow Americans — even ones who wear Lynyrd Skynyrd shirts — deserve some of the nuance and understanding so many reserve for Islam extremism. But if you’re going to take your zero tolerance for symbols of 19th century slavery so seriously, maybe you should show the same myopic zealotry with regard to the forces who are enslaving people right now.

SOURCE






Life without parole is no substitute for the death penalty
   
Jeff Jacoby

AN ARGUMENT regularly advanced by opponents of the death penalty is that incapacitation doesn't require execution. Life imprisonment without parole is sufficient, they say: Put the most dangerous murderers behind bars and keep them there forever.

But "lock 'em up and throw away the key" is a delusion. Life without parole is no replacement for the death penalty when it comes to protecting innocent lives.

Understandably, many find it reassuring to believe that there is a way to protect the public from the worst killers without requiring the state to kill. National surveys find a preference for locking up murderers for life. In the most recent, a Quinnipiac University poll released in June, 48 percent of respondents said a person convicted of murder should be sentenced to life without parole; only 43 percent preferred death. But the last few weeks have provided vivid reminders that life sentences and high-security cells are no guarantee that deadly criminals have been removed from society for good.

When Richard Matt and David Sweat escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, N.Y., on June 6, they triggered one of the most intense domestic manhunts in years. "Little Siberia," as Dannemora is nicknamed, is the largest maximum-security prison in New York — just the sort of impregnable vault intended to neutralize any possible future threat from remorseless sociopaths. Sweat had been sentenced to life without parole for the 2002 murder of Sheriff's Deputy Kevin Tarsia, whom he shot 22 times and ran over twice with his car. Matt got 25-to-life for torturing to death an elderly businessman, William Rickerson, then cutting up his body with a hacksaw.

By grace and good fortune, the fugitives were found before they could hurt or kill any new victims. But residents of northern New York had spent three nightmarish weeks on edge. They had reason to be unnerved: A startling number of murders are committed by criminals previously convicted of homicide. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1 out of every 11 killers now on death row had already been found guilty of one or more killings before committing the murder for which they were sentenced to die. At least 30 of the 3,000 current death-row inmates were prison escapees when they committed capital murder. We can lock our most vicious killers behind bars, but some will find a way to get out — and some of them will kill again.

This week came word of an even more brazen jailbreak: Drug mobster Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, one of the world's most notorious criminals, broke out of Mexico's Altiplano, a "supermax" prison from which escape was considered impossible. Shockingly, this was the second time that Guzman, a narcotrafficker charged with numerous assassinations and acts of torture, had escaped a maximum-security prison. Perhaps he too will be captured or killed before he strikes again, but the last time he broke out he evaded arrest for 13 years.

Even behind the bars of an ultrasecure facility, convicted murderers can pose a lethal danger. Matt, Sweat, and Guzman had helpers on the inside and outside who facilitated their escape. Lifers may have followers prepared to carry out their orders and kill on their behalf. They may convince a governor or president to grant them clemency, or persuade some judge, someday, to order their release.

And, of course, they may kill behind bars. Massachusetts murderer Joseph Druce was already serving a life term in a maximum-security prison when he murdered fellow inmate John Geoghan, a former priest imprisoned for sexually molesting a child.

No living murderer is ever irrevocably incapacitated. Justice may not always require a killer's execution. But when it does, life without parole is an inadequate, and dangerous, substitute.

SOURCE





Big Brother Trumps Little Sisters

Little Sisters of the Poor, a missions-based Catholic organization strongly opposed to ObamaCare’s contraception requirement, suffered a legal setback on Tuesday after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit refused to grant it an exemption.

The court ruled, “Although we recognize and respect the sincerity of Plaintiff’s beliefs and arguments, we conclude the accommodation scheme relieves Plaintiffs of their obligations under the Mandate and does not substantially burden their religious exercise under RFRA [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] or infringe upon their First Amendment rights.”

What’s baffling is how badly the opinion clashes with the Supreme Court’s Burwell v. Hobby Lobby ruling last year. In that case, the Court found that “HHS and the principal dissent [are] in effect tell[ing] the plaintiffs that their beliefs are flawed. For good reason, we have repeatedly refused to take such a step.”

You can blame the Obama administration’s craftiness for this week’s result. According to The Wall Street Journal, “Under alternative arrangements finalized by the Obama administration last week, employers who have [moral] objections must tell their insurance company or the federal government. The insurance company then takes over responsibility for providing the coverage to employees who want it.”

Here’s the problem, as explained by University of Tennessee professor Glenn Reynolds: “The Tenth Circuit’s contortions to reach this result are remarkable. The court seems to have no recognition of the fact that the Obama Administration’s regulatory ‘accommodation’ is a sleight of hand, allowing the insurer/third party administrator to move the contraceptive coverage ‘off the books’ and ‘pay’ for it themselves.

But of course burdening the insurer/administrator in this fashion is merely a shell game, and the cost of contraceptive coverage is ultimately borne by the employer and individual beneficiaries. The coverage is not magically free, no matter how hard the Obama Administration tries to make it ‘look’ free via regulation.”

This case may end up in the Supreme Court — something it could have prevented had its ruling in Hobby Lobby not been so limited.

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 July, 2015

Another one of those wonderful multiculturalists Britain is proud to host



A thug who murdered a teenager by stabbing him to death when he tried to save his friend in a street attack has been jailed for life.

Evil Richard Johnson, 24, knifed 19-year-old boxing star Joshua Bradley in the heart with a ten-inch hunting knife during a vicious brawl.

A jury found Johnson guilty by majority verdict of murder following a trial at Nottingham Crown Court.

Co-accused Zaiem Zulqurnain, 20, of Aspley, Nottinghamshire, was cleared of the murder and a second charge of violent disorder.

Joshua, a former boxer who represented England, was stabbed in the chest after a fight broke out in Thurland Street in Nottingham at 4am on February 8 this year.

Johnson, of Hyson Green, Nottingham, was told he would serve at least 25 years behind bars before being eligible for parole,

Judge Gregory Dickinson said: 'This is an illustration of why Parliament has specified the starting point for those who commit murder using a knife taken to the scene, intending to have it available to be used as a weapon.  'He would still be alive, but for the fact when you went out that night you took with you a knife and you were ready and willing to use it.'

Joshua was killed when he went to the aid of his pal Carl Henry who was attacked by a group of men who knocked him unconscious when they kicked him in the head.

The brawl was caught on CCTV and showed Joshua defending Mr Henry and then 'crashing to the pavement' after being stabbed through the heart by Johnson.

Earlier, witnesses had heard Johnson claiming he had got his 'ting' on him, referring to the knife tucked into the waistband of his jeans.

Johnson showed no emotion as the verdict was read out and the court was told he had a previous conviction for causing grievous bodily harm.

SOURCE






Sweet Cakes by Melissa crowdfunder breaks record with $352K

A crowdfunding campaign for the Oregon bakery Sweet Cakes by Melissa has set a site record by raising $352,500 in about two months after being kicked off the GoFundMe website, far exceeding the initial goal of $150,000.

Jesse Wellhoefer, founder of Continue to Give, said the Sweet Cakes effort has raised more than any previous campaign on behalf of individuals in the three-year-old crowdfunding website’s history.

Continue to Give also handles ongoing fundraising for nonprofit organizations as well as mobile and kiosk tithing for churches.

GoFundMe, the nation’s largest crowdfunder, removed a campaign for Sweet Cakes by Melissa in April after receiving complaints from gay-marriage supporters. The bakery’s owners, Aaron and Melissa Klein, are locked in a legal battle with the state for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony, citing their religious beliefs.

Mr. Wellhoefer said his company had received “lots and lots” of complaints about the Sweet Cakes crowdfunding campaign, but that he has refused to remove it.

“Lots of people have been asking us to take it off,” Mr. Wellhoefer said. “Our response has been, ‘Thank you for your concern, have a great day and God bless you.’”

Launched May 5, the Sweet Cakes crowdfunding campaign has received 7,651 donations and thousands of messages of support such as, “Keep on fighting,” “God bless you,” and “Don’t back down!! We are standing with you.”

The Oregon labor commissioner ordered the Kleins to pay $135,000 to a lesbian couple for “emotional damages” to Laurel and Rachel Bowman-Cryer after declining to prepare a cake for their June 2013 commitment ceremony.

Mr. Klein had informed the couple that he was sorry but that the bakery did not prepare cakes for same-sex ceremonies as a result of the family’s religious convictions. Gay marriage was not legal in Oregon at the time.

The Kleins are expected to appeal the labor commissioner’s July 2 decision to the Oregon Court of Appeals.

GoFundMe changed its policy on disallowed campaigns after pulling the Sweet Cakes fundraiser. At first GoFundMe explained the removal by citing its policy against “formal charges in defense of heinous crimes,” prompting critics to point out that the Kleins had not been charged with a crime.

A few days later, GoFundMe changed the policy to include a ban on “claims of heinous crimes, violent, hateful, sexual or discriminatory acts,” making it easier to remove campaigns for Christian-owned business owners fighting discrimination charges after declining to provide services for gay weddings.

The Kleins were permitted to keep the $109,000 already raised on GoFundMe before the campaign was removed.

Mr. Wellhoefer said any money raised on Continue to Give goes directly to a third-party processor and then to the beneficiary’s bank account.

SOURCE






Kanzlerin Angela Merkel, a Christian, says she disagrees with homosexual marriage

All marriages should be gay but not all gay marriages are homosexual

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has revealed she is opposed to homosexual marriage and believes matrimony should be restricted to just heterosexual couples.

The twice-married Christian said that while she believes anti-gay discrimination must be 'eliminated', she draws the line at same sex marriage because there has to be 'a difference at some point'.

The revelations came during a 30-minute YouTube interview with German social media star Florian Mundt, also known as LeFloid, who pressed Merkel on why she refused to support gay marriage but happily endorsed equal benefits and tax breaks for same-sex couples.

Speaking during the show, Merkel said: 'I'm someone who is very supportive of us eliminating all discrimination. We have come a long way; when I remember, 25 years ago, many people didn't dare to say that they are gay or lesbian.

But the German Chancellor went on to say: 'For me, personally, marriage is a man and a woman living together. That is my concept, but I support civil partnerships... [I want] equality, but I make a difference at some point,' she added.

'I am for registered civil partnerships. I am for our not having any discrimination in tax legislation. And wherever we still find discrimination, we will continue to dismantle it,' she went on to say according to German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.

When Mundt pressed Mekel on how she could possibly say she is opposed to discrimination while refusing to support full equality, the politician refused to buckle, according to the Huffington Post.  'No discrimination,' she said, adding: 'Marriage as a man and a woman living together.'

A spokesman for Stonewall, a UK gay rights charity, responded to the comments, saying: 'Can someone really support 'eliminating all discrimination' if they believe that same-sex unions shouldn't be labelled as 'marriages'? It must be a quiet week for Angela if her current concern is synonyms.'

Germany introduced civil unions for gay and lesbian couples in 2001, but they do not have the right to marry and are still also forbidden from jointly adopting children.

In early June the upper house of the German parliament adopted a resolution calling for the legalisation of same-sex marriage, which is opposed by Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives.

Last month's gay pride march in the German capital Berlin was a typically festive affair, with lashings of sequins, fake eyelashes, wigs and feather boas, rainbow flags, and even one reveller who appeared to have dipped his penis in gold paint.

'A day without lesbians is like a day without sunshine,' read one placard that seemed especially fitting for the miserable weather.

Merkel is the daughter of a Lutheran minister and has described herself as a committed member of the evangelical Christian church.

SOURCE







Boy Scouts of America Preparing to Repeal Ban on homosexual  Leaders

A few months ago, Boy Scouts of America president Robert Gates called for ending the organization’s ban on homosexual adult leaders. This week, members of the BSA Executive Committee proceeded to do just that. “As a result of the rapid changes in society and increasing legal challenges at the federal, state, and local levels,” reads the BSA website announcement, “on Friday, July 10, the Boy Scouts of America Executive Committee adopted a resolution amending the adult leadership standards policy. The resolution was unanimously adopted by those present and voting. This resolution will allow chartered organizations to select adult leaders without regard to sexual orientation, continuing Scouting’s longstanding policy of chartered organizations selecting their leaders.”

Roberts advocated for the change in May based on the homosexual agenda’s powers of persuasion. “The one thing we cannot do is put our heads in the sand and pretend this challenge will go away or abate,” he said. So cultural and political appeasement now takes precedence over remaining steadfast.

With Monday’s vote, the BSA has just one last obstacle to overcome. On July 27, the National Executive Board will ultimately decide the resolution’s fate, though it’s expected to pass. “This change … respect[s] the right of religious chartered organizations to continue to choose adult leaders whose beliefs are consistent with their own,” BSA claims.

Meaning each troop is now open to lawsuit if they diverge. Christians in America, and the Church as a whole, are under attack like never before. Anyone who thinks this is a permanent solution is only helping promote gender disorientation pathology.

SOURCE






A Leftist critique of identity politics

Identity politics says that the group you belong to is all-important.  It is closely allied to racism.  Because it denies any possibility of objective truth it is also deeply anti-intellectual

Australian Jewish Leftist Michael Brull below is long-winded but he has some reasonable points


Among people of the radical and progressive left, there are occasional arguments about what is called identity politics. Though there was an interesting debate along similar lines in Overland last year, generally few bother to discuss what it is, or why they support or oppose it.

People who oppose identity politics might identity it in a certain way, whilst few seem to self-consciously practice it. Like the word “emo”, it is rarely claimed, and, when the label is applied, it is often received as a term of abuse.

It’s hard to discuss something when there is no identifiable Bible or Manifesto of Identity Politics. Its champions usually identify themselves in different manner. However, there are certain identifiable tendencies, which at least some people on the left might call identity politics, and which I will try to outline here.

In the debate in Overland, Juliana Qian wrote of the proposition: “Should the Left check its privilege?” Qian wrote in defence of what she calls privilege theory. As her interlocutor, social justice lawyer Lizzie O’Shea wrote, the most famous essay outlining the concept of racial privilege was written by Peggy McIntosh in 1988. She provided a lengthy list of “white privilege”.

Two examples of this privilege are as follows: “I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race… I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.” McIntosh’s point is that in everyday life, white people have experiences that would be different if she were not white. These are identified as privileges.

Within her essay, McIntosh acknowledged that there were diverse types of “privilege” that she identified:

"Not all of the privileges on my list are inevitably damaging. Some, like the expectation that neighbours will be decent to you, or that your race will not count against you in court, should be the norm in a just society. Others, like the privilege to ignore less powerful people, distort the humanity of the holders as well as the ignored groups."

We might at least start by distinguishing between positive advantages, which we can work to spread, and negative types of advantage, which unless rejected will always reinforce our present hierarchies.

Given this proviso, we can see positive and negative elements of this theory of “privilege”. On the one hand, focusing on race through the prism of privilege draws attention to the lived experiences of people who aren’t white, and how they experience systemic racism. In itself, this was a valuable and useful contribution, which helped people understand an aspect of racism in a personal way.

However, calling something a “privilege” when it “should be the norm in a just society” may be unhelpful. Many of us will be familiar with the expression that something is “privilege, not a right”.

Privilege as a broad concept may be useful, but analytically, it is worth remembering that the list of privileges is complex. Some of them may be, in a sense, unjust. Others are simply good things that should be everyone’s birthright, and, ideally, would be taken for granted by everyone. This should be a comparatively minor point, but I think lack of clarity on this has contributed to the tendencies that I regard as unfortunate features of identity politics.

McIntosh concluded by observing that “systemic change takes many decades”, but this will seem like “pressing questions for me” and others “if we raise our daily consciousness on the prequisites” of racial privilege. Knowing about this privilege does not necessary prove that “we will use any of our arbitrarily awarded power to try to reconstruct power systems on a broader base.”

In this sense, the essay recognised that there were systemic problems. Privilege analysis raised awareness of the problems, but the point was systemic change.

Thus, I think a distinction can be drawn between privilege analysis and identity politics. Not everyone who uses the concept of “privilege” necessarily embraces identity politics. I think that the insights offered by this model of analysis have, for some people, been married to identity politics, such that privilege becomes not a prism of analysis, but a conclusive and enveloping theory, uniformly applied to all political issues, without any analytical complications.

One can understand this through common tendencies. Identity politics is marked by a primacy of identity: belonging to this or that group, and the presumed lived experience that comes with that identity. This lived experience is presumed to be conclusive in arguments, such that belonging to the relevant group is thought to be a kind of authoritative argument. Those who do not belong to the group – whether the group is defined by race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, able-bodiedness and so on – are regarded as unequipped to have the same insight as those who do have the correct identity.

Those who disagree – for example, a man who disputes a woman’s professed experience of sexism, or a heterosexual person disputing an allegation of homophobia – are not only being presumptuous, but are, ipso facto, wrong.

In this sense, identity politics is anti-intellectual. Book learning is not taken seriously, and no expertise is recognised beyond personal experience, which is presumed from belonging to the relevant category of people. Primacy of identity marks it out as identity politics.

This may seem like a caricature. There are some who adopt a different position – they think that, for example, a woman’s opinion of anti-female sexism should generally be given more weight than a man’s.

In itself, this is a position that is committed to certain rules of rationality – weighing up evidence, a willingness to be persuaded in a certain direction – that I would distinguish from identity politics. How much weight a person’s identity should be given in a debate may be subject to argument. Identity politics is what I’d identify as belonging to the tendency whereby identity is enough to prove a point. Indeed, identity in some forms is not only identified as enough to prove a point: it is identified as all that is needed to have the right to discuss certain issues. Those without the relevant identity are regarded as impudent trespassers on discussions about issues affecting those belonging to this or that group.

Another tendency that can be recognised in identity politics is a suspicion of those who do not share the relevant identity, and thus have a relevant privilege. Their attempts at solidarity, if welcomed at all, are treated with constant and continuing scepticism.

The privileged can, as supplicants, try to be “allies”. Yet being an ally is regarded not as a right, but, well, as a privilege. For example, a white person can be an ally to black people for a while, but it is presumed that because of their privilege, they will never understand racism in a meaningful sense – certainly not in the sense that those with lived experience as black people do.

Furthermore, deep down, all white people will always be racist anyway. Some might suggest that this is due to racial privilege, which white people benefit from, and thus have a stake in maintaining.

What are the power systems that institutionalise privilege? Privilege as a theory does not have this kind of empirical content, and does not try to offer this sort of insight. It addresses itself to how things are now. In a vague sense, it can be said to offer a vision of what a better future might look like. Perhaps, one in which no one has these privileges. Or one in which everyone has these privileges. At the very least, one in which privileges are not distributed on the basis of race, gender, able-bodied-ness and so on.

How do we get there? Well, it’s not clear. However, people from groups suffering the relevant forms of oppression and discrimination should lead the way. They can be supported by their “allies”, at best, but it seems the primary goal of those without privilege is to discuss and organise among themselves.

Those with relevant forms of privilege are expected above all to adopt the correct terminology and show proper deference in discussions with those who do not have their privilege. Engaging in critical discussion, showing scepticism, and disagreeing with people who do not have their privileges may be regarded as exhibiting a form of able-ism, racism, sexism (or whichever applies), by failing to defer to those without privilege.

Suppose an able-bodied person decides they want to be an ally to those with disabilities. This will be on certain terms. Firstly, those with disabilities must lead the movement of issues relating to disabilities. The able-bodied can help people with disabilities by agreeing with them, repeating and amplifying their views, and by listening.

It is not hard to see why those with substantively left-wing or liberal ideological values find it hard to square them with identity politics. Suppose a man wants to be an “ally” to feminists, and is also a Marxist. This will make it likely that he will disagree with many women and feminists about the causes of sexism, and how to resist it. This does not mean he does not genuinely care about sexism.

However, if he wants to be a good “ally”, he will put aside his Marxism, listen to women, tend to defer to their judgments, support them in their causes, even if he privately believes that some of the advocacy and tactics they engage in are unwise, unhelpful, exclusionary, shallow or anything else. Critical discussion is not regarded as a worthy or valuable contribution of “allies”.

Identity politics is also hard to square with substantive political values, because it is politically neutral. A civil libertarian, for example, might agree with many Aboriginal people on some issues, and disagree on others. Opposing how the criminal law discriminates against Aboriginal people might be the work of an ally, but being critical of the provisions of the Racial Discrimination Act which transcribe racially offensive speech is not being an ally. Though both might spring from the same civil libertarianism, identity politics is not committed to political values, but loyalty to a particular group.

It is also ideologically neutral in a sense. Supporting this or that group as an “ally” without any underlying guiding values and analysis is kind of incoherent. Many women would regard it as a feminist position to be pro-choice in relation to abortion. However, there are many women who are pro-life and anti-abortion.

Should the male ally pick and choose based on left-wing values? Or should he simply respect the diversity of female voices, and respect the debate and make sure everyone is heard? Some Aboriginal people support the Recognise campaign, others oppose it. Unlike Amy McQuire in New Matilda, much of the major media has not reported this argument. Should white Australians who are only aware of Aboriginal support for Recognise support it on this basis? Should those who are aware of the dispute pick a side? On what basis should they pick a side within disputes of those groups?

Should it be on the basis of supporting sub-groups which are even less privileged? Should they side with majorities? How much of a majority is needed to clinch an argument? If a prospective ally doesn’t have an accurate way of gauging the popularity of a political position within a group, should they be silent until that group resolves it?

The effect of this is to make contributions by allies difficult. They are expected to serve much in the same way the most loyal apparatchiks served within communist parties. They are expected to listen, obey, and follow the party line, whatever it might be. Yet the means by which allies are meant to detect the party line is not entirely clear. This makes identity as an ally more precarious than identity as a member of the Communist Party.

Though I am personally quite critical of identity politics, I don’t write this explicitly with the intention of criticising or ridiculing it, though it may appear that way to some. I think that identity politics is taken for granted by some people, in much the same way other ideological beliefs and commitments sometimes are.

I have on occasion been met with something approaching shock when I frankly discuss my distaste for patriotism. Identity politics isn’t the worst thing the left has ever come up with. I suspect one of its major effects has been to increase the representation of people from various groups in the media, which is unequivocally a good thing.

However, identity politics rests on certain premises that I regard as at least questionable. If leftists and progressives are going to adopt this framework as a way of approaching political issues, activism and so on, I think it deserves some kind of debate and discussion.

If identity politics is a bad thing, we should at least have a clear idea of what it is that we disagree with. If it is a really terrific development, then perhaps its proponents can make a substantive case for it.

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 July, 2015

Australia: Does criticism of multiculturalists imply racism?

Concerning criticism that drew attention to the Greek background of controversial Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios:

I am not entirely in agreement with the thoughts below, though they do have some merit.  I see Dawn Fraser's words as an acknowledgement of multiculturalism.  The very idea of multiculturalism implies a recognition that cultures differ.  And what is acceptible in one culture may be unacceptable in others.  And Australia is unequivocally multicultural.

So if Fraser saw an Australian-born product of Greek culture as lazy and not making an effort, that could be an accurate recognition of a cultural difference.  Given the parasitical tendencies of the Greek nation presently on worldwide dispay, how can we say she was wrong? 

It's certainly politically incorrect to mention any negative features of multiculturalism but that is just prejudging the matter.  It certainly says nothing about the truth of a matter.  It forbids truths of some sorts from being uttered but it does not abolish them

Fraser was entitled to her views and she should have been tolerated when uttering them, not condemned.  The Leftist myth that all minority cultures have nothing negative about them is absurd
 

 Dawn Fraser's apology for her inappropriate 'go back to where you came from' comments about tennis player Nick Kyrgios needs to be kept in perspective regarding the extent of racism in Australia.

One interpretation is sure to be that Fraser's ill-judged remarks illustrate the 'dark underbelly of prejudice that persists in this country as a legacy of the White Australia policy'.

But what this incident really shows is how far we have come as a nation in refusing to tolerate intolerance.

Compare the current situation to when the White Australia legislation was passed by the federal parliament in 1901.

All of our first four Prime Ministers spoke during the debate. Three (Barton, Watson and Reid) advanced arguments that today would be condemned as racist and see them drummed out of public life.

The fourth (Deakin) was so embarrassed by his colleagues' racial prejudice that he argued it was actually the good qualities of 'alien' peoples such as the Japanese that explained why Australians were so determined to keep them out of the country.

The story of how we overcame our racist heritage and became one of the most successful multiracial nations in the world is a long and important one. I tell some of this tale in my article included in the free speech issue of the latest Policy magazine.

The takeaway is that we can rely on our culture of tolerance to curb bigoted speech and don't need laws like Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act that can be exploited to curtail legitimate free speech and debates about important public issues.

This is supported by the events of this week. The public outcry the comments provoked showed Fraser had crossed a line with regards to acceptable speech and forced her to issue an 'unreserved apology'.

This shows we can rely on the culture, and not the law, to protect people from racially insulting speech.

SOURCE






Can Court Clerks Decline to Do Gay Marriages? How It’s Playing Out in the States

In Travis County, Texas, Jacque Roberts and her partner, Carmelita Cabello, wait in line for a marriage license June 26, after the Supreme Court's ruling. (Photo: Bob Daemmrich/Polaris/Newscom)
A few cases of public employees who cite their faith in declining to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples have grabbed media attention, but similar concerns exist in scores of courthouses across America, a lawyer for a prominent Christian legal organization says.

“In most instances the government can accommodate the religious beliefs of the objecting person,”

A suit against a Kentucky court clerk was scheduled to be heard today by a federal judge, and county commissions were set to vote on the resignations of clerks in Tennessee and Texas.

The cases, the lawyer told The Daily Signal, are just three examples of difficult choices created by the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the nation.

“I think the bottom line is, in most instances the government can accommodate the religious beliefs of the objecting person,” said Jeremy Tedesco, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom.

An ultimatum of “comply or lose your job” by some LGBT activists and their supporters, he said, runs counter to “our rich history of religious freedom and religious accommodation.”

Civil disobedience to the ruling, and to instructions issued by governors and other state authorities, initially occurred among clerks and other court employees in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas.

However, Tedesco said the offices of Alliance Defending Freedom, or ADF, have been “inundated” by calls and emails from courthouse employees and officials who aren’t sure what their office will do, want to understand their rights, or have asked for an accommodation for their faith but haven’t yet gotten one.

In some cases, clerks and other court employees have resigned rather than issue licenses for same-sex nuptials.

In others, LGBT rights groups and their supporters are demanding that employees with objections quit or be fired or impeached.

It doesn’t have to be this way, Tedesco says.

“It’s incumbent on those governments that don’t have a system in place to put it in place,” he said.

At this point, Alliance Defending Freedom is providing basic counsel in requests “from California to North Carolina and all states in between,” Tedesco said, but is not formally representing anyone. He added:

It’s troubling [to suggest] you can’t be a Christian and have any of these jobs—or be of any faith that believes marriage is between a man and a woman. That’s just a very disturbing reaction to Obergefell, especially when the court went out of its way to say the First Amendment provides protections for people who continue to disagree with this.

Michael Aldridge, executive director of the Kentucky chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, sees it differently.

“Government officials have a duty and a responsibility to impartially administer laws,” @ACLUofKY says.

“When our laws are updated or changed, government officials have a duty and a responsibility to impartially administer those laws,” Aldridge said in announcing legal action against Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis.

A Resignation in Texas

The Associated Press is one of the media organizations tracking local court offices where some public servants declined to provide marriage licenses to gays or lesbians. Initial resistance for religious reasons appears to have dwindled to cases in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Texas, AP reports.

In Texas, commissioners in Rusk County were slated to vote Monday on the resignation Thursday of County Clerk Joyce Lewis-Kugle, who said her faith did not allow her to comply.

Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, wrote fellow Texas officials that federal and state statutes known as religious freedom restoration acts, as well as rights guaranteed by the First Amendment, “may allow accommodation of religious objections [by county clerks and employees] to issuing same-sex marriage licenses.”

The legal test of a burden placed on religious liberty by the government is whether that burden is the “least restrictive means” to carry out a “compelling state interest,” Paxton wrote.

If other authorized individuals may issue marriage licenses, he argued, the government should not compel an employee to act against his conscience.

Rebecca L. Robertson, legal and policy director of the ACLU of Texas, disagreed.

“Religious liberty is the birthright of every American,” Robertson said in a letter to clerks of two Texas counties where the ACLU said “recalcitrance” had been reported by residents. “But the first duty of public officials is to uphold the law, even if doing so conflicts with their personal religious convictions.”

Clerks who follow the Texas attorney general’s July 5 guidance, the state ACLU said, would engage in “official misconduct” that “could lead to their removal from office and expose them to damages in civil litigation.”

In Tennessee, commissioners in Decatur County were to act on a permanent successor to replace Gwen Pope, who resigned July 5 as county clerk, and to fill related openings.

“I honestly believe God will take care of us,” Pope told The Jackson Sun after she and two co-workers quit.

Decatur Mayor Mike Creasy said he disagreed with the Supreme Court ruling but intended to enforce the law.

A Federal Case in Kentucky

In Ashland, Ky., U.S. District Judge David L. Bunning was to hear arguments at noon Monday in the case of Rowan County’s Kim Davis. The ACLU sued Davis on behalf of four couples—two gay and two straight—after the county clerk stopped issuing any marriage licenses.

Davis told the Louisville Courier-Journal that “deep religious convictions” prevent her from complying with the Supreme Court’s decision.

“It’s a deep-rooted conviction,” Davis said. “My conscience won’t allow me to do that. It goes against everything I hold dear, everything sacred in my life.”

For days, protesters outside her office have demanded she step down.

Bunning, the federal judge hearing the case, is an appointee of President George W. Bush and the son of former major league pitcher and U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning.

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, has instructed courthouse employees to carry out the Supreme Court’s ruling.

In a meeting last week, Beshear told Casey County Clerk Casey Davis—who is not related to Kim Davis—that he should resign if he cannot do so. Davis had suggested the government allow residents to purchase marriage licenses online so that clerks would not be personally involved.

Also in Kentucky, Billy Joe Lowe, clerk of Green County, told WFPL-FM on Thursday that his office would not accept license applications from same-sex couples.

Protections for Religious Convictions

Employees shouldn’t have to resign or be fired, Tedesco said.

Governors, mayors and other high officials are off base in ordering clerks and other employees to comply, the Alliance Defending Freedom lawyer says, as are those who threaten civil liability or even criminal prosecution.

Federal and state laws already require employers—both public and private—to accommodate the religious beliefs of their employees.

Most local offices and agencies that issue marriage license or officiate at weddings, Tedesco argues, already have enough employees sharing duties that it is not difficult to arrange for someone without religious objections to serve same-sex couples.

The purpose of the federal statute known as Title VII is to protect the religious beliefs of employees in the workplace. Typically, state law provides similar protections.

The law isn’t just about accommodating an employee’s faith but about the duty of the employer to do so, as long as it doesn’t impose an undue burden on the workplace.

That landscape, as well as rights secured in the Constitution, will form the backdrop for determining how licenses for same-sex marriages will be issued in courthouses across the nation in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Although each local workplace may have its own challenges, many courthouses already have implemented systems to accommodate the religious beliefs of some employees, while others are figuring one out.

‘Not the Way a Free Society Works’

The Constitution and existing state and federal law do not require Americans to have to choose between their job or their religious convictions “after the world was made new by the Supreme Court,” Tedesco said:

This is not the way a free society works. This is a massive sea change in our culture and our law that the Supreme Court has mandated. And the answer simply can’t be—and of course this is the answer of the other side—‘You can’t hold these positions if you hold those beliefs any longer, especially if you want to act consistently with them.’

By the same token, Tedesco said, a supervisor who wants to make a political point can’t simply say he or she can’t make an accommodation for an employee who believes marriage is between a man and a woman—and that the employee can’t work there any longer.

“You can’t just shirk your duty and fire people. Or tell them, ‘Make a choice. Do this or leave.’ ”

Before the Supreme Court decision, the definition of marriage already had been changed in 30 states—in most cases by court rulings rather than legislation or voter initiatives.

The repercussions of the high court’s action will play out over many years and is sure to involve litigation.

Tedesco said the climate reminds him of procedures and statutes of the 1950s and 1960s under which job applicants or employees were asked to sign a document saying they had no affiliation and agreement, current or past, with the Communist Party. The Supreme Court, after upholding such measures for several years, eventually struck them down.

Similarly, “this is like an ideological litmus test on marriage,” Tedesco argued:

Do you believe—or have you ever been affiliated with a faith organization that believes—that marriage is between a man and a woman? If so, you can’t have this job, or you’re fired from this job. I think the analogy is spot on.  … Should you be able to exclude people of faith from government jobs? There’s got to be a way that those two can be simultaneously pursued.

SOURCE








Australia: Curbs on free speech becoming onerous

From the newsletter of conservative  Senator Sean Edwards

If we consider what most fundamentally distinguishes Western Civilisation from the cultural cavemen of the global islamist movement, it’s the free and forceful exchange of ideas and the way those ideas influence the evolution of our society. The recent Federal Council raised once again the issue of Section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act and its impact on reasonable debate in Australia.

It’s the public debate of ideas and values that leads to social change and it’s their debate in Parliament that enshrines those changes into law.

But while the latter is protected by Parliamentary Privilege, public debate in Australia is threatened by an overbearing Racial Discrimination Act and its hypersensitive Section 18c. If free speech is muzzled, we can’t be sure our society evolves in the direction the community wants it to.

The freedom of speech debate has never been an argument about limitless speech. Freedom of speech is not absolute and nor should it ever be, as no reasonable person could possibly support, for instance, the expression of views that induce unjust violence or that intentionally mislead for commercial gain or legal advantage. This is really a debate about where we draw the line.

Section 18c draws the line at the point where a statement relating to race is interpreted as being insulting and it offers special redress when it is. Taking this principle to its full logical conclusion, if legal protection should be afforded to hurt feelings on one basis, why shouldn’t it extend equally to a range of other sensitivities such as speech that is insulting on the basis of religion or gender? Why exclude speech that insults someone on the basis of their politics or their class?

After all, it wasn’t racial but religious rhetoric with which pro-islamist rioters intimidated and insulted non-believers in Hyde Park, Sydney.

It wasn’t racial but class rhetoric with which anti-capitalist protestors humiliated and insulted mainstream Australians during the Occupy protests.

It wasn’t racial but political rhetoric with which dock workers intimidated and insulted their colleagues during the waterfront dispute.

Historical examples are plenty but Section 18c also threatens the most important of debates here and now.

The Government plans to specifically recognise Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders in the Constitution but discussion of who is and is not an Aboriginal person for the purpose of this amendment may well fall foul of the law. So Section 18c may literally prevent Australians from commenting freely on changes to their own Constitution.

Section 18d was envisaged to provide a number of exceptions to the sanctions of Section 18c for scenarios like journalism, art and academic debate. However in doing so it invites a judge to decide whether you hold your view “in good faith” and whether or not it is “reasonable” of you to do so before he or she decides whether they’ll let you off.

Australia did not become the civilised, culturally advanced society that it is by chance or by having our thoughts vetted by the judiciary. We got here through an evolution of ideas, values and beliefs and having them validated or otherwise by the best test there is: public debate.

That Federal Council passed a motion calling for removal of the words “offend” and “insult” from the Racial Discrimination Act will, I hope, inspire further attention to the matter from in the Parliamentary Liberal Party.

SOURCE






Mentally castrated man gives his kid emasculated last name

The latest fad in so-called "gender equality"?  Giving kids feminist-approved last names!

Zelda Violet Frissberg, born to Mr Bloomberg's eldest daughter Emma Bloomberg and her husband Chris Frissora in March, has been given a surname that represents both her mother and father.

A combination of 'Frissora' and 'Bloomberg', the infant's hybrid name reflects the word used by her parents' friends to describe them as a couple, a family spokesman told the New York Times.

Why would any father agree to this?  For untold hundreds of years, children have had the names of their fathers.  It's a very longstanding tradition that's associated with male leadership of families.  Even in this age of "equality," it is still the custom.  So when a man gives up this right, something looks very odd.

The article doesn't really explain why the father agreed to this.  I tried to research Chris Frissora online, to see if perhaps he had had an accident.  If, for example, he had lost his genitals in a motorcycle accident, or if he had crushed his genitals while bouncing up and down on a wild horseback riding adventure, I could understand his attitude.

I remember when "gender equality" meant that women had to keep their own last name.  That itself was ironic, because the names they were preserving were their fathers'; in their feminist wisdom, they were keeping one man's name rather than giving it up for another.  But then many women worried that by keeping their last names, they could not show off that they were married, so many women started hyphenating their names, putting their names in the middle and their emasculated husbands' at the end.

But I guess that that wasn't enough, and now the children have to have confusing names, too.  I guess the next step is for men, upon marrying, to take their wives' last names.  After all, women have been giving up their names for centuries, so isn't it fair play that men do the same for a few centuries?

Exit questions:

1) For men, if your wife asked your kids to have a mishmash last name out of "fairness," what would you say?

2) What kind of man do you think would agree to this?

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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15 July, 2015

Feminist "hero" who publicly shamed a Tinder date for voicing his body-type preference is a hypocrite. Women are just as vocal

The man criticized below was  condemned simply  for being honest.  A sad thing.  He was even honest in a polite sort of way.  And if she can swingeingly condemn the man surely that leaves her open to criticism too:  I think she is a bitch with an inflated ego. She is also fat.  So I agree with the comments below by Peter Lloyd.  Some further comments, however:

Chubby is not sexy to either men or women and chubbies of both sexes need to get over that.  If you don't like your limited chances with the opposite sex you have to reduce your food intake; it's as simple as that.  Not easy but simple.

 And just as many men ignore flat chested women as potential partners, so many women ignore short men. Ask any short man! Short men often report feeling quite invisible.  And, perhaps sadly, no amount of complaint will alter that.  (To forestall "ad hominem" comments, I am 5'10")

If you are in a disadvantaged category, you just have to deal with it.  Short men and fat women work harder at relationships and that usually gets them someone, even if that someone also falls short of some ideal.  A combination I have sometimes seen is a very rotund woman with a skinny but very scrubby man  -- JR



Michelle Thomas was hailed a feminist hero for criticising a Tinder date who rejected her because of her size.

The 30-year-old, from Crystal Palace, London, went public when her online suitor discontinued their courtship because, physically speaking, she wasn't his type.

In a Dear John letter which has since stormed the internet, the unnamed man wrote:

'I really enjoyed your company and actually adore you. 'You're cheeky and funny and just the sort of girl I would love to go out with if only my body and mind would let me. But I fear it won't. 'I'm not going to bull***t you... I think you're the prettiest looking girl I've ever met. But my mind gets turned on by someone slimmer.'

But her response reinforced the odd, unwritten rule that women can say whatever they want about sexual desire and attraction, but men can't.

Venting through her blog, she claimed his behaviour was somehow 'body shaming' and 'objectifying' the female form, but, sorry sisters, I disagree.

Yes, fair enough, he wasn't being diplomatic or sensitive, which, as Prince would say, is sadly a sign o' the times, but in an age of over-opinionated people who constantly over-share, this is the new normal.

In fact, the only thing he's truly guilty of is having an honest opinion about women - one that isn't deemed 'on message' by the sisterhood - and actually voicing it.

Even former Deputy PM, John Prescott - a man who was battling bulimia at the time - was publicly humiliated by mistress Tracey Temple when their affair surfaced. She said his penis was like 'a cocktail sausage'. Classy!

Sadly, this isn't rare. Turn on any TV or film, listen to any song lyric, and you'll soon hear something similar.

Then there's website TubeCrush which pervs, and rates, unwitting men on the London Underground, while new dating app Lulu has caused controversy for encouraging women to shame men who give them 'bad dates'. Complete with pictures.

Even on a day-to-day basis I hear women say how they've dumped their latest man because he wasn’t tall, handsome or fit enough. The same women who, while asserting that a woman's size and shape doesn't matter, judge their boyfriends on the bulge in both their wallet and trousers.

The big difference, however, is that most men are too polite to ever go into detail. Especially directly. 'Does my bum look big in this?' 'Of course not,' we say.

Ironically, talking to Femail about the furore, Michelle said how pleased she was that many of her blog respondents were men who'd shared her letter with their sons – presumably to teach them about sensitivity and politeness with women. And that's great.

My point, however, is that perhaps they should refer their daughters to this article, too. After all, it was women who started this pathological honesty about men's bodies, so - as long as it continues - the yin to their yang will always be considered fair game. And, although it's sad, it's the world we live in.

More HERE






Arrogant Muslim gets his just desserts

Muslims may treat women with contempt but British courts don't

A hospital consultant has become the first man to be ordered to pay all of his £550,000 assets to his ex-wife, following an extraordinary divorce ruling.

Anaesthetist Dr Essam Aly, 54, 'washed his hands' of his family after leaving wife Enas, 46, in 2011 and moving to Bahrain - and has not paid a penny in maintenance or child support since 2012.

Out of the reach of the British authorities and courts, it was feared the 'serial defaulter' from Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, would never again pay to support her or their two children.

So to ensure that the children and the wife would be secure, a family court judge ordered that their entire £550,000 fortune should go to her. Court of Appeal judges have now upheld the payout.

The court heard the husband worked at Queen's Hospital in Burton, while the wife was a GP in Derby. The couple married in 2002 and had a son and a daughter, before separating in 2011.

Dr Aly moved to Bahrain the following year, and has since started a relationship with another woman, undergone an Islamic marriage ceremony and had another child.

At Birmingham Family Court last year, the wife complained that she had received nothing from him since he left Britain.

Her case was that he had effectively 'abdicated responsibility' for her and his children, appeal judge Lord Justice McFarlane said.

'Looking to the future, there was no expectation that she could look to him for any future payment of maintenance and it was therefore necessary for her to achieve an award representing effectively most of the capital assets,' he said.

She secured an injunction freezing his assets, resulting in the discovery of additional bank accounts, said the judge.

Giving judgment last July, Judge Mark Rogers awarded her the proceeds of sale of their £250,000 home in Burton, plus another £310,000 held in the bank.

And Lord Justice McCombe, who heard the appeal with Lady Justice Macur and Lord Justice McFarlane, questioned what else a judge could do in such a case.

'What was the judge supposed to do, faced with a serial defaulter, to make proper provision for this family?' he said. 'The wife is looking after the children and the father has washed his hands of them.'

Upholding the award, Lord Justice McFarlane said: 'The judge had in front of him a case where he was entitled to hold there was no realistic expectation of getting any further maintenance out of the husband'.

'He was beyond the reach of enforcement of courts in this country. He hadn't been paying for the previous two years.

'The judge was required, in determining the outcome of the financial provision proceedings, to give first consideration to the welfare of the two children.

'On the case before the judge, the wife was to have the sole responsibility and financial burden for bringing these children up.

'The judge, therefore, concluded that she should have the lion's share, if not all, of the assets, as she needed them to house herself in appropriate accommodation and make provision for these children.

'Thus it was that he awarded her a far more substantial lump sum than would otherwise have been the case if equality was the only yardstick.'

SOURCE







Where we've got to  -- because of feminist misandry

A new app aimed at reducing false allegations of rape has been launched and forces would-be lovers to record their consent before having sex in case the police get involved.

We-Consent users film 20-second clips on their phones stating who they are about to have sex with before recording their face and their partner's.

The app only works if the cameras detect human faces and both parties are clearly heard saying 'yes', otherwise the recording is stopped and they are encouraged not to have sex.

Developers say their app will end 'misunderstandings' but rape support groups say they are wrongly suggesting rape is about disagreements about consent rather than a decision made by a rapist.

We-Consent users are asked to confirm their names on camera before they are asked: 'Say yes or no'. If the users say 'yes' the app responds with: 'Consent confirmed. Have fun'.

When asked who the app is targeted towards, the US designer, Michael Lissack, explained it is American athletes who have become fraught in numerous recent sexual scandals.

He said: 'Who seems to be mostly involved with scandals? Athletic teams and fraternities.'

Among critics of the app is the Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre, which slammed it for apparently showing rape is the result of misunderstanding rather than an attack.

A spokesman said: 'This app seems to completely misunderstand sexual consent as an ongoing process rather than a one-off decision.

'It also appears to be based on the myth of sexual miscommunication, that rape is the result of a misunderstanding of consent rather than a decision made by a rapist.'

It came after a string of high profile cases in recent years, including one involving footballer Ched Evans, who was convicted of rape after a jury agreed unanimously his victim was too drunk to consent to sex.

Earlier this year the country’s top prosecutor said men accused of date rape must be quizzed by police over the ‘steps they took’ to establish that a woman agreed to sex.

Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders said detectives should question a suspect about ‘what assured him’ the alleged victim had consented.

New guidelines would guarantee a ‘more balanced consideration’ of the accounts of both the suspect and the alleged victim, she said. 

Campaigners described the move as a ‘huge step forward’ in ensuring fewer rapists escaped justice.

But critics said the measures threatened to shift the burden of proof by moving towards making rape suspects prove they were innocent.

We-Consent has been met with mixed reactions, with some saying it increases the perception that false allegations of rape are more common than in reality.

Those who expressed lukewarm support include Elouise Beverley, a member of the Royal Holloway, University of London's feminist society.  She told student newspaper The Tab: 'I think it's positive to encourage dialogue about consent and I hope this app helps to do that.

'But the creator's focus on keeping athletes away from sex scandals seems to encourage the idea that false accusations of rape and sexual assault are more common than they are really.

'It seems the creator is more concerned with the reputations of perpetrators than the well-being of survivors of sexual assault.

'However despite those concerns I think checking in to make sure everyone is sober and making informed consent is definitely a step in the right direction.'

It is not clear where the consent clips are stored but the app website states they are held for seven years and can be made available only by a court order.

A CPS report showed that in a 17-month period there were 5,651 prosecutions of rape, and 111,891 for domestic violence, in England and Wales but there were just 35 prosecutions of false allegations of rape.

SOURCE







If You're White, Shame on You

More Leftist racism.  If you really wanted to stop racial consciousness you would stop focusing on race

The leftist-inspired deconstruction of traditional America — and by extension, the dominant white Judeo-Christian culture that formed the basis of it — continues apace. MTV has produced “White People,” a documentary in which five young white people are made to feel uncomfortable about their inherently “privileged” position in society. This claptrap is narrated by Jose Antonio Vargas, an openly gay Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist whose coming out as an illegal alien in a 2011 New York Times column has earned him celebrity status — and apparently, legal immunity.

As the trailer indicates, the documentary aims to “change the way you think about white history” and urges its audience to “all get uncomfortable together” when dealing with racial issues. In a Facebook post accompanied by the picture of the same young white man apparently reduced to tears in the trailer, Vargas spells out his objective: “We cannot have an honest conversation about race in America until we explore and unpack what ‘whiteness’ and ‘white privilege’ mean in America.”

MTV President Stephen Friedman doubles down on this invidious nonsense in a press release. “Whiteness often remains unexamined in conversations about race in this country, even as it acts as the implicit norm against which other racial identities are judged,” he insists. “By shining a spotlight on whiteness, we hope ‘White People’ will serve as a powerful conversation starter that encourages our audience to address racial bias through honest, judgment-free dialogue.”

That would be honest, judgment-free dialogue as long as one concedes white privilege is the baseline from which any conversation about race can proceed. Thus it is completely unsurprising that one of the documentary’s cast members, 21-year-old “Lucas,” is channeling his inner useful idiot, and became, as the press release puts it, “passionate about the topic of race and began teaching white privilege workshops.”

If enough guilty white people visit the film’s website, such workshops may no longer be necessary. It is there they can access the seven-day “bias cleanse” provided by the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity. It promises to “provide you with the daily tasks that will help you begin to de-bias yourself.”

Thankfully, following the trailer’s posting on YouTube, “White People” received the barrage of negative comments it so richly deserves. “I’m Asian, and I am offended for white people by this show,” said one person. Another got to the meat of the issue. “What it means to be white? Well for starters that I am somehow a terrible racist by default, simply because I am white. That I should feel bad/guilty/apologetic about issues that happened over 100 years ago to people that I have nothing to do with. That somehow everything is magically in my favor, which it is not. Yep. That’s how it feels.”

What happened — exactly — over 100 years ago? America became one of the first nations on earth to eliminate slavery.

“Today the moral horror of slavery is so widely condemned that it is hard to realize that there were thousands of years when slavery was practiced around the world by people of virtually every race,” black economist extraordinaire Thomas Sowell explains. “Even the leading moral and religious thinkers in different societies accepted slavery as just a fact of life. No one wanted to be a slave. But their rejection of slavery as a fate for themselves in no way meant that they were unwilling to enslave others. It was just not an issue — until the 18th century, and then it became an issue only in Western civilization.”

It is precisely this part of American history the white privilege hucksters choose to ignore, because the redemptive part of America’s historical legacy is inimical to the America-damning agenda promulgated by the Left. It is an agenda that can only thrive in the atmosphere of ginned up racial divisiveness that has become the Left’s calling card.

But not just divisiveness. We are in the midst of “the therapeutic culture’s hostile takeover of the culture,” explains The American Spectator’s Daniel Flynn. “We go for the gut or tug at the heart. Stimulating the mental circuitry strikes as a non sequitur to a generation trained to emote rather than think. The Thought Police put themselves out of business and created a more ominously Orwellian control apparatus: the Feelings Police.”

It is a “police force” comprised entirely of leftists currently dedicated to purging everything with which they disagree from the public square, especially a white Judeo-Christian culture that presents the largest impediment to the “fundamental transformation of the United States” these would-be totalitarians seek to attain.

Toward that end, anything resembling a competing idea becomes either a “microaggression” requiring a “trigger warning,” or something subjected to ad hominem attacks designed to make competing ideas utterly irrelevant, or subservient to name-calling. And when intellectual rigor is abandoned in favor of emotionalism, guilt, or lack thereof, becomes the only currency by which one’s commitment to “the cause” is measured.

And if one feels no such guilt? Shut up and go with the flow — or else.

Radio talk-show host Mark Levin insists, “[W]e’ve had a silent coup in this country.” Levin is wrong. There has been nothing remotely silent about the American Left’s insidious intention to destroy people and ideas with which they disagree. Whether it is the demonization of the Confederate flag, the removal of a Founding Father who appears on our currency, or the severe punishment of bakers who won’t bake the cake, the message is clear: The people who wish to preserve anything resembling American history, culture or tradition are irredeemable bigots who must be exiled to the fringes of “enlightened” society.

And when the Left’s own odious policies actually get someone killed, such as a lawless sanctuary city agenda that enabled a five-time deported illegal alien to snuff out the life of a 32-year-old woman? Defend the bankrupt notion that Rule of Law takes a back seat to accommodating the sensitivities of illegal aliens and their contemptible enablers. And why not? Recent Supreme Court decisions added a patina of legitimacy to “flexible” interpretations of the law, led by a chief justice who conflates advancing the leftist agenda with protecting the “integrity” of the Court.

As for genuine privilege, Vargas, and the 12 million illegal aliens, many of whom are demanding to be accommodated, go right to the top of list.

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 July, 2015

UK: Food Fascism getting into high gear  -- with attack on sugar

Why is it anybody else's business if someone wants to eat in a way they enjoy and put up with the weight that comes from that?  And blaming food companies for giving people what they like is truly pathetic Leftism.  Leftists are always wanting to put the blame somewhere else rather than where it really lies. They even blame Hitler's National Socialism on conservatives!

But where you have socialized medicine choice is always threatened.  Anything people put in their mouths becomes a potential "cost" and so must be controlled:  That lovely Leftist "control" of other people!

But the whole push is little more than political correctness.  Sugar is the great demon of the day now that the fat and salt demons have been slain.  But the evidence of harm from sugar is just as shaky.  We already eat great amounts of it with no obvious harm.  Average lifespans keep increasing in fact.  So how harmful can it be?

And hysteria about sugar is not new. A 2007 article in the British Medical Journal said that sugar was as dangerous as tobacco and posed a greater threat to world health. "Sugar should be classified as a hard drug, for it is addictive and harmful," it said.  A completely absurd and over-the-top claim.  The British medical establishment cannot be trusted as a rational arbiter.

And if you want to see the sort of "research" that the food freaks base their hatred of sugar on, have a look at this example, where a finding that was not even statistically significant was treated as a big deal.

And there is plenty of medical research saying that sugars are NOT a problem -- e.g. here. There are even some studies (e.g. here) that suggest that sugars are good for you.

And the iconoclastic Sandy Szwarc has a very extensive survey of the research findings on sugar.  Her conclusion:  "The bottom line, is that there is no evidence — and there never has been — that we have anything to fear from enjoying the sweet things in life"

The big problem with studies used to demonize sugar is that they are almost always
in vivo (e.g. white rats) or epidemiological.  Rodent findings, however, generalize poorly to humans.  The idea of generalizing from a very short-lived creature (like a mouse) to a very long-lived creature (like a human) is intrinsically "courageous".  And the generalization is often to life-span!

And the big problem with epidemiology is that it cannot demonstrate cause.  There are always potential third factors messing up an attempted causal inference. In medical research generally, social class is a big bedevilling factor.  It is politically incorrect to measure it yet it has big effects when it is measured. So if you find that people who eat a lot of sugar are more prone to get diabetes (for example) that could be because lower class people are in general less healthy and also like their sugar a lot.  The causal factor for diabetes is not the sugar but something to do with social class (e.g. poorer genetics).

And in sugar studies, the results are almost always confounded by total calorie consumption.  People who eat a lot of sugar also tend to eat more of everything.  So it could just be over-eating in general that causes the problem, not the sugar component

A considerable irony in all this is that Robert Lustig has been pushing the anti-sugar barrow for many years -- but was long dismissed by most of his colleagues as a crank. Now that the food Fascists  have lost their fat weapon, however, he is suddenly in fashion.  The evidence has not changed. Only intellectual fashion has changed.



Sugary drinks should be taxed at 20 per cent to tackle the obesity crisis, doctors will demand today.  In a landmark report the British Medical Association will urge Downing Street to take on the food industry.

It found that poor diet costs the NHS £6billion a year while claiming 70,000 lives.

The BMA’s proposed levy on fizzy drinks and sugar-laden juices would help subsidise the sale of fruit and vegetables.

The report will pile pressure on ministers who have repeatedly rejected a sugar tax.

The levy would raise the price of a one-litre bottle of Coke from £1.50 to £1.80. A can of Red Bull would go up from £2 to £2.40.

Professor Sheila Hollins, who led the team behind the report, said: ‘If a tax of at least 20 per cent is introduced, it could reduce the prevalence of obesity in the UK by around 180,000 people.

‘We know from experiences in other countries that taxation on unhealthy food and drinks can improve health outcomes, and the strongest evidence of effectiveness is for a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.

‘The majority of the UK population, particularly low income households, are not consuming enough fruit and vegetables, so financial measures should also be considered to subsidise their price, which has risen by 30 per cent since 2008.’

She pointed out that Britons were consuming far too much sugar and doctors were linking this to a rise in illnesses such as diabetes.

Kawther Hashem, a nutritionist and researcher for the Action on Sugar campaign, said: ‘Parents and children are drowning in a world full of sugary drinks, cheap junk food and aggressive marketing targeting children.

‘Around the world there are examples where regulations and duties work to reduce sugar intake. All we need now is the Government to show they are genuinely committed to promoting the public’s health.’

Ian Wright of the Food and Drink Federation said, however, that firms were already cutting salt, saturates and calories from their products as well as offering size options.

He added: ‘For well over a decade, UK producers have voluntarily provided clear nutrition information on packs.  ‘The food industry is also helping health professionals to encourage people to use the information provided.

‘Where additional taxes have been introduced they’ve not proven effective at driving long-term, lasting change to diets.’

Gavin Partington of the British Soft Drinks Association said: ‘Evidence from other countries has shown this type of tax does not work.  ‘In fact, the soft drinks tax in Mexico has reduced average calorie intake by just six calories per person, per day.’

He said that product reformulation, smaller pack sizes and increased promotion of low and no calorie drinks had led to a 7 per cent reduction in calories from soft drinks in three years.

A Government spokesman said: ‘We are not considering a sugar tax. Tackling obesity is of great concern to this Government, and we have already committed to producing a childhood obesity strategy.

‘There is no silver bullet but we do want to see industry go further to cut the amount of sugar in food and drinks so that people can make healthier choices.

‘We have asked for expert advice about the amount of sugar we should be eating, which will be published soon, and this will be taken into account as we continue to work on our childhood obesity strategy.’

Downing Street was forced recently to slap down a junior health minister who said he would favour a sugar levy.

George Freeman, who has the life sciences portfolio, said: ‘Where there is a commercial product which confers costs on all of us as a society, as in sugar, and where we can clearly show that the use of that leads to huge pressures on social costs, then we could be looking at recouping some of that through taxation.’

But the next day the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said David Cameron ‘didn’t believe that the right approach here is to put sugar taxes on hard-working people’.

The BMA report also called for supermarkets to be told to abolish the checkout ‘guilt lanes’ that tempt children with sweets and treats.

The BMA, which represents 153,000 doctors, is seeking a ban on advertising unhealthy food and drink around children’s television programmes and an end to the marketing of sweets by children’s TV characters.

Professor Hollins added: ‘Children and young people are heavily influenced by the relentless marketing of unhealthy food and drinks, and doctors are left picking up the pieces.’

The BMA report comes shortly before a Government advisory body is due to deliver recommendations on sugar consumption.

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition is expected to say people need to more than halve their intake of added sugar. The final guidelines, expected in the next fortnight, are likely to suggest a male adult should consume no more than the equivalent of seven teaspoons of sugar a day.

The NHS currently recommends a daily sugar maximum of 12 teaspoons (50g) for a woman and 17 teaspoons (70g) for a man.

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, has called for a change ‘in the terms of trade’ in the food industry while stopping short of explicitly calling for a sugar tax.

He said it was striking that one child in ten is obese when they start primary school and one in five is by the time they leave.

He added: ‘So the question for all of us is, are we going to, as the National Health Service, stand by and get ready to treat that burden of illness, or are we going to rattle the cage and advocate for something different?

‘I fundamentally believe we need to get a big national conversation going about what we do as parents, about what we do about the food industry, about reformulation [reducing sugar in food], about the role of the NHS in supporting prevention programmes.’

SOURCE







That Sugar Film: demonising the sweet stuff

Back in 2004, Morgan Spurlock, a largely unknown writer and performer, achieved global fame with his movie Super Size Me. The premise was simple. Spurlock would eat nothing but McDonald’s for 30 days and see what effect it had on his health. To add an extra twist, Spurlock would take the ‘supersize’ meal deal whenever he was offered it, which seemed to be quite often. As a result, he consumed over 5,000 calories per day (roughly twice what an average man would require), gained weight, and apparently, within just a few weeks, suffered life-threatening changes to his body.

Ten years later, another largely unheralded performer, Damon Gameau, has recycled the idea in a new film, Sugar Size Me. Actually, it’s not called that, but clearly unable to get past the behemoth that was Spurlock’s achievement, he ended up calling his effort That Sugar Film. But the dubious central point is the same: eat a bad diet – this time for 60 days – and watch the ill-effects emerge.

A few years ago, after meeting his girlfriend, who we learn is also the soon-to-be mother of his child, Gameau gave up eating all refined sugars. So at the start of the movie, he’s a wiry specimen of good health. But he’s confused. He’s been reading all this stuff online about sugar and doesn’t know what to make of it. At one point, he appears to be reading my spiked article The sweet truth: 10 myths about sugar. But the rest of the film suggests he didn’t bother actually to read it. Still, thanks for the publicity, Damon!

So, to find out for himself just how bad sugar is, he decides to eat a diet of apparently healthy food that is, in fact, full of sugar. Now to be fair to Gameau, he doesn’t just neck a big bottle of full-sugar Coke every day to get his allocation of the sweet stuff. No, he eats processed foods and even drinks fruit juices that are promoted as being good for you. According to his expert adviser, David Gillespie, he needs to consume 40 teaspoons of sugar every day to match the intake of the average Aussie. Gillespie is not a doctor or expert researcher – he’s a corporate lawyer and the author of Sweet Poison: Why Sugar Makes Us Fat. Not necessarily the most authoritative source of information, but Gameau attempts to make him seem cool by giving him the nickname ‘The Crusader’. (There’s a lot of this grating ‘fun’ in That Sugar Film – as the closing song illustrates.)

Forty teaspoons of sugar a day? That seems an astonishing amount, and it probably is on the high side. According to the Australian Health Survey (AHS), published in 2014, men consumed about 2,300 calories per day. Of that, 20 per cent, or 460 calories, came from sugars. That’s about 29 teaspoons, including all sugars in the Aussie diet. Before we get too excited, the survey suggests 16 per cent of that sugar came from fruit, about nine per cent from milk and seven per cent from fruit-and-vegetable juices and drinks. This isn’t simply a case of food manufacturers stuffing foods with sugar – a lot of dietary sugar is in ‘natural’ foods. By comparison, just under 10 per cent came from soft drinks.
Must-reads from the past week

In fact, it’s not really clear whether Gameau thinks this is an ‘average’ amount of sugar or a ‘high-sugar diet’. But just to let us know that it’s bad, whatever the case, the people he turns to for health checks and advice tell him he shouldn’t ‘do this crazy thing’, that it’s ‘insane’. If this was the build-up to some David Blaine-style stunt where he gets manacled and then dropped into a shark tank, that kind of language would be appropriate. But as the prelude to eating sugar? It’s the language, not the diet, that’s insane.

At this point we have a little vignette, featuring actor Hugh Jackman, about the history of sugar, which claims that Queen Elizabeth I had black teeth because of her love for what was then a luxury product (probably true, though the absence of decent dentistry can’t have helped), and that even at the start of the twentieth century, sugar was still an unusual treat. That might be the case for Australia, but it certainly wasn’t in the UK, where sugar was an essential part of the poor diets of the working class - indeed, sugar consumption may even have been higher in 1900, when dinner might well have meant bread and sugary jam, than it is today.

But why should sugar concern us more than other foods? As Stephen Fry (feel free to roll your eyes) explains in the film, table sugar – sucrose – is actually two simpler sugars: glucose and fructose. Glucose is present in any starchy food and Aussies get more calories from starch – as found in bread, rice, pasta and so on – than they do from sugars. But fructose is, Fry assures us, a sugar that we have little capacity to metabolise in large quantities and so it gets converted to fat in our livers and blood. Meanwhile, all that glucose also makes us gain weight because it promotes the production of insulin, which encourages our bodies to store fat.

Now it is certainly possible that too much carbohydrate in our diets causes some of us to pile on the pounds over time. But whether sugar is particularly bad for us, more so than other forms of carbohydrate (or any other source of calories for that matter), is much more controversial. For example, John Sievenpiper, a researcher from Toronto, argues that the claims about sugar are based on feeding huge quantities of fructose to animals that metabolise fructose very differently to humans. But, we are assured by Gameau, we can safely ignore him because he is (sort of) in the pay of Big Soda. This kind of ad hominem attack is typical of sugar campaigners, who have attempted to discredit nutrition researchers in the UK in much the same way. There is no note of doubt in That Sugar Film, just a one-sided version of events.

The inevitable result of Gameau’s diet of fruit juice, sugary yogurt and convenience food is that – shock, horror! – he puts on a few pounds. We are also told that he starts to develop fatty liver disease, to the apparent astonishment of his doctor (and, frankly, me). He also claims to experience psychological effects from consuming sugar, becoming manically hyperactive one minute then lethargic the next. People are ‘up and down’ the whole day, he says, but we don’t notice because that’s what we’re used to. Our minds are ‘fuzzy’ all the time. He can’t wait to get back to his wholesome diet when it’s all over.

At this point, the film tips over into full space-cadet mode. We can’t imagine life without sugar. It’s central to celebrations in Western societies because we associate it with love. In fact, sugar actually evokes the feeling of love because our brains ‘respond to the chemical effect the same way we respond to love’. One talking head, David Wolfe (who can also be seen in the UK flogging overpriced food blenders on early morning infomercials), even claims that ‘sugar causes materialism’. The ‘sugar-drug’ culture created the materialistic culture. Sugar supplies energy ‘straight to the brain’, we are told, leading us to become unwilling to defer any gratification.

Thankfully, it all ends happily ever after. Gameau switches back to his sugar-free diet and reverts to his healthy self, and the baby is born. The message is clear: don’t mess up your health with that mind-f*cking sh*t.

Gameau is perfectly entitled to his point of view, no matter how wacky it is. What’s really worrying is that he is being taken seriously in the media (see the BBC News interview as an example). Sugar is not a health food. No one would argue that these days. Consuming large quantities of it, especially if it leads to an excess of calories, may well increase your waistline. But to demonise one specific kind of food, and turn it into a conspiracy theory about big business wrecking our health, is positively medieval.

SOURCE






What Happened to the Midwives? (Hint: Government)

By Abigail Hall 

It seems like every time I log on to one of my social media accounts, someone is announcing a pregnancy or birth. Perhaps this is why I’ve recently written on the supposed “gender-wage gap” and mandated paid maternity leave.

One thing that keeps popping up among my pregnant friends is the question of whether to have a midwife deliver their baby at home or in a birth center, or seek the medical care of a doctor in a hospital when the time comes to deliver their little ones. For most of my friends, the choice is a doctor. For a few, however, the choice is midwife or bust.

My friend group appears to follow the typical statistics for birth in the United States. Of the approximately 4 million babies born annually in the U.S. (holy procreation, Batman!), about 99 percent of them take place in hospitals. The other one percent of births, however, occur outside of the hospital. While cases documented by TV shows like TLC’s “I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant” account for some of these births (yes, this is a real thing, and no, I don’t know how this happens either), many of these “more primitive” births are completely intentional. In fact, one recently launched TV show titled, “Born in the Wild,” documents women who choose to give birth to their children out in the woods.

This got me thinking. One percent of 4 million isn’t trivial—it’s still 40,000 babies annually. What’s more interesting is that this number used to be much higher—and not that long ago. In fact, Jimmy Carter was first U.S. President to be born in a hospital. In 1900, nearly all births occurred outside a hospital according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By 1970, the number of out-of-hospital births had fallen to one percent.

So what happened to home births and midwives? The most straightforward argument is that, as medical technology improved, midwives were replaced by more qualified, safer doctors. But that may not be all to the story. In fact, like so many other stories told on this blog and elsewhere, the disappearance of the midwife from childbirth appears to be the product of special interest groups and regulatory capture.

In the late 1800s physicians began to form an organized special interest group. At first, doctors marketed their labor and delivery services to wealthier, upper and middle-class families. Midwifery continued to be the default option for poorer women.

But like other special interest groups, doctors worked in conjunction with political actors to pass a variety of laws that argued midwives were uneducated and unsafe. Regulations like the Sheppard-Towner Maternity and Infancy Protection Act of 1921, combined with heavily regulated training and licensure programs, contributed to a sharp decline in the use of midwives throughout the U.S. Despite their historical use, midwives are now allowed to practice in varying degrees in only 27 states. In 23 states, midwives are banned outright.

Despite the rhetoric that midwives are inferior to doctors in regard to childbirth, this doesn’t seem to be the case—when it comes to normal-risk pregnancies. In fact, infant mortality risk for such births is practically indistinguishable between home births and hospital births. Home births also offer other possible benefits. Home births and births involving a midwife are much less likely to result in C-sections. Though common, such procedures put both mother and baby at risk. Women undergoing C-sections are more likely to experience infection, hemorrhaging, and take longer to recovery from delivery. Maternal mortality for babies born this way is also higher than it is for vaginal births. Babies delivered by C-section are more likely to have breathing problems, sustain an injury due to the procedure, and have lower APGAR scores (a test given to evaluate the health of newborns).

When asked why they selected a midwife and home birth over a hospital and doctor, women give numerous reasons. Most cite the aforementioned safety of home births and the decreased likelihood of C-sections and other medical interventions. Others stated they felt the former option offered more control over the experience, occurred in a more comfortable environment, and that they preferred their particular caregiver.

Ultimately, whether a child is brought into this world with the assistance of a midwife, doctor, etc. should be about choice—the parents’ choice. Unless someone presents significant evidence that midwives and other alternative birth environments produce systematic neglect or abuse, there is no objective reason why such practices should be more regulated than doctors, much less banned.

The fact is, the government has no place in the bedroom, or the delivery room. Hospital births and home births have different risks and benefits. Women and families, not special interests and government bureaucrats, should be able to weigh the pros and cons of these options and make a decision based on their personal convictions and circumstances.

SOURCE





Sen. Lee: ‘Religious Individuals…Could Lose Everything’

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) says that if his First Amendment Defense Act fails to pass, “religious individuals and institutions could lose everything from tax-exempt status to government contracts, government employment and things like that.”

Lee and Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) introduced the bill in June that would bar the federal government from imposing penalties on individuals, businesses, and religious organizations acting “in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.”

“This would help create a helpful protective barrier around religious freedom to make sure it is not infringed, to make sure the government doesn’t punish religious belief,” Lee told CNSNews.com

“So, if it doesn’t pass that’s my fear- is that religious individuals and institutions could lose everything from tax-exempt status to government contracts, government employment and things like that. That’s just not something our government ought to be involved in  - they shouldn’t be involved in making value judgments on the basis of a sincerely held religious belief,” Lee said.

The gay and lesbian political action committee, The Human Rights Campaign, quickly criticized the measure after it was introduced.

 “Not only is it wrong to promote discrimination with taxpayers’ money, it’s even worse to allow those taxpayer funds to be used to reward discriminatory actions by federal employees,” said HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy. “We call on members of Congress to oppose this reckless and irresponsible legislation that has nothing to do with the First Amendment and everything to do with taxpayer-funded discrimination.”

But Lee's response to critics is: “The fact that anyone would even call it that, the fact that they would refer to this as that shows a basic disconnect. A basic misunderstanding of religious freedom.”

“The whole point of religious freedom is that people ought to be able to live, believe and worship as they see fit without interference by the government, whether that interference be economic or otherwise,” Lee continued.

“I view this as something that is necessary to protect the American people against one of the most pernicious forms of discrimination that exists, which is discrimination by government against people based on their religious belief.”

The measure has gained 25 co-sponsors in the Senate and 98 co-sponsors in the House, both House and Senate versions have been introduced and referred to committees.

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 July, 2015

Sexism row scientist was 'stupid' and his comments were 'unacceptable', claims fellow Nobelist, Paul Nurse

Paul Nurse believes in global warming so that tells you where he is coming from.  He is an insecure "poor boy made good" who is desperate for elite approval, desperate to prove he belongs up top

The scientist who shared the Nobel Prize with 'sexist' Sir Tim Hunt has spoken out against his colleague, branding his controversial comments about women 'stupid'.

Sir Tim was roundly criticised over his claim female scientists are a distraction in the laboratory, which led to his resignation from his post as honorary professor at University College London.

Today his close friend, Sir Paul Nurse, who was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine with Sir Tim in 2001, condemned his 'chauvinist' partner, adding his remarks were 'not acceptable'.

'Tim is a lovely man and I have known him a long time,' he told the Daily Telegraph.  'But there is no question about it, he did say some stupid things which cannot be supported and they had to be condemned. He said he was a chauvinist and that is not acceptable.'

The scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize for their work on the cell cycle, which advanced cancer research. They have also appeared at conferences together.

Sir Paul, president of the Royal Society, said Sir Tim deserved to lose his post on the society's Biological Science Awards Committee in the wake of the comments.

He acknowledged the Royal Society can come across as 'old fashioned' but said it had introduced 'a lot of initiatives to improve diversity'.  'So it's frustrating when things like this happen which make the Society seem out of touch,' he added.

At a conference of science journalists, Sir Tim, who is married to eminent scientist Mary Collins, provoked outrage by saying: 'Let me tell you about my trouble with girls.  'Three things happen when they are in the lab: you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them, they cry.'

In an online backlash, women scientists uploaded pictures of themselves kitted out in their 'seductive' lab coats, filter masks or boiler suits accompanied by the #DistractinglySexy hashtag. 

Speaking after the furore, he said he 'did mean'' the remarks but was 'really sorry'. He said he was 'really sorry that I said what I said', adding it was a 'very stupid thing to do in the presence of all those journalists'.

The father-of-two said later that he was not given an opportunity to explain his statement.

A number of high-profile figures have come out in support of Sir Tim.

London mayor Boris Johnson called for his reinstatement, and television physicist Professor Brian Cox said the remarks had been 'very ill-advised' but that the response had been 'disproportionate'.

SOURCE





Cubans pay the price for Obama's 'engagement' with the Castros

Jeff Jacoby

ON JULY 1, President Obama announced the formal resumption of diplomatic relations with Cuba, asserting confidently that "American engagement ... is the best way to advance our interests and support for democracy and human rights."

On July 5, the Communist regime in Havana delivered its customary response. It arrested more than 80 democratic dissidents, including at least 60 members of Ladies in White, a peaceful group of brave women who march weekly in support of husbands, fathers, and other relatives imprisoned in the Castros' jails. Many of those detained were hurt, some severely. One prominent human-rights activist, Antonio Rodiles, was sent to the hospital with a shattered nose; he had reportedly been handcuffed by security forces, then beaten for shouting "Long live freedom" and "Long live human rights."

There had been even more arrests and beatings in the days leading up to Obama's Rose Garden statement. Some 225 Cuban dissidents across the island were arrested the previous Sunday, with Ladies in White again prominent among those targeted. In fact, there have been police actions against Cuban democrats for 12 Sundays in a row — the government makes a point of going after dissidents as they walk to Mass or emerge from church holding photos of imprisoned loved ones.

Like most US advocates of normalizing relations with the only all-out dictatorship in the Western Hemisphere, Obama claims that warming up to the Castro regime is the most effective way to promote freedom and liberal reform in Cuba. When he announced last December that ties between Havana and Washington were going to be restored, the president declared that "we can do more to support the Cuban people and promote our values through engagement." Now, nearly seven months later, he reiterates "America's enduring support for universal values, like freedom of speech and assembly," and he insists that his administration "will not hesitate to speak out when we see actions that contradict those values."

No? Over the past seven months, life for Cuba's people has grown even more oppressive and unfree. Yet far from forthrightly condemning the brutality, Obama serenely counsels patience: "Nobody expects Cuba to be transformed overnight," he says.

There have been more than 3,000 political detentions on the island since last December, according to The Washington Post. The paper quotes Mario Felix Lleonart, a Cuban Baptist pastor who laments that he, like many, "had hoped, following the announcement about normalizing relations between the US and Cuba, that there would be a stop to — or at least a lessening of — the beatings" of dissidents. "We now know that what is happening is precisely the opposite."

The policy that Obama now embraces is also "precisely the opposite" of the one he feigned to uphold as a candidate for president.

Like opposing same-sex marriage and guaranteeing that Americans could keep their health plan if they liked it, Obama reversed course on normalizing relations with Cuba, which he was clear could only come after, not before, "significant steps towards democracy." Once upon a time, Obama maintained that there would be no American embassy in Havana until all of Cuba's political prisoners were free. Now he trumpets John Kerry's forthcoming trip to Havana "to proudly raise the American flag over our embassy once more," even as Cuba continues to lock up men and women for daring to seek the democratic liberties Americans take for granted.

The Obama administration is bestowing tremendous gifts on Cuba's rulers: diplomatic legitimation, a public-relations triumph, an influx of hard currency, and expanded influence in Washington. All this the Castros are getting in exchange for nothing: no elections, no free press, no end to beating of peaceful protesters, no justice for the many victims of Cuban totalitarianism.

"Castroism has won," mourned the Cuban dissident Yoanni Sanchez last winter, when Obama announced an end to America's principled policy on Cuba. If it wasn't obvious then, it is now.

SOURCE






Ohio Judge Declines -- Citing 'Christian Beliefs' -- to Marry Same-Sex Couple

A Toledo Municipal Court judge who refused to marry a same-sex couple because of his religious beliefs said Wednesday that he will seek an advisory opinion from the Ohio Supreme Court on whether he can “opt out of the rotation” for performing marriages.

“On Monday, July 6, I declined to marry a non-traditional couple during my duties assignment. The declination was based upon my personal and Christian beliefs established over many years. I apologize to the couple for the delay they experienced and wish them the best,” Judge C. Allen McConnell, a Democrat, said in a statement, according to Toledo News Now.

“The court has implemented a process whereby same-sex marriages will be accommodated. I will continue to perform traditional marriages during my duties assignment. I am also seeking advisory opinion from the Supreme Court of Ohio at this time as to whether or not I can opt out of the rotation. Upon receipt of the advisory opinion from Supreme Court, I will abide by its decision," McConnell added.

Carolyn Wilson said on Monday a bailiff called her and her partner into the hall and told them that McConnell did not perform “these types of marriages,” and although she did not speak to the judge himself, she assumed McConnell meant same-sex marriages, The Blade reported.

After returning to the clerk’s office with the sheriff’s deputy who works in the court, Wilson and her partner were told they could try to find another judge or get a refund.

After McConnell chose not to marry Wilson and her partner, Judge William M. Connelly, Jr., a Republican, eventually married the couple instead.

Connelly said he did so because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that legalized gay marriage.  “My reading of it says we are to perform same-sex marriages,” Connelly said.

Nick Komives, executive director for Equality Toledo, said the couple “didn’t deserve to be humiliated” or “inconvenienced.”

“That's just wrong, and we won’t tolerate it. It is his duty to perform this ceremony, and if he's not willing to perform his duties, he needs to step down,” The Blade quoted Komives as saying.

“I don't think this is a very complicated issue. This court, the Toledo Municipal Court, requires the Judge on duty to perform marriages,” Equality Toledo Board member and attorney Rob Salem said in a statement.

“Judge McConnell took an oath of office when he became judge to uphold the laws of this land. He vowed also to apply those laws as equally and fairly without any regard to his own personal biases and prejudices,” he said.

According to Salem, because McConnell is a public official, he doesn’t have the same discretion that religious clergy do.  McConnell’s job is “to serve all people, not just the people that he likes, Salem said.

McConnell’s decision “calls into question whether or not he’s going to treat LGBT litigants in his courtroom fairly going forward. That's a really an important issue for me; I think that has to be resolved as well. In the meantime, I hope he changes his mind and does the right thing,” Salem added.

SOURCE






How Sanctuary Policies Have Directly Led to Thousands of Crimes Against Americans

Hans von Spakovsky is an authority on a wide range of issues—including civil rights, civil justice, the First Amendment, immigration, the rule of law and government reform—as a senior legal fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and manager of the think tank’s Election Law Reform Initiative. Read his research.

There has been a fiery debate over the past few weeks about illegal aliens and crime, which has intensified with the murder of Kate Steinle in San Francisco by a seven-time felon and five-time deportee as the direct result of the city’s sanctuary policy.

What seems to have been overlooked in the back and forth on this is some of the very disturbing, actual data on crimes committed by illegal aliens, which should concern every American—particularly those who live in sanctuary cities like New Orleans or San Francisco that release criminal aliens rather than turning them over to the Department of Homeland Security.

As Jessica Vaughan of the Center for Immigration Study outlines, Department of Homeland Security records show that in just one eight-month period in 2014, more than 8,100 deportable aliens were released by sanctuary jurisdictions. Three thousand of them were felons and 62 percent had a prior criminal record. Nineteen hundred were later rearrested a total of 4,300 times on 7,500 different offenses.

Thus, these sanctuary policies directly victimized thousands of the residents of these sanctuary cities who were subjected to assaults, burglaries, sexual assaults, thefts and even murders that would not have occurred except for these sanctuary policies.

But there is more. In 2005, at the request of several members of Congress, the Government Accountability Office prepared two reports on criminal aliens—legal and illegal—in prison for committing crimes in the United States. Those reports are very revealing. For example, the first report (GAO-05-337R) released on April 7, 2005, found that:

The percentage of federal prisoners who are criminal aliens is about 27 percent;

In 2004, there were 49,000 such prisoners in federal jails;

In 2002, the federal government gave reimbursements to the 50 states under the “State Criminal Alien Assistance Program” (SCAAP) for incarcerating another 77,000 illegal aliens in state prisons; and

At the local level in 2002, the federal government reimbursed 750 local governments under SCAAP for incarcerating an additional 138,000 criminal illegal aliens, which jumped to 147,000 prisoners in 2003.

It is important to note that these reported numbers “represent only a portion of the total population of criminal aliens who may be incarcerated at the local level,” since the federal government does “not reimburse localities for all criminal aliens” and some states don’t submit requests for reimbursement. So where were all of these criminal aliens from? According to the GAO report, the breakdown was as follows:

Federal prisons:  Mexico (63 percent); Colombia (7 percent); the Dominican Republic (7 percent); Jamaica (4 percent); Cuba (3 percent); El Salvador (2 percent); Honduras, Haiti and Guatemala (each 1 percent), and the remaining 11 percent from 164 other countries.

State prisons: In the five states (Arizona, California, Florida, New York and Texas) incarcerating about 80 percent of SCAAP criminal aliens, the prisoners were from Mexico (58 percent); Cuba (5 percent); Dominican Republic (5 percent); El Salvador (4 percent); Jamaica (3 percent); Vietnam (2 percent); and the remaining 22 percent from 148 other countries.

Local jails: In the five local jails with the largest criminal illegal alien populations, the prisoners were from Mexico (65 percent); El Salvador (6 percent); Guatemala (3 percent); Honduras (2 percent); South Korea, Vietnam, the Dominican Republic and the Philippines (each 1 percent); and the remaining 20 percent from 193 other countries.

Thus, it is clear that criminal aliens already represent more than a quarter of all of the prisoners in federal prisons and are present in large numbers in state and local jails.

The second GAO report (GAO-05-646R), released on May 9, 2005, looked at the crimes committed by 55,322 aliens who “had entered the country illegally and were still illegally in the country at the time of their incarceration in federal or state prison or local jail during fiscal year 2003.”

The path of destruction weaved by these 55,322 illegal aliens was truly shocking. According to GAO, these criminal aliens:

Were arrested a total of 459,614 times, averaging about eight arrests per illegal alien;

97 percent had more than one arrest, while 26 percent had over 11 arrests;

Committed almost 700,000 criminal offenses, averaging 13 offenses per illegal alien;

10 percent of these illegal aliens were arrested for committing 26 or more offenses;

Out of all of the arrests, 12 percent were for violent crimes such as murder, robbery, assault and sex-related crimes; 15 percent were for burglary, larceny, theft and property damage; 24 percent were for drug offenses; and the remaining offenses were for DUI, fraud, forgery, counterfeiting, weapons, immigration and obstruction of justice; and

80 percent of the arrests occurred in just three states: California, Texas, and Arizona

Of course, these statistics reflect the criminal histories of aliens who were in prison. Unfortunately, in fiscal year 2013, the Obama administration released over 36,000 convicted criminal aliens awaiting the outcome of deportation hearings upon an unsuspecting public, and another 30,558 in fiscal year 2014 according to the House Judiciary Committee.

The offenses for which they were convicted involved “dangerous drugs, assault and domestic violence, stolen vehicles, robbery, sex offenses, sexual assault, kidnaping, voluntary manslaughter, and even homicide.” As the House Judiciary Committee outlined, more than a quarter of these aliens “were so called ‘level 1s’ according to the administration—the worst of the worst.” And in 2013 alone, the administration didn’t even bring removal proceedings against an additional 68,000 criminal aliens convicted of everything from homicide to sexual assault.

If the over 134,000 aliens released by the administration in just the past two years follow the pattern of those aliens studied by the GAO in 2005, they will commit hundreds of thousands of more crimes, victimizing countless innocent Americans in crimes that could have been prevented.

How many Americans have to be assaulted, injured, raped or killed, or have their homes, cars and personal property burglarized, stolen or damaged before both the federal government and local governments like San Francisco will finally do what is necessary to lock up criminal aliens who are a danger to the safety and lives of the public?

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 July, 2015

Gentlemen’s clubs: the importance of being men-only

"Women's spaces" are good but Men's spaces are bad?

A mixture of incredulity and contempt. That’s how the denizens of right-thinking metropolitana responded to news that the Garrick Club, a set of well-housed gentlemen-only chairs in Covent Garden, had once again decided to say no to women members.

The Twittering class nearly choked on its quinoa. Discrimination against women. In this day and age. ‘Extraordinary’, chirruped Labour’s Chris Bryant. ‘In the 21st century’, exclaimed the Mirror’s Kevin Maguire. One headline’s emphasis said it all: ‘London’s famous Garrick Club still stubbornly refuses to accept women.’

The open mouths barely had time to shut before they opened again to unload a truck full of contempt on the silver-topped members of this ‘old fusty club’, this ‘special place for rich old white men to convene’. ‘You suffer from snobbery and latent misogyny’, wrote one unhappy lady: ‘It seems a waste of time to put energy into a rational argument to counter your irrational position. But perhaps now that at least we are all talking about your strange habit, things might change.’

But why should the Garrick Club change? Sure, it’s not to everyone’s taste. In fact, it’s to the taste of very few – a self-selecting group of luvvies, QCs and Jeremy Paxman, if reports are to be believed. It’s for those who like embroidered, stiffly starched napkins, those who enjoy the chappish banter of the dorm, those who want to spend an afternoon with David Cameron’s dad. Or someone like him. It’s a place, in short, for ‘peculiar, quirky old men who choose to spend time in the company of each other’, as GC member Max Hastings described it.

So, it’s not for everyone. And it’s not for women. No, it’s a club for those of an approximate mind, who share a similar hankering after some older, more refined England, and, when the nostalgia for the drawing room ebbs, who want to rib each other into the late cigar-fugged evening. They have sought each other out, they have formed a club (it was originally established in 1832, with Charles Dickens an early frequenter), and in the process, they have decided not only who they want to associate with, but also who they don’t want to associate with.

It is an act of discrimination. Of course it is. But in a relatively free and open society, acts of discrimination ought to be tolerated. After all, we indulge in them every day, judging who we’d like to spend an evening with, and who we wouldn’t. Extended further and deeper, these acts of discrimination give our social space its topography – its sports clubs, its women’s’ institutes, its churches, its special-interest societies, and yes, its no-girls gentlemen’s’ clubs. Discrimination, and the social institutions this gives rise to, is a hugely vital part of our social freedom. Attack it, and the whole edifice starts to crumble. First they came for the gentlemen’s clubs…Then they came for the WI.

This was recognised by Vera Baird, who as Labour’s solicitor general was involved in pushing through the anti-discrimination Equality Act in 2010. She said in a recent interview that ‘[Labour] obviously looked with bared teeth at the prospect of getting rid of [all-male gentlemen’s clubs]’, but realised that if it did, this could prompt parallel bans on women’s swimming clubs or gay choirs.

Baird’s position is also revealing, however. That freedom to associate with who we choose, to the exclusion of those we’d rather not associate with, is not seen as something to be cherished, as something that ought to be tolerated. It’s seen as a problem. Or rather, in certain cases it’s seen as a problem; namely, when the people doing the discrimination are seemingly regressive rather than right-on, when it’s a bunch of aging wealthy white men unchecking their privilege rather than a gathering of vocally gifted homosexuals. If the likes of Baird could apply the law selectively, and ban groups they don’t like, they probably would.

But the threat to an institution like the Garrick Club doesn’t come from the law exactly. Rather, it comes from this enormous centrifugal pressure to conform, this tweeting- and commenting-fuelled desire to make the old-fashioned, eccentric and sometimes objectionable adhere to today’s PC standards. You can see that in the near universal suggestion that the Garrick Club is not bang-up-to-date, that it’s stuck in the past, that it’s retrograde – ‘that [now] we are all talking about your strange habit, things might change’. Get with the programme, old men.

Don’t be distracted by the complaint, made by assorted female QCs and lawyers, that the Garrick Club, chock-full with male QCs and lawyers, is a de facto form of discrimination at work. While discrimination in the private, social sphere is a mark of freedom, discrimination in the public sphere is a mark of unfreedom, a restriction of people’s liberty to pursue their lives. If female lawyers are being formally discriminated against, then, sure, as the law already stipulates, put a stop to that – but don’t try to put a stop to men-only gentlemen’s clubs on the basis that a fair few members wear wigs in their professional lives.

You don’t have to be a fan of the Garrick Club to object to the pressure being exerted on it to woman-up. Because beneath all the nice-sounding blather about inclusion and diversity, there lurks a flattening impulse, a drive to purge our social landscape of its oddities and eccentricities, to erase all the blots and blemishes. And not only would that make our social world just that little bit more bland, it would also make it a lot less free.

SOURCE






Policing pregnant women: moralism dressed up as evidence

A paper published this week in the journal BMJ Open, called ‘Prevalence and predictors of alcohol use during pregnancy’, reported the following findings: first that, in one study, ‘delivery of a low-birth-weight infant was not associated with alcohol use’; second that, in two studies, ‘we found evidence that women who delivered low-birth-weight infants were less likely to drink alcohol’; and third that, in all three studies, ‘For preterm birth, we did not find strong evidence of an association with alcohol use in any of the three cohorts’.

As the paper shows, most women drink very little alcohol after the first three months of pregnancy. However, most women drink more normally early on in their pregnancy, a time in which lots of women don’t realise they are pregnant. It has been suggested over the years that preterm birth and low birth weight may have something to do with drinking in early pregnancy, but this paper seems to suggest this claim is untrue.

This is reassuring news for women, but you wouldn’t know it from the media coverage. A Telegraph headline read, ‘Pregnant women should be tested for alcohol amid binge-drinking fears. One in three pregnant women admit to binge-drinking in the first three months of their pregnancy.’ Yes, that’s right, a paper that presents evidence that contradicts the link between drinking during pregnancy and problems at birth has ended up providing the rationale for carrying out drugs tests on pregnant women, as if they were broodmares.

This was no media spin or misrepresentation of what the authors wanted to communicate; it followed directly from the message the researchers decided to transmit. Going back to the paper, the discussion of the findings opens this way: ‘Our findings show a high prevalence of alcohol use during pregnancy… these findings illustrate low adherence to alcohol guidelines advising complete abstinence from pregnancy.’ And it is this ‘finding’ – and only this – that the researchers claim is important. That women have a few drinks during their first few weeks of pregnancy, that they are not completely abstinent from the word go, and so, horror of horrors, do not adhere to ‘the guidelines’, is apparently the big news.

In our book Parenting Culture Studies, my co-authors and I argue that we live in a highly risk-conscious society, in which ‘experts’ have completely detached ‘risk’ from the probability of something actually going wrong. This, we contend, results in a powerful impulse both to moralise about the ‘risky behaviour’ of parents, and would-be parents, and police and regulate their behaviour. This latest story provides a very clear example of what we mean. It has become the role of such ‘experts’ to pry and poke about into the habits and lifestyles of pregnant women, turn what women do when they don’t adhere to ‘the rules’ into a focus for moral outrage, and then argue that the lives of women should be monitored and policed further still.

In response to this paper, Clare Murphy of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (bpas) told the Telegraph: ‘We would be extremely wary of any measures which sought to further police pregnant women’s behaviour.’

We should indeed be wary. It is high time we had some resistance to the idea that pregnant women and mothers should simply do what they are told by ‘the rules’, and, worse still, that they should submit themselves to the gross invasion of privacy that would be blood tests during pregnancy.

SOURCE






Kansas Acts to Protect Christians

When the Supreme Court redefined marriage, fear turned to reality for people of faith. The only thing five justices ensured was that the futures of all religious Americans will be replete with hostility greater than what we see plastered in the headlines today.

That has some political leaders like Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback taking precautionary measures. This week, the Republican governor signed Executive Order 15-05, or “Preservation and Protection of Religious Freedom, that "prohibits state government from taking any discriminatory action against any ‘individual clergy or religious leader,’ or any ‘religious organization’ that chooses not to participate in a marriage that is inconsistent with its sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman,” according to the governor’s website.

Sarah Warbelow with the Human Rights Campaign haughtily responded, “Having nothing to do with religious freedom and everything to do with enabling discrimination, this executive order is divisive, unnecessary, and sends the wrong message.”

Governors shouldn’t be forced to affirm in an executive order what the First Amendment already does. But the discriminatory and divisive Rainbow Mafia has left Christians with no other choice. And thanks to the leadership shown by Brownback, religious protections can be restored — led by grassroots action at the state level.

SOURCE






Another Fake Indian Unmasked

You may have never heard of Andrea Smith, but she’s a professor of media and cultural studies at the University of California at Riverside, and she’s yet another leftie outed for faking a minority identity. Smith has claimed Cherokee heritage in order to further her career, including research and speeches, as well as founding an organization called INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence, a self-described collection of “radical feminists of color.” Additionally, she’s an active member of the Indian group Women of All Red Nations (WARN).

But it’s all fake, says The Daily Beast, “as David Cornsilk — a research analyst who did genealogical work for the Cherokee Nation in the late 1980s and has operated his own practice, Cherokee Genealogy Services, since 1990 — can attest. He confirmed to The Daily Beast that Smith reached out to him twice during the 1990s to research her own genealogy. There was no evidence of Cherokee heritage either time.” Cornsilk claims when she came to him the second time, she told him “her employment depended on finding proof of Indian heritage.” That didn’t mean there was proof, though the lack of it didn’t stop her from perpetuating a lie for personal gain.

Her case is reminiscent of Rachel Dolezal, the supposedly “African-American” woman leading the Spokane chapter of the NAACP. When Dolezal’s parents outed her as completely white, the charade was up. But in some ways, Smith is more akin to Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts senator who likewise claimed Native American ancestry in furthering her own academic career. We suppose it’s all tied to white guilt — some liberals feel so bad about their whiteness they just start pretending they’re not white. And with men identifying as women, who’s to say they’re wrong?

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 July, 2015

The Lies of the Pathological Narcissistic Ruling Class

On Saturday, America celebrated its 239th birthday. Throughout these two-plus centuries, the United States has survived the War Between the States, multiple economic depressions, World Wars, natural disasters and terror attacks perpetrated by pure evil. Over the past seven years, however, a frontal assault from lawless and Godless ruling elites has left America staggered and maimed, damaged by a destructive, malignant force we'll call the Pathological Narcissistic Ruling Class (PNRC).

Last week, Oklahoma's Supreme Court, despite its lettered and lawyered justices, made a judgment that mirrors the logic of recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings. This decision, devoid of legal and constitutional standing, reversed a district court verdict regarding a monument on state grounds that received its funding from private sources (i.e., no tax dollars.) Because the statue included a visual presentation of the Ten Commandments, a complaint was leveled claiming "offense" due to its religious nature.

The Oklahoma Court agreed it must be removed.

By this rationale, the PNRC can't possibly oppose murder (commandment number six), or theft (commandment number eight), or lying (commandment number nine), due to their mention in a Judeo-Christian text.

Without lying and public humiliation - the most powerful tools of the ruling class - the political Left and amoral center-right would have to stand on reason, dialogue and debate. Yet with one feigned offense or charge of "intolerance" or religious zealotry, the PNRC reigns.

The ruling is based, once again, on the false premise of separation of church and state, which was spun out of whole cloth deception.

Where did that term originate?

The Danbury Baptist Association of Danbury, Connecticut, wrote to President Thomas Jefferson in 1801 to lodge a complaint over their state's financial and legislative support of the Puritan "Congregational Church." In their letter, the Baptists recognized the truths stated in both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, addressing God-given inalienable rights and the true meaning of the First Amendment, which protected individual religion against state-sanctioned churches like the British monarchy's Church of England.

Jefferson agreed with the Danbury Baptist Association, writing, "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature would `make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church and State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties."

Get that? Jefferson fully agreed with the Baptists that the government should "make no law respecting the establishment of religion" and never be engaged in "prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

The "wall of separation between Church and State" is in a piece of correspondence, not law, not in the U.S. Constitution. And on top of that, the existence of Jefferson's "wall of separation" is to protect the individual practice and exercise of religion from the State, not the other way around.

Yet in a 1947 Supreme Court case, a member of the PNRC deceptively utilized and misapplied Jefferson's intent. In a suit filed against a New Jersey school district, Justice Hugo Black reinterpreted the First Amendment to include Jefferson's "wall of separation," using it as part of a judgment that cited the reimbursement of parents whose children took public transportation to get to parochial schools constituted governmental support of a religion.

That's where all of this nonsense began: with a lie.

Mark Twain once jested, "The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug."

Words have meaning, but in the hands of the pathologically narcissistic ruling class, the ideas of right and wrong, good and evil are arbitrarily and relatively applied in a manner based solely on their whims.

Americans are being deceived by educators, politicians, the Leftmedia media and all who despise the Judeo-Christian faith.

So, why the moniker, "pathologically narcissistic ruling class?"

Simple. To understand narcissistic "rulers" permits us to anticipate and challenge the current destruction of America.

When one's goal is to redefine all institutions and societal norms, the end result will be a new normal that awards license rather than true Liberty.

License to make a gender assignment based on emotion rather than chromosomal biology. License to create a government-sanctioned gospel to replace the true one. License to disdainfully disregard existing statutes, laws and governance through mob protests and arbitrary enforcement, in order to create new laws that have no constitutional basis.

After decades of pampered praise based on intentions and fairness rather than actions and achievement, there has arisen a pathetically weak and frail populous of self-important victims who would rather muddle in mediocrity and government entitlement than strive, work, risk and excel as an individual. These perpetual dependents march mindlessly behind the PNRC, guaranteeing a voting bloc devoted to maintaining the nanny state.

Leaders of this conforming mass are most often highly narcissistic, with some ranking off-the-charts in their pathology. Narcissists disallow dissent of any type from the governed and completely reject introspection. They equate opposition with a challenge to their superiority, and personal reflection might require assessing their own achievements, which could lead to learning from previous experience and history. The trouble is that learning from previous experience and history would expose any honest individual to the risk of recognizing failure and viewing the past as beneficial.

Hence, the need to purge history and reframe reality based on the whims and primacy of this pathologically narcissistic ruling elite.

So, expect continued lies and the marginalization of those who love America for its true founding and authentic God-given individual freedoms. Anticipate the committed eradication of history that points to anything but oppression, racism and individual baseness, so that the mandates of the PNRC can replace all institutions - faith, marriage, family, etc. - with government-approved and run institutions.

Hey, America, it's time for the Twenty-First Century Revolution of Truth.

SOURCE






Barry Lynn: Christian College Denying Married Housing to Same-Sex Couples ‘Would be on the Edge of Indefensible’

A Christian college that accepts government funding but refuses to allow a same-sex married couple to live in housing for married students would be “on the edge of the indefensible,” Americans United for Separation of Church and State executive director Rev. Barry Lynn said Tuesday.

Lynn was asked by a reporter at a National Press Club press conference whether Christian colleges should be allowed to prevent same-sex couples from living in the same dorm room.

“This is what a national dialogue ought to begin about: should in fact benefits be given to educational institutions that do in fact discriminate?” Lynn responded.

“Even now I would not want to be a person at a fundamentalist academy who is trying to defend a practice – the specific one you mentioned – that is, taking a reasonable amount of government funds and refusing to allow a same-sex married couple to live in the married student housing. I think even now that would be on the edge of the indefensible.” 

The press conference marked the launch of the organization’s “Protect Thy Neighbor” initiative. It aims to prevent “attempts to use religion to discriminate,” particularly against “LGBT rights,” in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage.

In his dissent in the Obergefell v. Hodges case, Chief Justice John Roberts referenced the question of college housing arrangements for same sex-married couples.

“Hard questions arise when people of faith exercise religion in ways that may be seen to conflict with the new right to same-sex marriage – when, for example, a religious college provides married student housing only to opposite-sex married couples,” he wrote.

“There is little doubt that these and similar questions will soon be before this Court. Unfortunately, people of faith can take no comfort in the treatment they receive from the majority today.”

“With ‘Protect Thy Neighbor,’ we are putting the religious right on notice,” Lynn said at Tuesday’s event. “Your politics of division, homophobia and exclusion will not stand. We are watching and we are reacting. We will meet you and I suspect beat you in Congress, in statehouses and in courtrooms.”

Maggie Garrett, legislative director for Americans United, said that lawmakers unhappy about the court’s marriage ruling have been emboldened by the 2014 Burwell v. Hobby Lobby ruling to introduce “bills that would undermine marriage equality, trump non-discrimination laws, and deny women access to reproductive healthcare – all in the name of religion.”

Garrett said the initiative would also fight the Obama administration for funding “religious hiring discrimination,” by allowing religious organizations to act in accordance with their religious beliefs in their hiring practices while receiving government funds. 

The Burwell v. Hobby Lobby ruling exempted closely held for-profit corporations from complying with certain laws to which they hold religious objections.






Christian Baker Makes Case for Not ‘Expressing’ Support of Same-Sex Marriage

The owner of a family business that makes custom cakes today asked a Colorado appeals court to strike down state rulings that he discriminated against a same-sex couple by declining to provide a cake to celebrate their wedding.

Lawyers for “cake artist” Jack Phillips argued that compelling the suburban Denver baker to express his artistic talents in connection with the 2012 wedding of two men would violate his First Amendment rights not only to freedom of religion but also free speech or expression.

“The gist is that one side … is defending the First Amendment rights of artists like Jack Phillips to create expressions consistent with his beliefs and to avoid creating expressions that violate his belief,” Jeremy Tedesco, senior legal counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, told The Daily Signal after representing Phillips at the hearing.

“The other side of the case thinks there are no First Amendment rights in the commercial context and once you open a business, you cede all First Amendment protections.”

Lawyers for Charlie Craig and David Mullins, who were to marry in Massachusetts but wanted to buy a custom cake to celebrate upon their return to Colorado, said Phillips’ business, Masterpiece Cakeshop, discriminated against them by turning down their order.

“Religious beliefs do not put the cake shop above the law,” Ria Mar, a lawyer representing the couple for the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, argued in the hearing.

Craig and Mullins filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division.

Phillips is asking the Colorado Court of Appeals to reverse decisions by one administrative judge who ruled in December 2013 that Masterpiece Cakeshop violated the state’s public accommodations law and a second administrative judge who, in May 2014, certified the denial of the bakery’s appeal by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

The state agency ordered Phillips to change store policy against making cakes for same-sex weddings or be subject to fines. Since the rulings, his 22-year-old shop in Lakewood, Colo., has stopped making wedding cakes.

The state ACLU chapter, which has publicized the case, did not respond to a request for comment by The Daily Signal. The state Attorney General’s Office, which represented the state agencies, referred reporters to the ACLU for comment.

The three-judge appeals court is expected to rule within several months in the case, which ultimately could head not only to Colorado’s highest court but to the U.S. Supreme Court.

After last year’s commission ruling, Amanda C. Goad, staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project, said in a release:

While we all agree that religious freedom is important, no one’s religious beliefs make it acceptable to break the law by discriminating against prospective customers. No one is asking Masterpiece’s owner to change his beliefs, but treating gay people differently because of who they are is discrimination plain and simple.

In the interview with The Daily Signal, Tedesco said:

The judges’ questions certainly revealed their concerns with the First Amendment ramifications of the case, and a concern with the scope of the ACLU’s and the state’s argument. People shouldn’t be forced to choose between earning a living and exercising their fundamental rights, but that’s what the state and the ACLU are saying in this case.

When one judge asked whether an oil painter had to create a painting celebrating same-sex marriage, an ACLU lawyer replied yes, Tedesco noted.

“And if they don’t want to have to do that, then they can close down their business and just paint on the side.”

The hearing comes 11 days after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage across the nation.

The case tests the scope of First Amendment protections that federal courts, especially the Supreme Court, have upheld for free expression in the visual arts and entertainment.

Rather than solely argue Phillips’ right to exercise his Christian religion as a businessman, his lawyers hold that the government can’t force him or his staff to exercise their artistic gifts in a way that violates their faith.

Phillips has said he willingly serves all sorts of customers, including gays and lesbians, but could not in good conscience create a cake especially for the wedding of Craig and  Mullins.

He said he offered to make any other kind of cake for them, for any other event. The couple went to another shop and successfully ordered a cake with a rainbow theme to symbolize their union.

Tedesco noted that Alliance Defending Freedom recently supported the right of three other Colorado bakers to refuse to make a custom cake for a Christian who asked for it to express his opposition to same-sex marriage. In those cases, the state ruled against the customer.

Craig and Mullins, holding hands, sat at one side of the courtroom during arguments, the Associated Press reported. Phillips, who sat near his attorneys, told reporters afterward that he doesn’t regret his decision not to bake the cake.

SOURCE






10 Holiday Murders in Chicago, Not One by Confederate Flag

Chicago had yet another bloody weekend, as some 64 were shot and 10 killed. Amazingly, this Independence Day weekend was a bit better than last year’s tragic numbers, and not terribly different from any weekend on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Leftists continue to cry for something to be done — “Where are the gun laws?” demands Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. But the Windy City sports some of the nation’s toughest gun control laws. Leftists often blame out-of-state guns, but, clearly, this isn’t a “gun problem.”

It’s also worth noting that none of the gangbangers doing the shooting were flying Confederate flags, which, we gather from leftist drivel, are responsible for the Charleston murders last month.

From the South Carolina state capitol to Amazon and TV Land, the Confederate flag is being purged from society, as if the Left’s politically correct exorcism can heal all racial wounds. Yet there’s nary a peep about the plague of inner city black-on-black violence created by deliberately institutionalized urban poverty plantations, which have become mass breeding grounds for such violence.

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

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





9 July, 2015

US Expert: Hamas, not Israel, Killed Boys on Beach in Gaza War

A year after Protective Edge, which Israel won militarily but lost PR-wise, evidence surfaces of a particularly cynical Hamas stunt

One of the incidents most widely disseminated as "proof" of Israeli war crimes during its defensive Operation Protective Edge in Gaza last year was the deaths of four Arab youths on a Gaza beachfront used exclusively by Hamas terrorists. Foreign journalists reported as fact that Israeli war planes had bombed a beachfront, killing four youths – and the incident was highlighted in the recent UN Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry.

The Commission's report blamed Israel for failing "to take all feasible measures to avoid or at least minimize incidental harm to civilians," questioned the "urgency" of the attack in the first place, and blamed Israel for prematurely closing its investigation into the incident after having found no fault in IDF actions.

At the time, Israel's "defense" was that incidents of this nature were to be attributed to the Hamas practice of "acting from places where the maximum civilians would be harmed," in the words of a National Security Studies Institute researcher cited in the report.

However, it now appears that Israel need not take any approach to defend its actions - as the children on the beach were apparently killed not by its forces, but by Hamas itself.

The evidence for such has been gathered by a US-based weapons expert named Thomas Wictor. After conducting a forensic analysis of what happened on the day, pieced together using Hamas propaganda footage, film from various international TV networks, and photographs, Wictor has concluded that the boys killed on the beach were murdered by Hamas in a “Pallywood-style” propaganda stunt.

The evidence may or may not give pause to the Palestinian Authority (PA), which has been planning to present the incident to the International Criminal Court as evidence of alleged Israeli “war crimes.”

Wictor's stance appears in a movie ‘’War crimes in Gaza’’ by French filmmaker Pierre Rehov, which was presented for the first time last week in the European Parliament in Brussels during a seminar on ‘’The Anti-Semitism of Hamas.’’

Wictor says in the film that the victims ''were not, as some media reports claimed, 'scrawny fishermen’s kids,' but members of a powerful family prominent in support of the Fatah Party – Hamas’s arch-rivals. In other words, Hamas had every reason to consider these children expendable.''

Partly based on the fact that the many photographs of the dead boys curiously showed no bleeding, Wictor says that they were probably executed by Hamas the day before and that the corpses were then blown up in a Hamas-arranged explosion the next day.

Most compelling of all, it would seem, is the footage showing the first reporter to arrive on the scene, Alex Marquardt of ABC news. ‘’He (and many others) are clearly shown running past the exact spot where the mangled bodies of three of the dead children were found later," Wicker states. "But the spot is empty: no blood, no bodies, just sand. Had they been there, they would have been impossible to miss.’’

EJP reports that this is one of many clues leading Wictor to infer that the bodies were placed there later, after the beach had been cleared by many Hamas operatives stage-managing the stunt and distracting the press. Several of them are clearly visible in the footage, including a man in a purple shirt who appears to be in charge of the operation.

Pierre Rehov also appears in the movie, wondering why “so many cameras were filming the sea at this very moment. Were reporters expecting something to happen? [If so], who informed them?” 

SOURCE






Honoring our Forefathers

Like nearly all South Carolinians, I was deeply saddened upon learning of the senseless murders at the Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C. At the time, I was serving (military duties) outside the state when I also learned one of the slain was related to a fellow soldier.

I continue to pray for the families. Their Christian witness after the tragedy impacted us all.

For the sake of respect for the victims and their families, I did not believe it appropriate to write an article in response to the Confederate flag issue in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy; not during the period for mourning. I had to pray about timing, as I wanted nothing I said to detract from the care of the families. However, now that we have had an opportunity to grieve (and with the recent U.S. Supreme Court gay marriage decision undermining states' 10th Amendment powers), I feel compelled to offer a contrasting view about the Confederate Battle Flag.

First, family connections to both the Confederate flag and the "Stars and Stripes" are a common theme among Southerners, and will help provide perspective.

My family's history is but one anecdote of many southern families. And my full name - William Mellard "Bill" Connor V - reflects that history.

My namesake and great-great grandfather, William Mellard Connor, left Orangeburg District for Charleston with the Edisto Rifles, a company of militia, in 1861. He was 16-years-old and owned no slaves, but enlisted out of a sense of duty to his state and as part of his militia company. When the Edisto Rifles reached Charleston, he served with the S.C. 2nd Heavy Artillery (CSA). This unit manned the coastal artillery defending Charleston throughout the war, but was transformed to infantry when Charleston surrendered in Feb. 1865. Those still alive, including my ancestor, fought as infantry against Gen. William T. Sherman's invading forces, and they surrendered after fighting at the battle of Bentonville, N.C.

His son, my great-grandfather William Mellard Connor II, was raised in an impoverished state after Reconstruction, but chose to leave S.C. to serve under the "Stars and Stripes" during the Philippine Insurrection. He served as a U.S. Army officer for decades, retiring from the U.S. Army after World War II.  Fittingly, he was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Robert E. Lee's former Estate.

His son, my grandfather William Mellard Connor III, was appointed to West Point from S.C. in 1936, serving under the "Stars and Stripes" in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, ultimately retiring to Charleston.

His son, my father, William Mellard Connor IV, served 24 years as a career Army officer under the "Stars and Stripes," including tours of duty in Vietnam.

Growing up, my father was always clear to his children that our loyalty was with the United States of America first and foremost. That said, he taught us the words to - and we sang - "Dixie" on long car trips. And we displayed Confederate battle pictures among the many military memorabilia in our home. I now do the same. We were proud of our family history, including our Confederate ancestor.

Throughout my own military career under the Stars and Stripes, including overseas in places like the Middle East and Afghanistan, the example of self-sacrifice of those forefathers helped drive my decision to serve.

Former Virginia Senator Jim Webb, a Naval Academy graduate and Navy Cross recipient from his time as a Marine Infantry officer in Vietnam, wrote about his Southern Heritage in the book "Born Fighting." He notes the disproportionately high percentage of Southerners who have served in the U.S. military since the Civil War.

As a Southerner with a long U.S. military family history, Webb reminds us of the Southern military culture critical in winning our nation's wars. Many of our most respected "warrior" military leaders of the 20th century - like Army Gen. George S. Patton and Marine icon Gen. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller - were direct descendants of Confederate veterans. They were proud of their Southern Heritage, yet loyal to the values of the United States.

I write this to explain why the heritage of the South, symbolized by the Confederate Battle Flag, is so important to many. Not only to the millions of families like mine, but also to the history of the nation. In the first major conflict after the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, the commander of the U.S. Cavalry in Cuba was "fighting Joe" Wheeler, a former Confederate General. His division contained Teddy Roosevelt and the "Rough Riders."

Additionally, Robert E. Lee's son served as a senior officer during that war. By the 1950s, the U.S. Code was amended to include Confederate Veterans as U.S. veterans, giving proof to the loyalty and sacrifice the sons of the old Confederacy showed the United States.

The Confederate Battle Flag symbolizes not only the bravery and dedication of the men who fought for their country (state), but it also symbolizes the Southern heritage since the Civil War. I believe this memorialization, along with the U.S. flag which flies on top of the statehouse, provides a visual representation of the unique history of S.C. in our Federal system of government. The flag flying on the grounds is a square "Infantry" flag, the "southern cross" Confederate Battle Flag used in the Army of Northern Virginia.

It is not the rectangular "Stars and Bars" Confederate National Flag. The S.C. Battle flag honors the soldiers, not the government of the former Confederacy.

Most of us who believe in the importance of Southern History understand the other side in relation to the flag. The Southern Cross was unfortunately waved by certain hate groups, thereby becoming associated with racism to many. However, those same groups also waved the Stars and Stripes, particularly during the darkest days of lynching in the 1920s and 1930s.

Slavery, which continued in "Union" States during the Civil War, including Kentucky, Maryland, and Delaware, was a blight on our national history. That national sin has been acknowledged by all reasonable people, Northern and Southern alike, and put behind us.

If the Battle flag comes down due to the institution of slavery under the Confederacy, we must understand the dangerous precedence. We would then target memorials of slaveholders like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and even the Stars and Stripes.

Fifteen years ago, a compromise was reached between the two sides; showing respect to the complicated sensitivities of the flag. The decision was made to take the Confederate Battle Flag off the statehouse dome and put it on the statehouse grounds. Moreover, a civil rights memorial would be (and has been) built on the grounds.

While stationed outside the state during that time, I explained to a general-officer why I believed so many South Carolinians were opposed to removing the flag from the dome. That the fear that any compromise would not be honored in the long term and that the real goal was to "cleanse" all reminders of Confederate veterans. That General told me those fears were unreasonable, particularly with the compromise of building the civil rights memorial to honor the sensibilities of those opposing the flag. It remains to be seen who was right.

Unfortunately, we are already seeing "slippery slope" fears realized. Voices from primarily outside the state are now comparing those who fought for the Confederacy to Nazis. They are demanding names like Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson be banished throughout the United States.

This is becoming a cleansing similar to what happened with Nazi symbols in Germany after Adolf Hitler. Most would agree that Confederate Veterans cannot be compared to the Nazi SS and genocide, but that doesn't stop the rhetoric. Interestingly, a recent poll conducted by CNN found that over half of Americans, North and South, viewed the Confederate flag as heritage and not racism.

Let's come together as South Carolinians and Americans, the way we did after the shootings, but before the diversion of the flag issue. Let's come together in honoring our collective past, leaving a symbolic reminder of the uniqueness of our state under our Constitution system. Let's come together the way the late Rev. Clementa Pinckney did when he voted for the compromise 15 years ago.

Let's move to the future, while never forgetting our blessed heritage; a heritage of those who sacrificed so much for the state during the Civil War, and their children who sacrificed for this nation and our freedom.

SOURCE






The politically correct war on everything

Let’s set aside all the politicians, celebrities, and the media for a moment. Oh yes, don’t we wish that could be permanent?

Now consider most of the rest of the population, on EVERY side of EVERY issue; the people who seem to believe that they should and must find some way to get everyone else to accept their views as the ONLY correct view.

Now, that would be unremarkable if the method for that was persuasion, using their own lives as a positive example. Unfortunately, that’s not the case all too often, and far too many – remember that this applies to ALL “sides” of the issues – seem to think nothing of using force, fraud and outright lies, especially the force of government, to push their agenda and punish all who will not submit.

Why do so many people seem to have the burning desire to control the lives of others, dictating even what they must THINK? None of those would-be controllers seem to want someone else to dictate to them! Funny how the shoe doesn’t fit the other foot.

I wonder what would happen if everyone simply minded their own business, associated freely with those they felt comfortable with, traded freely with anyone agreeable to the trade, and spent their time and efforts improving their own thinking and understanding of life and whatever they believe, rather than focus on trying to change everyone else to agree with them.

What if ordinary people finally realized that nobody, especially any government, had legitimate authority to control their lives and steal their property? What if people stopped believing that they had any authority to rob their neighbors, simply because the “majority” voted to do so – or because they could manipulate the politicians to make that happen?

The politicians would soon find they needed to get honest jobs, since they would no longer have influence over much of anyone. The celebrities would have to go back to making movies or whatever it is they do, and stop pretending to be “experts” on everything. The media might shrink to a few honest folks that others found interesting to read or listen to. Everyone with a cell phone is now a “news” reporter. Funky pictures sometimes, but it beats all hollow the controlling lies of the MSM.

If there were no “witch burning” mobs to stir up, and everyone tended to his/her own business… maybe we’d have something significant to celebrate one of these days.

SOURCE






How judges corrode the rule of law

by Jeff Jacoby

DURING HIS Supreme Court confirmation hearings in 2005, then-Judge John Roberts emphasized his strong belief in judicial modesty. "Judges are like umpires," Roberts famously said. "Umpires don't make the rules; they apply them." If confirmed as chief justice, he promised, "I will remember that it's my job to call balls and strikes and not to pitch or bat."

But it was no impartial umpire who authored last week's 6-3 opinion in King v. Burwell, the Obamacare subsidy case. Far from applying the rules as enacted in the Affordable Care Act, the chief justice discounted those rules as the product of "inartful drafting," passed by Congress without sufficient "care and deliberation." The lawmakers' substandard work product, he argued, freed the Supreme Court to disregard the statute's plain language, construing it to mean the opposite of what it says.

The specific issue was whether health plans purchased through insurance exchanges established by the federal government are eligible for tax subsidies. Since the law explicitly restricts subsidies to "an exchange established by the state," the answer should be obvious. But disallowing subsidies in states that refused to establish exchanges might have caused Obamacare to implode. That wasn't an outcome Roberts wished to risk, so he turned the straightforward meaning on its head. "An exchange established by the state," he wrote, also means an exchange not established by the state.

In short, as law professor Jonathan Adler tartly observed, the "umpire" took it on himself "to pinch hit to ensure the right team wins."

Roberts is hardly the first justice to succumb to the temptation to contort the law's plain text to generate a desired policy result. Ten years ago, the court infamously ruled in Kelo v. City of New London that private homes could be seized by eminent domain and given to corporate developers. The Fifth Amendment authorizes such takings only when the government needs the land for a legitimate "public use" — for instance, to build a highway. But in a 5-4 opinion by Justice John Paul Stevens, the court decided that "public use" could also mean private use, so long as the new owners were expected to create new jobs or pay more taxes than the dispossessed former owners. In effect, Kelo empowered government to transfer almost any owner's property to a more powerful private party: exactly what the constitutional language forbids.

The Commerce Clause is another constitutional passage whose meaning has been corrupted by judicial presumption.

One of the federal government's limited powers, enumerated in Article I, is "to regulate commerce . . . among the several states." For most of American history, Congress and the courts respected the obvious distinction between interstate trade, over which federal regulators have authority, and purely local intrastate activity, which the Constitution placed beyond their reach. That distinction died with Wickard v. Filburn, a 1942 case in which an Ohio farmer was penalized for growing more wheat than federal rules allowed. Nearly all of Roscoe Filburn's wheat was consumed on his own farm; none crossed state lines. Yet on the theory that even a few bushels of home-consumed wheat might indirectly affect the national wheat market, the justices decided that Congress could regulate it. By that logic, Congress can regulate everything. Now, alas, it does.

Take one more case of justices riding roughshod over a text's clear meaning: United Steelworkers v. Weber. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, it is "unlawful" for "any employer" to discriminate on the basis of race in "on-the-job training programs." So when Kaiser Aluminum set up an on-the-job training program that gave preference to black employees, the white employee who sued had an open-and-shut case, right? Wrong: In a 1979 decision, Justice William Brennan wrote that the excluded white worker could not rely "upon a literal construction" of the law, since Congress's intention had been to improve the condition of blacks. Bottom line? A law prohibiting race-based hiring must be interpreted to permit race-based hiring. Brennan favored racial preferences. Therefore racial preferences would be upheld, statute or no statute.

The rule of law isn't indestructible. It is corroded by judges who act like superlegislators — never more so than when torturing the plain words of the law, forcing them to say what they don't mean.

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

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






8 July, 2015

The Islamic State is really Presbyterian?

Leftists regularly seem to think that changing the name of a thing somewhow changes the reality of that thing








Oregon Bakers Fined, Silenced for Hurting Lesbians' Feelings

A blatant denial of freedom of religion

Not only do Christians who oppose same-sex marriage no longer have their religious liberty, they no longer have the right to free speech. At least that’s what an Oregon judge decided in the case of the bakers who refused to bake the cake for a same-sex wedding. Expect the beatings to continue until morale improves because this is what happens when “love wins.”

In February 2013, Aaron and Melissa Klein, who owned the now-closed Sweet Cakes by Melissa, declined to bake a wedding cake for Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer. At the time, same-sex marriage wasn’t even yet legal in Oregon, but no matter — the offended couple filed a complaint.

In January 2014, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, which enforces discrimination law, decided the Kleins illegally discriminated.

Last Thursday, Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian issued his final decision on the punishment — just in time for Independence Day, and only days after the Supreme Court endorsed “gay marriage.” The Kleins must pay a fine of $135,000 in “emotional damages” to the couple they denied service. The alleged suffering included — no kidding — “acute loss of confidence,” “doubt,” “excessive sleep,” “loss of sleep,” “felt mentally raped, dirty and shameful,” “high blood pressure,” “impaired digestion,” “loss of appetite,” “migraine headaches,” “pale and sick at home after work,” “resumption of smoking habit,” “shock,” “stunned,” “surprise,” “uncertainty,” “weight gain” and “worry.”

Clearly, this couple needs serious counseling, not $135,000.

And to add gratuitous insult to unbelievably ridiculous injury for the Kleins, Avakian put a gag order on them. That’s not terribly surprising, given Avakian’s previously stated desire to “rehabilitate” the Kleins and his association with “Basic Rights Oregon,” a pro-homosexual group. Avakian wrote, “The Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries hereby orders [Aaron and Melissa Klein] to cease and desist from publishing, circulating, issuing or displaying, or causing to be published … any communication to the effect that any of the accommodations … will be refused, withheld from or denied to, or that any discrimination be made against, any person on account of their sexual orientation.”

The only thing missing was the horse’s head in their bed.

The gag order is somewhat moot because the Kleins already lost their business to the Rainbow Mafia, but it may still affect the orders they take from home.

“This effectively strips us of all our First Amendment rights,” the Kleins responded. “According to the state of Oregon we neither have freedom of religion or freedom of speech.”

But some rights are more equal than others. “This case is not about a wedding cake or a marriage,” Avakian declared. “It is about a business’s refusal to serve someone because of their sexual orientation. Under Oregon law, that is illegal.”

Avakian is dead wrong. The Kleins declined to endorse same-sex marriage by providing particular services for the couple’s wedding — they did not entirely refuse to serve them because of their gender disorientation pathology.

It’s no small irony that all of this came to a head just before Independence Day. Our nation was founded by pilgrims seeking religious freedom. Our Declaration of Independence cites “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” both of which are violated by same-sex marriage. And yet here we are with Rule of Law turned on its head to suit the feelings of the offended.

But the Kleins aren’t going quietly. They wrote, “We will NOT give up this fight, and we will NOT be silenced. We stand for God’s truth, God’s word and freedom for ALL Americans. We are here to obey God not man, and we will not conform to this world. If we were to lose everything it would be totally worth it for our Lord who gave his one and only son, Jesus, for us! God will win this fight!”

The Kleins' resolve reminds us of the Declaration itself, whose signers declared, “[F]or the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” We pray they ultimately succeed, and we exhort like-minded Patriots to have such a relentless attitude in the battle for Liberty.

SOURCE






July 4 crowds ignore call to boycott Georgia park over Confederate flag

Fourth of July holidaymakers ignored a call to boycott Georgia's Stone Mountain Park, known as the "Confederate Rushmore," over its display of the contentious Confederate flag.

Hundreds of people had staked out spots at the 3,200-acre (1,295-hectare) privately run park by noon on Saturday for nighttime laser and fireworks shows. They shrugged off heavy rain on the park's busiest day of the year as well as the boycott call.

Democratic state Representative LaDawn Blackett Jones this week urged people to stay away from the park 10 miles (16 km) east of Atlanta because it flies three flags of the pro-slavery Confederacy alongside the U.S. and Georgia state flags.

Bobbie Smith of Fitzgerald, Georgia, who was camping at Stone Mountain with her family, called the boycott call "just stupid."

“This whole park is a Confederate memorial. If you don’t have the flag here, where on Earth would you put it?” she said.

The Confederate flag from the 1861-65 U.S. Civil War has become a lightning rod for outrage after the shooting of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina, last month. The white suspect, Dylann Roof, had posed for photos with the Confederate battle flag.

Politicians in several Southern states have called for removal of the flag and other Confederate memorials from public spaces. A raft of major retailers have said they would pull items with the Confederate flag on them.

Ray Simpkins, of Kennesaw, Georgia, who brought his children to see the laser show, said the flag remains a reminder of the Confederacy's advocacy of slavery.

"Although I don’t love it, I think there’s a place for it here,” said Simpkins, who is black. “But it shouldn’t fly next to the U.S. flag."

The park is on state land and run by the Stone Mountain Memorial Association. Spokesman John Bankhead said, “People on both sides of the issue say it (the flag) belongs in a museum. Here in Georgia, the Stone Mountain Park serves as that.”

The park is known as the "Confederate Mount Rushmore" for its 90-foot-tall (27-meter-tall) relief sculpture of three Confederate figures - President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. The park describes it as the largest high relief sculpture in the world.

The mountain is also infamous as the founding spot of a 20th century version of the Ku Klux Klan, a white supremacist group.

SOURCE






Freedom to advertise exact job requirements?



Australia: PAULINE Hanson has thrown her support behind embattled fitness queen Lorna Jane Clarkson, saying employers should be able to advertise for whom they want when filling positions.

The women’s fitness fashion entrepreneur is facing a possible backlash from female consumers after specifying the dress size and waist measurement of a prospective new receptionist in an employment advertisement.

Appearing on Sunrise this morning with broadcaster Derryn Hinch, Ms Hanson was fired up over the issue.

“If you’re employing people you should be able to advertise for who you want, whether it be male of remale, fat or thin ... because you are the one paying the wages, you know what works for your business,” she said.

The former MP and political firebrand drew on her pre-parliamentary career as the owner of a fish and chip shop in Ipswich, saying she wanted to advertise for female employees only but was told she could not do so.

“I wanted females ... because it was for only a few hours a day. A man is usually the breadwinner of the family, and I just wanted those mums for a few hours a week who would work in the shop.”

“I rang up and said I’d like a female, and they said you can’t (specify) female and I said ‘But I’m paying the wages, that’s who I want to work in my shop’, so I said ‘Please put in the ad

The One Nation founder admitted she did eventually employ a 15-year-old young man, but the experience sounds as if it may have been traumatic for both parties.  “I put him on. He couldn’t sweep the floor, I had to teach him how to mop, he burnt himself ... he actually cut himself,” she said.

“If you have to advertise for whoever to apply for the jobs, not only are they wasting your time, when you know exactly who you want, you are wasting that person’s time and it deflates their confidence.”

“You don’t get a woman for a man’s job ... digging tenches when you know they’re absolutely hopeless at it.”

Hinch attempted to stir some controversy during the segment, arguing that enabling employers to ask for who they wanted in job advertisements would open the door to discrimination.

“In the fish and chip shop you might have said ‘I don’t want black people’; you can’t do that,” Hinch said.

“Oh rubbish Derryn. you had no right to bring that up,” a clearly irate Hanson replied, before claiming that discrimination existed in Australia because Aboriginal people could apply for jobs that were set aside for Aboriginals only.

The segment was brought to a swift close at that point.

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

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




7 July, 2015

Racism is not what it used to be

Comment from Australia

Words matter, they matter a lot. Words define our thoughts and our thoughts drive our actions. By the manipulation of language it is possible to effect changes without people even realising what has happened.

Over the years, the definitions of the words in our dictionaries can gradually change. Often times this happens so slowly that we barely notice. Sometimes, this may be a natural process of change.  Sometimes, it isn’t.

The corruption of language can be driven by groups or individuals with agendas. It seems hardly likely that those agendas would be in our best interests.

George Orwell understood the danger posed by the corruption of language and knew who was responsible. He railed against the excessive use of long and unnecessary words, over complex sentences and vague and inaccurate descriptions. Orwell saw how this, “newspeak” as he called it, was used as a shield by the political classes to hide and distort despicable truths.

The gradual redefinition of common words is one of the most effective techniques for advancing a hidden agenda. The process is quite simple. First you take word X which is widely agreed to be undesirable. Then you gradually redefine word X to cover concept Y which you wish to eradicate. When someone expresses support for concept Y, you shut them down by simply accusing them of being an X.

One of the most devastating examples of the power of this technique is the redefinition of the word “racist”. Once upon a time, the word “racist” referred to someone who disliked or discriminated against people based upon their racial characteristics or background.

Race is a strange concept which, in itself is difficult to define. Is an Englishman of the same race as a Welshman? Are the Irish and the Scots a different race? When people advance racist arguments, they invariably stumble into a quagmire of inconsistencies and anecdotes.

In order to justify themselves, many racists simply refuse to accept or even consider the arguments of others. In effect they commit an act of bigotry, using belligerence to make up for a lack of rational thought.

Whilst bigotry is common among racists, the word itself has now been redefined to become synonymous with it. A racist is automatically branded as a bigot and the word bigot is assumed to mean “racist”.

Racism is now automatically considered to be the sole domain of the stupid, uneducated and belligerent. This wouldn’t be so bad, except that the word racist has itself been altered. This process has already had a devastating impact on our society. If left unchecked, things could get far worse.

The last couple of centuries have been a time of European dominance in world affairs. Naturally this state of affairs has led to many instances of abuse of power by Europeans. By today’s standards, many of these situations are quite shocking. When compared with the expansion of other great empires however (that’s right Ghengis, I’m talking about you), they were for the most part relatively muted and infrequent.

To the credit of Western cultures, we have undergone a self-examination and made considerable efforts to right past wrongs and level playing fields. As part of this process, we have focused on the racism of “whites” against “non-whites”.

The intense irony of this situation is that by this process, racism has become not only acceptable, but often quite desirable. Furthermore, people who criticise certain types of racism are now denounced as racists. By extension, they are characterised as stupid and belligerent bigots.

Consider, for instance the situation in Zimbabwe in the late nineties when Robert Mugabe decided to dispossess white farmers of their land. It is hard to think of a more blatantly racist action, yet if anyone ever accused Mugabe of racism, I am not aware of it.

In fact when British PM Tony Blair protested this action he was promptly silenced by Mugabe who, with a completely straight face, accused him of racism. The sad and yet completely predictable irony of that situation was that the people who suffered most (apart from the whites who resisted and were murdered or tortured) were the indigenous black Africans who soon found themselves facing starvation and misery.

A more recent example was provided last weekend in Tunisia. After the bloodbath perpetrated by devout Muslim Seifeddine Rezgui , Tunisia’s President Habib Essid  closed down 80 mosques which he described as “Full of venom”. Naturally there wasn’t so much as a peep from the Refugee Action Group, Unite Against Facism or Gay Welsh Against the Bomb. The ABC never phoned Sarah Hanson-Young, or even Zaky Mallah for their opinions and Barack Obama was eerily silent.

I’ve been involved in a number of campaigns to stop mosques and every single time, I’ve been accused of spreading racism and Islamophobia. Can you imagine then, the hysteria if Tony Abbott were to cancel the building of a mosque let alone, God forbid, to actually close one (or 80) down?

The screams would likely be audible in Tunisia. Judging by recent events, I think that Obama would consider sending troops to execute regime change (or at least some targeted drone strikes on National Party Headquarters) and UN sanctions would be in place by next Thursday.

Habib Essid can shut down mosques without a peep and Tony Abbott can’t. We all know the reason for this is because Essid is a Muslim and is not considered “white” while Tony Abbott is a Christian who is (not that Islam is a race, but that doesn’t stop the politically correct from pretending that it is).

This is a small, yet telling example of the discrimination which is increasingly being aimed by anti-white racists against “people without colour”. You don’t need me to list all of the racist laws and practices pursued by the Australian Government. All of these laws and practices discriminate against people who don’t belong to the Aboriginal race.

There is now a push to cement this racism into our Constitution. This evil racism goes against everything our culture has stood for over centuries. It undermines the goal of equality of all individuals, regardless of race. Sadly, anyone who points this out will be branded as a racist and an ignorant bigot.

What bothers me most is not the small day to day annoyances, the gradual erosion of free speech or the constant denigration of the most enlightened culture ever devised. It is the mental picture of a frog being slowly boiled and the feeling that if we don’t act soon, it may be too late.

Racism needs to be redefined back to its true meaning as a matter of urgency. We need to accept and examine the fact that all people can be guilty of racism and all of us can be victims of it, no matter what colour we may be.

We need to reclaim the word racism and demand that it be used in its true meaning. We need to take back this word and start using it in its proper context. When we see racism, we need to call it out for what it is, no matter what race the victim or the perpetrators may be.

We need to be clear that discriminating in favour of Muslims and “people of colour” means discriminating against people who aren’t. This isn’t “positive” discrimination, it is just good old discrimination dressed up in high handed “Newspeak”. This has been done deliberately to make evil intent look like an act of kindness.

We need to be clear that if Habib Essid can close down mosques then Tony Abbott can too. To think otherwise is racist. We need to be clear that campaigning against the evils of “white” Rhodesia but looking away when Mugabe massacres 14,000 of his own people is racist. We need to be clear that expecting all white majority countries to open their borders but not expecting the same from non white countries is racist. We need to be clear that criticising white people for slavery whilst ignoring the slavery practised by black people is racist.

The people who should be dealing with this issue are the ones who never will. They either have their heads in the sand, or else jammed in a highly lucrative trough with no incentive to ever pull it out. 

As usual it is up to us, the little people, the nobodies, the lumpen proletariat, to stand up to this onslaught. What has driven the success of the English speaking people is our rejection of the abuse of power by our ruling classes.

We must watch for this pernicious practice and call it out whenever we find it. Every time we do this, we help to redefine the word back to its original meaning. We have truth and common sense on our side. We just need the courage of our convictions and a belief that what we say is right.

It is time for the people of Australia, and of the whole Western world to reject this evil racism and stand for the principle of equality which made our societies such safe and agreeable places to live.

I know that many people will accuse me of racism for saying these things but I couldn’t care less for two reasons. Firstly, I know that my accusers are using a perverted definition of the term racism which they don’t even understand. Secondly, I know that these people would never dare accuse me of racism if I was black.

This shows clearly who the real racists are.

SOURCE







Leading Australian conservative politician warns Asian countries could see Australia as 'decadent' if same-sex marriage legalised

Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce has warned Asian countries could see Australia as "decadent" if moves to legalise same-sex marriage are successful.

Mr Joyce was asked about comments last week by another frontbencher opposed to gay marriage, Eric Abetz, who is the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

Senator Abetz suggested that if Asian countries did not accept same-sex marriage then Australia should not either, pointing to the often-repeated phrase that for Australia this was the Asian century.

"Eric is right in saying where we live economically is south east Asia, that's where our cattle go," Mr Joyce told the ABC's Insiders program.

"When we go there, there are judgments whether you like it or not that are made about us.  "They see us as decadent."

Insiders host Barry Cassidy asked: "So would they see us embracing gay marriage as decadence?"  "I think that in some instances they would, yeah," Mr Joyce replied.

He added he did not believe marriage should be redefined by the legislation.  "I don't think if you go and pass a piece of legislation and say a diamond is a square makes diamonds squares — they're two different things," he said.  "It's not making a value judgement about either."

Mr Joyce went on to say he viewed marriage as "a process that's inherently there for the support of ... or the prospect of ... or the opportunity of children".

"I think that every child has a right, absolute right to know her or his mother and father and also ... should be given the greatest opportunity to know their biological mother and father," Mr Joyce said.

The issue of gay marriage has been back on the agenda, with confirmation last week that Liberal MP Warren Entsch planned to introduce a private member's bill to legalise same-sex marriage, with cross-party sponsorship, when Parliament resumes next month.

Before the last election Prime Minister Tony Abbott promised to allow the Coalition party room to decide if government MPs and senators should be allowed a conscience vote on the issue, which if it was allowed would give the bill a chance of passing.

However last week Mr Abbott played down the chances of the private member's bill being debated and put to a vote.

"It's quite unusual for private member's bills to come on for debate and vote in the Parliament," he said on Thursday.

SOURCE






Mandated Paid Maternity Leave Would Harm Women

Sweden has had compulsory maternity leave for some time.  The result is that most jobs for females are with the government. Private business can't afford them

Scores of politicians nationwide, including presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, are campaigning for laws that would mandate paid maternity leave. While their intentions sound noble, such mandates would hurt the employment prospects of women of childbearing age, according to Independent Institute Research Fellow Abigail R. Hall. Such mandates would impose extra costs for employers—including wages paid and possible overtime for other workers—and this would be reflected both in firms’ hiring decisions and in the compensation they would offer.

“Forced paid leave would fail to help women and their families by reducing their wages and harming their chances at employment,” Hall writes in the Daily Caller. “This policy truly throws the baby out with the bathwater.”

Mandated paid maternity leave addresses a valid concern, but it does so in a way that is counterproductive. What would be a better approach? “Contractual alternatives to coerced paid maternity leave make much more sense,” Hall writes. “How about encouraging women to negotiate maternity leave as she would salary or other benefits? This would allow women to obtain a longer leave without increasing the cost of employing younger women as a group.”

SOURCE






Shock, horror!  The Salvation army are Christians

Report from Australia

An internal investigation has been launched at The Salvation Army's much-praised Oasis Youth Support centre in Surry Hills amid claims of homophobia after a young woman was advised to "pray" away her attraction to other women.

The incident has also been blamed for the sudden resignation of the centre's general manager Michelle Bryant, who has been a central figure in promoting the services helping the homeless and disadvantage youth - services that have won the support of many high-profile people, including Hollywood heavyweight Cate Blanchett.

Bryant, who joined the Oasis centre from the corporate world, declined to comment when contacted by PS this week, however she is understood to have described the incident  as "horrific" to friends, who say she has long harboured concerns about how troubled youth, especially those struggling to deal with their sexuality, were being "evangelised" by Salvation Army officers.

In a statement, a spokesman for the Salvation Army said: "The incident relates to alleged comments made to a client in relation to 'sexual orientation'. The Salvation Army is conducting an investigation into the alleged incident and is providing counselling support to both the client and staff of the Oasis Youth Support Network at this time. Salvation Army officers and staff treat every person who comes into our care with non-judgmental respect and acceptance no matter what their situation or circumstance."

However, non Salvation Army staff at the centre were this week questioning exactly how impartial the "non-judgment" claims are given the incident and previous well-documented controversies the organisation has become embroiled in when it comes to gay and lesbian issues.

In 2012, the Salvation Army was forced to make a public apology after one of its majors stated that the Salvation Army believed gay people should die. At the time Major Andrew Craib was the Salvation Army's spokesman in several states and was being interviewed on Melbourne radio station Joy FM about the organisation's Handbook of Doctrine, which refers to the Romans book from the Bible.

The Oasis Ball will be held at Town Hall next month to raise money for the Surry Hills centre. Photo: Kitty Hill
When asked directly whether people who identified as gay or lesbian should "die", as written in Romans, Craib responded on air: "We have an alignment to the scriptures, but that's our belief."

The Salvation Army later claimed the "death" inferred was a "spiritual death" rather than a physical one, but the comments had already generated a national outcry.

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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6 July, 2015

A new British bill of rights? Hopefully not

Paul Coleman

We can’t trust our illiberal leaders to protect our freedoms

Seventy years ago today, the United Nations Charter was signed in San Francisco, ushering in the era of human rights. But in Britain, there are increasing calls to eliminate the existing human-rights framework and create a new bill of rights. And I can understand why. In the past few years, there have been countless stories of faux human-rights claims – enough to arouse suspicion among many human-rights activists. Is it really a human right for prisoners to vote in elections? Or a human right for life sentences to include the possibility of release?

The UK government’s concern with these types of cases may be legitimate, but what is troubling about the debate is the idea that our current political leaders can come up with something better.

All of the substantive rights and freedoms in the Human Rights Act (1998) are taken word for word from the European Convention on Human Rights (1950). This was based on other core human-rights documents that were being drafted at the time, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948).

These earlier documents were drafted in the wake of the Second World War. Europe had witnessed unspeakable horrors, and in the following years, through the Nuremberg trials, countless atrocities against humankind were brought to light.

The international human-rights treaties debated and drafted during the Nuremberg years were designed to limit the role of the state. They were to make it clear that there are some fundamental freedoms that are inherent to the human person. These rights are not given by the state and cannot be taken away. That is why the Universal Declaration deliberately begins by recognising the ‘inherent dignity’ of all members of the human family. Though they are far from perfect – owed mostly to the fact that a significant voting bloc sat behind the Iron Curtain – these human-rights treaties promote human freedom far more than our current leaders are prepared to.

Seventy years ago, the United Kingdom and other Western countries consistently rejected the arguments of the Communist-led nations. For example, during one negotiation, British delegate Lady Gaitskell defended freedom of speech as ‘the foundation stone on which many of the other human rights were built’.

When the Soviet Union attempted to insert the clause that, ‘All societies, unions and other organisations of a fascist or anti-democratic nature, as well as their activity in any form’ should be ‘forbidden by law under pain of punishment’, the West responded. The Belgian representative said that despite ‘hating fascism as intensely as did the USSR’, tolerance should mean tolerating even the intolerant.

Accordingly, the UK vigorously defended the right of all organisations, ‘even fascist and communist ones’, to exist and to make their views known, even though those organisations held views that the majority of the population repudiated.

Fast forward to today. UK government officials fought hard (and failed) to maintain a criminal prohibition on ‘insulting words’ under Section 5 of the Public Order Act. There are plans to push through a ‘snoopers’ charter’ in an attempt to criminalise ‘extremism’ on the internet. Home secretary Theresa May is desperate to ban groups who ‘stay just within the law but spread poisonous hatred’. All of this in pursuit of ‘British values’ – a phrase that the state gets to define (and redefine) at its pleasure.

While the Universal Declaration recognised the vital role of the family, declaring that it is the ‘natural and fundamental group unit of society’, the Scottish government is eagerly trying to implement its ‘named person’ scheme, which is designed to make the state a co-parent with extraordinary powers to meddle in the private and family life of its citizens. The law would allow state monitoring and intervention to protect every child’s wellbeing in Scotland, regardless of the parents’ wishes. The child’s wellbeing would be defined by the state without the slightest consideration for the right to privacy and family life. As the list of state-enhancing, freedom-diminishing initiatives increases, why does anyone think a new bill of rights would make things better and not worse?

Although the core human-rights treaties we have today are flawed, they largely achieve their aim: some valid limitations on the state’s reach and a recognition that rights are inherent not state-granted. Nothing in the current political climate suggests we can achieve the same today.

Let’s have a debate about the hijacking of human-rights language, but let’s not pretend a British bill of rights drafted by our current leaders is the solution.

SOURCE






I will defend your right to fly the Confederate flag

No form of political expression should be banned, not even hateful ones

Don’t ask me to defend a Confederate flag display by the state. Unlike private individuals and associations, governments don’t have rights: they exercise power. And while hoisting a Confederate flag on state property isn’t an illegal use of power, it is a politically abusive one, for all the reasons so recently recited in the wake of Dylann Roof’s massacre in Charleston.

But plant a Confederate flag in your backyard or wear its image on a t-shirt, and I’ll defend your constitutional right to do so, even as it’s condemned as hate speech. I’ll also defend the constitutional right to protest against your flag-waving with raucous incivility, while opposing any government efforts to ban private Confederate flag displays or to silence people who protest against them.

As long as this is still America (and not Western Europe) a government ban on speech is the exception, not the rule, and there’s nothing exceptional about speech considered hateful. On the contrary, these days, it’s quite common. Engage in vigorous, provocative argument about a controversial subject, and you’re likely to give offence. Give offence and you’re likely to be accused of spouting hate.

Like pornography, hate speech is difficult to define objectively. One person’s hate speech is another person’s religious conviction, moral code or political ideology. Precisely what ‘verbal offences’ would be covered by a hate-speech ban? That depends on the beliefs, biases and sensibilities of people with the power to enforce it.

Did President Obama engage in hate speech when he uttered a hateful word, instead of referencing it by an initial? Of course not. Words derive meaning and power from the context in which they appear and the tone in which they’re uttered. Yet Obama’s quotation of a single, racially charged word, in the context of a critique of racism, was headline news. It gave offence to some, titillated the media, and may have garnered more attention than the substance of his remarks.

You can partly attribute the media reaction to sensationalism; verboten words are clickbait. But the controversy over the president’s words (or word) also reflects a distressing unwillingness or inability to discern meaning, to distinguish between benign and malevolent utterances. It reflects a magical view of language that regards words as incantations casting spells, regardless of how or by whom they’re used.

Words are malleable; they don’t have single immutable meanings. They’re emblems of varying emotions and ideas. You might say the same of any symbol — a crucifix, the Star of David, or the Stars and Stripes — as well as the Confederate flag. It’s a potent symbol of slavery and subordination, but not quite a universal one. It may mean one thing to white separatists, another to an integrationist whose forbears fought in the Civil War, and another thing entirely to a historian. They’re entitled to read or display the flag as they choose. They’re not entitled to public, state endorsement of their readings or displays, just as people for whom the flag is an emblem or celebration of oppression are not entitled to state bans on its private display.

Official hate-speech bans share this with official displays of the Confederate flag. They harness government power abusively to gain advantage in what should be private battles over the meaning of words and symbols and expressions of hate. Freedom of speech is freedom from government intervention. If that’s not clear when government officials are your allies in battles over speech, it will be obvious when they turn against you.

SOURCE







Who really wants to impose austerity?

The British left rages against mild Tory cuts yet dreams of imposing real austerity.

Nothing better sums up the otherworldliness of the British left than its current war against austerity. What austerity? There’s no austerity in 21st-century Britain. That A-word, coming from the Latin austerus, meaning ‘dry, harsh, sour, cruel’, has traditionally been used to describe pretty severe conditions of restraint. Like food rationing during the Second World War. Yet today it is used to mean anything from the trimming of a welfare benefit that didn’t even exist a couple of decades ago to the cutting of a relatively small proportion of the public-sector bill. Left-wing observers raging against ‘austerity’ are denuding the A-word of all meaning, and demonstrating their inability to grasp the real problems facing Britain today.

Everyone’s talking about austerity. You can’t open a newspaper without encountering angst-ridden commentary about ‘the pain of austerity’, and how Tory austerity policies are designed to be ‘a deliberate rewriting of the social contract to divert our common wealth to the elite’. At the weekend, thousands of people marched in London to ‘End Austerity Now’. Some carried placards saying ‘Austerity kills’, a reference to the claim that Tory cuts to welfare have caused some people to commit suicide — what the Guardian refers to as ‘the unspoken side of welfare reform’. Exploiting the mental torment of isolated suicides to challenge Tory policies: nice.

Reading these angry articles, you could be forgiven for thinking that public spending was being obliterated and millions were being cast into penury. This simply isn’t the case. There’s no doubt the recession has brought about tough times for many, especially the poor and people with insecure employment. But austerity is not being imposed. On the contrary, public spending continues to rise, as it has done every year since 1948. In 2014/15 prices, public spending has risen from just under £400 billion in 1990 to over £700 billion in 2014. Yes, there have been cuts in some areas — for example, in public investment in social housing and school-building — but in other areas there has been more of a shifting around of a resources than any kind of austere action. For the first three years the Tories were in government (then with the Lib Dems), spending on welfare benefits actually increased by £10 billion, to a total of £192 billion, largely as a consequence of the boosting of the Basic State Pension and Disability Living Allowance. It’s surreal that a government which increased public spending, including on benefits, should have been described as ‘imposing austerity’.

Some in the public sector have lost their jobs, and that is very bad for them. But even this must be measured against the fact that, over the past 10 years, the public-sector workforce had grown by extraordinary levels. According to recent data, in the third quarter of 2014 there were 386,000 fewer public-sector jobs than there had been when the Tories and the Lib Dems took office in 2010. Yet this is 386,000 out of more than six million. The public sector remains vast. In 2000, there were 5,221,000 public-sector workers — by 2010, there were 6,070,000. An increase of nearly one million in 10 years. Britain still has a huge public sector, which simply doesn’t sit with the idea that we’re living through painful, even murderous austerity.

Left-wing observers’ rage against ‘austerity’ is not a reflection of anything happening in the real world. Rather, it reveals their weddedness to the state, their belief that ‘ordinary people’ could not survive without the public sector. In recent years, as its faith in working men and women waned, and eventually gave way to open contempt for these obese, anti-EU sections of society, the left has come to see the state as the key force for progress. It views the public sector not only as the provider of resources for the poor, but as a provider of therapy and health advice, parenting advice, racial-awareness lessons for employees and schoolkids alike. The state is seen as the solution to every economic and social ill. So any suggestion that the state and its army of employees should be cut back, or even rearranged, is met with angst, and concern about how the little people will cope without the monetary benefits and moral advice of the authorities. It isn’t ‘austerity’ the left is worried about (since there is none); it’s anything that chips away at the Byzantine modern state which they view as the saviour of society.

Of course, much of the public sector is essential. It keeps Britain moving and healthy and fit. Public investment in infrastructure is important: we could do with more of it in industry, science and tech. But there is much of the public sector which is, in essence, a feudalistic racket, charged with looking after the terminally unemployed — those christened by the public sector as ‘incapable’ of working. That large sections of the middle classes make their living through attending to the needs of working people who have effectively been put out to pasture should concern anyone who believes in modernity and autonomy. But to the left, which has profoundly lost faith in the ability of anyone other than the state to run society, this is all perfectly normal, and good. There is much of the state that could be cut back, but the Tories aren’t doing it. Why? Because they actually share the left’s view of the state as a necessary carer for, and corrector of, the lower orders.

There’s a further irony to today’s politics of anti-austerity: the observers rashly describing a few Tory cuts as ‘austerity’ are the ones who really want to impose austerity. Real austerity. In fact, before they developed their newfound emotional attachment to describing everything they don’t like as ‘austerity’, they were openly calling for austerity. George Monbiot is one of the Guardian’s chief complainers about Tory austerity — the same George Monbiot who in 2006 proudly described environmentalism as a ‘campaign not for abundance but for austerity’ and who inspired the radical group Riot 4 Austerity. His colleague Zoe Williams likewise complains about ‘austerity’ yet a few years ago she was dreaming of introducing Second World War-style food rationing, because ‘the lesson from the 40s is that to fix a public-health problem… you need big government’.

For much of the past 20 years, the post-Thatcherite left has demonised economic growth and called for constraints on industry, supermarkets, big cars, etc. Through the politics of environmentalism and the use of questionable mental-health arguments — with desire for more material goods refashioned as a mental malaise: ‘affluenza’ — the left abandoned its one-time commitment to expanding production and consumption and called for… well, austerity. And now it marches against what it calls austerity, but which is nothing of the sort. It fights phoney austerity, but wants real austerity.

What we need today is not hysterical headlines about austerity, but a serious debate about the expansion of the state, and whether we really need all of it, and an unflinching commitment to real, massive economic growth that puts people before ‘the planet’ and allows us all to live wealthier, fuller lives.

SOURCE






Islamic Hate for the Christian Cross

Last May in Italy, a Muslim boy of African origin beat a 12-year-old girl during school because she was wearing a crucifix around her neck.  The African schoolboy, who had only started to attend the school approximately three weeks earlier, began to bully the Christian girl-"insulting her and picking on her in other ways all because she was wearing the crucifix"-before he finally "punched the girl violently in the back."

What is it about the Christian cross that makes some Muslims react this way?

The fact is, Islamic hostility to the cross is an unwavering fact of life-one that crosses continents and centuries; one that is very much indicative of Islam's innate hostility to Christianity.

Doctrine and History

Because the Christian cross is the quintessential symbol of Christianity-for all denominations, including most forms of otherwise iconoclastic Protestantism-it has been a despised symbol in Islam.

According to the Conditions of Omar-a Medieval text which lays out the many humiliating stipulations conquered Christians must embrace to preserve their lives and which Islamic history attributes to the second "righteous caliph," Omar al-Khattab-Christians are "Not to display a cross [on churches]... and "Not to produce a cross or [Christian] book in the markets of the Muslims."

The reason for this animosity is that the cross symbolizes the fundamental disagreement between Christians and Muslims.   According to Dr. Sidney Griffith, author of The Church in the Shadow of the Mosque, "The cross and the icons publicly declared those very points of Christian faith which the Koran, in the Muslim view, explicitly denied: that Christ was the Son of God and that he died on the cross."  Thus "the Christian practice of venerating the cross and the icons of Christ and the saints often aroused the disdain of Muslims," so that there was an ongoing "campaign to erase the public symbols of Christianity, especially the previously ubiquitous sign of the cross."

Islam's hostility to the cross, like all of Islam's hostilities, begins with the Muslim prophet Muhammad. He reportedly "had such a repugnance to the form of the cross that he broke everything brought into his house with its figure upon it." He once ordered someone wearing a cross to "take off that piece of idolatry" and claimed that at the end times Jesus himself would make it a point to "break the cross"-an assertion the Islamic State regularly makes.

Islamic history following Muhammad is riddled with anecdotes of Muslims cursing and breaking crosses.  Prior to the Battle of Yarmuk in 636, which pitted the earliest invading Muslim armies against the Byzantine Empire, Khalid bin al-Walid, the savage "Sword of Allah," told the Christians that if they wanted peace they must "break the cross" and embrace Islam, or pay jizya and live in subjugation-just as his Islamic State successors are doing today in direct emulation.  The Byzantines opted for war.

In Egypt, Saladin (d. 1193)-regularly touted in the West for his "magnanimity"-ordered "the removal of every cross from atop the dome of every church in the provinces of Egypt," in the words of The History of the Patriarchate of the Egyptian Church.

Europe: Growing Violence against the Cross

Centuries later, not much has changed concerning Islam's position towards the cross, though much has changed in Western perceptions.  In other words, an African boy punching a Christian girl in Italy for her crucifix is part of a long continuum of Islamic hostility for the cross.  Perhaps he learned this hatred in mosque-the same European mosques where Islamic State representatives call Muslims to jihad?

After all, earlier this year in Italy, another  crucifix was destroyed in close proximity to a populated mosque.  The municipality's Councilor, Giuseppe Berlin, did not mince words concerning the identity of the culprit(s):

   "Before we put a show of unity with Muslims, let's have them begin by respecting our civilization and our culture. We shouldn't minimize the importance of certain signals; we must wake up now or our children will suffer the consequences of this dangerous and uncontrolled Islamic invasion"

Nor is Italy the only European nation experiencing this phenomenon.   In neighboring France, a "young Muslim" committed major acts of vandalism at two churches.  Along with twisting a massive bronze cross, he overturned and broke two altars, the candelabras and lecterns, destroyed statues, tore down a tabernacle, smashed in a sacristy door and even broke some stained-glass windows. 

And in Germany, a Turkish man who checked himself into a hospital for treatment went into a sudden frenzy because there were "too many crosses on the wall."  He called the nurse a "bitch" and "fascist" and became physically aggressive.

Of course, other times Europeans willingly capitulate to Islamic hostility for the cross.  Real Madrid, a professional football (soccer) team in Spain reportedly stripped the traditional Christian cross from its club crest as part of a deal with the National Bank of Abu Dhabi-"so as not to offend Muslim sensibilities in the United Arab Emirates."  And in the United Kingdom, offensive crucifixes are being removed from prisons in order not to offend Muslim inmates (who are further provided with food baths for Islamic rituals).

Muslim World: Christians Killed for the Cross

If this is how some Muslims react to the Christian cross in Europe-where Muslims are aware of their outnumbered, minority status-how do other Muslims react to the cross in the Islamic world, where vastly outnumbered and ostracized Christian "infidels" are easy prey?

The answer is murderous-literally, Christians are being murdered by Muslims provoked at the sight of the cross:

Last year in Egypt, a young Coptic Christian woman named Mary was mauled to death-simply because her cross identified her as a Christian to Muslim Brotherhood rioters.    According to an eyewitness who discussed the episode, Mary Sameh George was parking her car by the church to deliver medicine to an elderly woman:

    "Once they [Brotherhood rioters] saw that she was a Christian [because of the cross hanging on her rearview mirror], they jumped on top of the car, to the point that the vehicle was no longer visible. The roof of the car collapsed in.  When they realized that she was starting to die, they pulled her out of the car and started pounding on her and pulling her hair-to the point that portions of her hair and scalp came off.  They kept beating her, kicking her, stabbing her with any object or weapon they could find....  Throughout [her ordeal] she tried to protect her face, giving her back to the attackers, till one of them came and stabbed her right in the back, near the heart, finishing her off.  Then another came and grabbed her by the hair, shaking her head, and with the other hand slit her throat.  Another pulled her pants off, to the point that she was totally naked."

In response, the Coptic Christian Church issued the following statement: "Oh how lucky you are, Mary, you who are beloved of Christ.  They tore your body because of the Cross.  Yet they offered you the greatest service and gave you a name of honor as one who attained the crown of martyrdom."  The statement also quoted Christ's warning to believers: "Yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service" (John 16:2).

In October 2011, seventeen-year-old Ayman Nabil Labib, a Coptic student, was strangled and beaten to death by his Muslim teacher and some fellow students-simply for refusing to obey the teacher's orders to remove his cross. Student eyewitnesses present during the assault said that while Ayman was in the classroom he was told to cover up his tattooed wrist cross, which many Copts wear. Not only did he refuse, but he defiantly produced the pectoral cross he wore under his shirt, which prompted the enraged Muslim teacher and students to beat the Christian youth to death.

Before that, an off-duty Muslim police officer on a train from Asyut to Cairo shouted "Allahu Akbar!" and opened fire on six Christians, killing a seventy-one-year-old man and critically wounding the rest. Before opening fire he had checked for passengers with the traditional Coptic cross tattooed on their wrists. (Days ago, another Coptic woman was "shot dead by an Egyptian police officer.  Although officially an "accident," the Muslim officer is notorious for hating Christians.)

In Pakistan, when a Muslim man saw Julie Aftab, a Christian woman, wearing a cross around her neck,

    "The man became abusive, shouting at her that she was living in the gutter and would go to hell for shunning Islam. He left and returned half an hour later, clutching a bottle of battery acid which he savagely chucked over her head. As she ran screaming for the door a second man grabbed her by the hair and forced more of the liquid down her throat, searing her esophagus. Teeth fell from her mouth as she desperately called for help, stumbling down the street. A woman heard her cries and took her to her home, pouring water over her head and taking her to hospital. At first the doctors refused to treat her, because she was a Christian. ‘They all turned against me . . . even the people who took me to the hospital. They told the doctor they were going to set the hospital on fire if they treated me'. . . . 67 percent of her esophagus was burned and she was missing an eye and both eyelids. What remained of her teeth could be seen through a gaping hole where her cheek had been. The doctors predicted she would die any day. Despite the odds she pulled through."

All this because she was wearing a cross.

Even in Muslim nations deemed "moderate," violence provoked by the cross is not uncommon.  In 2012, a 12-year-old boy in Turkey who converted to Christianity and decided to profess his new faith by wearing a silver cross necklace in class was spit on and beat regularly by Muslim classmates and teachers.

In the Maldives, October 2010, authorities had to rescue Geethamma George, a Christian teacher from India, after Muslim "parents threatened to tie and drag her off of the island" for "preaching Christianity." Her crime was simply to draw a compass in class as part of a geography lesson.  The compass was mistaken for the Christian cross.

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

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







5 July, 2015

Greek corruption behind Greek collapse

Is there such a thing as an honest Greek?

Greece in teetering on the brink of ruin - and it is hard not to feel sympathy for the pensioners crying in the street and the mothers facing empty supermarket shelves.

Yet those reading a new book may find themselves feeling a little less compassionate towards the Greeks. It reveals an eye-popping catalogue of benefits scams and tax avoidance schemes that have robbed the public purse.

James Angelos' The Full Catastrophe: Travels among the New Greek Ruins lays bare the corruption which filtered through all levels of society - from the islanders who pretended to be blind, to the families who forgot to register their parents' death and the doctors who 'earn' just €12,000 a year - yet live in Athens' most exclusive neighbourhood.

It was the rumours of an 'island of the blind' which first bought Angelos, a journalist, to Greece in 2011.  He had heard that on Zakynthos, something like two per cent of the population were registered blind.

All was not quite how it seemed, however, and it transpired that 61 of the 680 'blind' residents were quite happily driving around the island.

In fact, an astonishing 498 of those 680 were not blind at all - or even partially sighted. But being 'blind' had its advantages - in particular, the €724 paid in benefits once every two months, and a reduction in utility bills.

It was a scam which could be traced back to one ophthalmologist and one official, which was estimated to have cost the country €9 million.

And, as Angelos discovered, it was only the tip of the iceberg.  How big is the problem of disability benefits fraud, Angelos asked the then-deputy health minister Markos Bolaris.  'Very big,' came the accurate, but short, reply.

Indeed, when those claiming disabilities were asked to present themselves at government offices so records could be updated, 36,000 failed to do so.  That translated to an immediate saving for the government of €100m a year.

But the fraud was certainly not confined to just disability benefits.  When the government chose to take a closer look at who they were paying pensions to, they found a slightly suspicious 8,500 pensioners had surpassed the milestone age of 100.

An even closer look revealed, 40,000 pension claims were fraudulent. It seems people were forgetting to register their loved ones' deaths.

It's not that these scams were not known about before, of course.

A Daily Mail investigation in 2011 revealed the subway system was essentially free for the five million residents of Athens - because, with no barriers, it relied on an honesty system which few were honest enough to use.

It described street after street of opulent mansions and villas, surrounded by high walls and with their own pools, which, on paper, were the homes of virtual paupers.

They were all allowed to declare their own income for tax purposes - and officially, they were only earning €12,000 - or a paltry £8,500 - a year, below the tax threshold.

Apparently, only 5,000 people admitted to earning more than £90,000 a year - prompting one economist to describe Greece as a ‘poor country full of rich people’.

The lengths these doctors, lawyers and businessmen would go to to hide their wealth from the government was, it has to be said, impressive.

According to official records, just over 300 homes in Athens' most exclusive neighbourhood had swimming pools, and had paid the resulting tax for such a luxury.

But when the government decided to have a look on Google Earth, it became clear these residents hadn't been totally honest.  The real figure for swimming pools in the area is believed to be closer to 20,000.

But instead of coming clean, there was a boom in sales of camouflage tarpaulins to conceal their existence from the tax inspectors flying over the gardens.

And then there are the tales which seem to be more down to incompetence, rather than actual fraud.

In particular, there is the tale of treasury employee Savvas Saltouridis, who used an Uzi submachine gun to murder the mayor of his Greek mountain town in 2009, who remained on the municipal payroll for years afterwards - even though he was languishing in jail.  He was taking advantage of the complex disciplinary system

But what do when so many are cheating the system? It is estimated tax evasion alone might be costing the country as much as €20billion a year in lost revenue, while years of benefit fraud will certainly have added up.

But when Angelos suggested punishing those who tried to play the system, he was given a straight forward - if depressing - answer.   'If you start putting people in jail, maybe you'll have to put half of Greece in jail,' an official said.

SOURCE






Cantuar rebukes U.S. Anglicans for recognising same-sex marriages and referring to God in ‘gender-neutral’ language

The Archbishop of Canterbury has rebuked American Anglicans for recognising same-sex marriages and referring to God in ‘gender-neutral’ language.

The Most Reverend Justin Welby told leaders of the Church of England’s US sister church that it was the wrong time for a row over gay rights and sexism in services.

He told the bishops of the Episcopal Church that they should be ‘looking outwards’ to mourn for the victims of Islamist terror attacks instead of returning to the Anglicans’ decades old disputes over sex.

And the Archbishop pointedly drew their attention to the need to take notice of the racially-inspired massacre of black American churchgoers in Charleston.

Archbishop Welby told the Americans that their radical reforms would cause distress among Anglicans and the faithful of other Christian churches.

The campaign by the liberal bishops of the US church to promote gay rights has led to a deep divide in the 70 million-strong Anglican Communion, the network of churches around the world that were set up on the model of the Church of England and which look to Lambeth Palace for leadership.

Its latest move came at its general convention in Salt Lake City, which agreed to remove from its liturgy any references to marriage being between a man and a woman, and to replace references to God as ‘He’ with language that does not specify sex.

Services in the new form are likely to be in use in states that approve them by Christmas.

Archbishop Welby’s disapproval was set out in a statement from Lambeth Palace.

‘The Archbishop of Canterbury expressed deep concern about the stress for the Anglican Communion following the US Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops’ resolution to change the definition of marriage in the canons so that any reference to marriage as between a man and a woman is removed,’ it said.

‘While recognising the prerogative of the Episcopal Church to address issues appropriate to its own context, Archbishop Justin Welby said that its decision will cause distress for some and have ramifications for the Anglican Communion as a whole, as well as for its ecumenical and interfaith relationships.’

The statement added: ‘At a time of such suffering around the world, he stated that this was a moment for the church to be looking outwards. We continue to mourn with all those who are grieving loved ones and caring for the injured from the terrorist attacks in Sousse, Kuwait and Lyon, and from the racist attacks in Charleston.’

SOURCE





We won't hound fox hunters anymore says RSPCA  -- unless ...

The RSPCA has announced it will no longer chase fox hunters through the courts.  The animal welfare charity’s u-turn came after it was accused of wasting members’ funds prosecuting hunters for political reasons.

A review by Stephen Wooler, former chief inspector of the Crown Prosecution Service, recommended the RSPCA no longer prosecute in hunting cases last October.

Now the organisation’s trustees have decided to pass cases involving ‘traditional hunts’ to the police and CPS, after an initial investigation to determine the quality of evidence.

The trustees will, however, reserve the right to proceed if the police or CPS decline to take action. The RSPCA, which relies on donations, has faced criticism for the high cost of its prosecutions, some in cases with little chance of success.

A case against the Cattistock Hunt in Dorset was withdrawn in March when the RSPCA accepted it had no chance of conviction. In 2012, it successfully prosecuted the Heythrop Hunt in David Cameron’s constituency, but was accused of a political vendetta. The magistrate in the case described the £327,000 costs run up by the charity as ‘staggering’.

David Bowles, of the RSPCA, said yesterday: ‘We have listened to Stephen Wooler and have acted on his recommendation to adopt a clear policy on how we deal with cases specifically against traditional hunts. We will still look into allegations involving traditional hunts, before passing the evidence to the police, who will be invited to complete the investigation before handing the case to the CPS.

‘If the police decline to conclude an investigation, the RSPCA reserves the right to complete the investigation, and deal with any prosecution required, itself. We will still investigate other individuals for alleged breaches of the Hunting Act.’

Tim Bonner, of the Countryside Alliance, said the RSPCA had made a ‘sensible decision’, adding: ‘The RSPCA is in an extremely difficult position as a political campaigning organisation and as a prosecutor.  ‘We have long argued it makes it almost impossible for them to make objective decisions on prosecutions.’

The Prime Minister has promised MPs a free vote on repealing the hunt ban introduced by Labour in 2004, although it was not in this year’s Queen’s Speech.

Critics of the RSPCA claim it became more political under former chief executive Gavin Grant, whose vocal opposition to the badger cull and hunting led to accusations that the charity’s focus had switched to animal rights from animal welfare.

A leaked internal memo two years ago from RSPCA deputy chairman Paul Draycott revealed there were also concerns within the charity that it was becoming ‘too political’ and likened its pursuit of hunting to ‘the charge of the Light Brigade’.

Mr Grant quit last year and a successor has yet to be named.

SOURCE






Marriage Battle Picks Up Steam in Australia: ‘No Parliament or Court has the Authority to Repeal Biology’

“No parliament or court has the authority to repeal biology,” an Australian pro-family campaigner said at the weekend as the ripple effects of the U.S. Supreme Court same-sex marriage ruling lent additional momentum to a growing campaign to redefine marriage in Australia.

Australian Marriage Forum president David van Gend said decisions like the 5-4 Supreme Court ruling declaring same-sex marriage is a right was a reflection of “the moral dementia of the West.”

Describing the court decision as an “historic act of social self-mutilation” akin to Roe vs. Wade, van Gend warned it will lead to “a new era of civil discord.”

“We must not let that happen here.”

“If same-sex couples cannot marry, that is because they do not meet nature’s job description for marriage and family: marriage and childbearing is a specifically male-female phenomenon in nature, and no parliament or court has the authority to repeal biology,” he said.

In the wake of the Supreme Court decision America’s biggest LGBT civil rights advocacy group, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), is throwing its backing behind the Australian campaign.

The HRC expressed support for the activist group Australian Marriage Equality, whose national convenor Rodney Croome says his country is “now the only developed, English-speaking country that doesn’t allow same-sex couples to marry.”

“We welcome the Human Rights Campaign’s support for the Australian campaign because it will muster support across the world and highlight how far Australia is falling behind,” said Croome.

“Now marriage equality has been achieved in the U.S., all eyes will be on Australia with the hope we are next.”

The leader of Australia’s official opposition Labor Party, Bill Shorten, recently introduced a bill that would alter the definition of who can be legally married by replacing the words “man and women” with “two people.”

“Those eight words [‘the union of a man and a woman’] maintain a fiction that any other relationship is somehow inferior,” Shorten said when introducing the bill on June 1.

The issue was thrust into the political spotlight a decade ago, when Australians who had solemnized same-sex marriages in Canada tried to get courts in their own country to declare those unions to be valid and legal.

In response, the federal parliament in 2004 defined marriage explicitly as a union between a man and a woman.

The next skirmish occurred in 2013, when the federal parliament defeated a bill that would have allowed homosexuals and lesbians to marry. At that time both the then-Labor prime minister, Julia Gillard, and center-right opposition leader Tony Abbott opposed the bill, and it was voted down 98-42.

That same year the legislature of the Australian Capital Territory, which comprises Canberra and the surrounding area, passed the nation’s first same-sex marriage legislation. It was challenged by the federal government, and just five days after it came into effect in December 2013 the High Court overturned it, declaring it “a matter for the federal parliament.”

In the face of the new parliamentary push, Abbott – now prime minister – remains opposed to same-sex marriage.

“What happens in the United States is obviously a matter for the United States, just as what happened in Ireland a few weeks ago is a matter for the Irish,” he said in Melbourne on Saturday, referring to the Supreme Court decision and to Ireland’s May 22 referendum legalizing same-sex marriage.

“As for our own country, obviously there is a community debate going on,” Abbott said. “I have views on this subject which are pretty well known and they haven’t changed.”

‘The dominos are falling around the world’

Parliament is expected to take up Shorten’s bill when it resumes after the current winter recess.

“This is a joyous day in America,” Shorten said in response to the Supreme Court decision. “In Australia, let us make it a call to action.”

It was the Irish referendum that prompted Shorten to introduce the measure. He told reporters on Saturday that if a “famously religious society” like Ireland could take the step, “why couldn’t we in Australia?”

“America is another society which is very influential in Australia from its media, its culture, to its system of government in many ways,” Shorten added. “So now America too has moved on the path of marriage equality.”

“The dominos are falling around the world at an ever increasing rate, and it’s well beyond time that Australia caught up,” said Nick McKim, a lawmaker with the Australian Green Party.

“Marriage in Australia is a civil institution that belongs to our people, not to the churches which continue to oppose marriage equality,” he added.

But the Australian Christian Lobby slammed the decision by “five unelected judges,” charging that the necessary flow-on effect of making marriage available to same-sex couples is to deny a child either its mother or its father.

“The five judges overturned the democratic votes of more than 50 million Americans in 31 states which have voted to keep marriage as between one man and one woman,” said ACL managing director Lyle Shelton.

“Only 11 states [10 states and DC] permitted same-sex marriage through legislative or voter action. Everywhere else, judges have made the decision for the people on behalf of the homosexual lobby.

“America, the land that gave us ‘we the people,’ has ceded its democracy to ‘you the judges.’”

SOURCE

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

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

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

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

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






3 July, 2015

Being bisexual 'is bad for your health': People with male and female partners report poorer wellbeing than those of other sexualities

Bisexual people have worse health than those of other sexualities, new research suggests.

A new study examining the health of people of different sexual persuasions found those who were bisexual rated their health as worse than gays, lesbians and heterosexuals.

The researchers also found that people who identify themselves as bisexual are disproportionately disadvantaged when it comes to on important social and economic and factors associated with good health and wellbeing.

As part of the study, researchers asked 10,128 sexual minorities (gay, lesbian and bisexual adults) to rate their health. They also asked 405,145 heterosexual adults to give the same rating, to see how it differed across people of different sexual orientations.

'Existing health research on the sexual minority population is sparse and typically does not make distinctions between the different types of sexual minorities,' said the study's lead author Professor Bridget Gorman, of Rice University, Texas.

'We developed this study both to examine the health of these different sexual minority groups and to assess how risk factors for poor health contribute to their overall health.'

The researchers also quizzed people on factors that impact health, including socio-economic status, education level, employment status and household income.

They then asked about access to health insurance. Smoking and drinking habits, their BMI, their well-being as well as access to social support were also recorded as part of the data collection.

The results showed that 19.5 per cent of bisexual men and 18.5 per cent of bisexual women rated their health as 'poor or fair' - the highest proportion among all the groups surveyed.

In contrast, only 11.9 per cent of men identifying as gay and 10.6 per cent of women identifying as lesbian rated their health as 'poor or fair' - the lowest proportion of those surveyed.

Health was also rated poor by 14.5 per cent of heterosexual men and 15.6 per cent of heterosexual women.

The researchers also discovered that bisexual people were disadvantaged when it came to many other factors that affect health, when compared to people of other sexual orientations.

For example, bisexual men and women were the least likely of the three groups to be educated to university level. Only 26.5 per cent of bisexual men and 32.1 per cent of bisexual women graduated from university.

This was compared with 55.7 per cent of gay men and 57 per cent of lesbian women, and 37.9 per cent of heterosexual men and 37.5 per cent of heterosexual women.

Bisexual men and women were more likely to smoke (23.8 per cent and 21.9 per cent, respectively).

This was compared with 14.9 per cent of gay men, 16.6 per cent of lesbian women, 11.1 per cent of heterosexual men and 8.3 per cent of heterosexual women.

And of the three groups, they were the most likely to have an annual household income of less than $25,000 (£16,000), with 39.5 per cent of men and 42.1 per cent of women falling into this category

This was compared with 22.9 per cent of gay men, 25.4 per cent of lesbian women, 24.8 per cent of heterosexual men and 29.5 per cent of heterosexual women.

SOURCE






Worth trying, I guess

Good-looking man who was 'possessed by a homosexual demon' in Kenya is exorcised by a priest to 'cure' him.  There is a lot of superstition in Africa so this could work



A video has emerged of a Nigerian businessman being exorcised by a priest because he was allegedly possessed by a 'homosexual demon' after bathing in a hotel swimming pool in Kenya.

Filmed by a Nigerian Christian television network, the video claims that after Tegus caught the demon, he broke up with his girlfriend and started to download gay porn.

A man, thought to be a priest, is seen questioning Tegus before carrying out the exorcism. Throwing his arms at the possessed man, the priest yells at him: 'Turn'.

He proceeds to do this again before Tegus tries to escape. Grabbing him tightly by the wrist, the priest orders the demon: 'Turn for Jesus Christ.'

The dramatic video opens with a calm interview between the priest and the smartly dressed businessman.  When asked who is inside him, Tegus quietly says that it is his 'friend' and that he has many 'friends' inside him.

The priest calmly asked for some names and in response Tegus says: 'I made him gay'.

Starting to build up the tension for the packed congregation, the priests asks: 'What have you been pushing him to do against his will?'

Tegus tells the priest how the supposed demon made him love men instead of loving women and that he loves men.

Lowering his voice a few tones, the priest starts to interrogate the man, questioning how the demon entered his body.

The businessman informs the priest thathe caught the demon from swimming in a hotel pool.

Continuing to maintain his audience's attention, the priest lambasts Tegus, calling him 'an unclean spirit.'

He becomes harsher in his tone, ordering Tegus to come closer.  Firmly held by two men in matching red jumpers, Tegus is exorcised by the priest, who raises his hands near to the frightened man.

Shouting  the words 'Turn for Jesus Christ', the priest grabs him tightly by his wrist, yanking down on Tegus' arm.

Attempting to run away, the priest yells at him to come here and he is prevented from escaping by two of the red shirted assistants.

The priest turns, flashing his arms and ordering the man to go, causing Tegus to collapse to the ground.

A faint ripple of applause can be heard from the silent congregation.

Walking around in a disoriented manner, the man is asked how he is. Quietly he tells the priest that he is fine.

Asked what he said earlier, Tegus insists he said nothing.

Speaking in a crudely edited interview afterwards, Tegus recalls how he got the demon from swimming.

'After swimming, I went back to my room in the night to sleep and I had a dream. I dreamt where I saw myself swimming in the same pool and when I woke up, I felt something had entered me.'

'I started having passion for men and going closer to my closer men. Before my journey, I had a fiancee.I had to ask her to quit the relationship because I had no passion for anymore - no more affections for her.'

Tegus insists at the end that he has had 'total deliverance' and now feels a 'passion for the opposite sex.'

Nigeria has strict laws on homosexuality, where anyone who commits a homosexual act can be punished for up to 14 years in jail. Same sex marriage is also banned in the West African country.

SOURCE






American College of Pediatricians: Gay Marriage Ruling ‘Tragic’ for Children

“This is a tragic day for America’s children,” Dr. Michelle Cretella, president of the American College of Pediatricians, said Friday in a statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision legalizing same-sex marriage.

“The SCOTUS has just undermined the single greatest pro-child institution in the history of mankind: the natural family.

"Just as it did in the joint Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions, the SCOTUS has elevated and enshrined the wants of adults over the needs of children,” Cretella said.

The American College of Pediatricians is “a nonprofit organization of pediatricians and health care professionals dedicated to the health and well-being of children.”

The College filed an amicus brief in Obergefell v. Hodges, the case which led to the legalization of gay marriage in the United States. The brief examines scientific studies on same-sex parenting conducted during the past 20 years.

“Despite being certified by almost all major social science scholar associations -- indeed, in part because of this -- the alleged scientific consensus that having two parents of the same sex is innocuous for child well-being is almost wholly without basis,” the brief states.

The brief maintains that the “alleged consensus” that the children of same-sex couples do not suffer any disadvantage is the result of “intense politicization of research agendas” -- not of objective science.

It references the American Psychological Association’s (APA) 1991 guidelines on Avoiding Heterosexist Bias in Psychological Research. The guidelines define “heterosexism” as “conceptualizing human experience in strictly heterosexual terms and consequently ignoring, invalidating, or derogating homosexual behaviors and sexual orientation, and lesbian, gay, and bisexual relationships and lifestyles.”

“How can a researcher who has discovered negative outcomes for children with same-sex parents publish such findings without ‘invalidating (or being perceived as invalidating) lesbian, gay and bisexual relationships?’ the brief asks. "Even worse, how can a researcher who suspects that he or she may find such outcomes find funding or support for the research?” the amicus brief asks.

According to the court document, some studies that reported no difference between children raised by same-sex couples and children raised by heterosexual couples were later found to be invalid.

For example, in the three often-cited studies of adolescents raised by lesbian mothers conducted by Dr. Jennifer Wainright of the University of Virginia, for "27 of the 44 'lesbian mother' couples" she cited, "the responding adolescent reported that one of the parents in the household was his or her male father," the brief noted.

"Wainright et al's three studies compared a group of heterosexual parents with another group of (mostly) heterosexual parents. It is not surprising they found 'no differences' in child outcomes betweeen these groups..."

When Dr. Paul Sullins, an associate professor of sociology at the Catholic University of America, re-analyzed Wainright’s data, with the sample corrected to include only same-sex couples, he found that 87.7 percent of children with married same-sex parents exhibited symptoms of depression, compared to 47.2 percent of children with married opposite-sex parents.

One third (32.4 percent) of children with married same-sex parents reported feeling fearful or crying almost every day, compared to 3.1 percent of children with married opposite-sex parents, according to Sullins’ study.

Adolescents who reported that they had already had sexual intercourse were asked if they had ever been forced to have sex against their will. More than two thirds (70.5 percent) of adolescents with married same-sex parents responded “yes” to this question, dropping to 10 percent of those with married opposite-sex parents. 

However, Sullins’ data also suggests that “same-sex parents are just as loving and caring, perhaps more so, than are opposite-sex parents” and that negative results are not the result of any stigma attached to the children of same-sex parents.

The brief states that “special consideration must be given to the states’ interests in the well-being of children, who are uniquely vulnerable and have little recourse against harm,” asserting that state laws preventing same-sex marriage have a “rational basis” and that it would be “imprudent” for the courts to restrict these laws.

“Although it is disappointing only four of the nine justices heeded the scientific findings in the College brief,” Cretella  added, "the College will continue to proclaim the important unique contributions of both mothers and fathers to the optimal nurturing of all children.”

SOURCE






Australia: That Leftist double standard about free speech again

Attorney-General George Brandis was widely ridiculed after he made these comments in the Senate in May, 2014: “People do have a right to be bigots, you know. People have the right to say things that other people would find insulting, offensive or bigoted.”

Many of Brandis’s critics were from the ABC, where the Attorney-General is something of a hate ­figure.

So it was a surprise on Monday night to hear so many people on the ABC’s Q & A program using Brandis’s exact argument to defend the show’s decision to grant several minutes of airtime last week to ­Islamic extremist Zaky Mallah.

Host Tony Jones kicked off the homage to Brandis with these opening remarks: “The ABC’s editorial standards tell us to present a diversity of perspectives so that, over time, no significant strand of thought or belief within the community is knowingly excluded, nor disproportionately represented.”

Guest Anne Aly, a research fellow at Perth’s Curtin University, readily agreed. “We deserve to have these issues brought to our attention,” she said.

A video question from viewer Michael Daley followed Aly’s theme: “The High Court has held that there is an implied freedom of political communication. Therefore, while I disagree with the comments made by Zaky Mallah last week, we have an obligation to honour his right say them.”

And guest Lawrence Krauss, one of those relatively obscure American academics who so frequently appear on Q & A, joined in. The ­director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University said that some of Mallah’s views were “despicable”, but in our society “we have to be willing to have discussions about despicable views”.

In other words, people have the right to say things that other people would find insulting, offensive or bigoted. George Brandis should consider himself deeply honoured by the ABC’s belated agreement.

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 July, 2015

Same-sex “Marriage” and the Persecution of Christians in Canada

Canada legalized same-sex “marriage” in 2005, the fourth country in the world to do so. During the rushed public debate that preceded legalization, the Christian and traditional understanding of marriage as the union of a man and a woman had strong support. Polls showed a deep split among Canadians, and the majority (52 percent) were actually against legalization at the time that it occurred.

Opponents of same-sex “marriage” were given all kinds of assurances. The preamble to the Civil Marriage Act states that “everyone has the freedom of conscience and religion,” “nothing in this Act affects the guarantee of freedom of conscience and religion and, in particular, the freedom of members of religious groups to hold and declare their religious beliefs,” and “it is not against the public interest to hold and publicly express diverse views on marriage.”

But how quickly things change. Since the watershed moment of legalization, Canadian social norms have shifted rapidly, and what was once considered fringe or debateable has become the new normal.

Today, different opinions on “gender identity” and same-sex “marriage” are no longer tolerated. Our society is sweeping away respect for religious faiths that do not accept and celebrate same-sex “marriage,” and the Civil Marriage Act’s assurances seem merely farcical. It is not premature to speak of open discrimination against Christians in Canada.

Christian Lawyers Need Not Apply

The Canadian Charter of Right and Freedoms declares that Canadians have a fundamental “freedom of conscience and religion” and “freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression.” But constitutional guarantees are at the mercy of lawyers, and Canadian lawyers have emerged as among the most fiercely intolerant of anyone, including their own colleagues, who fails to support same-sex “marriage.”

This extreme intolerance became evident last year when Trinity Western University, the largest privately-funded Evangelical Christian university in Canada, set out to establish a law school. TWU’s plans were approved by British Columbia’s Ministry of Education, which seemed like the final green light. But in a truly unprecedented move, the law societies of three provinces, including Ontario, voted to deny accreditation to the law school.

The law societies gave only one reason, and it had nothing to do with sufficiency of the legal training of TWU graduates. The sole sticking point was the fact that TWU has a campus covenant which, among other things, asks students to abstain from same-sex (and heterosexual) sexual relationships outside of marriage, and states that marriage is reserved for man and woman.

The benchers who sit on provincial law societies are some of the most powerful lawyers in the country. In debating the TWU covenant, many of these elite lawyers made comparisons between the opposition to same-sex “marriage” and racism. For instance, one Ontario bencher said: “we can draw a useful analogy between public attitudes towards interracial dating and interracial marriage in 1985 and discrimination based on sexual orientation in 2014.” In British Columbia, one bencher put it this way: “there is no way to avoid asking … what this Law Society would do if the community covenant related to interracial marriage, even if that precept was based on religion as it was in the case of the Bob Jones University.“

The implication could not be more clear: Christians who believe in traditional marriage are the modern-day equivalent of racists, and warrant identical exclusion. Christian lawyers across Canada are now repeating the words of prominent Ontario lawyer Albertos Polizogopoulos: “I did not attend TWU, but I share its biblical view of marriage…. Do my religious beliefs, particularly about marriage, somehow disqualify me from ably practicing law? That is the inevitable conclusion and consequence if we endorse barring TWU law graduates from practicing law.”

Not only are Christian lawyers being pushed out by their colleagues, but they are also experiencing ostracism from their clients. As the debate over TWU heated in the media, some of Canada’s most powerful corporations created Legal Leaders for Diversity (LLD), a group that now includes over 70 of Canada’s largest corporations. Through LLD, these companies aim to alter the legal landscape by choosing to do business only with pro-gay law firms. Never before has there been a concerted effort to essentially starve Christian law firms out of business.

Catholics Seen as Opposed to Human Rights
The view that Christians are no longer fit for certain jobs is spreading out beyond the legal profession. In March, Toronto’s city council voted to remove the nomination of a Catholic school trustee to the city’s Board of Health. The trustee had not shown any wrongdoing or incompetence, and city councillors didn’t even try to argue this. Their stated concern was that the trustee had a history of voting in line with Catholic teaching.

In particular, some councillors were concerned that the trustee had consistently opposed gay-straight alliances in schools (a 2012 Ontario law states that these activist gay groups must be permitted inside all publicly-funded schools, including Catholic ones).

As in the case of TWU, councillors used an analogy to racism. The chair of the Board of Health asked: “Would we allow that as a society if it was black-white alliances? That’s what human rights are about….” Another councillor said: “These are actually human rights issues, the right for gays and lesbians to lead an equal life in the city of Toronto.”

The writing is on the wall. A mere decade after same-sex “marriage” was legalized in Canada, citizens who do not support same-sex “marriage” are outside the bounds of social acceptability. It is now considered in the public interest to deny them career opportunities and advancement.

Children as the Next Frontier of Gender Diversity
This coming September, all publicly funded schools in the province of Ontario, whether Catholic or secular, must begin to teach an aggressive new sexual education curriculum which is categorically opposed to Catholic teaching on sexuality and the human person.

Starting in grade three, the curriculum introduces children to the idea that gender is fluid, and that little boys can decide to be girls, or vice versa. The message is that transgender desires are just as perfectly normal as homosexual leanings.

This message is already being propagated by our media. For instance, Canadian public radio recently covered the case of a 12-year-old boy who chose to “come out” as a girl one year earlier. This “heartwarming” story includes details such as the fact that the boy’s puberty has now been chemically stopped, and he may be put through female puberty instead.

Young Canadian children have been “coming out” as transgender, and are being encouraged by officials in schools and government, and by the media. Currently, a Catholic school in Alberta is being pressured to allow a 7-year-old transgender “girl” to use the girls’ bathroom. Last year, the province of Alberta issued a new birth certificate to a 12-year-old “boy” who was born a girl.

Campaign Life Coalition, Canada’s largest pro-life organization, accurately expresses the dilemma that Ontario’s Catholic schools are facing:

It is unclear how Catholic schools can implement teaching on birth control, abortion, the idea that being male or female is a social construct, gender expression, and the 6-gender theory, even if retrofitted with a “Catholic lens.” Catholic moral teaching forbids abortion and the use of artificial contraception as grave evils. The theory of gender identity, gender expression and the idea that there are more genders than just male and female directly contradict Christian anthropology of the human person.

The Dawn of a New Dictatorship?

Canada continues to pioneer through a vast social experiment. The legalization of same-sex “marriage” represented the victory in our laws and public morals of a view of the human person and human sexuality that is seriously incompatible with the Gospel. This is turning out to be a zero-sum situation, and Christians are starting to be seen as public enemies.

Last May at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., Princeton professor Robert George spoke precisely of these changes in our Western culture, and of the coming persecution of Catholics and other like-minded Christians. Here in Canada, his predictions are already coming to pass:

The days of socially acceptable Christianity are over. The days of comfortable Catholicism are past…. Powerful forces and currents in our society press us to be ashamed of the Gospel … ashamed of our faith’s teachings on marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife. These forces insist that the Church’s teachings are out of date, retrograde, insensitive, uncompassionate, illiberal, bigoted, even hateful … these same forces say you are a homophobe, a bigot, someone who doesn’t believe in equality. You even represent a threat to people’s safety. You ought to be ashamed!

…One may in consequence of one’s public witness be discriminated against and denied educational opportunities and the prestigious credentials they may offer; one may lose valuable opportunities for employment and professional advancement; one may be excluded from worldly recognition and honors of various sorts; one’s witness may even cost one treasured friendships…. Yes, there are costs of discipleship—heavy costs.

Trinity Western University is now fighting expensive court battles in three provinces, and will likely wind up at the Supreme Court. The Toronto Catholic school trustee is considering an appeal to a human rights tribunal. Thousands of parents have protested against the new sexual education curriculum in Ontario, pulling 15,000 kids out of school to demonstrate their outrage.

But Ontario’s premier, who is herself a lesbian in a same-sex “marriage,” has announced her resolve to introduce the curriculum despite the protests. The tsunami of gender identity politics is only gathering speed, bringing ever more pressure upon those who dare stand in its way.

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Amazon.com: No Confederate Flags But Hamas and Hezbollah Flags Available

 Amazon.com joined other American companies like eBay and Wal-Mart last week in banning the sale of the Confederate flag, but the online retail giant has apparently not banned items associated with foreign terrorist groups.

Flags of Hamas and Hezbollah, and armed “Taliban” action figures are among the offerings available with a few clicks of a mouse.

Amazon’s decision to remove merchandise featuring the Confederate flag, reported by Reuters and others last week, came in the wake of the shooting of nine people in a church in Charleston, S.C. by a white gunman who photographed himself draped in the flag.

A search of the Amazon.com website reveals that it has for sale an 18-piece set of figurines described as “Afghan Taliban.” The figures, available for $18.18 a set, are shown carrying assault weapons, ammunition and rocket propelled grenades.

Items featuring the bright yellow flag of the Lebanese Iranian-backed Shi’ite group Hezbollah, designated by the State Department as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) since 1997, are also on sale on Amazon.

A pack of photographic prints of the flag are available for $3.99, a fridge magnet for $2.99, a small window cling flag for $2.99, and an “I love Hezbollah” infant bodysuit for $19.99.

The flag of Hezbollah (the “Party of Allah”) features a fist, an AK-47 assault rifle and an image of the Qur’an.

The Anti-Defamation League’s describes the banner as follows: “A fist rises from the letters clutching an AK-47. Below the rifle are a Qur’an, a globe and a seven-leafed branch. The red Arabic script above the rifle reads, ‘the party of God, they are the triumphant ones.’ The red Arabic text below the central image reads, ‘the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon.’”

The flag of Hamas, also a designated FTO, is also on sale at Amazon.com for $8.47.

Its availability on the site riled some browsers, who used the “customer reviews” feature to let Amazon know their views on the matter.

“Hey Amazon. You just removed the Confederate flag from your inventory. I DEMAND you also remove THIS symbol of hatred and bigotry from your inventory,” read one.

“Great job Amazon for showing us your true colors,” said another. “Can’t get a Confederate battle flag but you can get a flag of this terrorist group. A group that has killed many women and children.”

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Having Dispensed With God, Leftists Now Aim for Christians



 Five leftist lawyers, currently abusing their authority as Supreme Court Justices, unleashed their activism upon the U.S. Constitution Friday and created a non-existent right to same-sex marriage. The Fourteenth Amendment may provide equal protection under the law, but by applying it to expand the definition of marriage the Court has created a constitutional crisis in America. The First and Tenth Amendments, which respectively promise freedom of individual religion and award jurisdiction to the States of all powers not enumerated in the Constitution, have now been placed in direct conflict with the Fourteenth Amendment.

“Love Wins”? Not here it doesn’t, nor does anything but the will of five judicial despots, followed by the bullying mob rule of the Left and its Rainbow Mafia. Need proof?

In 2008, before the Saul Alinsky-ite Barack Obama and his Chicagoland gang occupied the White House and began “fundamentally transforming” our nation, there was debate, dissent and dialogue about all sorts of issues, including those issues fomented by the hard Left in order to label the response of the Christian Right as extremist.

In 2008, homosexual couples could enter into a legal, binding contract for shared property, power of attorney for making health care decisions, probate of wills, etc., and were, in most cases, receiving health care benefits from employers. These same homosexual couples were consummating their relationship in the privacy of their own domicile without harassment.

In 2008, Christians could speak their opinions and stand on their faith while understanding their voice was respected in the public square.

In 2015, however, those same Christians are in grave danger of losing legal standing because their beliefs are pitted against a brand new, heretofore undiscovered constitutional right. Tolerance is only for those who agree with the mob-rule Left.

What changed in seven years?

If you ask a moderate Republican, he or she might say, “Elections have consequences,” and shrug, since they never viewed this as meaningful anyway. If you ask the Bible-believing Democrats who voted for Ronald Reagan, they shudder at the exchange of timeless principles for sexual license. If you ask a libertarian, you might get the response that devout Christians are the “recalcitrant minority.” But if you ask someone who identifies as Christian first, American second, and is conservative politically, you’ll hear sorrow for a nation that worships the secular triune of me, myself and I rather than our Creator.

Millions of votes cast around the country to support the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman have now been nullified. How will this tyrannical disregard for the enumerated powers of the Constitution play out in the everyday lives of Christians?

In your place of worship, there’s now a government-approved theology that the God-rejecting Left expects to be preached. Whereas Bible-centric congregations stand on Holy Scripture, which does not include one single advocacy of sexual sin or perversion, the homosexual agenda demands that this view be rejected. One of the five black-robed tyrants, Justice Anthony Kennedy — considered the “swing vote” — laughingly attempted to reassure those whose lives revolve around their faith in the Judeo-Christian God by writing, “Those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned.”

Get that? We can advocate our opposition, but there is little legal standing in such a weak word. As Chief Justice John Roberts put it, “The majority graciously suggests that religious believers may continue to ‘advocate’ and ‘teach’ their views of marriage. The First Amendment guarantees, however, the freedom to ‘exercise’ religion. Ominously, that is not a word the majority uses.”

Let’s not forget the Christian bakers, florists, photographers and other business owners who have been financially ruined and litigiously challenged by the Rainbow Mafia. Already, Christians have been forced to either comply with the government-approved theology or face persecution.

What about the tax-exempt status of Christian organizations such as schools, faith-based charities, hospitals and other institutions with religious beliefs?

The Obama administration has already indicated this provision as a likely stick to enforce the mandatory bowing to the altar of government-sanctioned faith. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, arguing conjured-up rights before the Supreme Court back in April, tipped their hand in response to an inquiry by Justice Samuel Alito. “It’s certainly going to be an issue,” Verrilli promised. “I don’t deny that. I don’t deny that, Justice Alito. It is going to be an issue.”

Chad Griffin, president of the Human (read: Homosexual) Rights Campaign, likewise said, “No question, the work is not done. … We still have a long ways to go.”

Cultural icons like Star Trek actor George Takei, who is homosexual, made the same veiled threat after the ruling. Some, he said, are “going to try to use the shroud of religious freedom” to disobey the Court’s decree. “I believe in religious freedom, and people who argue that are entitled to their freedom,” Takei said. “But” — yes, there was bound to be a “but” — “they do not have the freedom to impose their religious values on to others.”

Yet that’s exactly what the Court and the Rainbow Mafia are doing. The mob-rule Left, characteristically using its ends to justify any means, is wielding its political and legal prowess acquired over the last seven years to openly oppress Judeo-Christians.

Yet there are glimmers of hope that will endure.

Cultural and casual Christians, the ones who believe philanthropy and showing up for a holiday service is their only necessary spiritual response, will quickly self-identify and want to change the subject. Eventually, these fair-weather believers will either deepen their faith or more explicitly abandon it to avoid social stigma or name-calling.

But the greatest outcome of this conflict threatening the Liberty of the faithful and devout will be the growth of strength and community. Think of redwoods, trees that soar to heights of over 350 feet and can live thousands of years. These natural giants have roots of only five to 13 feet deep, but spread outward to 100 feet, interlocking with the roots of neighboring trees in the grove. Unseen bonds within these titans of the forest provide stability and support when the storms howl.

As Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, reminds us, “[T]he church often thrives when it is in sharp contrast to the cultures around it.”

And Congress isn’t idle. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) introduced the First Amendment Defense Act, which Lee writes “would prevent any agency from denying a federal tax exemption, grant, contract, accreditation, license, or certification to an individual or institution for acting on their religious belief that marriage is a union between one man and one woman.”

This battle has been won through activism and deception. The war, however, is not over.

SOURCE







The Reference in This Girl Scouts Book Started a Media Firestorm More Than Three Years Ago. But What has happened since?

It was back in 2011 that a concerned mother first approached TheBlaze to expose a paragraph inside of a book printed by the Girl Scouts of the USA that encouraged young girls to visit a well-known liberal website to clear up any “media misinformation” they encountered.

Three years later, she says that the controversial directive to use Media Matters for America — a liberal “information center” aimed at “correcting conservative misinformation” — to fact-check the news is still prominently displayed inside copies of the books being sold in some of the organization’s stores, despite intense media coverage over the issue and the Girl Scouts’ claim that they reprinted the book in 2012.

“I am not all that shocked to learn the Girl Scout organization has broken yet another promise made to its members. Sadly, example after example exists of the Girl Scout organization saying one thing and doing another,” Christy Volanski, a former Girl Scouts leader, told TheBlaze. “Considering that this organization claims to ‘build girls of character,’ it is deeply concerning that Girl Scouts USA and its local councils continue to be deceitful with families and supporters.”

In was back in December 2011 that TheBlaze first covered Volanski’s concerns over a workbook titled, “MEdia” that was published by the Girl Scouts in 2010 — a publication designed for girls in grades six through eight that offers insight into how young people should process and understand media messaging.

Volanski was stunned at the time to find that the book referred young readers to Media Matters for America as one of the primary sources for debunking lies and deceit, as the organization is known for its overtly partisan — and progressive — stances.

Under the headline, “Consider the Source,” text on page 25 of the book encourages girls to go to the George Soros-funded Media Matters web site to clear up any media misinformation they might encounter. It reads:

The Internet is a breeding ground for “urban legends,” which are false stories told as if true. Next time you receive a txt or e-mail about something that seems unbelievable, confirm it before you spread it.

The fact-checking site snopes.com investigates everything from urban legends to “news” articles and posts its findings. Media Matters for America (http://mediamatters.org/) gets the word out about media misinformation.

A representative for the Girl Scouts told TheBlaze back in 2012 that the book was being reprinted, and an online version of the text shows that Media Matters was indeed digitally replaced by Snopes.com, a popular fact-checking website.

“Girl Scouts constantly reviews our materials based on feedback and suggestions we receive from our members, and we update our materials on a regular basis,” the organization said at the time. “As a result of this process, a corrected page was posted online in January, which councils could use to sticker any books they had in the shop. The girl book went into reprint in May [2012] and 5,000 copies — with the correction — were delivered in July.”

But three years later, Volanski said that the organization is still selling the old Media Matters version of “MEdia.” She sent individuals to four different Girl Scouts stores in Georgia, South Carolina, Wisconsin and Arkansas, earlier this month, where she said none of the store workers cautioned buyers that there were edits or changes to the book, with the old Media Matters versions still sitting on shelves in all but one case.

One store in Arkansas was selling the book with a sticker over the Media Matters paragraph that instead directed Girl Scouts to Snopes.com. The last time Volanski checked stores back in 2012, two were selling updated versions without the references and four stores were not.

TheBlaze reached out to the Girl Scouts to seek comment about why the controversial reference remains in the book more than three years later, and the organization sent the following response: “Girl Scouts constantly reviews our materials based on feedback and suggestions we receive from our members, and we update our materials on a regular basis.”

When TheBlaze inquired to ask, more specifically, why a partisan website is given to young kids to help them fact check media messages, the organization skirted the question, responding, “The girl books went into reprint, with corrections, and were promptly delivered.”

The organization ignored a third attempt to ask why, if the new copies were promptly delivered, that the old books referencing Media Matters are still on bookshelves nearly four years later.

In 2012, Wendy Thomas Russell, the book’s author, denied placing the Media Matters reference in the book, saying that she had “no idea” how it happened. She also said that she wouldn’t have included the reference due to the group’s obvious bias. Russell wrote:

So how did Media Matters end up in the book I wrote? The truth is, I have no idea. My final draft read as follows:

"The Internet is a breeding ground for “urban legends,” which are false stories told as if true, and then spread quickly. Next time you receive a txt or a forwarded e-mail about something terrible that happened to someone, try to confirm it. The fact-checking site snopes.com investigates everything from urban legends to “news” articles and posts its findings."

That’s it. Just Snopes.

No offense to Media Matters, but I didn’t even know the group existed until last week. And no offense to the Girl Scouts, but, even if I had known about the group, I never would have included it in the book. Media Matters’ slant isn’t only evident in the content, it’s spelled out in the freaking masthead.

It is still unclear both how the reference made its way into the book — and why it is still on shelves more than three years after the initial controversy.

As TheBlaze previously reported, Volanski is no stranger to critiquing the Girl Scouts, as her daughter Sydney, who served as a Girl Scout for eight years and left the organization in 2010 after she found that it embraces what she believes are controversial stances, co-edits the Speak Now: Girl Scouts Website; it provides examples of what the family sees as liberal bias.

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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1 July, 2015

Muslims first in Britain

For years it has served as a place for reflection for the Roman Catholic relatives and friends of sick patients.  So a plan to turn the hospital chapel into a Muslim prayer room has outraged worshippers.

Bosses at North Manchester General say the switch is under consideration because they have to offer facilities for Muslims praying for loved ones.

But Catholic priests say their faithful will now have no space of their own.  ‘St Raphael’s chapel contains the blessed sacrament and mass is celebrated weekly,’ said Father Ray Matus, of St Chads, Cheetham Hill.  ‘It is well used and highly valued by patients, staff and visitors at the hospital. Worship spaces are going to be provided for Muslims, Jews and Protestant Christians, and even a quiet room for people of no faith at all.  ‘Yet it is proposed that Catholics should have no space of their own.’

Father Ged Murphy, of St Patrick’s and St Malachy’s, has started an online petition and the number of signatures has reached 5,000 in a matter of a few days.  He said: ‘The chapel has been there for about 15 years. It is welcoming and people get great comfort there. Different faiths use it.

‘It is used during the week for mass. We are not against the Muslim community having a prayer room, but don’t see the sense in taking away a chapel that is serving one community to serve another.’

Sarah Reid, 42, who used the chapel when her father was in the hospital, said: ‘It is appalling they are going to take away the Catholic chapel.  ‘They have a room for people who are Jewish but can you imagine the anger if that was suddenly changed into a Muslim prayer room.  ‘They have picked on Catholics because we are the least controversial target. What they need to do is find some money to build a room for Muslim worshippers.’

Around 50 per cent of the population of North Manchester is Christian and Catholics, who make up 7 per cent of this group, have 12 places of worship. Muslims make up 16 per cent of the population and are served by six mosques.

Pat Karney, who is a Manchester councillor, said: ‘I am very disturbed to hear of these plans. Thousands of Catholic families in north Manchester, including my own, have used this mini chapel. I will be meeting the hospital bosses to clarify their intentions.’

A hospital spokesman said a move to convert St Raphael’s into a Muslim prayer room was just one proposal that was being considered.  He said: ‘It is commonplace for hospitals across the country to have a joint Catholic and Protestant facility and that is just one of a few proposals being considered.’

The Rev John Hall, chaplaincy co-ordinator at The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said: ‘We recognise and fully support the important role of faith leaders in supporting patients, carers, relatives and staff during often difficult times in hospital.

‘We also make great efforts to ensure that we have dedicated rooms and facilities which meet the needs of various faiths and also for people of no faith.

‘We have a number of different chapels and rooms at North Manchester General Hospital and we are currently looking at how these are used so that we have the best possible arrangements that meet everyone’s needs.

‘We have no plans to close any facilities including the Catholic chapel. We are about to start consultation with the local community, faith groups and relevant staff members to discuss all our current issues and to listen to all views and opinions.’

SOURCE






Should "Gone with the Wind" Be Banned?

Tragic events provide platforms for political opportunists—remember we can’t let a good crisis go to waste—and the mass shooting of African Americans by a white racist at a Charleston, S.C., church has created a plethora of opportunities. The one on my radar screen today is New York film critic Lou Lumenick’s argument for banning the Academy Award–winning film Gone with the Wind. It’s a great reminder of why we don’t want film critics in charge of social policy.

Lumenick notes, accurately, that the film, based “on a best seller by die-hard Southerner Margaret Mitchell, ‘Gone with the Wind’ buys heavily into the idea that the Civil War was a noble lost cause and casts Yankees and Yankee sympathizers as the villains, both during the war and during Reconstruction.” Lumenick also says that the movie, and the Confederate flag, represents slavery and a defense of slavery.

Leaving aside the question of whether an artistic endeavor should be judged on its factual content and accuracy rather than artistic contribution, Lumenick is showing a pretty profound ignorance of history. True enough, Margaret Mitchell was an apologist for the South, and Gone with the Wind is presenting a distinctly Southern view of the Civil War and slavery. It never pretended to be anything else.

But Lumenick is assuming that movie viewers are both ignorant of the Civil War and unable to critically evaluate the content of the movie. The idea that Gone with the Wind should be considered or valued not for its artistic merit but only on whether it fits with the sensibilities of an elite (in this case a New York film critic)–and should be banned–is disturbingly Orwellian.

I remember seeing Gone With the Wind when I was about 12 years old in a movie theater. It remains the only time I have seen the entire movie in one sitting. My biggest recollections as a pre-teen?

The intermission was weird, and I didn’t like it;

A lot of people died, and lot of suffering happened during the Civil War;

Southerners romanticized the war and secession with the result being complete social and personal devastation;

Scarlett O’Hara was a self-centered brat, and I couldn’t see why Rhett Butler would have anything to do with her.

Apparently, according to Lumerick, it’s not enough for a movie to show the devastation of war. It also has to place his politically correct narrative at the center.

Beyond this, was the Civil War only about slavery? No, and this is why Lumerick borders on an Orwellian approach to speech, expression, history, and art. He (and others) are spinning the public narrative to fit a profoundly selective view of history and politics.

Slavery was indeed the proximate cause of the Civil War—sorry Southern apologists, you have to own this. Without pressure by Northern states to limit the expansion of slavery and the election of Republican Abraham Lincoln, the war probably wouldn’t have happened.

But concerns over states rights were very real, even if controversial. Lincoln’s election and the growing abolitionist movement precipitated a constitutional crisis. Southern states believed—with good reason—that it was just a matter of time before enough free states would be admitted to garner the three-fourths majority they needed to amend the Constitution and prohibit slavery within their borders, violating (they believed) the self-determination implied in the Constitution. Many southerners were fighting for sovereignty, not necessarily to preserve slavery. (And even this interpretation is simplified as this essay by Robert Higgs of the book Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men, by Jeffrey Rogers Hummel, eloquently points out.)

Robert E. Lee, perhaps one of the nation’s most effective generals, was one of many Southerners offered a commission in the U.S. Army on the eve of the Civil War but turned it down because his loyalty was first to his native state of Virginia. (More than 300 regular U.S. Army officers resigned their commissions to fight for their home states in the South.) Moreover, Lee freed his family’s slaves in 1862, well before the war turned against the South, and proclaimed in private letters the slavery was an evil institution.

None of this justifies slavery, constitutes a defense of the South, or, for that matter, justifies using the Confederate battle flag as a symbol of independence. Rather, my intention is to point out the folly of Lumenick’s argument—that complex social issues and historical events can be whittled down into one narrative, and that narrative should then be used to condemn or laud art. It may work in art, but it doesn’t work in reality. We don’t have to celebrate Gone with the Wind as an example of objective documentary filmmaking before we can recognize its cultural contribution as art or, in this case, a representation of a point of view that is different from our own.

In his column, Lumenick writes: “But what does it say about us as a nation if we continue to embrace a movie that, in the final analysis, stands for many of the same things as the Confederate flag that flutters so dramatically over the dead and wounded soldiers at the Atlanta train station just before the ‘GWTW’ intermission?”

The answer to this Yankee is simple: It recognizes the objective value of individual freedom of expression and a commitment to meaningful public discourse.

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Evangelical Leader: ‘We Didn’t Make Up Our Views on Marriage and Sexuality, And We Can't Unmake Them'

While the odds are stacked in the short-term against Christians who oppose same-sex marriage, they are “not going to simply surrender” their views because of Friday’s Supreme Court ruling, since they did not make them up in the first place, an evangelical leader said Sunday.

“People have to understand that people who hold my view based on deeply-held religious convictions aren’t going to simply surrender those things. We can’t,” Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission told CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“For us to change our views on marriage and sexuality would mean repudiating what we believe has been handed to us by Jesus and His apostles,” he continued. “We didn’t make up our views on marriage and sexuality, and we can’t unmake them.”

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s 5-4  ruling declaring that same-sex marriage is a right, Moore said evangelical Protestants, Roman Catholics, Orthodox and other people of faith would continue to hold their views on marriage and sexuality, believing those views to be “in the common good.”

“We understand that, short-term, things are very stacked against us here. But we ought to have the sort of pluralistic American environment where we can agree to disagree and where we can make our case without having our consciences paved over by those who would seek to do so.”

Moore said supporters of traditional marriage would have to emulate the pro-life movement and accept the struggle will be a long-term one.

“I don't think that an infinitely elastic view of marriage is sustainable. And I think that we have to be the people who keep the light lit to the old ways when it comes to marriage and family,” he said.

“And that’s going to be a generation-long skirmish. It’s not going to be something that’s going to be resolved in a presidential election or two.”

Asked what he would advise believers when a family member or friend enters into a same-sex marriage, Moore replied, “We believe in loving all people and respecting all people, including our gay and lesbian neighbors.”

“And so holding to our convictions doesn't mean that we dispense with human kindness and actually with gospel-, spirit-driven kindness. It means that those two things go together. We have to be people of both truth and grace, of conviction and kindness,” he said. “And I think that’s what most Christians are doing now and have been doing for quite some time.”

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Enough With the Outrage Police: Free Speech Matters

Americans take justifiable pride in their right to free speech. People may be muzzled by their government in places such as Cuba and North Korea, but not here. You can say what’s on your mind without fear of prosecution.

But can you do so without fear of persecution? More and more, it seems, the answer is no. Say the “wrong” thing, and the Outrage Police swarm you. Do we need a communist government to shut down debate when we’re eager to do it ourselves?

To be sure, political correctness isn’t a new phenomenon. Aggrieved parties throughout history have struggled to suppress viewpoints they disagreed with. But we live in an age where, for example, refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding qualifies you for a figurative firing squad (figurative as of this writing, but at the rate things are going, watch out).

Perhaps a better sign of how things have changed for the worst on the free-expression front is the “open letter” that a San Diego State student named Anthony Berteaux wrote recently to comedian Jerry Seinfeld. Seinfeld had been quoted as saying he doesn’t play colleges anymore because of how politically correct (PC) they’ve become. Berteaux took issue with this.

Did Berteaux deny that colleges are PC? No. Did he say, “Say whatever you want, Jerry—it’s a free country”? No. Berteaux had a higher mission:

“[C]omedy in our progressive society today can no longer afford to be crass, or provocative for the sake of being offensive. Sexist humor and racist humor can no longer exist in comedy because these concepts are based on archaic ideals that have perpetrated injustice against minorities in the past.

“Provocative humor, such as ones dealing with topics of race and gender politics, can be crass and vulgar, but underlying it must be a context that spurs social dialogue about these respective issues. There needs to be a message, a central truth behind comedy for it to work as humor.”

It is, of course, amusing to see one of the world’s most famous comedians getting amateur advice about what will “work as humor.” But the underlying message—say the right thing in the right way or get lost—is no laughing matter. If we’ve gotten to the point where we’re more afraid of offending people than we are about losing our freedom to speak up, our so-called “progressive society” is actually regressing.

I wish I could say Berteaux is the exception to the rule, but a disturbing number of people, especially in his age bracket, are more concerned with shutting down a debate, not trying to win it. They’re the reason, for example, that campus speakers known for their un-PC views are often told not to bother coming. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), in fact, refers to commencement time as “disinvitation season.”

The idea of hosting speakers with a provocative message—of engaging them in debate and actually, oh, learning something—seems lost on these students. They’ve grown up in such a bubble—nurtured by overprotective teachers and parents, and reinforced by the self-Balkanizing nature of social media—that they’re scandalized by the very idea that an opposing viewpoint even exists.

Fortunately, there are students willing to buck this trend. Groups such as FIRE can supply many examples, but one I found particularly striking was the case of Anthony Vizzone. He ran afoul of school administrators when he was trying to recruit members for his Young Americans for Liberty chapter at the University of Hawaii.

His offense? Handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution outside of the “free speech zone” on campus. The good news is, it ended well: Vizzone worked with FIRE to join a lawsuit against the university and get this policy overturned.

But how many students are willing to push back? For that matter, how many adults challenge the Outrage Police?

It’s up to all of us to ensure that the shelves in the “marketplace of ideas” remain well stocked.

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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(Isaiah 62:1)


Political correctness is Fascism pretending to be manners


Political Correctness is as big a threat to free speech as Communism and Fascism. All 3 were/are socialist.


Psychological defence mechanisms such as projection play a large part in Leftist thinking and discourse. So their frantic search for evil in the words and deeds of others is easily understandable. The evil is in themselves. Leftist motivations are fundamentally Fascist. They want to "fundamentally transform" the lives of their fellow citizens, which is as authoritarian as you can get. We saw where it led in Russia and China. The "compassion" that Leftists parade is just a cloak for their ghastly real motivations


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


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


What feminism has wrought:

There's actually some wisdom there. The dreamy lady says she is holding out for someone who meets her standards. The other lady reasonably replies "There's nobody there". Standards can be unrealistically high and feminists have laboured mightily to make them so


Racial differences in temperament: Chinese are more passive even as little babies


The genetics of crime: I have been pointing out for some time the evidence that there is a substantial genetic element in criminality. Some people are born bad. See here, here and here, for instance"


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


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


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


So why do Leftists say "There is no such thing as right and wrong" when backed into a rhetorical corner? They say it because that is the predominant conclusion of analytic philosophers. And, as Keynes said: "Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back”


Children are the best thing in life. See also here.


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


Consider two "jokes" below:

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

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

Pretty offensive, right? So consider this one:

Q. "Why are evangelical Christians like the Taliban?

A. They are both religious fundamentalists"

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


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


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


A modern feminist complains: "We are so far from “having it all” that “we barely even have a slice of the pie, which we probably baked ourselves while sobbing into the pastry at 4am”."



A beautiful baby is king -- with blue eyes, blond hair and white skin. How incorrect can you get?


Patriotism does NOT in general go with hostilty towards others. See e.g. here and here and even here ("Ethnocentrism and Xenophobia: A Cross-Cultural Study" by anthropologist Elizabeth Cashdan. In Current Anthropology Vol. 42, No. 5, December 2001).



There really is an actress named Donna Air


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


"An objection I hear frequently is: ‘Why should we tolerate intolerance?’ The assumption is that tolerating views that you don’t agree with is like a gift, an act of kindness. It suggests we’re doing people a favour by tolerating their view. My argument is that tolerance is vital to us, to you and I, because it’s actually the presupposition of all our freedoms. You cannot be free in any meaningful sense unless there is a recognition that we are free to act on our beliefs, we’re free to think what we want and express ourselves freely. Unless we have that freedom, all those other freedoms that we have on paper mean nothing" -- SOURCE


RELIGION:

What the Bible says about homosexuality:

"Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind; It is abomination" -- Lev. 18:22

In his great diatribe against the pagan Romans, the apostle Paul included homosexuality among their sins:

"For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature. And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.... Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them" -- Romans 1:26,27,32.

So churches that condone homosexuality are clearly post-Christian


Although I am an atheist, I have great respect for the wisdom of ancient times as collected in the Bible. And its condemnation of homosexuality makes considerable sense to me. In an era when family values are under constant assault, such a return to the basics could be helpful. Nonetheless, I approve of St. Paul's advice in the second chapter of his epistle to the Romans that it is for God to punish them, not us. In secular terms, homosexuality between consenting adults in private should not be penalized but nor should it be promoted or praised. In Christian terms, "Gay pride" is of the Devil


The homosexuals of Gibeah set in train a series of events which brought down great wrath and destruction on their tribe. The tribe of Benjamin was almost wiped out when it would not disown its homosexuals. Are we seeing a related process in the woes presently being experienced by the amoral Western world? Note that there was one Western country that was not affected by the global financial crisis and subsequently had no debt problems: Australia. In September 2012 the Australian federal parliament considered a bill to implement homosexual marriage. It was rejected by a large majority -- including members from both major political parties


Religion is deeply human. The recent discoveries at Gobekli Tepe suggest that it was religion not farming that gave birth to civilization. Early civilizations were at any rate all very religious. Atheism is mainly a very modern development and is even now very much a minority opinion


"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" - Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)


I think it's not unreasonable to see Islam as the religion of the Devil. Any religion that loves death or leads to parents rejoicing when their children blow themselves up is surely of the Devil -- however you conceive of the Devil. Whether he is a man in a red suit with horns and a tail, a fallen spirit being, or simply the evil side of human nature hardly matters. In all cases Islam is clearly anti-life and only the Devil or his disciples could rejoice in that.



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


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

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


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


Even Mahatma Gandhi was profoundly unimpressed by Africans








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